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Hi,

What does this proverb mean?

''Success has many fathers, but failure gets the mother-in-law.''
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This is an offensive joke based on the saying “Success has many fathers”.

The proverb “Success has many fathers” means that many people have contributed to a successful enterprise, not just the person who is given the credit for it. For example, Bill Gates’s phenomenal success is not solely due to him – but to other pioneers in the computing industry, and to the work of others before them in the fields of telecommunications, electronics and engineering.

Lil’ Ruby Rose
Hi,

So does that mean mother-in-law is the cause of failure?
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More that if you are not successful, you end up with a mother-in-law.

Lil' Ruby Rose
Jackson6612Hi,

So does that mean mother-in-law is the cause of failure?
In this sarcastic paraphrase, yes; take it for what it's worth.
The full quote is "Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan."

I have a different take on the meaning from LRR (with all due respect!) - If something goes well, many people want to say they contributed to the effort. They want to say they were a part of it. But if the thing goes poorly, those same people suddenly don't remember that they contributed to it - now, instead of having "many fathers" it has none, and is an orphan.
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I agree with GG.

A related situation:

While having success, one is courted; when one starts having failures, one is shunned.
Yes but the initial question, with mother in law, was clearly about what was meant to be a joke. A bit of word-play on the real proverb. Mothers in law are the butt of lots of jokes, at least over here.
Yes, here too.
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