What does the idiom "Make hay while the sun shines" mean?

Make hay while the sun shines is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression Make hay while the sun shines is also remarkable in this respect.

Meaning of "Make hay while the sun shines"


The idiom “make hay while the sun shines” is used to express the idea that one should take advantage of a good opportunity while it is available, before it is too late. This common phrase is often used to refer to taking advantage of one’s limited or fleeting resources, or making the most out of the current favorable circumstances.


The phrase “make hay while the sun shines” has its roots in agriculture and farming. In the old days, farmers would harvest hay, which was a main source of food for their livestock, only when the sun was out. If the hay wasn’t harvested quickly and efficiently, it would spoil in the rain. Thus, the phrase “make hay while the sun shines” developed to refer to the practice of taking advantage of opportune conditions, while they were available.


The phrase “make hay while the sun shines” is commonly used in everyday conversations, as well as in business and professional contexts, to refer to acting quickly and efficiently when a situation is favorable or an opportunity presents itself. The expression is used to encourage people to take advantage of positive circumstances while they’re available and utilize them to the fullest.

Example Sentences

  • The company’s success was due to its ability to make hay while the sun shone and take advantage of their competitive edge.
  • Don’t let this opportunity pass by – make hay while the sun shines!
  • We’d better start preparing now so that we can make hay while the sun shines.

The meanings of the words in the "Make hay while the sun shines" idiom

The Global Spread of English Idioms

As English has become a global language, its idioms have spread far beyond the borders of the UK and USA. For instance, the idiom "beat around the bush" has equivalents in many other languages, such as "tourner autour du pot" in French and "dar vueltas al asunto" in Spanish. Meanwhile, other idioms have been adapted for local contexts, such as the Russian idiom "?? ???? ???????" (ne svoya rubashka), which translates to "not one's own shirt," meaning to be in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar situation.


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