might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb

might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb

One might as well commit a worse offense, since the punishment will remain the same. (In the past, theft of a sheep was punishable by death.) I've already blown most of my savings, so what's another $100? Might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.
See also: for, hanged, lamb, might, sheep, well
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

might as well be hung for a sheep as (for) a lamb

Rur. might as well commit a large fault as a small one, since the same punishment will result. I'll take the expensive fishing rod. My wife will be mad at me no matter how much I spend, so I might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb.
See also: for, hung, lamb, might, sheep, well
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

hanged for a sheep as a lamb, might as well be

Might just as well be punished for a big misdeed as a small one. For example, I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb and have a third piece of cake-I've gone off my diet anyhow . Already a proverb in John Ray's 1678 collection, this expression alludes to the old punishment for stealing sheep, which was hanging no matter what the age or size of the animal.
See also: for, hanged, might, sheep, well
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb

or

I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb

If someone says I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb or I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, they mean that as they will suffer or be punished whatever they do, they are choosing to do something really bad. I knew I was going to get into trouble for being late as it was, so I figured I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. Note: For a long time in the past in England, the penalty for sheep stealing was death.
See also: for, hanged, lamb, might, sheep, well
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

(you, etc.) may/might as well be hanged/hung for a ˌsheep as (for) a ˈlamb

(saying) if you are going to be punished for doing something wrong, whether it is a big or small thing, you may as well do the big thing: I’m already late but I’ll stay and have another drink. May as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb.In the past, the punishment for stealing farm animals such as sheep was death by hanging.
See also: for, hanged, hung, lamb, may, might, sheep, well
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

hanged for a sheep (as well) as a lamb, (might) as well be

One might as well commit a great crime as a small one, since the punishment would be the same; also, do not stop at half-measures, but enjoy something to the fullest. This term comes from the times when both sheep and lamb were considered so valuable that the theft of either was punishable by death. “As good be hanged for an old sheep as a young lamb” appeared in both John Ray’s English Proverbs (1678) and James Kelly’s Scottish Proverbs (1721), and has persisted to the present day. See also in for a penny, in for a pound.
See also: for, hanged, sheep, well
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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