Posted by Bob on January 11, 2000
In Reply to: Need help with a meaning. posted by bobby on January 10, 2000
: what does the phrase a watched pot never boils over mean?
A watched pot never boils.
It's a cautionary statement, preaching the value of patience. It's the sort of thing mothers tell their children. Waiting for a pot to come to boil can seem interminable if you stare at it. Better to go busy yourself with some other task, and the time will (seem to) go faster. Applied metaphorically to any activity where you waste energy doing nothing, figeting, waiting for something to happen... when you could better apply your time doing something useful. Literally, of course, the boiling takes the same amount of time whether you watch or not, but time does drag on interminably when you're over-anxious.
(The phrase has nothing to do with boiling over.)