once bitten, twice shy

Cultural Dictionary

Once bitten, twice shy definition


An injury makes a person wary of its cause.

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

once bitten, twice shy

Once hurt, one is doubly cautious in the future, as in He was two days late last time, so she's not hiring him againonce bitten, twice shy. This seemingly old observation, presumably alluding to an animal biting someone, was first recorded in 1894.

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