Definition of cry wolf in English:

cry wolf


  • Call for help when it is not needed, with the effect that one is not believed when one really does need help.

    ‘he accused her of crying wolf’
    • ‘If our weather forecasters cry wolf again, we're just not going to believe them next time are we?’
    • ‘It's like the little boy that cried wolf, but you have to believe that sooner or later it will happen again.’
    • ‘Habitual vilification of governments as being dishonest, lying, or determined to extend their powers improperly are more likely to blind us, on the principle of the boy crying wolf, to genuine abuses when and if they occur.’
    • ‘Environmental scientists must stop crying wolf: ‘There is a crisis emerging in the scientific community.’’
    • ‘If they say something too early then they can be accused of crying wolf and if they wait too long then people ask if they have been asleep.’
    • ‘Whether it is a genuine case of the Prime Minister being paranoid, or a case of his constantly crying wolf to gain cheap political advantage or sympathy, I leave for others to decide.’
    • ‘With these high-profile, periodic press conferences sort of calling every - all hands on deck, that you do run the risk of crying wolf, and I think that's a danger that the administration faces.’
    • ‘And if anyone other than me cares about my car, the catalytic converter light gracing my dashboard was apparently crying wolf and has consequently been disconnected.’
    • ‘The saying ‘If you cry wolf too many times, eventually no-one will believe you’ springs to mind.’
    • ‘The difficulty is trying to spot something big before it becomes a problem but not crying wolf too often.’