Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

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Meaning of Idiom 'Put All Your Eggs in One Basket'

To put all your eggs in one basket means to risk losing everything by having only one plan or idea and depend entirely on it for your success. 1,2

Usage

This idiom is most often used as a simple warning: "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."

Examples:

"I know you want to be an actor, but you still need to have a good education. Don't put all your eggs in one basket."

"I applied to ten different colleges. I didn't want to put all my eggs in one basket."

Don't put all your eggs into one basket idiom
Don't put all your eggs into one basket idiom

Origin

This idiom comes from an old proverb most likely Spanish or Italian, and first found in print during 17th century. It alludes to gathering all eggs from your hens into one basket so that if you should drop the basket, you lose all your eggs.

It appears in Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1615):

"…to withdraw is not to run away, and to stay is no wise action when there's more reason to fear than to hop; 'tis the part of a wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow, and not venture all his eggs in one basket."

It is also found in A Common Place of Italian Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases by Giovanni Torriano (1666).

It is similar to an older proverb, originally Latin: "Venture not all in one ship." Or don't trust all your goods to one ship.

Mark Twain, in Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) played on the idiom humorously:

Behold, the fool saith, 'Put not all thy eggs in one basket'—which is but a manner of saying, 'Scatter your money and your attention'; but the wise man saith, 'Put all your eggs in the one basket and—WATCH THAT BASKET.' 1,3,4

Sources
1. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
2. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.
3. Manser, Martin H., et al. The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Facts On File, 2007.
4. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013

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