A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Explore the wise saying "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" and its lesson on value and certainty in English.

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Have you ever heard someone say, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” and thought, “Huh? What’s a bush got to do with anything?” Well, grab your binoculars, because we’re about to take a bird-watching trip into this feathery idiom!

What does “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” mean?

Nope, we’re not planning an actual bird-watching outing! This saying means that it’s better to hold onto something you already have than to risk losing it by trying to get something better.

Imagine you have one cookie now but you might get two cookies later—sometimes it’s best to just enjoy the cookie you have!

Where does this idiom come from?

The saying “A Bird in the Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush” suggests that it’s better to have a smaller but certain advantage than the chance of a greater one that might come to nothing.

This proverb, rooted in medieval falconry, where a bird in hand (the falcon) was more valuable than two in the bush (the prey), teaches a lesson in valuing what we have over what we might have. This wisdom encourages caution and appreciation of the present rather than gambling it for uncertain future gains.

How to use “A bird in the hand”

Let’s practice flapping our wings with some examples:

  • “You already have a great toy; don’t trade it for two you might not like!"
  • "Wow, one scoop of ice cream now is better than maybe getting two scoops later!"
  • "Dad, keeping my weekly allowance is like a bird in the hand, right?”

Other feathery ways to say “Be content”

Want to ruffle some feathers with more idioms? Here ya go:

  • Count your blessings - Appreciate what you’ve got.
  • Don’t cry over spilled milk - Don’t fret about what’s already done.
  • The grass isn’t always greener - What you have might be better than what you think you want.

Fun ways to practice “A bird in the hand”

How about a little role play? One person offers a “bird in the hand,” while the other has to decide whether to take it or risk it for “two in the bush.”

Or, try discussing decisions your family made where this idiom came into play.

And there you have it! “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” is an idiom that helps kids—and grown-ups—remember to appreciate what they have.

Who knew idioms could be this fun? 🐦