The Grass Is Greener on the Other Side: What Does It Mean?

“The grass is greener on the other side” is a well-known proverb.

Today, we’re talking about what this phrase means, where it comes from, and how to use it.

“The Grass Is Greener on the Other Side” Definition

When someone says the grass is greener on the other side, they mean the things we don’t have seem better than the things we have.

In other words, we are always tempted by and envious of what other people have.

Grace is greener definition

Sometimes, the old saying refers to certain situations. For example, you might think there is “greener grass” at a job that looks better than yours.

The phrase dates back to the Greek poet Ovid, who lived in the first century BC The original saying was, “The harvest is always richer in another man’s field.”

The proverb as we know it comes from an American folk song written by Raymond B. Egan and Richard A. Whiting in 1924. The song is called “The Grass Is Always Greener in the Other Fellow’s Yard.”

Let’s take a look at the chorus of this song:

The grass is always greener

In the other fellow’s yard.

The little row

We have to hoe,

Oh boy that’s hard.

But if we all could wear

green glasses now,

It wouldn’t be so hard

To see how green the grass is

In our own backyard.

The song might not have stood the test of time, but the proverb from it still rings true. The phrase even exists in other languages, like Japanese!

Meaning of “The Grass Is Greener on the Other Side”

Grass is greener meaning

“The grass is always greener on the other side” is a proverb about envy and perception. We are so quick to see the negative in our own lot, so everything else looks better.

But is the grass really greener? The proverb is meant in a tongue-in-cheek sense. It’s a way of saying, “Is there really greener grass over there? Is it really as perfect as it seems?”

Sometimes, instead of saying “the grass is always greener,” you might hear people phrase it as a warning instead: “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”

No matter which way you hear the saying, know that the meaning is the same. The grass isn’t always greener. Every job has problems, every family has drama, every neighborhood has its downsides.

Examples of “The Grass Is Greener on the Other Side”

Here are a few real-world examples of the phrase “the grass is greener on the other side.”

“Someone once told me the grass is much greener on the other side/Well, I paid a visit, but it’s possible I missed it.”—Macy Gray, “I’m In Between”

If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, you can bet the water bill is higher.”—Debbie Macomber

If the grass is greener Somewhere else… start watering your own lawn!”—Michael Beckwith

“Alone of all the races on earth, they seem to be free from the Grass is greener on the other side of the fence syndrome, and roundly proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence.”—Douglas Adams

You can avoid cliches like “grass is greener” in your writing with ProWritingAid’s Cliches Report.

ProWritingAid Cliches and Redundancies Report

This report points out overused, trite phrases so you can find a fresh way to express your ideas.


Take your writing to the next level:

20 Editing Tips From Professional Writers

20 Editing Tips from Professional Writers

Whether you are writing a novel, essay, article, or email, good writing is an essential part of communicating your ideas.

This guide contains the 20 most important writing tips and techniques from a wide range of professional writers.

Have you tried ProWritingAid yet? What are you waiting for? It’s the best tool for making sure your copy is strong, clear, and error-free!

Leave a Comment