The fox in the henhouse

“Like a fox guarding the henhouse” or “Don’t let the fox guard the henhouse” is an idiom that is used to point out to somebody that his/her action invite disaster.

Hungry fox looking for a henhouse, pic: © Allegretto | Dreamstime.com

If you assign somebody a duty and doing so put that person into a position where he or she then can exploit the situation for his own benefit then you let the fox guard the henhouse.  What is more: not only can that person exploit the situation, he/she likely will – like the fox who can’t help himself looking at all those yummy chickens.

Here is an example of a fox-guarding-the-henhouse situation:

“You put your spendthrift brother in charge of managing your inheritance and gave him power of attorney for your account?  That is letting the fox guard the henhouse!”

Here is an example of a headline using the expression: “Did Obama’s Monsanto Choice Put the Fox in Charge of the Hen-House”

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