A stitch in time saves nine

Posted by ESC on September 09, 1999

In Reply to: A stitch in time saves nine"WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!?" posted by Michelle on September 09, 1999

: My 3rd grader needs to know what this phrase means so she can write a story based on it`s meaning. HELP!
: I have looked all over the internet and have found meanings for just about every saying BUT this one. If someone knows where I can find the meaning please post ASAP or better yet feel free to e-mail me.
: THANKS! : )

"A stitch in time saves nine. If you deal with problems immediately, when they first appear, you will save yourself a lot of money and trouble after. This adage is listed in the 1732 Thomas Fuller's book of Proverbs , and was first cited in the United States in the 1787 'Journal of Tour of North America in 1796-1791' by Francis Bally (1774-1844). The word 'nine' was introduced for assonance." From Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman.

Assonance means "nine" sounds good in the phrase, I reckon.

Basically, the proverb means if you sew up your hem when it first starts to unravel, it's not a big problem. If you wait and don't take care of it, the whole hem will come undone. THEN you'll have a lot of stitching to do.

See also: the meaning and origin of the proverb 'a stitch in time saves nine'.