a shot across the bows
one thus directed so as to warn a ship off rather than damage it (often ).
[Chambers Dictionary & Thesaurus]
a (warning) shot across the bows
a statement or gesture
intended to frighten someone
into changing their course of
action: supporters are firing a
warning shot across the
[New Oxford Dictionary of English]
fire a (warning) shot across sb's bow(s)
to do something in order to warn someone that you will take strong action if they do not change their behaviour
Airline staff have fired a warning shot across the company's bows by threatening to strike if higher pay increases are not offered.http://www.dictionary.cambridge.org/define.as...