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Common Phrase Meanings and Origins > D-Letter Sayings
Note: Tracing the origins for phrases is difficult, so what you'll typically see are the common theories that are believed to be how a phrase originated, but it may not necessarily be the case.

In addition, quotes that contain a particular phrase may be taken from old newspapers, poems, or books that were written centuries ago, but this by no means confirms that the phrase originates from said newspapers, poems, or books. For example, if an expression is being used in a newspaper, it's probably already a well known saying and is thus, from an older time. Still, it serves as an indicator for how far back in history some phrases go.

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It's believed that a Greek fabulist named Aesop lived from 620 to 560 BCE, and he has
a number of written fables credited to his name. Today these fables are known collectively
as Aesop's Fables. One of the tales credited to him is titled The Milkmaid and Her Pail,
which is thought to have been written in 570 BCE, and this phrase is found within.

The story tells of a young milkmaid who was on her way to the local market to sell a pail of milk that she was carrying around on the top of her head. Before even finding a buyer, the milkmaid was already thinking about what she would do with the money she would earn from the sale. Soon after, she accidently dropped the pail of milk on the ground, spilling it everywhere! With nothing left to sell, she returned home and told her mother about the disappointing news, to which her mother replied:

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

Reference: pagebypagebooks
* A friend of mine was competing in a race, but before it had even begun he was already planning his victory celebration. I warned him not to count his chickens before they hatched and to instead focus on just finishing the race.

* After ordering all of the parts for a computer, Jim was excited to see what his new PC would be capable of. However, he countered his chickens before they hatched, as his new computer did not work when he tried to power it on.
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The meaning of the phrase don't count your chickens before they hatch.
Don't rely on something you are unsure about; making plans based on assumptions can lead to disappointment.
Phrases and Idioms