phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Waste not...

Posted by ESC on May 10, 2000

In Reply to: Waste not... posted by ESC on May 10, 2000

: : Where and when and by whom did the phrase "waste not want not" start?

: "Waste not, want not. The less we waste, the less we lack in the future. The proverb has been traced back to 1772, and is first cited in the United States in the 1932 'Topper Takes a Trip' by T. Smith..." From the "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

: I would have guessed that this saying was older than that. If I find any more about it, I'll post a PS.

"A Dictionary of American Proverbs" by Wolfgang Mieder & others (Oxford University Press, New York, 1992) cites the 1932 use of the phrase. It also has "1. Those who waste will want. (recorded distribution): Ill. 2. Waste and want; save and have. Rec. dist: Ill. 3. Waste not, want not. Var.: Waste not and you'll want not -- willful waste makes woeful want. Rec. dist: U.S., Can. 1st citation: 1772 Wesley, 'Letters,' ed. Telford ; US1932 Smith, 'Topper Takes a Trip'..."