be careful what you wish for

Discussion in 'English Only' started by q3mi4, Jun 30, 2006.

  1. q3mi4 New Member

    Moscow, Russia
    please, I don't quite get the meaning of this.
    imagine, you were saying this to me as a foreigner/English-learner and I'm asking back - could you tell the same in other words or even the same ones combined otherwise?
    like "if you wish for something, be careful, perhaps you should not wish for this, because..." - if that's the correct way to understand the phrase, why then? because your wishes might come true and you'll be disappointed? or is the whole just a way to tell me "shut the fuck up!"?
  2. Mmart Senior Member

    Spanish, Catalan - Spain
    It means that if you wish for something bad, for example, it could come true and you will get upset.

    It also applies for a good wish, because sometimes you think you want something and when you get it you also get a lot of problems with it.

    More or less...

    Hope it helps you!
  3. Sallyb36

    Sallyb36 Senior Member

    Liverpool UK
    British UK
    Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true.
    It's a common phrase, that people say when other people keep saying I wish...., I wish...
  4. Gatamariposa

    Gatamariposa Senior Member

    SE London
    UK - English (native), Spanish, French
    Some people just make wishes or flippant comments, and this refers to wanting things that may just come true and not be nice.

    "I hate Joe, I wish he was dead"
    "Be careful what you wish for"

    Does that help?

    Gatita :)
  5. french4beth

    french4beth Senior Member

    Or you could say, "I wish had a lot of money!"
    The next day, a parent dies, and you inherit a large sum of money; you got your money, but someone died in order for it to happen.
  6. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    Exactly. Or you win the lottery and your new riches only alienate all your friends and you end up rich but miserable.

    To wish for something implies that you think you know the consequences of that thing, and this phrase is used to remind us we never really do.

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