Rome was not Built in a Day – Proverb Meaning and Expansion of idea


The proverb “Rome was not built in a day” means that great things take time to come up. We should keep up making our effort towards the cause and wait for the results to show. Also, we shouldn’t rush into things, desperately seeking results; it would be a mistake. All great things need time to come up and all we need to do is to consistently make our effort.

Expansion of idea

The proverb ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ states that great things and achievements take time and shouldn’t be rushed. The city of Rome, which is the capital of Italy, is famous for its architectural beauty. The founding of Rome dates back to 753 BC.

A persistent effort by the Popes, to built Rome as the cultural and artistic center of the world, took almost four hundred years. Several artists, painters, and architects spent years in building Rome and giving it its present shape and beauty.

The city of Rome looks mesmerizingly beautiful in its present form, with gardens, buildings, etc. It has become a symbol of persistence labor and hard work. Therefore, the proverb in discussion states that good results take time to show up as Rome was built in almost 400-500 years.

Short Stories on ‘Rome was not Built in a Day’

A well written and interesting story will give you a deeper insight of the proverb and let you understand it better. I am giving below, a couple of stories on the proverb ‘Rome was not built in a day’ for your knowledge.

Short Story 1

Once there lived two brothers in a village. Their names were Ram and Shyam. Ram was very hardworking and patient while Shyam was intelligent but impatient. Being intelligent Shyam was always praised by his parents and relatives. Ram on the other hand was only considered a hard worker but not so intelligent.

One day, the teacher announced that they would be having final exams after four months. The exams were very important as the marks were to be added to the boards. Shyam like always was confident but this time he was rather overconfident; which wasn’t good at all. Ram, being patient, calmly charted out a plan for studies. He scheduled subjects’ study time on a daily basis and decided to not deflect from it. He studied hard, regularly for four months. Shyam on the other hand was too confident and started studying just days before the exams.

When exams came, Ram was confident while Shyam looked worried. The days passed by and the results were declared. To everyone’s surprise, Ram stood first in the class while Shyam slinked to the bottom ten. When the teacher asked Ram the secret of his success, he told that persistence and regular study for months had been the secret. The teacher smiled and replied to the class – certainly, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Short Story 2

There were two businessmen who were brothers and decided to get separate houses to build for themselves. They hired the best contractor in the town and asked him to build two beautiful mansions with a park, swimming pool, and everything he could imagine as money wasn’t a concern. The elder businessman asked the contractor to get the house completed in just two months. Two months only!! The contractor yelled in surprise; didn’t you know that Rome wasn’t built in a day? The businessman was adamant about getting his house completed in just two months.

The younger brother however asked the contractor to take his time but construct a house so beautiful that it become the talk of the town. The elder brother started pressurizing the contractor from day one. Under extreme pressure, the contractor completed the project in three months. The house or the mansion was much far from beautiful and looked build in a hurry. The older businessman wasn’t happy with the outcome but had to pay the contractor anyway as he had already warned him.

On the other hand, the younger brother’s house was built in three years!! But when completed, it was a sight to behold. There was no other house even in nearby towns, as beautiful as it was. The younger businessman was very happy and thanked the contractor for paying him a bonus amount.

The elder brother confronted the contractor and asked why he didn’t build his house the same way as he built his younger brother’s house. The contractor replied – you wanted your house to be built in two months while the other took three years. Well, you should know that Rome wasn’t built in a day! The businessman looked shocked as the contractor walked away.


An example will let you better understand the proverb. I am giving below a couple of examples on the proverb ‘Rome was not built in a day’:

“After feeling undue pressure to complete the assignment, the contractor replied in the meeting stating that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’; if quality matters then we need to be more patient.”

“The teacher told the parents – I know that your son is weak in mathematics, but we have to build up his skills gradually, we can’t rush into things. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

“Every successful man you see had worked hard, persistently for years. True that Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

“I was very patient when my house was getting built because I knew that Rome wasn’t built in a day.”


The first-ever instance of the phrase’s origin was an 1190 collection of French poems titled ‘Li Proverbe au Vilain’. The following phrase appeared in the poems – ‘Rome ne fu[t] pas faite toute en un jour’; meaning the same as the proverb Rome wasn’t built in a day in English.

The First English expression of the proverb is found in 1545 Latin translation by Richard Traverner’s.


The proverb ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ teaches us to be patiently effort towards our objective. We can’t and shouldn’t rush to success, but rather should patiently be assertive to achieve it.

Good things, good results take time to come up. All it requires is patience and effort. The proverb has a moral for everyone. For students, it means that they should study regularly and studying only days before exams will not give good results. They should rather study persistently in a disciplined way.

It teaches the professionals that there is no short cut to success and they have to push their way through hard work and patience. But if they do so, their efforts will definitely be rewarded at the right time – just as Rome became the most beautiful city in the world when it finally came into shape after four hundred years.