count one's chickens before they hatch

count your chickens before they hatch

To celebrate, plan, or begin to take advantage of a potential positive future outcome before it has happened or been accomplished. Often issued as a warning and preceded by "don't." You're preparing your acceptance speech before even being nominated? Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Why are you begging to drive my car to school tomorrow when you still need to take your license test? Don't count your chickens before they hatch, babe!
See also: before, chicken, count, hatch

count one's chickens before they hatch

Make plans based on events that may or may not happen. For example, You might not win the prize and you've already spent the money? Don't count your chickens before they hatch! or I know you have big plans for your consulting business, but don't count your chickens. This expression comes from Aesop's fable about a milkmaid carrying a full pail on her head. She daydreams about buying chickens with the milk's proceeds and becoming so rich from selling eggs that she will toss her head at suitors; she then tosses her head and spills the milk. Widely translated from the original Greek, the story was the source of a proverb and was used figuratively by the 16th century. Today it is still so well known that it often appears shortened and usually in negative cautionary form ( don't count your chickens).
See also: before, chicken, count, hatch