A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush


It's better to have a small real advantage than the possibility of a greater one.


This proverb refers back to mediaeval falconry where a bird in the hand (the falcon) was a valuable asset and certainly worth more than two in the bush (the prey).

The first citation of the expression in print in its currently used form is found in John Ray's A Hand-book of Proverbs, 1670, which he lists it as:

A [also 'one'] bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

By how much the phrase predates Ray's publishing isn't clear, as variants of it were known for centuries before 1670. The earliest English version of the proverb is from the Bible and was translated into English in Wycliffe's version in 1382, although Latin texts have it from the 13th century:

Ecclesiastes IX - A living dog is better than a dead lion.

Alternatives that explicitly mention birds in hand come later.

The term bird in hand must have been known in the USA by 1734, as that is the date when a small town in Pennsylvania was founded with that name.





这个比喻产生于中古时期,人们还是狩猎的时候。那时,如果人们手里有一只猎鹰,那就是很有价值的, 那绝对是比在草丛中两个猎物更有价值。


A [或者 'one'] bird in the hand is worth two in the bush