Scots proverbs

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Proverbs in Scots, a language similar to English spoken in parts of Scotland.

A[edit]

  • A close mouth catches nae flees.
    • English equivalent: A closed mouth catches no flies.
    • "It is often safest or wisest to say nothing: To avoid the risk of incriminating myself, I remained silent — a shut mouth catches no flies."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. pp. 243–. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Henderson, Andrew (1832). Scottish proverbs. p. 2. 
  • A gude beginning maks a gude ending.
    • English equivalent: A good beginning makes a good ending.
    • Meaning: "Starting properly ensures the speedy completion of a process. A – beginning is often blocked by one or more obstacles (potential barriers) the removal of which may ensure the smooth course of the process."
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "40". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 228. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "190". Dictionary of European Proverbs. I. Routledge. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. 
  • Anger begins wi' folly, and ends wi' repentance.
  • As the old Cock craws, the young Cock lears.
    • English equivalent: As the old cock crows, so crows the young.
    • Meaning: Children will become like older generations.
    • Stampoy, Pappity (2004). A Collection Of Scotch Proverbs. Kessinger Publishing. p. 7. 

B[edit]

  • Bees that hae honey in their mouths, hae stings in their tales.
    • Literal translation: Who wants to lick honey must not shy away from the bees.
    • English equivalent: Honey is sweet, but the bees sting.
    • Meaning: Suffering is the acceptable in the quest for something great.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 837. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • By chance a cripple may catch a hare.
    • English equivalent: Even a blind pig may occasionally pick up an acorn.
    • Meaning: "An incompetent person or an unsystematic approach is bound to succeed every now and then by chance."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: 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. 36. ISBN 0415096243. 

D[edit]

  • Delays are dangerous.
    • English equivalent: There is danger in delay.
    • Meaning: "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. 
    • Henderson, Andrew (1832). Scottish proverbs. p. 11. 
  • Diffidence is the mother o' safety.
    • English equivalent: Diffidence is the right eye of prudence.
    • Meaning: Diffidently pondering something will often lead to a sensible solution.
    • Henderson, Andrew (1832). Scottish proverbs. p. 12. 

E[edit]

  • Eagles catch nae flees.
    • Meaning: "People of high rank are considered – or consider themselves – too important to deal with trivial things or lowly folk."
    • English equivalent: "The higher, the fewer."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 25 August 2013. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "230". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 216. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 
  • Eild should hae honour.
    • English equivalent: Gray hairs are honorable.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 35. 

H[edit]

  • He that canna do as he would maun do as he may.
    • 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. 
  • He that keeks through a keyhole may see what will vex him.
    • 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. 

I[edit]

  • If ye like the nut, crack it.
  • In at ae lug and out at the ither.
    • English equivalent: Advice most needed are the least heeded.
    • Meaning: "For various reasons a good advice or a genuine warning is often disregarded or considered of no importance."
    • Source for meaning and proverb: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 179. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • It is a mean mouse that has but ae hole.
    • English equivalent: It is a poor mouse that has only one hole.
    • Meaning: It is dangerous to always depend on just one thing, because if it fails you, you will not have any alternatives.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 375. ISBN 0415096243. 

L[edit]

  • Loud cheeps the mouse, when the cat's no rustling.
    • English equivalent: If the cat is away, the mice play.
    • Meaning: "In the absence of the person in authority those under his control will often neglect the duties/rules imposed on them."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Martin H. Manser (2007). "17". The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 8 September 2013. 

N[edit]

  • Naething venture, naething have.
    • English equivalent: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    • Meaning: It is necessary to take risks in order to achieve something.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 955. ISBN 0415096243. 

O[edit]

  • Our ain reek's better than ither folk's fire.
    • English equivalent: Dry bread at home is better than roast meat abroad.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 754. ISBN 0415096243. 

R[edit]

  • The remedy is worse than the disease.
    • English equivalent: The remedy is often worse than the disease; Burn not your house to rid it of the mouse.
    • Meaning: The effect of a treatment or bodily enhancement – whether pharmaceutical or not, whether a household remedy or professional-ordained – is often worse than what it was intended to cure or alleviate.
    • Ray, John (1855). A Hand-book of Proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). H.G. Bohn. p. 514. 

S[edit]

  • Seldom lies the dell dead by the dyke side.
    • Meaning: "You are not to expect that difficulties and dangers will vanish without any effort on your own."
    • Source for meaning and proverb: Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). p. 72. 
  • Speak well of the highlands, but dwell in the laigh.
    • English equivalent: Praise the mountains, but love plains.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 661. ISBN 0415096243. 

T[edit]

  • The nearer the bane the sweeter.
    • English equivalent: The sweetest flesh is near the bones.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "1666". Dictionary of European proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 1176. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • The smiths mear and the souters wife are aye warst 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 meaning of English equivalent: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 65. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 661. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Time and tide for nae man bide.
    • English equivalent: Time and tide waits for no man.
    • Meaning: "Take, for illustration, the case of the negligent and unreflecting man. He resolves to accomplish a certain important object at some future period; but in the intervening time, some preparatory, though in itself comparatively trifling business, is indispensable. He defers this business; [...] At length the period for accomplishing the ultimate object arrives: but, alas! the prerequisite, so absolutely connected and essential, is neglected And then, vain man!
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 169. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 723. ISBN 0415096243. 

W[edit]

  • What carlins hain, cats eat.
    • English equivalent: Cats eat what hussies spare.
    • Note: "Cat" is a slang term for prostitute.
    • Meaning: An inferior workman might defeat his competition by making the services he provides more remarkable.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 661. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • When ae door steeks anither opens.
    • 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. 
  • Weel is that weel does.
    • English equivalent: Handsome is that handsome does.
    • Meaning: "People should be valued for their good deeds, not their good looks, also occasionally used of things, or as a warning not to be misled by an attractive appearance."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "243". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 227. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 879. ISBN 0415096243. 

Y[edit]

  • Ye maun tak the will for the deed.
    • English equivalent: Take the will for the deed.
    • Meaning: Judge by the well intentioned effort, and not its effects.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 881. ISBN 0415096243. 

See also[edit]