To do something that has a risk of going catastrophically wrong.


  • From the obvious risk of tickling a dragon's tail. In physics, it was first used by Richard Feynman to describe the experiments of Louis Slotin at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Climbing so close to an erupting volcano was tickling the dragon's tail.

Submitted on July 10, 2018

Additional definitions for 'tickle the dragon's tail':

tickle the dragon's tailTo annoy an irritable person.
tickle the dragon's tailTo bring two subcritical masses close together in order to find the edge of criticality.
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