A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you thinking about quitting your job for a position at another firm? Have you thought about what could go wrong if you go ahead with the move? Maybe you should just be content with what you have?

If so, you could say that “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

Idiom Meaning

If you’re using “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” in conversation, you’re using it to tell yourself or someone else to “count their blessings.” Essentially, the proverb means to be grateful for what you have rather than lust after the prospect of something better.

The phrase can apply to people, life situations, companies, and more. So, if you’re weighing up two options, then this phrase would apply. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush is a proverb with a warning behind it, and it usually means that the person will fail if they trade their current circumstances for something else.

Example Usage

“Why do you want to get rid of the Mercedes for that new lease? Don’t you know a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?”

“You might find your job irritating, but it’s better than going unemployed; a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

“I probably could have got a better offer if I decided to wait for another month. However, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, so why wait?”

“The shop owner decided to go against selling his business to the competition. He decided that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

Idiom Origin

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” is an old proverb tracing back to medieval falconry. The phrase refers to the falcon on the falconer’s hand as being worth more than the two birds in a bush. The falcon can provide food for the falconer, while the birds only offer a one-time meal.

The earliest use of the phrase in literature appears in “The Life of St Katherine,” written in the 15th century by John Capgrave. The modern variation of the term appears in “A Handbook of Proverbs,” penned by John Ray in 1670.

Phrases Similar to A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

  • The grass isn’t always greener.
  • Be grateful for what you have.
  • Why take a chance?

Phrases Opposite to A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

  • I’m going all in.
  • I’m not satisfied with what I have.
  • I want it all.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Ways People May Say this Incorrectly

You can use “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” in social and professional settings. However, some younger generations might not understand the term because of its uncommon use in society and media. The phrase doesn’t refer to physical objects or birds and bushes.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

You can use “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” when talking to someone else or when talking about yourself. The point of the phrase is to get someone to think about what they have rather than what they want in life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.