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Idle hands are The Devil's workshop ( or playground)

Posted by ESC on May 20, 2004

In Reply to: Idle hands are The Devil's workshop ( or playground) posted by Stitch Jones on May 20, 2004

: My Uncle likes to say, "Idle hands are The Devil's workshop." Is this a paraphrase from Isaac Watts, or where did this phrase come from?

IDLE HANDS ARE THE DEVIL'S TOOLS - "Idleness is the root of mischief. This maxim has been traced back to Chaucer's 'Tale of Melibee' (c. 1386). First attested in the United States in 'Collections' . The proverb is found in varying forms: Satan has some mischief for idle hands to do; The devil finds work (or mischief) for idle hands to do." From Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

Another way of phrasing it, to stay out of trouble: PUT YOUR HANDS TO WORK AND HEARTS TO GOD - Philosophy of Ann Lee, "Mother Ann," founder of United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, known as the Shakers.