Cry Wolf (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Cry Wolf"?

The term "cry wolf" means to raise a false alarm.
Cry Wolf (Origin)
The idiom "to cry wolf" originates from "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," which is one of Aesop's Fables. (NB: Aesop was a Greek storyteller credited with a number of fables, which are now known as Aesop's Fables. He lived 620-564 BC.)

The fable is about a young shepherd, who repeatedly called the folk of his village to tell them that a wolf was attacking his sheep. The young shepherd found this amusing. However, when a real wolf came, no one believed his cries, and sheep were attacked. The moral of the fable is that no one believes liars, even when they are telling the truth.

Example of Use:

  • Why did no one help me? You cry wolf too often. You never need help when you ask for it.
  • The police did not rush to the scene because the occupants had cried wolf on several occasions that week.
  • The end is nigh, is it? Even if it were, no one would believe you. You've been crying wolf for years.
  • Do not cry wolf! If you call for help, we will all deploy immediately.

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See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs

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