Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Meaning

  • what you already have is more valuable than the prospect to have something greater
  • it is better to be content with you have than risk losing it by trying to get something better
  • it is better to have something small but certain rather than the mere possibility of a  greater one

Example Sentences

  1. You may not like your job, but don’t quit merely on the hope of finding a better one. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  2. I might have got a better offer if I had waited for some more time, but I decided to take the one I had. After all, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  3. He decided against selling off his small business for the prospects of starting a bigger one. He realized that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  4. Do not put your life’s savings into risky investments in the hope of higher returns. You may lose everything. Don’t you know, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Origin
This proverb has its origins in medieval falconry, where a bird (falcon) in hand was more valuable than two in the bush (the prey). The earliest known usage in English is in the 15th century in “The Life of St Katherine” by John Capgrave. In its exact current form, the first use was in 1670 in “A Hand-book of Proverbs” by John Ray. Variations and alternatives of the proverb, with the same meaning, are found since ancient times.

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