who will bell the cat(redirected from who will bell the cat?)
who will bell the cat
Who will undertake or agree to perform a risky, dangerous, or impossible job or task? The phrase comes from a fable (often and likely incorrectly attributed to Aesop) called "Belling the Cat," in which a group of mice decide that one will harness a bell to a murderous cat so that its jingle will warn them of its presence, though none want to take on the dangerous role. Well, someone has to tell the boss we aren't going to come in to work on Saturdays anymore. Who will bell the cat? Who will bell the cat and tell mom we wrecked her car?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
bell the cat, who will
Who has enough courage to do a dangerous job? For example, Someone has to tell the teacher that her own son started the fire, but who will bell the cat? This expression originated in one of Aesop's fables as retold by William Langland in Piers Ploughman (c. 1377), in which the mice decide to put a bell around the cat's neck as a warning device but then can find none among them who will actually do it.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.