Meaning 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’
    • ‘The saying ‘If you cry wolf too many times, eventually no-one will believe you’ springs to mind.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Environmental scientists must stop crying wolf: ‘There is a crisis emerging in the scientific community.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The difficulty is trying to spot something big before it becomes a problem but not crying wolf too often.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 allusion to the fable of the shepherd boy who deluded people with false cries of ‘Wolf!’.