Don't get mad, get even
What's the meaning of the phrase 'Don't get mad, get even'?
The proverbial saying 'don't get mad, get even' means that, when suffering a loss at the hands of another, don't waste your energy on anger but work towards redressing the harm done.
The sentiment is similar to another proverb - revenge is a dish best served cold.
What's the origin of the phrase 'Don't get mad, get even'?
Proverbs are 'short and expressive sayings, in common use, which are recognized as conveying some accepted truth or useful advice'. This example is as pertinent today as it ever was.
In fact, unlike many similar 'don't...' proverbs, this one isn't very old.
The person who popularised its use was John Kennedy. In an interview with the American journalist Ben Bradlee in 1975 Kennedy used the expression. This interview was later published as Conversations with Kennedy:
Some of the reasons have their roots in that wonderful law of the Boston Irish political jungle: 'Don’t get mad; get even.'
Kennedy was correct in attributing the saying to the US political scene. Ten years earlier the Democrat spokesperson Carmine Warschaw had used it in a speech, reported in The Californian newspaper The Valley Times, February 1965:
Mrs Warschaw introduced the congressmen and elected officials who attended the dinner. Regarding some Democratic losses she had this advice: 'Don't get mad... just get even.'
See other 'Don't...' proverbs: