One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An undertaking or remark seen as unwise because it invites trouble or could prove difficult to live up to.‘making objectives explicit is to give a hostage to fortune’
- ‘In essence, the manifesto which evolved during the 1990s was a pragmatic statement of radical intent which went out of its way to remove the more obvious hostages to fortune which were never going to be implemented anyway.’
- ‘Promises made in the heat of an election campaign all too often create hostages to fortune.’
- ‘There's no point in giving hostages to fortune, is there?’
- ‘The coalition which will form the new government will almost certainly have to give a number of hostages to fortune if it is to get there.’
- ‘This brave statement may yet prove to be a hostage to fortune.’
- ‘Nobody who has been an MP for 12 years and a front-bencher for eight can be unaware of the risks involved in handing hostages to fortune.’
- ‘There is no point in producing a blog if it is not honest and open but politicians are wary beasts because we are all hostages to fortune and we don't want to give our opponents ammunition.’
- ‘These are just early signs and it would be giving hostages to fortune to suggest that suddenly everything is back fully on track in terms of global growth.’
- ‘They might pass something that proves an electoral liability or makes a minister a hostage to fortune.’
- ‘Statues, like wives and children, are hostages to fortune; they inspire superstitious dread while their originals are in power, and an equally superstitious hatred when they lose the aura of power.’
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