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close the stable door after the horse has bolted

To try to prevent or rectify a problem after the damage has already been done. It isn't worth replacing the oil filter on the engine now—you can't close the stable door after the horse has bolted.
See also: after, bolt, close, door, horse, stable

lock the stable door after the horse has bolted

To try to prevent or rectify a problem after the damage has already been done. My father quit smoking after he was diagnosed with lung cancer, but I'm afraid he's locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.
See also: after, bolt, door, horse, lock, stable

cleanse the Augean stables

To rid a place or entity of an accumulation of something (often corruption). In Greek mythology, Hercules was tasked with cleansing the Augean stables—which had not been cleaned in 30 years. The town council is so full of corruption that I'm skeptical that any new member can cleanse the Augean stables.
See also: stable

closing the stable door after the horse has bolted

Trying to prevent or rectify a problem after the damage has already been done. If you try to replace the oil filter on the engine now, you're just closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

lock the barn door after the horse has bolted

To try to prevent or rectify a problem after the damage has already been done. My father quit smoking after he was diagnosed with lung cancer, but I'm afraid he's locking the barn door after the horse has bolted.
See also: after, barn, bolt, door, horse, lock

shut the stable door after the horse has bolted

To try to prevent or rectify a problem after the damage has already been done. It isn't worth replacing the oil filter on the engine now—you can't shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.
See also: after, bolt, door, horse, shut, stable

Shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.

 and Lock the stable door after the horse is stolen.
Prov. To try to prevent something that has already happened; to act too late. When Ray heard that the bank had failed, he tried to withdraw his money, but there was no money to withdraw. He was shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted. Jenny has stopped smoking since the doctor told her that her lungs were in bad shape, but I'm afraid she's locking the stable door after the horse is stolen.
See also: after, bolt, door, horse, shut, stable

lock the barn door after the horse has bolted

Also, lock the stable door after the horse is stolen. Take precautions after damage has occurred. For example, After the burglary they installed an alarm system, but it's locking the barn door, or Deciding to negotiate now after they've been fired-that's a matter of locking the stable door after the horse is stolen . These expressions of action that is useless because it comes too late have long been proverbs in many languages and first appeared in English in the mid-1300s.
See also: after, barn, bolt, door, horse, lock

close the stable door after the horse has bolted

BRITISH or

close the barn door after the horse has bolted

AMERICAN
If someone's action is closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, it is too late because the thing it is designed to prevent has already happened. It is nice to see the water company offering a reward to catch the fish killers, even though it might look like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. People have been complaining about a strong smell of gas for seven years. This is closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. Note: This expression is often varied. For instance, you can use shut instead of close, and words such as gone or escaped instead of bolted. The children should have been vaccinated earlier. It seems like they are shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Note: People sometimes just say close the stable door or close the barn door. Journalists exposed the fraud, since when the regulators have been scuttling to close the stable door.
See also: after, bolt, close, door, horse, stable

shut (or lock) the stable door after the horse has bolted

try to avoid or prevent something bad or unwelcome when it is already too late to do so. proverb
This saying dates back to medieval times. Until the late 19th century it was used in the form shut the stable door after the steed is stolen .
See also: after, bolt, door, horse, shut, stable

shut/lock/close the stable door after the horse has ˈbolted

(British English) (American English shut, etc. the barn door after the horse has eˈscaped) take action to prevent something bad from happening after it has already happened: Last week all their silver was stolen; this week they’re putting in a burglar alarm! That’s really shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

lock the barn/stable door after the horse has bolted/is stolen, to

To take precautions after damage has been done. This proverb, found in many languages, first appeared in a French collection of ca. 1190 and found its way into a Middle English manuscript, Douce MS, by about 1350. It has been repeated ever since. Stanley Walker poked fun at it (The Uncanny Knacks of Mr. Doherty, 1941): “He locked the stable door while they were putting the cart before the horse.”
See also: after, barn, bolt, door, horse, lock, stable

shut the stable door

See lock the barn door.
See also: door, shut, stable
References in periodicals archive ?
Forced to behave like gold (regarded by the School as the stablest of monetary standards), the currency would be spared those sharp procyclical fluctuations in quantity that amplified disturbances arising from real shocks.
(46) Kinder & Sears, supra note 8, at 671-72; see also Talcott Partsons, The Social System 208 (1951) ("[A]mong the learned elements of personality in certain respects the stablest and most enduring are the major value-orientation patterns and there is much evidence that these are `laid downs in childhood and are not on a large scale subject to drastic alteration during adult life.").
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