a bird in the hand

a bird in the hand


  • a possession that is worthy
  • to be satisfied with what one has rather than aiming for something bigger which could lead to even losing the little that is already with the person
  • to lose what one has in trying to gain something better, almost always used as advice
  • something in one’s possession, often modest but better than nothing

Example Sentences

  1. The fact is that he did not realise that a bird in the hand was worth more and went after having an extra marital affair. Now he neither has his wife nor his girlfriend.
  2. I know that a bird in the hand is more important and hence will not be quitting my job to enter into the stock market.
  3. It may not be the best of jobs, but it’s a bird in the hand and you should not give it up till you can find a better one.


The medieval times saw the rise of Falconry, which meant to hunt using the Falcon bird. This one bird was worth more than two (prey) in the bush, that is, in hiding. The owner of the Falcons could not risk losing their trained birds to catch a prey, which may or may not materialize. The rule was to catch prey that was easily accessible. If the Falco was at risk then the prey would deliberately not be pursued.

The literary origin comes from the year 1670 in “A Hand-book of Proverbs” by John Ray. The full phrase reads ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’.

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