A watched pot never boils


Something we wait for with impatient attention seems to take forever.

QUIZZES

DISCOVER THE INFLUENCE OF PORTUGUESE ON ENGLISH VIA THIS QUIZ!

We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following animal names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?

Words nearby A watched pot never boils

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with A watched pot never boils

watched pot never boils, a

Anxious waiting does not speed up matters, as in Stop running downstairs for every mail delivery—a watched pot never boils, you know. This hyperbolic adage reflects the experience of anyone who has ever been in a hurry to bring water to a boil, which eventually occurs but can seem to take forever. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.