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22 / 02 / 2007

CHICKENS COME TO ROOST: meaning and examples

Good morning.

Some time ago Pilar Naranjo, one of our loyal Daily Vitamin and Daily Vitamin Plus! subscribers, asked us the following question:

Hello Matt!
Could you explain the expression "somebody's chickens have come home to roost" I have read "somebody's bad action in the past causes problems now" but I haven't understood the meaning...Thank you!

Today’s expression is: the chickens come home to roost

Meaning: used to say that if somebody says or does something bad or wrong, it will affect them negatively in the future.

So, Pilar, you were correct! When the chickens come home to roost, someone’s bad action in the past is becoming clear now, or is causing bad things to happen now.

Example 1:
The way our market is trading now shows it's based mostly on perception - in other words, on what people think might happen. But when the chickens come home to roost - when investors find that the hard facts don't match their expectations - then you start running into problems. (From the Sunday Times)

Example 2:
In today's world, many of our day-to-day activities are polluting the planet. When the chickens come home to roost, however, we may be sorry that we continued with those activities.

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I hope you enjoy your day.