We are going to explain you everything you need to know about the basic French saying “Qui vole un œuf vole un bœuf”.
To be clear, it includes a complete definition of what it is and how to use it in a casual conversation with an audio example. And also the cool informations we added like dialogue example, literal meaning, slow pronunciation audio and more!
As you probably guessed, the first meaning of this proverb is that there is no minor crime. Someone who steals something as cheap as an egg, will someday end up stealing something much more expensive, like an ox.
If the thief doesn’t face any consequences after his minor crime, he will be more confident for the next one. And will be less hesitating before acting, because his mental barriers had been lowered.
Here the theft is an image for any kind of “crime” and can typically represent infidelity, hurting, etc.
But there is another lesson here: from the victim’s point of view, there is no minor crime. An egg might seem “nothing” for the thief but might be the only sustenance that keeps the victim alive.
We could conclude that the severity of a crime is a relative notion and can vary a lot between different people and cultures.
If you know someone who committed a minor crime/theft or don’t realize that what he qualifies as “minor” could have severe consequences for others. Or if you just want to keep a wise proverb that prevents you from committing “the first theft“.
Then you can use “Qui vole un oeuf, vole un boeuf” as a friendly reminder for staying on the track.