Pages Navigation Menu

We remove language barriers

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Proverb meaning

It is preferable to have a small but certain advantage than a mere potential of a greater one.

Proverb origin

The earliest recorded instance of this exact phrase was printed in a newspaper in 1833. The quote in the newspaper refers to the adage as "old," though exactly how old it is cannot be determined.  (source: Yahoo!Voices)

It is very interesting to compare the literal meaning of this proverb in different languages. In some languages (French, German and Russian) a "bird"  has a real name (sparrow, sparrow, crane); in German the place "bush" is replaced by "roof" and in Spanish and Portuguese by an act of flying.

Spanish:   A bird in hand is better than hundred in flight.
French:    A sparrow in the hand is better than a crane who flies.
German:  A sparrow in the hand is better than a pigeon on the roof.
Italian:    Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow.
Portuguese:  A bird in the hand costs more than two to fly.
Russian:   Do not promise a crane in the sky, rather give a titmouse into my hands.

Use ImTranslator Comparison Tool to see the translation variants from Google Translate, Microsoft Translator and Babylon.

English to Spanish
Google Translate: Un pájaro en la mano vale más que dos en el monte.
Microsoft Translator: Dos en el bush vale pájaro en mano.
Babylon: Más vale pájaro en mano en el bush.

English to French
Google Translate: Un oiseau dans la main vaut mieux que deux tu l'auras.
Microsoft Translator: Un oiseau dans la main vaut deux dans la brousse.
Babylon: Un oiseau dans la main vaut mieux que deux tu l'auras.

English to German
Google Translate: Ein Vogel in der Hand ist besser in den Busch.
Microsoft Translator: Ein Vogel in der Hand ist die Taube auf.
Babylon:  Der Spatz in der Hand als die Taube auf dem Dach.

English to Italian
Google Translate: Un uccello in mano vale due nel cespuglio.
Microsoft Translator: Un uccello in mano vale due nel bush.
Babylon: Un uovo è la gallina.

English to Portuguese
Google Translate: Um pássaro na mão do que dois a voar.
Microsoft Translator: Mais vale um passarinho na gaiola do que dois voando.
Babylon: Mais vale um pássaro na mão que dois a voar.

English to Russian
Google Translate: Лучше синица в руках, чем журавль в небе.
Microsoft Translator: Лучше одна птичка в руках, чем две в кустах.
Babylon: С высоты птичьего полета в стороны - две в кустах.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This