A simple truth that expresses an idea or fact.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

4
votes
3answers
95 views

Are there English equivalents to “Samurai uses (show off) a toothpick, even he hasn’t eaten anything (for a day)”?

There is a Japanese proverb, 武士は食わねど高楊子、of which literal translation is “Samurai uses (show off) a toothpick, even he hasn’t eaten meal,” meaning a Samurai glories in his honorable poverty. Samurais ...
2
votes
1answer
37 views

Proverb: a story explains best of all

I've got a question and I realize that the easiest way to answer it is to tell a story which will explain why the things are going in this way. However it does not look natural to start telling story ...
9
votes
13answers
3k views

How should I say “I don't have anything useful to say so I am quiet”?

I am having a discussion/conversation with a very close friend, and this conversation concerns me personally (you might even go as far as saying this is my best friend). At one point in our ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

Origin of “The first step is always the hardest”

I'm looking for the period when the American proverb The first step is always the hardest first appeared. Google Ngram won't let me do the search because the phrase contains more than 5 symbols.
3
votes
2answers
99 views

What is the English term, when someone provides truthful 'extra' information in support to promote own propaganda?

Though the title asks the main question, I will give an example. Imagine a tabloid, which wants to defame a famous personality, say Abraham Lincoln or Michael Jackson. The writers know that, just ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

meaning: “a green wound is soon healed”

What does this saying mean? My English teacher gave it to us, but I could not find its meaning online. Please provide sources, if possible.
11
votes
4answers
3k views

“When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.” — What does it mean?

"When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry." I can't understand what this quotation means. Can anyone help me understand its meaning?
2
votes
1answer
57 views

What is the first known use of the proverb “out of sight is out of mind”?

It is said that Shakespeare and Hopkins used ‘out of sight is out of mind’. But when was this phrase first used?
2
votes
1answer
93 views

Proverb: quit a habit

What proverb in English means that people get rid of old habits hard? (if there are any)
-1
votes
1answer
45 views

A proverb: Enough is as good as a feast [closed]

What does it mean, and why? I was looking at several lexicons, but didnot find a satisfactory explanation.
3
votes
1answer
55 views

Is “bring grist to the enemy's mill” the same as “play into sb's hand”?

I would like to know if bring grist to the enemy's mill and play into sb's hand are idioms or proverbs and if their meaning are the same?
3
votes
1answer
120 views

What is the accurate English translation/meaning of the phrase “In nocte consilium”, the motto of Birkbeck College in London?

Not sure if this is the appropriate place to pose this question, but apparently we don't have a Latin Stackexchange... The motto of Birkbeck College in London is "In nocte consilium". However I have ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

Is the proverb “never ask a barber if he thinks you need a haircut” used and understood?

The saying “never ask a barber if he thinks you need a haircut” means “don’t ask a person about their own activity, because they are in a conflict of interest and can only answer in one way”. Thus, it ...
2
votes
3answers
82 views

verb, idiom or proverb equivalent for bringing two person to fight

I am looking for a verb, idiom or proverb that describes a situation that somebody tries to make two parties angry from each other. I found that mischief-maker means a person who create troubles for ...
4
votes
3answers
108 views

Proverb about wealth and connectedness/friends [closed]

I remember reading somewhere a proverb. I don't remember exactly how it went. I also vaguely remember it being African, but I'm probably wrong. In a paraphrased form (in my head) it is: "The wealthy ...
19
votes
13answers
5k views

English idiom or proverb equivalent for “if everybody is doing it, I will also do it”

Can somebody please help me by giving an English idiom or proverb equivalent for: If everybody is doing it, I will also do it.
22
votes
11answers
5k views

Is there English proverb equivalent to Japanese and Korean one, “The ground becomes solid after a heavy rain”?

In the speech after toasting at the dinner party hosted by President of the Republic of Korea subsequent to the Meeting of Three-country (China, Japan and Korea - in Alphabetic order) Leaders held in ...
56
votes
11answers
5k views

English proverb for “They danced, but didn't take a bow”, as for failing good work on a final step

There is proverb in Ukrainian, "They danced and danced, but didn't take a bow" (Танцювали, танцювали, та не вклонилися). It is used to point out that someone has put a significant amount of time and ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

Can verbally female-concerned idioms be used for male cases, (and vice versa)?

The idiom like Caesar's wife is mentioned in the book 1100 words you need to know (Murray Bromberg and Melvin Gordon, 4th edition), and used in the following sentence as an example: Mrs. Drake ...
9
votes
6answers
578 views

The etymology of “to prove dough”

prove [NO OBJECT] (Of bread dough) become aerated by the action of yeast; rise. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for about two hours in a warm ...
14
votes
9answers
1k views

Are there figurative English proverbs (or idioms) to mean an expert (or likely winner) makes a great mistake?

The latest news that Serena Williams lost the semi-final round of U.S. Open to an unseeded Italian player, Roberta Vinci, whom Williams had never lost in the past reminded me of Japanese proverb, ...
24
votes
11answers
3k views

Idiom for the effect that money from funding is easier to spend, as opposed to one's own savings

I am looking for an idiom in English, if it exists. In Czech it goes like "Z ciziho krev netece", literally "Someone else's property never bleeds" which was probably originally meant to describe the ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the origin of “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes”?

I hear this term everywhere I go and from almost everyone I meet. I know this means to be more empathetic. Emotions and feelings if seen from a scientific point of view are just neurological responses ...
2
votes
8answers
231 views

Maxims that have to do with persistence? [closed]

I am looking for idiomatic expressions that convey the value of persistence, such as a long, drawn-out battle where the victor is necessarily the person who simply outlasted the other. I know there is ...
2
votes
1answer
133 views

Is there any proverb or idiom in English that says that “If you understand yourself and your opponent, you can win any battles”?

There is a Chinese proverb saying that "If you understand yourself and your enemy, you can win any battles"? It seems that the proverb was from "The Art of War" of Sun Tzu “If you know the ...
3
votes
3answers
182 views

Are there English equivalents to Japanese and Chinese proverb meaning “sell dog meat by displaying the head of lamb?

The saying, “A pig in a poke” quoted in Maureen Dowd's article in New York Times (August 10) referring to Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks in Presidential campaign debate (See ...
1
vote
2answers
171 views

“If you put in the work to sharpen the steel, it will eventually turn into needles.” Do you have a similar proverb in English?

This is a Vietnamese proverb: If you put in the work to sharpen the steel, it will eventually turn into needles. It means that no matter how difficult the goal (like a long-term mission) is, if ...
0
votes
0answers
59 views

What does it mean to say “The tie has got quite a lot”

Today, when I was making some tea for myself in the staff room, my colleague told me something that I didn't really understand. I would like to know what does this saying mean. I filled half my glass ...
0
votes
2answers
192 views

Is “fortune favors the bold; cheek brings success” a popular idiom or proverb in English? [closed]

I want to express the idea that: If you want to be rich, you have to have guts and take a big risk. If you want to achieve a high position in your society, like becoming a doctor or lawyer, you ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the proverb of “big fish eats small fish”?

In English, do you have a proverb like “big fish eats small fish” which means “justice belongs to the stronger”? For example, suppose there is a successful new startup. Big companies start to eye the ...
9
votes
7answers
887 views

English equivalent to the Japanese saying “高転びに転ぶ” - A haughty man should tumble down?

I was asked by my friend who happened to see my question I posted before about English equivalents to Chinese (and Japanese) proverbs, 塞翁失馬 Life is like old Sai’s horse, whether there is an English ...
1
vote
2answers
119 views

absence makes the heart grow fonder [closed]

Why does the idiom: absence makes the heart grow fonder have the form of grow and not grows?
2
votes
3answers
116 views

Proverb to express this concept: foregoing immediate gratification in favor of long-term reward

In other words, if you forego getting X in the short-term, you'll get more X than you'd have otherwise in the longer-term. I'm drawing a blank at the moment. The proverb, "a penny saved is a penny ...
6
votes
5answers
301 views

Is there an English equivalent to the Chinese saying, 君子之交淡如水 …? [closed]

The original expression, from the famous Chinese book 'Zhuangzi' continues: "君子之交淡如水,小人之交甘若醴 ..." and its author is expressing that true friendships are like water, but that some relationships, in ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there English counterpart to Japanese proverb, 一期一会 , meaning “Cherish once -in -a-lifetime encounter”?

I met a married couple of elderly American tourists to Japan who are both attorney at law in Connecticut a few days ago, and happened to have to introduce a Japanese proverb, “一期一会 - Ichigo ichie” in ...
2
votes
4answers
206 views

English equivalent of 'стерпится - слюбится'?

Are there any proverbs in the English-speaking world that are close in their meaning to the Russian proverb "стерпится - слюбится"? Meaning of the proverb: if you do something unpleasant at first for ...
1
vote
2answers
296 views

Meaning of 'proverbial worm'

"An appropriate and dramatic end to a singular and yet typical case," said Thorndyke, as he put down the newspaper. "I hope it has enlarged your knowledge, Jervis, and enabled you to form one or ...
2
votes
3answers
296 views

Is “Heaven and hell both reside in the details” a well-received English saying?

There is the following passage in the contribution written by Ehud Barak, the former Prime Minister of Israel under the title, “Iran Has Escaped a Noose.” in Time magazine April 2nd issue: “The ...
38
votes
15answers
5k views

Are there English equivalents for “as beautiful as butt inside out”?

There is an old saying in Ukrainian folklore, which literally sounds like “[someone is] as beautiful as ass inside out” (“Гарна як срака навиворіт”). It is used when one wants to point a person's ...
24
votes
10answers
4k views

Are there English figurative expressions equivalent to Japanese idiom 馬耳東風 meaning a person who doesn’t listen to other’s advice?

North wind tells the arrival of spring season in Japan. And incidentally, we have an idiom, “馬耳東風,” of which literal translation is ‘the east wind to the ears of horse,’ meaning a person who doesn’t ...
0
votes
3answers
177 views

Proverb to explain the given situation

I am giving a competitive exam. During my exams my brother got ill, so all my family members went to the hospital in order to examine my brother. Home alone, I learn that they will not return for two ...
5
votes
1answer
402 views

What does wishbone mean in this Robert Frost quote?

What does the word wishbone mean in the following Robert Frost quotation? Also what is the message conveyed by the quote? Thanks! "A person will sometimes devote all his life to the development ...
3
votes
5answers
135 views

Proverb about how sometimes you get two of something you'd rather get one of, and sooner than later

I'm looking for a proverb to describe this situation: You break up with a girl and months elapse without you dating anyone, not for lack of trying. Suddenly, you meet someone and hit it off. ...
9
votes
4answers
438 views

Source and meaning of the proverb “Milk says to wine, Welcome friend”

While investigating an unrelated expression, I came across the following proverb in George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum ; or Outlandish Proverbs, Sentences, Etc., second edition (1651): Milk says to ...
3
votes
3answers
132 views

An expression that is the opposite of Mortons's fork

Morton's fork is a situation where all outcomes are unpleasant. Is there an expression or term that describes a similar situation, but instead all outcomes are pleasurable/beneficial except only one ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Idiom or proverb for a thing you are trying hard to find

For example, this idiom is a thing that I'm trying hard to find. It satisfies itself in this situation. The only result I get when I google is "needle in a haystack", but I don't need it because that ...
0
votes
4answers
205 views

The term “proverbial”, tense mismatch, other grammatical problems

I made an unwittingly controversial remark in a recent draft of an intra-company technical document. I wrote, regarding my acceptance of an exceedingly challenging software engineering task: Like the ...
5
votes
5answers
286 views

A proverb or idiom in English for people who pick up a new language very quickly

There's a proverb in my language which goes like --he/she spent just one night with the hen and ended up clucking the following morning. This saying can be used either positively or negatively. I'm ...
0
votes
1answer
114 views

Is there a saying or proverb for a situation where the weakest party will always lose? [duplicate]

Yes this a repeat of a previous question, but I could not figure out how to post this answer, so I shall try to re-ask the question and answer it myself: THE HISTORY OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR By ...