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do's and don'ts

The general rules and regulations of a given activity, operation, or situation. Before you begin your first day working for us, there are a few important do's and don'ts that I need to familiarize you with. Tom doesn't understand the basic do's and don'ts of social etiquette.
See also: and

be damned if you do and damned if you don't

To be in a situation in which every action (or inaction) could potentially cause one trouble. So your boss will be mad if you miss the work event, and your husband will be disappointed if you skip your anniversary dinner. Yep, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't!
See also: and, damned, if

if it ain't broke, don't fix it

If something is going or working well, there's no need to change it. A: "We don't really need to implement these ridiculous changes, do we? Our current method is working just fine." B: "Right. If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
See also: fix, if

Don't change horses in midstream.

1. Proverb Do not try to choose or back a different political figure for an election after the decision has already been made or the position filled. Many people are dissatisfied with the senator's performance but will likely carry his party's support through to the next election—don't change horses in midstream, as the saying goes.
2. Proverb By extension, do not make major changes to a situation or course of action that is already underway. I'm really not confident in the strength of my essay, but I guess I just have to see this one through at this point. Like they say, don't change horses in midstream.
See also: change, horse

homie don't play that

slang I'm not doing that; that's not going to happen. The phrase was popularized by the 1990s sketch comedy show In Living Color. They think they can palm all the work off on me? Oh no, homie don't play that!
See also: homie, play, that

don't @ me

Don't lash out at or dispute what I've said. (On Twitter, the "@" symbol precedes someone's username when replying to a tweet.) Often used humorously. These are my favorite characters, so don't @ me in hate. Spongebob is the greatest TV show of our time, don't @ me.

better the devil you know than the devil you don't know

When faced with two options, it is better to choose the more familiar one, even if it is undesirable. A: "Why don't you just quit your job if you're so miserable?" B: "Who knows if a new job will be any better! Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know."
See also: better, devil, know

don't I know it

I know that very well or am fully aware of it (due to my particular circumstances). A: "Wow, I guess you guys still have a lot to get done before the baby comes." B: "Yeah, don't I know it."
See also: know

don't make a federal case (out) of (something)

Don't exaggerate or build up the importance of something; don't make a big deal out of something. The phrase is often used to complain that someone is exaggerating a problem or alleged wrongdoing. So I ate your leftovers. Geez, don't make a federal case out of it! A: "I know you borrowed my new sweater without asking me first." B: "Oh, come on, don't make a federal case out of it."
See also: case, federal, make, of

don't push

1. I'm already annoyed, so don't aggravate me further. I had a bad day at work, so don't push—just do your chores like I asked.
2. Don't try to pressure or badger me into doing something. I'm just not ready to go to college yet, so don't push!
See also: push

Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know.

Prov. If you have to choose between a familiar but unpleasant situation and an unfamiliar situation, choose the familiar one because the unfamiliar situation may turn out to be worse. Jill: I hate my job so much that I'm thinking of asking for a transfer. Jane: I'd advise against it. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know. Although she was unhappy in her marriage, Donna never considered pursuing romances with other men. "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know," was her philosophy.
See also: better, devil, know

do's and don'ts

Rules or customs concerning some activity, as in It's important to know the do's and don'ts of diplomatic receptions. This expression alludes to what one should and should not do or say. [c. 1900]
See also: and

if it ain't broke, don't fix it

INFORMAL
COMMON You say if it ain't broke, don't fix it to mean that things should only be changed if there are problems with them. With regard to proposals for some grand reorganization of the intelligence community: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And I believe it is not broke. Note: You can also say isn't broken instead of ain't broke and why fix it? instead of don't fix it. Her outlook is `If it isn't broken, why fix it?' She puts up with a lot I wouldn't tolerate. Note: The word `ain't' is a form of `isn't' which is used in informal or non-standard English. The first recorded use of this modern proverb is by the American Bert Lance, President Carter's Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1977). He was referring to governmental reorganization.
See also: fix, if

be damned if you do and damned if you don't

When people say that you will be damned if you do and damned if you don't, they mean that whatever you choose to do in a situation, you will be criticized. When it comes to interfering in other countries, when you're the world's most powerful nation, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.
See also: and, damned, if

if it ain’t ˈbroke, don’t ˈfix it

used to say that if something is satisfactory and works well, it should not be changed: Why do they keep suggesting ‘improvements’ when everything’s working perfectly? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
See also: fix, if

do’s and ˈdon’ts

(informal) what to do and what not to do; rules: This book is a useful guide to the do’s and don’ts of choosing and buying your first car.
See also: and

do's and don'ts

Rules about what one should and shouldn’t do or say in certain situations. One of the earliest uses of this term appeared in 1902 as the title of a book, Golf Do’s and Don’ts. It rapidly spread into numerous other contexts, as in “Her big sister was about to tell her the do’s and don’ts of a first date.” It has been a cliché for decades.
See also: and