Farmer Ruth Mylroie the town hall a chicken laying an egg v a young visitor throughout a college tour of brand-new Harmony Farm. This farm yard is well-known for that humane treatment of that chickens.

You are watching: Don t count your chickens before they hatch meaning


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Hello and also welcome to Words and also Their Stories.

Each week, us tell the story that English language words and expressions – part old, and also others new.

Today us talk about a proverb often used in American English.

A proverb is a short, renowned saying that uses a item of advice. Our instance of a proverb takes united state to a farm yard – a chicken farm, to it is in exact.

Our explanation is part science, part folklore.

First, the science.

You probably understand that chickens come native eggs. A mrs chicken or hen lays eggs and then lock hatch into chicks. Well, not every one of them. Part eggs execute not have a baby bird.

So, in ~ our farm, a hen produces 15 eggs. If the farmer counts the eggs, she can expect to have 15 chicks as soon as the eggs space hatched. But then five of those eggs perform not hatch. Her expectations were no met, therefore she feels disappointed. She tells her friend just how sad she feels. The friend may say to her, “Well, don’t count your chicken prior to they hatch.

Another means of speak this proverb is: “Don’t count her chickens till they space hatched.”

So, this proverb means you need to not rely on other that has yet to happen. It is unwise to make plans based on something the hasn’t happened. Another meaning of this proverb is this: execute not assume come have everything you want till you actually have actually it in her hands.

Now, stop talk about the folklore component of our explanation.

“Don’t count your chickens till they room hatched” is a really old saying. Language experts say it shows up in different forms and also in many different cultures. That is additionally used in Aesop"s Fables, a repertoire of story from in between 1,300 and also 1,400 year ago.

The fable we space talking about is recognized as “The Milkmaid and also Her Pail.” A lengthy time ago, a young woman lugged a bucket of milk on she head. Together she walked, the milkmaid dreamy of a better life. She wanted to it is in rich. So, she believed she can sell her milk and then use the money to buy chickens. Through chickens she could sell eggs and earn an ext money!

With many money, the milkmaid could shake she head “no” to all the guys in her town who wanted her hand in marriage. The young mrs was so recorded up in her thoughts the she in reality shook she head “no.” This brought about the pail the milk to loss from she head and also crash come the ground. Together with it -- her desires of ending up being rich and independent.

When she told her mother what happened, her mother said, “My child, do not count her chickens before they are hatched.”

So, that is the folklore from Aesop’s Fables. Now, let’s hear how to usage this expression in daily speech.

John and also Samantha space friends. Both are looking for jobs. John just had actually a task interview the day before and also cannot wait to tell Samantha all about it.

Samantha, just how is your task search going?

It’s walk okay. I spoke v two potential employers last week and I need to hear something earlier soon. However for currently I’m still saving all the money I can from mine part-time work. How around you?

I had actually a an excellent interview yesterday! In fact, afterward, the woman ns spoke v talked as if ns was already her employee!

Wow! That’s good news, John. Great for you!

Thanks! and the best thing … the salary is great. I’ll be able to buy a townhouse. In fact, I have an appointment this particular day to look at one, right near my new job! I’ll have a full-time job and a brand-new home in less than a month!

Wait a minute, John. Did you actually gain something in composing from the company?

Well, not yet.

Did friend actually authorize a contract?

Well, no however …

A tiny friendly advice, John. You don’t officially have actually the job. So, try not to count her chickens prior to they hatch.

What carry out you mean? The job is a sure thing.

Nothing is guaranteed, John. So, you know, don’t get your wishes up. The way, you won’t be disappointed if things don’t work out.

So, i should most likely return the expensive clothes and briefcase I just bought because that the job?

I think so. Maybe for right now.

Let’s keep our finger crossed for John. Hopefully, every his eggs will hatch and also he’ll obtain that high-paying job.

And that’s all we have for you today. Join us again next week for an additional Words and Their Stories.

I’m Anna Matteo.

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Ibrahim Onefeko composed this story. Anna Matteo and George flourish were the editors. The song at the finish is “Don’t Count your Chickens before They Hatch,” written and performed by country singer/songwriter Tommy Ray.

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Words in This Story

folklore – n. timeless customs, beliefs, stories, and sayings

lay – v. to create an egg

hatch – v. to come out of one egg

disappoint – adj. to fail to fulfill the expectation or expect of

assume – v. to think the something is true or probably true without learning that that is true