throw out the baby with the bath water

throw out the baby with the bathwater

To discard something valuable or important while disposing of something considered worthless, especially an outdated idea or form of behavior. The phrase is often used in the negative as a warning against such thoughtless behavior. Why are we scrapping the entire project? Come on, don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. The main reforms of the movement were desperately needed, but I'm afraid we threw out the baby with the bathwater in many cases.
See also: baby, bathwater, out, throw
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

throw out the baby with the bath water

Discard something valuable along with something not wanted. For example, I know you don't approve of that one item in the bill but we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bath water by voting the bill down . This expression, with its vivid image of a baby being tossed out with a stream of dirty water, is probably translated from a German proverb, Das Kind mit dem Bade ausschütten ("Pour the baby out with the bath"). It was first recorded in English in 1853 by Thomas Carlyle, who translated many works from German.
See also: baby, bath, out, throw, water
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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The second basic principle is "don't throw out the baby with the bath water." History and traditions are as important in today's program as prudent risk management and emergency procedures.