Do not count your chickens before they are hatched

What does ‘Do not count your chickens before they are hatched’ mean?

‘Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched’ means;

Plans should not be made on the assumption that something expected will happen in the future. Don’t rely on or don’t be over-confident about a result before it is certain or has happened. Depending on something happening before it has happened could lead to disappointment.

A short story;

The Milkmaid and Her Pail

A farmer’s daughter had been out to milk the cows, and was returning to the dairy carrying her pail of milk upon her head. As she walked along, she fell a-musing after this fashion: “The milk in this pail will provide me with cream, which I will make into butter and take to market to sell. With the money I will buy a number of eggs, and these, when hatched, will produce chickens, and by and by I shall have quite a large poultry-yard. Then I shall sell some of my fowls, and with the money which they will bring in I will buy myself a new gown, which I shall wear when I go to the fair; and all the young fellows will admire it, and come and make love to me, but I shall toss my head and have nothing to say to them.” Forgetting all about the pail, and suiting the action to the word, she tossed her head. Down went the pail, all the milk was spilled, and all her fine castles in the air vanished in a moment!


― Æsop Fables.

People who count their chickens before they are hatched act very wisely because chickens run about so absurdly that it’s impossible to count them accurately.

― Oscar Wilde.

Related phrases:

Never count your chickens before they’re hatched.

Let’s not count our chickens before they’re hatched.

You shouldn’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.

I wouldn’t count my chickens if I were you.

You’re counting your chickens before they’re hatched.

That’s what happens when you count your chickens before they’re hatched.

You had better not count your chickens until they’re hatched.

I’m not going to count my chickens before they’re hatched.

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