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avoid like the plague




From St Jerome: Avoid, as you would the plague, a clergyman who is also a man of business.



avoid like the plague (third-person singular simple present avoids like the plague, present participle avoiding like the plague, simple past and past participle avoided like the plague)

  1. (simile, idiomatic) To evade or shun, if at all possible.
    • 1872, “A ramble in Peru”, in The Ladies' Repository, volume 32, page 263:
      Hard work is a thing they hate, and carefully avoid like the plague.
    • 1925, Musical News and Herald, page 389:
      Without posing as experts, we believe that the first essential to the efficient teacher of the young is a sense of direction, and that the danger to avoid like the plague is the patronage of the child. In both these respects, musicians in charge of orchestral concerts for children in this country fail miserably.
    • 1996, Elizabeth Smither, The Journal Box, page 4:
      A lot of things I'd like to talk about and I'm avoiding like the plague.
    Cliché should be avoided like the plague.
    I’m one of those people who avoids confrontations like the plague.