rolling stone

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Examples from the Web for rolling stone

Historical Examples of rolling stone

  • In a measure, the portrait-painter must be a rolling-stone, or he will gather no moss.

  • You will be a rolling-stone among milestones, and the way is all down hill.

    Captain Macklin

    Richard Harding Davis

  • This led to the cutting of a large groove by the side of the doorway into which a rolling-stone was fitted.

    Archology and the Bible

    George A. Barton

  • On the voyage home I fell in with a man—a fellow of the rolling-stone order—to whom I used to talk now and again.

    A Crooked Path

    Mrs. Alexander

  • A great-grandfather on the mother's side given to travel, a "rolling-stone," fond of books and talk, and rich in humanity.

    Young Lives

    Richard Le Gallienne

Idioms and Phrases with rolling stone

rolling stone

A person who moves about a great deal and never settles down, as in Kate's lived in ten cities in as many years—she's a real rolling stone. This expression is a shortening of the proverb a rolling stone gathers no moss, first recorded in 1523, which indicates that one who never settles anywhere will not do well. After some 300 years of this interpretation, in the mid-1800s the value of gathering moss (and staying put) began to be questioned, and in current usage the term is most often used without any particular value judgment.

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