An idiom a day keeps your English okay! In this series we examine English idioms and teach you how to use them.
Least Said, Soonest Mended
As you know, ‘least’ is the superlative form of ‘less’, and you can guess that soonest comes from ‘soon’. To mend something is to repair it. Another way to say this idiom would be ‘the less you say the sooner you will fix the problem’. Another way to say it is ‘stop talking’.
Imagine you have a big fight with your best friend. You’ve known her for 20 years but now she has a new boyfriend who is THE WORST and you hate him. You told your friend what you think, and she got angry and defensive.
Now you’re on the train going home and you open Whatsapp on your phone.
a) try again to explain why that boyfriend is bad
b) apologise for starting the fight
c) do nothing
If you believe the idiom ‘least said, soonest mended’ you should choose C. Talking about a problem often just makes that problem worse. Choose C, do nothing, and the next time you see each other just act like you didn’t have a fight.
– I think I made a mistake.
– Yes, I was calling the new employee ‘Bob’ the whole morning. But he’s called Rob. Do you think I should say something to him?
– No, least said, soonest mended. Just call him Rob from now on.
– I think Jackie is mad at me.
– Well, I kind of slept with her boyfriend. A couple of times.
– Not good.
– How am I going to apologise?
– You’re not. Least said…
– …soonest mended. You’re right! We’ll be best friends again in no time!