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a rolling stone gathers no moss
proverb A person who wanders or travels often and at length will not be burdened by attachments such as friends, family, or possessions. Can be used as a negative (to suggest that such a person won't find a fulfilling place in life) or as a positive (to suggest that they will have a more interesting and unpredictable life). I never knew my father very well. Apparently he got really restless after my sister was born, anxious not to be tied down to one place or job, so he just started moving around the country on his own. A rolling stone gathers no moss, as they say. I was just so eager to get out there and see the world, living in as many countries and trying as many new things as possible. A rolling stone gathers no moss, and I felt allergic to moss at the time. When I was younger, I lived quite a nomadic existence—my mantra might as well have been, "A rolling stone gathers no moss." Now, though, I kind of wish I had a family of my own.
Clumps of dust. Please dust this room, and be sure to get the curly dirt that's gathered under the couch.
Bits of lint. Leave it to Grandma to spot every bit of house moss we missed in our cleaning.
A person who wanders or travels often and at length, without settling down for any significant period of time. Based on the proverb "a rolling stone gathers no moss." I never knew my father very well. He became a bit of a rolling stone after my sister was born, so he'd only ever hang around for a week or two at a time.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
curly dirtand house moss; slut's wool
puffs of dirt and dust. How long has it been since you swept under this bed? There's a mountain of curly dirt under here! No one's been in this room for an age. Look at all the cobwebs and curly dirt. She was a terrible housekeeper. House moss collected in all the corners of her rooms.
rolling stone gathers no moss
Prov. A person who does not settle down is not attached to anything or anyone. (Can be said in admiration or in censure, depending on whether or not the speaker feels it is good to be attached to something or someone.) I worry about Tom. He's never lived in the same place for two years in a row, and he keeps changing jobs. A rolling stone gathers no moss.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
a rolling stone gathers no moss
People say a rolling stone gathers no moss meaning that if a person keeps moving from one place to another, they will not get many friends or possessions. I'm saying that it's not a good idea to get too settled — a rolling stone gathers no moss. Note: You can call a person who does not stay in one place for long a rolling stone. I guess you could call me a rolling stone. My home is out on the waves. Note: Some people use this proverb to say that it is a bad thing to keep moving like this, and it is better to be settled. Other people use this proverb to suggest that it is a good thing to keep moving and changing, and not stay in one place.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
n. little blobs of lint. (see also ghost turd.) There is some house moss under the sofa.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
rolling stone gathers no moss, a
Someone who keeps moving and changing will not settle down and progress. This ancient proverb, first stated in this form by Erasmus in Adagia (1523), appears in numerous languages. For the first three hundred years or so it was nearly always voiced as a kind of reprimand to those who would not settle down and make good. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the validity of this sentiment was being questioned. In Edward B. Ramsay’s Reminiscences of Scottish Life (1858) a character replied to this adage, “Ay, but can ye tell me what guid the fog [moss] does to the stane?” Shaw later wrote (Preface to Misalliance, 1914), “We keep repeating the silly proverb that rolling stones gather no moss, as if moss were a desirable parasite.” Today we may call the inveterate traveler, job-changer, or mover “a rolling stone.” The term gained further currency in the 1960s with a very popular British rock group that called itself the Rolling Stones and a popular song by Bob Dylan, “Like a Rolling Stone” (1965).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer