a burnt child dreads the fire

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a burnt child dreads the fire

Someone who has experienced some kind of negative situation or consequence will try to avoid making the same mistake or experiencing the same situation again. Joseph refuses to invest any money after losing his retirement fund during the stock market crash; a burnt child dreads the fire.
See also: burnt, child, fire

A burnt child dreads the fire.

Prov. If something has hurt you once, you avoid it after that. (See also .) Jill: Let's go ride the roller coaster! Jane: No, thanks. I got sick on one of those once, and a burnt child dreads the fire. Ever since Cynthia rebuffed me so rudely, I've avoided asking her for anything; a burnt child dreads the fire.
See also: burnt, child, fire
References in classic literature ?
Methought -- oh, Hester, what a thought is that, and how terrible to dread it
A dream of their coming in with Dora; of the pew-opener arranging us, like a drill-sergeant, before the altar rails; of my wondering, even then, why pew-openers must always be the most disagreeable females procurable, and whether there is any religious dread of a disastrous infection of good-humour which renders it indispensable to set those vessels of vinegar upon the road to Heaven.
What she vaguely dreads for the lost man whom she loves is mingled in her mind with what she is constantly reading, of trials, dangers, and escapes in the Arctic seas.
It is the process of administering the poison that he dreads.
She dreads poverty even more than I do, but she begged him to take it if it would help him.
The private characteristics of the several clerks often crop out in their method of settling themselves at their desks,--the chilly one has a wooden footstool under his feet; the man with a bilious temperament has a metal mat; the lymphatic being who dreads draughts constructs a fortification of boxes on a screen.
You drew back and came forward with your eyes upon my book there, like the mouse who sniffs the cheese and yet dreads the trap.
But I have more influence than any body else over Blanche and I can prevent the collision between them which Sir Patrick dreads.
She regrets leaving the tranquil retirement of this remote sea-side place--she dreads change.
I cannot do him any good; he will neither be enlightened, nor roused, nor comforted by anything I say; and yet he clings to me with unrelenting pertinacity - with a kind of childish desperation, as if I could save him from the fate he dreads.
It interested him enormously, and he threw himself into it, less as a magistrate eager to know the truth, than as an amateur of dramatic embroglios, tending wholly to mystery and intrigue, who dreads nothing so much as the explanatory final act.
He is not satisfied with saying to the enemies he dreads, "Kill me-- and you will be no nearer to the Diamond than you are now; it is where you can't get at it--in the guarded strong-room of a bank.
One dreads their contact for oneself, and still more for those one cares for, so clear it is that they are born to suffer and to make others suffer, too.
When he is in the yard, he dreads to re-enter the cell.
When Rowena, the dearest thing his heart knew, the idol of his secret worship, invited him in, the "nigger" in him made an embarrassed excuse and was afraid to enter and sit with the dread white folks on equal terms.