make hay while the sun shines

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In medieval times, when forecasting the weather several days in advance was more difficult, farmers would have to take several days to cut, dry, and collect hay depending on the weather conditions. Attested since 1546, originally a Tudor expression, and used figuratively since 1673.[1]


make hay while the sun shines

  1. (idiomatic) To act while an opportunity exists; to take action while a situation is favorable.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In the imperative form this verb is used as a proverb.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ make hay while the sun shines”, The Phrase Finder, Gary Martin.
  • Gregory Y. Titelman, Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings, 1996, ISBN 0-679-44554-4, p. 225.