We often use idioms or sayings in English which we’ve used for many years.

However, to new ears – our grandchildren – they may seem strange and odd.

In this series of posts, we are going to look at some common, and some not-so-common idioms that are still used today, but whose meaning may have been lost.

Let sleeping dogs lie
Let sleeping dogs lie

What does it mean?

Let sleeping dogs lie means to mind your own business.

What happens if you were to awaken a big sleeping dog?   He might bite you, right?

So, if you see a dog asleep leave it alone.

However, the meaning has further implications.

We often see people about make mistakes – well, we think they are, anyway.

We want to warn them, but this may be construed as interfering.

If we do make a comment or a suggestion we might find that we become the person at fault!

This would be like getting snapped at by a sleepy dog.

Some examples:

“Karen could see her workmate sending the wrong file, but after he reacted badly last time to having his mistakes pointed out Karen decided to “let sleeping dogs lie.”

“Joyce watched the children pushing each other on the slide, but decided to “let sleeping dogs lie” because they seemed out of control.”

What does “Let sleeping dogs lie” really mean?
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