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This line is talked by Richard Vernon, played by Paul Gleason, in the film The Breakfast Club, directed by John Hughes (1985).

You are watching: You mess with the bull you get the horn

Mr. Vernon is the assistant primary at Shermer High School, and that way he gets the honor of looking after ~ the delinquents in Saturday detention. Walk he desire to be over there babysitting a bunch that bratty teenagers? Nope—but some low-ranking administrator has to, right?

When Mr. Vernon strolls into the library in ~ 7:06AM and addresses the five youngsters sitting there, he lays down the rules pretty quickly. No talking. No moving. No sleeping—especially you, Bender. The high institution students are likewise supposed to write a one thousand-word essay that answers the eternal question—"Who am I?" (like Mr. Vernon cares).

The only member the the tiny detention crew who inquiries Mr. Vernon is man Bender, who immediately insults the vice principal by asking if the raided Barry Manilow"s wardrobe. (Hey, us think Barry Manilow in reality dresses sort of cool.) Mr. Vernon responds by offering Bender one more detention next Saturday and then lays this little bit that wisdom on him: "Don"t mess through the bull, young man. You"ll acquire the horns."

Oh man—could Mr. Vernon be any an ext of a pompous jerk in this scene? Sure, Bender backtalks that a little, however the man basically walks right into this room, talks down to this kids, and flaunts what small power he has. That doesn"t care around them at all. In fact, he wants to make sure their work is yes, really miserable. Mr. Vernon could think he"s a powerful and dangerous bull, but Bender isn"t fear to punch him down a couple of pegs—even if it method 2 months" worth of detentions. Wow.

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Where you"ve heard it

"Mess through a bull, you get the horns," is actually a reasonably popular small idiom. It provides sense because, basically, you"re simply saying that if you try to tangle through a danger animal, you can end up getting gored a little. Hey, that never stopped any of those guys in Pamplona, now did it?

Additional significant References

In the Veronica Mars movie, a fresh new Neptune cop is about to spit this heat to Veronica and her father, but Veronica cuts him off: "You mess through the bull—" "You acquire the clichés?" quite one, Veronica.

Pretentious Factor

If you to be to autumn this quote in ~ a dinner party, would you acquire an in-unison "awww" or would everyone role their eyes and also never invite friend back? right here it is, ~ above a range of 1-10.


Using this quote together a major threat is gonna do you look at pretty showy and also ridiculous. You"re no a bull. You"re one assistant vice principal (at best). Therefore let"s take it under a couple of notches, okay?