a burnt child dreads the fire


a burnt child dreads the fire


  • everyone avoids repeating a hurting experience again in life
  • when you are once beaten by someone or something, you always avoid getting intact with that thing again
  • a person becomes more cautious when he or she gets hurt with something and secure him for the next time

Example Sentences

  1. After his first accident, Sam is quite careful in driving now because a burnt child dreads a fire.
  2. I always prefer to keep a fire extinguisher at home once I have seen a fire caught in my office as a burnt child dreads the fire.
  3. He was wary of new marriage after his divorce because a burnt child dreads the fire.
  4. He never considered my advice to drive slowly, unless the accident happened with him. Someone has said the truth a burnt child dreads the fire.
  5. A dog tried to bite me, and then I was so scared. A burnt child dreads the fire so I hate dogs now.


The idiom originated back in early 1320 and is much similar to many other idioms originated from France. The story behind this idiom is that if once you have experienced any difficulty and loss in life, you always try to avoid that situation again in life. Some French idioms with the same meaning are, ‘a scalded dog fears cold water‘.

If you know something about the origin of this phrase, kindly share in comments below.

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In India we say a similar idiom ‘A person who has burnt his lips because of hot milk, cools ice cream before eating’ which means if some thing bad has happened to you sometime in your life than you take care of everything related to that bad thing even it is not necessary.

‒ Aditya December 11, 2018

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