no man is an island

no man is an island

Meaning

  • to require help from other every now and then because of one’s limitations
  • to not be able to live independent of others at all times

Example Sentences

  1. Having children has taught me that no man is an island.
  2. No man is an island you know, you will need to call me back to work for you!
  3. I have fired my maid servant today but know that I will have to hire her back since no man is an island!
  4. You need to relook at the proposal that you have sent to me. Almost all the actionable items are in the name of one person only and I know that no man is an island.
  5. She tried doing it all by herself but broke down in six months because no man is an island.

Origin

The phrase originates from the understanding of islands being self-sufficient and independent. It is compared with men because no matter how able, no person can do everything by themselves. Human beings are social animals and cannot function independently, the way islands do. The metaphor takes the literal meaning of how an island would never mingle with other parts of land, but humans cannot do that because an island cannot move by itself and is bound where it is but that is not the same for human beings.

Related to

N 2 Comments

2 Comments

AuthorFatima writes on 30th October 2017

@Jane

The literary origin of this phrase is highly speculated to be John Donne’s “Devotion upon emergent occasions and seuerall steps in my sickness – Meditaion 17” from the year 1624 but the thought is speculated to be older than that.

Thank you,
The Idioms Team.

AuthorJane writes on 24th October 2017

Does the origin of this having nothing to do with John Donne’s ‘Devotion 17’?

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