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

Etymology:

  • 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.
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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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    "tickle the dragon's tail." Phrases.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 May 2024. <https://www.phrases.com/phrase/tickle-the-dragons-tail_26704>.

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