Expression idiomatique en anglais: Don’t count your chickens before the eggs have hatched

4 avril 2017 - Anglais : ressources

Don’t count your chickens before the eggs have hatched


  • Don’t rely on something you are unsure about
  • Making plans based on assumptions can lead to disappointment


  • Louis was already planning his winning celebration before the race started, but he counted his chickens before they hatched as he ended up receiving last place.
  • You might be able to get a loan from the bank, but don’t count your chickens.


This phrase, for the most part, is seen in a poem called Hudibras. The first two parts of the poem were written by poet Samuel Butler in the years 1663 and 1664:

« To swallow gudgeons ere th’are catch’d, And count their chickens ere th’are hatch’d »

(Trad: « To swallow goby fish before they are caught, and count their chickens before they are hatched »)

It is also said that Thomas Howell used the phrase in New Sonnets and Pretty Pamphlets, 1570:

« Counte not thy Chickens that vnhatched be, Waye wordes as winde, till thou fonde certaintee. »

(Trad: « Count not your unhatched chickens, weigh your words as Wind, until you find certainty »)

Additionally, a Greek fabulist named Aesop, said to have live from 620 to 560 BCE, is also credited with using this expression. He has several fables attributed to his name; today, these are collectively known as Aesop’s Fables. One of them is titled The Milkmaid and Her Pail, and there’s a line from the tale that reads:

« Ah, my child », said the mother, « Do not count your chickens before they are hatched »

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