The Early Bird Gets The Worm

Meaning:

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.
Synonyms / Similar Phrases:
1. Early bird (shortened form)
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 Dictionary.com, 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 Sentence(s)

  • My friend bought a newly released racing game and he wanted me to play it with him. However, when I went to buy a copy, they were all sold out! “How did you get yours?” I asked. He responded: “It looks like the early bird gets the worm; I got there this morning and bought it as soon as they opened.

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

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