English proverbs

From Wikiquote
(Redirected from English proverb)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
God is on the side of the strongest batallions.
Every man thinks his own geese swans.
It is an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers.
Fair play is a jewel.

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

Contents

Absent[edit]

Accident[edit]

  • Accidents will happen in the best families. (19th century)

Action[edit]

  • Actions speak louder than words.
    • "The World is full of fools and faint hearts; and yet every one has courage enough to bear the misfortunes, and wisdom enough to manage the Affairs of his neighbor."
    • Benjamin Franklin, Poor Rickards Almanack (1743)
    • Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. 1845. p. 10. 

Advance[edit]

  • He who does not advance goes backwards.
    • "He will through life be master of himself and a happy man who from day to day can have said,
      'I have lived: tomorrow the Father may fill the sky with black clouds or with cloudless sunshine.'"
    • Horace, 'Odes Book III, ode xxix, line 41. (c. 23 BC and 13 BC).
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "495". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 445. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 

Advice[edit]

All[edit]

  • All is fair in love and war. (17th century)
  • All is well that ends well. (14th century)

America[edit]

Anchor[edit]

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

Apple[edit]

  • One rotten apple will spoil the whole barrel. or One scabbed sheep mars the whole flock.
    • "Evil spreads. One attractive bad example may be readily followed by others, eventually ruining a whole community."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "X". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 292. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Cf. Dan Michael of Northgate, Ayenbite of Inwyt (1340): "A rotten apple will spoil a great many sound ones." (Middle English: "A roted eppel amang þe holen: makeþ rotie þe yzounde.").
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
    • Cf. Notes and Queries magazine, Feb. 24, 1866, p. 153: "Eat an apple on going to bed, // And you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread." [1].
    • Adapted to its current form in the 1900s as a marketing slogan used by American growers concerned that the temperance movement would cut into sales of apple cider.
    • (Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire, Random House, 2001, ISBN 0375501290, p. 22, cf. p. 9 & 50)
  • A rotten apple injures its companions.
    • "A man can't be too careful in the choice of his enemies."
    • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [2]
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away--if you have good aim.
    • A humorous version of the nutritional exortation to maintain good health by eating fruit. Original source unknown.

Art[edit]

Ass[edit]

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

Baby[edit]

  • Don't make clothes for a not yet born baby. (Strauss 1994, p. 683)
    • "One never rises so high as when one does not know where one is going."
    • Oliver Cromwell to M. Bellièvre. Found in Memoirs of Cardinal de Retz
  • Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    • "Do not take the drastic step of abolishing or discarding something in its entirety when only part of it is unacceptable."
    • 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. 
    • Primo dede mulieris consilio, secundo noli.
    • "Take the first advice of a woman and not the second."
    • Gilbertus Cognatus Noxeranus, Sylloge. See J. J. Grynæus, Adagio, p. 130. Langius, Polyanthea Col (1900) same sentiment. (Prends le premier conseil d'une femme et non le second. French for same). Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 10-11.
    • Brown, James Kyle (2001). I Give God a Chance: Christian Spirituality from the Edgar Cayce Readings. Jim Brown. p. 8. ISBN 0759621705. 

Bad[edit]

  • Bad is the best choice.
  • A bad settlement is better than a good lawsuit.
    • Filipp, M. R. (2005). Covenants Not to Compete, Aspen.
  • A bad workman quarrels with his tools. (1640)
  • Good laws have sprung from bad customs.

Bark[edit]

  • Barking dogs seldom bite. (16th century)
  • His bark is worse than his bite. (17th century)

Beauty[edit]

  • A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 122. ISBN 9511109618
  • Beauty is truth, truth beauty (John Keats)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 123. ISBN 9511109618

Bed[edit]

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

Bear[edit]

Beat[edit]

Best[edit]

Beggar[edit]

  • A beggar can never be bankrupt. (1639)
  • Beggars can't be choosers.
    • "We must accept with gratitude and without complaint what we are given when we do not have the means or opportunity to provide ourselves with something better."
    • Source for meaning:Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 29 June 2013. 
  • Put a beggar on horseback and he'll ride it to death.

Behavior[edit]

  • Two wrongs don't make a right.

Begin[edit]

  • A good beginning makes a good ending. (14th century)
    • "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."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "40". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 228. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Well begun is half done.
    • "Starting properly ensures the speedy completion of a process. A beginning is often blocked by one or more obstacles (potential barriers) the removal of which may ensure the smooth course of the process."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "40". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 228. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [3]

Bellyful[edit]

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

Better[edit]

  • Better a lean peace than a fat victory. (17th century)
  • Better is the enemy of good.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. xcv
  • Better late than never.
  • Better safe than sorry.
  • Better underdone than overdone.

Beware[edit]

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

Bird[edit]

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
    • John Bunyan cites this traditional proverb in The Pilgrim's Progress, (1678):
    • "So are the men of this world: They must have all their good things now; they cannot stay till the next year, that is, until the next world, for their portion of good. That proverb, 'A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,' is of more authority with them than are all the divine testimonies of the good of the world to come."
  • Birds of a feather flock together.
    • "It is a fact worthy of remark, that when a set of men agree in any particulars, though never so trivial, they flock together, and often establish themselves into a kind of fraternity for contriving and carrying into effect their plans. According to their distinct character they club together, factious with factious, wise with wise, indolent with indolent, active with active et cetera."
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 41. 
  • Deal gently with the bird you mean to catch.
  • Fine feathers make fine birds. (Simpson , 2009)
    • "Fairest and best adorned is she
      Whose clothing is humility."
    • James Montgomery, Humility. (1841)
  • It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest.
  • It is the early bird that gets the worm.

Bite[edit]

  • Don't bark if you can't bite.
    • "I made the statement years ago which is often quoted that 80 percent of life is showing up. People used to always say to me that they wanted to write a play, they wanted to write a movie, they wanted to write a novel, and the couple of people that did it were 80 percent of the way to having something happen."
    • Woody Allen, Interview for The Collider (2008)
    • V&S EDITORIAL BOARD (2015). "D". CONCISE DICTIONARY OF PROVERBS (POCKET SIZE). p. 34. ISBN 978-93-5215-057-1. 
  • Don't bite off more than you can chew.
    • Heacock, Paul (2003). Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms (Illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 512. ISBN 052153271X. 
  • Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Blood[edit]

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

Book[edit]

  • A book is a friend.
  • A great book is a great evil.
    • H. Manser, Martin (2007). "G". The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • "Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?"
    • The Bible, the Gospel of Luke (~65)
  • Books think for me. (Charles Lamb)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 13. ISBN 9511109618
  • Don't judge a book by its cover.
    • "Do not form an opinion about something or somebody based solely on outward appearance."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 311
  • Fear the man of one book. (Strauss 1994, p. 851)
  • No book was so bad, but some good might be got out of it.
    • "From one learn all."
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC)
    • (Strauss 1994, p. 1104)

Boat[edit]

Boot[edit]

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

Bough[edit]

Bow[edit]

Bran[edit]

  • Much bran and little meal.

Brave[edit]

Bread[edit]

Bridge[edit]

Broke[edit]

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

Broom[edit]

  • A new broome sweepeth cleane.
    • "We should never use an old tool when the extra labor in consequence costs more than a new one. Thousands wear out their lives and waste their time merely by the use of dull and unsuitable instruments."
    • "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."
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 38. 
    • John Lyly, Euphues. Arber's Reprint, p. 89; reported as a proverb in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 639.

Brother[edit]

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

Bull[edit]

  • You can't milk a bull.
  • A bully is always a coward.
    • "We’re the only ones who matter, the only ones in this world. And everything they’ve taken from us, we’re going to take back and more."
    • Jaime "The Kingslayer" Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Game of Thrones (2016) directed by Jeremy Podeswa
    • Mieder, Wolfgang (1992). "coward". A Dictionary of American Proverbs. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-19-505399-9. 

Burn[edit]

  • To burn the candle at both ends. (1678)

Business[edit]

Buying[edit]

  • Buy cheap, sell dearǃ (Thomas Lodge)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 124. ISBN 9511109618
  • If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.
    • Herrero Ruiz, Javier (2009). Understanding Tropes: At the Crossroads Between Pragmatics and Cognition. Peter Lang. p. 101. 3631592620. 
  • If you buy quality, you only cry once.
    • Burch, Geoff (2010). Irresistible Persuasion: The Secret Way to Get to Yes Every Time. John Wiley and Sons. p. 138. 190731248X. 

Cake[edit]

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

Candle[edit]

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

Canoe[edit]

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

Cat[edit]

Chain[edit]

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

Charity[edit]

  • Charity begins at home. (14th century)
  • Cold as charity. (14th century)

Cheating[edit]

Chicken[edit]

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

Child[edit]

  • The child is father to the man.
  • Children are uncertain comforts but certain cares.
    • "Children are bound to cause their parents anxiety, and may or may not also bring them joy."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 2 August 2013. 
    • Belfour, John (1812). "C". A Complete Collection of English Proverbs: Also, the Most Celebrated Proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and Other Languages, the Whole Methodically Digested and Illustrated with Annotations, and Proper Explications. G. Cowie. p. 4. 
  • Spare the rod, spoil the child.
  • "Never count your children twice." An old saying from the Anglo-Welsh border, where it was believed to be unlucky to do so. This saying arises from old superstition, which may have been contributed to in part by the terrain, which is rugged, hilly and sparsely populated; the region is also often subject to dense fog and disappearances under mysterious circumstance were not uncommon. Hence, the unlucky nature as on the second count, it was believed one child would most likely have disappeared; lost forever to the hills.

Church[edit]

Clothes[edit]

Coal[edit]

Coast[edit]

  • The coast is clear. (17th century)

Cobbler/Shoemaker[edit]

  • Cobblers children are worst shod.
    • "Working hard for others one may neglect one's own needs or the needs of those closest to him." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 65).
  • Shoemaker, stick to your last.
    • "How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live."
    • Henry David Thoreau Journals (1838-1859)
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 723

Cock[edit]

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

Command[edit]

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

Common[edit]

  • Common sense is not so common.
    • From Voltaire's Dictionnaire philosophique portatif (1765)
    • Paraphrased by graphic designers as 'Comic Sans is not so comic'.
    • Res est ingeniosa dare.
    • "Giving requires good sense."
    • Ovid, Amorum (16 BC), I. 8. 62.

Company[edit]

  • A man is known by the company he keeps.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 125
  • Better to be alone than in bad company. (Strauss, 1998 p. 162)
  • Misery loves company.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 125
  • Two is a company; three is a crowd.
    • "A Platonic friendship is perhaps only possible when one or other of the Platonists is in love with a third person."
    • Evelyn Beatrice Hall, The Friends of Voltaire (1906)
    • William Ickes, P. D., & Ickes, W. K. (2004). Two's Company; Three's a Crowd: Booksurge Llc.
  • Two is company, three is none. (19th century)

Comparison[edit]

  • Comparisons are odious. (15th century)

Confidence[edit]

  • Confidence begets confidence. (Strauss 1994, p. 187)
    • "As is our confidence, so is our capacity."
    • William Hazlitt, Characteristics (1823).

Conscience[edit]

Cook[edit]

Corn[edit]

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

Counsel[edit]

  • Counsel is no command.
  • Give neither salt nor counsel till you are asked for it. (Strauss, 1994 p. 661)
  • Keep your own counsel.
  • Though thou hast ever so many counsellors, yet do not forsake the counsel of thy own soul. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1044)
    • "It is so easy to be immature. If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, a physician to determine my diet for me, and so on, I need not exert myself at all. I need not think, if only I can pay: others will readily undertake the irksome work for me. The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of men have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them (including the entire fair sex) regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult. Having first made their domestic livestock dumb, and having carefully made sure that these docile creatures will not take a single step without the go-cart to which they are harnessed, these guardians then show them the danger that threatens them, should they attempt to walk alone. Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end certainly learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts."
    • Immanuel Kant, "What is Enlightenment?" (1784)

Country[edit]

  • Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. (John F. Kennedy)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 92. ISBN 9511109618
  • I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country. (Nathan Hale)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 93. ISBN 9511109618
  • Our country, right or wrongǃ (Stephen Decatur)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 91. ISBN 9511109618

Courage[edit]

  • Courage lost, all lost. (Strauss 1994, p. 675)'

Credit[edit]

Crow[edit]

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

Cup[edit]

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

Cure[edit]

  • What can't be cured must be endured. (14th century)

Customers[edit]

  • The customer is always right.

Day[edit]

  • Praise the day at sunset.
    • "Make sure a matter is really over before relaxing about it. Unforeseen unfavourable developments may intervene and change the expected final result."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "X". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 323. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Enjoy the present day, trusting little to what tomorrow may bring.
    • "Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
      Look to this Day! For it is Life,
      The very Life of Life.
      In its brief course lie all the Varieties
      And Realities of your Existence;
      The Bliss of Growth,
      The Glory of Action,
      The Splendor of Beauty;
      For Yesterday is but a Dream,
      And Tomorrow is only a Vision;
      But Today well lived
      Makes every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
      And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
      Look well therefore to this Day!
      Such is the Salutation of the Dawn."
    • Salutation of the Dawn; from the Sanskrit.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "910". Dictionary of European proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 765. ISBN 978-0-415-10381-7. Retrieved on 28 December 2013. 
  • The day is short and the work is long. (15th century)
  • Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Death[edit]

  • It's safer to commend the dead than the living.

Deep[edit]

  • Deep calls to deep. (Strauss 1994, p. 695)
    • "The more of the context of a problem that a scientist can comprehend, the greater are his chances of finding a truly adequate solution."
    • Russell L. Ackoff, The development of operations research as a science (1956)
  • In the deepest water is the best fishing. (1616)

Defence[edit]

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

Delay[edit]

Demagogue[edit]

  • A parish demagogue. (P. B. Shelley)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 102. ISBN 9511109618

Desire[edit]

Devil[edit]

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

Dig[edit]

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

Discretion[edit]

Disease[edit]

  • Desperate diseases must have desperate remedies.

Ditch[edit]

Do[edit]

  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    • "Judges ought to be more learned than witty, more reverend than plausible, and more advised than confident. Above all things, integrity is their portion and proper virtue."
    • Francis Bacon, Essays (1825), Of Judicature.
    • Based on the Bible (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31). "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets" in the King James version; "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." in the New International Version
  • If you want a thing done right, do it yourself.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 139
  • "Well done" is better than "well said".

Doctor[edit]

  • God heals, and the doctor takes the fee. (1640)
  • Never lie to your doctor.
    • Huler, Scott (1999). From Worst to First: Behind the Scenes of Continental's Remarkable Comeback. John Wiley & Sons. p. 200. 0471356522. 

Dog[edit]

  • A dog will not howl if you beat him with a bone. (1659)
  • A staff is quickly found to beat a dog. (Strauss, 1998 p. 103)
  • Barking dogs seldom bite.
    • "Threatening does not always lead to action: Harsh words may disguise a different feeling, intention or ability." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 44)
  • Brag is a good dog, but holdfast is better.
    • A variation of "Talk is cheap"
    • "This Proverb is a Taunt upon Braggadoccio's, who talk big, boast, and rattle:
    • It is also a Memento for such who make plentiful promises to do well for the future but are suspected to want Constancy and Resolution to make them good." - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721. 4
  • The dogs bark but the caravan passes on. (Strauss, 1998 p. 340)
  • Dogs wags their tails, not as much to you as to your bread. (Strauss, 1994 p. 710)
  • Every dog has his day. (1546)
  • Give a dog a bad name and he'll live up to it.
    • Clarke, Nick (1865). Alistair Cooke: a biography. Routledge. p. 174. 1420931989. 
  • If you lie down with dogs, you'll get up with fleas.
    • "Wahrhaftig, der Umgang mit schlechten Büchern ist oft gefährlicher als mit schlechten Menschen."
    • "Truly, associating with bad books is often more dangerous than associating with bad people."
    • Wilhelm Hauff, Das Buch und die Leserwelt.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. p. 224. 
  • It's not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog.
    • Anonymous American proverb; this has often been attributed to Mark Twain since at least 1998 on the internet, but no contemporary evidence of Twain ever using it has been located.
    • Variants:
    • It is not the size of the dog in the fight that counts, but the fight in the dog that matters.
      • "Stub Ends of Thoughts" by Arthur G. Lewis, a collection of sayings, in Book of the Royal Blue Vol. 14, No. 7 (April 1911), as cited in The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs, edited by Charles Clay Doyle, Wolfgang Mieder, and Fred R. Shapiro, p. 232
    • It is not the size of the dog in the fight that counts, but the fight in the dog that wins.
      • Anonymous quote in the evening edition of the East Oregonian (20 April 1911)
    • What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight — it's the size of the fight in the dog.
  • Let sleeping dogs lie. (14th century)
  • Love me, love my dog.
    • Bernard of Clairvaux attests in the 12th century this was a common proverb, In Festo Sancti Michaelis, Sermo 1, sect. 3; translation from Richard Chevenix Trench, Archbishop of Dublin, On the Lessons in Proverbs ([1853] 1856) p. 148
    • Also reported in English by John Heywood, Proverbs (1546), Part II, chapter 9; and by Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia (1732), No. 3292
  • The guilty dog barks the loudest.

Dog food[edit]

  • Eat your own dog food.
    • Iles, Greg (2007). Third Degree. Simon and Schuster. p. 159. 0743292502. 

Door[edit]

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

Doubt[edit]

Dream[edit]

  • We are such stuff / As dreams are made of.
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 83. ISBN 9511109618

Drinking[edit]

  • What's drinking? / A mere pause from thinking. (Lord Byron)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 110. ISBN 9511109618

Dropping[edit]

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

Drunkard[edit]

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

Duck[edit]

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

Dwarf[edit]

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

Ear[edit]

  • In at one ear and out at the other. (14th century)

Early[edit]

East[edit]

  • Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet... (Rudyard Kipling)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 101. ISBN 9511109618

Easy[edit]

Eat[edit]

Eavesdropper[edit]

Egg[edit]

  • Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow.
    • "It is said, that the thing you possess is worth more than two you may have in the future. The one is sure and the other is not."
    • Jean de La Fontaine, Fables, V. 3.
    • (Strauss, 1998 p. 75)
  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
    • "Spread your risks or investments so that if one enterprise fails you will not lose everything."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 18 August 2013. 
    • First recorded 1662, G. Toriano, Italian proverbial phrases ("To put all one's eggs in a paniard"); 1710, Samuel Palmer, Moral essays on proverbs ("Don't venture all your eggs in one basket").
    • Apperson, GL (2006). Dictionary of proverbs. Wordsworth. p. 170. ISBN 978-1840223118. 
  • Eggs and oaths are soon broken. (Strauss, 1998 p. 765)
  • He that steals an egg will steal an ox. (Strauss, 1994 p. 962)
  • You can't have an omelette unless you break the egg.
    • "Sacrifices have to be made in order to achieve a goal; often used to justify an act that causes loss, harm, or distress to others."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 313. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 259

Empty[edit]

  • Empty vessels make the greatest sound.
    • Belfour, John (1812). "E". A Complete Collection of English Proverbs: Also, the Most Celebrated Proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and Other Languages, the Whole Methodically Digested and Illustrated with Annotations, and Proper Explications. p. 104. 

End[edit]

  • All's well that ends well.
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [3]
  • Whatever you do, act wisely, and consider the end. (Strauss, 1994 p. 600)
    • "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."
    • George S. Patton War As I Knew It (1947)

Enemy[edit]

  • Do not think that one enemy is insignificant, or that a thousand friends are too many. (Strauss 1994, p. 71)
  • The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
  • If you have no enemies it is a sign that fortune has forgotten you.
    • "Envy is a kind of praise."
    • John Gay, The Hound and the Huntsman
    • Emanuel Strauss (1994). "1292". Dictionary of European Proverbs. Taylor & Francis. p. 1008. ISBN 978-0-415-10381-7. 
    • Ambrose Bierce THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY (1991)
  • There is no little enemy. (Strauss 1994, p. 718)
  • We carry our greatest enemies within us.
    • "Today’s computers are not even close to a 4-year-old human in their ability to see, talk, move, or use common sense. One reason, of course, is sheer computing power. It has been estimated that the information processing capacity of even the most powerful supercomputer is equal to the nervous system of a snail—a tiny fraction of the power available to the supercomputer inside [our] skull."
    • Steven Pinker, How Unique You Are!; Is There a Creator Who Cares About You? (1998), published by Jehovah's Witnesses.
    • Specified as a proverb in "73". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 300. 

Englishman[edit]

  • An Englishman's house (home) is his castle. (17th century)

Every[edit]

  • Every cloud has a silver lining.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 115
  • Every rose has its thorn.
    • Bradley, E. and H. Bradley, Every Rose Has Its Thorn: The Rock 'n' Roll Field Guide to Guys, Penguin Group USA.

Everyone/Everybody[edit]

  • Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.
    • Die Philosophen haben die Welt nur verschieden interpretirt; es kommt aber darauf an, sie zu verändern.[6]
    • "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."
    • Karl Marx "Theses on Feuerbach" (1845), Thesis 11, Marx Engels Selected Works,(MESW), Volume I, p. 15; these words are also engraved upon his grave.
    • First published as an appendix to the pamphlet Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy by Friedrich Engels (1886)
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. 
  • What everybody says must be true. (Strauss 1994, p. 77)

Evil[edit]

  • Avoid evil and it will avoid thee. (Strauss, 1994 p. 520)
  • Evil begets evil.
    • John Deane, John Deane (1891). Proverbs. p. 207. 
  • Of two evils choose the least.
  • Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Example[edit]

  • Example is better than correction.
    • (Ward, 1842 p. 31)

Exception[edit]

Experience[edit]

  • Experience is the best teacher.
    • "I've never set out to teach anyone anything. It's been more of an expression of my views and feelings than sitting down and deciding "What is today's message?" And I do think that, although I never, again, sat down consciously and thought about this, I do think judging, even for my own daughter, that children respond to that than to 'thought for the day'."
    • J.K Rowling, Interview by Lizo Mzimba (February 2003) [specific citation needed]
    • Speake, Jennifer (2015). Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-19-105959-9. 

Eye[edit]

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

Face[edit]

  • Don't cut off your nose to spite your face. (Strauss 1998, p. 713)

Fairness[edit]

Fame[edit]

  • Common fame is seldom to blame. (Strauss 1998, p. 662)

Fall[edit]

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

Family[edit]

  • Accidents will happen in the best families. (19th century)

Far[edit]

  • Far from eye, far from heart. (14th century)

Fault[edit]

  • Faults are thick where love is thin. (1659)

Fear[edit]

  • We have nothing to fear but fear itself.
    • Originally Francis Bacon Nil terribile nisi ipse timor.
    • Nothing is terrible except fear itself.
    • De Augmentis Scientiarum, Book II, Fortitudo (1623)
    • Became famous with the words being uttered at Franklin D. Roosevelt's inauguration speech 1933.
    • H. Manser, Martin (2007). "only". The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 

Feet[edit]

Fence[edit]

  • Good fences make good neighbors.

Flow[edit]

First[edit]

Find[edit]

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

Fire[edit]

  • A burnt child dreads the fire.
    • "Somebody who has had an unpleasant experience thereafter shrinks from the cause of that experience."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 30 July 2013. 
    • "This Proverb intimates, That it is natural for all living Creatures, whether rational or irrational,
      to consult their own Security, and Self-Preservation; and whether they act by Instinct or Reason, it still
      tends to some care of avoiding those things that have already done them an Injury." - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [7]
  • Do not add oil to the fire.
    • "One should not make a bad situation even worse by an improper remark." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 338)
  • Fight fire with fire. (Strauss 1994, p. 688)
  • No fire without some smoke. (1546)
  • There is no smoke without fire. (15th century, Citatboken)
    • "There is no effect without some cause. also It is supposed that if there is a rumour, there must be some truth behind it."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "1". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 33. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 

Fish[edit]

  • All is fish that comes to the net.
    • "Look round the habitable world: how few Know their own good, or knowing it, pursue."
    • John Dryden, Juvenal, Satire X (1693).
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 4. 
  • Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
    • The earliest known version is from Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie, Mrs. Dymond (1885 novel): "I don't suppose even Caron could tell you the difference between material and spiritual,[...] but I suppose the Patron meant that if you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to catch a fish you do him a good turn. But these very elementary principles are apt to clash with the leisure of the cultivated classes."
    • Gregory Graham (14 January 2016). A Conservative's Book of Proverbs, Parables, and Prophecies. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-68213-972-1. 
  • There are as good fish in the sea as ever were caught.
    • "Many are accustomed to envy others for their rare acquisitions, while they themselves have equal opportunity of obtaining the same. They ought to be satisfied that as good advantages are equally accessible to them as others, and remember the significant saying, that 'Man is the architect of his own fortune.'"
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 192. 

Flaunt[edit]

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

Fly[edit]

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

Fools[edit]

  • A fool is ever laughing.
  • Better foolish by all than wise by yourself.
  • Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
  • Fools live poor to die rich.
    • "I have to live for others and not for myself; that's middle-class morality."
    • George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion (1912)
    • Whiting, Bartlett Jere (1977). "F231". Early American Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases. Harvard University Press. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-674-21981-6. 
  • The first chapter of fools is to think themselves wise. (Strauss, 1994 p. 879)
  • Every fool is pleased with his own folly.
  • Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
  • Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
  • He is a fool that forgets himself. (14th century)
  • He that leaves certainty and sticks to chance,
    When fools pipe, he may dance.
  • Knaves and fools divide the world.
    • "The world is made up, for the most part, of fools and knaves, both irreconcilable foes to truth."
    • George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, "Letter to Mr. Clifford, on his Human Reason"; also in The Works of His Grace, George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham (London: T. Evans, 1770) vol. 2, p. 105.
  • Natural folly is bad enough, but learned folly is intolerable. (1732)
  • A tongue of a fool carves a piece of his heart to all sit near him. (Strauss, 1994 p. 136)
  • The last fool never dies. (14th century)
  • There's no fool like an old fool. (1546)
  • A wise man changes his mind, but a fool never does.

Forewarned[edit]

  • Forewarned, forearmed.

Forgiveness[edit]

  • Forgive and forget.
    • Meaning: "Do not bear grudges—forgive those who have wronged you and forget the wrong."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 357
  • To err is human, to forgive divine. (Alexander Pope)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 20. ISBN 9511109618

Fortune[edit]

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

Fox[edit]

Friend[edit]

  • A friend cannot be known in prosperity nor an enemy be hidden in adversity.
    • Specified as a proverb in "13". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 402. 
  • A friend is best found in adversity.
    • "I never knew any man in my life, who could not bear another's misfortunes perfectly like a Christian."
    • Alexander Pope. See Jonathan Swift's Thoughts on Various Subjects.
    • Specified as a proverb in "16". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 402. 
  • A friend in need is a friend indeed.
    • A Dialogue Conteynyng Prouerbes and Epigrammes (1562) has Prove thy friend ere thou have need; but, in-deed. A friend is never known till a man have need.
  • A good friend never offends.
    • "You can always tell a real friend: when you've made a fool of yourself, he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job."
    • Esar, Evan (1995). "Friend". 20,000 Quips & Quotes. p. 330. ISBN 978-1-56619-529-4. 
    • Specified as a proverb in "36". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 403. 
  • A true friend does sometime venture to be offensive.
    • "I speak the truth, not my fill of it, but as much as I dare speak; and I dare to do so a little more as I grow old."
    • Michel de Montaigne, Essais (1595)
    • "48". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 404. 
  • A reconciled friend is a double enemy.
    • "42". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 403. 
  • All are not friends who speak one fair.
    • "In one hand he is carrying a stone, while he shows the bread with the other."
    • Plautus, Aulularia (c. 2nd-3rd century BC), Act II, sc. 2, l. 18
    • "57". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 404. 
  • Be a friend to thyself, and others will befriend thee.
    • "Mens friends commonly bear a proportion to their circumstances iu the world. And therefore if we be such friends to as to make our circumstances easy and plentiful we will not want friends."
    • James Kelly (1818). "B". A Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs Explained and Made Intelligible to the English Reader.  and quotes (1995)
  • Bought friends are not friends indeed.
    • "When you lose a friend by lending him some money, you get the best of the bargain."
    • Evan Essar, 20. 000 Quips and Quotes (1995)
    • Specified as a proverb in "73". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 402. 
  • Do not think that one enemy is insignificant, or that a thousand friends are too many. (Strauss 1994, p. 718)
  • False friends are worse than open enemies.
    • Specified as a proverb in "87". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 406. 
  • Friends are thieves of time. (17th century)
  • He is my friend who grinds at my mill.
    • "Those who love their neighbor as themselves possess nothing more than their neighbor."
    • Basil of Caesarea, Homily to the Rich (c. 368), in Saint Basil on Social Justice, edited and translated by C. P. Schroeder (2009), p. 43
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). pp. 238. , p. 42
  • He is my friend that succoreth me, not he that pitieth me.
    • Specified as a proverb in "112". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 407. 
  • If you want enemies excel others, if you want friends let others excel you.
    • Specified as a proverb in "140". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 409. 
  • It is good to have some friends both in heaven and hell. (1640)
  • No longer foster, no longer friend.
    • "God does not love that which is already in itself worthy of love, but on the contrary, that which in itself has no worth acquires worth just by becoming the object of God's love. Agape has nothing to do with the kind of love that depends on the recognition of a valuable quality in its object. Agape does not recognize value, but creates it. Agape loves, and imparts value by loving. The man who is loved by God has no value in himself; what gives him value is precisely the fact that God loves him. Agape is a value-creating principle."
    • Anders Nygren, Agape and Eros (1930), as translated from the Swedish by P. S. Watson (1932), p. 78
    • Specified as a proverb in "169". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 411. 
  • Our friends are our mirrors and show us ourselves.
    • James Kelly (1818). "B". A Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs Explained and Made Intelligible to the English Reader. 
  • When thy friend asks, let there be no to-morrow. (Ward, 1842 p. 51)
  • With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Fruit[edit]

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

Garbage[edit]

Garden[edit]

Genius[edit]

Gentleman[edit]

  • It takes three generations to make a gentleman. (Robert Peel)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 61. ISBN 9511109618
  • Once a gentleman, always a gentleman. (Charles Dickens)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 60. ISBN 9511109618

Give[edit]

  • From those to whom much is given, much is expected. (Luke 12:48
  • Give and take is fair play.
    • "Exchanging like for like – wether it be a blow, an insult, a favor, or a pardon is a fair and legitimate way to proceed".
    • Manser, Martin H (2007). The Facts on File dictionary of proverbs. Infobase Publishing. 0816066736. , p. 133
  • Give, and ye shall receive.
    • From Luke 6:38
  • Give credit where credit is due.
    • Derived from Romans 13:7
  • Give him an inch and he'll take a yard.
    • "Give way slightly and he'll press home his advantage. Yielding a little to bad influence (or to a greedy perrson/group), one will be taken entirely or he/it will be encouraged to take much more." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 208)
    • Derived from Romans 13:7
      • Variant: Give a nigger an inch and he'll take an ell.
        • Twain, Mark (1885). Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Charles L. Webster and Company. p. 222 (EBook). 
      • Variant: Give him an inch and he'll take a mile.
        • (Strauss 1998, p. 240)
  • He gives twice who gives in a trice.
    • "Immediate aid is of more value. - A process of derogation can best be stopped in its initial stages, or a process of development can best be helped in the beginning." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 452)

Glory[edit]

  • Follow glory and it will flee, flee glory and it will follow thee. (Strauss 1994, p. 832)
    • "It was queer. All over England young men were eating their hearts out for lack of jobs, and here was he, Gordon, to whom the very word 'job' was faintly nauseous, having jobs thrust unwanted upon him. It was an example of the fact that you can get anything in this world if you genuinely don't want it."
    • George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936)

Going[edit]

  • Don't go between the tree and the bark. (Strauss, 1998 p. 204)
    • "When Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House, he confessed that if he could be right 75 percent of the time, he would reach the highest measure of his expectation. If that was the highest rating that one of the most distinguished men of the twentieth century could hope to obtain, what about you and me? If you can be sure of being right only 55 percent of the time, you can go down to Wall Street and make a million dollars a day. If you can't be sure of being right even 55 percent of the time, why should you tell other people they are wrong?"
    • Dale Carnegie, How to make friends and influence people (1936)
    • "It is better to decide a difference between enemies than friends, for one of our friends will certainly become an enemy and one of our enemies a friend."
    • Bias
  • What goes around comes around.
  • What goes up must come down.
  • When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

God[edit]

  • God heals, and the doctor takes the fee. (1640)
  • God helps the rich, the poor can beg. (1659)
  • God is, and all is well.
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 106. ISBN 9511109618
  • God is on the side of the strongest battalions. (Kin 1955, p. 255)
    • "You can have the other words— chance, luck, coincidence,serendipity. I'll take grace."
  • God sends fortune to fools. (1546)
  • God works in mysterious ways.
    • "Sometimes, you need a door slammed in your face before you can hear opportunity knock."
    • James Geary, My Aphorisms, (2009)
    • Select Proverbs. Mustafa Akkus. 23 December 2013. pp. 15–. GGKEY:UBW9H94680W. 
    • Mary Oliver, Winter Hours (1999)
  • God's a good man. (William Shakespeare)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 108. ISBN 9511109618
  • Whom God will destroy, he first make mad. (Strauss 1994, p. 841)
    • "Someone can conquer kingdoms and countries without being a hero; someone else can prove himself a hero by controlling his temper. Someone can display courage by doing the out-of-the-ordinary, another by doing the ordinary. The question is always-how does he do it?"
    • Soren Kierkegaard Either/Or Part II, (1843)

Gold[edit]

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

Good[edit]

Goods[edit]

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

Goose[edit]

  • Don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.
  • Every man thinks his own geese swans.
    • "This proverb imitates that an inbred Philauty runs through the whole Race of Flefh and Blood. It blinds the Underftanding, perverts the Judgment, depraves the Reafon of the Diftinguishers of Truth and Falfity."
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [8]
  • Goose, gander and gosling are three sounds but one thing. (Strauss, 1994 p. 104)
    • "It's funny how people get mad when you treat them the same way they treat you."
    • Bill Murray, Twitter (2015)
  • What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
    • "What is appropriate for one person is equally appropriate for their counterpart or their critic."
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. 

Gossip[edit]

Government[edit]

  • That government is best which governs least.
    • "Dictators ride to and fro on tigers from which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry."
    • Winston Churchill, Armistice - or Peace (1937)
    • Wolfgang Mieder (1992). A Dictionary of American Proverbs. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 425. ISBN 978-0-19-505399-9. 


Grass[edit]

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

Grasp[edit]

  • Grasp all, lose all. (Strauss, 1994 p. 884)

Great[edit]

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

Greeks[edit]

  • Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.
    • Note: "This advice has its root in the story of the Trojan Horse, the treacherous subterfuge by which the Greeks finally overcame their trojan adversaries at the end of the Trojan War."
    • From Virgil's Aeneid Book II, line 48: timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. Translation: I fear the Grecians even when they offer gifts.
    • Wolfgang Mieder (1992). "beware". A Dictionary of American Proverbs. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-19-505399-9. 

Hair[edit]

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

Halvation[edit]

Hand[edit]

  • Never let the right hand know what the left hand is doing.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 447
  • One hand washes the other.
    • Bartlett Jere Whiting (1977). "H46". Early American Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases. Harvard University Press. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-674-21981-6. 

Handsome[edit]

  • Handsome is that handsome does. (1670) (Strauss, 1994 p. 879)

Hard[edit]

  • Hard words break no bones. (Strauss, 1998 p. 17)

Hare[edit]

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

Haste[edit]

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

Hawk[edit]

Have[edit]

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

Head[edit]

  • He that hath a head of wax must not walk in the sun. (Ward, 1842 p. 54)
  • Two heads are better than one.'
    • Ray, John (1737). "T". A Compleat Collection of English Proverbs;: Also the Most Celebrated Proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and Other Languages. : The Whole Methodically Digested and Illustrated with Annotations, and Proper Explications. p. 164. 
  • We should not expect to find old heads on young shoulders. (Strauss, 1994 p. 77)
    • Variant: You can't put an old head on young shoulders.
    • "The advice of the elders to young men is very apt to be as unreal as a list of the hundred best books."
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., "The Path of Law" 10 Harvard Law Review 457 (1897).
  • When the head is sick, the whole body is sick. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1117)
  • Who falls short in the head must be long in the heels.

Health[edit]

  • Health is better than wealth. (16th century)
  • Health is wealth.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 273
  • A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.
    • "We gotta make a change
      It's time for us as a people to start makin' some changes
      Let's change the way we eat
      Let's change the way we live
      And let's change the way we treat each other
      You see the old way wasn't workin'
      So it's on us to do what we gotta do to survive"
    • Tupac "2Pac" Shakur, Changes (1992)
    • Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages. 1888. p. 489. 

Heart[edit]

Heaven[edit]

  • We are as near to heaven by sea as by land! (Humphrey Gilbert)
    • Dying words as his frigate Squirrel sank in the Atlantic Ocean near the Azores, 5 August 1583. Quoted in Richard Hakluyt Third and Last Volume of the Voyages of the English Nation, 1600. Dictionary of Quotations, p. 353

Hedge[edit]

  • A hedge between keeps friends green.
  • Men leap over where the hedge is lower.
    • "This is slavery, not to speak one’s thought."
    • Line 392 (Jocasta); translated by Elizabeth Wyckoff; as found in Euripides IV: Helen, The Phoenician Women, Orestes, ed. Griffith, Most, Grene & Lattimore, University of Chicago Press (2013), p. 114
    • Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). 1859. p. 59. 

Heed[edit]

  • Take heed you find not what you do not seek.

Hell[edit]

  • And thou unfit for any place but hell. (William Shakespeare)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 60. ISBN 9511109618
  • Come hell or high water.
  • Hell is empty and all the devils are here. (William Shakespeare)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 60. ISBN 9511109618
  • The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    • Earlier variants of this proverb are recorded as Hell is paved with good intentions. recorded as early as 1670, and an even earlier variant by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Hell is full of good intentions or desires.
    • Similar from Latin: "The gates of hell are open night and day; Smooth the descent, and easy is the way" — Virgil, the Aeneid Book VI line 126

Help[edit]

Hesitation[edit]

  • He who hesitates is lost.
    • "The opportunity is often lost by deliberating."
    • Syrus, Maxims.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 492

Hindsight[edit]

  • Hindsight is always twenty-twenty.
    • Note: 20-20 refers to perfect vision.
    • Brenner, Gail Abel (2003). Concise dictionary of European proverbs. Wiley. p. 284. 0764524771. 

History[edit]

  • History repeats itself.
    • "Lack of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong—these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history."
    • Winston Churchill, speech, House of Commons (1935)
    • Speake, Jennifer (2008). A Dictionary of Proverbs. OUP Oxford. p. 345. ISBN 978-0-19-158001-7. 

Hole[edit]

  • If you're in a hole, stop digging.
    • "When you have landed yourself in trouble, such as through a foolish remark or action, do not say or do anything to make it worse."
    • As "If you are in a hole, stop digging." Moore, Merton (December 4, 1920). "Stop Digging—Climb". Holstein-Friesian World XVII (49): 34. Retrieved on 2018-11-11.
    • Variant: Stew it and it will only stink more.
    • Speake, Jennifer (2008). A Dictionary of Proverbs. p. 346. ISBN 978-0-19-158001-7. 

Home[edit]

Honor[edit]

Hope[edit]

Horse[edit]

  • A horseǃ a horseǃ My kingdom for a horseǃ (William Shakespeare)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 62. ISBN 9511109618
  • A nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse.
    • "Usually suggesting that a person understands very well what another person is getting at as any kind of hint or gesture will suffice to communicate it."
    • Source for proverb and meaning: George Latimer Apperson (May 2006). Dictionary of Proverbs. Wordsworth Editions. p. 413. ISBN 978-1-84022-311-8. Retrieved on 16 September 2013. 
  • Don't change horses in midstream.
  • Don't put the cart before the horse.
    • "It is important to do the 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. 
    • Cf. Dan Michael of Northgate, Ayenbite of Inwyt (1340): "Many religious folk set the plough before the oxen." (Middle English: "Moche uolk of religion зetteþ þe зuolз be-uore þe oksen.")
  • If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
  • I'll hear it from the horse's mouth.
    • "I will hear it from an authoritative or dependable source."
    • Ammer, Christine (1997). The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 640. ISBN 039572774X. 
  • It's a good horse that never stumbles.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 290
  • Look not a gift horse in the mouth.
    • "A present should not be criticized. It is an expression of respect and appreciation and any criticism would offend the donor. (The teeth of a horse reveal its age, i.e its real value.)"
    • (Paczolay, 1997 p. 54)
  • Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
    • Goudreau, Colleen Patric (2011). Vegan's Daily Companion: 365 Days of Inspiration for Cooking, Eating, and Living Compassionately. Quarry Books. p. 133. 1592536794. 
  • A golden bit does not make the horse any better. (Strauss, 1998 p. 52)
  • You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.
    • Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume (1984)
    • "It is so amusing the way that mortals misunderstand the shape, or shapes, of time. … In the realms of the ultimate, each person must figure out things for themselves. … Teachers who offer you the ultimate answers do not possess the ultimate answers, for if they did, they would know that the ultimate answers cannot be given, they can only be received."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Medlin, Carl (2008). Second Great Reformation: Man Shall Not Live by Faith Only. Xulon Press. p. 74. 1606476459. 
  • Zeal without knowledge is a runaway horse.
    • "Try not to change the world. You will fail. Try to love the world. Lo, the world is changed. Changed forever."
    • Sri Chinmoy, Meditations: Food For The Soul (1970), August 31
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "703". Dictionary of European Proverbs. II. Routledge. p. X. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. 

House[edit]

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

Ignorance[edit]

Imitation[edit]

  • Imiation is the highest form of flattery.
    • "There is no Man so bad, but he secretly respects the Good."
    • Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack (1747)
    • Mieder, Wolfgang (1992). "imitation". A Dictionary of American Proverbs. p. 544. ISBN 978-0-19-505399-9. 

Insanity[edit]

  • Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang (2012). The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs. Yale University Press. pp. 312. ISBN 0300136021. 

Iron[edit]

  • Don't have too many irons in the fire. (16th century) (Citatboken)
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 588
  • Iron sharpens iron. (Whiting, 1997 p. 235)
  • Strike while the iron is hot. or Make hay while the sun shines.
    • "Take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself, before it passes away. A good opportunity is usually a rare coincidence of various factors, unlikely to be repeated." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 109)
    • George Farquhar, The Beaux' Stratagem, Act IV, scene 2; reported as a proverb in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 642. Walter Scott, The Fair Maid of Perth, Chapter V. Webster, Westward Ho, III. 2. Geoffrey Chaucer, Troylus and Cresseyde, Book II, Stanza 178.

Islands[edit]

  • No man is an island.
    • "The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist or political philosopher. "
    • John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, (1936)
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 

Job[edit]

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

Joy[edit]

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

Judgment[edit]

  • Hasty judgment leads to repentance. (Strauss, 1994 p. 196)

Justice[edit]

Kindness[edit]

  • Kindness, like grain, increases by sowing.
    • Bohn, Henry George; Ray, John (1860). "K". A Hand-book of Proverbs: Comprising an Entire Republication of Ray's Collection of English Proverbs, with His Additions from Foreign Languages : and an Alphabetical Index, in which are Introduced Large Additions, as Well of Proverbs as of Sayings, Sentences, Maxims, and Phrases. H.G. Bohn. p. 437. 

Keeping[edit]

  • Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
    • Matthews, Chris (1999). Hardball: How Politics Is Played Told By One Who Knows The Game (revisada, reimpresa ed.). Simon and Schuster. p. 91. ISBN 0684845598. 

King[edit]

  • The king can do no wrong. (17th century)

Knowledge[edit]

  • Know thyself.
  • Learning is the eye of the mind.
    • "A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth."
    • Proverbs 17:24, (New International Version)
    • Emanuel Strauss (12 November 2012). "590". Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. 

Kingdom[edit]

  • A good mind possesses a kingdom. (Strauss, 1998 p. 58)

Kitchen[edit]

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

Lady[edit]

Knowledge[edit]

Land[edit]

Lane[edit]

  • It's a long lane that has no turning.
    • Belfour, John (1812). "Long". A Complete Collection of English Proverbs: Also, the Most Celebrated Proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and Other Languages, the Whole Methodically Digested and Illustrated with Annotations, and Proper Explications. p. 135. 

Language[edit]

Laugh[edit]

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

Law[edit]

  • Laws catch flies, but lets hornets go free.
    • "He complained in no way of the evil reputation under which he lived, indeed, all over the world, and he assured me that he himself was of all living beings the most interested in the destruction of Superstition, and he avowed to me that he had been afraid, relatively as to his proper power, once only, and that was on the day when he had heard a preacher, more subtle than the rest of the human herd, cry in his pulpit: "My dear brethren, do not ever forget, when you hear the progress of lights praised, that the loveliest trick of the Devil is to persuade you that he does not exist!"
    • Charles Baudelaire, "The Generous Gambler" (Feb. 1864).
    • Caroline Ward (1842). National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 75. 

Legs[edit]

  • To be on one's last legs. (16th century)

Less[edit]

  • Less is more.
    • "Good writers indulge their audience; great writers know better."
    • Tom Heehler, The Well-Spoken Thesaurus (2011)
    • Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n'y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n'y a plus rien à retrancher.
    • "It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove."
    • Antoine de Saint Exupéry, L'Avion[specific citation needed]
    • Variant translations:
    • "Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away."
      • As translated by Lewis Galantière"
    • "Perfection is attained not when no more can be added, but when no more can be removed."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 

Lie[edit]

  • A lie can go halfway around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots.

Life[edit]

  • Life begins at forty.
  • Life imitates art.
  • Life is what you make of it.
    • "There is no fate that plans men's lives. Whatever comes to us, good or bad, is usually the result of our own action or lack of action."
    • Herbert N. Casson cited in: Forbes magazine (1950) The Forbes scrapbook of Thoughts on the business of life. p. 218
  • Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster man, but sooner or later the man who wins is the one who thinks he can.
    • Lucier, T. J. (2005). How to make money with real estate options: low-cost, low-risk, high-profit strategies for controlling undervalued property-- without the burdens of ownership!, Wiley.
  • Look on the sunny side of life.
  • The best things in life are free.

Lightning[edit]

  • Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.
    • "A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience."
    • Thomas Fuller, The Holy State and the Profane State (1642), Book III, Of Fancy.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 634

Like[edit]

Linen[edit]

  • Don't wash your dirty linen in public. (Strauss, 1994 p. 702) (19th century, Citatboken, Bokförlaget Natur och Kultur, Stockholm, 1967, p. 189, ISBN 91-27-01681-1)

Little[edit]

Living[edit]

Look[edit]

Loose[edit]

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

Lose/Lost[edit]

  • All is not lost that is in danger.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). "A". National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. p. 11. 
  • Use it or lose it.

Love[edit]

  • Love and ambition admit no fellowship.
  • Love is blind.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 657
  • Love laughs at locksmiths.
    • George Bohn, Henry; Ray, John (1855). "L". A Hand-book of Proverbs: Comprising Ray's Collection of English Proverbs, with His Additions from Foreign Languages. And a Complete Alphabetical Index. p. 446. 
  • It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
  • Love me little, love me long. (1546)

Lunch[edit]

Madness[edit]

Make[edit]

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

Man[edit]

  • A man's home is his castle.
    • Variant: An englishman's home is his castle.
    • William Blackstone refers to this traditional proverb in Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765–1769), Book 4, Chapter 16:
      And the law of England has so particular and tender a regard to the immunity of a man's house, that it stiles it his castle, and will never suffer it to be violated with immunity: agreeing herein with the sentiments of ancient Rome, as expressed in the works of Tully; quid enim sanctius, quid omni religione munitius, quam domus unusquisque civium?
      Translation: What more sacred, what more strongly guarded by every holy feeling, than a man's own home?
  • A man's worst enemies are often those of his own house. (Strauss, 1994 p. 52)
  • Good men are hard to find.
    • "It is often difficult to find a talented or suitably qualified person when you need one."
    • H. Manser, Martin (2007). "good". The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
  • Man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the grave. (Thomas Browne)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 80. ISBN 9511109618
  • The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 272
  • Manners maketh the man.
  • Wise men learn by other men's harms, fools by their own. (Strauss, 1998 p. 34)

May[edit]

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

Many[edit]

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

Marriage[edit]

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

Measure[edit]

  • Measure twice, cut once.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 171

Mend[edit]

  • It's never too late to mend.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 602

Might[edit]

  • Might is right. (14th century)

Mind[edit]

  • Men talk only to conceal the mind. (Strauss 1994, p. 1088)
  • Mind your own business. (Strauss, 1998 p. 719)
  • Mind your P's and Q's. or British: Mind your manners.'''''
    • [2]
    • Makhene, E. R. W. (2008). Mind Your Ps and Qs, Lulu.com.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. (13th century)

Mile[edit]

  • The longest mile is the last mile home.

Milk[edit]

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

Mirrors[edit]

  • The best place for criticism is in front of your mirror.
    • [Jack Dappen arrives in Dracula's chamber]
    • "Richter Belmont: Die, monster! You don't belong in this world!
    • Dracula: It was not by my hand that I'm once again given flesh. I was called here by humans who wish to pay me tribute.
    • Jack Henry Dappen: "Tribute"?! You steal men's souls, and make them your slaves!
    • Dracula: Perhaps the same could be said of all religions.
    • Jack Dappen: Your words are as empty as your soul! Mankind ill needs a savior such as you!
    • Dracula: What is a man? [flings his wine glass aside] A miserable little pile of secrets![9] But enough talk! Have at you!"
    • Toru Hagihara, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997)
    • Martin H. Manser (2007), The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs, Infobase Publishing, p. 22, ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5, retrieved on 14 July 2013 

Misfortune[edit]

  • Misfortunes never come singly. (14th century, Citatboken)
    • One misfortune is often followed by another. - A mishap may weaken/frighten a person/group/relationship, making him/it more liable to fell victim to subsequent minor dangers too.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 704
    • (Paczolay, 1997 p. 60)

Miss[edit]

  • A miss by an inch is a miss by a mile.
    • Cf. Scottish Proverbs Collected and Arranged by Andrew Henderson, 1832, p.103: "An inch o' a miss is as gude as a span." [10]

Mistake[edit]

Mob[edit]

  • The mob has many heads, but no brains. (1732)

Money[edit]

  • For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
    • "Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to men’s vices or men’s stupidity? By catering to fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so, then your money will not give you a moment’s or a penny’s worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you’ll scream that money is evil."
    • Ayn Rand, Francisco d’Anconia in Atlas Shrugged (1957)
  • Money is a good servant, but a bad master. (17th century)
  • Money makes the mare go.
    • Kelly, James (1721). "M". Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs. p. 243. 
  • Money talks.
  • Put your money where your mouth is.
    • "If you do not take risk for your opinion you are nothing. Don' t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio."
    • Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Skin in the game (2018)
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 714
  • Time is money.
    • Leonard, F. (1995). Time is money: a million dollar investment plan for today's twenty- and thirty-somethings, Perseus Books Group.

More[edit]

  • More haste, less speed. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1095)
  • The more the merrier. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1094)
  • The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Mountain[edit]

  • Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.
    • "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
    • The Bible
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 708

Mouse[edit]

  • Burn not your house to rid it of the mouse. (Strauss, 1994 p. 568)
    • "Take the first advice of a woman and not the second."
    • Gilbertus Cognatus Noxeranus, Sylloge. See J. J. Grynæus, Adagio, p. 130. Langius, Polyanthea Col (1900) same sentiment. (Prends le premier conseil d'une femme et non le second. French for same). Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 10-11.

Mouth[edit]

Much[edit]

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

Muck[edit]

Nail[edit]

  • For want of a nail the shoe is lost, for want of a shoe the horse is lost, for want of a horse the rider is lost.
    • Proverb reported by George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651), #495
  • The nail that sticks up will be hammered down. (Whatling, 2009) From the Japanese, "deru kugi wa utareru."

Nature[edit]

  • Nature is beyond all teaching. (Strauss, 1994 p. 764)

Never[edit]

  • Never lie to your doctor.
    • Huler, Scott (1999). From Worst to First: Behind the Scenes of Continental's Remarkable Comeback. John Wiley & Sons. p. 200. 0471356522. 
  • Never lie to your lawyer.
    • Huler, Scott (1999). From Worst to First: Behind the Scenes of Continental's Remarkable Comeback. John Wiley & Sons. p. 200. 0471356522. 
  • Never put off till (until) tomorrow what you can do today.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 264
  • Never say die.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 203
  • Never say never.
  • It's never too late to mend.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p.602

Nice[edit]

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

Night[edit]

No[edit]

  • No man can serve two masters.
  • No man is an island.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 419 e
  • No man is indispensable. (Strauss, 1998 p. 319)
    • "I think that no forms of social interaction—including religion, love, crime, and fertility choice—are immune from the power of economic reasoning."
    • Robert Barro Nothing Is Sacred (2002)
  • No news is good news.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 734 e
  • No pain, no gain.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. 2006

Nothing[edit]

  • Lose nothing for want of asking. (Mawr, 1885 p. 116)
  • Nothing for nothing. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1111)
  • Nothing ventured, nothing gained. (Manser, 2007 p. 207)
    • "George: What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Mary.
      Mary: I'll take it. Then what?
      George: Well, then you could swallow it, and it'd all dissolve, see? And the moonbeams'd shoot out of your fingers and your toes, and the ends of your hair... Am I talking too much?
      Old Man: Yes! Why don't you kiss her instead of talking her to death
      George: How's that?
      Old Man: Why don't you kiss her instead of talking her to death?
      George: Want me to kiss her, huh.
      Old Man: Ah, youth is wasted on the wrong people!"
    • Frank Capra, It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
    • Variant: Nothing venture, nothing have. (Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [3])
  • You don't get nothing for nothing.

Number[edit]

  • There is luck in odd numbers.
    • James Allan Mair (1873). "T". A handbook of proverbs: English, Scottish, Irish, American, Shakesperean, and scriptural; and family mottoes, ed. by J.A. Mair. p. 70. 

Nut[edit]

Oak[edit]

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

Old[edit]

One[edit]

  • Take care of number one.
    • "Put your own interests before those of everybody else."
    • H. Manser (2007). "T". The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. p. 257. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 

Only[edit]

  • The only free cheese is in the mouse trap.
  • The only stupid question is the one that is not asked.
    • Hull, E., K. Jackson, et al. (2005). Requirements engineering, Springer.

Opportunity[edit]

  • Opportunity makes the thief. (13th century)

Out[edit]

  • Out of sight... Out of mind. (13th century)
    • (Citatboken, Bokförlaget Natur och Kultur, Stockholm, 1967, p. 189, ISBN 91-27-01681-1)
    • "Those who leave us are soon forgotten. - Seeing somebody reinforces the memory while a long abscence and the appearance of new impressions may result in a gradual fading of it."
    • Cf. Fulke Greville's sonnet "And out of minds as soons as out of sight"
  • From big oaks little acorns grow.

Over[edit]

Oyster[edit]

Package[edit]

Pain[edit]

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

Pay[edit]

  • You get what you pay for.

Paradise[edit]

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

Pardon[edit]

  • Never ask pardon before you are accused.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). "N". National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. p. 87. 

Peace[edit]

Penny[edit]

People[edit]

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

Pig[edit]

Pill[edit]

  • Bitter pills may have blessed effects.
    • "The ignorant are not blissful; they are the butt of a joke they're not even aware of."
    • Neil Strauss, Rules of the Game: The Style Diaries (2007)
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 128

Picture[edit]

Pitcher[edit]

  • It's a cracked pitcher that goes oftenest to the well.
  • Little pitchers have big ears. (Strauss 1994, p. 653)

Playing[edit]

  • Better play a small game than to stand out.
    • "Beware how you take away hope from any human being."
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., in his valedictory address to medical graduates at Harvard University (10 March 1858), published in The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Vol. LVIII, No. 8 (25 March 1858), p. 158; this has also been paraphrased "Beware how you take away hope from another human being"
    • Nathan Bailey, Divers Proverbs (1721)

Please[edit]

Poet[edit]

  • Poets are born, but orators are trained. (Strauss, 1998 p. 331)

Politeness[edit]

Politics[edit]

Pot[edit]

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

Poverty[edit]

  • Poverty is the reward of idleness.

Power[edit]

  • Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    • Attributed to Lord Acton
    • H. Manser, Martin (2007). "P". The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. p. 225. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 

Practice[edit]

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

Precept[edit]

Prepare[edit]

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

Prevention[edit]

Price[edit]

  • All those men have their price. (Robert Walpole)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 64. ISBN 9511109618
  • Every man has his price.
    • "'Tis a hard task not to surrender morality for riches."
    • Martial, XI, 5, reported in Harbottle's Dictionary of Quotations (Classical) (1958), p. 15.
    • Wolfgang Mieder; Stewart A. Kingsbury; Kelsie B. Harder (1992). A Dictionary of American Proverbs. 
  • Everything is worth its price. (Strauss, 1994 p. 800)
  • I know my price. (William Shakespeare)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 64. ISBN 9511109618

Pride[edit]

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

Problem[edit]

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

Prosperity[edit]

  • He that swells in prosperity will shrink in adversity.

Proud[edit]

  • As proud as a peacock. (14th century)
  • As proud as Lucifer. (14th century)

Proverb[edit]

  • Proverbs run in pairs.
    • "Proverbs depend for their truth entirely on the occasion they are applied to. Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it."
    • George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Vol. 5: Reason in Science (1906), Ch. 8: "Prerational Morality".
    • Sir Richard Francis Burton (1863). Abeokuta and the Camaroons Mountains: An Exploration. p. 309. 

Pudding[edit]

Punishment[edit]

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

Question[edit]

Race[edit]

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

Rag[edit]

  • A rag and a bone and a hank of hair.
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 234. ISBN 9511109618
  • Like a red rag to a bull.

Rat[edit]

  • Rats desert a sinking ship. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1150)

Reality[edit]

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

Reap[edit]

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

Reason[edit]

  • Reason does not come before years. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1150)

Remedy[edit]

  • The remedy is worse than the disease.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited. p. 486

Revenge[edit]

Road[edit]

Rod[edit]

  • He makes a rod for his own back. (14th century)

Rome[edit]

Rope[edit]

Rules[edit]

  • Rules were meant to be broken.
    • "It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission."
    • Grace Hopper, in "Only the Limits of Our Imagination", interview by Diane Hamblen in U.S. Navy's Chips Ahoy magazine (July 1986).
    • Speake, Jennifer (2015). "broken". Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-19-105959-9. 

Say[edit]

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

Sea[edit]

  • He complains wrongfully at the sea that suffer shipwreck twice. (Strauss, 1994 p. 898)

See[edit]

  • Monkey see, monkey do.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 709
  • There are none so blind as they who do not want to see. (Strauss, 1998 p. 320)
  • What you see is what you get.
    • Don Draper: "People tell you who they are, but we ignore it - because we want them to be who we want them to be."
    • Matthew Weiner, Mad Men (2010)
    • McLenighan, Valjean (1981). What you see is what you get. Follett Pub. Co.. p. 4. 0695313703. 

Service[edit]

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

Shadow[edit]

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

Shame[edit]

  • Shame take him that shame thinketh. (Strauss, 1994 p. 806)

Sheep[edit]

Shoe[edit]

  • If the shoe fits, wear it.
  • No one knows where the shoe pinches, but he who wears it.
  • To know where the shoe pinches. (14th century)

Shoemaker/Cobbler[edit]

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

Show[edit]

Sight[edit]

  • Out of sight, out of mind. (13th century)

Silence[edit]

Simplicity[edit]

Sin[edit]

  • There's a sin of omission as well as commision.
    • "There are times when failure to do what you should is as bad as doing what you should not do."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). "T". The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. p. 262. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 

Slippery[edit]

  • As slippery as an eel. (15th century)

Smile[edit]

  • There's daggers in men's smiles. (William Shakespeare)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 73. ISBN 9511109618
  • When you call me that, smileǃ (Owen Wister)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 73. ISBN 9511109618

Snail[edit]

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

Snooze[edit]

Son[edit]

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

Soul[edit]

  • O, God, if there be a God, save my soul if I have a soulǃ (A soldier before the battle of Blenheim in 1704)

Sowing[edit]

  • As you sow, so you reap.
    • "The consequences are directly related to one's actions." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 38).
    • "It seems that every life form on this planet strives toward its maximum potential...except human beings. A tree does not row to half its potential size and then say, 'l guess that will do.”
    • Jim Rohn, Five Major Pieces To the Life Puzzle (1991)
  • Sow thin, shear thin. (Strauss, 1998 p. 1158)
    • "He that sows bountifully, also reaps bountifully. Raise high your standard of excellence, if you would make worthy attainments."
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 163. 
  • To sow one's wild oats. (16th century)

Spade[edit]

Speech[edit]

Spice[edit]

Spirit[edit]

  • The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
    • H. Bechtel, John (1910). Proverbs. p. 176. 

Steed[edit]

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

Stitch[edit]

  • A stitch in time saves nine.
    • Cf. Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs Collected by Thomas Fuller, 1732, Vol. II, p. 283, Nr. 6291 : "A Stitch in Time // May save nine." [11]
    • "No one needs to be told that a vast deal of labor is expended unnecessarily. This is occasioned, to a great extent, by the neglect of seasonable repairs."
    • Source for meaning:Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 13. 

Stone[edit]

  • Leave no stone unturned.
    • "Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing (anussava),
    • nor upon tradition (paramparā),
    • nor upon rumor (itikirā),
    • nor upon what is in a scripture (piṭaka-sampadāna)
    • nor upon surmise (takka-hetu),
    • nor upon an axiom (naya-hetu),
    • nor upon specious reasoning (ākāra-parivitakka),
    • nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over (diṭṭhi-nijjhān-akkh-antiyā),
    • nor upon another's seeming ability (bhabba-rūpatāya),
    • nor upon the consideration, The monk is our teacher (samaṇo no garū)
    • 'Kalamas, when you yourselves know: "These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness," enter on and abide in them.' "
    • Gautama Buddha, Kalama Sutta - Angutarra Nikaya 3.65 (~ O B.C)
    • William George Smith; Paul Harvey (1960). The Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs. p. 359. 
  • Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
  • A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Straw[edit]

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

Stream[edit]

Street[edit]

  • Old streets a glamour hold. (K. W. Baker)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 121. ISBN 9511109618

Strike[edit]

  • Strike when the iron is hot. (14th century)

Storage[edit]

Success[edit]

  • Confidence is the companion of success.
    • Specified as a proverb in "5". Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically. G. P. Putnam's sons. 1887. p. 168. d
  • Failure is the stepping stone for success.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. 
  • Nothing succeeds like success.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited.
  • One secret of success is to know how to deny yourself and other people.
  • Success is a journey not a destination.
    • "When we see a great man desiring power instead of his real goal we soon recognize that he is sick, or more precisely that his attitude to his work is sick. He overreaches himself, the work denies itself to him, the incarnation of the spirit no longer takes place, and to avoid the threat of senselessness he snatches after empty power. This sickness casts the genius on to the same level as those hysterical figures who, being by nature without power, slave for power, in order that they may enjoy the illusion that they are inwardly powerful, and who in this striving for power cannot let a pause intervene, since a pause would bring with it the possibility of self-reflection and self-reflection would bring collapse."
    • Martin Buber, Between Man and Man (1965), p. 151.
    • "To rank the effort above the prize may be called love."
    • Confucius, The Analects (475 BC)
    • K. Singh, Anup (2017). "S". Dictionary of Proverbs. p. 94. GGKEY:3DUS38CW7YC. 

Sun[edit]

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

Surgeon[edit]

Swallow[edit]

  • One swallow does not make a summer.
    • "Just because there is evidence does not mean there is truth"(Paczolay, 1997 p. 44)
    • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (c. 325 BC), I.1098a18

Swimmer[edit]

  • Good swimmers are often drowned. (Strauss, 1994 p. 879)

Sword[edit]

  • A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword.
  • Live by the sword, die by the sword.
  • The pen is mightier than the sword.
    • Mazer, Anna (2009). The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword. Baker & Taylor. 1442012889. 

Take[edit]

  • Take things as you find them. (Strauss 1994, p. 722)
    • "Wing it"
    • Kim Kardashian, 73 Questions With Kim Kardashian West (ft. Kanye West) | Vogue (2019)

Talk[edit]

  • He that talks to himself, speaks to a fool. (1721)

Tango[edit]

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

Tat[edit]

Temptation[edit]

  • Without temptation there is no victory.

Thief[edit]

  • Once a thief always a thief. (Strauss, 1994 p. 771)
  • Set a thief to catch a thief.
    • George Bohn, Henry; Ray, John (1855). "T". A Hand-book of Proverbs: Comprising Ray's Collection of English Proverbs, with His Additions from Foreign Languages. And a Complete Alphabetical Index. p. 136. 

Thing[edit]

Think[edit]

Thought[edit]

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

Time[edit]

  • Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down.
    • "People who idle their lives away will not make a lasting impression on history or be remembered for their great achievements."
    • Manser, Martin H (2007). The Facts on File dictionary of proverbs. Infobase Publishing. 0816066736. 
  • Nature, time, and patience are three great physicians.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited.
  • Procrastination is the thief of time.
  • Time and tide wait for no man.
    • "Time and Tide wait for no man". Proverbs in Verse, Or Moral Instruction Conveyed in Pictures, on the Plan of Hogarth Moralized. to which are Prefixed Rules for Reading Verse. 1811. p. 107. 
  • Time flies.
  • Time flies when you're having fun.
  • Time himself is bald. (William Shakespeare)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 118. ISBN 9511109618
  • Time is money.
  • Time is precious. (Paczolay, 1997 p. 428)
  • Time will tell.
    • "Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms. It's by talking nonsense that one gets to the truth! I talk nonsense, therefore I'm human"
    • Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead
  • There is no time like the present. (18th century) (Citatboken)
    • Elkin, A. (1999). Stress management for dummies, John Wiley & Sons.
  • There is nothing more precious than time and nothing more prodigally wasted. (Strauss 1994, p. 722)

Tomorrow[edit]

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

Tongue[edit]

Tools[edit]

  • A bad workman blames his tools.
    • George Herbert reports early English variants in Jacula Prudentum; or, Outlandish Proverbs, Sentences, Etc. (1640):
    • Compare the older French proverb:
    • Galen explains clearly, if less succinctly, in De Causis Procatarcticis (2nd c. A.D.), VI. 63–65:
      • They blame their tools: why did the carpenter make the bed so badly, if he was any good? He will reply: "Because I used a poor axe and a thick gimlet, because I did not have a rule, I lost my hammer, and the hatchet was blunt", and other things of this kind. [...] And who does not know that artisans make themselves responsible for the deficiencies in their work too, when they cannot pin the blame on material and tools?
    • "A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
    • Douglas Adams in Mostly Harmless (1992)
  • Do not play with edged tools. (Strauss, 1994 p. 716)

Trade[edit]

  • Jack of all trades and master of none.
    • George Bohn, Henry; Ray, John (1860). "J". A Hand-book of Proverbs: Comprising an Entire Republication of Ray's Collection of English Proverbs, with His Additions from Foreign Languages : and an Alphabetical Index, in which are Introduced Large Additions, as Well of Proverbs as of Sayings, Sentences, Maxims, and Phrases. p. 436. 

Treasure[edit]

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

Tree[edit]

  • People only throw stones at trees with fruit on them.
  • The apple never falls far from the tree.
    • "Children observe daily and — in their behaviour — often follow the example of their parents." (Paczolay, 1997 p. 259).
  • There is no tree but bears some fruit. (Mawr, 1885 p. 131)

Trencher[edit]

Trouble[edit]

Trust[edit]

  • If you trust before you try, you may repent before you die.
    • "Advertising reaches out to touch the fantasy part of people's lives. And you know, most people's fantasies are pretty sad."
    • Frederik Pohl, The Way The Future Was (1978)
  • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 p.b72

Truth[edit]

Try[edit]

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

Turn[edit]

  • One good turn deserves another.
    • Kelly, James (1721). "O". Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs. p. 269. 

Two[edit]

Valley[edit]

Vat[edit]

  • Let every vat stand upon its own bottom. (William Bullein)
    • Laine, Jarkko (toim.): Suuri sitaattisanakirja. Otava, 1989, p. 98. ISBN 9511109618

Vessel[edit]

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

Vicar[edit]

  • The vicar of Bray will be vicar of Bray. (Manser, 2007 p. 286)

Vice[edit]

  • Where vice goes before, vengeance follows after.

Village[edit]

Virtue[edit]

  • Virtue which parleys is near a surrender.
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [3]

Walk[edit]

  • Don't talk the talk if you can't walk the walk.
  • Learn to walk before you run.
  • Walk softly, carry a big stick.
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 752
  • Walk the talk. (Manser, 2007)
    • "I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself."
    • Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband (1895), Act I.

War[edit]

  • War is too important to be left to the generals.
    • "Therefore my tax-payer, resign yourself to this: that we may fight bravely, fight hard, fight long, fight cunningly, fight recklessly, fight in a hundred and fifty ways, but we cannot fight cheaply."
    • George Bernard Shaw, The Technique of War (1917)
    • Source for proverb and meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 287. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 19 June 2013. 

Waste[edit]

Water[edit]

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

Web[edit]

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

Wealth[edit]

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

Whale[edit]

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

Wheel[edit]

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

Wife[edit]

  • A cheerful wife is the spice of life. (Strauss, 1998 p. 20)
    • "There are only two kinds of women, the plain and the coloured."
    • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), Chapter III. Same in Woman of No Importance, Act III.
  • Choose a wife rather by your ear than your eye. (Strauss, 1994 p. 655)
  • The cobbler's wife is the worst shod.
  • A man's best fortune or his worst is a wife. (Strauss, 1994 p. 65)
  • He that will thrive must first ask his wife.
  • Two things prolong your life: A quiet heart and a loving wife.
    • Manser, M. (2006). The Wordsworth dictionary of proverbs, Wordsworth Editions, Limited.

Will[edit]

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

Win[edit]

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

Wind[edit]

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

Wine[edit]

  • Life is too short (to drink bad wine).
    • Hoggart, S. (2009). Life's Too Short to Drink Bad Wine: 100 Wines for the Discerning Drinker, Quapuba.
  • Good wine needs no bush.
    • It was customary since early times to hang a grapevine, ivy or other greenery over the door of a tavern or way stop to advertise the availability of drink within.
    • Martin (2010). Good Wine Needs No Bush. Arthur Bruce Martin. pp. 200. ISBN 0646539477. 
  • Wine in , truth out. (16th century)

Winning[edit]

Wise[edit]

  • Some are wise and some are otherwise. (1659)

Wish[edit]

  • Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
  • The wish is father to the thought.
    • "With how much ease believe we what we wish!"
    • John Dryden, All for Love (1678)
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. 303

With[edit]

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

Woeful[edit]

  • Willful waste makes woeful want. (Wolfgang, 1992 p. 925)

Wolf[edit]

  • The wolf finds a reason for taking the lamb. (Strauss, 1994, p. 68)
    • "When people behave badly they always invent a philosophy of life which represents their bad actions to be not bad actions at all, but merely results of unalterable laws beyond their control."
    • Leo Tolstoy, The Slavery of Our Times (1890)

Woman[edit]

Wood[edit]

  • Touch wood. (20th century)
  • You cannot see the wood for trees. (1546)

Word[edit]

Work[edit]

  • A woman's work is never done.
  • All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
    • "The NET is a waste of time, and that's exactly what's right about it."
    • William Gibson Title of an article for New York Times Magazine (14 July 1996).
    • Mieder, Wolfgang; Kingsbury, Stewart A.; Harder, Kelsie B. (1992). A Dictionary of American proverbs. pp. 710. , p. xxiv
  • Many hands make light work. (Speak, 2009)
  • No man is born into this world, whose work is not born with him. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1107)
  • Quick at meat, quick at work. (Strauss, 1994 p. 1150)

Worm[edit]

World[edit]

Worth[edit]

  • He is worth his weight in gold. (16th century)

Wrong[edit]

Wound[edit]

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

Youth[edit]

  • Diligent youth makes easy age.
  • Reckless youth makes rueful age.
  • They who would be young when they are old must be old when they are young.
    • "I rather regret something I've done than something I had wish I have done."
    • AvFumio Sasaki, Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living (2017)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "1605". Dictionary of European proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 1151. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Young men may die, old men must. (16th century)
  • Young men think old men fools, and old men know young men to be so. (16th century)
  • Young saint, old devil. (15th century)
  • Youth and age will never agree. (16th century)

References[edit]

    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 103. ISBN 0415160502. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:
All wikimedia projects
Articles on this topic in other Wikimedia projects can be found at: Wikimedia Commons English proverbs