If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It


If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is a phrase that means if something is functioning properly, it’s probably best to just leave it alone and not make any changes that could potentially break it.

Example: Nora’s current diet has worked well for her over the years, but now she wants to change it and she’s worried about how that might affect her. So her friend advised: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Synonyms / Related Phrases:
1. Leave well enough alone

The Origin Of “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”

Bert Lance is credited as the one who popularized this phrase. He worked for President Jimmy Carter as Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the year 1977. Lance was quoted as saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” in the May 1977 issue of a magazine called Nation’s Business. Of note, the expression does show up in print a few years before that. For example, it is found in the Hamburg Reporter newspaper, 1973, in an advertisement for food:

“Murph sez: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

The quote above is the earliest example of this phrase in print (that I’ve seen, anyway). Interestingly, I could not find the phrase in print from before the 1970s, so that might suggest it originated around that time.

Example Sentences

Here is an example of this expression used in a sentence:

“Hey, Jim. For summer, I’m planning to replace every sprinkler on my front lawn. What do you think?”

“The sprinklers you have already do a fine job at watering your lawn. I say if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”

Tip: This website has many idiomatic expressions that you can read about. If you do not know what an idiomatic expression is, we have a page on here that might help! Check out these examples of idioms and learn all about them. If you don’t care about that and just want more phrases, you can use the menu at the top. It will take you to a list of them.

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