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Let sleeping dogs lie.

Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) It’s best not to ignore the issue.

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

b) It’s best to ignore the issue.

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

Let sleeping dogs lie’ means that it is probably best to leave things as they are and not to talk about them when people have forgotten about them. It is sometimes best to ignore a problem because trying to deal with it could cause an even more difficult situation.

French translation

il ne faut pas réveiller le chat qui dort / pas la peine de revenir sur un sujet qui fâche

How NOT to translate : *il faut laisser mentir les chiens qui dorment ...................................................

Examples in context

‘Franco exhumation plan brings unresolved tensions to surface. Reburial of Spanish dictator risks inflaming debate rather than closing dark chapter. (…) but, he said, he had the “almost shameful reaction” that although reburying Franco was absolutely what should have happened…might it not have been better to let sleeping dogs lie ?’

Financial Times, Oct. 4, 2019

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‘Dublin Wants to Reclaim James Joyce’s Body Before the Centenary of ‘Ulysses’ Critics question whether the author, who died in Zurich after a 30-year exile, ever wanted to return home, even in death

Speaking with Irish radio station Newstalk, McCartan—as quoted by the Guardian—says, “There may be people who are not fans of this and want to let sleeping dogs lie.”

Smithsonian, Oct. 21, 2019

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Everyday usage

If I were you, I’d let sleeping dogs lie. You could make things worse by mentioning that fight again.

Alex wanted to bring up his concerns but he decided instead to let sleeping dogs lie

c) It’s too late to ignore the issue.

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.


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