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The meaning and origin of the expression: A change is as good as a rest

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A change is as good as a rest

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'A change is as good as a rest'?

A change is as good as a rest is a proverb that expresses, in a fairly straightforward literal way, the notion that a change from one's regular occupation is as restorative as a holiday.

What's the origin of the phrase 'A change is as good as a rest'?

'A change is as good as a rest' is a product of the the Victorian era. Many proverbs from that time encourage the strengthening of moral fibre, effort and industry. This one is harder to understand the motive for as it is more of an observation than an exhortation.

The idea expressed in the proverb is first found in the Christian Gleaner and Domestic Magazine, 1825:

Change of work is as good as play

This isn't the source of the phrase as we now use it though. The currently used wording of the proverb is first found as the title of a poem that was widely published from 1857 onward. Here's the earliest example that I know of, from the English newspaper The Hampshire Advertiser, August 1857:

Ye votaries of sofas and beds
Ye sloths who exertion detest,
This maxim I wish to drive into your heads
A change is as good as a rest.

Ye children of Fashion and Wealth,
With countless indulgences blest,
Remember that indolence preyeth on health
A change is as good as a rest.

The poem, which the unkind might call doggerel, goes on in similar vein for another nine verses - I'm sure you get the gist. The name of the author isn't known.

See also: the List of Proverbs.

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