Let sleeping dogs lie

Discover the wise adage 'let sleeping dogs lie' and its use in daily language.

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Let sleeping dogs lie

Have you ever heard someone say “let sleeping dogs lie” and wondered what snoozing pups have to do with avoiding trouble? Well, dive in with us as we explore this idiom that’s as wise as it is old!

What does “Let sleeping dogs lie” mean?

When we say “let sleeping dogs lie,” we mean it’s better not to disturb a situation or restart an argument that has already been resolved. It’s like saying, “If things are calm, keep it that way!” So, next time there’s a disagreement that’s been settled, or a problem that’s no longer causing trouble, remember this handy phrase.

Where does “Let sleeping dogs lie” come from?

This old saying has been around for centuries! It first appeared in English in Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem “Troilus and Criseyde,” written in 1374. Chaucer wrote, “It is nought good a sleping hound to wake,” which basically means the same thing. The French were using a similar phrase even earlier in the 14th century: “Ne reveillez pas le chien qui dort,” which translates to “Do not wake the dog that sleeps.” Imagine how a grumpy, woken dog might snap or growl—it’s easy to see why this advice stuck!

How to use “Let sleeping dogs lie”

Ready to use this expression in your everyday chat? Here are some examples to try out with your young ones:

  • “If your friend stopped talking about that old argument, let sleeping dogs lie."
  • "I was going to ask why the vase was broken, but everyone seemed so happy, I decided to let sleeping dogs lie."
  • "Mom, I know you were upset about the spilled paint, but now that it’s cleaned up, let’s let sleeping dogs lie."
  • "When the soccer game got cancelled and everyone was playing happily, their coach chose to let sleeping dogs lie.”

Other ways to say “Don’t stir trouble”

If you’re looking for more ways to say “it’s better not to cause a disturbance,” here are a few:

Don’t rock the boat — Keep things steady and calm, don’t cause a wave!

Leave well enough alone — If everything is okay now, don’t mess with it.

Don’t poke the bear — Just like you wouldn’t poke a sleeping bear, don’t stir up trouble!

Fun ways to practice “Let sleeping dogs lie”

Make learning and practicing this ruff idiom a blast! Here are some fun ideas:

During a family board game, if an old dispute about the rules comes up, use the idiom to remind everyone to keep the peace. Or try making a storybook with your child where characters learn the hard way why it’s important to let sleeping dogs lie.

For something a bit simpler, try drawing pictures of literal sleeping dogs with thought bubbles containing the idiom, making a cute and clear connection between the visual and the saying.

And there you have it!

”Let sleeping dogs lie” is not just about undisturbed dogs—it’s a peaceful approach to life that can help keep our little learners out of unnecessary trouble. Happy learning, and remember—sometimes it’s best to just let things be!