English proverbs

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God is on the side of the strongest batallions.
Every man thinks his own geese swans.
First deserve, then desire.

Proverbs are popularly defined as "short expressions of popular wisdom". Efforts to improve on the popular definition have not led to a more precise definition. The wisdom is in the form of a general observation about the world or a bit of advice, sometimes more nearly an attitude toward a situation.

See also English proverbs (alphabetically by proverb)

Contents

Absent[edit]

Action[edit]

Advance[edit]

  • He who does not advance goes backwards.

Advice[edit]

Anchor[edit]

  • Good riding at two anchors, men have told, for if the one fails, the other may hold. (Strauss, 1994 p. 879)

Apple[edit]

  • One rotten apple will spoil the whole barrel. or One scabbed sheep mars the whole flock.
    • "Evil spreads. One attractive bad example may be readily followed by others, eventually ruining a whole community."
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "X". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 292. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Cf. Dan Michael of Northgate, Ayenbite of Inwyt (1340): "A rotten apple will spoil a great many sound ones." (Middle English: "A roted eppel amang þe holen: makeþ rotie þe yzounde.").
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
    • Cf. Notes and Queries magazine, Feb. 24, 1866, p. 153: "Eat an apple on going to bed, // And you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread." [1].
    • Adapted to its current form in the 1900s as a marketing slogan used by American growers concerned that the temperance movement would cut into sales of apple cider. (Pollan, 2001 p.22)
  • A rotten apple injures its companions.
    • "This Proverb is apply'd to such Persons who being vicious themselves,
      labour to debauch those with whom they converse." - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [2]
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away--if you have good aim.
    • A humorous version of the nutritional exortation to maintain good health by eating fruit. Original source unknown.

Art[edit]

  • English equivalent: The best art conceals art.

Ass[edit]

  • When all men say you are an ass it is time to bray. (Strauss 1994, p. 1221)

Baby[edit]

  • Don't make clothes for a not yet born baby. (Strauss 1994, p. 683)
  • Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    • "Do not take the drastic step of abolishing or discarding something in its entirety when only part of it is unacceptable."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 25 August 2013. 
    • Brown, James Kyle (2001). I Give God a Chance: Christian Spirituality from the Edgar Cayce Readings. Jim Brown. p. 8. ISBN 0759621705. 

Bad[edit]

  • Bad is the best choice.
    • "Don't avoid the clichés - they are clichés because they work!"
    • George Lucas to Marty Sklar, quoted in "The Imagineering Way: Ideas to Ignite your Creativity" (Disney Editions, 2003)
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 17. 
  • A bad settlement is better than a good lawsuit.
    • Filipp, M. R. (2005). Covenants Not to Compete, Aspen.
  • Good laws have sprung from bad customs. (Strauss, 1994 p. 879)
  • We must take the bad with the good.

Bed[edit]

  • As you make your bed, so you will sleep on it.
    • "One has to accept the consequences of one's actions, as any result is the logical consequence of preceding actions."
    • Source for proverb and meaning: (Paczolay, 1997 p. 401)

Bear[edit]

Beat[edit]

  • If you can't beat them, join them. (Speak, 2009)

Best[edit]

Beggar[edit]

  • Beggars can't be choosers.
    • "We must accept with gratitude and without complaint what we are given when we do not have the means or opportunity to provide ourselves with something better."
    • Source for meaning:Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 29 June 2013. 
  • Put a beggar on horseback and he'll ride it to death.

Begin[edit]

  • A good beginning makes a good ending.
    • "Starting properly ensures the speedy completion of a process. A beginning is often blocked by one or more obstacles (potential barriers) the removal of which may ensure the smooth course of the process."
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "40". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 228. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Well begun is half done.
    • "Starting properly ensures the speedy completion of a process. A beginning is often blocked by one or more obstacles (potential barriers) the removal of which may ensure the smooth course of the process."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "40". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 228. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [3]

Bellyful[edit]

  • A bellyful is one of meat, drink, or sorrow.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 45

Better[edit]

  • Better is the enemy of good.
    • "Just Do It"
    • Nike slogan coined in 1988
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. xcv
  • Better late than never.
    • "It is better that somebody arrives or something happens later than expected or desired, than not at all."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 30 June 2013. 
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. xcv
  • Better safe than sorry. (Speake, 2009)
  • Better underdone than overdone. (Strauss, 1994 p. 589)

Beware[edit]

  • Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, and inwardly are ravening wolves. (Matthew; bible quote). (Strauss, 1998 p. 170)

Bird[edit]

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
    • John Bunyan cites this traditional proverb in The Pilgrim's Progress, (1678):
      So are the men of this world: They must have all their good things now; they cannot stay till the next year, that is, until the next world, for their portion of good. That proverb, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," is of more authority with them than are all the divine testimonies of the good of the world to come.
    • "Something you have for certain now is of more value than something better you may get, especially if you risk losing what you have in order to get it."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
  • Birds of a feather flock together.
    • "It is a fact worthy of remark, that when a set of men agree in any particulars, though never so trivial, they flock together, and often establish themselves into a kind of fraternity for contriving and carrying into effect their plans. According to their distinct character they club together, factious with factious, wise with wise, indolent with indolent, active with active et cetera."
    • Source for meaning: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 41. 
    • Alike people goes a long well.
  • Deal gently with the bird you mean to catch. (Strauss, 1994 p. 689)
    • "When people are are just, they need friendship in addition."
    • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (c. 325 BC), Book VIII, 1155.a26
  • Fine feathers make fine birds. (Simpson , 2009)
    • "By dressing in elegant or good-quality clothing, people create a favorable impression on others, often appearing to be of better breeding or higher class than they are".
    • Source for meaning of English quality: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 27 September 2013. 
  • It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest.
    • "Why wantonly proclaim one's own disgrace, or expose the faults or weaknesses of one's kindred or people?"
    • Source for meaning: (Kelly, 1859 p. 109)
  • It is the early bird that gets the worm.

Bite[edit]

  • Don't bark if you can't bite. (Sadler, 1873)
    • "I made the statement years ago which is often quoted that 80 percent of life is showing up. People used to always say to me that they wanted to write a play, they wanted to write a movie, they wanted to write a novel, and the couple of people that did it were 80 percent of the way to having something happen."
    • Woody Allen, Interview for The Collider (2008)
  • Don't bite off more than you can chew.
    • Heacock, Paul (2003). Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms (Illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 512. ISBN 052153271X. 
  • Don't bite the hand that feeds you. (Wolfgang, 1991)

Blood[edit]

  • Blood is thicker than water.
    • "The bonds between solders of a battle is stronger than family ties"
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "X". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 233. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Good blood always shows itself.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 34. 

Bloom[edit]

  • Bloom where you are planted. (Szerlip, 2004 p. 320)

Book[edit]

Boat[edit]

  • A rising tide lifts all boats.

Boot[edit]

  • Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his boots.

Bough[edit]

  • The boughs that bear most hang lowest. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1169)

Bow[edit]

Bran[edit]

  • Much bran and little meal.
    • "Much ado about nothing."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Keating, Walter (1859). Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). p. 128. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "178". Dictionary of European Proverbs. I. Routledge. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. 

Brave[edit]

Bread[edit]

Bridge[edit]

  • Don't cross a bridge before you come to it. (Wolfgang 1991, p. 50)

Broke[edit]

  • A broken watch is right two times a day.
    • "If you make a great number of predictions, the ones that were wrong will soon be forgotten, and the ones that turn out to be true will make you famous."
    • Malcolm Gladwell, Dangerous Minds: Criminal profiling made easy (2007)
    • Honthaner, Eve Light (2010). I Hollywood drive: what it takes to break in, hang in & make it in the entertainment industry. Elsevier. p. 341. ISBN 0240806689. 
  • If it ain't broke, don't fix it. (Perkins 2007, p. 123)

Broom[edit]

  • A new broome sweepeth cleane.
    • "We should never use an old tool when the extra labor in consequence costs more than a new one. Thousands wear out their lives and waste their time merely by the use of dull and unsuitable instruments."
    • Alternate meaning: "We often apply it to exchanges among servants, clerks, or any persons employed, whose service, at first, in any new place, is very good, both efficient and faithful; but very soon, when all the new circumstances have lost their novelty, and all their curiosity has ceased, they naturally fall into their former and habitual slackness."
    • Source for meaning: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 38. 
    • John Lyly, Euphues. Arber's Reprint, p. 89; reported as a proverb in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 639.

Brother[edit]

  • The younger brother the better gentleman.
    • "The Elder Brother of a Houfe depending on his Efiate, is either indulged by Parents, or gives up himfelf to an indolent Humour, that his Soul in his Body, like a Sword in the Scabbard, rufis for want of life, thinking‘ his Efiate fuflicient to gentilize him, if he have but only the Accompliihment of a Fox-Hunter, or a Country Juftice; the Younger Brother being put to his fhifts, having no Inheritance to depend upon, by plying his Studies hard at Home, and accompliihing himfelf by Travels Abroad, oftentimes, either by Arts or Arms, raifes himfelf to a confpicuous pitch of Honour, and fo becomes much the better Gentleman."
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [4]

Bull[edit]

  • You can't milk a bull. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1040)

Business[edit]

  • Everyone's business is no one's business.
    • "Matters that are of general concern, but are the responsibility of nobody in particular, tend to get neglected because everybody thinks that somebody else should deal with them."
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 116. 
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 333. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 11 June 2013. 

Buy[edit]

  • If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.
    • Herrero Ruiz, Javier (2009). Understanding Tropes: At the Crossroads Between Pragmatics and Cognition. Peter Lang. p. 101. 3631592620. 
  • If you buy quality, you only cry once.
    • Burch, Geoff (2010). Irresistible Persuasion: The Secret Way to Get to Yes Every Time. John Wiley and Sons. p. 138. 190731248X. 

Cake[edit]

  • You can't have your cake and eat it too.
    • Cf. George Herbert The Sizz "Wouldst thou both eat thy cake and have it.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 467

Candle[edit]

  • A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
    • Groft, Jan (2010). As We Grieve: Discoveries of Grace in Sorrow. Greenleaf Book Group. p. 19. 0984230602. 
  • Don't burn the candle at both ends.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 70

Canoe[edit]

  • Paddle your own canoe.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 71

Cat[edit]

  • A cat may look at a king. (Speake, 2009)
  • All cats love fish but hate to get their paws wet.
    • "One is often reluctant to take the risk, or to do the necessary worked involved in doing/getting something desirable." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 346)
  • Curiosity killed the cat. (Strauss, 1994 p. 684)
    • "Inquisitiveness – or a desire to find about something – can lead you into trouble."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 9 August 2013. 
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 81
  • There's more than one way to skin a cat.
  • The more you stroke the cat's tail, the more he raises his back. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1184)
  • When the cat is away, the mice will play.
    • "In the absence of the person in authority those under his control will often neglect the duties/rules imposed on them." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 114)

Chain[edit]

  • A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Or, a chain is no stronger than its weakest link
    • "A weak part or member will affect the success or effectiveness of the whole."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 31 July 2013. 
    • Cf. Thomas Reid Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, 1786, Vol. II, p.377, Essay VII, Of Reasoning, and of Demonstration, ch. 1: "In every chain of reasoning, the evidence of the last conclusion can be no greater than that of the weakest link of this chain, whatever may be the strength of the rest." [5]

Cheating[edit]

Chicken[edit]

  • Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 97

Child[edit]

Church[edit]

Clothes[edit]

  • Good clothes open all doors.

Coal[edit]

Cobbler/Shoemaker[edit]

  • Cobblers children are worst shod.
    • "Working hard for others one may neglect one's own needs or the needs of those closest to him." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 65).
  • Shoemaker, stick to your last.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 723

Cock[edit]

  • As the old cock crows, so crows the young.
    • "Children generally follow the example of their parents, but imitate their faults more surely than their virtues."
    • Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). 1859. p. 27. 

Command[edit]

  • Counsel is no command. (Strauss, 1994 p. 675)
  • Who has not served cannot command. (Strauss, 1994 p. 758)

Common[edit]

  • Common sense is not so common.
    • From Voltaire's Dictionnaire philosophique portatif (1765)
    • Paraphrased by graphic designers as 'Comic Sans is not so comic'.

Company[edit]

  • A man is known by the company he keeps.
    • You often take after those around you.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 125
  • Better to be alone than in bad company. (Strauss, 1998 p. 162)
  • Misery loves company.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 125
  • Two is a company; three is a crowd.
    • "Two people, especially friends or lovers, often regard a third as an unwelcome intruder."
    • William Ickes, P. D., & Ickes, W. K. (2004). Two's Company; Three's a Crowd: Booksurge Llc.

Confidence[edit]

  • Confidence begets confidence. (Strauss 1994, p. 187)
    • Confidence spills over to your coworkers.

Conscience[edit]

  • A guilty conscience needs no accuser.

Cook[edit]

Corn[edit]

  • Plough deep while sluggards sleep, and you will have corn to sell and keep. (Strauss 1994, p. 1001)

Counsel[edit]

Courage[edit]

  • Courage lost, all lost. (Strauss 1994, p. 675)'
    • "The most honorable, as well as the safest course, is to rely entirely upon valour."
    • Livy, Ab Urbe Condita Libri

Credit[edit]

Criticism[edit]

  • The best place for criticism is in front of your mirror.
    • "There is reason to think, that, if men were better instructed themselves, they would be less imposing on others."
    • John Locke, An essay concerning human understanding (1689)
    • Martin H. Manser (2007), The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs, Infobase Publishing, p. 22, ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5, retrieved on 14 July 2013 

Crow[edit]

  • Crows will not pick out crows eyes.
    • "One belonging to a group having common interests is not likely to act against or find fault with another member of the same group. Solidarity may prevail over law, justice or truth."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "13". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 96. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 

Cup[edit]

  • There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip.

Customers[edit]

  • The customer is always right.

Day[edit]

  • Praise the day at sunset.
    • "Make sure a matter is really over before relaxing about it. Unforeseen unfavourable developments may intervene and change the expected final result."
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "X". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 323. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Enjoy the present day, trusting little to what tomorrow may bring.
    • "One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon-instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today."
    • Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "910". Dictionary of European proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 765. ISBN 978-0-415-10381-7. Retrieved on 28 December 2013. 
  • Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Deep[edit]

  • Deep calls to deep. (Strauss 1994, p. 695)
    • "The more of the context of a problem that a scientist can comprehend, the greater are his chances of finding a truly adequate solution."
    • Russell L. Ackoff, The development of operations research as a science (1956)

Defence[edit]

  • The best defence is a good offence. (Strauss, 1994 p. 518)

Delay[edit]

Desire[edit]

Devil[edit]

  • Away goes the devil if he finds the door shut against him.
  • Better the devil you know (than the one you don't.) (Speake, 2009)
  • Give the devil his due.
  • Idle hands are the devil's playthings.
    • Lowry, Lois (1980). Autumn street. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 59. ISBN 0395278120. 
  • If you sup with the devil, use a long spoon.
    • Someone who treats others poorly will eventually turn on you.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 138
  • Talk of the devil and he's sure to appear.
  • Where God has a church the devil will have his chapel.
    • "Very seldom does any good thing arise but there comes an ugly phantom of a caricature of it."
    • Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). 1859. p. 130. 

Dig[edit]

  • Who digs a trap for others ends up in it himself.
    • He who intends to harm others will himself suffer from his action. - As anger is blind, some aspects of an action - harmful for the doer - may be overlooked in the process. (Paczolay, 1997 p. 77)

Discretion[edit]

Disease[edit]

  • Desperate diseases must have desperate remedies.

Ditch[edit]

Do[edit]

  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    • Based on the Bible (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31). "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets" in the King James version; "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." in the New International Version
  • If you want a thing done right, do it yourself.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 139
  • "Well done" is better than "well said".

Dog[edit]

  • A staff is quickly found to beat a dog. (Strauss, 1998 p. 103)
    • Someone who wants to be mean will find things to be mean about no matter what.
  • All are not thieves that dogs bark at.
  • Barking dogs seldom bite.
    • "Threatening does not always lead to action: Harsh words may disguise a different feeling, intention or ability." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 44).
  • Brag is a good dog, but holdfast is better.
    • A variation of "Talk is cheap".
    • This Proverb is a Taunt upon Braggadoccio's, who talk big, boast, and rattle:
    • It is also a Memento for such who make plentiful promises to do well for the

future but are suspected to want Constancy and Resolution to make them good. - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 4

  • The dogs bark but the caravan passes on. (Strauss, 1998 p. 340)
    • "Whatever any one does or says, I must be good."
    • Aurelius Antoninus, Meditations (161 BC)
  • Dogs wags their tails, not as much to you as to your bread. (Strauss, 1994 p. 710)
    • He who acts friendly does not seek your affection, but a specific thing from you.
  • Give a dog a bad name and hang him.
  • Give a dog a bad name and he'll live up to it.
    • How well a dog or human behaves depends on how he has been treated.
    • Clarke, Nick (1865). Alistair Cooke: a biography. Routledge. p. 174. 1420931989. 
  • He that would hang his dog gives out first that he is mad.
  • If you lie down with dogs, you'll get up with fleas.
    • "If you associate with dishonest or disreputable people, you are likely to acquire their undesirable qualities."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. p. 224. 
  • Love me, love my dog.
    • Bernard of Clairvaux attests in the 12th century this was a common proverb, In Festo Sancti Michaelis, Sermo 1, sect. 3; translation from Richard Chevenix Trench, Archbishop of Dublin, On the Lessons in Proverbs ([1853] 1856) p. 148.
    • Also reported in English by John Heywood, Proverbs (1546), Part II, chapter 9; and by Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia (1732), No. 3292

Dog food[edit]

  • Eat your own dog food.
    • Consume your own product in order to recognize its flaws.
    • Iles, Greg (2007). Third Degree. Simon and Schuster. p. 159. 0743292502. 

Door[edit]

  • The door swings both ways.
    • What you do to me, I can do to you.
    • Borcherdt, Bill (1996). Making families work and what to do when they don't: thirty guides for imperfect parents of imperfect children. Routledge. p. 65. 0789000733. 
  • When one door closes, another door opens. or God never closes one door without opening another.
    • "When baffled in one direct a man of energy will not despair, but will find another way to his object."
    • Source for meaning: Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). 1859. p. 67. 

Doormat[edit]

  • If you make yourself into a doormat, people will wipe their feet on you. (Robinson, 2011)
    • Others will abuse you if you let them.

Doubt[edit]

Dropping[edit]

  • Constant dropping wears away the stone.
    • "A drop hollows out the stone by falling not twice, but many times; so too is a person made wise by reading not two, but many books."
    • (Giordano Bruno, Il Candelaio)
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "71". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 349. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 

Drunkard[edit]

  • Once a drunkard always a drunkard. (Strauss, 1994 p. 771)

Duck[edit]

  • If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.
    • "It is usually safe to identify somebody as a particular type of person when his or her appearance, behavior, and words all point to the same conclusion."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Reportedly coined by James Whitcombe Riley, sometime before his demise 1916. He wrote: When I see a bird that walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.
    • Made famous by the then Governor Ronald Reagan's use of the expression 1967, in an interview with a journalist. (Cryer 2011, p. 163)

Dwarf[edit]

  • Dwarf on a giant's shoulder sees farther of the two.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 163

Early[edit]

Easy[edit]

  • It's easy to be wise after the event.(Speake, 2009)

Eat[edit]

  • Eat your own dog food.
    • Consume your own product in order to recognize its flaws.
    • Iles, Greg (2007). Third Degree. Simon and Schuster. p. 159. 0743292502. 
  • Good eating deserves good drinking.
  • You don't shit where you eat.
    • Different segments of your life must remain contiguous such as business, your love life and leisure.
    • Iles, Greg (2007). Third Degree. Simon and Schuster. p. 159. 0743292502. 

Eavesdropper[edit]

  • Eavesdroppers hear no good of themselves.

Egg[edit]

  • Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow. (Strauss, 1998 p. 75)
  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
    • "Spread your risks or investments so that if one enterprise fails you will not lose everything."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 18 August 2013. 
    • First recorded 1662, G. Toriano, Italian proverbial phrases ("To put all one's eggs in a paniard"); 1710, Samuel Palmer, Moral essays on proverbs ("Don't venture all your eggs in one basket").
    • Apperson, GL (2006). Dictionary of proverbs. Wordsworth. p. 170. ISBN 978-1840223118. 
  • Eggs and oaths are soon broken. (Strauss, 1998 p. 765)
  • He that steals an egg will steal an ox. (Strauss, 1994 p. 962)
  • You can't have an omelette unless you break the egg.
    • "Sacrifices have to be made in order to achieve a goal; often used to justify an act that causes loss, harm, or distress to others."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 313. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 259

Empty[edit]

  • An empty vessel makes much noise. (Speake, 2009)
    • It is not he who advertises for himself the most that can achieve the greatest results.

End[edit]

  • All's well that ends well.
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [6]
  • Whatever you do, act wisely, and consider the end. (Strauss, 1994 p. 600)

Enemy[edit]

  • Do not think that one enemy is insignificant, or that a thousand friends are too many. (Strauss 1994, p. 718)
  • The enemy of my enemy, is my friend.
  • If you have no enemies it is a sign that fortune has forgotten you.
    • "Envy is a kind of praise."
    • John Gay, The Hound and the Huntsman
    • Emanuel Strauss (1994). "1292". Dictionary of European Proverbs. Taylor & Francis. p. 1008. ISBN 978-0-415-10381-7. 
    • Ambrose Bierce THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY (1991)
  • There is no little enemy. (Strauss 1994, p. 718)
  • We carry our greatest enemies within us.
    • "Seek first the virtues of the mind; and other things either will come, or will not be wanted."
    • Francis Bacon, 'The Advancement of Learning' (1605)
    • Specified as a proverb in "73". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 300. 

Every[edit]

  • Every cloud has a silver lining.
    • There is nothing bad that does not bring about something good.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 115
  • Every rose has its thorn.
    • Bradley, E. and H. Bradley, Every Rose Has Its Thorn: The Rock 'n' Roll Field Guide to Guys, Penguin Group USA.

Everyone/Everybody[edit]

  • Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.
    • Everybody mentions a problem, but not anyone tries to solve it.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. 
  • What everybody says must be true. (Strauss 1994, p. 77)

Evil[edit]

  • Avoid evil and it will avoid thee. (Strauss, 1994 p. 520)
  • Evil begets evil. (O'Donnell 1983, p. 71)
  • Of two evils choose the least.
    • "If you are forced to choose between two options, both of which are undesirable, all you can do is choose the one that is less undesirable than the other."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: {Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 3 August 2013. 
  • Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (From Matthew 6:34)
    • Don't worry about the future. Focus on today's worries instead.

Example[edit]

  • Lead by example.
    • Be the change that you would like to see in others.
    • Baldoni, John (2009). Lead by example: 50 ways great leaders inspire results. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. 0814412947. 
  • Example is better than correction.
    • (Ward, 1842 p. 31)

Exception[edit]

  • The exception proves the rule. (Speake, 2009)

Eye[edit]

  • The eye looks but it is the mind that sees. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1175)

Face[edit]

  • Don't cut off your nose to spite your face. (Strauss 1998, p. 713)
    • Beware of letting spite lead you into self-destructiveness.

Fame[edit]

Fall[edit]

  • Don't fall before you're pushed.
    • Don't give up in the face of adversity.
    • Mason, John (2000). Know Your Limits- Then Ignore Them. Insight International, Inc. pp. 206. ISBN 1890900125. 
  • Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.
    • Confucius
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 153

Fear[edit]

  • We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Feet[edit]

  • It is better to die on one's feet than live on one's knees.

Fence[edit]

  • Good fences make good neighbors.

Flow[edit]

First[edit]

  • First come, first served. (Speake, 2009)
    • He who is first to arrive is the first to be served.
  • The first step to health is to know that we are sick. (Palta, 2006)
    • You must put an accurate diagnosis on a problem before you can solve it.
  • First things first.
  • If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
    • "Do not be discouraged by failure, and never give up – if you keep trying you will ultimately enjoy success."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Cf. William Edward Hickson's Try and Try again
      "Tis a lesson you should heed:
      Try, try, try again.
      If at first you don't succeed,
      Try, try, try again"
  • The last will be first, and the first last. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1085)
    • Those who humbly serve the Lord will be rewarded, and those who are arrogant will be humbled; Humbleness is a virtue, pride is a sin.

Find[edit]

  • Love is not finding someone to live with; it's finding someone whom you can't live without.
    • Lipper, D. and E. Sagehorn (2008). The Everything Wedding Vows Book: How to Personalize the Most Important Promise You'll Ever Make, Adams Media.
  • Seek and ye shall find.
  • You always find something in the last place you look.
    • Mass, W. (2008). Jeremy Fink and the meaning of life, Scholastic.

Fire[edit]

  • A burnt child dreads the fire.
    • "Somebody who has had an unpleasant experience thereafter shrinks from the cause of that experience."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 30 July 2013. 
    • "This Proverb intimates, That it is natural for all living Creatures, whether rational or irrational,
      to consult their own Security, and Self-Preservation; and whether they act by Instinct or Reason, it still
      tends to some care of avoiding those things that have already done them an Injury." - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [7]
  • Do not add oil to the fire.
    • "One should not make a bad situation even worse by an improper remark." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 338)
  • Fight fire with fire. (Strauss 1994, p. 688)
  • There is no smoke without fire.
    • "There is no effect without some cause. also It is supposed that if there is a rumour, there must be some truth behind it."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "1". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 33. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 

Fish[edit]

  • All is fish that comes to the net.
  • If wishes were fishes, we'd all cast nets.
  • Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
    • The earliest known version is from Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie, Mrs. Dymond (1885 novel): "I don't suppose even Caron could tell you the difference between material and spiritual,[...] but I suppose the Patron meant that if you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to catch a fish you do him a good turn. But these very elementary principles are apt to clash with the leisure of the cultivated classes."
  • There are as good fish in the sea as ever were caught.
    • "Many are accustomed to envy others for their rare acquisitions, while they themselves have equal opportunity of obtaining the same. They ought to be satisfied that as good advantages are equally accessible to them as others, and remember the significant saying, that 'Man is the architect of his own fortune.'"
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 192. 

Flaunt[edit]

  • If you got it, flaunt it.
    • Jenkins-Sanders, Marsha (2007). The Other Side of Through. Simon and Schuster. p. 21. ISBN 159309115X. 

Fly[edit]

  • You can catch more flies with a drop of honey than with a barrel of vinegar.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 100. 

Fool[edit]

  • A fool is ever laughing.
  • Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
  • (Fools) live poor to die rich.
    • Whiting, Bartlett Jere (1977). "F231". Early American Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases. Harvard University Press. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-674-21981-6. 
  • The first chapter of fools is to think themselves wise. (Strauss, 1994 p. 879)
  • Every fool is pleased with his own folly.
  • Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. (Speake, 2009)
  • Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
  • He that leaves certainty and sticks to chance,
    When fools pipe, he may dance.
  • Knaves and fools divide the world.
  • A tongue of a fool carves a piece of his heart to all sit near him. (Strauss, 1994 p. 136)
  • There's no fool like an old fool.
  • A wise man changes his mind, but a fool never does.

Forewarned[edit]

  • Forewarned, forearmed.

Forgiveness[edit]

  • Forgive and forget.
  • Meaning: "Do not bear grudges—forgive those who have wronged you and forget the wrong."
  • It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

Fortune[edit]

  • If fortune favours, beware of being exalted; if fortune thunders, beware of being overwhelmed. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1001)

Fox[edit]

Friend[edit]

  • A friend cannot be known in prosperity nor an enemy be hidden in adversity.
    • Specified as a proverb in "13". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 402. 
  • A friend is best found in adversity.
    • Specified as a proverb in "16". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 402. 
  • A friend in need is a friend indeed.
    • "Pure friendship is something which men of an inferior intellect can never taste."
    • Jean de La Bruyère, The Characters or Manners of the Present Age (1688), Chapter V.
    • A Dialogue Conteynyng Prouerbes and Epigrammes (1562) has Prove thy friend ere thou have need; but, in-deed. A friend is never known till a man have need.
  • A good friend never offends.
    • Specified as a proverb in "36". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 403. 
  • A true friend does sometime venture to be offensive.
    • Specified as a proverb in "48". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 404. 
  • A reconciled friend is a double enemy.
    • Specified as a proverb in "42". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 403. 
  • All are not friends who speak one fair.
    • Specified as a proverb in "57". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 404. 
  • Be a friend to thyself, and others will befriend thee.
    • "Mens friends commonly bear a proportion to their circumstances iu the world. And therefore if we be such friends to as to make our circumstances easy and plentiful we will not want friends."
    • "Know this, that he that is a friend to himself, is a friend to all men."
    • 1759 Seneca: Works. Epistles. No. 6. (Thomas Lodye, Editor.)
    • James Kelly (1818). "B". A Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs Explained and Made Intelligible to the English Reader. 
  • Bought friends are not friends indeed.
    • Specified as a proverb in "73". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 402. 
  • Do not think that one enemy is insignificant, or that a thousand friends are too many. (Strauss 1994, p. 718)
  • False friends are worse than open enemies.
    • Specified as a proverb in "87". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 406. 
  • He is my friend who grinds at my mill.
    • "That is, who is serviceable to me – a vile sentiment if understood to absolutely; but the proverb i rather to be interpreted as offering a test by which genuine friendship may be distinguished from its counterfeit."
    • Source for meaning: Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). pp. 238. , p. 42
  • He is my friend that succoreth me, not he that pitieth me.
    • Specified as a proverb in "112". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 407. 
  • If you want enemies excel others, if you want friends let others excel you.
    • Specified as a proverb in "140". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 409. 
  • No longer foster, no longer friend.
    • Specified as a proverb in "169". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 411. 
  • Our friends are our mirrors and show us ourselves.
    • "Mens friends commonly bear a proportion to their circumstances iu the world. And therefore if we be such friends to as to make our circumstances easy and plentiful we will not want friends."
    • James Kelly (1818). "B". A Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs Explained and Made Intelligible to the English Reader. 
  • When thy friend asks, let there be no to-morrow. (Ward, 1842 p. 51)
  • With friends like that, who needs enemies?
    • "Treacherous or disloyal friends are worse than enemies"
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • "Most of our misfortunes are more supportable than the comments of our friends upon them."
    • Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon, p. 238.

Fruit[edit]

  • Stolen fruit is the sweetest. (Strauss, 1994 p. 835)
  • You know the tree by its fruit.
    • Note: A reversal of the proverb "The apple does not fall far from the tree." The meaning is that you can estimate how children's parents are based on children's behavior, because children takes after their parents and are of the same nature as them. (Paczolay, 1997 p. X)
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 590)

Garbage[edit]

  • Garbage in, garbage out.

Garden[edit]

Genius[edit]

Give[edit]

  • From those to whom much is given, much is expected. (Luke 12:48)
    • Resourceful people carries a great responsibility.
  • Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
    • Blue, Kevin (2006). Practical Justice: Living Off-Center in a Self-Centered World. InterVarsity Press. p. 51. 0830833684. 
  • Give and take is fair play.
    • Source for meaning: "Exchanging like for like – wether it be a blow, an insult, a favor, or a pardon is a fair and legitimate way to proceed".
    • Manser, Martin H (2007). The Facts on File dictionary of proverbs. Infobase Publishing. 0816066736. , p. 133
  • Give, and ye shall receive.
    • From Luke 6:38
  • Give credit where credit is due.
    • Derived from Romans 13:7
  • Give him an inch and he'll take a yard.
    • "Give way slightly and he'll press home his advantage. Yielding a little to bad influence (or to a greedy perrson/group), one will be taken entirely or he/it will be encouraged to take much more." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 208)
    • Derived from Romans 13:7
      • Variant: Give a nigger an inch and he'll take an ell.
        • (Twain, 1885 p. 222)
      • Variant: Give him an inch and he'll take a mile.
        • (Strauss 1998, p. 240)
  • He gives twice who gives in a trice.
    • "Immediate aid is of more value. - A process of derogation can best be stopped in its initial stages, or a process of development can best be helped in the beginning." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 452)

Glory[edit]

  • Follow glory and it will flee, flee glory and it will follow thee. (Strauss 1994, p. 832)

Going[edit]

  • Don't go between the tree and the bark. (Strauss, 1998 p. 204)
  • What goes around comes around. (Speake, 2009)
  • What goes up must come down.
    • "The law of gravity must be obeyed; also used figuratively of any rise and fall."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. X. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • "Every age has its peculiar folly: Some scheme, project, or fantasy into which it plunges, spurred on by the love of gain, the necessity of excitement, or the force of imitation."*
    • Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841)
    • "New things are made familiar, and familiar things are made new."
    • Samuel Johnson, Lives of the English Poets (1779)
    • "Ask counsel of both times—of the ancient time what is best, and of the latter time what is fittest."
    • Francis Bacon, "Of Great Place", The Essays, or Counsels Civil & Moral of Francis Bacon, p. 48 (1905). Based on the 1625 edition but with modernized spelling.
  • When the going gets tough, the tough get going. (Speake, 2009)

God[edit]

  • God cures and the physician takes the fee.
  • God is on the side of the strongest batallions. (Kin 1955, p. 255)
    • "You can have the other words— chance, luck, coincidence,serendipity. I'll take grace."
  • God works in mysterious ways.
    • "Sometimes, you need a door slammed in your face before you can hear opportunity knock."
    • James Geary, My Aphorisms, (2009)
    • Select Proverbs. Mustafa Akkus. 23 December 2013. pp. 15–. GGKEY:UBW9H94680W. 
    • Mary Oliver, Winter Hours (1999)
  • Whom God will destroy, he first make mad. (Strauss 1994, p. 841)

Gold[edit]

  • All that glisters is not gold. or All that glitters is not gold.
    • "An attractive appearance may be deceptive. It may cover or hide a much less favourable content."
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "19". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 125. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 114. 
    • William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, act II, scene 7.

Good[edit]

  • All good things must come to an end.
  • If it's too good to be true, then it probably is. (Speake, 2009 p. 284)
  • If you can't be good, be careful. (Speake, 2009)
  • Only the good die young.

Goods[edit]

  • The best goods are cheapest in the end. (Kelly, 1859 p, 95)
    • It is often the expensive product which ultimately costs the least, because of the pleasure and usefulness it brings us.

Goose[edit]

  • Don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.
  • Every man thinks his own geese swans.
    • "This proverb imitates that an inbred Philauty runs through the whole Race of Flefh and Blood. It blinds the Underftanding, perverts the Judgment, depraves the Reafon of the Diftinguishers of Truth and Falfity."
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [8]
  • Goose, gander and gosling are three sounds but one thing. (Strauss, 1994 p. 104)
    • "Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb."
    • Greg Camp, All Star (1999)
  • What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
    • "What is appropriate for one person is equally appropriate for another person in a similair context."
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. 

Gossip[edit]

  • Someone who gossips to you will gossip about you.

Government[edit]

  • That government is best which governs least.
    • "The best form of government is one that allows people the greatest freedom." (Manser, 2007 p. 259)

Grass[edit]

  • The grass is always greener on the other side.
    • Manser, Martin H (2007). The Facts on File dictionary of proverbs. Infobase Publishing. 0816066736. , p. 105

Grasp[edit]

  • Grasp all, lose all. (Strauss, 1994 p. 884)
    • Trying to get too much will often result in not gaining anything.

Great[edit]

  • Great events cast their shadows before them.
    • The Edinburgh review, Volym 132. A. and C. Black. 1870. p. 231. 
  • Great minds agree. (Strauss, 1994 p. 882)
  • Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
    • Albert Einstein. Buziak, Cari (2011). Calligraphy Magic: How to Create Lettering, Knotwork, Coloring and More. North Light Books. p. 79. 
  • A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
    • Manser, Martin H (2007). The Facts on File dictionary of proverbs. Infobase Publishing. 0816066736. , p. 112

Greeks[edit]

  • Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.
    • Note: "This advice has its root in the story of the Trojan Horse, the treacherous subterfuge by which the Greeks finally overcame their trojan adversaries at the end of the Trojan War."
    • "Do not trust gifts or favors if they come from an enemy."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser; David H. Pickering (2003). The Facts On File Dictionary of Classical and Biblical Allusions. Infobase Publishing. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-8160-4868-7. Retrieved on 1 July 2013. 
    • From Virgil's Aeneid Book II, line 48: timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. Translation: I fear the Grecians even when they offer gifts.

Hair[edit]

  • Fretting cares make grey hairs. (Strauss, 1994 p. 631)

Hand[edit]

  • Never let the right hand know what the left hand is doing.
    • Charity should be done in secret, so you won't do things just for praise.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 447
  • One hand washes the other.
  • Hands are to do the work…

Handsome[edit]

  • Handsome is that handsome does. (Strauss, 1994 p. 879)
    • "People should be valued for their good deeds, not their good looks, also occasionally used of things, or as a warning not to be misled by an attractive appearance."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 

Hard[edit]

  • Hard words break no bones. (Strauss, 1998 p. 17)
    • Telling harsh criticism seldom hurt anyone.

Hare[edit]

  • Drumming is not the way to catch a hare. (Strauss, 1994 p. 753)
    • Don't expect anyone to change his ways by scolding him.
  • You must not run after two hares at the same time.
    • "Concentrate on one thing at a time or you will achieve nothing. - Trying to do two or more things at a time, when even one on its own needs full effort, means that none of them will be accomplished properly."
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "X". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. X. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 102. 

Haste[edit]

  • Make haste slowly.
    • "Progress with discretion. Acting hastily one is likely to forget/overlook something important, leading to grave errors or failure." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 241)
  • Haste makes waste.

Hawk[edit]

  • Hawks will not pick out Hawk's eyes. (Speake, 2009)

Have[edit]

  • He that can have patience can have what he will. (Strauss, 1994 p. 87)

Health[edit]

  • Health is wealth.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 273
  • A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.

Head[edit]

  • He that hath a head of wax must not walk in the sun. (Ward, 1842 p. 54)
  • Two heads are better than one.
  • We should not expect to find old heads on young shoulders. (Strauss, 1994 p. 77)
    • Variant: You can't put an old head on young shoulders.
    • "A lot of young people think they're invincible, but the truth is young people are knuckleheads."
    • Michelle Obama The Tonight Show (2014)
  • When the head is sick, the whole body is sick. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1117)
  • Who falls short in the head must be long in the heels.

Heart[edit]

Hedge[edit]

  • A hedge between keeps friends green. (Strauss, 1998 p. 68)
    • It is best to have some sort of wall towards your neighbours.
  • Men leap over where the hedge is lower. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1087)
    • "People overrun and oppress those who are least able to resist."
    • Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). 1859. p. 59. 

Help[edit]

Hesitation[edit]

  • He who hesitates is lost.
    • "Do not be too slow to make a decision or take advantage of an opportunity."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 492

Hindsight[edit]

  • Hindsight is always twenty-twenty.
    • 20-20 refers to perfect vision.
    • It is easy to be prudent in hindsight.
    • Brenner, Gail Abel (2003). Concise dictionary of European proverbs. Wiley. p. 284. 0764524771. 

History[edit]

  • History repeats itself. (Strauss, 1994 p. 977)
    • "Lack of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong—these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history."
    • Winston Churchill, speech, House of Commons (1935)

Hole[edit]

  • If you're in a hole, stop digging. (Speake 2009, p. 388)
    • "When you have landed yourself in trouble, such as through a foolish remark or action, do not say or do anything to make it worse."

Home[edit]

Honor[edit]

Hope[edit]

  • Who lives by hope will die of hunger. (Strauss 1994, p. 952)

Horse[edit]

  • A nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse.
    • "Usually suggesting that a person understands very well what another person is getting at as any kind of hint or gesture will suffice to communicate it."
    • Source for proverb and meaning: George Latimer Apperson (May 2006). Dictionary of Proverbs. Wordsworth Editions. p. 413. ISBN 978-1-84022-311-8. Retrieved on 16 September 2013. 
  • Don't change horses in midstream.
  • Don't put the cart before the horse.
    • "It is important to do things in the right or natural order."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 18 August 2013. 
    • Cf. Dan Michael of Northgate, Ayenbite of Inwyt (1340): "Many religious folk set the plough before the oxen." (Middle English: "Moche uolk of religion зetteþ þe зuolз be-uore þe oksen.")
  • If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
  • I'll hear it from the horse's mouth.
    • "I will hear it from an authoritative or dependable source."
    • Source for meaning: Ammer, Christine (1997). The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 640. ISBN 039572774X. 
  • It's a good horse that never stumbles.
    • We all make mistakes from times to times.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 290
  • Look not a gift horse in the mouth.
    • "A present should not be criticized. It is an expression of respect and appreciation and any criticism would offend the donor. (The teeth of a horse reveal its age, i.e its real value.)"
    • Source for proverb and meaning:(Paczolay, 1997 p. 54)
  • Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
    • Don't critize gifts.
    • Goudreau, Colleen Patric (2011). Vegan's Daily Companion: 365 Days of Inspiration for Cooking, Eating, and Living Compassionately. Quarry Books. p. 133. 1592536794. 
  • A golden bit does not make the horse any better. (Strauss, 1998 p. 52)
    • An ugly thing will remain ugly even if its appearance is taken care of.
  • You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.
    • "You can give somebody the opportunity to do something, but you cannot force him or her to do it."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Medlin, Carl (2008). Second Great Reformation: Man Shall Not Live by Faith Only. Xulon Press. p. 74. 1606476459. 
  • Zeal without knowledge is a runaway horse.

House[edit]

  • People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
    • Variation: Whose house is of glass, must not throw stones at another.
    • George Herbert, Outlandish Proverbs, 1640; cited in "Proverbs 120". The Yale Book of Quotations. 2006. pp. p. 613. ISBN 0-300-10798-6. 
    • George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum, 1651, number 196

Ignorance[edit]

  • Admiration is the daughter of ignorance.
  • Ignorance is bliss.
    • " 'This world, where much is to be done and little to be known."
    • Samuel Johnson, Prayers and Meditations (1785).
  • The ignorant always adore what they cannot understand.
  • Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.
  • Imagination comes before Creation. (Dr.Shaikh Tanveer Ahmed CE HANDS)

Insanity[edit]

  • Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
    • Don't do the same thing repeatedly, and expect a different outcome.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang (2012). The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs. Yale University Press. pp. 312. ISBN 0300136021. 

Iron[edit]

  • Don't have too many irons in the fire.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 588
  • Iron sharpens iron. (Whiting, 1997 p. 235)
  • Strike while the iron is hot. or Make hay while the sun shines.
    • "Take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself, before it passes away. A good opportunity is usually a rare coincidence of various factors, unlikely to be repeated." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 109)
    • George Farquhar, The Beaux' Stratagem, Act IV, scene 2; reported as a proverb in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 642. Walter Scott, The Fair Maid of Perth, Chapter V. Webster, Westward Ho, III. 2. Geoffrey Chaucer, Troylus and Cresseyde, Book II, Stanza 178.

Island[edit]

  • No man is an island.
    • "No one can flatter himself that he is immune to the spirit of his own epoch, or even that he possesses a full understanding of it. Freedom stretches only as far as the limits of our consciousness."
    • Carl Jung, Paracelsus the Physician (1942)
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 

Job[edit]

  • If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 133

Joy[edit]

  • Joy shared, joy doubled: sorrow shared, sorrow halved. (Strauss, 1994 p. 249)

Judgment[edit]

  • Hasty judgment leads to repentance. (Strauss, 1994 p. 196)
    • A quick evaluation is a terrible evaluation.

Justice[edit]

  • Justice delayed is justice denied. (Legal Proverb, India) (Speake, 2009)
  • Justice pleaseth few in their own house.

Kindness[edit]

  • Kindness, like grain, increase by sowing.

Keeping[edit]

  • Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
    • Spending time among an enemy will help you recognize his weak spots. This might give the false impression that your enemies are your friends.
    • Matthews, Chris (1999). Hardball: How Politics Is Played Told By One Who Knows The Game (revisada, reimpresa ed.). Simon and Schuster. p. 91. ISBN 0684845598. 

Knowledge[edit]

Kill[edit]

  • Kill your darlings.
    • Remove the favorite parts of your work.
    • Blacker (2001). Kill Your Darlings: A Novel. St. Martin's Press. 

Kingdom[edit]

  • A good mind possesses a kingdom. (Strauss, 1998 p. 58)
    • Material assets are fleeting, but intellectual assets will basically stay with you for the rest of your life. Therefore, intellectual assets are much more worth than material ones.

Kitchen[edit]

  • If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
    • "If you cannot cope with the pace or stress, as in a competitive industry or in a position of high office, then you should leave or resign."
    • Source for meaning: Manser, Martin H. (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Ammer, Christine (1997). The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 640. ISBN 039572774X. 

Lady[edit]

  • Faint heart never won fair lady.
    • "It is necessary to be bold and courageous to win the heart of a woman – or to achieve any other cherished objective."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 22 September 2013. 
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 30. 
  • It ain't over till the fat lady sings.
  • Joan is as good as my lady in the dark.

Knowledge[edit]

  • Knowledge is power. (17th Century) (Speake, 2009)
  • KNOWLEDGE IS OUR LIFE…

Land[edit]

  • In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. (Speake, 2009)

Lane[edit]

  • It's a long lane that has no turning.

Laugh[edit]

  • He laughs best who laughs last.
    • "Do not celebrate prematurely while something is not yet achieved finally. - Unforeseen developments often lead to a less favourable final result." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 395)
  • Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.
    • Everyone likes a cheerful person, and everyone dislikes a growler.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 325

Law[edit]

Lemon[edit]

  • If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. (Speake, 2009)
    • If you have had many bad experiences, make something good out of it.

Less[edit]

Lie[edit]

  • A lie can be halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on.

Life[edit]

  • Life imitates art.
    • "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a completely ad-hoc plot device."
    • David Langford A Gadget Too Far (1992)
    • Bloom, H. (2007). Arthur Miller, Bloom's Literary Criticism.
  • Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.
  • Life is what you make of it.
  • Life's battle don't always go to the stronger or faster man, but sooner or later the man who wins is the one who thinks he can.
    • Lucier, T. J. (2005). How to make money with real estate options: low-cost, low-risk, high-profit strategies for controlling undervalued property-- without the burdens of ownership!, Wiley.
  • Look on the sunny side of life.
  • The best things in life are free. (Speake, 2009)

Lightning[edit]

  • Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.
    • "The same unpleasant or unexpected phenomenon will not recur in the same place or circumstances, or happen to the same person again; a superstition that often leads to a false sense of security."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 169. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 634

Like[edit]

  • Like cures like. (Strauss, 1994 p. 648)
  • Like father, like son. (Speake, 2009)

Linen[edit]

  • Don't wash your dirty linen in public. (Strauss, 1994 p. 702)
    • Don't speak ill of yourself and the groups you belong to.

Little[edit]

  • Little by little and bit by bit.
    • Many incremental changes will after some time transform what is pathetic into something grand.
    • Dickens, Charles (1867). Nicholas Nickleby, Volumes 1-4. Hurd & Houghton. p. 145. 0814412947. 
  • A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
    • A little Learning is a dangerous Thing;
      Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:
      There shallow Draughts intoxicate the Brain,
      And drinking largely sobers us again.

Living[edit]

Look[edit]

  • Look before you leap. (Speake, 2009)
    • Think before you act.
  • Look on the sunny side of life.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 788

Loose[edit]

  • Loose lips sink ships.
    • Eugene, D. (2002). 20 Good Reasons to Stay Sober, Booksurge Llc.

Lose/Lost[edit]

  • All is not lost that is in danger. (Ward, 1842 p. 11)
    • All-tough your undertaking is in peril, it does not necessarily mean you are failing.
  • Use it or lose it.

Love[edit]

  • Love is blind.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 657
  • Love is like war, Easy to start, Hard to end, Impossible to forget.
    • Kumar, E. S. The Unofficial Joke book of New SMS, Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd.
  • Love laughs at locksmiths.
  • If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don't, they never were.
    • Israel, Yahdon (2009). Show Me a Nigger and I'll Show You a Racist: The Mind of a Psychopathic Genius. AuthorHouse. p. 100. ISBN 1438976607. 
  • It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. (Speake, 2009)

Lunch[edit]

  • There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Make[edit]

  • Make the best of a bad bargain.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. 

Man[edit]

  • A man's home is his castle.
    And the law of England has so particular and tender a regard to the immunity of a man's house, that it stiles it his castle, and will never suffer it to be violated with immunity: agreeing herein with the sentiments of ancient Rome, as expressed in the works of Tully; quid enim sanctius, quid omni religione munitius, quam domus unusquisque civium?
    Translation: What more sacred, what more strongly guarded by every holy feeling, than a man's own home?
  • Cometh the hour cometh the man.
  • A mans worst enemies are often those of his own house. (Strauss, 1994 p. 52)
  • Good men are hard to find.
  • The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 272
  • Manners maketh the man.
  • Wise men learn by other men's harms, fools by their own. (Strauss, 1998 p. 34)

May[edit]

  • Ne'er cast a clout till May be out.

Many[edit]

  • Many a mickle makes a muckle.
    • Many small parts will eventually create something impressive.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 698
  • Many things are lost for want of asking.

Marriage[edit]

  • A young man married is a young man marred.
  • Marry in haste, and repent at leisure.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 463

Measure[edit]

  • Measure twice, cut once.
    • "Impetuous schemes and boldness is at first sight alluring, but difficult to handle, and in its result disastrous. "
    • Livy, Ab Urbe Condita Libri
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 171

Memory[edit]

  • Repetition is the mother of memory. (Rowlingson, 1919 p. 15)

Mend[edit]

  • It's never too late to mend.
    • It is never to late to do what we wish we would have done when we were younger.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 602

Mind[edit]

  • Men talk only to conceal the mind. (Strauss 1994, p. 1088)
  • Mind your own business. (Strauss, 1998 p. 719)
  • Mind your P's and Q's. or British: Mind your manners
    • [9]
    • Makhene, E. R. W. (2008). Mind Your Ps and Qs, Lulu.com.

Mile[edit]

  • The longest mile is the last mile home.

Milk[edit]

  • It's no use crying over spilt milk. (Strauss, 1994 p. 631)

Misfortune[edit]

  • Misfortunes never come singly.
    • One misfortune is often followed by another. - A mishap may weaken/frighten a person/group/relationship, making him/it more liable to fell victim to subsequent minor dangers too.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 704
    • Source for Meaning: (Paczolay, 1997 p. 60)

Miss[edit]

  • A miss by an inch is a miss by a mile.
    • Cf. Scottish Proverbs Collected and Arranged by Andrew Henderson, 1832, p.103: "An inch o' a miss is as gude as a span." [10]
  • Missing the wood for the trees.
    • While tending to every detail you might miss out the big picture. (Singh, 2006 p. 169)

Mistake[edit]

Money[edit]

  • For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
    • Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10
  • Money makes the mare go.
  • Money talks.
  • Money talks, bullshit walks. (Speake, 2009 p. 388)
    • It is easier to accomplish goals using money instead of just talk.
  • Put your money where your mouth is.
    • Invest in what you claim will happen, and put in your own effort or money in matters you praise, warn about, or complain about.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 714
  • Time is money.
    • Leonard, F. (1995). Time is money: a million dollar investment plan for today's twenty- and thirty-somethings, Perseus Books Group.

More[edit]

  • More haste, less speed.(Strauss, 1994 p. 1095)
    • Hurry, but work slowly to make sure what you attend to gets done properly.
  • The more the merrier. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1094)
  • The more things change, the more they stay the same. (Washington, 2007 p. 132)
    • When things seem to be new, it is in fact history repeating itself.

Mountain[edit]

  • Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.
    • "Many things complicated are restored by reason."
    • Livy, Ab Urbe Condita Libri
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 708

Mouse[edit]

  • Burn not your house to rid it of the mouse. (Strauss, 1994 p. 568)
    • It is often the fact the cure/remedy/solution leads to a worse problem than it originally was intended to solve.

Mouth[edit]

Much[edit]

  • Much is expected where much is given. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1095)
    • "More is expected of those who have received more - that is, those who had good fortune, are naturally gifted, or have been shown special favour."
    • Source for meaning and proverb: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 8 September 2013. 

Muck[edit]

Nail[edit]

  • For want of a nail the shoe is lost, for want of a shoe the horse is lost, for want of a horse the rider is lost.
    • A seemingly trivial event can cause a chain reaction which escaltes into something very big.
    • Proverb reported by George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651), #495
  • The nail that sticks up will be hammered down. (Whatling, 2009)
    • A person that sticks out will often be poorly treated.

Nature[edit]

  • Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.
  • Nature is beyond all teaching. (Strauss, 1994 p. 764)
    • Nature is much more important than nurture when it comes to learning.

Never[edit]

  • Never lie to your doctor.
    • Huler, Scott (1999). From Worst to First: Behind the Scenes of Continental's Remarkable Comeback. John Wiley & Sons. p. 200. 0471356522. 
  • Never lie to your lawyer.
    • Huler, Scott (1999). From Worst to First: Behind the Scenes of Continental's Remarkable Comeback. John Wiley & Sons. p. 200. 0471356522. 
  • Never put off till (until) tomorrow what you can do today.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 264
  • Never say die.
    • Don't give up if there still is a chance that you can succeed.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 203
  • Never say never.
    • (Speake, 2009)
  • It's never too late to mend.
    • You are never too old to change your ways.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p.602

Nice[edit]

  • If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
    • Morem, Susan (2005). One hundred one tips for graduates. Infobase Publishing. p. 69. 0816056765. 

Night[edit]

No[edit]

  • No man can serve two masters.
  • No man is an island.
    • We are all interdependent and influenced by each other.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 419 e
  • No man is indispensable. (Strauss, 1998 p. 319)
  • No news is good news.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 734 e
  • No pain, no gain.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. 2006

Nothing[edit]

  • Lose nothing for want of asking. (Mawr, 1885 p. 116)
    • Asking is no sin, and being refused is no tragedy.
  • Nothing for nothing. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1111)
  • Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    • It is necessary to take risks in order to achieve something. (Manser, 2007 p. 207)
    • Variant: Nothing ventured, nothing have. - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [11]
  • You don't get nothing for nothing.

Number[edit]

  • There is luck in odd numbers.

Nut[edit]

Oak[edit]

  • Little strokes fell great oaks.
    • A difficult task, e. g. removing a person/group from a strong position, or changing established ideas cannot be done quickly. It can be achieved gradually, by small steps, a little at a time. (Paczolay, 1997 p. 252)

Old[edit]

  • Old habits die hard. (Speake, 2009)
  • Old is Gold, but never sold.
    • Mysore (India : State). Legislature. Legislative Assembly (1959). Debates; Official Report. s.n.. p. 1401. 

One[edit]

  • Take care of number one.
    • Put your own interests before those of everybody else. (Manser, 2007 p. 257)

Only[edit]

  • The only free cheese is in the mouse trap.
    • Russian saying.
    • Gage, R. (2010). Why You're Dumb, Sick & Broke...And How to Get Smart, Healthy & Rich!, John Wiley & Sons.
  • The only stupid question is the one that is not asked.
    • Hull, E., K. Jackson, et al. (2005). Requirements engineering, Springer.

Opportunity[edit]

  • In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. (O'hara, 2011)

Out[edit]

  • Out of sight... Out of mind.
    • "Those who leave us are soon forgotten. - Seeing somebody reinforces the memory while a long abscence and the appearance of new impressions may result in a gradual fading of it."
    • Cf. Fulke Greville's sonnet "And out of minds as soons as out of sight"
  • Out of small acorns grow mighty oaks. (Speake, 2009)
    • One has to start somewhere!

Over[edit]

Oyster[edit]

Package[edit]

  • The best things come in small packages. (Speake, 2009)

Pain[edit]

  • No pain, no gain.
    • Nothing can be achieved without effort, suffering, or hardship. (Manser, 2007 p. 205)

Pay[edit]

  • You get what you pay for.

Paradise[edit]

  • There is no greater torment than to be alone in paradise. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1106)

Pardon[edit]

  • Never ask pardon before you are accused. (Ward, 1842 p. 87)

Pass[edit]

  • This, too, shall pass.

Peace[edit]

  • There's no peace for the wicked.

Penny[edit]

  • In for a penny in for a pound.
  • Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.
  • Penny wise, pound foolish.
    • Skimping on small financial matters can cause you to lose money overall. E.G. outsourcing customer service to a third-world country may save a small amount, but may cost a huge amount in lost customers.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. 
  • * Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.

People[edit]

  • The voice of the people is the voice of god. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1164)

Pig[edit]

Pill[edit]

Percent[edit]

  • 80 percent of life is showing up.
    • Coined by Woody Allen.
    • Don't dream it, do it. According to Woody Allen, those who do this are 80 percent of the way to having something good happening to them.
    • Lewis, Carole (2009). Give God a Year & Change Your Life Forever: Improve Every Area of Your Life (Gospel Light Publications ed.). p. 17. ISBN 0830751327. 
  • 50 percent of something is better than one hundred percent of nothing.
    • Talking is a long way from doing, thus a halfway done paltry project is better than an unstarted ambitious project.
    • (Scaffidi)

Picture[edit]

  • A picture is worth a thousand words.

Pitcher[edit]

  • It's a cracked pitcher that goes longest to the well.
  • Little pitchers have big ears. (Strauss 1994, p. 653)
    • (Small) children observes and understands more than one might think.

Play[edit]

Please[edit]

Poet[edit]

  • Poets are born, but orators are trained. (Strauss, 1998 p. 331)
    • Some things can be improved by training, others require innate talent.

Politeness[edit]

  • Politeness costs nothing and gains everything.

Politics[edit]

  • Politics makes strange bedfellows.

Pot[edit]

  • A little pot is easily hot.
  • Shit or get off the pot. ( W., 1975)
    • "Decide what you're going to do this week, and not this year. Make decisions right before you do something, not far in advance."
    • Jason Fried and David Heinemeir Hansson, Rework (2009)
  • A watched pot never boils.
    • If you are actively waiting for something to happen, it seldom does.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 611

Poverty[edit]

  • Poverty is the reward of idleness.

Power[edit]

  • Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. (Speake, 2009)
    • Attributed to Lord Acton

Practice[edit]

  • Practice makes perfect.
  • Practice what you preach.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 469

Prevention[edit]

  • Prevention is better than cure.

Price[edit]

  • Every man has his price.
    • "'Tis a hard task not to surrender morality for riches."
    • Martial, XI, 5, reported in Harbottle's Dictionary of Quotations (Classical) (1958), p. 15.
    • Wolfgang Mieder; Stewart A. Kingsbury; Kelsie B. Harder (1992). A Dictionary of American Proverbs. 

Poverty[edit]

  • Poverty is the reward of idleness. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1146)

Pudding[edit]

  • The proof of the pudding is in the eating. (Mawr, 2005 p. 77)[specific citation needed]
    • The worth of a thing is however it practically comes to use.

Punishment[edit]

  • Punishment is lame but it comes. (Strauss, 1994 p. 682)

Practice[edit]

  • Practice makes man perfect. (Speake, 2009)

Precept[edit]

Prepare[edit]

  • Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 512

Prevention[edit]

  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (Speake, 2009)

Price[edit]

  • Everything is worth its price. (Strauss, 1994 p. 800)

Pride[edit]

  • Pride comes before the fall. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1148)

Problem[edit]

  • If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. (Adam, 2010 p. 25)
  • A problem shared is a problem halved. (Strauss, 1994 p. 351)

Prosperity[edit]

Proverb[edit]

  • Proverbs run in pairs.

Question[edit]

Race[edit]

  • Slow and steady wins the race. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1155)

Rat[edit]

  • Rats desert a sinking ship. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1150)
    • A leader or organization in trouble will quickly be abandoned.

Reality[edit]

  • Reality is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.
    • Caper, R. (1999). A mind of one's own: a Kleinian view of self and object, Routledge.

Reap[edit]

  • What you sow is what you reap.
    • Goodwin, F. A. (2005). You Reap What You Sow. R.A.N. Pub id = 1411643550. pp. 203. 

Reason[edit]

  • Reason does not come before years. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1150)
    • Only wisdom and maturity gained by age will (hopefully) make us sensible; Young people lack common sense.

Remedy[edit]

  • The remedy is worse than the disease.
    • The effect of a treatment or bodily enhancement – whether pharmaceutical or not, whether a household remedy or professional-ordained – is often worse than what it was intended to cure or alleviate.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 486

Revenge[edit]

  • Revenge is a dish best served cold. (Speake, 2009)

Road[edit]

  • The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    • Earlier variants of this proverb are recorded as Hell is paved with good intentions. recorded as early as 1670, and an even earlier variant by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Hell is full of good intentions or desires.
    • Similar from Latin: "The gates of hell are open night and day; Smooth the descent, and easy is the way" — Virgil, the Aeneid Book VI line 126
  • There is no royal road to learning.

Rome[edit]

  • All roads lead to Rome.
    • Do not stick to one way of solution or do not be disappointed meeting a failure as an objective can be achieved (or a problem can be solved) in different ways. (Paczolay, 1997 p. 437)
  • Rome wasn't built in a day.
    • It takes time to create something impressive.
    • Coady, Linus J. (1984). Rome wasn't built in a day: the history of the foundation of Brent's Cove Parish, 1959-1965. L.J. Coady. pp. 86. 
  • When in Rome, do as the Romans do. (Speake, 2009)

Rope[edit]

  • In the house of the hanged man, mention not the rope.
    • (Ward, 1842 p. 86)

Rule[edit]

  • Rules were meant to be broken. (Speake, 2009)
    • Breake rules in secret; Break rules if it leads to the best effect.

Say[edit]

  • Least said, soonest mended.
    • "In private animosities and verbal contentions, where angry passions are apt to rise, and irritating, if not profane expressions are often made use of, as we sometimes see to be the case, not only among neighbors, but in families, between husbands and wives, or parents and children, or the children themselves and other members of the household, - the least said, the better in general. By multiplying words, cases often grow worse instead of better."
    • Source for meaning: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. pp. 125. 
  • "Well done" is better than "well said". (Whiting, 1977)

Sea[edit]

  • He complains wrongfully at the sea that suffer shipwreck twice. (Strauss, 1994 p. 898)
    • Don't do the same thing again and expect different results.
  • Seek water in the sea.

See[edit]

  • Monkey see, monkey do.
    • People tend to do like others without thinking.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 709
  • There are none so blind as they who do not want to see. (Strauss, 1998 p. 320)
  • You can't see the wood for the trees. (Van Dertuin, 2006)
    • While tending to every detail you might miss out the big picture.
  • What you see is what you get.
    • McLenighan, Valjean (1981). What you see is what you get. Follett Pub. Co.. p. 4. 0695313703. 

Service[edit]

  • Proffer'd service stinks. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1149)

Shadow[edit]

  • Catch not at the shadow and lose the substance. (Strauss, 1998)

Shame[edit]

  • Shame take him that shame thinketh. (Strauss, 1994 p. 806)
    • Don't think evil of others since they most likely act the way they do because of situational factors: Never attribute something to malice which can adequately be explained by stupidity.

Sheep[edit]

  • One might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. (Speake, 2009)

Shit[edit]

  • You don't shit where you eat.
    • Different segments of your life must remain contiguous such as business, your love life and leisure.
    • Iles, Greg (2007). Third Degree. Simon and Schuster. p. 159. 0743292502. 

Shoe[edit]

  • If the shoe fits, wear it.
    • Accept an unflattering yet accurate description of you. (Speake, 2009)
  • No one knows where the shoe pinches, but he who wears it.

Shoemaker/Cobbler[edit]

  • Cobblers children are worst shod.
    • Working hard for others one may neglect one's own needs or the needs of those closest to him. (Paczolay, 1997 p. 65).
  • Shoemaker, stick to your last.
    • Do not talk about things you do not know anything about.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 723

Show[edit]

Sin[edit]

  • There are sins of omission as well as of commission.
    • Harmful inactions are just as morally reprehensible as harmful actions.
    • Carson, D. A. (2006). How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil (2, reimpresa ed.). Baker Academic. p. 50. ISBN 0801031257. 

Snail[edit]

  • By perseverance the snail reached the arc.
    • (Strauss, 1994 p. 127)

Snooze[edit]

Son[edit]

  • A son is a son 'till he gets him a wife; a daughter's a daughter all her life.

Sowing[edit]

  • As you sow, so you reap.
    • "The consequences are directly related to one's actions." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 38).
    • "It seems that every life form on this planet strives toward its maximum potential...except human beings. A tree does not row to half its potential size and then say, 'l guess that will do.”
    • Jim Rohn, Five Major Pieces To the Life Puzzle (1991)
  • Sow thin, shear thin. (Strauss, 1998 p. 1158)
    • "He that sows bountifully, also reaps bountifully. Raise high your standard of excellence, if you would make worthy attainments."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 163. 

Spade[edit]

Speech[edit]

Spice[edit]

  • Variety is the spice of life.

Spirit[edit]

  • The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
  • Spiritually Satisfied Leadership leads to success.(Dr.Shaikh Tanveer Ahmed CE HANDS)

.

Steed[edit]

  • While the grass grows the steed starves. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1228)
    • Dreams or expectations may be realized too late.

Stitch[edit]

  • A stitch in time saves nine.
    • Cf. Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs Collected by Thomas Fuller, 1732, Vol. II, p. 283, Nr. 6291 : "A Stitch in Time // May save nine." [12]
    • "No one needs to be told that a vast deal of labor is expended unnecessarily. This is occasioned, to a great extent, by the neglect of seasonable repairs."
    • Source for meaning:Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 13. 

Stone[edit]

Straw[edit]

  • A drowning man will clutch at a straw.
    • "A man in extreme difficulty will try anything which seems to offer even the slightest help to extricate himself." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 384)

Stream[edit]

Storage[edit]

Success[edit]

  • Confidence is the companion of success.
    • Specified as a proverb in "5". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 168. 
  • Don't run behind success run behind perfection and success will come behind you.
  • Failure is the stepping stone for success.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. 
  • Nothing succeeds like success.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited.
  • One secret of success is to know how to deny yourself and other people.
  • Success is a journey not a destination.

Sun[edit]

  • There is nothing new under the sun.
    • "It turns out very often that something 'never seen/experienced before' especially in human relationships - has, in fact, in some way or another, happened before. - Human nature and the basic human aspirations did not change." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 461)

Surgeon[edit]

  • A good surgeon has an eagle's eye, a lion's heart, and a lady's hand.

Swallow[edit]

  • One swallow does not make a summer.
    • "Do not feel sure or rejoice noticing a favourable sign. The appearence of a single sign of a favourable event is not yet a definite indication of its coming. It may be unrelated, sporadic appearance." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 44)
    • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (c. 325 BC), I.1098a18

Swimmer[edit]

  • Good swimmers are often drowned. (Strauss, 1994 p. 879)
    • Beware of letting your competence lead you into overconfidence.

Sword[edit]

  • A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword.
    • Robert Burton cites this traditional proverb in The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) Part I, Section II, Member IV, Subsection IV:
    • It is an old saying, "A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword:" and many men are as much galled with a calumny, a scurrilous and bitter jest, a libel, a pasquil, satire, apologue, epigram, stage-play or the like, as with any misfortune whatsoever.
  • Live by the sword, die by the sword. (Speake, 2009)
  • The pen is mightier than the sword.
    • Mazer, Anna (2009). The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword. Baker & Taylor. 1442012889. 

Take[edit]

Tango[edit]

  • It takes two to tango. (Oshry, 1996 p. 59)
    • '"The reason that there are so few good conversationalists is that most people are thinking about what they are going to say and not about what the others are saying."
    • François de La Rochefoucauld, Réflexions diverses, IV: De la conversation. (1731)

Tat[edit]

  • Tit for tat.

Temptation[edit]

  • Without temptation there is no victory. (Ward, 1842 p. 156)
    • "Wickedness is always easier than virtue; for it takes the short cut to everything."
    • Samuel Johnson, The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (1785)

Thief[edit]

  • Once a thief always a thief. (Strauss, 1994 p. 771)
  • Set a thief to catch a thief. (Speake, 2009 p. 388)

Thing[edit]

  • The worth of a thing is what it will bring.

Think[edit]

  • Think before you speak.

Thought[edit]

  • Second thoughts are the best.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 73. 

Time[edit]

  • Desperate times call for desperate measures. (Speake, 2009)
  • Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down.
    • "People who idle their lives away will not make a lasting impression on history or be remembered for their great achievements."
    • Source for meaning: Manser, Martin H (2007). The Facts on File dictionary of proverbs. Infobase Publishing. 0816066736. 
  • Nature, time, and patience are three great physicians.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited.
  • Procrastination is the thief of time. (Speake, 2009 p. 233)
  • Time and tide wait for no man. (Spender, 1984)
    • Focus on the major worries you have today, because you will have even more major worries tomorrow; If you forsake the future, the future will forsake you.
  • Time flies.
  • Time flies when you're having fun.
  • Time is money.
  • Time is precious. (Paczolay, 1997 p. 428)
  • Time will tell.
    • "The true nature of something is likely to emerge over a period of time, and that conversely it is only after time has passed that something can be regarded as settled."
    • Source for meaning: Knowles, Elizabeth (12 October 2006). The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Oxford University Press. p. 1725. ISBN 978-0-19-157856-4. 
    • Time will reveal the truth.
  • There is no time like the present.
    • It is far better to do something now than to leave it for later, in which case it might never get done.
    • Elkin, A. (1999). Stress management for dummies, John Wiley & Sons.
  • There is nothing more precious than time and nothing more prodigally wasted. (Strauss 1994, p. 722)

Tomorrow[edit]

  • Avoid the pleasure which will bite tomorrow.
    • (Ward, 1842 p. 11)
  • Never put off till tomorrow what can be done today.
    • "It may be more difficult or sometimes even impossible to do something later, which can be easily done now." or "One can have time later for something else if a job is done now." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 87)
  • Tomorrow is another day.

Tongue[edit]

  • A still tongue makes a wise head.

Tool[edit]

  • A bad workman blames his tools.
    • George Herbert reports early English variants in Jacula Prudentum; or, Outlandish Proverbs, Sentences, Etc. (1640):
    • Compare the older French proverb:
    • Galen explains clearly, if less succinctly, in De Causis Procatarcticis (2nd c. A.D.), VI. 63–65:
      • They blame their tools: why did the carpenter make the bed so badly, if he was any good? He will reply: "Because I used a poor axe and a thick gimlet, because I did not have a rule, I lost my hammer, and the hatchet was blunt", and other things of this kind. [...] And who does not know that artisans make themselves responsible for the deficiencies in their work too, when they cannot pin the blame on material and tools?
  • Do not play with edged tools. (Strauss, 1994 p. 716)

Trade[edit]

  • Jack of all trades and master of none.

Treasure[edit]

  • A good name is the best of all treasures. (Strauss, 1998 p. 20)

Tree[edit]

  • People only throw stones at trees with fruit on them.
    • They don't toot their horns so much for your incompetence as your willingness to get a driver's license. This is because you are commited to success "n. The one unpardonable sin against one's fellows."
    • Emanuel Strauss (1994). "1292". Dictionary of European Proverbs. Taylor & Francis. p. 1008. ISBN 978-0-415-10381-7. 
  • The apple never falls far from the tree.
    • "Children observe daily and — in their behaviour — often follow the example of their parents." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 259).
  • There is no tree but bears some fruit. (Mawr, 1885 p. 131)
    • There is no person so useless that he can't be of use to others and to society at large.

Trencher[edit]

  • He that waits on another man's trencher, makes many a late dinner. (Ward, 1842 p. 55)
    • Waiting for others requires a very long time.

Trouble[edit]

  • Never trouble trouble 'til trouble troubles you.

Trust[edit]

  • If you trust before you try, you may repent before you die.
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721

Truth[edit]

  • A half truth is a whole lie. (Tal, 2005 p. 78)
  • Truth gives a short answer, lies go round about. (Strauss, 1994 p. 221)
    • Latin equivalent: Obscuris vera involvens. Translation: Obscurity envelops truth.
  • The truth shall set you free, or The truth will set you free.
    • "Sustained by truth, man becomes a most sublime spectacle. Here is the foundation of all true eloquence and dignity - the conscience untrammeled gives boldness and majesty, and the whole soul rises to the glorious height of its own nobility."
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 194. 
    • Second meaning: "Within reality is the possibility of our own personal miracle. Once we finally understand and accept the truth, the promise of the future is then freed from the shackles of deception, which held it in bondage."
    • Rohn, E. James (1991). The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle. Jim Rohn International. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-939490-02-8. 
    • In the Bible, John 8:32.
  • Truth is stranger than fiction.
  • Truth may be blamed, but it shall never be shamed.
  • Truth seeks no corners.
  • Truth will out. (Speake, 2009)

Try[edit]

  • You never know what you can do until you try.
    • "People are often surprised to discover what they are capable of when they make an effort." (Manser, 2007 p. 316)

Turn[edit]

  • One good turn deserves another.

Two[edit]

Valley[edit]

Vessel[edit]

  • Empty vessels make the most sound.
    • "Stupid, 'empty headed' people - lacking due consideration - are often verbose." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 146)

Vicar[edit]

  • The vicar of Bray will be vicar of Bray, (Manser, 2007 p. 286)
    • Whatever happens I shall remain vicar of bray.

Vice[edit]

  • Where vice goes before, vengeance follows after.

Village[edit]

Virtue[edit]

  • Virtue which parleys is near a surrender.
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [13]

Walk[edit]

  • Don't talk the talk if you can't walk the walk.
  • Learn to walk before you run.
  • Walk softly, carry a big stick.
    • Be affable, but be sure to have powerful punitive measures.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 752
  • Walk the talk. (Manser, 2007)
  • Walk the walk and talk the talk. (Skoll, 1992)
    • First do your task, then talk about it.

War[edit]

Waste[edit]

Water[edit]

  • Still water runs deep.
    • "Slow but steady work can achieve much." or "That a man says little does not mean that he does not think profoundly."
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "78". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 373. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Wade not in unknown waters.
    • "Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect."
    • Marcus Aurelius Meditations (c. 161–180 CE)
    • George Latimer Apperson (1 January 2005). Dictionary of Proverbs. Wordsworth Editions. p. 608. ISBN 978-1-84022-311-8. 

Web[edit]

  • What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

Wealth[edit]

  • Wealth rarely brings happiness. (Strauss, 1994 p. 670)

Whale[edit]

  • Set a herring to catch a whale. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1134)

Wheel[edit]

  • Don't try to reinvent the wheel.
    • The things you are doing, no matter how seemingly unique, has been done before. Take advantage of, and perhaps expand upon, your predecessors work.
    • Heacock, Paul (2003). Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms (Illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 512. ISBN 052153271X. 
  • The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Wife[edit]

  • A cheerful wife is the spice of life. (Strauss, 1998 p. 20)
  • Choose a wife rather by your ear than your eye. (Strauss, 1994 p. 655)
  • The cobbler's wife is the worst shod.
    • "Working hard for others one may neglect one's own needs or the needs of those closest to him."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "7". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 65. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • A man's best fortune or his worst is a wife. (Strauss, 1994 p. 65)
  • He that will thrive must first ask his wife.
  • Two things prolong your life: A quiet heart and a loving wife.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited.

Will[edit]

  • He that will not when he may, when he will he may have nay.
    • "Take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself, even if you do not want or need it at the time, because it may no longer be available when you do."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). pp. 41. 
  • Take the will for the deed. (Strauss, 1994 p. 881)
    • Judge by the well intentioned effort, and not it's effects.
  • Where there is a will, there is a way.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 627

Win[edit]

  • Slow and steady wins the race.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 734

Wind[edit]

  • He that sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind.
    • "Trouble once started can spark off a chain reaction, often resulting in a great trouble out of control."
    • Source for meaning:Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "103". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 459. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 

Wine[edit]

  • Life is too short (to drink bad wine).
    • Hoggart, S. (2009). Life's Too Short to Drink Bad Wine: 100 Wines for the Discerning Drinker, Quapuba.
  • Good wine needs no bush.
    • It was customary since early times to hang a grapevine, ivy or other greenery over the door of a tavern or way stop to advertise the availability of drink within.
    • A good product does not need advertising: it will spread through word of mouth or by the sight of others using it.
    • Martin (2010). Good Wine Needs No Bush. Arthur Bruce Martin. pp. 200. ISBN 0646539477. 

Winning[edit]

Wish[edit]

  • Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. (Potter, 2009)
  • The wish is father to the thought.
    • "Our beliefs and expectations are influenced by what we want or hope to be true."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. <
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 303

With[edit]

  • He who is not with me is against me.
    • Originally from the Bible, Luke 11:23 and Matthew 12:30. Specificed as a proverb in (Strauss, 1994 p. 974)

Woeful[edit]

  • Willful waste makes woeful want. (Wolfgang, 1992 p. 925)
    • Stubbornly or waywardly wasting or throwing away something you have now will later make you regretful.

Wolf[edit]

  • The wolf finds a reason for taking the lamb. (Strauss, 1994, p. 68)

Woman[edit]

Word[edit]

  • A word spoken is past recalling.
  • Deeds are fruits, words are but leaves.
  • Fine words butter no parsnips. (Speake, 2009)
  • Many a true word is spoken in jest.
    • "A joke's a very serious thing."
    • Charles Churchill, The Ghost (1763), book iv, line 1386
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). p. 57. 
  • Many words will not fill a bushel.
  • No need of words, trust deeds. (Strauss, 1994 p. 91)
    • "Actions may be, and indeed sometimes are deceptive in a measure though not as much so as words; and accordingly are received in general as more full and satisfactory proofs of the real disposition and character of persons than verbal expressions."
    • Source for meaning:Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 10. 

Work[edit]

  • A woman's work is never done.
  • All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
    • "We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on."
    • Steve Jobs, Interview in Macworld magazine (February 2004)
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. xxiv
  • Many hands make light work. (Speak, 2009)
  • No man is born into this world, whose work is not born with him. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1107)
    • No man is so disabled that he can not be of use to society (at large).
  • Quick at meat, quick at work. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1150)

Worm[edit]

World[edit]

Wrong[edit]

Wound[edit]

  • It is not wise to open old wounds.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 45. 

Youth[edit]

  • Diligent youth makes easy age.
  • Reckless youth makes rueful age.
  • They who would be young when they are old must be old when they are young.
    • "The greatest part of mankind employ their first years to make their last miserable."
    • Jean de La Bruyère, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "1605". Dictionary of European proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 1151. ISBN 0415096243. 

References[edit]

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See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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