Expression idiomatique en anglais: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride

16 mars 2017 - Anglais : ressources

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride


  • To wish for things does not yield to anything.
  • If just hoping and wishing for things would make it happen then even the poorest of all people would have everything that they desire.
  • One should work in order to get things instead of wishing for them.


  • She told me she wanted to become Miss Universe and I said, « If wishes were horses, beggars would ride ». How else was I to react to such an absurd thing ?
  • I was day dreaming about being the king of the world when my wife remimded me that if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.


In 1605 William Camden’s literary work « Remaines of a Greater Worke, Concerning Britaine » used this phrase although in a slightly different version to what it is right now.

  “If wishes were thrushes beggers would eat birds”

Jame Carmichal used another version in 1628.

“And if wishes were horses, pure (poor) men wald ride”

John Ray used another modified version in 1670 and finally the version that is closest to the one in use today was introduced in James Kelly’s Scottish Proverbs, Collected and Arranged in 1721. The modern day version has come about from all of the above and perhaps a few more variations of the same phrase. They have all meant the same since the first use.

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