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The cat is out of the barn

Posted by Vair on August 23, 2009 at 08:00

The horse is out of the barn: For fun, I collect mashed metaphors (e.g., "wake up and smell the roses" -- I'm sure you've heard many, and your site would be a great place for an amusing collection of them), and sometimes end up wondering about the original, taken-for-granted pieces. Some time back, I heard an economist say "the cat is out of the barn", a swell combination. But in my feeble searches, I haven't found the real horse-and-barn phrase. What is it? Is it something about locking the barn door after the horse is stolen? Or is that a different phrase? I have no doubt that some of the regulars here can give the right words and explain it all... thanks!