Monday, July 25, 2011

Know Idioms - Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea & A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

“Guna had to choose between confessing that he hadn’t studied or trying to fake it. He was between the devil and the deep blue sea.”

Meaning: caught between two great dangers and not knowing what to do; in a very difficult position.
Origin: In the early 17th century the heavy plank fastened to the side of a vessel as a support for guns was called the devil. Sometimes a sailor had to go out onto this plank to do repairs to the boat. In heavy seas he would be in great danger of falling overboard and drowning
because he was between “the devil and the deep blue sea.” Over the centuries the meaning of this expression expanded to include being between two equally difficult perils of any kind.

A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

Take this job now because you don’t know if you’ll get the other one. Remember that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Meaning: what you already have is better than what you might or might not get in the future; a guarantee is worth more than a promise.
Origin: This saying began as an ancient Greek proverb. Aesop used it in some of his fables. The ancient Romans repeated it, and in the 1400s it was translated into English. It comes from the sport of hunting birds. Hunters thought that a bird that you had already captured (“in
the hand”) was better than two you hadn’t yet caught (“in the bush”). Today we often hear the same advice: It is better to be content with what you already have than to reject it because you hope that something better will turn up.

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