PROVERBS

PROVERBS

A proverb is a saying which imbibes wisdom in it. It is defined as ” a short pithy saying in general use. ” It is used in everyday speech and writing. Some proverbs with their meanings are listed below.
Knowledge of these proverbs will enable the students to learn good English. :—

1. A good beginning makes a good end ( If a task is carefully planned, there’s a better chance that it will be done well. )
2. A good example is the best sermon ( Giving an example is better than giving advice. )
3. A good conscience is a soft pillow ( One sleeps well when one has nothing to feel guilty about. )
4. A bad workman quarrels with his tools ( An inefficient  worker blames others for his failure.)
5. A bird in hand is worth two in bush ( A thing which is sure and certain is better than an uncertain one.)
6. A burnt child dreads the fire ( One who has once got hurt by anything will avoid it afterwards. )
7. A friend in need is a friend indeed ( A true friend heps and supports in adversity.)
8. A rolling stone gathers no moss ( An unsteady man never achieves success.)
9. All that glitters is not gold ( Appearances are often deceptive. )
10. An outwardly shining and charming   ( Thing does not have real worth.)
11. A stitch in time saves nine ( A defect removed in time, saves us from a great deal of trouble afterwards. )
12. A little pot is soon hot ( A narrow-minded person loses his temper very soon. )
13. A sleeping fox catches no poultry ( An idle man cannot get anything. )
14. A drop in the ocean ( To pay Rs. 200 per month to a clerk these days is just like a drop in the ocean.)
15. A crowd is not a company ( People assembled all of a sudden do not make a suitable company. )
16. A fool and his money are soon parted ( a foolish is easily deprived of his money. )
17. A flow of words is no proof of wisdom ( A talkative man is not neccessarily a wise man. )
18. A great cry and little wool ( A great deal of clamour for a petty thihg. )
19. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop ( An idle man always thinks of mischief.)
20. A  common horse is the worst shod ( A business started by several parteners does not run for long. )
21. A man without purpose is a ship without a rudder ( A man who has no clear aim is likely to fail. )
22. A rotten sheep infects the whole flock ( A bad man currepts the whole company. )
23. All asses wag their ears ( All foolish persons talk and show as if they are very wise. )

24. A tree is known by its fruit ( The character of a man is judged by hs actions. )
25. A guilty conscience needs no accuser ( A guilty man betrays his crime of his own accord .)
26. As you sow so shall you reap ( One will have to suffer the consequences of one’s acts. )
27. An empty vessel makes much noise ( A man who has no real worth, always boasts of his qualities. )
28. A friend to everybody is a friend to nobody ( One who tries to be wellwisher of everyone cannot be that of anyone.)
29. A full purse never lacks friends ( A rich man is never in want of friends. )
30. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy ( Recreation is as important in life as serious work. )
31. All’s well that ends well ( All defects vanish if a thing ends successfully. )
32. All doors are open to courtesy ( A man of courtesy can get any work done. )
33. A woman’s strength is in her tongue ( A woman’s power lies in her loose talks only. )
34. A wooden leg is better than no leg ( It is better to have a little support than to have none. )
35. A penny saved is a penny gained ( If one saves a little money it is as good as gaining it. )
36. A reconciled friend is a double enemy  ( A friend lost and won is more dangerous than an enemy. )
37. A good presence is a letter of recommendation ( A man of graceful nature needs no letter of recommendation . )
38. A bald head is soon shaved ( A simple and innocent man is soon deceived . )
39. An angry man opens his mouth and shuts his eyes  ( An  angryman is governed by passios and loses self-control. )
40. As are the gods, so are the worshippers ( The character of public is formed by the leaders. )
41. All are no saints that go to church ( A man should be judged by his inward character and not by his outward conduct. )
42. A leopard cannot change its spots ( It is not possible for a bad or unpleasant person to become good or pleasant. )
43. A loaded wagon makes no noise ( Really wealthy people don’t talk about money. )
44. A fool at forty  is a fool forever ( If a person hasn’t matured by the age of forty, he never will. )
45. A flower blooms more than once ( If you miss an occassion, you can avail of it at another time.)
46. Better today than tomorrow ( One should not delay what one can do at the moment. )
47. Birds of same feather flock together ( Persons of the same nature often come together in one company.)
48. Barking dogs seldom bite ( Those who warn and threaten others hardly harm anyone. )
49. Better late than never ( It is better to do a thing belatedly than never to do it all. )
50. Better to wear out than to rust out ( Doing something is better than doing nothing. )
51. Better flatter a fool than fight him ( It’s better to avoid dispute with stupid people. )
52. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know ( It’s better to deal with somebody difficult but familiar than change and risk dealing with somebody worse. )
53. Better to be alone  than in tha bad company ( Be careful in the choice of the people you associate with. )
54. Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion ( It’s better to be the leader of a small group than a subordinate in a bigger group. )
55. Better lose the saddle than the horse ( It’s better to stop and accept a small loss. rather than continue and risk losing everything. )
56. Better safe than sorry ( It’s betterto be careful than to be careless and regret it later.)
57. Better to drink the milk than to eat the cow ( Be careful not to destroy the source of your income and welfare.)
58.  Better untaught than ill taught ( It’s better not to be taught at all than to be taught badly. )
59. Beauty is but skin deep ( A person’s character is more important than his appearance.)
60. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholders ( Different people have different tastes. )
61. Bad news travels fast ( People tend to circulate bad news very quickly. )
62. Be swift to hear, slow to speak ( Listen carefully before speaking. )
63. Beggars should not be chooser ( Those who seek favours should not impose their choice. )
64. Blood is thicker than water ( Kinship is stronger than friendship. )
65. Beware of greeks bearing gifts ( Don’t trust your enemies. )
66. Blood will out ( A person’s background or education will eventually show. )
67. Better face danger once than be always in fear ( It is better to fight out a danger once than to fear it for long. )
68. Beware of silent dog and still water ( Silent people are often very dangerous. )
69. Brevity is the soul of wit ( Short and precise answers are the best ones. )
70. Ball is in your court (  It is upto you to decide. )
71. Before criticizing a person, walk a mile in his shoes ( One should not criticize a person without understanding his situation. )
72. Cast not pearls before swine  ( It is no good telling good things to those who cannot appreciate it. )
73. Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion ( The reputation of a great man’s wife must be without blames. )
74. Carry coal to Newcastle ( To carry something to a place where it is already plentiful. )
75. Charity begins at home ( We favour our relationship first and others afterwards. )
76. Choose a wife rather by your ear than by your eye ( Select a wife of good conduct and not of good external appearance. )
77. Clear moon frost soon ( If the atmosphere is clear, frost may form. )
78. Cleanliness is next to godliness ( A clean body is just as important as a pure soul. )
79. Clothes don’t make the man ( Appearances can be deceiving. )
80. Constant occupation prevents temptation  ( When you work you avoid temptation. )
81. Critics are like brushers of other man’s clothes ( Critics cleanse us of our defects and evils. )
82. Cut your coat according to your cloth ( One must spend within the limits of one’s income. )
83. Dead men tell no tales ( A dead person cannot cause difficulties by revealing something that would be preferable to conceal. )
84. Death keeps no calendar ( One may die at any moment. )
85. Desperate maladies require desperate means ( The worst type of evil can be abolished only by evil means. )
86. Diamond cuts diamond ( Refers to two people equally matched in wit or cunning.)
87. Diligence is mother of good fortune ( Hardwork brings rewards.)
88. Discreation is the better part of valour ( It is useless to take unneccessary risks. )
89. Distance makes the heart grow fonder ( When you are separated from the person you love, your feelings are even stronger. )
90. Dogs of the same street bark alike ( People from the same background have the same behaviour. )
91. Don’t bark if you can’t bite  ( Don’t complain if you can’t enforce your point of view. )
92. Don’t count your chicken before they are hatched ( You must not be too confident that something will be successful. )
93. Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork ( Don’t do something yourself which causes your own downfall. )
94. Don’t judge a book by its cover ( Don’t  judge by appearances. )
95. Drowning man catches a straw ( Those who are in danger try to save themselves with the least possible support they can get. )
96. Do as you would be done by ( Behave others in the way you expect others to behave with you. )
97. Death is a great leveller ( Death makes no distinction between the high and the low. )
98. Easy come easy go ( What is required without effort, is spent without thought. )
99. Every dog has his day ( Everybody has some period of success. )
100. Example is better than percept ( Action is better than teaching . )
101. Eat to live but not live to eat ( Do not be a glutton but eat what and how much is neccessary. )
102. Every man thinks his own geese swan ( Everyone thinks his articles to be of high quality. )
103. Every cloud has a silver lining ( Every evil thing has some or the other quality. )
104. Easier said than done ( What is suggested sounds easy but it is more difficult to actually do it. )
105. Elbow grease is the best polish ( Hard work gives the best results. )
106. Empty vessels make the most noise ( The least intelligent people are often the most talkative or boastful. )
107. Every ass likes to hear himself bray ( People like to hear themselves talking. )
108. Every man for himself ( You must think about your own interests before the interests of others. )
109. Every man has his price ( Everyone’s loyalty can be bought for a price. )
110. Every man is the architect of his own fortune ( Life is what you make it. )
111. Every path has its puddle ( Progress is rarely without difficulty. )
112. Every rose has its thorn ( Every good thing has an unpleasant side. )
113. Every why has a wherefore ( There is an explanation for every thing. )
114. Every thing in the garden is rosy ( Every thing is satisfactory. )
115. Experience is the father of wisdom ( Experience and knowledge result in better judgement. )
116. Facts speaks louder than words ( People show what they are really like by what they do than by what they say. )
117. Failure teaches success (One should learn from one’s mistakes. )
118. Familiarity breeds contempt ( Knowing somebody very well may lead to a lack of respect for them. )
119. First come, first served ( The first person in the line will be attended to first. )
120. First weigh then say ( Consider well before you act. )
121. Fast bind , fast find ( One should take proper precaution in regard to any property, and you will not lose it. )
122. First catch your hare and then cook it ( The present must preprare for the future. )
123. First deserve and then desire ( One should desire a thing only when one is eligible for it. )
124. Fortune favours the brave  ( Those who are brave always succeed. )
125. Forgiveness is the noblest revenge ( Forgive your enemy who has caused you harm and that is the greatest revenge. )
126. Fools make feast, and wise men eat them ( Wise men enjoy themselves at the cost of foolish people. )
127. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread ( Inexperienced people act in situations that more intelligent people would avoid. )
128. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me ( One should learn from one’s mistakes. )
129. Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade ( Nothing is achieved without efforts. )
130. Give and spend, God will send ( One should spend for his needs and charity. It is God who looks to everybody’s needs. )
131. Give someone an inch and he will take a mile ( Give someone a little and he will want more )
132. Give someone enough rope and he will hang himself ( Give someone enough time and freedom and he will get into the trouble. )
133. God helps those who help themselves (A man should do his best befforts to do a thing and leave the result into the hands of God. )
134. Grasp all, lose all ( A man who tries to get everything will get nothing. )
135. Go to bed with the lamb, and rise with the lark ( Early to bed early to rise. )
136. Good swimmers are often drowned ( Too much of confidence often brings about failure. )
137. Good accounting makes good friends ( You will keep your friends if you avoid dispute over money. )
138. Great minds think alike ( When two persons express the same opinion. )
139. Great oaks grow from little acorns ( Large successful operation can begin in a small way. )
140. Grief divided is made lighter ( If you share your grief it is easier to bear. )
141. Habit is second nature ( Custom makes all things easy. )
142. Half a loaf is better than no bread ( Something is better than nothing. )
143. Handsome is that handsome does ( Areally handsome person is he who does handsome deeds. )
144. Haste makes waste ( If something is done too quickly, it may be done carelessly and needs to be redone. )
145. Hatred is blind as love ( A person who feels hatred does not see any quality in the person he/she hates. )
146. He lacks most who longs most ( He who has endless wants will never be happy . )
147. Hanging and wiving go by destiny ( The hand of fate dictates joys and sorrows. )
148. He has enough who is content ( A happy person needs nothing more. )
149. He who hesitates is lost ( If you delay your decision too long, you may miss a great opportunity. )
150. He who is everywhere  is nowhere ( It’s not good to do many things at the same time. )
151. He laughs best who laughs last ( Don’t express your joy or your triumph, too soon. )
152. Health is better than wealth (It’s better to be in good health than to be rich . )
153. Home is where the heart is ( You call home the place where the people you love are. )
154. Honesty is the best policy ( Honest people succeed the most. )
155. Hunger is the best sauce ( A hungry person is never particular about the quality of food. )
156. Idleness is the rust of mind ( A man is spoiled if he does not work.)
157. It is hard to sit at Rome and fight with Pope ( We cannot fight with those whom we depend on. )
158. If two ride a horse, one must ride behind ( When two people do something together, one will be the leader and other will be the subordinate. )
159. If wishes are horses, then beggar would ride ( Wishing alone is of no use, you must act as well. )
160. Ignorance is bliss ( What you do not know causes no worry or sadness. )
161. Ill got ill spent ( Wealthgot by unfair or dishonest means is usually squandered sinfully. )
162. In for a penny, in for a pound ( If you start something, it is better to spend the time or money neccessary to complete it. )
163. It never rains but it pours ( Misfortune never comes alone. )
164. It is always darkest before the dawn ( The most difficult time is just before a problem. )
165. It is no good crying over spilt milk ( It is useless to feel sorry for the mistakes done. )
166. It is never too late to learn ( Knowledge may be aquired at any time and any stag. )
167. It takes all sorts to make a world ( People vary in character and abilities, and this is a good thing. )
168. It takes two to make a quarrel ( One cannot quarrel all alone. )
169. Jack of all trades and master of none ( One who can do a little of many things and is an expert in none )
170. Justice delayed is justice denied ( If the law is applied too late, there is no justice. )
171. Kill one to warn a hundred ( Warn many by punishing a few. )
172. Kill the goose tha lays the golden eggs ( Destroy a source of wealth or success. )
173. Killtwo birds with one stone ( Try to get two things by one effort. )
174. Kindness begets kindness ( If you are kind to p-eople, they will be kind to you. )
175. Knowledge is power ( Knowledge makes it possible for you to act. )
176. Knowledge in youth is wisdom in age ( What you learn when you are young will be invaluable when you grow up. )
177. Learn to walk before you run ( Don’t rush into doing something until you know how to it. )
178. Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere ( Education is something you keep forever. )
179. Least said soonest mended ( The more discreet you are, the less damage you cause. )
180. Let bygones be bygones ( Let’s forgive and forget past quarrels. )
181. Lightning never strikes in the same place twice ( An unusual event is not likely to occur again in exactly the same circumstances. )
182. Like father like son ( A son’s character can be expected to resemble to his father’s. )
183. Little strokes fell great oaks ( If you divide a task into small parts, it becomes easier to do. )
184. Look before you leap ( First think then act. )
185. Make hay while the sun shines ( To do a thing at the most opportune time. )
186. Man a little makes a mickle ( Great numbers are made of small units. )
187. Man proposes, God dispses ( Wishes of men are subjected to God’s mercy. )
188. Manners maketh a man ( Manners increase the importance of man. )
189. Marriages are settled in heaven ( Marriages are planned by fate and not by man’s wishes. )
190. Mice will play when the cat is away ( A man enjoys freely when his master is absent. )
191. Many men, many minds ( Everybody has his own likes and dislikes. )
192. Many hands make light work ( Sharing work makes work easier. )
193. Marry in haste, repent in leisure ( If you get married too quickly you may spend all your life regretting it. )
194. Misfortune seldom come alone ( Sorrows and sufferings surround man on all sides. )
195. Money begets money ( If you have money you can make more money. )
196. Money is the root of all evil ( Money is the main cause of all wrongdoings and problems. )
197. Money makes the mare go ( Much can be done under the influence of money. )
198. More die by food than by famine (More people die of excess of food than by want of food. )
199. More haste, more waste (A man who is over hasty, spoils his work. )
200. Murder will out ( None can conceal a murder. )
201. Need teaches a plan ( Neccessity will make you find a solution. )
202. Neccessity has no law (Want compels a man to do every kind of work. )
203. Neccessity is the mother of invention ( Every new invention  is caused by neccessity. )
204. Never say die ( Never give up. )
205. No gains without pains ( One cannot enjoy advantage until one is prepared for hard labour. )
206. No man is an island ( We all need other people. )
207. No news is good news ( If the news was bad, we would hear of it. Since we have heard nothing we can assume that all is well. )
208. No rose without a thorn ( Pleasure and pain go together. )
209. No man can serve two masters ( It is impossible for one to satisfy two persons at one and same time. )
210. No smoke without fire ( There could be some truth in the rumour. )
211. No wind, no waves ( There could be some truth in the rumour. )
212. Nothing ventured nothing gained ( One will not be able to get anything until and unless one is prepared for hard labour. )
213. Once bitten twice shy ( After an unpleasant experience, people are careful to avoid something similar. )
214. One beats the bush, another catches the hare ( People often enjoy the fruits of labour done by others. )
215. One today is worth two tomorrow ( What you have today is better than what is promised or hoped for. )
216. One man’s meat is another man’s poison ( What is good for one is bad for others. )
217. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure ( What is useless to one could be valuable to others. )
218. One swallow does not make a spring ( One man alone cannot do the whole thing. )
219. Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches ( Only those who suffer best know their miseries. )
220. Opportunity makes the thief ( Strong temptations oblige a man to yield. )
221. Opportunity seldom knocks twice ( Don’t miss opportunities that come along. )
222. Out of sight, out of mind ( Even the nearest and dearest are forgotten when they are away. )
223. Patience is a virtue ( It is good to be patient. )
224. Patience is a plaster for all sores ( If one has patience, one is able to bear all the hardships whatever may come in life. )
225. Penny wise and  pound foolish ( To attach importance to petty things and neglect great ones. )
226. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others (Those who have grating defects in their character should not criticise others. )
227. Practice makes perfect ( A man can improve a lot by continuous practice. )
228. Practise what you preach ( Do yourself what you advise others to do. )
229. Prevention is better than cure  ( It is easier to prevent something from happening than to repair the damage. )
230. Pride goeth before a fall ( A proud man is bound to be humbled one day. )
231. Prosperity gains friends, adversity tries them ( A rich man may win a number of friends but they are put to test in hard times. )
232. Punctuality is the soul of business ( You should balways be on time for your business appointments. )
233. Put all your eggs in one basket ( Risk everything by putting all money in one business. )
234. Revenge is sweet ( There is satisfaction in returning an injury. )
235. Riches have wings ( None can remain rich for long. )
236. Rome was not built in a day ( Nothing really great can be got in a short time. )
237. Saying is onething, doing is another ( People don’t always do what they announce. )
238. Short reckonings make long friends ( Debts paid quickly encourage friendships. )
239. Silence is consent ( If one remains silent, it shows one’s acceptance of a thing. )
240. Snug as a bug in a rug ( Feeling very comfortable. )
241. Soft words break no bones ( Gentle and courteous speech harms none. )
242. Spare the rod and spoil the child ( Children not kept under control get spoiled later. )
243. Speak the truth and shame the devil ( If you resist the devil by speaking the truth, he will be put to shame. )
244. Still waters run deep ( Quiet and reserved persons are generally intelligent. )
245. Stolen fruit is the sweetest (Things earned by evil means appear to be very charming. )
246. Time and tide wait for none ( One cannot stay to course of time. )
247. Time has wings ( Time goes by quickly. )
248. Time is money ( Time is valuable and should not be wasted . )
249. To err is human, toforgive divine ( It is human nature to make mistakes, therefore one shall forgive. )
250. Too many cooks spoil the broth ( If too many persons are involved in something, it will not be done properly. )
251. True friends are tested in adversity ( It’s when you have problems that you realise who your real friends are. )
252. Trust not a horse’s heel nor a dog’s tooth ( Be careful of the reaction of animals. )
253. Truth is stranger than fiction (  Events in real life are sometimes stranger than in fiction. )
254. Tall oaks grow from little acorns ( Great things may come from small beginings. )
255. The best fish swims near the bottom (The valuable things can be attained only after a careful and deep search. )
256. The darkest hour is just before dawn ( There is a hope even in the worst of time. )
257. The early bird catches the worm ( If you want to do the something successfully, you should do it as soon as you can. )
258. The first step is the hardest ( The most difficult thing is to begin. )
259. The pen is mightier than the sword ( Words and communication have greater effect than war and fightings. )
260. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach ( Feed a man well and he will love you. )
261. There is a black sheep in every flock ( There is always one who doesn’t behave or perform like others. )
262. There is many a slip between the cup and the lip ( We should not count on anything until it is actally in our grasp. )
263. Union is strength ( A group has more  force than an individual. )
264. United we stand divided we fall ( Union is strength. )
265. Unwillingness easily finds an excuse ( A person who doesn’t want to do something always finds a reason to avoid it. )
266. Variety is the spice of life ( Doing a lot of things make life more interesting. )
267. Virtue is its own reward ( You could not expect praise for acting in a correct or moral way. )
268. Walls have ears ( Be careful, people could be listening. )
269. Waste not, want not ( If you never waste anything, you will have it when you need it. )
270. Watch how the wind blows ( One should watch the development and only then speak. )
271. Well begun is half done (A good beginning a;lways ensures a good end. )
272. What cannot be cured must be endured. ( Pains from which there can be no relief, must be borne patiently. )
273. When ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise ( If a man does not understand fully, it is wise to keep silent. )
274. When the cat is away mice play ( People misbehave when their boss is absent. )
275. When in Rome, do as the Roman do ( One should keep in mind and follow the traditions of the place where he lives. )
276. When poverty come in the door, love goes out of the window ( Nobody loves poor relatives. )
277. When the wine is is , wit is out ( A man under intoxication, loses all senses. )
278. When there is smoke there is fire ( Effect and cause theory applies everywhere. )
279. Where there is a will, there is a way ( If one has a strong will to do anything, one can find out the way to get it done.)
280. Where there is life, there is hope ( One should never lose hope to achieve his goal. )
281. You are what you eat ( What you eat , has an effect on your well- being. )
282. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink ( You can offer someone an opportunity to do something but you can’t force him to do it. )
283. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks ( A person who is used to doing things in a certain way cannot change.)
284. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours ( You help me and I’ll help you. )

 

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