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(one's) own worst enemy
Causing complications to one's life or keeping oneself from success; self-destructive or self-sabotaging. Tommy's becoming his own worst enemy with the way he's been skipping school lately. She always sabotages a relationship when it's going really well because she's her own worst enemy.
(the) good is the enemy of (the) best
Settling for things that are merely good or adequate can prohibit one from achieving that which is ideal. My opponent wants our government to provide only enough funding for "good" services—good schools, good hospitals, good infrastructure, and so on. But good is the enemy of the best, and that is why he and his party will never lead our country to its fullest potential. You should never allow your employees to get away with mediocrity, for the good is the enemy of the best, and if left unchecked it will hinder your company's ability to grow.
(the) good is the enemy of (the) great
Settling for things that are merely good or adequate can prohibit one from achieving that which is truly great. My opponent wants our government to provide only enough funding for "good" services—good schools, good hospitals, good infrastructure, and so on. But good is the enemy of the great, and that is why he and his party will never lead our country to its fullest potential. You should never allow your employees to get away with mediocrity, because good is the enemy of great, and if left unchecked it will hinder your company's ability to grow.
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.
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.
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
I wouldn't wish (something) on my worst enemy
The thing being discussed is so bad that no one deserves to be subjected to it, not even a person I hate. I wouldn't wish cancer on my worst enemy. No one should have to go through that. That's the worst class I've ever taken. I wouldn't wish that professor on my worst enemy. Buffering videos are truly the worst. I wouldn't wish them on my worst 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?"
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.
meals rejected by the enemy
A false, humorous expansion of the initialism MRE, which actually stands for "meal ready to eat" (a military ration pack that requires no further preparation). The joke is that the food is so unpleasant that it had been discarded by the enemy before being repackaged for one's own consumption. After 12 long months eating meals rejected by the enemy, I'm ready to get back to home-cooked meals in my own home.
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.
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.
public enemy number one
A person or concept that is despised or disapproved of by a large portion of the population. The pharmaceutical executive became public enemy number one almost overnight with his decision to hike the price of an inexpensive but lifesaving drug. The newly elected prime minister has stated that the homelessness crisis would be considered public enemy number one under her administration.
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.
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.
With friends like that, who needs enemies?
A humorous statement indicating that the behavior of one's friend(s) has been harmful or malevolent, i.e. behavior one would associate with an enemy rather than a friend. A: "My friends ditched me again, so I had to find a ride home." B: "With friends like that, who needs enemies?"
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.
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.
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.
*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.
your own worst enemy
COMMON If you say that someone is their own worst enemy, you mean that their own behaviour causes most of their problems. In a way I'm my own worst enemy — too critical and hard on myself. The patients are their own worst enemy. They keep missing appointments.
be your own worst enemyact contrary to your own interests; be self-destructive.
1993 Richard Lowe & William Shaw Travellers We convinced ourselves that everything was against us but the truth was we were probably our own worst enemies.
public enemy number one1 a notorious wanted criminal. 2 a person or thing regarded as the greatest threat to a group or community.
2 1995 Independent So foods that pile on the pounds are seen as Public Enemy Number One.
public ˌenemy number ˈonea person or a thing that is thought to be the greatest threat to a group or community: Genetically modified foods have replaced nuclear power as public enemy number one. ♢ The gangster Kline became America’s public enemy number one during the Depression.
wouldn’t wish something on my, etc. worst ˈenemy(informal) used for saying that something is so unpleasant, painful, etc. that you would not like anyone to experience it: It’s a terrible job — it’s dirty, noisy and boring. I wouldn’t wish a job like that on my worst enemy.
be your ˌown worst ˈenemybe a person who often creates problems or difficulties for himself/herself: He spends all his money on clothes, and then finds that he’s got nothing left to live on — if you ask me, he’s his own worst enemy.
own worst enemy, to be one's
To be the major source of one’s own difficulties. The Greek philosopher Anacharsis (ca. 550 b.c.) already was stating this idea: “What is man’s chief enemy? Each is his own.” Cicero said it of Julius Caesar (Ad Atticum, 49 b.c.). In more recent times, cartoonist Walt Kelly expressed the same thought through his main character, Pogo: “We have met the enemy, and they is us.”
with friends like that, who needs enemies
See under et tu, brute!