stick to (one's) last
stick to (one's) last
To do what one is familiar with, experienced in, or skilled at, rather than trying something different and risking failure. Taken from the proverb "the cobbler should stick to his last." After his failed attempts at writing books and hosting a television show, many think the ageing DJ should just stick to his last.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
stick to one's last
Keep to what you know and don't interfere out of your province, as in Let me handle the defense in this suit; you stick to your last and track down more eyewitnesses . This adage comes from an ancient story about a shoemaker criticizing a work by a Greek painter named Apelles, saying that the shoe in the picture was not correctly portrayed. After the painter corrected it, the shoemaker pointed out an error in the leg, whereupon the painter said, "Shoemaker, do not go above your last." Over the centuries the story was repeated, and the expression still is sometimes put as cobbler, stick to your last, even though cobblers are nearly obsolete.
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.
stick to your lastBRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If you say that someone should stick to their last, you mean that they should continue doing what they are experienced at and not try to do new things. Looking back, I should have stuck to my last and gone on to get a research job in one of the studios. Note: People sometimes use the whole phrase let the cobbler stick to his last, or change part of it to fit a particular situation. You see before you an embarrassed cobbler who will stick to his last from now on. I was afraid they'd think, `Why can't the cobbler stick to his last?' Note: A cobbler is a shoe maker and a last is a foot-shaped object used as a model to make shoes the right shape and size.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
stick to your lastconfine your activities to the area you have personal knowledge of or skill in.
The expression derives from the proverb ‘The cobbler should stick to his last’, a last being a shoemaker's model for shaping or repairing a shoe.
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