A visit from the stork

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A visit from the stork is an idiom that may not be as old as you think. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom a visit from the stork, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

When someone is anticipating a visit from the stork, it means that the person is going to have a baby. Usually, the expression a visit from the stork is used to describe a couple expecting the birth of their own, biological infant. The term is a euphemism, which is a word or phrase that is a substitute for a more blunt, harsh, offensive, or unpleasant word or phrase. The origin of the phrase a visit from the stork has been debated; some try to tie the term to Greek and Egyptian myth. Some tie the belief storks deliver babies to medieval times, when Northern Europeans married in mid-summer and birthed their babies in the spring—when migrating storks returned to nest in the area. However, the term a visit from the stork didn’t come into wide use until the 1800s, after Hans Christian Anderson published his fairy tale, The Storks, in 1838. In the story, storks pluck dreaming babies from ponds and deliver them to their families. The phrase a visit from the stork was popular from Victorian times through the 1970s or so, when it was much more common in the West to speak euphemistically about biological functions.


Emma Roberts and Garret Hudlund are expecting a visit from the stork. (New York Daily News)

And as lockdown eased, it was revealed that Kareena Kapoor Khan and Anushka Sharma also had a visit from the stork.  (Times of India)

And just last month, Malin Andersson from 2016’s series announced she was expecting a visit from the stork. (Cosmopolitan)

Enjoyed reading about this idiom? Check out some others we covered:

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