nip in the bud


nip something in the bud


  • check something thoroughly.
  • stop something in its early stages of development so it does not get worse.
  • stop something right there before it gains momentum.
  • cut short
  • cut off
  • abort
  • to suppress a behavior or idea.

Examples in Sentences

  1. The army arrested all the leaders and successfully nipped the rebellion in the bud.
  2. Doctors can nip any serious illness in the bud if they detect it early enough.
  3. Bad habits in children must be nipped in the bud.
  4. The local council declined to offer a music license, nipping the idea in the bud.
  5. John had incipient school problems, but they were nipped in the bud.
  6. Someone had already made that decision, but we nipped it in the bud because of budget constraints.
  7. Beth continually steered the conversation toward environmental concerns. However, after showing her our most recent data, we nipped that in the bud.
  8. The scheme was to give every pensioner a free travel pass. Yet, the government nipped it in the bud, saying it was too expensive.
  9. We must nip the money problems in the bud to avoid getting into real trouble.
  10. Inflation will worsen if the government fails to do anything to nip it in the bud.
  11. The economy is improving. However, renewed Fed tightening might nip the recovery in the bud.


The idiom “nip something in the bud” alludes to de-budding a plant. The phrase’s earlier version was “nip in the bloom.” It is cited in a picaresque romance written by Henry Chettle in 1595: The current version of the phrase first appeared in 1607, in a comedy of manners called The Hungry Courtier or The Woman Hater by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher.

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