nip in the bud

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  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈnɪp.ɪn.ðəˈbʌd/
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nip in the bud (third-person singular simple present nips in the bud, present participle nipping in the bud, simple past and past participle nipped in the bud)

  1. To remove a bud [from a plant] to prevent flower and fruit from forming.
  2. (idiomatic) To stop something at an early stage.
    If you see a bad habit begin to develop, try to nip it in the bud so that it does not become ingrained.
    • 1606, Francis Beaumont; John Fletcher, “act III, scene I”, in The Woman Hater, published 1718:
      Ori. I do confeſs I'm too eaſie, too much Woman, / Not coy enough to take Affection, / Yet I can frown and nip a Paſſion, / Even in the Bud: I can ſay / Men pleaſe their preſent Heats; then pleaſe to leave Us.
    • 2020 February 21, Agence France-Presse, “Germany shooting: chants of 'Nazis out' at vigils after gunman kills nine”, in The Guardian[1]:
      “I couldn’t be any more upset,” said Inge Bank, 82, who lives near the bar. “We have to nip it in the bud if the Nazi party is coming back.
    • 2020 July 1, Christian Wolmar, “Jumping on the slavery bandwagon... but the facts don't stack up”, in Rail, page 66:
      These myths need to be nipped in the bud before they become conventional wisdom.


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