Funny Phrases: Nip It in the Bud

Funny Phrases: Nip It in the Bud
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Updated on 12 March 2015

The phrase nip it in the bud means to stop something before it gets going. You’ve probably heard it used in this way: Nip that bad habit in the bud before it gets out of control!

What does this phrase actually mean? Nip means to remove by pinching, biting, or cutting with two meeting edges of anything; to clip. A bud is a newly formed leaf or flower that has not yet bloomed. To nip something in the bud means to pinch off a newly formed leaf or flower before it has a chance to grow. When this literal meaning is translated to a figurative sense, it means stopping something before it has a chance to progress further.

People have been saying nip it in the bud as far back as the 1600s, and the phrase is still a popular idiom today. If you want to learn more about idioms and odd phrases, read this post about the hair of the dog.

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