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The Idiom Attic - a collection of hundreds of English idioms, each one explained.

The meaning of "the tail wagging the dog"

" The tail wagging the dog "
Meaning:
A small and usually insignificant factor (or person) dominates over one that is normally more powerful and influential.
Example:
Even small countries like Estonia have a veto in European Union voting and can't be over-ruled. I'd call that the tail wagging the dog.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 1870s.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
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