Has someone told you, ‘don’t put your eggs in one basket’? Are you unsure of what that means? Below, we’ll define the phrase and provide examples of how to use it in a sentence.
In short, ‘Don’t put your eggs in one basket’ means:
- You shouldn’t focus all of your efforts and resources on one area because you could lose everything.
Essentially, it means not depending on one person or plan of action for your success.
What Does ‘Don’t Put Your Eggs in One Basket’ Mean?
‘Don’t put your eggs in one basket’ is a common English phrase that means you shouldn’t put all of your focus and effort into one thing that may or may not work out. It’s typically used when someone is trying to invest all of their resources and/or energy into one thing when it’s possible that they could lose everything.
You might hear someone say, ‘don’t put your eggs in one basket’ when someone is going to use their last bit of money on an opportunity that could put them in a worse situation than they started out in.
In an episode of Hey Arnold, Helga goes on the road with her mother, Miriam, and their car breaks down. But Miriam only has $5 left in her wallet for some reason and can't afford to fix the car.
Helga initially wants to use the $5 to get herself something to eat because she's starving, but Miriam wants to use their last $5 to enter a bull-riding contest that could potentially win them more money - enough to fix their car and get them back on the road.
Helga thinks that her mom essentially ‘puts all her eggs in one basket’ when she enters the contest. But what she doesn't know is that her mom was the state bull-riding champion in her heyday. Miriam wins the money, and they get the car fixed.
- The phrase basically means don’t risk everything by committing to one plan or idea that may or may not work out.
You might also see the phrase written as 'don't put all your eggs in one basket.'
Where Does ‘Don’t Put Your Eggs in One Basket’ Come From?
The phrase ‘don’t put your eggs in one basket’ comes from the novel Don Quixote.
In it, a line reads:
It is part of a wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow and not venture all his eggs in one basket.
Others say that the phrase comes from literally avoiding putting too many eggs in a basket. If you put too many eggs in a basket, you risk losing all of your eggs if you drop the basket.
Examples of ‘Don’t Put Your Eggs in One Basket’ in Sentence
How would you use ‘don’t put your eggs in one basket’ in a sentence?
- My sister told me not to put my eggs in one basket when I only applied to one college for the fall semester. I told her I was being optimistic, but she told me I was being stupid. My mom agrees with her.
- I’m so grateful I didn’t put all my eggs in one basket with these jobs. I went to one interview and really thought I had the job, so I almost didn’t go to the other ones. Luckily, I changed my mind and went anyway because I didn’t get the first job.
- My brother chose to put all of his money into SHIBA INU cryptocurrency, and he ended up losing all of his money. My uncle told him, ‘Don’t put your eggs in one basket.’ But he didn’t listen, and now he’s broke.
- When I first heard my friend tell me not to put all my eggs in one basket, I didn’t think anything could possibly go wrong. I was so confident that I was going to make the cheerleading squad that I didn’t try out for anything else, but I didn’t make it in the end.
- I’m applying for a few positions as a professor just so I don’t put all my eggs in one basket. I’m applying to New York University, Stanford, Cornell, and UCLA.
- The girls in my freshman orientation told me, ‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,’ when I told her I was planning on focusing on one subject. She told me that this was the best time to explore other things to see what other things I might be interested in.
- I applied for multiple internships because I didn’t want to put all of my eggs in one basket. I really want the internship at one of the big publishing houses rather than a small press. But we’ll see what happens.
- I want to see how things work out for Monique. Before she left, I told her, ‘Don’t put your eggs in one basket.’ I’m not sure she listened to me, though. She’ll probably shoot for one audition while she’s in L.A., thinking that’s going to make her career take off.
Other Ways to Say ‘Don’t Put Your Eggs in One Basket’
What other words and phrases convey the same meaning as ‘don’t put your eggs in one basket’?
Let’s take a look at some examples:
- Don’t make everything dependent on one thing
- Don’t put all of your resources into one thing
- Don’t depend on a single plan for your success
- Don’t concentrate all of your efforts into one area
- Don’t risk everything on the success of one venture
- Don’t depend on a single plan of action
- Don’t take such a big chance
- Don’t take such a huge risk with no guarantee
- Don’t gamble on this
- Don’t tempt fate
- Don’t jeopardize your future
- Don’t run the risk of failing
- Don’t go out on a limb
- Don’t play with fire
- Don’t stick your neck out
- Don’t put yourself at risk
- Don’t put yourself in danger
- Don’t leave it to luck
- Don’t subject yourself to potential loss
- Don’t leave things to chance
- Don’t go broke
- Don’t put your faith in this
- Don’t chance it
Concluding Thoughts on ‘Don’t Put Your Eggs in One Basket’
To recap, we learned the following:
- ‘Don’t put your eggs in one basket’ means that you should avoid focusing all of your efforts and resources in one area because there's a chance you could lose everything.
Remember, it means not depending on one person or plan of action for your success.
If you ever get stuck on anything, you can always come back to review what you’ve learned. We’ve got a ton of content on idioms you might find helpful as you’re learning the language. Go check it out anytime you need to.