foolish


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be penny-wise and pound-foolish

To be so concerned with saving money that one ignores larger problems and ultimately ends up spending more. I know you don't want to pay for this expensive course of treatment, but when ignoring your health lands you in the hospital, you'll see that you were penny-wise and pound-foolish.
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penny-wise and pound-foolish

So concerned with saving money that one ignores larger problems and ultimately ends up spending more. I know you don't want to pay for this expensive course of treatment, but when ignoring your health lands you in the hospital, you'll see that you were penny-wise and pound-foolish.
See also: and

penny-wise and pound-foolish

Prov. thrifty with small sums and foolish with large sums. (Describes someone who will go to a lot of trouble to save a little money, but overlooks large expenses to save a little money. Even in the United States, the reference is to British pounds sterling.) Sam: If we drive to six different grocery stores, we'll get the best bargains on everything we buy. Alan: But with gasoline so expensive, that's penny-wise and pound-foolish.
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penny wise and pound foolish

Stingy about small expenditures and extravagant with large ones, as in Dean clips all the coupons for supermarket bargains but insists on going to the best restaurants-penny wise and pound foolish . This phrase alludes to British currency, in which a pound was once worth 240 pennies, or pence, and is now worth 100 pence. The phrase is also occasionally used for being very careful about unimportant matters and careless about important ones. It was used in this way by Joseph Addison in The Spectator (1712): "A woman who will give up herself to a man in marriage where there is the least Room for such an apprehension ... may very properly be accused ... of being penny wise and pound foolish." [c. 1600]
See also: and, foolish, penny, pound, wise

penny-wise and pound-foolish

mainly BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If someone is penny-wise and pound-foolish, they are very careful about small amounts of money but not careful enough about large amounts. If we had employed a good accountant, we would never have lost the money. In other words, we have been penny-wise and pound-foolish here. We are being penny wise and pound foolish, trying to save a few dollars and hastening the time when we are going to have another accident.
See also: and

penny wise and pound foolish

careful and economical in small matters while being wasteful or extravagant in large ones.
See also: and, foolish, penny, pound, wise

penny ˌwise (and) pound ˈfoolish

used to say that somebody is very careful about small matters but much less sensible about larger, more important things: When it comes to a used car, don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. Spend the money to have the vehicle checked out.
See also: foolish, penny, pound, wise
References in classic literature ?
But now that this foolish trial is ended, I will tell you what really became of your pet piglet.
But it's good advice for the foolish," said the donkey, admiringly.
Owls are supposed to be so very wise, generally, that a foolish one is unusual, and you perhaps know that anything or anyone unusual is sure to be interesting to the wise.
Irritated as I was at their foolish mirth and vexatious imputations, the uneasiness did not continue long: when they had had their laugh out, they returned again to the captain and lieutenant; and, while they disputed and commented upon them, my indignation rapidly cooled; the cause of it was quickly forgotten, and I turned my thoughts into a pleasanter channel.
Look at things as they really are, and you will see that the clever unjust are in the case of runners, who run well from the starting-place to the goal but not back again from the goal: they go off at a great pace, but in the end only look foolish, slinking away with their ears draggling on their shoulders, and without a crown; but the true runner comes to the finish and receives the prize and is crowned.
And, on the other hand, of the unjust I say that the greater number, even though they escape in their youth, are found out at last and look foolish at the end of their course, and when they come to be old and miserable are flouted alike by stranger and citizen; they are beaten and then come those things unfit for ears polite, as you truly term them; they will be racked and have their eyes burned out, as you were saying.
The foolish animal no sooner perceived itself at liberty, than forgetting all the favours it had received from Sophia, it flew directly from her, and perched on a bough at some distance.
Her father chid her for crying so for a foolish bird; but could not help telling young Blifil, if he was a son of his, his backside should be well flead.
Hoover, who was forty-five, fat, flush and foolish.
Hoover, forty-five, flush and foolish, might carry off Helen herself; Hoover, forty-five, flush, foolish and fat is meat for perdition.
Foolish is my happiness, and foolish things will it speak: it is still too young--so have patience with it!
As the only endowments with which Nature had gifted Lady Crawley were those of pink cheeks and a white skin, and as she had no sort of character, nor talents, nor opinions, nor occupations, nor amusements, nor that vigour of soul and ferocity of temper which often falls to the lot of entirely foolish women, her hold upon Sir Pitt's affections was not very great.
You dare to tell me openly that you will abuse your position, that you will keep me bound a servant to the cause, because of this foolish fancy of yours?
To represent me as viewing it with ill-nature, animosity, or partisanship, is merely to do a very foolish thing, which is always a very easy one; and which I have disregarded for eight years, and could disregard for eighty more.
And even when the rest have in some measure come to themselves again, and can find words and smiles, Barbara--that soft-hearted, gentle, foolish little Barbara--is suddenly missed, and found to be in a swoon by herself in the back parlour, from which swoon she falls into hysterics, and from which hysterics into a swoon again, and is, indeed, so bad, that despite a mortal quantity of vinegar and cold water she is hardly a bit better at last than she was at first.