let sleeping dogs lie

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)

PronunciationEdit

  • (file)

VerbEdit

let sleeping dogs lie (third-person singular simple present lets sleeping dogs lie, present participle letting sleeping dogs lie, simple past and past participle let sleeping dogs lie)

  1. (idiomatic) To leave things as they are; especially, to avoid restarting or rekindling an old argument; to leave disagreements in the past.
    • 1868 August 29, “Sleeping Dogs”, in The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science, and Art, volume 26, number 670, page 287:
      But, leaving novelists alone, on the whole we find in real life that if speech is silvern, silence is essentially golden, and that more harm is done by saying too much than by saying too little; above all, that infinite mischief arises by not letting sleeping dogs lie.
    • 2016, Helene Becker, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, Orca Book Publishers, →ISBN, page 217:
      Sometimes you just had to let stuff go. Endlessly rehashing old hurts just made things worse. It was far better, I'd learned, to let sleeping dogs lie.
    • 2019, Kate Atkinson, Big Sky, page 261:
      Crystal might have said that those perfect lips were zipped, but the kidnappers had no way of knowing that. Should he let sleeping dogs lie?
    Eventually, they decided it would be best to let sleeping dogs lie and not discuss the matter any further.

Usage notesEdit

TranslationsEdit

See alsoEdit