Enough is as Good as a Feast Meaning
Definition: Having a sufficient amount of something is equally as good as having more than enough.
Origin of Enough is as Good as a Feast
This idiom first appeared in print in the year 1660, by James Howell, in an English-French-Italian-Spanish dictionary titled Lexicon Tetraglotton. The only explanation that accompanies its entry is that it is an English proverb. This suggests that the proverb was already well known by this time.
To understand the idea behind the idiom, imagine that you are starving from lack of food. It would be easy to want to have a feast. However, there is no real advantage to having more than enough as compared to just enough. You gain nothing by having too much to eat.
People typically use this expression as a call for moderation or a caution against gluttony or excess. People can apply this proverb to contexts outside of food.
Examples of Enough is as Good as a Feast
Here is an example of two family members using the expression while at home.
Grandmother: What would you like for dinner, dear?
Granddaughter: I’m starving! I had a hard day at soccer practice, so I could eat six full meals. I’d love a pizza, a bowl of spaghetti, a full baguette, and a few hamburgers.
Grandmother: There’s no way that you could eat all that.
Granddaughter: Sure I could!
Grandmother: No you couldn’t. Remember that enough is as good as a feast. I’ll make you a pizza, and if you’re still hungry after that, I’ll make you more food.
The second dialogue shows a father and his daughter discussing the amount of time the daughter spends studying.
Daughter: I need to stay up all night to work on my homework.
Father: No, you don’t. A little sleep will benefit you more than spending extra time studying. Enough is as good as a feast. You’ve studied enough to be prepared. If you study too much, you’ll only make yourself overly tired.
This excerpt is from an article about the unsuitability of this expression as a trend.
- Swedes do see themselves as landet lagom, the lagom country. Lagom är bäst, meaning “enough is as good as a feast”, is the Swedish proverb to top them all. Yet while hygge clearly works as an aspirational lifestyle export, to my mind lagom really doesn’t. –The Guardian
This excerpt is also about the Swedish expression.
- The archetypical Swedish proverb, “Lagom är bäst”, literally means, “The right amount is best” but is also translated as “Enough is as good as a feast” and “There is virtue in moderation”. –Telegraph
The phrase enough is as good as a feast means having an excess of something is not more valuable than having just the right amount of something.