Grass Is Always Greener, the

Also:

The grass is always greener on the other side

Meaning of Idiom ‘The Grass is Always Greener’

This idiom is a shortened version of the proverb the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, meaning that a different situation or circumstance always seems better than one’s own; other people’s lives always seem more comfortable, pleasant, etc. than our own. 1Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,3Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.


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Usage

Sometimes a fuller version, the grass is always greener on the other side, is used. The idiom is often used to refer to infidelity or adultery. 4Chrysti. Verbivore’s Feast: Second Course: More Word & Phrase Origins. Helena, MT: Farcountry, 2006.

Examples Of Use

“William always envied the people working in management until he got promoted and found out how boring the work was. It just goes to show, the grass is always greener on the other side!”

“I always wanted to be my own boss and now that I am, I’m working harder than ever before. The grass is always greener.”

“Terrence’s biggest problem is that he is one of those grass is always greener people.”

The grass is always greener idiom meaning

The idiom derives from a more recent version of an ancient proverb and exists in many variations. The Roman poet Ovid, for example, cited the proverb “ferilor seges est alienis semper in agris,” meaning “the harvest is always more fruitful in another man’s field.” Although dozens of versions of the proverb can be found, “the grass is always greener” is the favorite American way of expressing the sentiment. It is speculated that the expression came from the habit of cattle of grazing through the fence on the grass of the adjacent field, or escaping from one pasture to another through a broken fence line, in search of new grass to eat.

Sometimes, more urbanized versions are heard such as “the grass is always greener on the other side of the street” or “the grass is always greener in another man’s lawn.” 5Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.,6Chrysti. Verbivore’s Feast: Second Course: More Word & Phrase Origins. Helena, MT: Farcountry, 2006.,7Manser, Martin H., et al. The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Facts On File, 2007.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3, 5. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.
4, 6. Chrysti. Verbivore’s Feast: Second Course: More Word & Phrase Origins. Helena, MT: Farcountry, 2006.
7. Manser, Martin H., et al. The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Facts On File, 2007.