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make one's bed and lie in it

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Suffer the consequences of one's actions. For example, It's unfortunate that it turned out badly, but Sara made her bed and now she must lie in it. The earliest English citation for this oft-repeated proverb is in Gabriel Harvey's Marginalia (c. 1590): “Let them . . . go to their bed, as themselves shall make it.” The idiom alludes to times when a permanent bed was a luxury, and most people had to stuff a sack with straw every night for use as a bed. There are equivalents in French, German, Danish, and many other languages.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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