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Idiom

Make Hay while the Sun Shines: Origin and Meaning

Meaning
Make the most of your opportunities while you have the chance / take advantage of favourable circumstances when the time is right.
Origin
Make hay while the sun shinesThis phrase is a proverb which originated with English farmers in medieval times. Hay is dried wheat or grass used as food for farm animals. Centuries ago, without modern machinery, it would take several days for a farmer to cut, dry and collect the hay. Since hay gets destroyed if it becomes too wet, the farmers used to take the opportunity when the weather was hot and sunny to cut and gather the hay. Therefore, make hay while the sun shines began as a sensible and practical piece of farming advice. However, the idiom soon began to be used by the general public to emphasise that you should take advantage of good circumstances before the opportunity vanishes. In 1546, John Heywood wrote about the idiom in his collection of English Proverbs, writing: “When the sun shines make hay. Which is to say…take time when the time comes, in case time wastes away.”
Examples
Susanna: “I’m going to have a party while my parents are out of town and the house is all mine!”
Elena: “Good idea! Make hay while the sun shines!

Aaron: “There’s a half-price sale at the sports shop, we should go down there and check it out.”
Nicholas: : “Definitely, let’s make hay while the sun shines! I want to buy a pair of new trainers and it would be great to get them for a cheaper price.”

Newspaper headline: “Beaches packed with holiday-makers making hay while the sun shines!”
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