Don't let the grass grow under your feet
What's the meaning of the phrase 'Don't let the grass grow under your feet'?
The proverbial saying 'don't let the grass grow under your feet' means don't delay in seizing an opportunity.
What's the origin of the phrase 'Don't let the grass grow under your feet'?
The fact that this proverb has a shortened 'Don't let the grass grow' variant is an indication that it might be of long standing. In fact, it is. The proverb is one of several 'Don't...' proverbs that emerged in Tudor England. For example, don't count your chickens before they are hatched and don't keep a dog and bark yourself.
The first known use of this proverb in print is in Nicolas Udall's comic play Ralph Roister Doister, 1566:
There hath grown no grasse on my heele since I went hence.
Udall had previously translated Erasmus's collection of proverbs and Aesop's Fables, so it is likely that he didn't come up with the imagery himself but adapted it from earlier classical works.
The first use of the proverb in a form more similar to the current usage is in the English cleric Edward Topsell's The Historie of Foure-footed Beastes, 1607:
She [the hare] leapes away againe, and letteth no grasse grow vnder his feet, hoping that her heeles shal deliuer her from the Foxes teeth.
See other 'Don't...' proverbs: