change horses in midstream

change horses in midstream

1. To choose a new leader during a period of upheaval or uncertainty. The prime minister has been at the helm throughout the crisis. I just don't think we should change horses in midstream.
2. To make major changes to a situation or course of action that is already underway. We're about to close on the house, and my husband suddenly wants to change horses in midstream and look at another property!
See also: change, horse, midstream

change horses in midstream

 and change horses in the middle of the stream
Fig. to make major changes in an activity that has already begun; to choose someone or something else after it is too late. (Alludes to someone trying to move from one horse to another while crossing a stream.) I'm already baking a cherry pie. I can't bake an apple pie. It's too late to change horses in the middle of the stream. The house is half-built. It's too late to hire a different architect. You can't change horses in midstream. Jane: I've written a rough draft of my research paper, but the topic doesn't interest me as much as I thought. Maybe I ought to pick a different one. Jill: Don't change horses in midstream.
See also: change, horse, midstream

change horses in midstream

or

switch horses in midstream

If someone changes horses in midstream or switches horses in midstream, they stop using one method or thing and start using another one, or they stop supporting one person and start supporting someone else. I think we were very wise not to change horses in midstream. Note: You can also just say that someone changes horses or switches horses. Andersson is angered at the way Taylor initially supported the deal, only to switch horses later and back the opposing bid. Note: These expressions are often used to advise someone against doing one of these things. Note: The American President Abraham Lincoln used this expression in 1864, `I am reminded of the story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion that it was best not to swap horses when crossing streams.'
See also: change, horse, midstream

change/swap horses in midˈstream

change to a different or new activity while you are in the middle of something else; change from supporting one person or thing to another: ‘I don’t believe in changing horses in midstream,’ he said. ‘Give this policy a chance before you think of changing it.’
See also: change, horse, midstream, swap
References in periodicals archive ?
There's no way that we can change horses in midstream at this stage in the program," Everitt insists.