A stitch in time saves nine is a colloquial expression, used for motivating people to address small problems before they grow to be a big one.
The phrase has been around in English for a long time, with the most likely source being sailing where, if one fails to repair a thorn sail immediately, it may quickly become so ripped that it becomes useless.
One of the earliest documented cases of the phrase emerged in a 1732 collection of proverbs and maxims worded as “a stitch in time may save nine”.
The current form of the expression comes from the 1797 “Journal” of Francis Baily, published in 1856.
During the 19th century, “a stitch in time saves nine” became widely spread across the Anglophone world.
- Wonderopolis.org – Why Do People Say “A Stitch In Time Saves Nine”?
- BBC – ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ – what does it mean?
- Merriam-Webster – A stitch in time (saves nine)