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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 M-Z

Mad as a march hare.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

Make hay while the sun shines.
English Proverb

Mankind fears an evil man but heaven does not.
Chinese Proverb

Many a friend was lost through a joke, but none was ever gained so.
Czech Proverb

Many hands make light work.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

May as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.
English Proverb

May the curse of Mary Malone and her nine blind illegitimate children chase you so far over the hills of Damnation that the Lord himself can't find you with a telescope.
Traditional Irish Curse

May the grass grow at your door and the fox build his nest on your hearthstone.
May the light fade from your eyes, so you never see what you love.
May your own blood rise against you, and the sweetest drink you take be the bitterest cup of sorrow.
May you die without benefit of clergy;
May there be none to shed a tear at your grave, and may the hearthstone of hell be your best bed forever.
Traditional Wexford Curse

May you have a bright future - as the chimney sweep said to his son.
Irish Proverb

May you wander over the face of the earth forever, never sleep twice in the same bed, never drink water twice from the same well, and never cross the same river twice in a year.
Traditional Gypsy Curse

May your every wish be granted.
Ancient Chinese Curse

May your left ear wither and fall into your right pocket.
Traditional Arab Curse

Men count up the faults of those who keep them waiting.
French Proverb

Mere words do not feed the friars.
Irish Proverb

More grows in the garden than the gardener knows he has sown.
Spanish Proverb

More things belong to marriage than four bare legs in a bed.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

Nature breaks through the eyes of the cat.
Irish Proverb

Necessity is the mother of invention.
Irish Proverb

Necessity knows no law.
Irish Proverb

Necessity never made a good bargain.
North American Proverb

Need teaches a plan.
Irish Proverb

Never cut what can be untied.
Portuguese Proverb

Never love with all your heart, it only ends in breaking.
English Proverb

Never marry for money. Ye'll borrow it cheaper.
Scottish Proverb

Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today.
English Proverb

Night is the mother of council.
Latin Proverb

No man limps because another is hurt.
Danish Proverb

No man ought to look a given horse in the mouth.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

No rose without a thorn, or a love without a rival.
Turkish Proverb

No time like the present.
English Proverb

Not the cry, but the flight of the wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow.
Chinese Proverb

Not wine...men intoxicate themselves; Not vice...men entice themselves.
Chinese Proverb

Nothing dries sooner than tears.
Latin Proverb

Nothing is as burdensome as a secret.
French Proverb

Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

One beggar at the door is enough.
French Proverb

One cannot shoe a running horse.
Dutch Proverb

One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.
English Proverb (17th century)

One flower will not make a garland.
French Proverb

One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.
Chinese Proverb

One good turn deserves another.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

One joy scatters a hundred griefs.
Chinese Proverb

One of these day is none of these days.
English Proverb

One should go invited to a friend in good fortune, and uninvited in misfortune.
Swedish Proverb

One swallow maketh not a summer.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

One woman never praises another.
Estonian Proverb

Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches
English Proverb

Out of the frying pan into the fire.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet.
French Proverb

Patience is poultice for all wounds.
Irish Proverb

Patience is the best medicine.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

People live in each other's shelter.
Irish Proverb

Pigs might fly, but they are most unlikely birds.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

Politics is a rotten egg; if broken, it stinks.
Russian proverb

Poor men seek meat for their stomach, rich men stomach for their meat.
English Proverb

Power lasts ten years; influence not more than a hundred.
Korean Proverb

Practice makes perfect.
English Proverb

Praise the young and they will blossom
Irish Proverb

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Bible - Proverbs 16:18

Procrastination is the thief of time.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

Public before private and country before family.
Chinese Proverb

Put silk on a goat, and it's still a goat.
Irish Proverb

Quiet people are well able to look after themselves.
Irish Proverb

Rags to riches to rags.
Lancastrian Proverb

Rain beats a leopard's skin, but it does not wash off the spots.
Ashanti Proverb

Rats desert a sinking ship.
French Proverb

Riches run after the rich, and poverty runs after the poor.
French Proverb

Roasted pigeons will not fly into one's mouth.
Dutch Proverb

Rome was not built in a day.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
English Proverb

Seek counsel of him who makes you weep, and not of him who makes you laugh.
Arabic Proverb

Set a beggar on horseback, and he 'll out ride the Devil.
German Proverb

Set a thief to catch a thief.
English Proverb

Silence was never written down.
Italian Proverb

Since we cannot get what we like, let us like what we can get.
Spanish Proverb

Sit a beggar at your table and he will soon put his feet on it.
Russian Proverb

Six hours' sleep for a man, seven for a woman and eight for a fool.
English Proverb

Small children give you headache; big children heartache.
Russian Proverb

Some people are masters of money, and some its slaves.
Russian Proverb

Sometimes I go about pitying myself, and all the time
I am being carried on great wings across the sky.
Ojibway Saying

Sorrow for a husband is like a pain in the elbow, sharp and short.
English Proverb

Speak not of my debts unless you mean to pay them.
English Proverb (17th century)

Speak the truth, but leave immediately after.
Slovenian Proverb

Stars are not seen by sunshine.
Spanish Proverb

Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
Bible - Proverbs 9:17.

Sweet is the wine but sour is the payment.
Irish Proverb

Take heed of enemies reconciled, and of meat twice boiled.
English Proverb.

Take thy thoughts to bed with thee, for the morning is wiser than the evening.
Russian Proverb

Talk of the devil and he is sure to appear.
English Proverb

Tell me who you live with and I will tell you who you are.
Spanish Proverb

Tell the truth and shame the devil.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.
Chinese Proverb

The best advice is found on the pillow.
Danish Proverb

The best thing about a man is his dog.
French Proverb

The big thieves hang the little ones.
Czech proverb

The church is near but the road is icy; the bar is far away but I'll walk carefully.
Russian proverb

The comforter's head never aches.
Italian Proverb

The darkest hour is that before the dawn.
English Proverb

The day will come when the cow will have use for her tail.
Irish Proverb

The devil looks after his own.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

The devil seduced Eve in Italian. Eve mislead Adam in Bohemian. The Lord scolded them both in German. Then the angel drove them from paradise in Hungarian.
Traditional Polish Saying

The fat is in the fire.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.
Chinese Proverb

The girl who can't dance says the band can't play.
Yiddish Proverb

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

The great thieves lead away the little thieves.
French Proverb

The green new broom sweepeth clean.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

The hole is more honorable than the patch.
Irish Proverb

The hours of folly are measured by the clock, but of wisdom no clock can measure.
William Blake "Proverbs of Hell" (1790)

The innkeeper loves the drunkard, but not for a son-in-law.
Yiddish Proverb

The jay bird don't rob his own nest.
West Indies Proverb

The light heart lives long.
Irish Proverb

The man who does not love a horse cannot love a woman.
Spanish Proverb

The man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out.
Chinese Proverb

The man with the boots does not mind where he places his foot.
Irish Proverb

The mills of God grind slowly but they grind finely.
Irish Proverb

The moon is made of a green cheese.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

The more the merrier.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

The morning is wiser than the evening.
Russian Proverb

The nail that sticks up will be hammered down.
Japanese Proverb

The night rinses what the day has soaped.
Swiss Proverb

The only good thing that comes from the east is the sun.
Traditional Portuguese Saying

The palest ink is better than the best memory.
Chinese proverb

The pine stays green in winter...Wisdom in hardship.
Chinese Proverb

The raggy colt often made a powerful horse.
Irish Proverb

The reverse side also has a reverse side.
Japanese proverb

The right man comes at the right time.
Italian Proverb

The road to a friend's house is never long.
Danish proverb

The Russian knows the way, yet he asks for directions.
Traditional German Saying

The sea has an enormous thirst and an insatiable appetite.
French Proverb

The silent dog is the first to bite.
German Proverb

The smallest thing outlives the human being.
Irish Proverb

The Spaniard is a bad servant but a worse master.
Traditional English Saying

The sun will set without thy assistance.
Hebrew Proverb

The surest way to remain poor is to be an honest man.
French Proverb

The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the scythe.
Russian proverb

The tide tarrieth for no man.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

The tongue is more to be feared than the sword.
Japanese Proverb

The tongue like a sharp knife...Kills without drawing blood.
Chinese Proverb

The truth is not always what we want to hear.
Yiddish Proverb

The turtle lays thousands of eggs without anyone knowing, but when the hen lays an egg, the whole country is informed.
Malay Proverb

The wearer best knows where the shoe pinches.
Irish Proverb

The well fed does not understand the lean.
Irish Proverb

The whisper of a pretty girl can be heard further than the roar of a lion.
Arabian Proverb

The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher.
Chinese Proverb

The wise man sits on the hole in his carpet.
Persian Proverb

The wolf loses his teeth, but not his inclinations.
Spanish Proverb

The work praises the man.
Irish Proverb

The world is a rose: smell it and pass it on to your friends.
Persian Proverb

The world would not make a racehorse of a donkey
Irish Proverb

There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.
Chinese Proverb

There are more old drunkards than old doctors.
French Proverb

There are only two types of Chinese -- those who give bribes and those who take them.
Russian Proverb

There are two great pleasures in gambling: that of winning and that of losing.
French Proverb.

There is but one good mother-in-law and she is dead.
English Proverb

There is honor even among thieves.
English Proverb

There is hope from the sea, but none from the grave.
Irish Proverb

There is no fireside like your own fireside
Irish Proverb

There is no luck except where there is discipline.
Irish Proverb

There is no need like the lack of a friend.
Irish Proverb

There is no strength without unity.
Irish Proverb

There is plenty of sound in an empty barrel.
Russian Proverb

There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip.
Greek Proverb

They who love most are least valued.
English Proverb

Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.
William Blake "Proverbs of Hell" (1790)

Think with the wise but walk with the vulgar.
German Proverb

Thirst is the end of drinking and sorrow is the end of drunkenness.
Irish Proverb

Though a tree grow ever so high, the falling leaves return to the ground.
Malay Proverb

Three diseases without shame: Love, itch and thirst.
Irish Proverb

Three Spaniards, four opinions.
Spanish Proverb

Time is a great story teller.
Irish Proverb

Time trieth truth.
English Proverb

To be rich is not everything, but it certainly helps.
Yiddish Proverb

To deny all, is to confess all.
Spanish Proverb

To leave is to die a little.
French Proverb

To lend is to buy a quarrel.
Indian Proverb

To talk without thinking is to shoot without aiming.
English Proverb (18th century)

To teach is to learn.
Japanese Proverb

To the ass, or the sow, their own offspring appears the fairest in creation.
Latin Proverb

To whom you tell your secrets, to him you resign your liberty.
Spanish Proverb

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
North American Saying

Tomorrow is a new day.
English Proverb

Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.
Spanish Proverb

Tomorrow never comes.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

Trouble rides a fast horse.
Italian Proverb

True nobility is in being superior to your previous self.
Hindustani Proverb

Trust in Allah, but tie your camel.
Old Muslim Proverb

Truth and oil always come to the surface.
Spanish Proverb

Truth has a handsome countenance but torn garments.
German Proverb

Truth is the safest lie.
Jewish Proverb

Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed.
Bible - Proverbs 12:19

Truth will be out.
Latin Proverb

Two heads are better than one.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

Two shorten the road.
Irish Proverb

Two thirds of the work is the semblance.
Irish Proverb

Unless you enter the tiger's den you cannot take the cubs.
Japanese Proverb

Visit your aunt, but not every day of the year.
Spanish Proverb

Walk straight, my son - as the old crab said to the young crab.
Irish Proverb

Want a thing long enough and you don't
Chinese Proverb

War is death's feast.
George Herbert "Outlandish Proverbs"

Water for oxen, wine for kings.
Spanish Proverb

We'll never know the worth of water till the well go dry.
Scottish Proverb

Went in one ear and out the other.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

What belongs to everybody belongs to nobody.
Spanish Proverb

What breaks in a moment may take years to mend.
Swedish proverb

What one knows it is sometimes useful to forget.
Latin Proverb

What you can not avoid, welcome.
Chinese Proverb

When a father helps a son, both smile; but when a son must help his father, both cry.
Jewish Proverb

When a twig grows hard it is difficult to twist it. Every beginning is weak.
Irish Proverb

When fire is applied to a stone it cracks.
Irish Proverb

When fortune knocks upon the door open it widely.
Spanish Proverb

When ill luck falls asleep, let none wake her.
Italian Proverb

When its time has arrived, the prey becomes the hunter.
Persian Proverb

When one dog barks another will join it.
Latin Proverb

When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.
Ethiopian proverb

When the apple is ripe it will fall.
Irish Proverb

When the drop (drink) is inside, the sense is outside.
Irish Proverb

When the iron is hot, strike.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

When the liquor was gone the fun was gone.
Irish Proverb

When the mouse laughs at the cat, there is a hole nearby.
Nigerian Proverb

When the sun shineth, make hay.
John Heywood "The Proverbs of John Heywood" (1546)

When the sword of rebellion is drawn, the sheath should be thrown away.
English Proverb

When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.
African Proverb

When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.
Chinese Proverb

When we sing everybody hears us, when we sigh nobody hears us.
Russian Proverb

When you live next to the cemetery you cannot weep for everyone.
Russian Proverb

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
Indian proverb

When your enemy falls, don't rejoice -- but don't pick him up either.
Yiddish Proverb

Where no counsel is, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
Bible - Proverbs 11:14.

Where the tongue slips, it speaks the truth.
Irish Proverb

Where there is love there is pain.
Spanish Proverb

Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Bible - Proverbs 29:18

Where there's music there can be love.
French Proverb

While the cat's away, the mice can play.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

Who begins too much accomplishes little.
German proverb

Who knows most speaks least.
Spanish Proverb

Who lies with dogs shall rise up with fleas.
Latin Proverb

Wine divulges truth.
Irish Proverb

Witches and harlots come out at night.
English Proverb

With foxes we must play the fox.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

With money you are a dragon; with no money, a worm.
Chinese Proverb

Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
Bible - Proverbs 23:13-14.

Without justice, courage is weak.
North American Proverb

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.
Greek proverb

Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow is but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to This Day.
Sanskrit Proverb

You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Irish Proverb

You cannot reason with a hungry belly; it has no ears.
Greek Proverb

You cannot unscramble eggs.
North American Proverb

You can't hatch chickens from fried eggs.
Dutch Proverb

You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find a handsome prince.
North American Proverb

You must live with a person to know a person. If you want to know me come and live with me.
Irish Proverb

Young men may die, old men must.
English Proverb

Young wood makes a hot fire.
Greek Proverb

Your health comes first; you can always hang yourself later.
Yiddish Proverb

Your neighbor's apples are the sweetest.
Yiddish Proverb

Youth does not mind where it sets its foot.
Irish Proverb

Youth sheds many a skin. The steed (horse) does not retain its speed forever.
Irish Proverb

You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.
Irish Proverb

Proverbs A - L

Proverbs M - Z

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