to cry wolf

To cry wolf means to raise a false alarm and is a phrase that originated from lines from the old fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Someone crying wolf is when someone raises an alarm, such as a wolf howling, but instead of being for warning or to let people know of some sort of danger, it is actually a false alarm. The term has long since been used as a way to explain someone raising a false alarm, whether intentional or not.