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wolf in sheep's clothing

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Figuratively, anyone who disguises a ruthless nature through an outward show of innocence. Jesus taught his followers to “beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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Other Idioms and Phrases with wolf in sheep's clothing

wolf in sheep's clothing

An enemy disguised as a friend, as in Dan was a wolf in sheep's clothing, pretending to help but all the while spying for our competitors. This term comes from the ancient fable about a wolf that dresses up in the skin of a sheep and sneaks up on a flock. This fable has given rise to a rich history of allusions as in the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus speaks of false prophets in sheep's clothing, “but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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