What does the idiom "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" mean?
The expression Don't put all your eggs in one basket is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the Don't put all your eggs in one basket idiom.
Meaning of "Don't put all your eggs in one basket"
The phrase, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a phrase known to many English speakers around the world and is used as a warning against putting too much trust or effort into a single endeavor. In other words, it could be summarized as “do not risk too much in one venture”. This phrase is intended to make one think twice before taking a chance and putting all their resources into a single endeavor.
The origin of the phrase dates back to William Cobbett’s book “Rural Rides,” published in 1830. It is likely that the phrase was passed down through generations given its ubiquity in the English language. It is also possible that the phrase originated in the Latin phrase “frangere nolite omnia ovum in unum cistam” which translates to “do not break all the eggs into one basket”. Though the precise origin is not known, these two potential etymologies are widely accepted.
The phrase “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is most commonly used to advise against overly risky behavior. This phrase is commonly seen in situations such as investing money, applying to jobs, and personal relationships. In addition to its implications of risk, this phrase serves as a reminder to be judicious with one’s resources, especially when it comes to future prospects. The phrase is also occasionally used in its more literal sense, often in the context of transporting eggs.
- “I was about to put all my savings into a risky investment, but I remember my parents’ advice to not put all my eggs in one basket.”
- “My mother always told me that I should diversify my portfolio and not put all my eggs in one basket.”
- “We need to be careful about the eggs; don’t put all of them in one basket.”
Idioms with similar meanings in different languages
"Barking up the wrong tree" is an English idiom that means to pursue a mistaken or misguided course of action. In German, the similar idiom is "Auf dem Holzweg sein," which translates to "To be on the wrong track." This idiom emphasizes the idea that when you are pursuing the wrong course of action, you are not going to achieve your desired outcome.