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EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM & SECOND MOUSE GETS THE CHEESE’?
 

Do you know how early bird and second mouse can be used as an idiom, more specifically a joke idiom? In literature, the early bird gets the worm, and the second mouse gets the cheese are two idioms with relatable (but not the same) meanings. 

And the
relatability between them is the
reason for their combined usage sometimes. These are two idioms that can be used together right, but what do these sayings mean?

The saying ‘Early bird gets the worm’ means if you start something early, your chances of success are higher. While ‘Second Mouse Get the Cheese’ means the first mouse gets trapped and the mouse behind him takes advantage of this & takes the bait (cheese).
 

Explaining with literal meaning – If an open jar is stuffed with worms kept in an open area, whichever bird comes first will have the chance of eating more worms. On the other hand, one mouse gets trapped in search of cheese with two mice rambling outside. The first mouse enters the trap and gets killed. The second mouse will be saved and can have bait – cheese – kept in the trap.

Interesting right? Read further to know about these idioms and how these can be used together.

The idiom meaning of this phrase depicts the person who grabs the earliest opportunity to do something and gain an advantage over others. In this idiom, we can use either gets or catches. 

While talking about the origin, it is believed that it was recorded in 1605 according to dictionary.com. 

The other studies date its recording back to the 17th century by John Ray in his collection of proverbs. The proverb was something like this:

“The early bird catches the worm.”

Though it’s an older proverb apparently 400 years old, it is one of the commonly used idioms. 

For example – If there are limited tickets being distributed at 11’ o’clock for a concert, and John reaches the counter before anyone else. The chances of him getting a ticket are higher. So, he can say:

I am thrilled that I got the tickets for a concert after all the early birds caught the worm.

Similarly,

Rachel stepped out early for shopping, saying the early bird catches the worm. She didn’t want to lose the best prices.

The idiom’s meaning goes by its literal meaning. But, the phrase the second mouse gets the cheese means it is better to think and learn first from other people’s mistakes before taking action. Just like what happens when there is one mouse trap with two mice outside the trap.

Usage example:

Berry’s elder sister tried her hands at the guitar and to her surprise she couldn’t do it. But Berry learned it in a few weeks. So, this is how Berry will say:

You know, I didn’t have any clue that I could do it, but it’s an old saying the second mouse gets the cheese.

Here, Berry meant that she learned from her sister’s mistake and didn’t repeat the same.

Similarly, 

There are some dishes that I cook better than my mother as the second mouse gets the cheese. 

The idiom’s meaning goes by its literal meaning. But the phrase the second mouse gets the cheese means it is better to think and learn first from other people’s mistakes before taking action. Just like what happens when there is one mouse trap with two mice outside the trap.

Usage example:

Berry’s elder sister tried her hands at the guitar and to her surprise she couldn’t do it. But Berry learned it in a few weeks. So, this is how Berry will say:

You know, I didn’t have any clue that I could do it, but it’s an old saying the second mouse gets the cheese.

Here, Berry meant that she learned from her sister’s mistake and didn’t repeat the same.


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