enemy

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let (the) perfect be the enemy of (the) good

To allow the demand, desire, or insistence for perfection decrease the chances of obtaining a good or favorable result in the end. (Usually used in the negative as an imperative.) I know you want your research paper to be great, but don't let perfect be the enemy of good, or you won't even finish it in time! As a manager, you have to realize both the potential and the limits of your employees, so be sure not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
See also: enemy, good, let, of, perfect

sworn enemy

A person, group, or organization for whom one holds a particularly intense, deep-seated hatred. Our environmentalist lobby group is heading out to protest against Big Oil, our sworn enemy.
See also: enemy, sworn

enemy combatant

A term, popularized during the post-9/11 War on Terror, applied to a captured fighter who was allowed fewer rights than those laid out in the Geneva Convention. Many of the enemy combatants captured in Afghanistan were taken to be held at special military sites.
See also: enemy

keep your friends close and your enemies closer

Be very aware of your enemies' behavior in order to detect and avoid any malicious actions. A: "Why were you talking to Katie? I thought you hated her." B: "I'm trying to see if she has any dirt on me for the student council debate. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right?"
See also: and, close, enemy, friend, keep

my enemy's enemy is my friend

A phrase highlighting how a common enemy can be a unifying force for otherwise disparate groups or people. I didn't want to work with that organization until I realized that we all wanted to keep the same candidate out of the White House. That's when I realized that my enemy's enemy is my friend.
See also: enemy, friend

no plan survives contact with the enemy

Military plans always need to be changed once they are enacted in real-life military situations. The saying emphasizes the need for flexibility, as opposed to strict adherence to strategy. It is attributed to Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, a 19th-century Prussian field marshal. Men, be ready to make changes on the battlefield—we all know that no plan survives contact with the enemy.
See also: contact, enemy, plan, survive

the enemy of my enemy is my friend

A phrase highlighting how a common enemy can be a unifying force for otherwise disparate groups or people. I didn't want to work with that organization until I realized that we all wanted to keep the same candidate out of office. That's when I realized that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
See also: enemy, friend, of

be (one's) own worst enemy

To do things that complicate one's life and/or keep one from success; to be self-destructive or self-sabotaging. Of course Tommy started skipping school again—he's his own worst enemy. She always sabotages a relationship when it's going really well because she's her own worst enemy.
See also: enemy, own, worst

best is the enemy of (the) good

To allow the demand, desire, or insistence for perfection decreases the chances of obtaining a good or favorable result in the end. I know you want your research paper to be great, but remember that best is the enemy of good. I mean, you'll fail if you don't even finish it in time! As a manager, you have to realize both the potential and the limits of your employees. Keep in mind that best is the enemy of the good.
See also: enemy, good, of

best is the enemy of the good

Prov. If you are too ambitious and try to make something better than you are capable of, you may ruin it. Bob: After I revise it a few more times, my novel will be the best ever written. Alan: I don't think you should revise it any more. Remember, the best is the enemy of the good. In fundraising as in other areas, the best is the enemy of the good. If you ask someone for a larger contribution than he can possibly give, he may give you nothing at all.
See also: enemy, good, of

The good is the enemy of the best.

Prov. Instead of making things the best that they can, people often settle for making them merely good. Mother: Aren't you going to rewrite your paper? Child: Why? It's good enough. Mother: The good is the enemy of the best.
See also: enemy, good, of

I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

 and I wouldn't wish that on a dog.
Fig. I would not wish that to happen to even the worst or lowliest person. A skunk sprayed him! I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. What a hideous disease! I wouldn't wish that on a dog.
See also: enemy, on, wish, worst

*one's own worst enemy

Fig. consistently causing oneself to fail; more harmful to oneself than other people are. (*Typically: be ~; become ~.) Ellen: My boss is my enemy. She never says anything good about me. Jane: Ellen, you're your own worst enemy. If you did your job responsibly, your boss would be nicer.
See also: enemy, own, worst

your own worst enemy

doing things yourself that prevent you from being liked or successful As a young player, Michael was his own worst enemy, arguing with the coach and other players and generally being unpleasant.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the form its own worst enemy, referring to something: The company has made a number of bad decisions that have made it its own worst enemy.
See also: enemy, own, worst

With friends like that, who needs enemies?

  (humorous)
something that you say when someone you thought was your friend treats you in an unpleasant way He told my girlfriend I was boring. With friends like that, who needs enemies!
See also: friend, like, needs, who

be your own worst enemy

if you are your own worst enemy, you do or believe things that prevent you from becoming successful Unless he learns to be more confident, he'll never get a decent job. He's his own worst enemy.
See also: enemy, own, worst

public enemy number one

someone or something that many people do not like or approve of Inflation has been public enemy number one for this government.
See also: enemy, number, one, public

I/You wouldn't wish something on my/your worst enemy.

something that you say in order to emphasize that something is extremely unpleasant The effects of this disease are horrible. You wouldn't wish them on your worst enemy.
See also: enemy, on, wish, worst
References in periodicals archive ?
He underlined that any attack against Iran will cost dearly and will inflict heavy losses on the enemies.
The new "Volume" trailer shows off exactly that, with the protagonist hiding in various corners to remain unnoticed by the brutish-looking enemies that haunt the almost dreamlike environments.
He explained that he wanted to know who were our historical enemies, those who kill us and whom we kill.
Talking to reporter here in Parliament House, the minister said in the recent past, he had hinted at possible attempt by the enemies to sabotage the peace treaty in Swat.
Shortly after receiving the enemy traffic, our eastern recon and surveillance (R&S) patrol supporting the deception effort made contact with five heavily armed enemies in a wash paralleling the simulated vehicle breakdown site.
Therefore, wise leaders always seek means to identify who their enemies are and who they might be in the future.
Should we retreat from the battlefield in Iraq -- which is what anything short of legitimate victory would be -- America will have established a 60-year record of failing to prevail against strategically significant enemies.
Now we are immersed in asymmetrical warfare, where states face non-state enemies who are palpably post-modern: trans-national, decentralized, more closely resembling a fog or that mythic beast with multiple and multiplying heads, the hydra, than the traditional more or less well-defined and (at least potentially) containable national enemy.
After Scott La Rock was gunned down on a Bronx street, KRS-1 posed for Boogie Down Productions' second album cover alone, looking from behind a window curtain for enemies below, gripping an Uzi semi-automatic as Malcolm X had his rifle two decades before.
Although both Machiavelli and the Mafia counsel keeping your enemies close, veteran bureaucrats know better.
And yet in his new work, it is no longer clear if mimicry serves to protect the soldiers from enemies or if it expresses an impulse to become inseparable from the environment and disappear into it.
With few exceptions, reporters and commentators interpreted the rulings as unwavering affirmations of the judicial branch's authority in the face of an overreaching executive intent on detaining, indefinitely and incommunicado, citizens and noncitizens designated as enemies in the war on terror.
The context in Isa 50:4-9, however, makes it more likely that the enemies assaulting the Servant consist of Jews who are rebelling against the teaching that the Servant embodies.