The Early Bird Gets The Worm


Arriving early to something can help a person seize an opportunity that they might otherwise miss out on.

Example: To get good seats at the movie theater, we need to leave now and get there before everyone else does—the early bird gets the worm, as the saying goes.

Note: With this proverb, the word ‘gets’ is sometimes replaced with the word ‘catches’ (e.g., the early bird catches the worm.

1. Early bird
2. First come first serve
3. You snooze you lose

The Early Bird Catches The Worm

Origin Of ‘The Early Bird Gets The Worm’

The earliest recordings of this proverb date back to the 17th century. For example, John Ray wrote the phrase down in a book called A compleat collection of English Proverbs, published in either the year 1670 or 1678:

“The early bird catcheth the worm.”

Of note, there is apparently an older citation of the proverb. According to, the first recording of it in English was in the year 1605. If that is the case, then this proverb is over 400 years old. While plenty of idiomatic phrases come and go in that amount of time, this one has stuck around and is still commonly used today.

Example Sentences

  • How was I able to get tickets to one of the most popular sporting events this year? The early bird gets the worm; the moment the tickets went on sale, I was there waiting.

Similar Example:

  • A clothing store was having a huge sale, but I failed to arrive in time to buy anything. I guess if you snooze you lose, as the saying goes.

Tip: For more phrases and sayings that are related to animals, consider our animal phrases page. There is a list of commonly used expressions on there.