Scots proverbs

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

A[edit]

  • A close mouth catches nae flees.
    • English equivalent: A closed mouth catches no flies.
    • "It is often safest or wisest to say nothing: To avoid the risk of incriminating myself, I remained silent — a shut mouth catches no flies."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. pp. 243–. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Henderson, Andrew (1832). Scottish proverbs. p. 2. 
  • A fule may gie a wise man counsel.
    • English equivalent: A fool may give a wise man counsel.
    • "A woman's advice is not worth much, but he who does not heed it is a fool."
    • Pedro Calderon, El Medico de su Honra.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 40. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • A gude beginning maks a gude ending.
    • English equivalent: A good beginning makes a good ending.
    • Meaning: "Starting properly ensures the speedy completion of a process. A – beginning is often blocked by one or more obstacles (potential barriers) the removal of which may ensure the smooth course of the process."
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "40". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 228. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "190". Dictionary of European Proverbs. I. Routledge. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. 
  • Anger begins wi' folly, and ends wi' repentance.
  • As the old Cock craws, the young Cock lears.
    • English equivalent: As the old cock crows, so crows the young.
    • Meaning: Children will become like older generations.
    • Stampoy, Pappity (2004). A Collection Of Scotch Proverbs. Kessinger Publishing. p. 7. 

B[edit]

  • Bees that hae honey in their mouths, hae stings in their tales.
    • Literal translation: Who wants to lick honey must not shy away from the bees.
    • English equivalent: Honey is sweet, but the bees sting.
    • Meaning: Suffering is the acceptable in the quest for something great.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 837. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • By chance a cripple may catch a hare.
    • English equivalent: Even a blind pig may occasionally pick up an acorn.
    • Meaning: "An incompetent person or an unsystematic approach is bound to succeed every now and then by chance."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 8 September 2013. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 36. ISBN 0415096243. 

D[edit]

  • Delays are dangerous.
    • English equivalent: There is danger in delay.
    • Meaning: "Hesitation or procastination may lead to trouble or disaster."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 10 August 2013. 
    • Henderson, Andrew (1832). Scottish proverbs. p. 11. 
  • Diffidence is the mother o' safety.
    • English equivalent: Diffidence is the right eye of prudence.
    • "Time destroys the groundless conceits of men; it confirms decisions founded on reality."
    • Cicero, De Natura Deorum, II. 2..
    • Henderson, Andrew (1832). Scottish proverbs. p. 12. 

E[edit]

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

H[edit]

  • He that canna do as he would maun do as he may.
    • English equivalent: Do as you may, if you can't do as you could.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 707. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • He that keeks through a keyhole may see what will vex him.
    • English equivalent: Eavesdroppers hear no good of themselves.
    • Meaning: "People who eavesdrop on the conversations of others risk hearing unfavorable comments about themselves; used as a warning or reprimand."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "250". Dictionary of European Proverbs. I. Routledge. p. 238. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. 

I[edit]

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

L[edit]

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

N[edit]

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

O[edit]

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

R[edit]

  • The remedy is worse than the disease.
    • English equivalent: The remedy is often worse than the disease.
    • "The best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman."
    • Jonathan Swift, Polite Conversation (1738)
    • Ray, John (1855). A Hand-book of Proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). H.G. Bohn. p. 514. 

S[edit]

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

T[edit]

  • The nearer the bane the sweeter.
    • English equivalent: The sweetest flesh is near the bones.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "1666". Dictionary of European proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 1176. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • The smiths mear and the souters wife are aye warst shod.
    • English equivalent: The cobbler's wife is the worst shod.
    • Meaning: "Working hard for others one may neglect one's own needs or the needs of those closest to him."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 65. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 661. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Time and tide for nae man bide.
    • English equivalent: Time and tide waits for no man.
    • "People who originally have no means but are ultimately able to earn a great deal, through whatever talents they may possess, almost always come to think that these are permanent capital and that what they gain through them is interest. Accordingly, they do not put aside part of their earnings to form a permanent capital, but spend their money as fast as they earn it. But they are then often reduced to poverty because their earnings decrease or come to an end after their talent, which was of a transitory nature, is exhausted, as happens, for example, in the case of almost all the fine arts; or because it could be brought to bear only under a particular set of circumstances that has ceased to exist."
    • Schopenhauer, “Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life,” Parerga und Paralipomena, E. Payne, trans. (1974)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 723. ISBN 0415096243. 

W[edit]

  • What carlins hain, cats eat.
    • English equivalent: Cats eat what hussies spare.
    • Note: "Cat" is a slang term for prostitute.
    • Meaning: An inferior workman might defeat his competition by making the services he provides more remarkable.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 661. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • When ae door steeks anither opens.
    • English equivalent: When one door closes another opens.
    • Meaning: "When baffled in one direction a man of energy will not despair, but will find another way to his object."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). 1859. p. 67. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 845. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Weel is that weel does.
    • English equivalent: Handsome is that handsome does.
    • Meaning: "People should be valued for their good deeds, not their good looks, also occasionally used of things, or as a warning not to be misled by an attractive appearance."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "243". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 227. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 879. ISBN 0415096243. 

Y[edit]

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

See also[edit]