English Proverbs & Sayings (3)

  • What is a Proverb?

A proverb (from the Latin proverbium), also called a byword or nayword, is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim. If a proverb is distinguished by particularly good phrasing, it may be known as an aphorism.

Proverbs are often borrowed from similar languages and cultures, and sometimes come down to the present through more than one language. Both the Bible (Book of Proverbs) and medieval Latin have played a considerable role in distributing proverbs across Europe, although almost every culture has examples of its own.

Honesty is the best policy

Being honest is believed to be the best route to take.

One man’s meat is another man’s poison

No two persons are alike – every one has his own preferences, likes and dislikes.

Once bitten twice shy

If a person has been tricked once he will more be careful and alert the next time.

Like father, like son, like mother, like daughter

( used to describe a child’s behavior when he or she acts like the father or mother )


Practice makes perfect

It is believed that if one practices a certain skill often, he will excel in it

Prevention is better than cure

It is better to be careful beforehand than to try to solve a problem after it has arisen.

Rome was not built in a dayironing

Any great plan or big dream cannot be achieved overnight or easily.

There’s no smoke without fire

Rumors do not spread unless there is some element of truth in them.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

( this is quoted when one takes another loan to pay off an earlier loan ) taking from one to give another.

Spare the rod and spoil the child

A child who is not punished and showed the error of his ways will become unruly.

Speech is silver, silence is golden

Talk may be beneficial, but sometimes acquiescence may be the best option to take.

It takes two to make a quarrel

Both parties in a quarrel should share the blame or take responsibility for it; no one can start a quarrel all by himself.

Strike while the iron is hot

Seize a good opportunity as quickly as possible.

Time and tide wait for no one

Time is precious, once it is past no one can go back and claim it thus everyone should be mindful of how his time is spent.

To err is human, to forgive divine

It is only normal for man to make mistakes and do wrong, but for one to forgive another for his wrong is indeed  great and gracious act.

What’s done can’t be undone

In life there are some things once done or decisions once made cannot be changed; malicious words once uttered or harmful actions once done cannot be taken back.

Two heads are better than one

It is always better to get the view of another than to rely entirely on one’s own judgment.


When in Rome do as the Romans do

When one is in a new place, country or situation he must adapt himself to the new manners and customs.

When the cat is away the mice will play

When law enforcers are not present, certain public members will take the opportunity to break the law

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

One usually desires another more when he or she is far away.

A bad workman always blames his tools

A careless or unskilled worker blames bad work on his tools rather than himself.

A new broom sweeps clean

A person newly appointed is always eager and enthusiastic in his work.


Don’t judge a book by its cover

Do not be deceived by appearances.

Blood is thicker than water

Family ties are stronger than any other.

Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.

Do not make plans based on something that has not happened

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