English Idioms

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Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst


The idiom "hope for the best, but prepare for the worst" is used to express a situation where one wants to have a positive outcome but is also realistic and cautious about the possibility of negative outcomes. It suggests that one should make plans or take action for both positive and negative scenarios.


  • "When planning for a trip, it's always best to hope for good weather, but prepare for bad."
  • "Investing in the stock market can be risky, so it's important to hope for success but also prepare for potential losses."
  • "It's wise to hope for a promotion at work, but also prepare for the possibility of not getting one."
  • "When studying for exams, it's beneficial to hope for a good grade but prepare for any unexpected questions."
  • "During a sports game, it's important to cheer for your team to win but also be prepared for defeat."

Roots and History

The idiom has been used in English since the 16th century and is based on the idea of being both optimistic and realistic in one's expectations. It reflects a practical approach to life that acknowledges the potential for both positive and negative outcomes, and encourages people to be prepared for any eventuality.

Synonyms in English

  • "Be optimistic, but prepare for the worst."
  • "Hope for the best, but expect the worst."
  • "Plan for success, but anticipate failure."
  • "Stay hopeful, but be cautious."
  • "Keep your fingers crossed, but have a backup plan."

Synonyms in other languages

  • Spanish - Espera al mejor, pero prepara para el peor. (Expect the best, but prepare for the worst.)
  • French - Espèrez le meilleur, mais préparez-vous au pire. (Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.)
  • German - Hoffe auf den Besten, bereit für den Schlimsten. (Hope for the best, be prepared for the worst.)
  • Italian - Spera il miglior, preparati per il peggio. (Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.)
  • Portuguese - Espera o melhor, mas prepara-se para o pior. (Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.)

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