This idiomatic expression exists in my native language. The implication is that when you do something dangerous, risky or unlawful, you may be lucky on a few occasions, but this kind of risky behavior will not always have the positive outcome ; you will not always succeed in doing so. Sooner or later, you will fail. I am looking for an equivalent expression in English. Any suggestions ?

  • @lbf Actually, therere lots of them in Georgian :) Those idioms or proverbs Im posting here, are the ones which I am having a hard time to find equivalent expressions to :)
    – Beqa
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 12:58
  • The sentiment behind this saying is so broadly recognized as true that I imagine you could make up your own version easily enough. For example, (from petroleum exploration) "Not every wildcat well strikes oil." Or (from poker) "Not every draw fills an inside straight." Or (from raffle gambling) "Not every ticket wins the lottery." A more general saying recorded in Ontario and listed in Wolfgang Mieder, A Dictionary of American Proverbs (1992) seems applicable as well: "Luck and glass break easily."
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 19:04

2 Answers 2


An Abraham Lincoln quote comes into mind:

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

When you say that something risky or an unlawful thing may not bring always a positive result, I can suggest an African proverb that carries this idea.

Every day is for the thief, one day is for the owner.” (You can lie, cheat, and steal, but one day you will be caught).


The closest would be something like

The golden goose won't always lay golden eggs

That's not in very common usage (according to google) but it does appear in the results, and would be understood as a play on the idiom 'The Golden Goose'

'Don't push your luck'

Implies "Whatever you are doing might have worked out well for you so far, but it's only a matter of time before it hurts you" this seems like quite a close fit.

A similar idiom is

Quit while you are ahead

Which doesn't have the same implication that what you are doing is inherently risky, but still says you should stop before your luck runs out which is another good candidate!

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