a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

It is better to accept or be content with what one has than to try to get more and risk losing everything. Cf. 13th-cent. L. plus valet in manibus avis unica quam dupla silvis, one bird in the hands is worth more than two in the woods. Parodied by the American actress Mae West (1892–1980) in the 1934 movie Belle of the Nineties: ‘A man in the house is worth two in the street..

c 1450 J. CAPGRAVE Life of St. Katharine (EETS) II. iii. It is more sekyr [certain] a byrd in your fest, Than to haue three in the sky a-boue.

c 1470 Harley MS 3362 f.4 Betyr ys a byrd in the hond than tweye in the wode.

1581 N. WOODES Conflict of Conscience IV. i. You haue spoken reasonably, but yet as they say, One Birde in the hande, is worth two in the bush.

1678 BUNYAN Pilgrim’s Progress I. 42 That Proverb, A Bird in the hand is worth two in the Bush, is of more Authority with them, then are all..testimonies of the good of the world to come.

1973 G. GREENE Honorary Consul II. iii. We have an expression in English—A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I don’t know anything about that ‘afterwards’. I only know I would like to live another ten years.

2002 Oxford Times 18 Jan. 15 The firm could realise a very good price now... The situation may not be as good as this in three or four years. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.


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  • bird in the hand is worth two in the bush — A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush is a proverb meaning that it is better to have something that is certain than take a risk to get more, where you might lose everything …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (a) — Something we have, or can easily get, is more valuable than something we want that we may not be able to get; we shouldn t risk losing something sure by trying to get something that is not sure. A proverb. * /Johnny has a job as a paperboy, but… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (a) — Something we have, or can easily get, is more valuable than something we want that we may not be able to get; we shouldn t risk losing something sure by trying to get something that is not sure. A proverb. * /Johnny has a job as a paperboy, but… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • bird\ in\ the\ hand\ is\ worth\ two\ in\ the\ bush — proverb Something we have, or can easily get, is more valuable than something we want that we may not be able to get; we shouldn t risk losing something sure by trying to get something that is not sure. Johnny has a job as a paperboy, but he… …   Словарь американских идиом

  • bird in the hand is worth two in the bush —     A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush is a proverb meaning that it is better to have something that is certain than take a risk to get more, where you might lose everything.   (Dorking School Dictionary) …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush —    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush is a proverb meaning that it is better to have something that is certain than take a risk to get more, where you might lose everything …   Dictionary of English idioms

  • bird in the hand is worth two in the bush — it s best to go with what you have for certain then to wait for something better that you might never get …   English contemporary dictionary

  • a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush — A certainty is not to be thrown away for a poor chance of something better • • • Main Entry: ↑bird * * * proverb it s better to be content with what you have than to risk losing everything by seeking more * * * a bird in the hand is worth two in… …   Useful english dictionary

  • (a) bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. — A bird in the hand (is worth two in the bush). something that you say which means it is better to keep what you have than to risk losing it by trying to get something better. If I were you I d accept the money they re offering. After all, a bird… …   New idioms dictionary

  • a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush — ► a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush proverb it s better to be content with what you have than to risk losing everything by seeking to get more. Main Entry: ↑bird …   English terms dictionary

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