French proverbs

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French proverbs are short expressions of popular wisdom in French-speaking countries. 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.

Quotes[edit]

A[edit]

  • À bois noueux, hache affilée.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 12. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • À chaque fou plaît sa marotte.
    • English equivalentː Every fool is pleased with his own folly.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "147". Dictionary of European Proverbs. I. Routledge. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. 
  • A chaque oiseaux son nid est beau.
    • English equivalent: The bird loves her own nest.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "923". Dictionary of European Proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 776. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. 
  • À goupil endormi rien ne tombe en la gueule.
    • English equivalent: A still tongue keeps a cool head.
    • "I have often regretted my speech, never my silence."
    • Publilius Syrus, Sententiae (100 B.C)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 73. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • A grands maux, grands remèdes. / Aux grands maux, les grands remèdes.
    • English equivalent: Desperate diseases must have desperate remedies.
    • "Drastic action is called for – and justified – when you find yourself in a particularly difficult situation."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 10 August 2013. 
    • Emanuel Strauss (11 January 2013). "812". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 552. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. Retrieved on 10 August 2013. 
  • À mauvais ouvrier point de bon outil.
    • English equivalent: A bad craftsman blames his tools.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 4. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • À cheval donné on ne regarde pas les dents (French) / la bride (Canadian).
    • English equivalent: Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
    • "Gifts and donations in general, whether their value be more or less, should be accounted tokens of kindness and received with promptness and cordiality."
    • Source for meaning: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 127. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "184". Dictionary of European Proverbs. I. Routledge. p. X. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. 
  • A confesseurs, médicins, avocats, la vérité ne cèle de ton cas.
    • English equivalent: Conceal not the truth from thy physician and lawyer.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 666. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • A l'étroit mais entre amis.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1094. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • À l'œuvre, on connaît l'artisan.
    • English equivalent: A workman is known by his chips.
    • Jean de La Fontaine, Fables (1668–1679), I., 21, Les Frelons et les Mouches à miel; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 1.
  • À raconter ses maux, souvent on les soulage.
    • English equivalent: A problem shared is a problem halved.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 351. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • À tort se lamente de la mer qui ne s'ennuie d'y retourner.
    • English equivalent: He complains wrongfully at the sea that suffer shipwreck twice.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 898. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • A qui il a été beaucoup donné, il sera beaucoup demandé.
    • English equivalent: Everybody to whom much is given, much is expected.
    • "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 proverbs: 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. ** Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1095. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Aide-toi et le ciel t'aidera.
    • English equivalent: Heaven helps those who help themselves.
    • "When in trouble first of all every one themselves should do their best to improve their condition."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 150. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Lamy, Marie-Noklle (1997). The Cambridge French-English Thesaurus (illustrated, reprint ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 103. ISBN 0521425816. 
  • Amour, toux et fumée En ne secret sont demeurée.
    • English equivalent: Love, smoke and cough are hard to hide.
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). p. 50. 
  • A tout pourquoi il y a (un) parce que.
    • English equivalent: Every why has a wherefore.
    • "A problem never exists in isolation; it is surrounded by other problems in space and time. 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)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 765. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • A qui la tête fait mal, souffre par tout le corps.
    • English equivalent: When the head is sick, the whole body is sick.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1117. ISBN 0415096243. 

B[edit]

  • Bacchus a noyé plus de gens que Neptune.
    • English equivalent: Wine has drowned more than the sea.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 864. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Beacoup de paille, peu de grains.
    • English equivalent: Great cry and little wool.
    • "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. 


  • Bois tordu fait feu droit.
    • English equivalent: Crooked logs make straight fires.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 683. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Bon coeur ne peut mentir.
    • English equivalent: The heart sees farther than the head.
    • "Trust your instincts."
    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, How She Broke the Seinfeld Curse, Redbook Magazine (2010)
  • Bon marché tire agent de bourse.
    • English equivalent: If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 53. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Bon sang ne saurait mentir.
    • English equivalent: Good blood always shows itself.
    • Alain-René Lesage, Gil Blas (1715-1735), X., 1; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 13.
    • Alternately reported as Bon sang ne saurait mentir, "Good blood wouldn't know how to lie".
  • Bonne renommée vaut mieux que ceinture dorée.
    • English equivalent: A good name is the best of all treasures.
    • "If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles, or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad, hard-beaten road to his house, tho it be in the woods. 'tis certain that the secret can not be kept: the first witness tells it to a second, and men go by fives and tens and fifties to his door."
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson, Works, Volume VIII. In his Journal. (1855), p. 528. (Ed. 1912)
    • Source: Rozan, Charles (1887). Petites ignorances de la conversation. P. Ducrocq. p. 460. 
  • Bonnee volontee est reputee pour le fait.
    • English equivalent: Take the will for the deed.
    • "We must always give people credit for their good intentions, even if they fail to carry them through."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 258. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 881. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Bons nageurs sont a las fin noyes.
    • English equivalent: Good swimmers are often drowned.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 879. ISBN 0415096243. 

C[edit]

  • C'est donner deux fois, donner promptement.
  • C'est viande mal prête que lievre en buisson.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 683. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Ce que chante la corneille, chante le corneillon.
    • As the old crow sings, so sing its fledglings.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 138. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Ce qui croît soudain, perit le lendemain.
    • English equivalent: Early ripe, early rotten.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 758. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Ce que l'enfant out au foyer, est bientôt connu jusqu'au Moustier.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 653. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Ce que tout le monde dit doit être vrai.
    • English equivalent: What everybody says must be true.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 77. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Celui que est lent à manger est lent à travailler.
    • English equivalent: Quick at meat, quick at work.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1150. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Celui que veut être jeune quand il est vieux, doit être vieux quand il est jeune.
    • English equivalent: They who would be young when they are old must be old when they are young.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "1605". Dictionary of European proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 1151. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Celui qui fuit de bonne heure peut combattre derechef.
    • English equivalent: He that flees and runs away might live to see another day.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 703. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • C'est l'exception qui confirme la règle.
    • It's the exception that proves the rule.
    • Source: Verlaan, P.; Déry, M. (2006). Les conduites antisociales des filles: Comprendre pour mieux agir. Presses de l'Université du Québec. p. 49. ISBN 9782760514249. 
  • C'est la poule qui chante qui a fait l'œuf.
    • Source: Cassagne, Jean-Marie (1998). 101 French proverbs: understanding French language and culture through common sayings. McGraw-Hill. p. 49. ISBN 0844212911. 
  • C'est le ton qui fait la chanson.
    • English equivalent: I'ts not what you do it's the way that you do it.
    • Source: Cassagne, Jean-Marie (1998). 101 French proverbs: understanding French language and culture through common sayings. McGraw-Hill. p. 49. ISBN 0844212911. 
  • C'est en forgeant qu'on devient forgeron.
    • English equivalent: Practice makes perfect.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 698. ISBN 9780415103800. 
  • C'est trop d'un ennemi et pas assez de cent amis.
    • English equivalent: Do not think that one enemy is insignificant, or that a thousand friends are too many.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 718. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • C'est volour prendre la lièvre au son du tampour.
    • English equivalent: Drumming is not the way to catch a hare.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 754. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Ce n'est pas la vache qui crie le plus fort qui donne le plus de lait.
    • English equivalent: It is not the hen who cackles the loudest who hatches the most eggs.
    • Source: Société liégeoise de littérature wallonne (1892). Bulletin de la Société liégeoise de littérature wallonne, Volym 31. Indiana University. p. 450. 
  • Ce qui est fait n'est plus à faire.
    • What is done no longer needs to be done.
    • Source: Both, Anne (2009). Ce qui est fait n'est plus à faire: ethnographie d'un centre d'archives municipales : [étude réalisée dans le cadre du] programme de recherche Les fabriques du patrimoine. Direction de l'architecture et du patrimoine. 
  • Chaque chose vaut son prix.
    • English equivalent: Everything is worth its price.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 800. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Ceux que Jupiter veut perdre, il commence par leur oter la raison.
    • English equivalent: Whom God will destroy, he first make mad.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 841. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Chacun pour soi et Dieu pour tous.
    • Every one for himself and God for us all.
    • Henri Estienne, Les Prémices (1595), Epigramme CXXX; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 28 (reported in Harbotle as "pour soy", rather than "pour soi").
  • Chacun peut être riche en promesses.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 765. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Chagrin partagé, chagrin diminué; plaisir partagé, plaisir doublé.
    • Joy shared, joy doubled: sorrow shared, sorrow halved.
    • English equivalent: Also: Joy shared, joy doubled: sorrow shared, sorrow halved.
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 249. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Charité bien ordonnée commence par soi-même.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Charity begins at home.
    • Meaning: "If we neglect objects of charity at home, or within the circle of our immediate acquaintance, to extend our good deeds to those abroad, our sincerity, our motives, and our character, are suspected, and there is ground of suspicion. For it is in the order of nature to relieve, first, by our liberality and benefactions, those connected with us, - our families, and immediate neighborhood."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 51. 
    • Adrien de Montluc, La Comédie de Proverbes, Act III., Scene VII (translated by Le Prevost); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 29 (reported in Harbotle as "soy-même", rather than "soi-même").
  • Chat échaudé craint l'eau froide.
    • A scalded cat fears cold water.
    • English equivalent: Once bitten, twice shy.
    • Signification : If you ever have been hurt by something, you'll be over-cautious of anything that even looks the same.
    • Adrien de Montluc, La Comédie de Proverbes, Act I, Scene VI (translated by Macee); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 30.
  • Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop.
    • Chase away the natural and it returns at a gallop.
    • English equivalent: If you cast out nature with a fork, it will still return.
    • Philippe Néricault Destouches, Le Glorieux, Act III., Scene V (translated by Lisette); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 29.
  • Cherchons la femme.
    • Let us look for the woman.
    • English equivalent: A woman is probably at the heart of the quarrel.
    • Alexandre Dumas, père, Les Mohicans de Paris, Vol. II., Chapter XL (translation by M. Jackal); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 30. Alternately reported as Cherchez la femme ("Look for the woman").
  • Chien qui aboie ne mord pas.
    • English equivalent: Barking dogs seldom bite.
    • Meaning: People who make the most or the loudest threats are the least likely to take action.
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 20 June 2013. 
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 97. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Choisissez votre femme par l'oreille bien plus que par les yeux.
    • English equivalent: Choose a wife rather by your ear than your eye.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 655. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Comparaison n'est pas raison.
    • English equivalent: Comparisons are odious.
    • Meaning: "People and things should be judged on the individual qualities they posses, rather than by comparing one with another."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 7 August 2013. 
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 320. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • C'est dans le besoin qu'on reconnaît ses vrais amis.
    • English equivalent: A friend in need is a friend indeed.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 43. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Ce n'est pas aux vieux singes qu'on apprend à faire des grimaces.
    • English equivalent: You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 116. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Coucher de poule et lever de corbeau écartent l'homme du tombeau.
    • English equivalent: Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
    • Meaning: "A lifestyle that involves neither staying up late nor sleeping late is good for body and mind and leads to financial success."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 5 September 2013. 
    • Source: Bulman, F, F. (1998). Dictionnaire Des Proverbes Anglais-Francais, Francais-Anglais. Presses de l'Université Laval. p. 69. ISBN 9782763776064. 

D[edit]

  • D'un costé Dieu poingt, de l'autre il vingt.
    • English equivalent: God who gives the wound gives the salve.
    • "What makes a problem a problem is not that a large amount of search is required for its solution, but that a large amount would be required if a requisite level of intelligence were not applied."
    • Allen Newell and Herbert Simon, (1975) Computer Science as Empirical Inquiry: Symbols and Search. Turing Award Lecture. p. 122
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 874. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Dans le doute, abstiens-toi.
    • English equivalent: When in doubt, leave it out.
    • Meaning: "If you are unsure what to do, it is best to do nothing at all."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 296. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1223. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • De la mesure dont nous mesurons les autres nous serons mesurés.
    • English equivalent: Whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt back to you.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1219. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • De mauvais grain jamais bon pain.
    • English equivalent: A golden bit does not make the horse any better.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 52. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • De qui je me fie Dieu me garde.
    • English equivalent: A mans worst enemies are often those of his own house.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 52. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • De tout s'avise a qui pain faut.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 638. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Deux ancres sont bonnes au navire.
    • English equivalent: Good riding at two anchors, men have told, for if the one fails, the other may hold.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 879. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Diviser pour régner.
    • English equivalent: Divide and conquer.
    • Meaning: "The best way to conquer or control a group of people is by encouraging them to fight among themselves rather than allowing them to unite in opposition to the ruling authority."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 13 August 2013. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "823". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 
  • Don d'ennemi c'est malencontreux.
    • 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."
    • English equivalent: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.
    • Meaning: "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. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 855. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Donnant donnant.
    • English equivalent: You don't get nothing for nothing.
    • Meaning: "Everything has to be paid for, directly or indirectly, in money or in kind."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 314. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1111. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Donner un oeuf pour avoir une fève.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1134. ISBN 0415096243. 

E[edit]

  • En toute chose il faut considérer la fin.
    • Meaning: In your every endeavor reflect the end.
    • English equivalent: Whatever you do, act wisely, and consider the end.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 600. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Entre l'arbre et l'écorce il ne faut pas mettre le doigt.
    • English equivalent: "Don't go between the tree and the bark."
    • Meaning: Do not interfere when two parts are having an argument.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 729. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Envie est toujours en vie.
    • English equivalent: Envy takes no holiday.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 767. ISBN 0415096243. 

F[edit]

  • Faire d'une mouche un éléphant.
    • English equivalent: Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations (W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue) ed.). p. 58. 
  • Faire le pas plus long que la jambe.
    • English equivalent: Don't have too many irons in the fire.
    • "Every man naturally persuades himself that he can keep his resolutions."
    • Samuel Johnson, Prayers and Meditations, (1785).
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 977. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Faire un cygne d'un oison.
    • English equivalent: 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 and depraves the Reafon of the Diftinguishers of Truth and Falfity."
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [1]
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 42. 
  • Fais comme je dis, non comme j'agis.
    • English equivalent: Preachers say: Do as I say, not as I do.
    • "It bears no reason that others should show greater love to me, than I have showed them."
    • John Locke, Second Tract of Government (1662)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 706. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Fais ce que tu peux, si tu ne peux faire ce que tu veux.
    • English equivalent: Do as you may, if you can't do as you could.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 707. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Faute avouée est à moitié pardonnée.
    • English equivalent: A fault confessed is a half redressed.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 37. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Faute de mieux le roi couche avec sa femme.
    • English equivalent: Gnaw the bone which is fallen to thy lot.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 865. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Femme bonne vaut une couronne.
    • English equivalent: A cheerful ‘’’wife’’’ is the spice of life.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 20. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Ferveur de novice ne dure pas.
    • English equivalent: New brooms sweep clean.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1103. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Fuis le plaisir qui amène repentir.
    • English equivalent: Avoid the pleasure which will bite tomorrow.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 11. 

G[edit]

  • Gardez-vous des faux prophètes.
    • English equivalent: Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, and inwardly are ravening wolves.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 170. ISBN 0415160502. 

H[edit]

  • Hâtez-vous lentement.
    • English equivalent: More haste, less speed.
    • Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux, L’Art Poitiqueé, I., 171; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 54.
  • Heureux sont les enfants dont les pères sont damnés.
    • English equivalent: No one gets rich quickly if he is honest.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 963. ISBN 0415096243. 

I[edit]

  • Il faut bonne mémoire après qu'on a menti .
    • English equivalent: A liar should have a good memory.
    • "Liars must remember the untruths they have told, to avoid contradicting themselves at some later date."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "274". Dictionary of European Proverbs. I. Routledge. p. 257. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. Retrieved on 24 November 2013. 
  • Il faut donner au diable son dû.
    • English equivalent: Give the devil his due.
    • "Right it is to be taught even by the enemy."
    • Ovid,Metamorphoses (Transformations) (8 A.D) IV, 428.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2002). God and the Devil: Proverbs in 9 Euorpean Languages. Teodor Flonta. p. 21. ISBN 1875943412. 
  • Il faut être matelot avant d’être capitaine.
    • English equivalent: Who has not served cannot command.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 660. ISBN 9780415103800. 
  • Il faut être deux pour danser le tango.
    • English equivalent: It takes two to tango.
    • '"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)
    • Frenette, M. (2009). Il Faut Être Deux Pour Danser Le Tango, Michel Frenette.
  • Il faut laisser aller le monde comme il va.
    • We need to let the world go the way it is.
    • English equivalent: Let nature take it's course/ There's two sides to every penny.
    • In Voltaire's "Le Monde Comme Il Va", the protagonist Babouk utters these words to a powerful magical being when questioned whether the world is nothing but bad and should be destroyed. It means to accept the way the world is and that no matter how corrupt or backward a society seems, there is always a nugget of beauty and wisdom that stems from each one.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 865. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Il faut laver son linge sale en famille.
    • English equivalent: Don't wash your dirty linen in public; 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?" "It is considered contemptible to defy the rule of solidarity by revealing facts harmful to the group one belongs to."
    • Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). 1859. p. 109. 
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "106". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 466. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Napoleon, reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 61, referencing Balzac, Eugénie Grandet, p. 184.
  • Il faut manger pour vivre, et non pas vivre pour manger.
    • English equivalent: Gluttony kills more than the sword.
    • Molière, L'Avare, Act III., Scene V (translated by Valére); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 61.
  • Il faut prêcher d'exemple.
    • English equivalent: Lead by example.
    • "Example has more followers than reason."
    • Christian Nestell Bovee, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought (1862)
    • "Men trust their ears less than their eyes."
    • Herodotus The Histories
    • "Example is always more efficacious than precept."
    • Samuel Johnson, Rasselas (1759)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 55. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Il faut reculer pour mieux sauter.
    • English equivalent: One must step back to take a good leap.
    • "Information processing keeps going on even when we are not aware of it, even while we are asleep."
    • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention (1997)
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 62. 
  • Il faut réfléchir avant d'agir.
    • English equivalent: Look before you leap.
    • "The man who thinks before he acts, is most likely to act with discretion, and have no future cause to repent of his conduct; but he who acts blindly, without any foresight, will probably suffer for his rashness."
    • Trusler, John (1790). Proverbs exemplified, and illustrated by pictures from real life. p. 115. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1069. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Il faut qu'une porte soit ouverte ou fermée.
  • Il faut battre le fer pendant qu'il est chaud.
    • English equivalent: Strike while the iron is hot.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 1080. ISBN 9780415103800. 
  • Il n'est pas chance qui ne retourne.
    • English equivalent: Opportunity knocks only once.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 400. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Il n'est rien tel qui balai neuf.
    • English equivalent: 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."
    • "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. 
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "12". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 92. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Il ne convient pas à fol qu'on lui rende cloche au col.
    • English equivalent: A tongue of a fool carves a piece of his heart to all that sit near him.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 136. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Il ne faut pas brûler la chandelle par les deux bouts.
    • English equivalent: Don't burn the candles at both ends.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1137. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Il ne faut pas changer d'attelage au milieu d'un gué.
    • English equivalent: Don't change horses in midstream.
    • When in water it is ardous to mount and dismount. "Once you have embarked on a course of action or an undertaking, it is better not to change your tactics or methods along the way."
    • 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. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "857". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 
  • Il ne faut pas jouer avec le feu.
    • English equivalent: Do not play with edged tools.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 716. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Il ne faut point parler de corde dans la maison d'un pendu.
    • English equivalent: Name not a rope in his house who hanged himself.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 86. 
  • Il n'y a point d'église où le diable n'ait sa chapelle.
    • English equivalent: 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."
    • Source for meaning: Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations (W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue) ed.). p. 130. 
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 874. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Il vaut mieux suer que trembler.
    • English equivalent: Better to hold with the hound than run with the hare.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 17. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Il n'y a point d'homme necessaire.
    • English equivalent: No man is indispensable.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 319. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Il n'ya que al foi que sauve.
    • English equivalent: Faith is half the battle.
    • "The most honorable, as well as the safest course, is to rely entirely upon valour."
    • Livy, Ab Urbe Condita Libri
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 812. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Il n'est pire aveugle que celui qui ne veut pas voir.
    • English equivalent: There are none so blind as they who will not see.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 320. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Il ne faut pas faire ces choses a moitié.
    • English equivalent: If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well.
    • Runge, Martin (2000). Geriatrische Rehabilitation im Therapeutischen Team (2 ed.). Georg Thieme Verlag. p. 282. ISBN 3131023821. 
  • ’’Il ne faut pas se fier aux apparences.
    • English equivalent: Appearances decieves.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 124. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Il ne faut pas mettre tous ses œufs dans le même panier.
    • English equivalent: 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 of English equivalent: 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. 
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 715. ISBN 9780415103800. 
  • Il n'y a pas de fumée sans feu.
    • English equivalent: Where there's smoke, there's fire.
    • Source: Marchand, C. (1905). Five thousand French idioms, Gallicisms, proverbs, idiomatic adverbs, idiomatic adjectives, idiomatic comparisons (book). J. Terquem et cie.. p. 290. 
  • Il ne faut pas réveiller le chat qui dort.
    • English equivalent: Let sleeping dogs lie.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 1055. ISBN 9780415103800. 
  • Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tué.
    • English equivalent: Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.
    • Don't sell the bearskin before you've killed the bear.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 640. ISBN 9780415103800. 
  • Il tirerait de l'huile d'un mur.
    • Derive the oil of a wall.
    • English equivalent: All is fish that comes to the net.
    • Meaning: "Anything that comes along is accepted and turned to advantage."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007), The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs, Infobase Publishing, p. 5, ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5, retrieved on 16 June 2013 
    • {{cite book | last1 = Mawr | first = E.B. | year = 1885 | titl
  • Il vaut mieux plier que rompre.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Better bow than break.
    • Meaning: "It is better to make some confession, or pay a little deference to others, our neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and especially our superiors, rather than lose our credit or break friendship."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 46. 
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 20. 
  • Il vaut mieux qu'on dise "il court-là", qui "il gît ici".
    • English equivalent: He who fights and runs away may live to fight another day.
    • "It is wiser to withdraw from a situation that you cannot win than to go on fighting and lose – by a strategic retreat you can return to the battle or argument with renewed energy at a later date."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 702. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Il y a serpent caché sous des fleurs.
    • English equivalent: Look before you leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1070. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Il ya peril en la demeure.
    • English equivalent: There is danger in delay.
    • "Hesitation or procastination may lead to trouble or disaster."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 10 August 2013. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 695. ISBN 0415096243. 

J[edit]

  • Jamais paresseux n'eut grande écuelle.
    • English equivalent: Poverty is the reward of idleness.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "267". Dictionary of European Proverbs. I. Routledge. p. 252. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. 
  • Je crains l'homme de un seul livre.
    • English equivalent: Fear the man of one book.
    • Meaning: people who are not well-read are likely to be unreasonable.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 851. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Jamais honteux n'eut belle amie.
    • English equivalent: Faint heart never won fair lady.
    • "Our lack of confidence is not the result of difficulty. The difficulty comes from our lack of confidence."
    • Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium (65)
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 30. 
  • Jeunneuse pauresse, viellise pouilleuse.
    • English equivalent: Diligent youth makes easy age.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 701. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Juge hâtif est périlleux.
    • Quick judgments are dangerous.
    • English equivalent: Hasty judgment leads to repentance.
    • Meaning: A quick evaluation is a terrible evaluation.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 196. ISBN 0415096243. 

L[edit]

  • L'argent est fait pour rouler.
    • Money is made to roll.
    • English equivalent: Money is there to be spent.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1013. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • L'attaque est la meilleure défence.
    • Attack is the best form of defence.
    • English equivalent: The best defence is a good offense.
    • Meaning: "You are more likely to win if you take the initiative and make an attack rather than preparing to defend yourself."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 30 June 2013. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 518. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • La confiance apalla la confiance.
    • English equivalent: Confidence begets confidence.
    • Meaning: Confidence spills over to your coworkers.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 187. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • La femme du cordonnier est toujours mal chaussée.
    • The wife of the shoemaker is always badly shod.
    • English equivalent: The cobbler's wife is the worst shod.
    • Meaning: "Working hard for others one may neglect one's own needs or the needs of those closest to him."
    • Source for proverbs and meaning: 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. 
  • La fortune ne fait pas le bonheur.
    • Wealth does not bring happiness.
  • Note: Another way to phrase this is by this quote:

"No one – not a single person out of a thousand [elderly interviewed because of their wisdom expertise] – said that to be happy you should try and work as hard as you can to make money to buy the things you want.

No one – not a single person –– said it's important to be at least as wealthy as the people around you, and if you have more than they do it's real success.

No one – not a single person –– said you should choose your work based on your desired future earning power.”

  • From, Brody, Jane (2011). 30 Lessons for Living. Penguin Group. p. 57. ISBN 1594630844. 
    • English equivalent: Wealth rarely brings happiness. Money doesn't buy happiness.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 670. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • La palore a été donnée à l'homme pour déguiser sa pensée.
    • English equivalent: Men talk only to conceal the mind.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs, Volym 1. Routledge. p. 1088. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • La parole s'enfuit, et l'ecritut demeure.
    • English equivalent: Paper is forbearing.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1160. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • La punition boite, mais elle arrive.
    • English equivalent: Punishment is lame but it comes.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 682. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure.
    • English equivalent: Might is always right.
    • Jean de La Fontaine, Fables, I., 10, "Le Loup et L'Agneau"; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 116.
  • La répétition est la mère de la mémoire
    • Repetition is the mother of memory.
    • "Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed."
    • Samuel Johnson, The Rambler (1750)
    • Méchin, Colette (1998). Anthropologie du sensoriel: les sens dans tous les sens (Illustrated ed.). Harmattan. p. 102. ISBN 2738471129. 
  • La varieté plaît.
    • English equivalent: Variety is the spice of life.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 89. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • La vérité est dans le vin.
    • English equivalent: In wine there is truth.
    • "Alcohol consumed removes the inhibition against telling the truth that occasionally one would like to keep secret."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 272. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • La vérité se dit en badinant.
    • English equivalent: Many a true words are 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. 
  • Le parole est l'ombre du fait.
    • English equivalent: Deeds are fruits, words are but leaves.
    • "Mere words have no value unless they are followed by positive action."
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 26. 
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 9 August 2013. 
  • Langue muette n'est jamais battue.
    • English equivalent: 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, the least said, the better in general. By multiplying words, cases often grow worse instead of better."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. pp. 125. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 975. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Le fait juge l'homme.
    • English equivalent: The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
    • "The taste, not the looks, must constitute the criterion. It may be like, many other things, beautiful externally but within devoid of every excellence."
    • William Henry Porter (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 176. 
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 304. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Le mal apelle le mal
    • English equivalent: Deep calls to deep.
    • "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)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 695. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • 'Le meilleur n'en vaut rien.
    • English equivalent: Bad is the best choice.
    • "I always search good in bad. l also search bad in good."
    • Vennu Malesh, It's My Life (2012)
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 17. 
  • Le miel est doux, mais l'abeille pique.
    • English equivalent: He that will not endure the bitter, will not live to see the sweet.
    • "I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
    • Michael Jordan, As quoted in Nike Culture : The Sign of the Swoosh (1998), by Robert Goldman and Stephen Papson, p. 49
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 837. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Les fous inventent les modes, et les sages les suivent.'
    • English equivalent: A fool may give a wise man counsel.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 40. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Le plus grand malheur ou bonheur de l'homme est une femme.
    • English equivalents: Choose a wife rather by your ear than your eye.
    • Use great prudence and circumspection, in choosing thy wife, for from thence will spring all thy future good or evil; and it is an action of life like unto a stratagem of war, wherein a man can err but once.
    • William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, Certain Precepts Or Directions for the Well-Ordering and Carriage of a Man's Life (c. 1584, first published 1617).
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 65. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • La pomme ne tombe jamais loin de l'arbre.
    • English equivalent: The apple does not fall far from the tree.
    • "Children observe daily and — in their behaviour — often follow the example of their parents."
    • Source for proverbs and meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 259. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Le remedè est pire que le mal.
    • English equivalent: The remedy is often worse than the disease; Burn not your house to rid it off the mouse.
    • "Action taken to put something right is often more unpleasant or damaging than the original problem."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. entry 646. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Le temps et l’usage rendent l’homme sage
    • With age comes wisdom.
    • Swedish equivalent: Old is the oldest.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 660. ISBN 9780415103800. 
  • Le trop de précautions ne nuit jamais.
    • English equivalent: Better safe than sorry.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 881. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Les absents ont toujours tort.
    • English equivalent: The absent are always in the wrong.
    • "It is easy to accuse or attacks those who are not present to defend themselves or their arguments."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Philippe Néricault Destouches, L’Obstacle Imprévu, Act I., Scene VI (translation by Nérine); alternately reported as "L’absent a toujours tort" ("The absent are always in the wrong"), Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emile, Livre IV; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 140.
  • Les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas.
    • Englis equivalent: There's no accounting for tastes.
    • Henry, Jacqueline (2003). La traduction des jeux de mots. Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle. p. 63. ISBN 2878542487. 
  • Les soucis font blanchir les cheveux de bonne heure.
    • English equivalent: Fretting cares make grey hairs.
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 631. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • L'enfer est pavé de bonnes intentions.
    • English equivalent: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
    • Hell is paved with good intentions.
    • McGrath, Edna Arseneault (2004). Voir l'invisible, réaliser l'impossible: biographie de Jean-Paul Losier. Editions Melonic. p. 33. 2923080068. 
  • L'envie s'attache à la gloire.
    • English equivalent: Envy always shooteth at a high mark.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 766. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • L’habit ne fait pas le moine
    • English equivalent: You can't judge a book by its cover.
    • Ndedi-Penda, P. (2003). L'habit ne fait pas le moine, Publications Galaxie.
  • L'historie se repétète.
    • English equivalent: Something that has happened once can happen again.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 977. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • L'homme propose, et Dieu dispose.
    • English equivalent: Man proposes, God disposes; Everything in its season.
    • "Plans are insulted destinies. I don't have plans, I only have goals."
    • Ash Chandler, Freudian Slip, Mumbai Mirror Buzz, April 2006.
    • Source: Bohn, Henry George (1857). A Polyglott of Foreign Proverbs. p. 37. 
  • L'on passe la haie par où elle est plus basse.
    • He goes through the fence where it is lower
    • English equivalent: Men leap over where the hedge is lower.
    • Note: Also knows as the Law of least effort.
    • Meaning: Always do things in a way that requires the absolut least amount of labor.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1087. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • L'on ne saurait écorcher une pierre.
    • You cannot get water out of a stone.
    • English equivalent: You can't milk a bull.
    • Meaning: It is impossible to sway a hostile minded person.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1040. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Le chien aboit, la caravane passe.
    • English equivalent: Let the world say what it will.
    • The dogs bark, the caravan passes by.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 340. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • La fortune sourit aux audacieux.
  • Le fil ténu casse.
    • The thin string breaks.
    • English equivalent: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
    • Meaning: "A weak part or member will affect the success or effectiveness of the whole."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: 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. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 19. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • L'espoir fait vivre.
    • English equivalent: Where there's life, there's hope.
    • Hope keeps alive.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 982. ISBN 9780415103800. 
  • Les habitudes ont la vie dure.
    • English equivalent: Old habits die hard.
    • Source: Revue internationale de philosophie Source: v. 57 223--226.
  • Les bons comptes font les bons amis.
    • Translation 1: Short reckonings make long friends.
    • Translation 2: Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
    • Good accounts make good friends.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 674. ISBN 9780415103800. 
  • Le monde appartient à ceux qui se lèvent tôt.
    • English equivalent: Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise..
    • The world belongs to those who rise early.
    • Source: Lamy, M.N.; Towell, R. (1998). The Cambridge French-English Thesaurus. Cambridge University Press. p. 33. ISBN 9780521425810. 
  • Les apparences sont trompeuses.
    • Appearances are deceptive.
    • English equivalent: All that glitters is not gold.
    • Meaning: An attractive appearance may be deceptive. It may cover or hide a much less favourable content.
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 114. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 15. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Les grands voleurs pendent les petits.
    • Meaning: A weak person/group/community/country can be an easy prey to an immoral, powerful one. ** Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1086. ISBN 0415096243. 
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 420. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Les rats quittent le navire que coule.
    • English equivalent: Rats desert a sinking ship.
    • Meaning: A leader or organization in trouble will quickly be abandoned.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1150. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • La nuit porte conseil.
    • Translation 1: Take advice of your pillow.
    • Translation 2: Sleep on it.
    • The night brings advice.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 188. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • La parole est d'argent, mais le silence est d'or.
    • English equivalent: Speech is silver, Silence is golden.
    • Talk is silver, silence is golden.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 257. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Loin des yeux, loin du cœur.
    • English equivalent: Out of sight, out of mind.
    • Far from the eyes, far from the heart.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 814. ISBN 9780415103800. 
  • Les murs ont des oreilles.
    • English equivalent: Walls have ears.
    • Meaning: "What you say may be overheard; used as a warning."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 287. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 27 September 2013. 
    • Source: Courbou, Michèle (2006). Les murs ont des oreilles, Volume 58 of L'écailler du Sud. Les Editions L'Ecailler du Sud. pp. 351. ISBN 2914264828. 
  • Les plaisanteries les plus courtes sont les meilleures.
    • English equivalent: Brevity is the soul of wit.
    • The shortest jokes are the best ones.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 174. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Los premiers seront les derniers.
    • English equivalent: The last will be first, and the first last.
    • Meaning: 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.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1085. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Los volontés sont libres.
    • English equivalent: His own desire leads every man.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 977. ISBN 0415096243. 

M[edit]

  • Mettre la charrue devant les bœufs.
    • English equivalent: Don't put the cart before the horse.
    • "It is important to do things in the right or natural order."
    • 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. 
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 106. 
  • Mieux vaut savoir que richesse.
    • English equivalent: A good mind possess a kingdom.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 58. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Mieux vaut peu que rien.
    • English equivalent: Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 75. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Mieux vaut tenir que courir.
    • English equivalent: A bird in hand is worth two in a bush.
    • "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."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 29 July 2013. 
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 8. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Mieux vaut être seul que mal accompagné.
    • English equivalent: Better be alone than in bad company.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 163. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Mieux vaut faire que dire.
    • English equivalent: Well done is better than well said.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 191. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir.
    • English equivalent: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 8. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Mieux vaut un présent que deux futurs.
    • English equivalent: One today is worth two tomorrows.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1137. ISBN 0415096243. 

N[edit]

  • Nature passe nourriture, et nourriture survainc nature.
    • English equivalent: Nature is beyond all teaching.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 764. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Ne meurs cheval, herbe te vient.
    • English equivalent: While the grass grows the steed starves.
    • Meaning: Dreams or expectations may be realized too late.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1228. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Ne te mêle pas des affaires d'autrui.
  • La nuit porte conseil.
    • The night brings counsel.
    • English equivalent: Take counsel of one's pillow.
    • Note: Specified as a French proverb in the source.
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations (W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue) ed.). p. 63. 
  • Noblesse oblige.
    • Nobility forces.
    • Meaning: With great resources comes great responsibility.
    • Applegate, S. (2009). Noblesse Oblige: Spending Your Life on What Matters Most, Tate Pub & Enterprises Llc.

O[edit]

  • Oignez vilain, il vous poindra. Poignez vilain, il vous oindra.
    • Anoint a villain, he will stab you; stab a villain, he will anoint you (oindre and poindre being outdated verbs)
    • English equivalent: A villain will repay kindness with betrayal, but will flatter those who beat him.
    • François Rabelais, Gargantua, I., 32; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 166.
  • On a que ce que l'on mérite.
    • It was what we deserve.
    • English equivalent: What goes around comes around.
    • Labourdette, Jean-Paul (2007). Le Petit Futé Grenoble (23 ed.). Petit Futé. p. 9. ISBN 2746919494. 
  • Tout ce qui branle ne tombe pas.
    • All that shakes does not fall.
    • English equivalent: Alltough your undertaking is in peril, it does not necessarily mean you are failing.
    • Meaning: Alltough you are in a difficult situation or are facing tough adversity, it does not mean you cannot move forward.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 11. 
  • On fait le loup plus gros qu'il n'est.
    • The wolf is made bigger than it is.
    • English equivalent: A story never loses in the telling.
    • Meaning: Lying a little might make the story better.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 7. 
  • On naît poète, on devient orateur.
    • English equivalent: Poets are born, but orators are trained.
    • Meaning: Some things can be improved by training, others require innate talent.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 331. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • On n'est jamais si bien servi que par soi-même.
    • English equivalent: If you want something done right, do it yourself.
    • One is never so well served as by oneself.
    • Charles-Guillaume Étienne, Bruïs et Palaprat, Sc. II. — (translation by Palaprat); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 169.
  • On revient toujours
    à ses premières amours.
    • One always returns to his first loves.
    • Charles-Guillaume Étienne, Joconde, Act III., Scene I (translation by Joconde); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 172.
  • On ne change pas une équipe qui gagne.
    • One doesn't change a team that wins.
    • English equivalent: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    • Source: Mould, Michael (2011). The Routledge Dictionary of Cultural References in Modern French. Taylor & Francis. p. 51. ISBN 1136825738. 
  • On ne fait pas boire un âne qui n'a pas soif.
    • One does not make a donkey drink if it isn't thirsty.
    • English equivalent: You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 1016. ISBN 9780415103800. 
  • On ne jette des pierres qu'a l'arbre chargé de fruits.
    • Men will only throw stones at trees that are laden with fruit.
    • English equivalent: if you have no enemies it is a sign that fortune has forgotten you; People throw stones only at trees with fruit on them.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1008. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • On ne peut aider qui ne veut point écouter.
    • He who can't be advised, can also not be helped.
    • English equivalent: He that will not be counseled cannot be helped.
    • Meaning: Advice often contain a genuine warning or an effective suggestion, which is unprudent not to take into consideration.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 964. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • On ne prend pas les oiseaux à la tartelle.
    • English equivalent: Deal gently with the bird you mean to catch.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 689. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • On prend plus de mouches avec du miel qu'avec du vinaigre.

P[edit]

  • Par savoir vient avoir.
    • English equivalent: Learning is the eye of the mind.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 149. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Patience et longueur de temps font plus que force ni que rage.
    • English equivalent. He that can have patience can have what he will.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 87. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Patience passe science.
    • English equivalent: An ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 415. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Pendant le faveur de la fortune, il faut se préparer à sa défaveur.
    • English equivalent: If fortune favours, beware of being exalted; if fortune thunders, beware of being overwhelmed.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1001. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Personne ne peut être juge dans sa propre cause.
    • English equivalent: No one can be the judge in his own case.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1038. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Petit poisson deviendra grand.
    • The little fish will grow big.
    • Jean de La Fontaine, "Le petit Poisson et le Pêcheur", Fables, V., 3; reported in Thomas pogield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 177.
  • Pierre qui roule n'amasse pas mousse.
    • English equivalent: A rolling stone gathers no moss.
    • "There are a Set of People in the World who before they are well fettled in one Habitation, remove to another: fuch Perfons fall under the Doom of this Proverb."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [2]
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "14". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 100. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
    • Variant: Plus ça change, plus c'est pareil.
    • English equivalent: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    • "You look at the people around you, the street you stand on, the visible air you breathe, and predict more of the same. To hell with more – I want better."
    • Ray Bradbury, Beyond 1984: The People Machines. (1979)
    • An epigram by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in the January 1849 issue of his journal Les Guêpes ("The Wasps").
  • Pour estimer le doux, il faut goûter de l'amer.
    • To taste the sweet, you must taste the bitter.
    • English equivalent: No pain, no gain; Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    • Meaning: Where there is no adversity of some sort there is seldom anything to win; No or little adversity is a sign that fortune has forgotten you.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 33. 
  • Pour un de perdu, deux de retrouvés.
    • English equivalent: When one door closes another opens.
    • Meaning: "When baffled in one direction a man of energy will not despair, but will find another way to his object."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). 1859. p. 67. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 845. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Prudence est mere de surete.
    • English equivalent: Diffidence is the right eye of prudence.
    • Meaning: Diffidently pondering something will often lead to a sensible solution.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 701. ISBN 0415096243. 

Q[edit]

  • Quand on dîne avec le diable, il faut se munir d'une longue cuiller
    • If you are going to eat with the devil, you must have a long spoon.
    • Meaning: Someone who treats others badly will eventually turn on you.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 920. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Quand on n'a pas ce que l'on aime,
    Il faut aimer ce que l'on a.
    • If we have not the thing we love,
      Then must we love the thing we have.
    • Bussy Rabutin, Lettre à Mme. de Sivigni (23 May, 1667); variant "n'a pas ce qu'on aime", by Thomas Corneille, L'lnconnu, Nouveau Prologue, Scene II (translation by Crispin); both reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 188.
  • Quand on n'a pas de tête, il faut avoir des jambes.
    • English equivalent: Who falls short in the head must be long in the heels.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "149". Dictionary of European Proverbs. I. Routledge. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. 
  • Quand on n'avance pas, on recule.
    • English equivalent: He who does not advance goes backwards.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 445. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Qui a age, doit être sage.
    • English equivalent: Reason does not come before years.
    • Meaning: Wisdom acquired by adversity makes us reasonable as we get older.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1150. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Qui a bu, boira.
    • English equivalent: Once a drunkard always a drunkard; Once a thief always a thief.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 771. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Qui a froid souffle le feu.
    • English equivalent: Let him that is cold blow the coals.
    • "My definition of success is doing what you love. I feel many people do things because they feel they have to, and are hesitant to risk following their passion."
    • Tony Hawk, American businessman, entrepreneur, skateboard pro. Interviewed by Gary Cohn for Entrepreneur Magazine (October 2009)
    • Caroline Ward (1842). National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 77. 
  • Qui a tête de cire ne doit pas s'approcher du feu.
    • He who has a wax head must not go near the fire.
    • English equivalent: He that hath a head of wax must not walk in the sun.
    • Meaning: Know your limitations and weaknesses; Don't do something that is sure to damage you.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 54. 
  • Qui aime Dieu est sur en tout lieu.
    • English equivalent: He who serves God has a good master.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 873. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Que bien aime, tard oublie.
    • English equivalent: True love never grows old.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1107. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Qui court deux lievres a la fois, n'en prend aucun.
    • English equivalent: You must not run after two hares at the same time.
    • Meaning: "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 of English equivalent: 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. 
  • Qui écoute aux portes, entend souvent se propre honte.
    • English equivalent: Eavesdroppers hear no good of themselves.
    • Meaning: "People who eavesdrop on the conversations of others risk hearing unfavorable comments about themselves; used as a warning or reprimand."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "250". Dictionary of European Proverbs. I. Routledge. p. 238. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 764. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Qui m'aime aime mon chien.
    • English equivalent: Love me, love my dog.
    • Who loves me, loves my dog.
    • Compare in Latin: Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.
  • Qui mal commence, mal achève.
    • English equivalent: A bad beginning makes a bad ending.
    • Meaning: "It is as impossible that a system radically erroneous, once commenced, should end well, as it is that a mathematical problem, commenced wrong, should come out right."
    • Source for meaning: William Henry Porter (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 202. 
    • Emanuel Strauss (1994). "1". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 
  • Qui ne fait pas quand póte, nu face cand vrea.
    • English equivalent: He that will not when he may, when he will he may have nay.
    • Meaning: "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 of English equivalent: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). p. 41. 
  • Qui ne risque rien n'a rien.
    • Who risks nothing, gets nothing.
    • English equivalent: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    • Meaning: It is necessary to take risks in order to achieve something.
    • Hiligsmann, Theissen (2008). Néerlandais - Expressions et proverbes: Intermédiaire-avancé. De Boeck Supérieur. p. 338. ISBN 2804159671. 
  • Qui ne sait obéir, ne sait commander.
    • English equivalent: Who has not served cannot command.
    • Meaning: One must have been controlled in the same situation one wishes to properly control others.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 758. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Qui parle trop, manque souvent.
    • English equivalent: Least said, soonest mended.
    • Meaning: "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 of English equivalent: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. pp. 125. 
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 53. 
  • Qui parle trop, personne ne l'écoute.
    • Who talks too much, nobody listens to.
    • English equivalent: Length begets loathing.
    • Meaning: "Nobody likes a long-winded speaker or writer."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 33. 
  • Qui s'attend à l'accueil d'autrui, a souvent mal dîné.
    • Who expects the bowl of others makes a poor dinner.
    • English equivalent: He that waits on another man's trencher, makes many a late dinner.
    • Meaning: Waiting for others requires a very long time.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 55. 
  • Qui sème peu, peu récolte.
    • English equivalent: Sow thin, shear thin.
    • "Rest is a necessity, not an objective. It is better to aim the spear at the moon and strike the eagle, than to aim at the eagle and strike only a rock."
    • Jim Rohn, The Five Major Pieces To The LIfe Puzzle (1991)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1158. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Qui s'excuse, s'accuse.
    • Who makes excuses, himself accuses; or He who excuses himself accuses himself.
    • Gabriel Meurier, Trésor des Sentences; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 196.
  • Qui trop embrasse mal étreint.
    • English equivalent: Grasp all, lose all.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 23. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Que se croit sage, est un grand fou.
    • English equivalent: The first chapter of fools is to think themselves wise.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 879. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Qui se fait bebe, le loup le mange.
    • English equivalent: He that makes himself an ass must not take it ill if men ride him.
    • Meaning: Other people will abuse you, if you let them.
    • ** Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 676. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Qui sème le vent, récolte la tempête.
    • Translation 1: As you sow, so you shall reap.
    • Translation 2: He who sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind.
    • Meaning: Your actions all have consequences.
    • Source: Cassagne, Jean-Marie (1998). 101 French proverbs: understanding French language and culture through common sayings. McGraw-Hill. p. 106. ISBN 0844212911. 
  • Qui vole un œuf vole un bœuf
    • He who steals an egg will steal an ox.
    • English equivalent: Also "He who steals an egg will steal an ox."
    • Meaning A person that steals something little/done something bad/ will probably end up steeling more valuable things/as a criminal.
    • Bulman, F. (1998). Dictionnaire Des Proverbes Anglais-Francais, Francais-Anglais, Presses de l'Universit√© Laval.

R[edit]

  • Rendre le bien pour le mal.
    • English equivalent: If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
    • Meaning: Make something good out of bad things that has happened to you.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 838. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Rejeter le bon et le mauvais.
    • To reject the good with the bad.
    • English equivalent: Throw out the baby with the bath (water).
    • Meaning: Do not reject an idea entirely because parts of it are bad; Someone who is absolutely right about parts of an idea, is surprisingly often wrong about another part of it.
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: 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. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 715. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Revenons à nos moutons.
    • Let us get back to our sheep.
    • Meaning: Let's get back to what we were saying, doing.
    • La Farce de maître Pierre Pathelin, Act III., scene IV. (Translation by Le Juge; Fournier's ed., 1872). Alternately reported as "Retournons à nos moutons", François Rabelais, Pantagruel, III., 34; "Revenons à nos moutons", Vincent Voiture, Epître à Mme. de Bambouillet, (Ed. Roux, p. 579.); Voltaire, Les Honnétetés Littéraires, Vol. VIII., p. 912; "Revenons a nos bouteilles"; Montaigne, Essais, II., 2, p. 17; "Revenons a nos soupers"; Jean Jacques Rousseau, La Nouvelle Heloïse, Pt. II, Lettre XVII. All are reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 200.

S[edit]

  • Sans deniers Georges ne chante.
    • English equivalent: You can't get something for nothing.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs, Volym 1. Routledge. p. 799. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Sans tentation, il n'y a point de victoire.
    • Where there is no temptation there is no glory.
    • English equivalent: Without temptation there is no victory.
    • Meaning: Not being tempted is a sign that fortune has forgotten you.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 156. 
  • Santé passe richesse.
    • English equivalent: Good health is above wealth.
    • "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world-and loses his health?"
    • Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 879. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Se couper le nez pour faire dépit à son visage.
    • Cut off your nose to spite your face.
    • Meaning: Don't act on a feeling of revenge.
    • Tallement des Réaux, Historiettes, Volume I, Chapter I (c. 1657–1659); reported as a proverb in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 639.
  • Se tu t'en fuis le il te suivra, ce t'en fuiz il s'en fuira.
    • English equivalent: Follow glory and it will flee, flee glory and it will follow thee.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 832. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Selon l'argent, la besogne.
    • What pay, such work.
    • English equivalent: You get what you pay for.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 494. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait.
    • English equivalent: Youth is wasted on the young.
    • If youth but knew, if old age but could.
    • Meaning: You people lack common sense and wisdom, old people lack virility.
    • Henri Estienne, Les Prémices, Epigramme CXCI; Marc Antoine Legrande, La Famille Extravagante, Divertissement (translation by Mme. Rissolé); both reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 208.
  • Si la montagne ne va pas a Mahomet, Mahomet ira a la montagne.
    • Translation and English equivalent: If the mountain will not come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain.
    • Meaning: "If you cannot get what you want, you must adapt yourself to the circumstances or adopt a different approach."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs, Volym 1. Routledge. p. 1006. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Si le ciel tombait il y aurait bien des alouettes prises.
    • English equivalent: If the sky falls, we shall catch larks.
    • "The Lark is a lofty Bird, and foars perhaps as high as any of the Inhabitants of the airy Regions; and if there be no other way of coming at them, till the Sky falling down on their Heads beats them down into our Hands, we shall be little the better for ’em. This Proverb is ufually apply’d to Such Perfons who buoy themfelves up with vain Hopes, but in Embryo, ill conceived ... to laft till their Accomplifhment." says Mr. Bailey. He somewhat unpedagogically remarks that "A lark is better than a kite" for "a little which is good, is better than a great deal of that which is good for nothing."
    • Divers Proverbs with Their Explication & Illustration, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [3]
    • Caroline Ward (1842). National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 65. 
  • Si tous disent que tu es un âne, brais.
    • English equivalent: When all men say you are an ass it is time to bray.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1221. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Souvent on a coutume de baiser la maine , qu'in voudrait qui fuit brulee.
    • English equivalent: Many kiss the hand they wish cut off.
    • ** Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1084. ISBN 0415096243. 

T[edit]

  • Tant crie l'on Noël, qu'il vient. (old french)
    • English equivalent: A constant importunity at length prevails.
    • So much does one shout 'Christmas' that at last it comes.
    • English equivalent: A broken watch is right two times a day.
    • François Villon, Ballade des Proverbes; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 212.
  • Tant va la cruche à l'eau qu'enfin elle se brise.
    • Adrien de Montluc, Comedie de Proverbes, Act I, scene I (translation by Lidias); Molière, Le Festin de Pierre, Act V, scene II (translation by Sganarelle).
    • So often does the jug go to water that in the end it breaks.
    • Translation 1: Do not strain your luck.
    • Translation 2: Anyone can only take so much.
    • Alternately reported as Tant va pot à l'eve que brise., Pierre de St. Cloud, Roman du Benart, line 13,650; Jen qui trop dure ne vault rien, / Tant va le pot à l'eau qui brise., Charles d'Orléans, Rondel, XXXVII; Tant va le pot à l'eau qu'il brise. François Villon, Ballade des Proverbes; all reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 213.
  • Tel maître, tel valet.
    • Like master, like man.
    • Meaning: You will become like the people you surround yourself with.
    • English equivalent: If you surround yourself with wolves you will howl like them.
    • Attributed to Bayard; compare Tel valet, tel maitre ("Like master, like man"), Collin d'Harleville, Les Chateaux en Espagne, Act I, Scene VIII (translation by M. D'Orlange); both reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 213.
  • Tel père, tel fils.
    • Such father, such sons.
    • English equivalent: Like father, like son.
    • Meaning: Sons may look and behave like their fathers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and daily.
    • Source for meaning and proverb: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 137. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Telle mère, telle fille.
    • Such mother, such daughter.
    • English equivalent: Like mother, like daughter.
    • Meaning: Daughters may look and behave like their mothers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and rarely.
    • Source for meaning and proverb: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 137. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Tirer les marrons de la patte du chat.
    • To pull the chestnuts from the fire with the cat's paw.
    • Molière, L'Étourdi, Act III. 6; reported as a proverb in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 643.
  • Tout vient à point à qui sait attendre.
    • All things come to those who can wait.
    • English equivalent: Every dog has his day.
    • François Rabelais, Pantagruel, IV, 48; Adrien de Montluc, La Comedie de Proverbes, Act I, scene VII (translation by Florinde); Henri Estienne, Les Prémices, Epigramme 37; compare Attendez l'heure du berger; Tout vient à tems qui peut attendre ("Wait ye the shepherd’s hour; All comes in time to him who waits"), Bussy Babutin, Histoire Amoureuse des Gaules, Maximes d'Amour, (Ed. Cologne, 1716), p. 192); all reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 222.
  • Trop enquérir n'est pas bon.
    • Inquiring is not good.
    • English equivalent: Curiosity killed the cat.
    • Meaning: "Inquisitiveness – or a desire to find about something – can lead you into trouble."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: 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. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 684. ISBN 0415096243. 

U[edit]

  • Un clou chasse l'autre.
    • English equivalent: One nail drives out another.
    • Marc Antoine Legrand, La Famille Extravagante, Divertissement, (translation by St. Germain); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 225.
  • Un jour sans vin est comme un jour sans soleil.
    • A day without wine is like a day without sunshine.
    • Source: "L& emprise du sens", page 303, 1999 Mark Plénat.
  • Un mal et un péril ne vient jamais seul.
    • Philippe de Commines, Mémoires, Livre III, Chapter V; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 229.
    • Variant: Un malheur n'arrive jamais seul.
    • Molière, L'Amant Médecin, Act I, scene I (translation by Sganarelle).
    • Un malheur nous est toujours l'avant-coureur d'un autre.
    • Molière, Les Fourberies de Scapin, Act III, scene VII (translation by Geronte).
    • English equivalent: Misery loves company.
  • Un point fait à temps, En sanve cent.
    • English equivalent: A stitch in time saves nine.
    • "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. 
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 6. 
  • Un Tiens vaut, ce dit-on, mieux que deux Tu l'auras.
    • English equivalent: A bird in hand is worth two in a bush.
    • "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. 
    • Jean de La Fontaine, Fables, V, 3, "Le Petit Poisson et le Pecheur"; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 231. Alternately reported as Un tient vaut mieux que deux tu l'auras.
  • Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps.
    • English equivalent: A swallow doesn't make the summer.
    • "The right way of Judging of Things is not from Particulars, but Univerſals."
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [4]
    • Source: Cassagne, Jean-Marie (1998). 101 French proverbs: understanding French language and culture through common sayings. McGraw-Hill. p. 240. ISBN 0844212911. 

V[edit]

  • Ventre affamé n'a point d'oreilles.
    • English equivalent: Words are wasted on a starving man.
    • The hungry belly has no ears.
    • Rabelais, Pantagruel, III, 15; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 234.
  • Vive la différence.
    • Long live the difference (between the sexes, or any difference).
    • Hooray for the difference!
    • Source: Vive la différence, Béatrice Levasseur, P. J.. Downes 1988.
  • Vouloir, c'est pouvoir.
    • English equivalent: Where there's a will there's a way.
    • To want to is to be able to.
    • Source: "Vouloir c'est pouvoir", Ivan Steenhout 1985.
  • Vive la modération, vive Pauline.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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