leave well enough alone

Idioms & Phrases

leave well enough alone

Also, let well enough alone. Do not try to change something lest you make it worse. For example, This recipe has turned out fine in the past, so leave well enough alone. The idea behind this expression dates from ancient Greek times, specifically Aesop's fable about a fox who refused a hedgehog's offer to take out its ticks lest, by removing those that are full, other hungry ones will replace them. Put as let well alone from the early 1700s, it was first recorded as let well enough alone in 1827. Also see let sleeping dogs lie.

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