Camel's nose

Posted by Bob on July 28, 2003

In Reply to: Camel's nose posted by S. on July 28, 2003

: Any idea what the meaning and origin of the phrase "the camel's nose under the tent" are?

: Thanks for any information.
Can't help with origin, but the meaning is based on the fanciful idea that a camel will stick his nose into your tent, and if you do nothing about it, he'll get his whole head in, then his neck, and, eventually be destructively blundering around in a space where he doesn't belong. The moral of the story is to prevent damage by taking action early. (A stitch in time, as it were.) If your nosy neighbor comes to your house without invitatiion, and you say nothing, pretty soon the nieghbor will be barging in without knocking (as they do on sitcoms.) Similar to warnings about "the slippery slope."

See also: the meaning and origin of the proverb 'a stitch in time saves nine'.