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April 22, 2024

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Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They’re Hatched

Introduction The English language is rich with proverbs and sayings, many of which are not only linguistically intriguing but also…

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The English language is replete with proverbs and sayings that encapsulate life’s wisdom in succinct and memorable phrases. One such adage that has stood the test of time is “A little of what you fancy does you good.” This proverb implies that indulging in something enjoyable in moderation can have positive effects on one’s well-being. In this article, we delve into the meaning of this saying, explore its possible origins, and provide examples of how it is used in conversations.

Unpacking the Proverb

At its core, “A little of what you fancy does you good” suggests that occasionally indulging in something you enjoy, even if it’s not necessarily the healthiest option, can contribute positively to your overall happiness and satisfaction. The emphasis here is on moderation and balance. While it’s essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, denying oneself all pleasures can lead to feelings of deprivation and unhappiness.

This proverb encourages a holistic approach to well-being that considers not only physical health but also mental and emotional aspects. It recognizes that life’s pleasures, whether in the form of a piece of chocolate, a leisurely afternoon, or a guilty pleasure TV show, can provide moments of respite and joy.

Possible Origins of the Proverb

The origin of the saying “A little of what you fancy does you good” is not definitively documented, but it is thought to have emerged in the early 20th century, possibly in the United Kingdom. The phrase was likely a product of a culture that valued self-restraint and discipline but also understood the importance of enjoying life’s simple pleasures. The saying gained popularity due to its relatable and balanced message, resonating with people who grappled with finding the right balance between self-indulgence and self-discipline.

Examples in Conversation

  1. Scenario: Balancing Diet and Pleasure Person A: I’ve been trying to stick to my diet, but I really crave a slice of chocolate cake right now. Person B: Well, you know what they say, “A little of what you fancy does you good.” Maybe treat yourself to a small piece and get back on track tomorrow.
  2. Scenario: Work-Life Balance Person A: I feel guilty for taking a day off to relax when there’s so much work to do. Person B: Remember, “A little of what you fancy does you good.” Taking a break can actually boost your productivity when you return refreshed and rejuvenated.
  3. Scenario: Enjoying Leisure Activities Person A: I’m hesitant to start watching this new TV show. I feel like I should be doing something more productive. Person B: It’s important to unwind too. As the saying goes, “A little of what you fancy does you good.” Enjoy your show guilt-free!


In a world often dominated by extreme trends and all-or-nothing thinking, the wisdom behind the proverb “A little of what you fancy does you good” reminds us of the importance of balance and moderation. Embracing life’s simple pleasures, even in small amounts, can contribute positively to our overall well-being. This adage, with its roots in a cultural appreciation for both discipline and enjoyment, continues to serve as a reminder that self-care involves nourishing the soul as well as the body. So go ahead, savor that piece of chocolate, take that leisurely walk, or enjoy a guilt-free lazy Sunday – because, in the end, a little indulgence can indeed do you good.


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