There must be a similar phrase in English, meaning to lure the target from protection (like turtle's shell) or hiding, in order to capture or kill it.

My English dictionary gives "draw a snake out of its hole", but Googling suggests it is also used literally, not metaphorically. For example, someone accidentally let loose their pet snake and want to catch it back. So is this the expression that you would use?

I am looking for an expression, the more compact the better.

  • I'd say "Draw him out" (where "him" is understood to be whoever or whatever your intended target is) would be understood without further context by a native speaker, but that might not fit the context you have in mind. What is the context you have in mind? – user867 Oct 28 '13 at 0:32

Pied Piper comes to mind. OED defines this as:

allusively a person who entices people to follow them to some disappointment or misfortune. Also in extended use.

Adams became the pied piper for scores of IRA men ....

If you are looking for a verb I suggest inveigle.

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'I'm waiting for him to take the bait' is the only such metaphor that springs to mind; but no specific animal is involved. 'Softly, softly, catchy monkey!', means taking your time and care and waiting for an opportunity to spring a surprise attack. But I appreciate that neither of these perhaps adequately translate something you have in your own language.

'Putting one's head above the parapet' is another form. It refers to a human, but is used metaphorically and on behalf of oneself. e.g. 'I do not intend to put my head above the parapet by advancing that idea'.

From your name I am thinking you may be Chinese. My wife, whose mother dialects are Hakka and Cantonese did not recognise the turtle metaphor in Chinese.

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  • Thanks a lot for your comment! Had to admit that I made up the turtle metaphore. – Tankman六四 Nov 1 '13 at 12:40

In cards, the verb to finesse means “To play (a card) as a finesse”, where the noun finesse means “A technique which allows one to promote tricks based on a favorable position of one or more cards in the hands of the opponent”. For example, suppose bidder E, holding the king of hearts and having the jack in dummy to lead, has deduced that N holds the queen. So E leads the jack of hearts from dummy to lure out N's queen of hearts, then chops off its head by playing the king.

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  • Very interesting indeed. I'll keep it in my clipboard to use it one day. – Tankman六四 Nov 1 '13 at 12:41

There's always:

  • "Curiosity killed the cat" or
  • "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"

which both imply being lured into getting caught.

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  • 1
    But both miss the point about the required metaphor. – WS2 Oct 26 '13 at 9:36

What about using a phrase with the word, trap?

  • Set a trap

  • Lay a trap

  • Lure [animal/person] into a trap

These are all very common and easily understood idiomatic expressions which might very well fit your needs.

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