wolf in sheep's clothing


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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Words nearby wolf in sheep's clothing

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.

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.