The phrase ‘the grass is always greener on the other side‘ is a metaphor that means a person’s idea of something may seem more appealing or better in comparison to what they currently have, even if this is not the case.
Example: My friend has a fantastic job, one that I sometimes wish I had. I’d probably be better off, or so I thought. However, my brother said to me, “The grass is always greener. Your current job pays well enough and it has flexible hours, so be content with that.”
The Origin of ‘The Grass Is Always Greener’
This expression is a metaphor involving two sides of grass, and oftentimes a fence is in between them. On one side, the grass represents what a person already has—things they have grown accustomed to. Hence the ‘grass’ on this side appears bland and boring. However, on the other side of the fence is ‘greener grass,’ which represents a person’s idea of something that looks newer and better than what they currently have; hence this grass appears more interesting and exciting.
Anyway, how did this phrase originate? Well, that’s not really known, so we can only speculate on the matter. It could be that its origin is with farmers and the livestock they deal with on a daily basis. For example, some animals in a fenced off area may decide to ignore the grass directly underneath them and instead, they’ll try to reach the grass on the other side of the fence. Perhaps someone came up with this expression after observing such behavior.
What is known about this phrase is that it goes back to the early 20th century. Interestingly, I could not find this phrase in print until the 1920s. Near the start of that decade it appears in the Windsor And Richmond Gazette newspaper, July 1921:
‘The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,’ and to Michael Strange the attraction of the city seemed far more desirable than the peaceful quiet of Security, Mass.
See Also: Touch Grass
If someone told you to touch grass, would you know what they meant? Learn all about this expression and where it came from.
- I was considering moving to Canada because I think it would be more interesting to live there. But then again, the grass is always greener on the other side, as the saying goes.
Tip: People use phrases like this every day in conversations. For a full list of sayings and to help you navigate around, try using the menu at the top.