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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

closing the stable door after the horse has bolted

Trying to prevent or rectify a problem after the damage has already been done. If you try to replace the oil filter on the engine now, you're just closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

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

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

close the stable door after the horse has bolted

BRITISH or

close the barn door after the horse has bolted

AMERICAN
If someone's action is closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, it is too late because the thing it is designed to prevent has already happened. It is nice to see the water company offering a reward to catch the fish killers, even though it might look like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. People have been complaining about a strong smell of gas for seven years. This is closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. Note: This expression is often varied. For instance, you can use shut instead of close, and words such as gone or escaped instead of bolted. The children should have been vaccinated earlier. It seems like they are shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Note: People sometimes just say close the stable door or close the barn door. Journalists exposed the fraud, since when the regulators have been scuttling to close the stable door.
See also: after, bolt, close, door, horse, stable

shut (or lock) the stable door after the horse has bolted

try to avoid or prevent something bad or unwelcome when it is already too late to do so. proverb
This saying dates back to medieval times. Until the late 19th century it was used in the form shut the stable door after the steed is stolen .
See also: after, bolt, door, horse, shut, stable

shut/lock/close the stable door after the horse has ˈbolted

(British English) (American English shut, etc. the barn door after the horse has eˈscaped) take action to prevent something bad from happening after it has already happened: Last week all their silver was stolen; this week they’re putting in a burglar alarm! That’s really shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
References in periodicals archive ?
According to the study's lead author, Wendy Troxel, PhD, Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, women who were stably married had the highest quality sleep measured objectively and subjectively, and these results persisted even after controlling for other known risk factors for sleep, including age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and depressive symptoms.
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The government has lifted the shipment ban on ''kakina'' leafy vegetables in Tochigi Prefecture after the level of radioactive materials in them stably fell below the safety limit, its top spokesman Yukio Edano said Thursday.
The present high capacity binary shuttle vector can introduce a large genome fragment of 10 kb or more, easily, efficiently and stably into a plant, especially monocotyledonous ones under those conditions in which the rearrangement or deletion of these genome fragments does not occur.
Japanese officials said the yen's exchange rate against the dollar should move stably by reflecting economic fundamentals.
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The trading business developed stably and energy services increased.
With an aim to secure electric power stably, the system combines solar cells, whose power generation is susceptible to the weather, lithium ion batteries to store electric power and energy-saving technologies, and Sanyo aims to post 100 billion yen in sales by fiscal 2015.
The methods comprise transforming a plant cell to comprise a heterologous nucleotide sequence operably linked to one of the inducible or constitutive promoters of the present invention and regenerating a stably transformed plant from the transformed plant cell.
Our basic stance is that the exchange rate should move stably by reflecting economic fundamentals,'' Muto told a regular news conference.