What does the idiom "Good things come to those who wait" mean?

Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does Good things come to those who wait mean? In what situations is Good things come to those who wait used?

Meaning of "Good things come to those who wait"


The idiom ‘good things come to those who wait’ is an expression used to communicate that in due course, people will be rewarded for their patience. This phrase is meant to be encouraging and to provide comfort to someone who is facing a difficult and uncertain situation. It is often used to reassure people that the outcome of a situation may take some time, but that it will ultimately be positive.


The origin of the phrase is uncertain, however it is known to have been used in the mid fourteenth century. The earliest recorded use of the phrase appears in a poem by John Lydgate, an English poet from the late Middle Ages, published in 1390. In his work, Lydgate wrote “God must of necessity be good and true, For he rewardeth all that longeth and waiteth”. This line is believed to be the earliest written version of the phrase.

Over the centuries the phrase has been used in various ways, but has generally held the same meaning. In the nineteenth century the phrase was used in print by various authors, with some versions featuring slight variations of the phrase. For example, in 1854, British author William Makepeace Thackeray wrote “we may be sure that good comes to him that waits” in his novel The Newcomes.


The idiom ‘good things come to those who wait’ is often used to provide comfort and encouragement in difficult and uncertain times. It is also used to remind people to remain patient, as the outcome of a situation or event may take some time, but it will be positive. This phrase is typically used in a reassuring manner, particularly when someone is feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or defeated.

The phrase can also be used in a more light-hearted manner in cases where someone is showing impatience. For instance, if someone is constantly demanding to know the outcome of a situation, the phrase ‘good things come to those who wait’ is often used to remind them to be patient.

Example Sentences

  • “Don't worry, good things come to those who wait.”
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The meanings of the words in the "Good things come to those who wait" idiom

From Shakespeare to Social Media: The Evolution of English Idioms

English idioms have been around for centuries, with many originating from sources like literature, mythology, and everyday life. Shakespeare, for example, coined many phrases that are still used today, such as "break the ice" and "heart of gold." Over time, new idioms have emerged, with social media and popular culture providing rich sources of inspiration. For instance, the phrase "throwing shade" came into use in the 1990s thanks to ball culture, but has since been popularized by social media.


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