Did someone tell you to ‘throw caution to the wind’? Are you unsure of what that means? We’ll clear that up in this article and provide the definition and origin. Plus, you’ll learn how to use the phrase in a sentence.
Essentially, it means not being too cautious in whatever you’re planning to do.
‘Throw caution to the wind’ is a common American phrase that people use to tell someone to go for something or commit to something. You might hear it when someone is trying to accomplish something big and another person is trying to encourage or motivate them.
For example, if you’re considering applying for a new job that you’re not sure you’re qualified for, a friend might say:
'Throw caution to the wind and apply anyway. You never know what could happen.'
To motivate someone, you might tell them:
Throw caution to the wind and just do it!
Basically, it means that you shouldn’t be afraid to do something you want to do just because you’re scared of what might happen.
The phrase ‘throw caution to the wind’ was used as early as 1887.
The New York Times published a story called Sharp Sleeps in a Jail: Sheriff Grant Had Begun to Get Nervous.
Part of the passage reads:
Yesterday Mr. Ricketts asked judge Barrett what the jury would do over Sunday. This puzzled the court not a little. Sending the jury to church was questionable, because two of them were known to have free-thinking, baseball proclivities, and might create a disturbance. Coney Island was equally inadvisable, since there were church members of long repression on the jury, who, brought face to face with those follies and vices of the world which they usually took pains to avoid, might impulsively throw discretion to the winds and be detected in the act of buying popcorn and lemonade from some of those snub-nosed Circes from the factories who go to Coney Island on Sunday prepared to “mash” anything and everything that is mashable in all the width of the world.
In 1901, the Baltimore American newspaper published an article on August 24 called Another Race for Motors: Four Notes Crews and Motors to Be Again Tested Around the Bowl Track.
That passage read:
There is great rivalry between the Nelson brothers as to the speeds of the motors, while the “Blues” are a distinct camp full of all that professional jealousy that animates actors and motor riders. The outlook is that there will be more races of throwing caution to the wind after the crack of the pistol and of thrilling rides with death for the satisfaction of victory and the purses.
How would you use ‘throw caution to the wind’ in a sentence?
Let’s see some examples:
What other words or phrases convey the same meaning as ‘throw caution to the wind’?
Let’s see some examples:
To recap, we learned the following:
Remember, it means not to be too cautious in whatever you’re planning to do.
If you ever get stuck on anything, you can always come back to review what you learned. We’ve got a whole library of content on other idioms that you might find helpful as you’re learning this complex language. Feel free to come back or browse other articles anytime.