spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar

spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar
 Ruin an entire enterprise, or fail to complete a task properly, because of minor parsimony

A concise dictionary of English slang (2nd edition) . . 2015.

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  • do not spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar — Ship is a dialectal pronunciation of sheep, and the original literal sense of the proverb was ‘do not allow sheep to die for the lack of a trifling amount of tar’, tar being used to protect sores and wounds on sheep from flies. Hog (quots. 1623… …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • ship — see do not spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar one hand for yourself and one for the ship little leaks sink the ship a woman and a ship ever want mending …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • spoil — see do not spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar spare the rod and spoil the child too many cooks spoil the broth better one house spoiled than two …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • tar — see do not spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • ha’porth — see do not spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Thematic Index — absence absence makes the heart grow fonder he who is absent is always in the wrong the best of friends must part blue are the hills that are far away distance lends enchantment to the view out of sight, out of mind …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • if you don’t speculate, you can’t accumulate — 1925 WODEHOUSE ‘Bit of Luck for Mabel’ in Eggs, Beans and Crumpets (1963) 127 You can’t accumulate if you don’t speculate. So, though funds were running a bit low by this time, I invested a couple of bob in a cab. 1941 D. DODGE Death & Taxes… …   Proverbs new dictionary

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