In clover

In clover is an idiom with roots in the practice of agriculture. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words, or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, in the same boat, bite the bullet, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom in clover, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

In clover means to be in a good situation, to to be in a situation of great comfort, to be in a place in life where one needn’t worry about the future. Someone who is in clover has all his basic needs met and has resources to enjoy extra entertainment or comforts. The idiom in clover carries a connotation that the person has moved from a more precarious state to being in clover. The idiom in clover goes back at least to the 1700s and is based upon the fact that cattle enjoy eating clover over other vegetation. A happy cow is in clover.


Smith was in clover as England forgot one of the basics: that even the great batsmen, a category in which Smith obviously belongs, do not like being tied down and compelled to work for their runs. (The Guardian)

When Trevor Rose, a design engineer in the oil industry, moved to Scotland from the south of England in 2000 he was in clover as far as reptiles and amphibians were concerned. (The Scottish Field Magazine)

They were in clover when Rick was a ’50s TV star, on a western series with a jaunty horse-trot of a title, “Bounty Law.” (Time Magazine)

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