Bury your head in the sand


      • Denial or avoidance of a difficult or uncomfortable situation
        Ignoring or refusing to acknowledge a problem or issue, hoping it will go away on its own

      • Ignorance or naivety
        Being unaware or uninformed about a situation or topic, often resulting in negative consequences

    Examples of Bury your head in the sand

    • Despite the growing evidence of climate change, some politicians have chosen to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the issue.

      This idiom is used to describe someone who avoids facing a difficult or unpleasant situation by ignoring it and refusing to acknowledge its existence. The image of burying one's head in the sand suggests that the person is literally hiding their head in the ground, which is an impossible and exaggerated action, but it effectively conveys the idea of avoiding reality. In this example, the politicians are ignoring the issue of climate change, which is a pressing and urgent matter, and instead choosing to ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist.


    The idiom "bury your head in the sand" is often used to describe a state of denial or avoidance. It can also refer to a lack of knowledge or understanding about a certain issue. In both cases, the intention is to highlight the negative consequences of turning a blind eye to a problem or remaining ignorant.

    In the first usage, the idiom is meant to discourage someone from ignoring a difficult or uncomfortable situation. By advising them to not "bury their head in the sand," the speaker is cautioning that avoiding the problem will not lead to a positive outcome. This can be applied to personal or societal issues, such as avoiding addressing a personal conflict or ignoring larger societal issues.

    In the second usage, the idiom is used to describe someone who is ignorant or naive. By "burying their head in the sand," they are refusing to acknowledge or learn about a topic, which can lead to negative consequences. This can apply to situations where someone is not aware of important information or is willfully ignoring facts.

    Origin of "Bury your head in the sand"

    The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the behavior of ostriches. It was once believed that ostriches would bury their heads in the sand to avoid danger, when in reality, they were actually searching for food or tending to their eggs. This misconception led to the phrase being used metaphorically to describe someone who is avoiding a problem or reality.

    The first recorded use of this idiom in English literature dates back to the 17th century, in a play by English playwright John Fletcher. However, the phrase gained widespread popularity in the 19th century, with publications such as The American Cyclopaedia and The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art using it in their writings.

    Today, "burying your head in the sand" remains a commonly used idiom to describe a state of denial or ignorance. It serves as a cautionary reminder to acknowledge and address difficult situations rather than trying to avoid or ignore them.