a warning shot across the bows
a statement or gesture intended to frighten someone into changing their course of action.
Literally, a shot fired in front of the bows of a ship is one which is not intended to hit it but to make it stop or alter course.
Related Idioms and Phrases :
bow and scrape
behave in an obsequious way to someone in authority.
bow down in the house of Rimmon
pay lip service to a principle.
sacrifice your principles for the sake of conformity.
Rimmon was a god worshipped in ancient Damascus….the source of this phrase is Naaman's request in 2 Kings 5 : 18 when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon - The Lord pardon thy servant in this thing.
have a second string to your bow
have an alternative resource that you can make use of if the first one fails – British
This is a metaphor from archery. Related expressions include have several strings to your bow and add another string to your bow. Second string can also be used on its own to mean simply an alternative resource or course of action.
make your bow
make your first formal appearance in a particular role.
take a bow
(of an actor or entertainer) acknowledge applause after a performance
used to tell someone that they should feel themselves worthy of applause.
a warning shot across the bows :
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