hope for the best, but prepare for the worst

hope for the best, but prepare for the worst


  • be optimistic but ready for hard times as well
  • keep optimistic outlook but be ready for adversity
  • to expect for the best result all the while being prepared with options in case it is the worst one possible

Example Sentences

  1. The tendency these days is to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Else in our days we would never be speaking about failing an exam.
  2. My father was hoping for the best, but was prepared for the worst at the time my mother was going through some serious ailments.
  3. In case of law suits it is better to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. You never know how things eventually pan out.
  4. Although I hope for the best, but I am prepared for the worst when it comes to being able to crack these crazy interview questions.
  5. The man, throughout his life, hoped for the best, but prepared for the worst. It is his legacy now.


The meaning of the phrase is literal and advisory in tone. The phrase originated in the 18th century, although no literary origin of the same could be traced. It is popular currently since the trend is to have as many options open as possible because there is usually a lot of competition to deal with in every sphere of life.


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Tove Jansson had Little my say this line in the book, “Tales from Moominvalley.” This popularized it, and I feel some sort of credit is due.

- Jarek June 5, 2020

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Idiom of the Day

drastic times call for drastic measures

Meaning: extreme circumstances can only be resolved by equally extreme actions

Example: After the company had posted losses for the third consecutive year, the board decided to replace all of its top management. After all, drastic times call for drastic measures. Read on


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