stable

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Related to stables: staples

close the stable door after the horse has bolted

To try to prevent or rectify a problem after the damage has already been done. It isn't worth replacing the oil filter on the engine now—you can't close the stable door after the horse has bolted.
See also: after, bolt, close, door, horse, stable

lock the stable door after the horse has bolted

To try to prevent or rectify a problem after the damage has already been done. My father quit smoking after he was diagnosed with lung cancer, but I'm afraid he's locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.
See also: after, bolt, door, horse, lock, stable

cleanse the Augean stables

To rid a place or entity of an accumulation of something (often corruption). In Greek mythology, Hercules was tasked with cleansing the Augean stables—which had not been cleaned in 30 years. The town council is so full of corruption that I'm skeptical that any new member can cleanse the Augean stables.
See also: stable

Shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.

 and Lock the stable door after the horse is stolen.
Prov. To try to prevent something that has already happened; to act too late. When Ray heard that the bank had failed, he tried to withdraw his money, but there was no money to withdraw. He was shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted. Jenny has stopped smoking since the doctor told her that her lungs were in bad shape, but I'm afraid she's locking the stable door after the horse is stolen.
See also: after, bolt, door, horse, shut, stable

closing/shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted

trying to stop something bad happening when it has already happened and the situation cannot be changed Improving security after a major theft would seem to be a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

lock the barn door after the horse has bolted

Also, lock the stable door after the horse is stolen. Take precautions after damage has occurred. For example, After the burglary they installed an alarm system, but it's locking the barn door, or Deciding to negotiate now after they've been fired-that's a matter of locking the stable door after the horse is stolen . These expressions of action that is useless because it comes too late have long been proverbs in many languages and first appeared in English in the mid-1300s.
See also: after, barn, bolt, door, horse, lock
References in classic literature ?
There was not another mount in the stable for himself and his servant besides Meg and Rattler.
The cap'n's been ridin' the devil's own pace," said Dalton the coachman, whose person stood out in high relief as he smoked his pipe against the stable wall, when John brought up Rattler.
She dressed herself hastily, called the maid, and set off for the stables.
About a quarter of a mile from the stables John Straker's overcoat was flapping from a furze-bush.
On being arrested he volunteered that statement that he had come down to Dartmoor in the hope of getting some information about the King's Pyland horses, and also about Desborough, the second favorite, which was in charge of Silas Brown at the Mapleton stables.
Begin with the men-servants, from the butler at the top to the stable boy at the bottom.
She directed him to do just as he had done before, with only this difference, that instead of going to the stable which had been the ruin of his hopes, he was to enter right into the castle itself, and to glide as fast as he could down the passages till he came to a room filled with perfume, where he would find a beautiful maiden asleep on a bed.
But be careful not to return to the stable or to the bedroom; they have proved too fatal to you.
Gretel, however, ran like lightning to Hansel, opened his little stable, and cried: 'Hansel, we are saved
shouted his master just then, as he came into the stable.
When he got up, he was lame and could hardly limp as far as the stable.
Then, turning to the post-boys, she asked them, "Why they were not in the stable with their horses?
And when it came to horse judgment and treatment of sick and injured horses even the owner of the stable yielded place to Billy.
He was rapidly rising in acquirements and virtues, when, in an evil hour, his stable was newly painted.
When he had achieved this task, he applied himself to the acquisition of stable language, in which he soon became such an adept, that he would perch outside my window and drive imaginary horses with great skill, all day.