The saying “if wishes were fishes we’d all swim in riches” is a popular rhyme used to discourage people from relying on luck in life. You will never get as many wishes as there are fishes in the sea. Hoping for good luck is not a reliable strategy!
There are also several variations of this saying that have been used over the years. Each saying is used to convey a very similar message with a slightly different context.
In this post, we’ll further explain the meaning of the “if wishes were fishes” saying, provide synonyms, sentences examples, and much more!
What Does “If Wishes Were Fishes We’d All Swim In Riches” Mean?
“If wishes were fishes we’d all swim in riches” is a proverbial saying that conveys the idea that wishing alone is not enough. This idiomatic expression is used to convey the message that hard work can’t be avoided on the path to success. Wishing & luck alone is not enough to make someone wealthy or successful.
The exact origin of this phrase is not definitively known. It most likely emerged from the rich tradition of English proverbs and idioms. However, the earliest known use of a similar phrase “If wishes were thrushes beggars would eat birds” dates back to 1605 in William Camden’s Old English Remaines of a Greater Worke, Concerning Britaine.
Throughout the years, parents have use this nursery rhyme to teach their children an important lesson about life. Relying solely on wishful thinking is not a reliable plan to achieve wonderful things in life!
Are There Different Variations Of The “If Wishes Were Fishes” Expression?
There are several different variations of “if wishes were fishes we’d all swim in riches” expression. Below is a list of 7 alternate variations of the same nursery rhyme that have similar meanings.
- “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”
- “If wishes were dollars, we’d all be millionaires.”
- “If wishes were wings, pigs would fly.”
- “If wishes were cars, we’d all drive Ferraris.”
- “If wishes were plants, we’d all have gardens.”
- “If wishes were stars, we’d all have the sky.”
- “If wishes were grades, we’d all have A’s.”
How Do You Use This Expression?
Here is a list of 5 example sentences that demonstrate how to use the “wishes were fishes” rhyme.
- As she gazed at the lottery ticket, she couldn’t help but think, “If wishes were fishes, we’d all swim in riches.”
- His friend’s extravagant dreams of wealth made him chuckle, and he said, “Remember, if wishes were fishes, we’d all swim in riches.”
- During the financial crisis, many investors clung to the belief that the market would rebound magically. John remarked, “If wishes were fishes, we’d all swim in riches, but we need a solid strategy.”
- Sarah admired the luxurious cars in the showroom and thought, “If wishes were fishes, we’d all swim in riches,” realizing that she could not afford the cars.
- The motivational speaker reminded the audience that, while dreaming big is essential, hard work and dedication are equally important. “If wishes were fishes, we’d all swim in riches, but success requires action.”
Just like we saw in our analysis of the expression “slow is smooth, smooth is fast“, context must be considered. There is a time and place to use each of these mantras or saying properly.
What Are Synonyms For “If Wishes Were Fishes We’d All Swim In Riches”?
Here is a list of synonyms that can be used instead of the saying “if fishes were wishes we’d all swim in riches”. All of these synonymous phrases express the same basic idea.
- If dreams came true, we’d all be wealthy.
- If hopes could buy, we’d all have plenty.
- If desires were dollars, we’d all be rich.
- If aspirations were assets, we’d all prosper.
- If fantasies were fortunes, we’d all be millionaires.
The diagram below demonstrates the popularity of the “if wishes were fishes” expression. This phrase is not commonly used in various forms of published writing. This is most likely due to the fact that the meaning is not widely understood. There are alternative sayings that can more easily express a similar meaning. And just like we saw in our analysis of the phrase “I like the cut of his jib“, people will not use phrases that are difficult to understand.
Frequently Asked Questions
An idiomatic expression is a phrase or group of words whose meaning is different from the individual words themselves. Idioms are used to convey ideas, emotions, or concepts more vividly and figuratively.
Yes, idioms can be used in formal contexts depending on the specific idiom. Some idioms are universally understood and can be used in formal writing or speech.
The Bottom Line
Now you should be an expert on the saying “if fishes were wishes we’d all swim in riches”. This rhyme is commonly used to convey the message that you should not rely solely on luck in life. If you want to achieve your goals or aspirations you’ll have to make a plan and work hard. It is important to remember that idioms like that have a different meaning than the literal definition if its words. Be sure to check out our grammar reviewing tool if you need more help reviewing phrases like this.