The idiom "don't skimp on" means don't be shy and put as much as necessary. I am now wondering if there are idioms that mean the opposite of that. I am sure there are many, but it's hard to look for idioms since you can't look them up on a dictionary unless you know them.

For example:

Please, don't skimp on the butter. It's good stuff!

  • You want the opposite of "give me lots of x", right?
    – Lambie
    Mar 17, 2019 at 20:02
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    – J.R.
    Mar 18, 2019 at 3:06

3 Answers 3


We are unlikely to use the antonym in the imperative form. We don't tell people to "use less than is needed".

There are plenty of ways to describe someone using less of something

He was scrimping (and saving)
He was being frugal
He was stingy
He was mean with the butter
He was being careful with the butter.

These have a different nuance. Being "frugal" and "careful" are generally positive. Being mean or stingy are negative.


You could say: "Go easy on the ..."

"Light on the ..."

"Don't over-do it on ..."

"Be sparing with ..."

"Don't get carried away with the ..."

"Take it easy with the ..."

"Be judicious with ..."

"Use a light touch with the ..."

or even the simple, "Not too much ..."


Please give me [just adjectives] - just a little butter.
- a tad of butter.
- just a dab of butter. - just a teeny bit of butter.

Actual idioms:
Please go light on the butter. To go light on butter or cream or sugar. Anything you add to food or drink.

Please don't overdo it on the butter. [not too much, same as above]

Please hold off on the butter. [not any]

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