Law of holes
The first law of holes, or the law of holes, is an adage which states that "if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging". Digging a hole makes it deeper and therefore harder to get back out, which is used as a metaphor that when in an untenable position, it is best to stop carrying on and exacerbating the situation.
The adage has been attributed to a number of sources. It appeared in print on page six of The Washington Post dated October 25, 1911, in the form: "Nor would a wise man, seeing that he was in a hole, go to work and blindly dig it deeper..." In The Bankers magazine, it was published in 1964 as: "Let me tell you about the law of holes: If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."
- Apperson, George Latimer (2006). The Wordsworth Dictionary of Proverbs. Ware: Wordsworth Editions. p. 283. ISBN 978-1840223118.
- Lloyd, John; Hargreaves, Ian (8 November 1996). "Interview: Denis Healey; Healey's first law of holes is to stop digging". New Statesman. 9. Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2014 – via HighBeam Business.
- Doyle, Charles Clay; Mieder, Wolfgang; Shapiro, Fred R. (2012). The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300136029.
- "Is That Dirt Being Shovelled?". The Bankers magazine. 166: 61. 1964.
- Will Rogers Legacy. California Department of Parks and Recreation
- Quotations related to Denis Healey at Wikiquote