you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs

Cf. Fr. on ne fait pas d’omelette sans casser des œufs, one does not make an omelette without breaking eggs.

1859 T. P. THOMPSON Audi Alteram Partem II. xc. We are walking upon eggs and..the omelet will not be made without the breaking of some.

1897 R. L. STEVENSON St. Ives viii. You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs,..and it is no bagatelle to escape from Edinburgh Castle. One of us, I think, was even killed.

1974 J. MANN Sticking Place iv. ‘In your philosophy, it seems that some men have no right to live at all.’.. ‘You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, Mother.’

2000 National Review 20 Mar. 22 Nor should anyone be satisfied with the argument that eggs must be broken to make an omelet—the idea, in other words, that effective law enforcement requires the occasional slaying of an innocent citizen.


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