don't count your chickens before they're hatched

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Alternative forms[edit]


First attested in English in Thomas Howell's 1570 New Sonnets and Pretty Pamphlets in the couplet "Counte not thy Chickens that vnhatched be, / Waye wordes as winde, till thou finde certaintee", possibly based off similar medieval and early modern Latin fables and maxims.


don't count your chickens before they're hatched

  1. One should not depend upon a favorable (and typically overoptimistic) outcome to one's plans until it is certain to occur.



See also[edit]


  • Gregory Y. Titelman, Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings, 1996, →ISBN, p. 63.
  • Jennifer Speake, ed., Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, 6th ed., 2015, →ISBN, p. 60.