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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 periodicals archive ?
A, stably governed households have such a good track record in, and such good incentives for, effective child rearing, that governmental officials would do well to treat their decisions as presumptively serving the best interests of their children.
Human MCF-7 cells, HepG2 cells, and stably transfected mouse Hepa-1 cells were maintained in Dulbecco modified Eagle medium (DME) supplemented with 5% fetal bovine serum (FBS), 2.
Once stably on-line, the new plant will raise the company's monthly output by 10%-30%.
Our model shows that species can stably coexist in the same habitat as long as two simple conditions are met.
The screens of the system froze and remained unable to function stably, the company said, noting that it is investigating the cause of the problem.
The Aomori Prefecture-based bank said that it was financially sound, but added that it will examine the implications of receiving a capital injection from the government on its ability to deal with uncertain financial market conditions going forward and stably extend loans to small businesses in its service areas.
Key statement: This invention provides a compound represented by the following general formula (1) and capable of suppressing the blooming, which is observed in the compounding of the resorcin or the RF resin, as far as possible while maintaining the workability and high humidity-aged adhesion of the rubber composition obtained by compounding with rubber, reducing the deterioration of the adhesiveness during the storage of the rubber composition and stably developing the adhesiveness as well as the composition containing the above-mentioned compound as a main component:
stably united with an offmial companion," France's form of domestic partnership, the Italian daily La Repubblica reported late last month.
In accordance with the present invention, it is possible to stably prepare the 48 kDa protein of rhoptry of Babesia caballi and the gene encoding said protein in a large amount with the recombinant DNA technique.
The DNL method can be applied to conjugate, quantitatively and site-specifically, various proteins or non-proteins into stably tethered complexes that retain the full functionalities of the individual components and are suitable for both in vitro and in vivo applications," commented Dr.
Extracted from palm trees, a plentiful natural resource, the oil can be supplied more stably than petroleum-based counterparts.
Purified water does not have a space to embed hydrogen but we found water combined with organic metals creates a nano-space to stably hoard hydrogen at about zero degrees Celsius when water turns to ice," said Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology professor and team leader Lee Huen.
The group ultimately was able to drive the chip stably at somewhat over 3.
The cells were also successfully tested for their ability to be stably transfected using expression vectors containing the MT-3 or MT-2A genes.
Scientists have long thought that the surface atoms of a solid fit together snugly and stably, like floor tiles.