The devil you know...

Posted by ESC on July 21, 2000

In Reply to: Does anyone about this phrase in English? posted by Roberto Chabat Green on July 20, 2000

: Hi, everyone. I live in Mexico and Spanish is my native language. There is a phrase in Spanish that could
: be translated as: "It's better to have something bad but known, than something (that could turn out
: to be) good but (is currently) unknown". It can be applied to things, persons (bosses, politicians, etc.), etc.
: Can someone please tell me if there is a phrase in English that expresses this same idea and what
: it is? Thanks in advance.

"Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know - It is better to deal with something bad you know than with something new you don't; the new thing might be even worse. The proverb is of Irish origin and has been traced back to the 1539 Collection of proverbs by R. Taverner. First attested in the United States in 'Dodd Cases' by K. Livingston..." Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).