Now, this is a phrase I understand all too well. No, it takes a village is not a guidebook on how to erect a settlement with huts and town squares. In fact, it’s a proverb that carries a profound message about community and a shared responsibility that we apply to parenting today. But let’s take a second to learn about the deeper meaning of the phrase and see how to apply it.
What Is the “It Takes a Village” Quote in Full?
The full proverb is often quoted as “It takes a village to raise a child.” And, believe me, as a parent, I know just how true that is.
It Takes a Village Meaning Explained
The saying emphasizes that a child’s upbringing is a communal effort involving many different people and groups, from parents to teachers to neighbors and grandparents.
The whole idea underscores the belief that the collective involvement of a community is essential in achieving a certain goal or completing a task, like raising a kid.
Essentially, it’s a friendly reminder that asking for help with hard things is okay because many hands make light work.
Origin and Etymology of It Takes a Village
Though it gained popularity in the West through Hillary Clinton’s 1996 book titled “It Takes a Village,” the proverb has African origins. It’s said to have originated from the Nigerian Igbo culture and proverb Oran a azu nwa, which loosely translates to it takes the community/village to raise a child.
You can actually find the saying used in several cultures and dialects, and it holds the same intent across them all—from Lunyoro, Kihaya, Kijita and Swahili!
It Takes a Village Synonyms
You don’t have to use this proverb if it doesn’t work in the context at hand. Try any of these alternatives instead to mix things up!
- Community effort
- Collective responsibility
- Shared undertaking
- Teamwork makes the dream work
- Many hands make light work
Using It Takes a Village: Examples in a Sentence
Let’s see how you can use this phrase in various sentences.
- The way everyone pitched in to help during the crisis proved that it takes a village to get things done.
- In the business world, it takes a village to make any company successful, from interns to CEOs and even volunteers.
- The local fundraiser succeeded because everyone understood it takes a village to effect change and get people talking.
- After having a couple of kids, I now know that raising a family truly takes something like a village.
- Launching a new book take a village of support from everyone you know.
Do You Have a Village?
So, it takes a village is more than just a saying about child-rearing. It is evidence of the power of community and shared effort. So, whenever you find yourself in a team environment, remember this phrase and see if you can apply it in some conversations! Have a quick look around for my other idiom guides and see what else you can add to your vocabulary!
Enjoyed reading about this idiom? Check out some others we covered: