A Far Cry From – Idiom, Meaning & Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Have you ever heard an expression to the tune of “that’s a far cry from what I expected” or “we’re a far cry from home”? These are different forms of the phrase “far cry” that have been used for decades and are still used in everyday conversation.

But what exactly does “a far cry from” mean, and who started it? I can answer all your questions about this common phrase in this quick guide!

What Does Far Cry Mean?

A Far Cry From Idiom Meaning Origin

You should use the phrase “far cry” if you want to describe a noticeable difference or even distance between two points. You can express disappointment, surprise, or disbelief when something isn’t what you expected. Also, “far cry” can be used in both a positive and negative way.

  • Positive: Jamie is a recovered addict and is a far cry from the person they used to be.
  • Negative: The novice’s work is a far cry from where it needs to be if they want us to showcase it.

Is Far Cry an Idiom?

Absolutely! “Far cry” is most definitely an idiom. The phrase isn’t meant to be taken literally, but instead, it gives a figurative meaning that has evolved with use over time. Of course, it could technically be used in a literal sense. Like if you asked someone to shout across a long distance, that could be called a far cry.

The Origin of the Term Far Cry

It came about around the early-mid 1800s in Scotland and was used to reference criers or messengers that clansmen would send across the countryside to deliver messages to other clans.

Far Cry Synonyms

Basically, any word or phrase that shows something is far off from what’s expected will work in this context. But here are some ideas to help you out.

  • A long way off
  • Miles away
  • A stretch
  • A big difference
  • Vast improvement
  • Not good enough

How Do You Use a Far Cry From in a Sentence?

A Far Cry From Idiom Meaning Origin 1
  • The new candle scent the team created was a far cry from what we expected. It doesn’t smell like vanilla at all.
  • I have to say that this year’s event was a far cry from the previous years, and many people were disappointed with the turnout.
  • When I first visited Edmonton, I knew it was a far cry from my small hometown in Newfoundland, but I fell in love with it anyway.
  • The wretched weather today is a far cry from yesterday’s beautiful sunshine.
  • I was so disappointed with my favorite singer’s live performance; it was a far cry from the albums I listen to at home.
  • My writing today is a far cry from where it was ten years ago.

A far cry from her indie beginnings, Mai’s musical growth is laid out in Portnoo, an instrumental and stargazing ode to one of Donegal’s gems. (Irish Times)

You’re a Far Cry From Before

Now, after reading this guide, you’re a far cry from where you were just moments ago because you understand the meaning and proper usage of the idiomatic phrase. Go ahead; use it in conversation and writing with confidence!