fools rush in where angels fear to tread

Cultural Dictionary

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread definition


Foolish people are often reckless, attempting feats that the wise avoid. This saying is from “An Essay on Criticism,” by Alexander Pope.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

fools rush in where angels fear to tread

Ignorant or inexperienced individuals get involved in situations that wiser persons would avoid, as in I've never heard this symphony and here I am conducting itoh well, fools rush in where angels fear to tread, or He tried to mediate their unending argumentfools rush in. This expression, so well known it is sometimes shortened as in the second example, is a quotation from Alexander Pope's Essay on Criticism (1709): "No place so sacred from such fops is barr'd ... Nay, fly to altars; there they'll talk you dead; For fools rush in where angels fear to tread."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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