Meaning-rolling stone

Posted by Joel on December 10, 2000

In Reply to: Meaning-rolling stone posted by Victoria on December 09, 2000

: OK- does anyone out there have a meaning for the saying "A rolling stone gathers no moss"

I guess I'm just a country boy. Sayings like this make immediate sense to me, but for people who've grown up in cities and suburbs, apparently they do not.

Mosses need a stable, moist environment to grow (shady edges of your lawn, edges of old roofs, immobile old stones set in the ground. If a stone is rolling, it does not provide this environment. Such a stone remains free, "clean," unadorned. So, by metaphor, a "rolling stone" is an unattached, itinerant person. The blues singer Muddy Waters wrote and sang a song in which he said "I'm a rollin' stone" and that's where the rock group the Rolling Stones got their name, also where the pop-culture newspaper got its name.