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nip it in the bud

This page is about the idiom nip it in the bud


If you nip something in the bud, you stop a problem from becoming serious by dealing with it as soon as you notice it.

For example

  • Alan has a serious weight problem. Now he wishes he'd nipped it in the bud by eating less and exercising more when he was first starting to put on weight.

  • I was starting to drink too much alcohol, so I nipped it in the bud and stopped drinking altogether before it became a serious problem.

Origin: This is a metaphorical idiom based on the fact that if you want to stop a plant from growing bigger, you can cut off the new leaf buds or flower buds, or "nip the buds".

Quick Quiz

Jules and Clive were starting to have problems in their marriage, so they decided to nip the problem in the bud and

a. get a divorce

b. get some counselling

c. pretend it wasn't happening
a) get a divorce b) get some counselling c) pretend it wasn't happening
nip it in the bud

See Idiom of the Day today

Contributor: Matt Errey