The grass is always greener on the other side is a phrase 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. Sometimes I find myself wishing that I was in his line of work. I would probably be better off, or so I thought. However, my brother said to me, “The grass is always greener. Your present job pays well enough and it has flexible hours, so try being content with that.”
The Origin Of “The Grass Is Always Greener”
What does this idiom mean? The grass is always greener on the other side is a metaphor that involves two sides of grass with a fence in between them. The grass on one side represents things that a person already has and has grown accustomed to, hence the “grass” on this side appears bland and boring. On the other side of the fence is “greener grass,” which represents a person’s idea of something that looks newer and fresher than what they already have; hence this grass looks more interesting and exciting.
How did this phrase originate? It’s hard to say, as we can only speculate on the matter. Perhaps a farmer came up with the expression after observing some of his animals trying to reach over the fence to eat the green grass on the other side.
What is known is that this phrase goes back to the early 20th century. Interestingly, I could not find this phrase in print until the 1920s. For example, 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.
- I was considering moving to Canada because in all likelihood it would be more interesting to live there. But then again, the grass is greener on the other side, as the saying goes.
Tip: People use phrases like this every day in conversations. See our list of phrases starting with “G” for more.