The phrase you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs originated in French in the eighteenth century as ne saurait faire d'omelette sans casser des œufs. The exact origin is a little hazy, although it's commonly attributed to politician François de Charette, who used it to justify the fact that he killed a bunch of people in the Vendée counter-revolution. The idiom first cropped up in English in 1796 but only really started getting used in the late 1800s, primarily still in a context of justifying deaths. It was notably used (and possibly popularized) in World War II by Gestapo founder Hermann Goring, who said that "if people say that here and there someone has been taken away and maltreated, I can only reply: you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs." Usage really started taking off in the 1990s, and peaked in 2013.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.