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English proverbs

Wikimedia list article
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

AbsentEdit

AccidentEdit

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

ActionEdit

  • 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. 

AdvanceEdit

  • 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. 

AdviceEdit

HeartEdit

HedgeEdit

  • 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. 

HeedEdit

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

HellEdit

  • And thou unfit for any place but hell. (William Shakespeare)
  • 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

HelpEdit

HesitationEdit

  • 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

HindsightEdit

  • 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. 

HistoryEdit

  • 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. 

HoleEdit

  • 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. 

HomeEdit

HonorEdit

HopeEdit

HorseEdit

  • 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. 

HouseEdit

  • 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

IgnoranceEdit

ImitationEdit

  • 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. 

InsanityEdit

  • 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. 

IronEdit

  • 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.

IslandsEdit

  • 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. 

JobEdit

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

JoyEdit

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

JudgmentEdit

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

JusticeEdit

KindnessEdit

  • 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. 

KeepingEdit

  • 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. 

KingEdit

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

KnowledgeEdit

  • 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. 

KingdomEdit

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

KitchenEdit

  • '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. 

LadyEdit

KnowledgeEdit

LandEdit

LaneEdit

  • 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. 

LanguageEdit

LaughEdit

  • 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

LawEdit

  • Laws catch flies, but lets hornets go free.

LegsEdit

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

LessEdit

  • 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. 

LieEdit

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

LifeEdit

  • 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.

LightningEdit

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

LikeEdit

LinenEdit

  • 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)

LittleEdit

LivingEdit

LookEdit

LooseEdit

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

Lose/LostEdit

LoveEdit

  • 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)

LunchEdit

MakeEdit

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

ManmEdit

  • 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. 
  • 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)

MayEdit

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

ManyEdit

  • 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.

MarriageEdit

  • 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

MeasureEdit

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

MendEdit

  • 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

MightEdit

  • Might is right. (14th century)

MindEdit

  • 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.'''''
    • [1]
    • Makhene, E. R. W. (2008). Mind Your Ps and Qs, Lulu.com.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. (13th century)

MileEdit

  • The longest mile is the last mile home.

MilkEdit

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

MirrorsEdit

  • 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![1] 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 

MisfortuneEdit

  • 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)

MissEdit

  • 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." [2]

MistakeEdit

MobEdit

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

MoneyEdit

  • 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.

MoreEdit

  • 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.

MountainEdit

  • 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

MouseEdit

  • 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.

MouthEdit

MuchEdit

  • 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. 

MuckEdit

NailEdit

  • 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."

NatureEdit

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

NeverEdit

  • 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

NiceEdit

  • 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. 

NightEdit

NoEdit

  • 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

NothingEdit

  • 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.

NumberEdit

  • 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. 

NutEdit

OakEdit

  • 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)

OldEdit

OneEdit

  • 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. 

OnlyEdit

  • 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.

OpportunityEdit

  • Opportunity makes the thief. (13th century)

OutEdit

  • 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.

OverEdit

OysterEdit

PackageEdit

PainEdit

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

PayEdit

  • You get what you pay for.

ParadiseEdit

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

PardonEdit

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

PeaceEdit

PennyEdit

PeopleEdit

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

PigEdit

PillEdit

  • 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

PictureEdit

PitcherEdit

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

PlayingEdit

  • 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)

PleaseEdit

PoetEdit

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

PolitenessEdit

PoliticsEdit

PotEdit

  • 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

PovertyEdit

  • Poverty is the reward of idleness.

PowerEdit

  • 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. 

PracticeEdit

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

PreceptEdit

PrepareEdit

  • 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

PreventionEdit

PriceEdit

  • 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)

PrideEdit

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

ProblemEdit

  • 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)

ProsperityEdit

  • He that swells in prosperity will shrink in adversity.

ProudEdit

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

ProverbEdit

  • 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. 

PuddingEdit

PunishmentEdit

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

QuestionEdit

RaceEdit

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

RagEdit

  • 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.

RatEdit

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

RealityEdit

  • 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

ReapEdit

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

ReasonEdit

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

RemedyEdit

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

RevengeEdit

RoadEdit

RodEdit

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

RomeEdit

RopeEdit

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

RulesEdit

  • 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. 

SayEdit

  • 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".

SeaEdit

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

SeeEdit

  • 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. 

ServiceEdit

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

ShadowEdit

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

ShameEdit

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

SheepEdit

ShoeEdit

  • 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/CobblerEdit

  • 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

ShowEdit

SightEdit

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

SilenceEdit

  • Silence gives consent. (14th century)

SinEdit

  • 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. 

SlipperyEdit

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

SnailEdit

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

SnoozeEdit

SonEdit

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

SoulEdit

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

SowingEdit

  • 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)

SpadeEdit

SpeechEdit

SpiceEdit

SpiritEdit

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

SteedEdit

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

StitchEdit

  • 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." [4]
    • "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. 

StoneEdit

  • 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.

StrawEdit

  • 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)

StreamEdit

StrikeEdit

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

StorageEdit

SuccessEdit

  • 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. 

SunEdit

  • 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)

SurgeonEdit

SwallowEdit

  • 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

SwimmerEdit

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

SwordEdit

  • 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. 

TakeEdit

TalkEdit

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

TangoEdit

  • 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)

TatEdit

TemptationEdit

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

ThiefEdit

  • 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. 

ThingEdit

ThinkEdit

ThoughtEdit

  • Thought is free. (14th century)
  • Second thoughts are the best.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 73. 

TimeEdit

  • 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 is money.
  • Time is precious. (Paczolay, 1997 p. 428)
  • Time will tell.
  • 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)

TomorrowEdit

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

TongueEdit

ToolsEdit

  • 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)

TradeEdit

  • 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. 

TreasureEdit

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

TreeEdit

  • 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)

TrencherEdit

  • He that waits on another man's trencher, makes many a late dinner. (Ward, 1842 p. 55)

TroubleEdit

TrustEdit

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

TruthEdit

  • A half truth is a whole lie.
  • Truth gives a short answer, lies go round about. (Strauss, 1994 p. 221)
    • "I merely point out to you that, as a matter of fact, certain persons do exist with an enormous capacity for friendship and for taking delight in other people's lives; and that such person know more of truth than if their hearts were not so big."
    • William James, Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life's Ideals (1911).
  • The truth shall set you free, or The truth will set you free.
    • "Sustained by truth, man becomes a most sublime spectacle. Here is the foundation of all true eloquence and dignity - the conscience untrammeled gives boldness and majesty, and the whole soul rises to the glorious height of its own nobility."
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 194. 
    • Second meaning: "Within reality is the possibility of our own personal miracle. Once we finally understand and accept the truth, the promise of the future is then freed from the shackles of deception, which held it in bondage."
    • Rohn, E. James (1991). The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle. Jim Rohn International. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-939490-02-8. 
    • In the Bible, John 8:32.
  • Truth is stranger than fiction.
  • Truth may be blamed, but it shall never be shamed.
  • Truth seeks no corners.

TryEdit

  • 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)

TurnEdit

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

TwoEdit

ValleyEdit

VesselEdit

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

VicarEdit

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

ViceEdit

  • Where vice goes before, vengeance follows after.

VillageEdit

VirtueEdit

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

WalkEdit

  • 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.

WarEdit

  • 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. 

WasteEdit

WaterEdit

  • 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. 

WebEdit

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

WealthEdit

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

WhaleEdit

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

WheelEdit

  • 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.

WifeEdit

  • A cheerful is the spice of life. (Strauss, 1998 p. 20)
  • Choose a wife rather by your ear than your eye. (Strauss, 1994 p. 655)
  • The cobbler's wife is the worst shod.
  • 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.

WillEdit

  • 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

WinEdit

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

WindEdit

  • 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. 

WineEdit

  • 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)

WinningEdit

WiseEdit

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

WishEdit

  • 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

WithEdit

  • 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)

WoefulEdit

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

WolfEdit

  • 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)

WomanEdit

WoodEdit

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

WordEdit

WorkEdit

  • 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)

WormEdit

WorldEdit

WorthEdit

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

WrongEdit

WoundEdit

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

YouthEdit

  • 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)

ReferencesEdit

  1. Author Victor de la Cruz (2011-09-10). “What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough talk… Have at you!” – My Geek Wisdom. Mygeekwisdom.com. Retrieved on 2019-06-16.
  2. Full text of "Scottish proverbs. With an introductory essay". Archive.org (2016-10-23). Retrieved on 2019-06-16.
  3. a b Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named fromoldbooks74
  4. http://ia600306.us.archive.org/14/items/gnomologiaadagi00conggoog/gnomologiaadagi00conggoog_desc.html
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 103. ISBN 0415160502. 
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 54. 

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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Articles on this topic in other Wikimedia projects can be found at: Wikimedia Commons English proverbs