Haste Makes Waste (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Haste Makes Waste"?

The term "haste makes waste" means doing things quickly gives poor results.
Haste Makes Waste (Origin)
The proverb "haste makes waste" is a rhyming variant of "more haste, less speed." It is first noted in 1542 in the English scholar Nicholas Udall's translation of "Apophthegmes" by Erasmus of Rotterdam. (An "apophthegm" is a concise saying or a short statement.)

Udall describes "Apophthegmes" as a book "in Latine by the ryght famous clerke Maister Erasmus of Roterodame...translated into Englyshe by Nicolas Vdall."

The proverb appears as "Haste maketh waste."

The proverb also appears in 1546 in John Heywood's glossary "A Dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue":
  • Som thyngs that prouoke yong men to wed in haste
    Show after weddyng that haste maketh waste.
The term "haste makes waste" is marginally more popular than "more haste less speed," most probably because it rhymes (evidence). For many, its rhyming also makes it more believable. This is called the rhyme as reason effect.

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See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs

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