It’s easy to understand and is commonly used in English-speaking countries and a wide variety of conversations. It’s possible to use among friends, family members, and even close colleagues. Although, one should be careful that when they use “easy does it,” that it doesn’t come across as dismissive or rude. It could be interpreted by the person hearing it as a way of saying, “I don’t care about how upset you are.”
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“Easy does it” Meaning
“Easy does it” is a common idiom that’s used to suggest that someone or something needs to calm down and relax about a particular situation or life more generally.
The phrase is often used when someone is upset about something in their life, is planning to do something drastic, or is getting more emotional than a situation deserves. For example, one can imagine one person using “easy does it” when trying to calm an angry friend down and keep them from reacting drastically.
The word “easy” is used to remind the person that taking something “easy” or not letting it upset one is the best possible outcome. This will allow them to analyze the situation with clear eyes.
It’s believed that the expression was first used in print in the Bible. Specifically in some versions of Mathew 6:34. The passage encourages those reading to take it easy and not worry about tomorrow. The future is going to take care of itself. Today, it’s common to find this phrase in slogans, such as within AA (Alcoholics Anonymous).
Like most idioms, this one likely changed over time, with different versions (like “take it easy”) developing from it. Often, idioms shift as language changes, and more contemporary versions that are easier to use come into common use.
When to Use “Easy does it”
It’s possible to use “easy does it” in a wide variety of situations. One can imagine using it among friends, family members, and close colleagues. But, it should be noted that this idiom can come across as patronizing or insulting if one uses it with the wrong tone or in the wrong situation. For example, if one uses it when speaking to their boss. It could be interpreted as disrespectful to any superior. Or if one partner uses it when another is trying to express their anger or frustration. It could be interpreted by the angry partner as dismissive, as though the person who used it doesn’t care about what they have to say and is invalidating their emotions.
But, more commonly, the phrase is easy to use in conversation. One person might say, “Whoah, easy does it!” when encountering two people arguing. This is an easy way of suggesting that the two people calm down and resolve their differences without yelling or violence. Or, in another situation, one might use the phrase when they want to calm down the person they’re talking to and remind them that there’s no reason to be so upset.
- Easy does it! Don’t get so upset.
- Easy does it, everyone. We don’t want this to result in a bad outcome.
- After that, he said “easy does it” and I got even angrier at him.
- I accidentally said “easy does it” to my boss yesterday and he clearly didn’t like it.
Why Do Writers Use “Easy does it?”
Writers use “easy does it” in the same way and for the same reasons that people use the phrase in everyday conversations. It’s possible to use it in a dialogue between two characters or within a narrator’s description of a scene. An example of the latter could include the narrator reacting, internally, to a fight they see play out. Or perhaps experimenting with what they’re going to say to someone they know. A dialogue with the idiom might play out with two friends arguing and a third coming in, using “easy does it” and then calming the two down.
The tone can shift depending on who is using it and in what kind of situation. For example, if someone uses it dismissively, it’s going to come across that way.
People use “easy does it” when they want to calm themselves or someone else down. It’s a way of suggesting that it’s not worth getting angry at a particular situation.