‘Birds of a feather flock together’ – Meaning and Explanation
Meaning: The famous saying, ‘birds of a feather flock together”, means, ‘people of similar character or with similar habits and interests accompany each other.”
Birds of a feather here means similar birds, i.e., birds which are alike, or of the same species. So, the phrase literally means, birds that belong to the same species will form a flock together. Nevertheless, this proverb is metaphorical: it is not literally referring to birds, but to people.
Birds of a feather flock together means that similar people will get along. Moreover, that similar people will tend to do things together. For example, they might like to:
- work together.
- socialize together.
- engage in creative projects together.
- study together.
- play games together.
Brief Explanation: Birds of similar species flock together. A bird belonging to particular species is found in the company of the species to which it belongs. A pigeon is found in the company of other pigeons. Sparrows are found in the company of sparrows.
Similarly, fruits of similar taste are found together in a tree. A mango tree will give mangoes and a coconut tree will yield coconut. We cannot expect mangoes from a banyan tree. Fruits of same quality are grown in a tree. A tree that produces sweet fruits does not produce sour fruits. The quality of fruit that is grown determines the value of the tree.
Thus, a tree is known by the nature of its fruits. Similarly, a man is known by character of his friends. People flock with other people with similar taste and nature. A peace-loving person will accompany another peace-loving person. A wicket person will like the company of other wicked person. A good person always make friendships with virtuous people.
Though the proverb is metaphorical, it may be said to be grounded in ornithological realities. Very often, we see birds from the same species congregating together. Thus, just as birds of similar species flock together, people with similar taste accompany each other. The company of a person displays his character.
Relevance of this proverb in everyday life.
- In friendship groups: we tend to make friends with people similar to us.
- At work: we may work best with people who have similarities.
- Romantic relationships: often we choose life partners who are similar to us.
- Creativity: creative people tend to seek other creative people for support and inspiration.
- Culture: sometimes, people find it easier to understand people from a similar cultural background.
Does this proverb apply to your own life? Or, do you prefer the company of people who are different to yourself?
Proverbs with similar meaning:
- A tree is known by its fruits.
- A man is known by the company he keeps.