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Re: What is the origin of throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Posted by Hilda on November 12, 1999

In Reply to: What is the origin of throw the baby out with the bathwater? posted by Denise on November 12, 1999

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In days of yore, when homes had baths which were portable (for both adults and children) a necessary activity at the end of bath time was to 'throw out the bath water'. A father who had observed his overworked, and invariably tired, wife struggle with a wilful child, would, as the small child's bath was carried to the back door to disposed of the waste water in the back yard, cry "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water". This expression came to mean that even when frustration with a situation or a malfunctioning device drives you to distraction, and you feel that you must be rid of it, you should pause, and consider if a valuable, or maybe irreplaceable, element would be lost by precipitate action, i.e., "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water".