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And using them the right way can cause problems for English learners. Even people who grew up in the United States speaking English have problems with some of these idioms. Someone who is said to be prying into other people’s business wants to know about things that do not concern them. "Curiosity killed the cat" is an idiom we use to warn people. We often use this expression when others ask prying questions.
Not many English speakers know that in the original idiom the cat survives.
Inquisitiveness or curiosity can lead people into dangerous or risky situations.
Such situations can be fatally dangerous in which the cat might end up losing its life. Though no one can pinpoint the exact date and place where the idiom was conjured up, we can trace the use back in history.
However, its first written use is attributed to English poet and playwright Ben Jonson.
Simply, this phrase highlights the curious side of cats, which is no surprise to any owner of pets.
It is because cats are generally very curious creatures that stick their noses in where they don’t belong, and their curiosity could lead them into danger, sometimes taking their lives.
However, adding the later part to the idiom alters its meaning completely.
When we were kids, we must have come across old and isolated houses that had no visitors.
Means: being too curious may bring about problems for you.
Example of use: “Hey, I wonder what’s down that street; it looks awfully dark and creepy.” Answer: “Let’s not try to find out.