nip it in the bud
to ‘nip’ something ‘in the bud’ means to remove a small problem before it becomes a big problem. This expression comes from gardening! Flowers in the bud are baby flowers – ie flowers that haven’t opened yet. To ‘nip’ a flower ‘in the bud’ means ‘to cut a baby flower off’. So this expression is useful when we talk about managing problems. For example, ‘I have gained 5kg since I stopped work. So I’m going to nip this in the bud and go on a diet.’
A: Sachi has started wearing really high heels to work. Is that ok?
B: Mmmm. It’s not great. Look, let’s nip this in the bud. Talk to her now and remind her of the dress code.
A: You’re right. If we don’t nip it in the bud, she might start wearing more and more unacceptable clothes.
How do you deal with problems? Do you avoid them? Do you try to nip them in the bud?