English proverbs

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English proverbs. You may find definitions on our sister project, Wiktionary, the free multilingual dictionary.


A

  • (ERMICAL) "It's better to be idiot than to pretend wise"
  • A coin of gold is delighting in a bag of silver coins
  • A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
    • Lao Tzu[1]
    • Meaning: You need to make the initial step if you are ever to complete a task.
  • A bad penny always turns up.
    • Meaning: Your mistakes will come back to haunt you. Or Bad people will always return.
  • A bean in liberty is better than a comfit in prison.
  • A bellyful is one of meat, drink, or sorrow.
  • A good enemy is a better person than a false friend
  • A big tree attracts the woodsman's axe.
    • Meaning: Those who make themselves seem great will attract bad things
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
  • A bad workman (always) blames his tools.
    • Meaning: People never blame themselves for what they do.
  • A banker is someone who lends you an umbrella when the sun is shining, and who asks for it back when it starts to rain.
  • A bargain is something you don't need at a price you can't resist.
    • Franklin P. Jones[2]
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  • A burnt child dreads the fire.
    • Meaning: A person who has had bad experiences will shy away from certain things.
    • 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 [1]
  • A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
    • Attributed to Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi
  • A cat may look at a king.
    • Meaning: If a cat may look at the king - then I have a right to look where I please.
  • A camel is a horse designed by committee.
    • Meaning: a vision is more perfect from the individual rather than a group of people where it becomes anodyne.
  • A chain is no stronger than its weakest link.
    • Meaning: The strength of any group depends on the individual strength of each of its members.
    • Interpretation: The strength of a group depends on how the less fortunate are treated; equality is the key to strength.
  • A closed mouth catches no flies.
    • Meaning: One has to try in order to succeed.
  • A constant guest is never welcome.
  • A coward dies a thousand times before his death. The valiant tastes of death but once.
  • A fool and his money are soon parted.
  • A fox smells its own lair first. Or: A fox smells its own stink first.

Meaning: One knows where they belong, and knows when they make a mistake.

  • A friend in need is a friend indeed.
    • Meaning: A genuine friend is with you even in times of trouble.
  • A good beginning makes (for) a good ending.
    • Meaning: Planning is the key to success.
  • A good man in an evil society seems the greatest villain of all.
    • Meaning: society is what makes good good and bad bad
  • A good surgeon has an eagle's eye, a lion's heart, and a lady's hand.
  • A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
  • A half truth is a whole lie.
  • A jack of all trades is master of none.
  • A kingdom is lost for want of a shoe (OR for want of a nail).
    • Meaning: serious consequences can result from seemingly tiny or trivial omissions and errors.
    • Originally a rhyme
  • A lie can be halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on.
    • Charles Spurgeon. A great lie may be widely accepted before the truth comes to light.
  • A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
    • A little Learning is a dangerous Thing;
      Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:
      There shallow Draughts intoxicate the Brain,
      And drinking largely sobers us again. ~ Alexander Pope
  • A loaded wagon makes no noise.
    • People with real money don't talk about it.
  • A miss by an inch is a miss by a mile.
    • Meaning: A miss is a miss regardless the distance
  • Always care about your flowers and your friends. Otherwise they'll fade, and soon your house will be empty.
  • A paragraph should be like a lady's skirt: long enough to cover the essentials but short enough to keep it interesting.
  • A penny spent is a penny earned.
    • In contrast to spending on the poor people.
    • Interpretation: capitalist alteration of Ben Franklin's original saying ["A penny saved is a penny earned"]. The concentration on spending rather than saving promotes the contemporary capitalist economic theory of putting money back into the economy (rather than hording it) to create more wealth.
  • A man is known by the company he keeps.
  • Anyone who thinks the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, is aiming ten inches too high.
  • A Pasoly in the eye is worth several in the shins.
    • A good shot is worth many bad ones
  • A picture is worth a thousand words.
  • A pot of milk is ruined by a drop of poison.
  • A rolling stone gathers no moss.
    • A Turkish Proverb
    • Interpretation: A person who is active will not grow stale.
    • Alternative interpretation: A person who does not stay in one place very long will not develop roots or meaningful connections with others.
    • Philip K. Dick in We Can Build You (1972) conceives a world where the latter interpretation has become the norm and the former indicative of a mental disorder.
  • A son is a son 'till he gets him a wife; a daughter's a daughter all her life.
    • Interpretation: the relationship between a daughter and her parents is enduring; the relationship with a son is attenuated after he marries.
  • A stitch in time saves nine.
    • Fix the small problem now before it becomes larger and harder to fix.
  • A woman's place is in the home.
  • Ability can take you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
    • From Isle of Beauty by Thomas Haynes Bayly
    • Interpretation: We miss people when we are separated from them.
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder but makes the mind forget.
  • Act today only tomorrow is too late
  • Action is the proper fruit of knowledge.
  • Actions speak louder than words.
  • Advice most needed is least heeded.
  • After dinner sit a while, after supper walk a mile.
    • Americans need more exercise
  • All cats love fish but hate to get their paws wet.
    • sometimes you have to do bad things to get good ones
  • All the world is your country, to do good is your religion.
  • All flowers are not in one garden.
  • All frills and no knickers.
    • Possible interpretation: All style and no substance.
  • All good things must come to an end.
  • All hat and no cattle.
    • Possible interpretation: All talk and appearance and little or no substance.
  • All roads lead to Rome.
    • Possible interpretation: However you try to go about things all will lead to the same conclusions
    • Possible interpretation: Power draws all things to itself.
    • Interpretation: The heartland/metropolis (for better or worse) yields considerable power.
  • All's fair in love and war.
    • Interpretation: Love and War are arenas of complete passion that often obfuscate reason.
  • All's well that ends well.
    • A play by William Shakespeare
    • Variant: All is well that ends well. - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [2]
  • All sizzle and no steak.
    • Possible interpretation: All style and no substance
  • All things come to he who waits.
  • All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
  • All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
  • An early bird catches worms.
  • An Englishman's home is his castle.
    • Possible interpretation: A person is king in his home.
    • Another interpretation: a man feels safe in his home.
    • Interpretation: Men hyperbolize the size of their possessions (and other things) due to insecurity.
  • An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
    • Possible interpretation: retribution should be equitable, proportionate and "fit the crime". Biblical reference, modern usage often connotes support for capital punishment.
  • An empty vessel makes the most noise
    • Those with the least understanding often complain about things the most.
  • An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.
  • An old dog will learn no tricks. - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [3]
  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    • Possible interpretation: Similar to that of A stitch in time saves nine. Preventing something in advance is better than fixing it later on.
  • April showers bring May flowers.
    • Meaning: Something seeming bad or boring now brings good things in the future.
  • Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies.
    • Interpretation: There are some things I'd rather not say, so don't ask me!
  • As fit as a fiddle.
    • Meaning: very fit and well
  • As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another
  • As soon as a man is born, he begins to die.
  • As you make your bed, so you must lie in it.
  • Aught for naught, and a penny change.
    • Interpretation: you can't get something for nothing -- you might as well expect to get paid to take it.
  • A watched pot never boils.
    • Main interpretation: Time seems to pass quicker when you aren't consciously waiting for something
    • Possible interpretation: Worrying over something can make the task seem to take longer than it should.
  • A woman's work is never done.
    • From a folk rhyme - A man may work from sun to sun, but a woman's work is never done, meaning that a man's traditional role as breadwinner may keep him occupied from sun-up to sundown, but the traditional roles of a woman demand even longer hours of work.
  • A word spoken is past recalling.
    • Alternative: What's done is done (so think before doing).
    • Interpretation: Once you say something hurtful, provocative, etc., you can't take it back.
  • A woman is like a cup of tea; you'll never know how strong she is until she boils
  • Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither. ?- C. S. Lewis
  • An ounce of discretion is worth a pound of wit.
    • Meaning: it is better to be careful and discrete than to be clever.
  • Ass did the dog's duty.
  • A serpent in the merchant's house

B

  • Know the value of a PERSON
  • Building relationships is like fermenting wine; You may crush the grapes with ample efforts and give them enough warmth at the inception, Yet the wine will age at its own leisurely pace. - vikrant sawant [vapocalypse]
    • Meaning : Relationships grow at their own pace no matter how hard you push it.
  • Be careful before every step
  • Bad news travels fast.
  • Barking dogs seldom bite.
    • Meaning: People who are busy complaining rarely take more concrete hostile action.
    • Alternate meaning: Those who cast threats are seldom man enough to carry them out.
  • Barking up the wrong tree.
  • Before criticizing a man, walk a mile in his shoes.
    • Meaning: One should not criticize a person without understanding their situation.
  • Beggars can't be choosers.
    • Meaning: Those who are in need of help can't afford to be too demanding.
  • Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
  • Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
    • Variant: Better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. (often attributed to Abraham Lincoln)
  • Better late than never.
    • Meaning: It's better to make an effort to keep an appointment than to give up altogether when you discover you will be late.
  • Better safe than sorry.
    • Meaning: It is better to take precautions when its possible that something can go amiss then to regret doing nothing later if something should indeed go wrong.
  • Better the devil you know (than the one you don't).
  • Beware of the Bear when he tucks in his shirt.
  • Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, and inwardly are ravening wolves. (Matthew; bible quote)
  • Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.
  • Birds of a feather flock together.
    • Variant: Birds of the same feather flock together.
      • Meaning: People who are similar to one another tend to stay together.
  • Bitter pills may have blessed effects.
  • Blood is thicker than water.
    • Meaning: Bonds between family members are stronger than other relationships.
  • Blood will out.
    • Meaning: A person's ancestry or upbringing will eventually show.
  • Bloom where you are planted.
  • Born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth.
    • Meaning: Born in a rich family.
  • Boys will be boys.
    • Meaning: Boys are traditionally expected to misbehave, while girls are not.
  • Brag is a good Dog, but Holdfast is a better
    • 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]
  • Brain is better than brawn.
  • Bread is the staff of life.
  • Buy the best and you only cry once.

C

    • Know the value of a PERSON
    • Know the value of a PERSON
  • Can't see the forest for the trees.
    • Possible meaning: You can't see the big picture because of all the details
    • Variant: You can't see the forest when you're in it.
    • Meaning: One can only identify the problem when they are not in it.
  • Carry your own cross.
    • Meaning: if you created a problem, you have to bear the cost that comes with it.
    • One should be prepared to solve his own problem without any help.
  • Chance favours the prepared mind. (attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  • Charity begins at home.
  • Chip off the old block.
  • Clothes don't make the man.
    • Possible interpretation: Appearances can be deceptive.
    • Variant: A man is not a man simply for his wealth.
  • Cobbler, stick to thy last.
    • Possible interpretation: Tend to what you know.
  • Common sense ain't common.
  • Courtesy costs nothing.
  • Curiosity killed the cat (and satisfaction brought it back).
  • Cut your coat according to your cloth.
  • Cry me a river, build a bridge and get over it.
  • Cleanliness is next to godliness

D

  • A dull pencil is greater than the sharpest memory.
  • Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
    • Lorenzo Dow (d. 1834).[5]
    • Meaning: Refers to a situation where both possibilities will lead to harm or blame.
  • Desperate times call for desperate measures.
  • Different strokes for different folks.
    • Meaning: Someone prefers one thing; others, something different.
  • Discretion is the better part of valour.
    • Derived from "The better part of valour is discretion, in the which better part I have saved my life." Falstaff in Shakespere's Henry IV Part One.
    • Meaning: Caution is preferable to rash bravery.
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    • Based on the Bible (Matthew 7:12).[6]
  • Doctors make the worst patients.
  • Don't ask God to guide your footsteps if you're not willing to move your feet.
  • Don't bite the hand that feeds you.
    • Meaning: Behave respectfully or deferentially to those who provide for you.
  • Don't burn your bridges.
    • Meaning: Do not act in such a way as to leave yourself no alternative or no opportunity to "retreat."
  • Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.
  • Don't bite off more than you can chew.
    • Meaning: Do not take on more responsibility than you can handle at any one time.
  • Don't cry over spilt milk.
    • Meaning: Don't worry about things that have already happened.
  • Don't cut off your nose to spite your face.
    • Interpretation: Do not act to spite someone else if it is damaging to yourself.
  • Don't fall before you're pushed.
  • Don't judge a man by the size of his hat, but by the angle of his tilt.
  • Don't have too many irons in the fire.
    • Possible interpretation: Do not take on more responsibility than you can handle.
  • Don't judge a book by its cover.
    • Meaning: Do not judge by appearances.
  • Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
    • Possible interpretation: Do not look for faults in a gift.
  • Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.
    • Don't exaggerate small things / Don't make a big deal out of something minor.
  • Don't mend what ain't broken.
    • Alternatively, If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    • Alternatively, Leave well enough alone.
  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
    • Meaning: Do not rest all your hopes on one eventuality; plan for several cases.
  • Don't put the cart before the horse.
    • Meaning: Do things in the correct order.
  • Don't raise more Demons than you can lay down.
  • Don't shut the barn door after the horse is gone.
    • Possible interpretation: Prepare for things to go wrong rather than worrying about them after the fact.
  • Don't spit into the wind.
    • Or, Don't piss into the wind.
    • Meaning, don't take actions which you know will harm yourself or be futile.
  • Don't spoil the ship for a ha'p'orth of tar.
    • Meaning: Don't jeopardise a project - especially a large one - by being miserly or cutting corners.
      • A ha'p'orth (pronounced haypeth) is a halfpenny-worth, i.e. a very small amount.
  • Don't take life too seriously; you'll never get out of it alive.
  • Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    • Possible interpretation: Do not, in an attempt to remove something undesirable, lose things that are valuable.
  • Don't cross a bridge before you come to it.
    • Meaning: Don't fret unnecessarily about future problems.
  • Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom.
  • Don't bring a knife to a gun fight.
  • Dreams are not the ones which come when you sleep, but they are the ones which will not let you sleep.
    • Meaning: Dreams in your sleep are different from the dreams of your future

E

  • CHACUNE A SON GOUT! -Cajun French for "Each to his own taste," or to each his own.
  • Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. (attibuted to Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac)
  • The early bird catches the worm. But the second mouse gets the cheese.
  • The ends justify the means.
  • Enjoy what you don't know.
  • Even a dog can distinguish between being stumbled over and being kicked.
  • Even a dog can make it to the top when there's a flood.
  • Even an old dog likes to be patted on the head and told, "Good boy!" -Justice Holmes
  • Even angels have teeth.
  • Every dog has its day.
    • Variation on a quote from Hamlet: "...whatever Hercules says, the cat will mew and dog will have its day."
  • Every cloud has a silver lining.
    • Meaning: Every negative thing has positive aspects.
  • Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.
  • Empty vessels make most noise/sound.
    • Meaning: Those who lack intelligence speak the most/loudest.
  • Even a broken/stopped clock is right twice a day.
  • Even the best perfumes of the world lose their fragrance when you are not around me.
  • Eggfred, he will prosper.
    • Meaning: Bullies never prosper.
  • Education is a progressive discovering of our own ignorance. <W. Durrant>
  • Education makes machines which act like men and produces men who act like machines
  • Every rose has its thorn.
  • Everything with time
  • Everything in its own time.

F

  • Faint heart ne'er won fair lady.
  • Failure is the stepping stone for success.
  • Falling down does not signify failure but staying there does.
  • Familiarity breeds contempt.
    • Long experience of someone or something can make one so aware of the faults as to be scornful.
  • Fine feathers make fine birds.
  • Fine words butter no parsnips.
    • Alternative: Actions speak louder than words.
  • Fingers were invented before knives and forks.
  • First come, first served.
  • First deserve, then desire.
  • First things first.
    • Meaning: Do more important things before other things.
  • Fit as a fiddle.
    • Meaning: very fit and well
  • Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
    • Meaning: To make the same mistake over again is your own fault.
  • Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
  • For want of a nail the horseshoe was lost.
    • Complete version: for want of a nail the horseshoe was lost, for want of a horseshoe the horse was lost
    • Nathaniel Wenger
  • Forewarned is forearmed.
  • Fortune favors the brave.
    • Possible meaning: Courageous people make their own luck.
  • Fretting cares make grey hairs.
  • From those to whom much is given, much is expected.
    • Biblical quote Luke 12:48
  • There are no facts; only interpretations of facts.
  • Failure is not falling down, you fail when you don't get back up.

G

  • Get four Episcopalians together and a fifth will always appear. (Humor intended!)
  • Go with the flow
  • Garbage in, Garbage out.
    • Sometimes abbreviated GIGO.
  • Give and take is fair play.
  • Give a dog a bad name and hang him.
  • Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
    • Knowledge is the best charity
    • to learn a lesson is a far better reward than to win a prize early in the GAME
    • it is better to know how to help yourself than to beg from others
  • Give credit where credit is due.
    • Variant: Give the Devil his due.
  • Give, and ye shall receive.
  • Give him an inch and he'll take a yard.
    • Variant: Give the Camel and inch and it will take an ell.
    • Variant: Give him an inch and he'll take a mile.
  • Give people a common enemy and hopefully they will work together
  • God takes care of drunks.
  • God cures and the physician takes the fee.
  • God don't like ugly and he ain't stuck on pretty
  • Good eating deserves good drinking.
  • Good fences make good neighbors.
  • Good men are hard to find.
  • Good wine needs no bush.
    • Meaning: Something desirable of quality and substance need not be embellished. 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, once something establishes a good reputation for quality the advertisement is rendered superfluous.
  • Great cry little wool.
  • Great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ.
  • Great oaks from little acorns grow.
  • Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
  • Green leaves and brown leaves fall from the same tree.
    • Many possible interpretations- Things change over time- If you are good at one aspect of a skill, you should be skilled at the other aspects, such as a painter who says he can't draw, yet both painting and drawing are aspects of art.- No matter of the outside, we are all the same inside.
  • Grow where you are planted.
  • Give respect, take respect.

H

  • He who is good at excuses is seldom good at anything else.
  • Hair of the dog that bit you.
    • A reference to the object of one's addiction.
  • Half a loaf is better than none.
    • Alternative version: Be thankful for what you've got.
  • Handsome is as handsome does.
  • Hang a thief when he's young, and he'll no' steal when he's old.
  • Happy wife, happy life.
  • Hard cases make bad law.
  • Hard words break no bones.
  • Haste makes waste.
  • Have not, want not.
  • He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.
  • He who dares wins.
    • Variation: 'Who Dares Wins' - British SAS motto
  • He who fails to prepare, prepares to fail.
    • Variation: He who fails to plan, plans to fail.
  • He who sits on tack is better off.
  • Health is better than wealth.
  • Heaven hath no rage like love to hatred turned, nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned.
  • Heaven protects children, sailors and drunks.
  • Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, which is merely a spark compared to the Sun as a measure of the power of God's wrath.
  • He steals a goose, and gives the giblets in alms. - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [5]
  • He who fails to study the past is doomed to repeat it.
  • He who hesitates is lost.
  • He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know.
  • He who laughs last laughs best.
    • Variation: He who laughs last laughs longest.
  • He who laughs last is the slowest to think.
  • He who lives too fast, goes to his grave too soon.
  • He who stands for nothing will fall for everything.
  • He who will steal an egg will steal an ox.
  • He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.
    • meaning: people die the way they live
    • From the Christian New Testament
    • Often parodied as: He who lives by the sword is shot by those who don't
  • Help yourself and God will help you --84.13.137.66 00:01, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
  • He who pays the piper calls the tune
    • To be able to control the details of a situation by virtue of being the one who bears the cost or provides for others.
  • He who sleeps forgets his hunger.
  • He who has nothing to say, cannot write.
  • Hindsight is 20/20.
    • (Eyesight is measured on a scale with 20 being the best, hence 20/20 means perfect eyesight on both eyes.)
    • Possible interpretation: It is always easy to see your mistakes after they occur.
  • His bark is worse than his bite.
    • Possible interpretation: He will talk about consequences more than act.
    • All talk and no actions
  • History repeats itself.
  • Home is home be it ever so humble.
  • Home is where the heart is.
  • Honesty is the best policy.
  • Honey catches more flies than vinegar.
    • Possible interpretation: One can get more cooperation from others by being nice.
  • Hope for the best, expect the worst.
    • Alternate version: Pray for the best, prepare for the worst.
  • Hope is life.
  • Hope springs eternal.
  • Houston, we've got a problem.
  • Hunger is the best spice.
    • Variation: Hunger is the best sauce.
  • Helping Hands are better than Praying Lips - Mother Theresa

I

  • It takes both rain and sunshine to make rainbows
  • I think, therefore I am
    • Descartes' most famous statement (cogito ergo sum in Latin)
  • I came, I saw, I conquered
    • Said by Julius Caesar, spoken as Veni, Vidi, Vici during a message to the Roman senate
  • It is better to die on one's feet than live on one's knees.
  • I have the whole world against me, I show my back and the whole world is following me. (GPL)
  • Idle hands are the devil's playthings.
  • If a job is worth doing it is worth doing well.
  • If all else fails, try the obvious.
  • If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
  • If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    • Variation: If it isn't broken, don't fix it.
  • If it can't be cured, it must be endured.
  • If it's too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
  • If something can go wrong, it will.
  • If the shoe fits, wear it.
  • If the mountain won't come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain.
  • If trev leaves his room, it will be a great day.
  • If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
  • If loving her would be a sin, I wish to sin for the rest of my life ~ Akshaye P.(2008)
  • If you buy quality, you only cry once.
  • If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.
  • If you can't beat them, join them.
  • If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten.
  • If you can't be good, be good at it.
  • If you can't be good, be careful.
  • If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
  • If you cross your bridges before you come to them you will have to pay the toll twice.
  • If you don't buy a ticket, you can't win the raffle.
  • If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!
  • If you don't know where you're going, any train will get you there.
  • If you fake it, you can't make it.
  • If you keep your mouth shut, you won't put your foot in it.
  • If you snooze you lose
  • If you trust before you try, you may repent before you die. - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [6]
  • If you want a thing done right, do it yourself.
  • If you want breakfast in bed, sleep in the kitchen.
  • If you want to get even with your enemy, give him a horse. -Old Italian saying, reported by Judge Peter Cimbotti, Lake Charles, LA.
  • If you want to judge a man's character, give him power.
  • If you were born to be shot, you'll never be hanged.
  • If you're in a hole, stop digging.
  • If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
  • Ignorance is bliss.
    • Common mal-shortening of "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.
    • Thomas Gray, "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College" [[7]]
  • In for a penny, in for a pound.
    • Alternate version: In for a dime, in for a dollar.
  • In order to get where you want to go, you first have to leave where you are.
    • From Sandy Elsberg's Bread Winner, Bread Baker; Upline Press, Charlottesville, VA; 1977, p. 80
  • In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • In the middle of difficulties lie opportunities -
  • In the end, a man's motives are second to his accomplishments.
  • Infatuations are a plenty. Love is rare. - Pashi
  • Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
  • Is the Pope a Catholic?
    • Do bears shit in the woods?
    • Used in response to what is considered to be a question with an extremely obvious answer.
  • It's always darkest before the dawn
  • It's cheaper to keep her.
  • It's not over till it's over.
  • It ain't over till the fat lady sings.
    • Variation: Church ain't over until the fat lady sings.
    • Attributed as an old Southern saying in Smith & Smith, Southern Words and Sayings (1976), according to Quinion, Michael (21 August 1999). "It Ain't Over Till the Fat Lady Sings". World Wide Words. Retrieved on 2007-01-23.
    • Often attributed to sportscaster Dan Cook (1978)
  • It is not so much the gift that is given but the way in which the gift is driven.
  • It never rains, but it pours.
    • Alternatively: When it rains, it pours.
  • It pays to pay attention.
  • It takes all sorts to make a world.
    • Alternatively: It takes all sorts to make the world go round.
    • Alternatively: It takes all kinds to make the world go round.
  • It takes two to make a quarrel.
    • Alternatively: It takes two to tango.
  • It takes two to tango.
  • It takes two to lie — one to lie and one to listen.
  • It's a cracked pitcher that goes longest to the well.
  • It's a good horse that never stumbles.
  • It's a long lane that has no turning.
  • It's an ill wind that blows no good.
  • It's a poor job that can't stand at least one supervisor.
  • It's a blessing in disguise.
  • It's better to be safe than sorry.
  • It's better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak up and remove all doubt.
  • It's better to give than to receive.
  • It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
  • It's cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.
    • Shorthand: It's brass monkeys out there!
    • Meaning: It's very cold out. (Snopes.com debunks the suggestion that this saying derives from the shrinking of a brass frame, called a monkey, allegedly used to store cannon balls.)
    • This is a colloquial expression not a proverb [[[8]]]
  • It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission.
  • It's easy to be wise after the event.
  • It's never too late to mend.
  • It's not the size of the boat, it's the motion of the ocean.
  • It's no use crying over spilt milk.
  • It's often a person's mouth broke their nose.
    • Meaning: People talk themselves into trouble.
  • It's the early bird that gets the worm.
  • It's the empty can that makes the most noise.
  • It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.
  • I wants, don't gets.
    • An alternative used in the black British community is: "Ask it, Ask it don't get... Get it, get it don't want."
  • "If you're prepared to be confused, be prepared for a sore bum"
    • HELP EVER HURT NEVER
  • He is the most Unfortunate who's today is not better than yesterday. - 'Muhammad'
  • If you fall off a cliff, you might as well try to fly. After all, you got nothing to lose.
  • If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don't, they never were.
  • If you believe that dreams can come true be prepared for the occasional nightmare.
  • It is through the small things we do that we learn, not the big things

it nice to be Important But The most Important to be nice

K

  • Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
  • Keep your mouth shut and let others think you are stupid, rather then open your mouth and give evidence of the same.
  • Knowledge is power.
    • Often followed by the phrase "but ignorance is bliss."
  • Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee.
  • Keep your mouth shut and your ears open
  • Kill two birds with one stone

L

  • Laughter is the best medicine.
  • Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
  • Law is the solemn expression of legislative will.
  • Lead to Success, Follow to Failure
  • Learn to walk before you run.
    • Possible interpretation: Do not rush into what you do not know.
    • Alt. interpretation: Learn the basics before you start using more complex tools or methods
  • Least said sooner mended.
    • meaning: those who speak less get more done
    • Alt. Interpretation: dwelling on the problem/blame makes it worse and delays the ability to get on and fix things
  • Leave it alone and it will grow on its own.
  • Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.
  • Let sleeping dogs lie.
  • Let the cobbler stick to his last.
  • Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.
  • Life begins at forty.
  • Life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you're gonna get
  • Life is too short to drink bad wine.
  • Life is just a bowl of cherries.
  • Life is what you make of it.
  • Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
    • Attributed to John Lennon
  • Let us go hand in hand,not one before another.
  • Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.
  • Like cures like.
    • Meaning: A person can better help another if they have something in common.
  • Like father like son.
  • Like water off a duck's back.
  • Little bean comes around his little salary
  • Little by little and bit by bit.
  • Little enemies and little wounds must not be despised.
  • Live and let live.
    • Alternative: Live simply to let others simply live.
  • Light a man, he shall be warm for a night. Light a man on fire and he shall be warm for the rest of his life.
  • Long absent, soon forgotten.
  • Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.
    • Possible interpretation: Take care of the details. (12 pence to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound.)
    • Alt. interpretation: Save every penny you can and it will build up into a significant amount of money.
  • Look before you leap.
  • Look on the sunny side of life.
  • Loose lips sink ships.
    • World Wartime mantra encouraging people to avoid talking about things which could have been overheard by spies
  • Love is a bridge between two hearts.
  • Love is blind.
  • Love is not finding someone to live with; it's finding someone whom you can't live without.
  • Love laughs at locksmiths.
  • Life's battle 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.
  • Love is blind,… but marriage is the real eye-opener.
  • Losing the life by speaking unknown tamil

M

  • Make hay while the sun shines.
  • Make a Friend when you don't need One (from Urim)
    • Possible interpretation: Do the task while it is possible.
  • Making a rod for your own back.
  • Creating the thing with which you will be beaten.
  • Man is truly himself when he's alone.
  • Man wasn't born to suffer but to carry on.
  • Many a true word is spoken in jest
  • Many hands make light work.
  • Many things are lost for want of asking.
  • Many words will not fill a bushel.
    • This Proverb is a severe Taunt upon much Talking. - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [9]
  • Marriage equals hell and bankruptcy.
  • Meaning of life is not meaningful -- Allen Zimama
  • Meaner than a junk-yard dog.
  • Measure twice, cut once.
  • Mind your P's and Q's.
    • British: Mind your manners (Your pints and quarts; keep watch on how much you drink)
    • Alternatively: from the printing press trade, be careful of these two letters. Printing is done in reverse, and the letters are identical in reverse as well.
  • Mirrors do everything we do, but they cannot think for themselves.
  • Misery loves company.
  • Missing the wood for the trees.
    • Overlooking the more important issue.
  • Money cannot buy happiness.
  • Money for old rope.
    • In the days of wooden-hulled sailing ships, ropes that were worn could be sold for use as caulking (pressed between the planks and often covered with tar to prevent seepage), or as filling for fenders, and so the ship's owner was paid even for old rope.
  • Money makes the mare go.
  • Money makes the world go around.
  • Money talks.
    • Variant: Money talks, bullshit walks.
    • Related: Talk is cheap.
    • Related: Actions speak louder than words.
    • meaning: It's easy to say you believe something, but people are more likely to risk cash or possessions on something they truly believe.
    • meaning: its time to stop living in the fantasy world, and live in the real world.
  • Money can't buy everything, but everything needs money
  • Money talks; mine always says, "Good-bye!"
  • Monkey see, monkey do.
  • More haste, less speed.
    • More haste at a task will lead to the task being completed less speedily. As with many English proverbs, it describes consequences rather than giving an order.
  • Mouth makes a fish die

N

  • Nature, time, and patience are three great physicians.
  • Necessity is the mother of all invention.
  • Ne'er cast a clout till May be out. (Not known if 'May' relates to the month of May or may blossom).
    • Don't remove winter vests (undergarments) until summer arrives.
  • Never change, for the sake of others. There will be no one like you if you change. (GPL)
  • Never judge the book by its cover.
  • Never put off till (until) tomorrow what you can do today.
  • Never let the right hand know what the left hand is doing.
    • Possible interpretation: Do not boast in giving to the poor- anonymous is best.
    • Possible interpretation: Secrecy insures security
  • Never let a man do a woman's job.
    • Feminist phrase; Men are poorer than women, skill-wise.
  • Never leave a woman to do a man's work.
    • alternate version, Never let a monkey to do a man's job, Never send a woman to do a man's job
    • Meaning: Leaving\employing someone less qualified to do your work will produce undesired results.
  • Never lie to your doctor.
  • Never lie to your lawyer.
  • Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
  • Never say die.
    • Possible interpretation: Never give up.
  • Never say never.
  • Never trouble trouble 'til trouble troubles you.
  • Noblesse oblige.
    • French expression: To be a member of the nobility carries obligations to care for the lower classes.
  • No man can serve two masters.
  • No man is content with his lot.
  • No man is an island
    • Possible interpretation: Everybody needs other people.
    • Alternate: Everyone's actions impact others.
  • No money, no justice.
  • No news is good news.
  • No need to cry over spilled milk.
  • No pain, no gain.
  • No time like the present.
  • Nobody leaves us, we only leave others.
  • Not enough room to swing a cat
  • Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    • Varient: Nothing ventured, nothing have. - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [10]
  • Nothing succeeds like success.
  • Nothing to be feared in life, but understood.
  • Now we have doors so we can hide.

O

  • Once bitten, twice shy
    • William Caxton, the first English printer, gave the earliest version of this saying in 'Aesope' (1484), his translation of Aesop's fables: 'He that hath ben ones begyled by somme other ought to kepe hym wel fro(m) the same.' Centuries later, the English novelist Robert Surtees referred to the saying in 'Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour' (1853) with '(He) had been bit once, and he was not going to give Mr. Sponge a second chance.' The exact wording of the saying was recorded later that century in 'Folk Phrases of Four Counties' (1894) by G.G. Northall and was repeated by, among others, the English novelist Joseph Conrad (1920, 'The Rescue'), the novelist Aldous Huxley (1928, 'Point Counter Point'), and the novelist Wyndham Lewis (1930, 'The Apes of God'). 'Once bitten, twice shy' has been a familiar saying in the twentieth century. From Wise Words and Wives' Tales by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner (Avon Books, New York, 1993).
    • A variation, once burned, twice shy, is also traced back to Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour. Once burned was First attested in the United States in 'Dead Sure' (1949) by S. Sterling. The meaning of the saying is One who had an unpleasant experience is especially cautious. From the Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).
  • Once in a lifetime comes often, so be prepared.
  • One good turn deserves another. - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [11]
    • Meaning: You should return a favour done to you.
  • One hand washes the other. From the Latin MANUS MANAM LAVAT, meaning "Hand washes hand," or "One hand washes the other"; or impliedly, "You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours."
  • One man's junk is another man's treasure.
  • One man's meat is another man's poison.
    • Meaning: What is beloved to a person is hated by someone else.
  • One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. - Ronald Reagan
  • One might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. - English, 17th century
  • One murder makes a villain, millions a hero.
  • One scabbed sheep mars the whole flock.
    • This Proverb is apply'd to such Persons who being vicious themselves,
      labour to debauch those with whom they converse.
      - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [12]
  • Only a coward will write an anonymous letter. -President Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Only bad drivers cut corners.
  • Only losers say "Winning isn't everything."
  • Only the good die young
  • Opinions are like assholes: everyone has them and they usually stink.
  • Opportunity is waiting you need but to open the door.
  • Opportunity knocks only once.
    • Meaning: Do not waste time while grabbing opportunities.
  • Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising everytime we fall.
    • Confucius
  • Our costliest expenditure is time. <Theophrastus>
  • Out of sight... Out of mind
  • Owt for Nowt
    • Northern English, Anything for nothing...

On your feet loose your seat.

P

  • Paddle your own canoe.
  • Pain is only weakness leaving the body.
    • U.S. Marines proverb
  • Patience is a virtue.
  • Penny wise, pound foolish.
  • (The) pen is mightier than the sword.
  • People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
    • Variation: Whose house is of glasse, must not throw stones at another.
      • George Herbert, Outlandish Proverbs, 1640; cited in (2006) "Proverbs 120", The Yale Book of Quotations, p. 613. ISBN 0-300-10798-6.
      • George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum, 1651, number 196
    • Meaning: Don't criticize other people when you yourself have faults and weaknesses.
  • POETIS MENTIRI LICET. - Latin for "Poets are allowed to lie." Has to do with rhetoric (hyperbole) and poetic and/or litarary license.
  • Politics makes strange bedfellows.
  • Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    • Attributed to Lord Acton
  • Practice before you preach.
    • Meaning: Before asking others to do something, make sure you are following it yourself.
  • Practice makes perfect.
  • Practice may make perfect, but nobody's perfect so why practice
  • Practice doesn’t makes a man perfect, but a perfect practice makes a man perfect
  • Pride comes before a fall
  • Prior preparation prevents poor performance.
  • Procrastination is the thief of time.
  • Put it in song, put it in drink; but never, ever put it in ink!
    • Reportedly said by Earl K. Long, Governor of Louisiana
  • Put a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the devil.
  • Put a beggar on horseback and he'll ride it to death.
  • Put a cat amongst the pigeons.
  • Prevention is better than cure.
    • Variation: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
  • Procrastination is the thief of time.
  • Proverbs are long life experiences, told in one short sentence.
  • Politeness cost nothing and gains everything. <M.W. Montagu>
  • Peace Sells, but who's Buying? <Megadeth>

R

  • REPETITIO MATER MEMORIAE - Latin for "Repetition is the mother of memory."
  • Revenge is a dish best served cold.
  • Rules were meant to be broken.
  • Rome wasn't built in a day
  • Rolling stones gathers no moss

S

  • Someone who gossips to you will gossip about you.
  • Same meat, different gravy.
    • Variation on the above.
  • Same trouble, different day.
  • Seek and ye shall find.
  • Say something nice or say nothing at all.
  • Self trust is the first secret of success.
  • Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.
  • Set a thief to catch a thief.
  • Ships happen. -Navy saying.
  • Shit or get off the pot
  • silence is golden
    • Meaning: sometimes it is better not to say anything.
  • Simple minds think alike. (William Truong)
    • Simple things please/amuse simple minds.
    • Alternative: Simple minds, simple pleasures.
  • Six of one, and half a dozen the other.
    • Meaning: Describes two actions with the same result, or two things that are essentially the same.
  • Slow and steady wins the race.
    • Variant: Slow but sure.
  • Smile, and the world smiles with you; cry, and you cry alone.
  • Something worth doing is worth doing well.
    • Interpretation: If you are going to do something, do it right.
  • Speak of the devil and he's sure to appear.
    • Abbreviation: Speak of the devil.
  • Stolen fruit is the sweetest.
    • Possible interpretation: forbidden things are the most tempting
    • The Bible
  • Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
  • Still waters run deep.
    • Possible interpretation: Looks can be deceiving, quiet people are often the most deep.
  • Strike while the iron is hot.
    • Possible interpretation: Seize the moment. Take the opportunity now; don't waste it.
  • Success is a journey not a destination.
  • Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
  • Some days you get the bear, other days the bear gets you.
  • Spare the rod, spoil the child.
    • Meaning: Lack of deserved discipline develops undesired behavior in a child.
  • Success grows out of struggles to overcome difficulties.
  • Straightn not the dog's tail even in the bamboo hollow.

T

  • Take an old mangy, hungry, sick and wet dog, feed him, wash him, treat his wounds and nurse him back to good health, and he will never turn on you and bite you. This is how man and dog differ.
  • Talk is cheap.
    • You can talk easily without waiting for something or someone
  • Talk of the devil and he's sure to appear.
  • Talk the hind legs off a donkey.
    • Possible interpretation: Someone who never shuts up - often used in reference to London cab drivers
  • Talking a mile a minute.
  • Talking nineteen to the dozen.
  • Take an old dirty, hungry, mangy, sick and wet dog and feed him and wash him and nurse him back to health, and he will never turn on you and bite you. This is how man and dog differ.
  • Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.
  • That which does not kill you, makes you stronger.
  • The acorn never falls far from the tree.
    • Meaning: People are similar to their parents/their roots.
  • The ball is in your court.
    • Meaning: It's up to you to decide.
  • The belly has no ears.
    • This Proverb intimates, that there is no arguing the Matter with Hunger,
      the Mother of Impatience and Anger.
      - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [13]
    • I don't argue with the body Jerry. It's an argument you can't win. - Kramer
  • The best is yet to come.
  • The best of friends need not speak face to face.
  • The best things come in small packages.
  • The best things in life are free.
  • The calm (comes) before the storm.
  • The child is father to the man.
    • Meaning: What is true of a child will still be true when it grows up; or, early experiences shape future character.
  • the child is father of the man
  • The coat makes the man.
  • The cure is worse than the disease.
  • The customer is always right.
  • The difference between a man and a cat or a dog is that only a man can write the names of the cat and the dog.
  • The early bird gets (or catches) the worm.
  • The end justifies the means.
  • The English are a nation of shopkeepers
    • (Attributed to Napoleon)
  • The exception proves the rule.
    • Often mistakenly referred to as a misquote. In reality, the Latin probate may mean either to probe or to prove. The key is that prove in this case carries the older meaning of to test, as in the phrases proving (testing) ground or the proof (test) of the pudding is in the eating.
  • The first step to health is to know that we are sick.
  • The grass is always greener on the other side...
  • ^Meaning Your Never Happy With What You Have Got.
  • The greatest thing that could happen in my lifetime is for all my ideas to be stolen.
  • The head and feet keep warm, the rest will take no harm.
  • The key to all action lies in belief.
  • The law is a jealous mistress.
    • - Professor Ferdinand Fairfax Stone, Tulane Law School, early and mid 1960s.
  • The longest mile is the last mile home.
  • The more you know, the more you know you don't know.
  • The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    • From the French: Plus ça change, c'est la même chose.
  • The nail that sticks out gets pounded.
  • The only free cheese is in the mouse trap.
    • Russian saying.
  • The only stupid question is the one that is not asked.
  • The only thing you get from picking bottoms (ie. of the stock market) is a smelly finger.
  • The pain o the little finger is felt by the entire body.
  • The pen is mightier than the sword.
  • The pitcher which goes too often to the well gets broken.
  • The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
  • The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
    • Possible interpretation: A man loves a woman who can cook (well).
    • Also jocularly from above: The way to a man's heart is through the ribcage.
    • - Feminist phrase; Men aren't worth a woman's time.
  • The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
    • Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi
  • The whole is greater than its parts.
    • Sometimes, jocularly from above: The proof of the eating is in the size of the pudding.
  • There are no endings: only new beginnings.
  • There are no small parts, only small actors.
  • There are so many things to say that are better left unsaid.
  • There are three types of lies - lies, damned lies, and statistics.
  • There is no god except God.
  • There is no point of knowledge or wisdom if not dotted.
  • There is only eight years between success and failure in politics.
    • Jim Brown, Louisiana statesman
  • There is something rotten in the state of Denmark.
    • or There's something rotten in Denmark.
    • Expresses strong suspicion.
    • Shakespeare's Hamlet (Marcellus in act 1, scene 4).
  • There's always a calm before a storm.
    • or The calm before the storm.
  • There's a method in his madness.
  • There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip.
    • This comes from a Greek legend, as follows: One of the Argonauts returned from his voyage, and went home to his winery. He called for the local soothsayer, who had predicted before his voyage that he would die before he tasted another drop of his wine, from his vinery. As he finished saying this, he raised a cup filled with wine to his lips, in toast to the soothsayer, who said something in reply. Just then, he was called away to hunt a wild boar that was approaching, and died in his attempt to kill it. The phrase that the soothsayer said is translated best as, There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip.
  • There's money in muck.
    • or Where there's muck there's brass.
  • There's more than one way to skin a cat.
  • There's no accounting for taste.
    • From the Latin, de gustibus non est disputandum.
  • There's no arguing with the barrel of a gun.
  • There's no peace for the wicked
  • There's no place like home.
  • There's no such thing as a free lunch.
  • There's no time like the present.
  • There's no point in washing clean things.
    • Meaning: Don't fix things that are fine, just the bad things!
  • 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
  • The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
  • The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
    • or The squeaky wheel gets replaced.
    • If you speak up, you will go farther in life.
    • Those who complain, will attract more attention (for good or ill) than those who are content.
  • The start of a journey should never be mistaken for success.
  • The straw that broke the camel's back.
    • The last of a number of little things which led to something major.
  • The teacher has not taught, until the student has learned.
  • The truth is in the wine.
    • Possible interpretation: A person will more freely divulge a secret when plied with alcohol.
    • A drunken man's words are a sober man's thoughts.
  • The truth shall set you free, or The truth will set you free.
    • In the Bible, John 8:32.
  • The value is determined by the agreement of two people.
  • The wish is father to the thought.
  • The worst good day is always better than the best bad day.
  • The younger brother the better gentleman.
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [14]
  • Think before you speak.
  • Thinking the worst always prepares you for the worst.
  • Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
  • Time flies.
    • Latin: Tempus fugit!
  • Time and tide waits no man.
  • This, too, shall pass.
  • To burn the candle at both ends.
  • To put something in a new jacket.
  • To each, his own.
  • To err is human; to forgive, divine. (Pope, Essay on Criticism)
  • To know the road ahead ask those coming back.
  • Tomorrow is another day.
  • Too much of one thing, good for nothing.
    • Meaning: Don't overspecialize
  • Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.
  • Too many cooks spoil the broth.
  • Trapped between a rock and a hard place.
  • Tread on a worm and it will turn.
    • This Proverb is generally used by Persons who have received gross insults and
      Injuries from others (which they have for some time bore with Patience) to excuse their
      being at last transported to some Warmth of Resentment and Passion.
      - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [15]
  • Trouble shared is trouble halved.
  • Truth is stranger than fiction.
  • Truth will out.
  • Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.
  • Try try but don't cry.
    • Meaning: Never give up in life.
  • Two's company; three's a crowd.
  • Two heads are better than one.
  • Two things prolong your life: A quiet heart and a loving wife.
  • Two wrongs don't make a right.
    • Also jocularly formed from above: Two wrongs don't make a right - but three rights make a left.
  • The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do..
  • The worst way to miss someone is to be sitting right beside them knowing you can't have them.
  • The more you study, the more you know. The more you know, the more you forget. The more you forget, the less you know. So why study?
  • The whole dignity of man lies in the power of thought.
    • - B. Pascal
  • There is a thin line between love and hate

±TO NOT TO BE FALSE IS TRUE BUT TO NOT TO BE TRUE IS FALSE.

  • The dog is nude though the clothing cost a penny.

U

  • Up a creek without a paddle.
    • Meaning: In a situation without remedy.
  • Up shit creek.
    • Variant: Up shit creek with a barbed wire paddle.
  • United we stand, divided we fall.
    • Together we are stronger

V

  • Variety is the spice of life.
  • Virtue which parleys is near a surrender. - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [16]
  • Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. (Japanese proverb)
  • Vengeance is mine, thus sayeth the Lord.

W

  • Walk the walk and talk the talk.
  • When a thing is done advice comes too late.
  • Waste not, want not.
  • When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
  • We are all on this earth, we can't get off so get on.
  • We can't always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.
  • We have nothing to fear but fear itself.
  • We must take the bad with the good.
  • Well begun is half done.
    • Variant: Well begun is half ended. - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [17]
  • "Well done" is better than "well said".
  • We tend to be perfect. That’s why when we make mistakes we are hard on ourselves.
  • What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. (A lie will always spawn a bigger lie.)
  • What goes around comes around.
    • You will eventually have to face the consequences of your actions towards others as people tend to behave towards you as you have behaved towards others.
  • What goes up must come down.
  • What you see is what you get.
  • What you sow is what you reap.
  • What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
  • When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
  • When one door closes, another door opens.
  • When the cat is away, the mice will play.
  • When the shit hits the fan.
    • Phrase meaning: When the problems become obvious, used in comments like "I/You/They don't want to be there when the shit hits the fan.
  • Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise. [[18]]
    • Thomas Gray, "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College"
  • Where there's a will, there's a way.
  • Where vice goes before, vengeance follows after. - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [19]
  • Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?
    • Common meaning: there is no motivation to marry someone who is already giving you the benefit of sex.
  • Willful waste makes woeful want.
  • Winning isn't everything.
  • Winning is earning. Losing is learning.
  • We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean,but the ocean would be less without that drop.
  • Words uttered only causes confusion. Words written only causes history.
  • Working hard or hardly working?
  • Worship the Creator not His creation.
  • Women are like different Brews of Coffee, Each one of them has her own Aroma and her own way of tantalising the tastebuds..Yet neither is better or worst than either of them, But the one that stands out for you is only a matter of acquired Taste - vikrant sawant [vapocalypse]
    • Meaning : Every women is unique in her own way...The one that u fall for is the one that resembles the image of a perfect women u have created in
      your mind, over the period of time.
  • Write injuries in the sand, kindnesses in marble.
  • Whom thy care to tamper pots in an abandoed house
  • Wear a loincloth to stop dirrhoea

Y

  • You can kill two birds with one stone
  • You ain't seen nothing yet.
  • You are as handy as a pocket.
  • You are responsible for you.
  • You can get glad in the same shoes you got mad in.
  • You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
    • Meaning: Kind words/actions are more effective than harsh ones.
  • You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.
    • Another version: One can take a horse to water, twenty can not make him drink.
  • You can choose your friends, but you can't pick/choose your family.
  • You can't have your cake and eat it too.
    • Confusing use of 'have' where it is meant as 'keep': You can't keep your cake and eat it (too). This phrase means that you can't still have the cake once you've eaten it i.e. you can only enjoy something once.
  • You can't change the wind, but you can adjust your sails
  • You can't have it both ways.
  • You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.
  • You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
  • You can't run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.
  • You can't take it with you.
  • You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
  • You can't judge a book by its cover, (or) You can't tell a book by looking at the cover.
  • You can't win them all.
  • You don't have to be different to be good. You have to be good to be different.
  • You don't have to be faster than the bear, just faster than the slowest guy running from the bear.
  • You have to crawl before you can walk.
  • You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
  • You must never confuse your feelings with your duties.
  • You need to bait the hook to catch the fish.
  • You never know what you have till it's gone.
  • You reap what you sow.
  • You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.
  • You win some, you lose some.
  • You never miss your water....until your well runs dry
    • Until you are without what to need or want, you cannot appreciate it.
  • You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.

See also

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Look up Appendix:English proverbs in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

A little pot is easily hot. A new broom sweeps clean.

Notes and references

  1. www.quotationreference.com
  2. http://www.quotegarden.com/shopping.html
  3. The original is spoken by Caesar (Act II scene 2). The actual words as written were: 'Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.' Complete text at http://www.william-shakespeare.info/act2-script-text-julius-caesar.htm
  4. The meaning is clear from the original text. Caesar is conversing with Calpurnia, who warns him to be careful, as there are portents of his death; but he resolves to go about his business as normal, explaining with this phrase.
  5. From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997): Dow "coined these words while condenming other preachers who 'make the Bible clash and contradict itself, by preaching somewhat like this: 'You can and you can't - You shall and you shan't - You will and you won't - And you will be damned if you do - And you will be damned if you don't.'"
  6. "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.

External links

A little pot is easily hot. A new broom sweeps clean.