What does the idiom "bury one's head in the sand" mean?

The phrase bury one's head in the sand 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 bury one's head in the sand.

Meaning of "bury one's head in the sand"


The English phrase “bury one’s head in the sand” is used to describe a person who is trying to ignore a difficult situation or difficult truth. By burying their head in the sand, the person is essentially trying to avoid the problem and pretend it doesn’t exist. They are essentially pretending to be unaware or unconcerned with the issue in order to avoid dealing with it.


The phrase “bury one’s head in the sand” dates back to the 14th century. It was first used by Geoffrey Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales, in which he wrote “And many a man so feble of nature, To mannes oppinioun, that he dar nat take, Ne wol he seen a soore, but ley it shake, Or elles brynge him in a sorwefull mote, To berye his heved in a clooth of swote.” His use of the phrase was intended to describe a man who was so afraid or worried that he would bury his head in a cloth of sweetness, in order to not see the problem.


The phrase “bury one’s head in the sand” is commonly used in both formal and informal English. It is typically used when referring to someone who is trying to ignore a difficult or unpleasant situation in order to avoid having to deal with it. It can also be used to describe someone who is in denial of a certain truth or fact, or who is attempting to avoid confrontation.

Example Sentences

  • She was trying to bury her head in the sand about the fact that her marriage was failing.
  • He’s been burying his head in the sand ever since his friend died.
  • She was so scared of the news that she was almost burying her head in the sand.

The meanings of the words in the "bury one's head in the sand" 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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