a viper in your bosom

a viper in your bosom

a person you have helped but who behaves treacherously towards you.

The phrase comes from one of Aesop's fables in which a viper reared in a person's bosom eventually bites its nurturer. The idea is also found in Latin (in sinu viperam habere) and the expression appears in various forms in English from the late 16th century.

Related Idioms and Phrases :

a Potemkin village

a sham or unreal thing

Count Potemkin (1739-91), a favourite of Empress Catherine II of Russia, reputedly ordered a number of fake villages to be built for the empress's tour of the Crimea in 1787.

the villain of the piece

the main culprit

1928 - P. G. Wodehouse - Money for Nothing - I’m sure you’re on the right track. This bird Twist is the villain of the piece.

make a Virginia fence

walk crookedly because you are drunk – US

A Virginia fence is a fence made of split rails or poles joined in a zigzag pattern with their ends crossing.

make a virtue of necessity

derive some credit or benefit from an unwelcome obligation.

This is a concept found in Latin in the writings of St Jerome …. facis de necessitate virtutem….you make a virtue of necessity. It passed into Old French (faire de necessite vertu) and was apparently first used in English around 1374 by Chaucer in Troilus and Criseyde.

1997 - Spectator - How important it is for humanity always to make a virtue out of necessity.

visiting fireman

a visitor to an organization given especially cordial treatment on account of their importance – US

still small voice

the voice of your conscience

In 1 Kings 19 : 12, the voice of God is described as a still small voice.

a voice in the wilderness

an unheeded advocate of reform

The phrase was originally used with reference to the words of John the Baptist who proclaimed the coming of the Messiah : I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness (John 1 : 23).

split the vote

vote for candidates of more than one party – US

(of a candidate or minority party) attract votes from another candidate or party with the result that both are defeated by a third - British

vote with your feet

indicate an opinion by being present or absent.

1982- Christian Order - Uncounted thousands have voted with their feet i.e., have left the Church.

a viper in your bosom :

a viper in your bosom To HOME PAGE

Idioms Index – Previous Page