Posted by Smokey Stover on March 24, 2007
In Reply to: Re: s***ting in the nest? posted by ESC on March 24, 2007
: : Can anyone tell me the definition of and origin of s***ting in the nest?
: "Sh*tting in your own nest" is doing something that can cause you trouble at home. "If you're going to cheat on me, don't do it in my hometown." "Don't get your meat where you get your bread."
I've heard the expression only as "fouling your own nest." Birds aren't the only animals that nest, but they are typical in that no nesting animal would leave droppings in the nest (horribly unsanitary), and the parents of nestlings or other nest-dwelling offpring will quickly remove any faeces dropped by their younglings.
I suppose the figurative uses of this expression are numerous, but I can't think of any good examples at the moment.
Perhaps there's one in the tendency of mafioso bosses to treat their own neighborhood like part of their family, avoiding any kneecapping or strong-arm tactics close to home. They often exhibit some philanthropy in the neighborhood, distributing a little largesse at, say, Christmas-time. This way their neighbors become their defenders. Not a good example, but possibly worth thinking about.