Stack Exchange Network
Stack Exchange network consists of 181 Q&A communities including
Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.
Visit Stack Exchange
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.
Sign up to join this community
Anybody can ask a question
The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
7 years, 1 month ago
Can someone suggest an idiom which means - taking advantage of something, which gave you the right to take advantage in the first place?
I know this isn't clear, but it's something like - Shooting a person in the head when it was that person who taught you how to use a gun. Or like misusing freedom of speech to defame your own country when its the country who has given you the right to free speech in the first place!
6,896 1 1 gold badge 32 32 silver badges 56 56 bronze badges
Feb 22, 2016 at 16:22
417 1 1 gold badge 8 8 silver badges 15 15 bronze badges
bite the hand that feeds you
to treat someone badly who has helped you in some way, often someone who has provided you with money
To repay generosity or kindness with ingratitude and injury
[The Free Dictionary]
Feb 22, 2016 at 16:28
13.4k 13 13 gold badges 71 71 silver badges 107 107 bronze badges
The Bible has this expression.
English Standard Version
returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.
International Standard Version
The person who
repays good with evil will never see evil leave his
Feb 22, 2016 at 16:47
foul one's own nest
Fig. to harm one's own interests; to bring disadvantage upon oneself. (Alludes to a bird excreting into its own nest.) FOD
Sort of in the same vein but a lot more vulgar,
crap/shit in one's own nest/ backyard/where one eats/sleeps Oxford Reference
Feb 22, 2016 at 17:07
42.8k 25 25 gold badges 128 128 silver badges 238 238 bronze badges
From the "teacher's" point of view, consider the following idioms:
Give [sb] the stick to beat you with,
Make a rod for your own back,
Dig your own grave,
Cherish a snake in your bosom.
From the "ingrate's" point of view:
bite the hand that feeds you, from @Rathony,
returns evil for good, and, applicable in some circumstances, a variant of @xxx(deleted answer) "pass the buck",
pass the hot potato.
Feb 22, 2016 at 16:57
11.8k 1 1 gold badge 22 22 silver badges 42 42 bronze badges
I think that what you are describing is generally referred to as a
: boomerang effect
In social psychology, the boomerang effect refers to the unintended consequences of an attempt to persuade resulting in the adoption of an opposing position instead.
Feb 22, 2016 at 16:29
give somebody an inch and they'll take a yard is said about someone who has been given a small amount of power or freedom to do something, and then has tried to get a lot more.
May 11, 2016 at 14:50
14.8k 12 12 gold badges 86 86 silver badges 106 106 bronze badges
Highly active question
. Earn 10 reputation (not counting the
) in order to answer this question. The reputation requirement helps protect this question from spam and non-answer activity.
By clicking “Accept all cookies”, you agree Stack Exchange can store cookies on your device and disclose information in accordance with our
Accept all cookies
Necessary cookies only