phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Honey and vinegar

Posted by Rube on June 07, 2004

In Reply to: Honey and vinegar posted by Ward on June 05, 2004

: In an email discussion with my favorite Aussie blond(e) an old expression from my youth came into the conversation -- "you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar". Is that an expression in use around the English speaking world and what could have been the original intent -- to catch flies?

The original intent was to serve as an analogy I think.

IOW, it has nothing to do with catching flies, although you will find flies in a bowl of honey if it is left uncovered (more than you will in a bowl of vinegar).

The phrase is stil in current use. It means that something attractive, a reward or promise of reward, is more effective in securing compliance with one's wishes than the threat of punishment for non-compliance.