nip in the bud, to

nip something in the bud

Fig. to put an end to something before it develops into something larger. (Alludes to destroying a flower bud before it blooms.) I wanted to nip that little romance in the bud. The whole idea was nipped in the bud.
See also: bud, nip
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

nip in the bud

Halt something at an early stage, or thoroughly check something. For example, By arresting all the leaders, they nipped the rebellion in the bud. This metaphoric expression, alluding to a spring frost that kills flower buds, was first recorded in a Beaumont and Fletcher play of 1606-1607.
See also: bud, nip
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.

nip in the bud, to

To stop something before it can develop further. This analogy to an early spring frost that kills off flower buds dates from the sixteenth century. Sir Boyle Roche (1743–1807), a member of Parliament, was quoted in this memorable mixed metaphor: “Mr. Speaker, I smell a rat; I see him forming in the air and darkening the sky; but I’ll nip him in the bud.”
See also: nip
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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