The Early Bird Gets The Worm

Meaning:

In order to seize certain opportunities, arriving first or early can result in a higher chance of success.

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).

Synonyms / Related Phrases:
1. You snooze you lose
2. First come first serve
3. Early bird (shortened form)
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.”

However, apparently there is an older recording of the proverb, because according to Dictionary.com, the first recording of it in English was in the year 1605. This would make the proverb, at the very least, over 400 years old. While plenty of phrases come and go in that amount of time, this one stuck around and is still commonly used today.


Example Sentence(s)

“I went to buy that newly released racing game from the store, but by the time I got there, they were all sold out. How did you get yours?”

“It looks like the early bird gets the worm, because I woke up at 7:30 AM and got there as soon as they opened.”


Tip: For more more phrases that have to do with animals, you might want to check out our animal idioms page, there’s a list of them there!