Origin of To Kill Two Birds With One Stone

4483901415_021a1b7636_zTo kill two birds with one stone—seems pretty violent, huh? A lot of idioms in the English may not make sense or seem down right brutal. Some of the meanings are quite easy to understand, while others leave nonnative speakers in the dark. But even if a particular idiom makes sense in regards to what it’s portraying, its origin still may be lost to time.

So, to kill two birds with one stone? The meaning: “to get two different jobs done at one time” may make sense, but why in the world would we do something so brutal?

The reason it’s such a graphic idiom dates back to the 1600’s, where it first arose, according to wiseGEEK.com. It was meant as a way for a philosopher to prove two arguments with one solution.

“The implication was that killing two birds at one time is extremely challenging and unlikely, and that the philosopher’s attempt should be viewed with extreme suspicion,” reads an article on wisegeek.

Eventually, the idiom pulled itself away from the philosopher’s argument and landed into the lap of any two things completed at once. Rather than seeing this as a violent measure tended on helpless creatures, the idiom has been encouraged and thrown into a positive light.

Whether a new sort of idiom will take over as a less violent means to the same meaning remains uncertain as the very idea of it has been ground deep in our society, like many other violent and nonviolent idioms alike.


One thought on “Origin of To Kill Two Birds With One Stone”

  1. About the origin of: To kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Could it be that it comes from a situation where birds would build a nest inside of the chimney of a house. One of the ways to remove the nest from inside of the chimney would be to drop a very heavy stone down the chimney. The weight of the stone would break the nest and the branches would be lying, together with the stone, at the bottom of the chimney. In case there would be birds still inside the chimney and on the nest, the birds would be killed at the same time. So the chimney would have been cleared and the birds would have been killed, thus they couldn’t build a new nest anymore. So 2 points would have been solved at the same time.


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