One might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb
This page is about the saying "One might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb"
If you are going to be killed for stealing a lamb, then why not steal a sheep (which is bigger and more valuable)? In general, it means that if you are going to get the same punishment, you may as well commit the greater offence.
be hanged (verb) = be killed by having a rope placed around one's neck and being allowed to drop (a form of execution) | sheep (noun) = animal that gives us wool and meat | lamb (noun) = baby sheep | Also seen as: "One might as well be hung for a sheep as (for) a lamb" and (originally) "As well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb."
Origin: Under English law before the 1820s people were hanged for stealing anything worth more than a shilling. This included lambs and sheep. So why steal a lamb when you could steal a more valuable sheep and get the same punishment (death)?
If "one might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb", then the canny sheep stealer will prefer to steal
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Contributor: Josef Essberger