This is literally translated from Vietnamese "You don't scare / cry if you don't see the coffin" which roughly means you underestimate things that are actually dangerous.

For example, young people aren't taking coronavirus seriously. They don't scare / cry if you don't see the coffin.

Do you have an idiom that is similar to this "You don't scare / cry if you don't see the coffin"?

  • 1
    Out of sight, out of mind. Mar 27, 2020 at 15:56
  • 2
    ...when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully. I'm sure Boris Johnson is fully focused. Mar 27, 2020 at 17:00
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    What the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve over. Mar 27, 2020 at 18:34
  • Something along the lines of "the young feel immortal/invincible" might convey the idea. Mar 27, 2020 at 19:03
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    "Out of sight, out of mind" is indeed similar, but is more about just not thinking/caring about subjects that aren't right in front of you. It doesn't have any implications of downplaying risk or of ignoring danger. I can't think of anything off hand that has those sorts of implications, but I keep feeling there must be one.. I'll have to think on that for a bit.
    – Foogod
    Mar 28, 2020 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


I don't think there is really an idiom for this.

"Out of sight, out of mind" is close to the meaning, but it kindof implies that it's good to not know about the problem. For example, if my attic was infested with bugs, but the bugs weren't actually bothering me, they'd be "out of sight, out of mind" - that is, not a problem specifically because I don't know about them.

The closest thing I can find to your desired meaning are variations on the phrase "until it happens to you." For example, "The coronavirus doesn't seem that dangerous until you catch it yourself." Or, "Loosing electricity for a while doesn't seem like that big of a problem, until it happens to you."

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