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another string to your bow British English

Meaning: If you have another string to your bow, you have another way of making a living.

For example:

  • Lots of people learn to teach English so they'll have another string to their bow.

  • I've lost my job and I'll have to retrain for something else. I wish I already had another string to my bow.

Origin: Probably metaphorical, from the fact that if an archer has a spare string for their bow, they can still shoot an arrow even if their first string breaks.

Variety: This idiom is typically used in British English but may be used in other varieties of English too.

Quick Quiz:

John's a truck driver, but he wants another string to his bow so he's going to
  1. take up archery
  2. do a bartending course
  3. go fishing on weekends

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