What Does Easy Come Easy Go Mean?

Easy Come, Easy Go Meaning

Definition: If something is easy to get, it is also easy to lose.

Origin of Easy Come, Easy Go

This idea has been around for a long time, but the idiom with this exact wording first appeared in the 1800s. Earlier variants include lightly come, lightly go and quickly come, quickly go.

An ancient Chinese expression from 400 B.C. has a similar meaning: quickly come and quickly go.

People use this expression to express two different things. The first is as consolation after losing something that was acquired easily, such as gambling money. In this situation, it means don’t worry that you lost that. It’s not like you worked hard for it anyway.

The second is to mean that if a person gets something easily, he or she won’t try hard to keep it. In other words, people value something achieved through hard work more than something they got without much effort.

Examples of Easy Come, Easy Go

what is the meaning of easy come easy goIn the first example, two employees are talking together about a promotion that the man got and then lost.

Marcus: Do you remember how I told you yesterday that I got a promotion?

Patsy: Of course!

Marcus: Well, they demoted me. Now I’m right back where I started.

Patsy: Are you serious? What happened?

Marcus: Apparently, they recognized Eric’s hard work, but accidentally attributed it to me initially. They just got confused.

Patsy: Oh, well. Easy come, easy go, I suppose.

Marcus: Yeah, I can’t be too upset over losing something I didn’t do anything to deserve.

easy come easy go definitionIn the second example, a husband and wife are arguing over their weekly budget.

Donny: I can tell you’re upset. I’m sorry I went over the budget, but I really needed to buy some new art supplies.

Alison: I appreciate your apology, but you keep on doing this. I feel as if you are spending money recklessly because you aren’t working right now, and you just assume I’ll continue to pay for whatever you want. It’s a case of easy come, easy go. You aren’t working for this money, so it’s easy for you to spend it.

Donny: Don’t say that! You know I care about how hard you work, and I appreciate you supporting both of us with your income!

More Examples

This excerpt is about a one-woman show by a famous actress.

  • Husbands invariably get short shrift. Fisher admiringly recollects how her mother got out of one of her marriages “by taking a play in New York.” Her own relationship to Simon fatally foundered from all the bicoastal to-ing and fro-ing during the filming of “Postcards.” Easy come, easy go — and don’t worry about the alimony, thank you very much. –LA Times

This excerpt is from an article about a man who became famous quickly and how people began judging him shortly afterwards.

  • But in the easy-come-easy-go world of fame and the internet, others came to his defense and expressed concern that he was being harshly judged. –New York Times

Summary

The phrase easy come, easy go is a proverb that means that what is simple to achieve is also simple to lose.