throw the baby out with the bath

throw the baby out with the bath

To discard something valuable or important while disposing of something considered worthless, especially an outdated idea or form of behavior.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 the baby out with the bath. The main reforms of the movement were desperately needed, but I'm afraid we threw the baby out with the bath in many cases.
See also: baby, bath, out, throw
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

throw the baby out with the bath(water)

Fig. to dispose of the good while eagerly trying to get rid of the bad. (Fig. on the image of carelessly emptying a tub of both the water inside as well as the baby that was being washed.) In her haste to talk down a project that had only a few disagreeable points, she has thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Hasty action on this major spending bill will result in throwing out the baby with the bath.
See also: baby, bath, out, throw
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

throw the baby out with the bath water

If someone throws the baby out with the bath water, they reject an idea completely, even though some parts of it are good. Even if we don't necessarily like the whole scheme, we're not going to throw the baby out with the bath water. In rejecting traditional values, they have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
See also: baby, bath, out, throw, water
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

throw the baby out with the bath water

Slang
To discard something valuable along with something not desired, usually unintentionally.
See also: baby, bath, out, throw, water
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"I am on the side of the murdered" Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino, speaking at an anti-police brutality rally "We all have to cut back at the moment because things are tough, but we mustn't throw the baby out with the bath water" Actor Jeremy Irons, campaigning against possible BBC cutbacks "Very nice - a lot more polite" Francis Maude, former Tory cabinet minister, on his transition from the House of Commons to the House of Lords "Bruno is definitely becoming nastier.
He added that there are all kinds of good gifts that God has entrusted to us that we can become addicted to so it is important to not throw the baby out with the bath water, and not to throw the beer out with the baptismal water.
THE recent story by Dan O'Neill about Dinny the Docker (retired) (May 16) had me remembering that old saying: "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!" Dinny the Docker (retired) had a "bath" only once a month, but his was pretty clean if you compare it to Victorian standards.
In an interview, he said that excesses should be got rid of, "but don't throw the baby out with the bath water".
I'm not for a minute suggesting that we "throw the baby out with the bath water" but I think it is time to at least change the bath water before the baby dies of ecclesiastical hypothermia.
teacher education associations, administrator associations, school boards associations, etc., are trying to throw the baby out with the bath water.
Hence the expression: "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
You've heard the admonition, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water." In some instances, you may know that the subject of a wonderful photo was not your most ideal camper or that a counselor will not be asked back for a second season.