count one's chickens (before they hatch)

variants: or British count one's chickens before they're hatched

Definition of count one's chickens (before they hatch)

usually used in negative statements to mean that someone should not depend on something hoped for until he or she knows for certain that it will happen
  • Don't count your chickens (before they hatch)—you don't know yet if she will accept your offer.

Word by Word Definitions

count play
  1. : to indicate or name by units or groups so as to find the total number of units involved : number

  2. : to name the numbers in order up to and including

  3. : to include in a tallying and reckoning

  1. : the action or process of counting

  2. : a total obtained by counting : tally

  3. : reckoning, account

  1. : a European nobleman whose rank corresponds to that of a British earl

chicken play chickens
  1. : the common domestic fowl (Gallus gallus) especially when young

  2. : any of various birds or their young

  3. : a young woman

  1. : scared

  2. : timid, cowardly

  3. : insistent on petty details of duty or discipline

  1. : to lose one's nerve

before play
  1. : in advance : ahead

  2. : at an earlier time

  1. : forward of : in front of

  2. : in the presence of

  3. : under the jurisdiction or consideration of

  1. : earlier than the time that

  2. : sooner or quicker than

  3. : so that … do not

they play
  1. : those ones

  2. : he:1

  3. : people

hatch play
  1. : a small door or opening (as in an airplane or spaceship)

  2. : an opening in the deck of a ship or in the floor or roof of a building

  3. : the covering for such an opening

  1. : to produce young by incubation

  2. : to emerge from an egg, chrysalis, or pupa

  3. : to give forth young or imagoes

  1. : an act or instance of hatching

  2. : a brood of hatched young

  1. : to inlay with narrow bands of distinguishable material

  2. : to mark (something, such as a drawing or engraving) with fine closely spaced lines

  1. : line


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to conform or adhere

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