What does the idiom "A stitch in time saves nine" mean?

The phrase A stitch in time saves nine is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of A stitch in time saves nine.

Meaning of "A stitch in time saves nine"


The proverb 'a stitch in time saves nine' is a popular saying used to express the idea of taking preventative action for an issue or potential issue in order to save time, effort, and resources. In other words, taking action to prevent a problem from arising in the future can save a lot of effort and resources that would otherwise have been expended in trying to fix the problem.


The expression "a stitch in time saves nine" dates back to the 18th century and is possibly derived from the practice of darning. Darning was a commonly-used technique to mend and repair holes in fabrics. In order to patch a hole, one would need to stitch it quickly and accurately in order to ensure that the hole did not grow larger and require more stitches. In this way, the expression conveys how it can be much easier and more efficient to take preventative action than to wait until a problem has increased in severity before acting on it.


The phrase "a stitch in time saves nine" is a widely-used expression to emphasize the importance of taking preventative measures when addressing potential issues. It can be used in both formal and informal contexts to provide a reminder to people to not wait around for a problem to come to fruition before acting on it. The phrase can also be used to encourage people to prepare for the future, rather than waiting until a situation arises and then trying to react to it.

Example Sentences

  • It's always wise to remember that 'a stitch in time saves nine'. If you take the time to address a potential issue before it becomes a larger problem, you'll save yourself time and effort in the long run.
  • If you want to avoid a bigger headache down the line, don't forget that 'a stitch in time saves nine'. Acting early can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary stress.
  • Don't wait until things get worse; remember that 'a stitch in time saves nine'. Taking preventative measures now will be much easier than trying to fix a problem later.

The meanings of the words in the "A stitch in time saves nine" idiom

The power of idioms transcends languages!

"Putting the cart before the horse" is an English idiom that means doing things in the wrong order. In Russian, the similar idiom is "Кладёт колесо впереди лошади," which translates to "Putting the cart before the horse." This idiom emphasizes the idea that doing things in the wrong order can lead to confusion and problems down the line.


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