More honoured in the breach than in the observance

Phrases from Shakespeare



More honoured in the breach than in the observance





Meaning:

This is usually thought to mean a rule which is more often broken than observed. The context of the play shows the real meaning as 'it is more honourable to breach than to observe'.



Example:







Origin:

From Shakespeare's Hamlet, 1603:

HAMLET Ay, marry, is't:
But to my mind, though I am native here
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honour'd in the breach than the observance.

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