You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs
What's the meaning of the phrase 'You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs'?
You can't accomplish something worthwhile without creating adverse effects.
What's the origin of the phrase 'You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs'?
This proverb originated in a country known for making omelettes - France. That being said, the original version referred to pancakes rather than eggs. The earliest example I know of is listed in the OED, in the original French, as "1742 or earlier":
On ne saurait faire d'omelette sans casser des œufs
The saying was adopted into English soon afterwards. The Dublin-based news-sheet Walker's Hibernian Magazine published a piece in its May 1786 issue which described the activities of François de Charette.
Charette was a Royalist counter-revolutionary in the French Revolution. It was remarked to him that he had caused the death of a great many persons. Yes, he replied, "omlets are not made without breaking eggs".
See other 'You can't' proverbs:
See also: the List of Proverbs.