eagles don’t catch flies

eagles don’t catch flies
Great or important people do not concern themselves with trifling matters or insignificant people. Cf. ERASMUS Adages III. ii. aquila non captat muscas, the eagle does not catch flies.

1563 Mirror for Magistrates (1938) 405 The iolly Egles catche not little flees.

1581 G. PETTIE tr. S. Guazzo’s Civil Conversation II. 48v That is the right act of a Prince, and therefore it is well saide, That the Egle catcheth not flies.

1786 H. L. PIOZZI Anecdotes of Johnson 185 With regard to slight insults..‘They sting one (says he) but as a fly stings a horse; and the eagle will not catch flies.’

1942 H. C. BAILEY Nobody’s Vineyard i. ‘Eagles don’t catch flies.’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘Inspectors of Police don’t trail urchins.’

1980 A. T. ELLIS Birds of Air (1983) 92 Aquila non captat muscas,’ she told him in a reassuring whisper. ‘Eagles don’t catch flies.’


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