Teaching grandmother to suck eggs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Teaching grandmother to suck eggs is an English language saying meaning that a person is giving advice to someone else about a subject of which they are already familiar (and probably more so than the first person).[1]

Origins of the phrase[edit]

The origins of the phrase are not clear. The OED and others[2] suggest that it comes from a translation in 1707, by J. Stevens, of Francisco de Quevedo (Spanish author):

"You would have me teach my Grandame to suck Eggs"

Notable early uses[edit]

  • The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Henry Fielding (1749):[3]

    “I remember my old schoolmaster, who was a prodigious great scholar, used often to say, Polly Matete cry Town is my daskalon. The English of which, he told us, was, That a child may sometimes teach his grandmother to suck eggs”

Related phrase[edit]

The use of the phrase "Suck-egg" for "a silly person" dates back to 1609, in the OED.[4]


  1. ^ "The Free Dictionary". Retrieved 2009-05-07. .
  2. ^ "The Free Dictionary". Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  3. ^ Henry Fielding. "The History of Tom Jones a Foundling, Chapter 12". Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  4. ^ "alt.usage.english". Retrieved 2009-05-07.