A stitch in time saves nine

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A stitch in time saves nine is a proverb, which is a short, common saying or phrase. These language tools particularly give advice or share a universal truth, or impart wisdom. Synonyms for proverb include adage, aphorism, sayings, and byword, which can also be someone or something that is the best example of a group. Often, a proverb is so familiar that a speaker will only quote half of it, relying on the listener to supply the ending of the written or spoken proverb himself. Speakers of English as a second language are sometimes confused by these expressions as translations from English to other languages do not carry the impact that the English phrases carry. Some common proverbs are better late than never, curiosity killed the cat, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, never look a gift horse in the mouth, a blood is thicker than water, and don’t count your chickens before they hatch. One of the books of the Bible is the Book of Proverbs, which contains words and phrases that are still often quoted in the English language because they are wise. Many current proverbs are quotations taken from literature, particularly Shakespeare, as well as the Bible and other sacred writings. We will examine the meaning of the expression a stitch in time saves nine, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A stitch in time saves nine asserts that by taking care of a problem when it is small, it is possible to avoid dealing with a big problem later. The imagery evoked pertains to sewing. If a stitch breaks in a seam, it is easy to repair the garment by resewing that one stitch. If one allows the stitch to remain broken, the seam may continue to split. At that point, it may take nine stitches to repair the garment, making the job more difficult. The earliest known published use of the proverb a stitch in time saves nine may be found in Gnomologia, Adagies and Proverbs, Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British, published by Thomas Fuller in 1732, though Fuller equivocates a bit by rendering the phrase as “…may save time.” It is assumed that the proverb existed before it was collected in this book and as with most proverbs, writers and speakers often invoke the phrase by using only the first half, a stitch in time, expecting the reader or listener to supply the second half of the proverb for himself.


The saying goes “a stitch in time saves nine,” but sometimes you don’t have the time to sew, or you don’t know how. (The Preston County News & Journal)

A stitch in time would have truly saved nine if the police command had taken cognisance of an earlier complaint made against Olalekan. (This Day)

A gold loan is a stitch in time that saves exorbitant penalty charges levied by the card companies, and it also helps to maintain a good credit score. (The Financial Express)