What does the idiom "Throw caution to the wind" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase Throw caution to the wind, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression Throw caution to the wind used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "Throw caution to the wind"


Throw caution to the wind is an idiom that means to do something without considering the consequences. It is used to express a moment of recklessness or foolishness. It is often used when telling a story or describing a situation when someone takes a risk and it turns out well.


The origin of this phrase is a bit of a mystery. Some believe it originated in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, when Macbeth says “I am afraid to think what I have done; Look on't again I dare not.” The phrase could have been derived from this to mean disregarding fear and taking risks. Another theory is that it comes from a German proverb, “Wer mutig ist, fechtet den Wind”, which means “He who is brave fights the wind”. This would suggest that the phrase implies taking a risk against a stormy situation.


This idiom is generally used when trying to encourage someone to take a risk. It can also be used as a warning to someone who is about to make a rash decision. It is quite commonly used in everyday conversations when talking about taking risks or when giving advice. It is also used quite frequently in literature and movies, usually when there is a scene when someone is taking a risk or trying to be brave.

Example Sentences

  • If you want to get that promotion, you’re going to need to throw caution to the wind and ask for it.
  • He decided to throw caution to the wind and invest all his money in the stock market.
  • I know it’s risky, but sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and hope for the best.
  • She wanted to follow her passion, so she threw caution to the wind and quit her job.

The meanings of the words in the "Throw caution to the wind" 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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