Where Did the Saying “In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb” Originate?
For all of our lives, we’ve heard people say that if March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb and there’s a good chance that we’ve repeated those very words to our own children, but exactly where did that saying originate?
Long ago, some people believed that bad spirits could affect the weather and according to the Old Farmers Almanac, "Those beliefs often included ideas that there should be a balance in weather and life. So, if a month came in bad (roaring like a lion), it should go out good and calm (docile, like a lamb)."
A new theory is that the saying might actually be based on the stars. According to IPR,
The constellation Leo, the Lion, is rising up in the East at sunset, while the stars of Aries, the Ram or Lamb, are starting to be swallowed up in the light of the Sun looking West at sunset. By month's end, the stars of Aries will 'go out' with the Sun, so we can truly say the March brings in the Lion and goes out with the lamb.
The oldest known written mention of the phrase can be found in a book called “Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British” by the English author Thomas Fuller in 1732. Clearly, this shows the saying has been around for nearly 300 years, if not longer.
Whatever the reason, March is roaring in today in the Southern Tier, baring her teeth and reminding us all who's boss. The National Weather Service Binghamton (NWS Binghamton) noted that the weather can't seem to make up its mind whether "it's winter or spring." NWS Binghamton went on to explain that "late afternoon and evening snow showers and squalls will occur" today and that "brief heavy snow and white-outs are possible in squalls." Further proving that March is coming in like a lion is the fact that the wind will be strong today with "sustained winds at 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 40."
If you look at the graphic above, you'll see temperatures that fluctuate greatly as well as snow, sunshine, rain, and wind. A mixed bag, really as we usher in this first week of March in full-on lion mode.
You know, it seems like March of 2020 also roared in like a lion but didn't get the memo that it was supposed to leave like a lamb, and here we are, a year later, still waiting for the lion's grand exit and the return of the lamb and a somewhat normal environment.
If you'd like to see what The Old Farmers Almanac is forecasting for our spring weather, you'll find that here.