In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb

Posted in Life by Sarah on March 1, 2011

Happy March!  Every time I flip my calendar to March, I’m reminded of the phrase we were taught in grade school: “March is in like a lion, out like a lamb.” Out of sheer curiosity, I did some searching to see if I could determine the origin of the phrase.  The answers were as varied as the weather in March.

The Farmer’s Almanac explains that the phrase originates from more ancient times, when weather was unpredictable.  I’ll rephrase:   when weather was less predictable.  Back then, because they did not have Doppler 5000s, many held the belief that there should be a balance in weather and life.   So, if March began with bad weather  – like a lion – then, according to lore, it would end with pleasant weather – like a lamb.  The Farmer’s Almanac confirms, however, that this phrase is not a true weather predictor (surprise!).  The phrase is still used  today to reflect hope that better weather will be coming soon!  Other sources claim the phrase is related to the stars and astrological signs, including the relative positions of the constellations Leo and Aries in the Spring in the Western sky as the month of March progresses.  I’ll let the stargazers in the family weigh in on this interpretation.

The real nerds point to 17th century English writings for the origin of the phrase.  The English playwright John Fletcher wrote in 1624:

“I would chuse March, for I would come in like a Lion…But you’d go out like a Lamb when you went to hanging.” 

A Wife for a Month (Act I Scene II).  This doesn’t appear to have much to do with stars or weather. 

Regardless, there are many things to look forward to in March!

On March 13th, Daylight Savings Begins!  We’ll spring ahead one hour and have lighter evenings.

On March 17th, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  Erin Go Bragh and top o’ the mornin’!

On March 20th, Spring officially begins.  Bring on the crocuses!


One Response

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  1. Meredith, daughter of David said, on March 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Nice caps on “LION” and lower-case on “lamb” – yep i noticed! i was thinking of that expression today today. i was thinking, in sunnyvale march will likely come in like a lamb and go out like a lamb. rough life!

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