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famous proverbs and adages

A HUGE collection of proverbs, proverbial sayings, clichés, maxims, adages, aphorisms, platitudes, mottos, old saws, inanities, common sayings, or whatever you want to call them.

Proverbs A - L

Proverbs M - Z

 

 

PROVERBS A-L

A bad cause requires many words.
German Proverb

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
Arab Proverb

A bird in the hand is worth two in a bush.
English Proverb

A broken hand works, but not a broken heart.
Persian Proverb

A cat has nine lives.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

A clear conscience is a soft pillow.
German Proverb

A close friend can become a close enemy.
Ethiopian Proverb

A closed mouth catches no flies.
Italian Proverb

A country can be judged by the quality of its proverbs.
German Proverb

A courtyard common to all will be swept by none.
Chinese Proverb

A dimple on the chin, the devil within.
Gaelic Proverb

A dog is wiser than a woman; it does not bark at its master.
Russian Proverb

A drink precedes a story.
Irish Proverb

A drowning man is not troubled by rain.
Persian Proverb

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
William Blake "Proverbs of Hell" (1790)

A forest is in an acorn.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

A friend in need is a friend indeed
English Proverb

A friend's eye is a good mirror.
Irish Proverb

A good denial, the best point in law.
Irish Proverb

A good husband is healthy and absent.
Japanese Proverb

A hard beginning maketh a good ending.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

A healthy man is a successful man.
French Proverb

A hedge between keeps friendship green.
French Proverb

A hen is heavy when carried far.
Irish Proverb

A hound's food is in its legs.
Irish Proverb

A house without a dog or a cat is the house of a scoundrel.
Portuguese Proverb

A hungry man is an angry man.
English Proverb

A lie travels round the world while truth is putting her boots on.
French Proverb

A little too late, is much too late.
German Proverb

A loan though old is not gift.
Hungarian Proverb

A lock is better than suspicion.
Irish Proverb

A man does not seek his luck, luck seeks its man.
Turkish Proverb

A man is not honest simply because he never had a chance to steal.
Yiddish Proverb

A man may well bring a horse to the water, but he cannot make him drink.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

A man should live if only to satisfy his curiosity.
Yiddish Proverb

A monkey never thinks her baby's ugly.
Haitian Proverb

A new broom sweeps clean, but the old brush knows all the corners.
Irish Proverb

A penny for your thoughts.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

A penny saved is a penny gained.
Scottish Proverb

A poor beauty finds more lovers than husbands.
English Proverb

A prudent man does not make the goat his gardener.
Hungarian Proverb

A rumor goes in one ear and out many mouths.
Chinese proverb

A silent mouth is melodious.
Irish Proverb

A single Russian hair outweighs half a Pole.
Traditional Russian Saying

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
Greek Proverb

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
Bible - Proverbs 15:1.

A son is a son till he gets him a wife,
But a daughter's a daughter the rest of your life.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

A spoon does not know the taste of soup, nor a learned fool the taste of wisdom.
Welsh Proverb

A table is not blessed if it has fed no scholars.
Yiddish Proverb

A teacher is better than two books.
German Proverb

A thief believes everybody steals.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

A thorn defends the rose, harming only those who would steal the blossom.
Chinese proverb

A throne is only a bench covered with velvet.
French Proverb

A trade not properly learned is an enemy.
Irish Proverb

A tree falls the way it leans.
Bulgarian Proverb

A white Christmas fills the churchyard.
French Proverb

A wise man hears one word and understands two.
Yiddish Proverb

A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion.
Chinese Proverb

A woman has the form of an angel, the heart of a serpent, and the mind of an ass.
German Proverb

A worthy woman is far more precious than jewels, strength and dignity are her clothing.
Bible - Proverbs 31

Act in the valley so that you need not fear those who stand on the hill.
Danish Proverb

Advice should be viewed from behind.
Swedish Proverb

Advice when most needed is least heeded.
English Proverb

After shaking hands with a Greek, count your fingers.
Albanian Saying

Age is honorable and youth is noble.
Irish Proverb

All is well that ends well.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

All things grow with time, except grief.
Yiddish Proverb

An angry man is not fit to pray.
Yiddish Proverb

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

An ass in Germany is a professor in Rome.
Traditional German Saying

An enemy will agree, but a friend will argue.
Russian Proverb

An Englishman will burn his bed to catch a flea.
Turkish Proverb

An ox remains an ox, even if driven to Vienna.
Hungarian Proverb

And old rat is a brave rat.
French Proverb

Anger can be an expensive luxury.
Italian Proverb

Anger is as a stone cast into a wasp's nest.
Malabar Proverb

Anger without power is folly.
German Proverb

Appetite comes with eating.
French Proverb

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
Bible - Proverbs 26:11

As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
Bible - Proverbs 23:7

As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
Bible - Proverbs 25:25.

As mad as a March hare.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

As proud as a peacock.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

As sluttish and slatternly as an Irishwoman bred in France.
Traditional Irish Saying

As the best wine makes the sharpest vinegar, the truest lover may turn into the worst enemy.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

As the big hound is, so will the pup be.
Irish Proverb

As we live, so we learn.
Yiddish Proverb

Be neither intimate nor distant with the clergy.
Irish Proverb

Beggars shouldn't be choosers.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

Better give a penny then lend twenty.
Italian Proverb

Better late than never.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

Better no doctor at all than three.
Polish Proverb

Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know.
English Proverb

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
Chinese Proverb

Better wear out shoes than sheets.
Scottish Proverb

Between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

Beware of a silent dog and still water.
German Proverb

Black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love. (About coffee.)
Turkish proverb

Blood is thicker than water.
English Proverb (17th Century)

Both your friend and your enemy think you will never die.
Irish Proverb

Butter would not melt in her mouth.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
Indian Proverb

Children are poor men's riches.
English Proverb

Children should be seen and not heard.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

Children suck the mother when they are young and the father when they are old.
English Proverb.

Choose neither a woman nor linen by candlelight.
Italian Proverb

Climb mountains to see lowlands.
Chinese Proverb

Clogs to clogs in three generations.
English Proverb

Clouds gather before a storm.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

Commit a sin twice and it will not seem a crime.
Jewish Saying

Curiosity killed the cat.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

Darkness reigns at the foot of the lighthouse.
Japanese Proverb

Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own.
Chinese Proverb

Death always comes too early or too late
English Proverb

Death closes all doors.
English Proverb

Death pays all debts.
English Proverb

Did hogs feed here or did Lithuanians have a feast here?
Traditional Polish Saying

Do not be born good or handsome, but be born lucky.
Russian Proverb

Do not blame God for having created the tiger, but thank him for not having given it wings.
Indian Proverb

Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped.
African proverb

Do not rejoice at my grief, for when mine is old, yours will be new.
Spanish Proverb

Do not speak of secrets in a field that is full of little hills.
Hebrew Proverb

Do not talk Arabic in the house of a Moor.
Oriental Proverb

Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend's forehead.
Chinese Proverb

Don't imitate the fly before you have wings.
French Proverb

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

Eat well, drink in moderation, and sleep sound, in these three good health abound.
Latin Proverb

Epigrams succeed where epics fail.
Persian Proverb

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
Bible - Proverbs 17:28

Even a small thorn causes festering.
Irish Proverb

Every ass loves to hear himself bray.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

Every cloud has a silver lining.
English Proverb

Every dog hath its day.
English Proverb

Every garden may have some weeds.
English Proverb

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.
Yiddish proverb

Everyone loves justice in the affairs of another.
Italian Proverb

Everyone pushes a falling fence.
Chinese Proverb

Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak tree.
Ethiopian Proverb

Evil is sooner believed than good.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

Experience is a comb which nature gives to men when they are bald.
Eastern Proverb

Fame is a magnifying glass.
English Proverb

Feather by feather the goose can be plucked.
French Proverb

Fine feathers make fine birds.
English Proverb

Flattery makes friends and truth makes enemies.
Spanish Proverb

Fortune is a woman; if you neglect her today do not expect to regain her tomorrow.
French Proverb

Fortune is blind, but not invisible.
French Proverb

Friends are like fiddle strings, they must not be screwed too tight.
English Proverb

Friends are lost by calling often and calling seldom.
French Proverb

Friendship is a furrow in the sand.
Tongan Proverb

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he'll eat forever.
Chinese Proverb

Give neither counsel nor salt till you are asked for it.
Italian Proverb

Give the devil his due.
English Proverb

Glutton: one who digs his grave with his teeth.
French Proverb

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.
Jewish Proverb

God gives the nuts, but he doesn't crack them.
German proverb

God heals, and the physician takes the fee.
French Proverb

God help the rich man, let the poor man beg!
Old English Proverb

God help the rich, the poor can look after themselves.
Old English Proverb

Going to law is losing a cow for the sake of a cat.
Chinese Proverb

Good advice is often annoying, bad advice never.
French Proverb

Good as drink is, it ends in thirst.
Irish Proverb

Good luck beats early rising.
Irish Proverb

Gray hairs are death's blossoms.
English Proverb

Half a loaf is better than none.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

Haste makes waste.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

Have a horse of your own and then you may borrow another's.
Welsh Proverb

He is not wise that is not wise for himself.
English Proverb

He lied like an eyewitness.
Russian Insult

He makes his home where the living is best.
Latin Proverb

He that can't endure the bad will not live to see the good.
Jewish Proverb

He that is born to be hanged shall never be drowned.
French Proverb (14th century)

He that is rich will not be called a fool.
Spanish Proverb

He that lives on hope will die fasting.
North American Proverb

He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
Bible - Proverbs 28:20.

He that marries for money will earn it.
American Proverb

He that plants thorns must never expect to gather roses.
English Proverb

He that seeks trouble never misses.
English Proverb (17th century)

He that spareth his rod hateth his son.
Bible - Proverbs 24

He that winna be ruled by the rudder maun be ruled by the rock.
Scottish Proverb

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
Chinese proverb

He who cannot agree with his enemies is controlled by them.
Chinese proverb

He who comes with a story to you brings two away from you
Irish Proverb

He who could foresee affairs three days in advance would be rich for thousands of years.
Chinese Proverb

He who does not know one thing knows another.
Kenyan Proverb

He who gets a name for early rising can stay in bed until midday.
Irish Proverb

He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.
Arabian Proverb

He who has once burnt his mouth always blows his soup.
German Proverb

He who holds the ladder is as bad as the thief.
German Proverb

He who knows nothing, doubts nothing.
Spanish Proverb

He who leaps high must take a long run.
Danish Proverb

He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.
Chinese Proverb

He who serves two masters has to lie to one.
Portuguese Proverb

He who sups with the devil has need of a long spoon.
English Proverb

He who would climb the ladder must begin at the bottom.
English Proverb

He who would eat in Spain must bring his kitchen along.
Traditional German Saying

He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.
William Blake "Proverbs of Hell" (1790)

Heaven lent you a soul Earth will lend a grave.
Chinese Proverb

Honesty is the best policy.
English Proverb

How many will listen to the truth when you tell them?
Yiddish Proverb

Hygiene is two thirds of health.
Lebanese Proverb

If a man be great, even his dog will wear a proud look.
Japanese Proverb

If a man deceives me once, shame on him; if he deceives me twice, shame on me.
Italian Proverb

If all pulled in one direction, the world would keel over.
Yiddish Proverb

If God lived on earth, people would break his windows.
Jewish Proverb

If rich people could hire other people to die for them, the poor could make a wonderful living.
Yiddish Proverb

If the patient dies, the doctor has killed him, but if he gets well, the saints have saved him.
Italian Proverb

If two men ride a horse, one must ride behind.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.
Chinese Proverb

If you believe everything you read, better not read.
Japanese proverb

If you bow at all bow low.
Chinese Proverb

If you do not sow in the spring you will not reap in the autumn.
Irish Proverb

If you love him, don't lend him.
Polish Proverb

If you take big paces you leave big spaces.
Burmese Proverb

If you want to be criticized, marry.
Irish Proverb

If you wish to die young, make your physician your heir.
Romanian Proverb

If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words.
Chinese Proverb

In a calm sea every man is a pilot.
Spanish Proverb

In America half an hour is forty minutes.
German Proverb

In baiting a mousetrap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse.
Greek Proverb

In love, there is always one who kisses and one who offers the cheek.
French Proverb

Instinct is stronger than upbringing.
Irish Proverb

It is a bad hen that does not scratch herself.
Irish Proverb

It is a bold mouse that nestles in the cat's ear.
English Proverb

It is a long road that has no turning.
Irish Proverb

It is an equal failing to trust everybody, and to trust nobody.
English Proverb (18th century)

It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

It is better to be a male for one day than a female for ten.
Kurdish Proverb

It is better to be born a beggar than a fool.
Spanish Proverb

It is better to conceal one's knowledge than to reveal one's ignorance.
Spanish Proverb

It is better to exist unknown to the law.
Irish Proverb

It is better to sit down than to stand, it is better to lie down than to sit, but death is the best of all. (About laziness)
Indian Proverb

It is hard to pay for bread that has been eaten.
Danish Proverb

It is not a secret if it is known by three people.
Irish Proverb

It is not enough to run, one must start in time.
French Proverb

It is not fish until it is on the bank.
Irish Proverb

It is not the horse that draws the cart, but the oats.
Russian proverb

It is sweet to drink but bitter to pay for.
Irish Proverb

It is the good horse that draws its own cart.
Irish Proverb

It is the quiet pigs that eat the meal.
Irish Proverb

It takes time to build castles. Rome wan not built in a day.
Irish Proverb

It's an ill wind that blows no good.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

It's not a matter of upper and lower class but of being up a while and down a while.
Irish Proverb

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.
Chinese Proverb

Keep a thing for seven years and you'll find a use for it.
Irish Proverb

Kill not the goose that lays the golden eggs.
English Proverb

Lack of resource has hanged many a person.
Irish Proverb

Last ship, best ship.
English Proverb

Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one.
Chinese Proverb

Lend your money and lose your friend.
English Proverb

Let sleeping dogs lie.
English Proverb

Let your heart guide your head in evil matters.
Spanish Proverb

Life is a bridge. Cross over it, but build no house on it.
Indian Proverb

Life without a friend is death without a witness.
Spanish Proverb

Like a fish out of water.
Latin Saying

Like a lame man's legs that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
Bible - Proverbs 26:7

Listen to the sound of the river and you will get a trout.
Irish Proverb

Little pitchers have big ears.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

Live with wolves, and you learn to howl.
Spanish Proverb

Look before you leap.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

Look down if you would know how high you stand.
Yiddish Proverb

Love enters a man through his eyes, woman through her ears.
Polish Proverb

Love makes the time pass. Time makes love pass.
French Proverb

Love me, love my dog.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

Love your neighbors, but don't pull down the fence.
Chinese proverb

Love, pain, and money cannot be kept secret; they soon betray themselves.
Spanish Proverb

Luck has a slender anchorage.
English Proverb

Proverbs A - L

Proverbs M - Z

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