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a wolf in sheep's clothing

A person or thing that appears harmless but is actually dangerous or bad. Don't trust Dana—she's a wolf in sheep's clothing who will try to steal your position if given the chance. The politician portrayed himself as moderate, but turned out to be a wolf in sheep's clothing with a radical agenda.
See also: clothing, wolf

feed (someone) to the wolves

To sacrifice someone to ruin, destruction, or hostility from others, especially for one's own benefit or survival. He cares nothing for the people he works with and is willing to feed them to the wolves if it means his stock might increase a bit. In the face of the scandal, the administration has been feeding to the wolves anyone they can use to deflect blame from themselves.
See also: feed, to, wolves

keep the wolves from the door

To do, acquire, or provide something that will allow one or something to narrowly avoid death, ruin, etc. We were extremely poor then, and begging for scraps was all I could do to keep the wolves from the door. This loan will keep the wolves from the door, but I'm worried it won't last long.
See also: door, keep, wolves

lone wolf

1. Someone who does not seek or like the company of others. Shannon should have known Brad would break her heart—he's a lone wolf who doesn't like getting close to anybody. A: "Does he have any friends at school?" B: "No, I think he's a lone wolf."
2. A terrorist who acts alone or independently of a larger group when carrying out an attack. The attack was carried out by another lone wolf who had no affiliation with terror groups but was inspired by radical postings online.
See also: lone, wolf

raised by wolves

A set phrase said of one who seems particularly uncouth and/or socially inept. Why are you eating spaghetti with your hands? Were you raised by wolves? He's so rude, it's like he was raised by wolves!
See also: by, raised, wolves

the wolf is at the/(one's) door

1. Someone or something is facing imminent financial ruin or difficulty. Often used in plural constructions. The wolves have been at my door for so long that I don't really remember what it's like to not be on the verge of bankruptcy. As the economy continues to struggle, the wolf is at the door for many small businesses around the country.
2. Some danger, threat, or calamity imminent or at hand. Often used in plural constructions. Our nation is facing unprecedented threats from all over the world. The wolves are at our door, and we need to be prepared to confront them. I fear that when it comes to climate change, the wolf is already at the door.
See also: door, wolf

throw (one) to the wolves

To put one in the position to be the recipient of blame, trouble, or criticism, often that which was intended for oneself. Tommy was caught with the marijuana in his backpack, but he threw me to the wolves and said it was mine. Our manager never hesitates to throw an underling to the wolves when something goes wrong in the office.
See also: throw, to, wolves


slang A man who habitually and aggressively attempts to seduce women. I could tell by his demeanor that he was a real wolf, and that he'd do and say just about anything to get me to go to bed with him.

wolf at the/(one's) door

1. A creditor or moneylender looking for repayment. I've had the wolves at my door ever since I took out that idiotic payday loan a year ago. With so many wolves at our door, I think I need to get a better paying job soon.
2. Any impending or imminent source of danger, disaster, or ruin. This market trend is becoming wildly unsustainable and erratic, and this wolf at the door could threaten to plunge us into another recession. That country is not our ally—it is a wolf at our door, waiting for its opportunity to strike.
See also: door, wolf
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

throw someone to the wolves

Fig. to sacrifice someone to save the rest; to abandon someone to harm. (Fig. on the image of giving one person to the wolves to eat so the rest can get away.) Don't try to throw me to the wolves. I'll tell the truth about the whole affair! The investigation was going to be rigorous and unpleasant, and I could see they were going to throw someone to the wolves.
See also: throw, to, wolves
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

lone wolf

A person who prefers to do without the company or assistance of others. For example, Her nursery school teacher described Beth as a lone wolf, an assessment her parents found astonishing . This expression alludes to the tendency of some species of wolf to hunt alone rather than in packs. [c. 1900]
See also: lone, wolf

throw to the wolves

Also, throw to the dogs or lions . Send to a terrible fate; sacrifice someone, especially so as to save oneself. For example, Leaving him with hostile reporters was throwing him to the wolves, or If Bob doesn't perform as they expect, they'll throw him to the lions. All three hyperbolic terms allude to the ravenous appetite of these animals, which presumably will devour the victim. The first term comes from Aesop's fable about a nurse who threatens to throw her charge to the wolves if the child does not behave. [First half of 1900s]
See also: throw, to, wolves
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.

a wolf in sheep's clothing

A wolf in sheep's clothing is someone or something that appears harmless or ordinary but is in fact very dangerous or powerful. The judge said Granger appeared to be a nice young gentleman, but was in fact a wolf in sheep's clothing — a ruthless individual with absolutely no morals. This car has to be the ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing. It looks like an ever-so sensible estate — until you hit the accelerator. Note: Less often, people describe someone as a sheep in wolf's clothing, meaning that a person seems dangerous or powerful, but in fact is harmless or ordinary. She was tall, with a loud voice and could seem a little intimidating but was in fact a sheep in wolf's clothing, loved by all who knew her. Note: In one of Aesop's fables, a wolf wraps itself in a fleece and manages to get into a sheepfold without being noticed. It then attacks the sheep and eats them. This image is also used in the Bible: `Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.' (Matthew 7:15)
See also: clothing, wolf

throw someone to the wolves

If someone throws you to the wolves, they allow you to be criticized severely or treated badly, and they do not try to protect you. Being released into the general prison population was like being thrown to the wolves. Suddenly, aged 23, he was thrown to the wolves, and made to answer very personal and deeply insulting questions by a pack of journalists. Compare with throw someone to the lions.
See also: someone, throw, to, wolves
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

lone wolf

a person who prefers to act alone.
See also: lone, wolf

throw someone to the wolves

leave someone to be roughly treated or criticized without trying to help or defend them. informal
This phrase probably arose in reference to tales about packs of wolves pursuing travellers in horse-drawn sleighs, in which one person was pushed off the sleigh to allow it to go faster, so enabling the others to make their escape.
1958 Listener This able and agreeable doctor was thrown to the wolves by a Prime Minister who had good reason to know that his own position was desperate.
See also: someone, throw, to, wolves

a wolf in sheep's clothing

a person or thing that appears friendly or harmless but is really hostile and dangerous.
This expression comes from Jesus's words in Matthew 7:15: ‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves’.
See also: clothing, wolf
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a wolf in sheep’s ˈclothing

a person who appears friendly and nice but is really dangerous
See also: clothing, wolf

throw somebody to the ˈwolves/ˈlions

allow somebody to be attacked or remain in a difficult situation, perhaps because they are no longer useful or important to you: When he became politically unpopular the rest of his party just threw him to the wolves. OPPOSITE: save somebody’s bacon
See also: lion, somebody, throw, to, wolves
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

lone wolf

n. a man who stays to himself. Fred is sort of a lone wolf until he has a few drinks.
See also: lone, wolf


n. a bold and aggressive male. (see also fine wolf.) He sees himself as a lady-killer. The chicks see him as an old-fashioned wolf.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

throw to the wolves, to

To abandon or deliver something or someone to a terrible fate. This term comes from Aesop’s fable about a nurse who threatens to throw her charge to the wolves unless the child behaves better. She never intends to carry out her threat, so the wolf waits in vain for its prey. It is the idea of sacrificing someone that survived in the cliché, as, for example, in Clarissa Cushman’s mystery I Wanted to Murder (1941): “She was his wife. He couldn’t throw her to the wolves.”
See also: throw, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
References in classic literature ?
Akela the Lone Wolf lay by the side of his rock as a sign that the leadership of the Pack was open, and Shere Khan with his following of scrap-fed wolves walked to and fro openly being flattered.
And most of the wolves began to gather round Shere Khan, whose tail was beginning to switch.
Then he stretched out his arms, and yawned in the face of the Council; but he was furious with rage and sorrow, for, wolflike, the wolves had never told him how they hated him.
Mowgli thrust his dead branch into the fire till the twigs lit and crackled, and whirled it above his head among the cowering wolves.
Go!" The fire was burning furiously at the end of the branch, and Mowgli struck right and left round the circle, and the wolves ran howling with the sparks burning their fur.
In a separate study, Roland Kays of the Buffalo Natural History Museum found evidence that coyotes near the Great Lakes in the United States migrated east and bred with grey wolves. These hybrid animals, still considered coyote, have become the top predator in the eastern US, filling the void left by the disappearing eastern wolf, which was hunted out of existence in the United States.
LUNENBURG - Wolves howling at a full moon make for a great movie scene, but wolves do not howl at the moon.
There are few documented cases involving wolves Canis lupus despite their high dispersal potential.
In addition, after making the kill, they proudly display their trophies (the wolves) - even displaying their (wolves) bodies in public places.
Gray Wolves (Canis lupus; hereafter Wolves) and Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos; hereafter Bears) are the only known predators of Bison, and they most often focus on calves and other young animals (Carbyn and Trottier 1988; Larter and others 1994; Smith and others 2000, 2001; MacNulty and others 2001; Varley and Gunther 2002; Wyman 2002).
In 1998, we began reintroducing Mexican wolves into the wild in Arizona and New Mexico, designating them as a "nonessential experimental population" under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act.
"NABEKI" DIDN'T EXPECT everyone to love her when, in September 2009, she founded the website "Howling for Justice" to celebrate the return of gray wolves to the Northern Rocky Mountains and to protest the then-pending wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho.
According to the(http://komonews.com/news/local/wolf-advocates-outraged-over-plan-to-kill-e-wash-wolf-pack) Associated Press (AP), the state killed members of the Wedge pack of wolves for killing livestock in 2012, raising questions regarding the effectiveness of the strategy from conservation groups who say that livestock, not wolves, is the problem.
Overall depredation during the study period resulted in a loss of PKR 433,000 to 26 farmers that raised a rage against the wolf and consequently a retaliatory killing of three wolves was reported; one was gunned down, second was poisoned and the third killed by guard dogs.