A simple truth that expresses an idea or fact.

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23
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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
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3answers
67 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
85 views

Maxims that have to do with persistence?

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
33 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
1answer
80 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
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2answers
64 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
30 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
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2answers
82 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
3answers
134 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
769 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
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2answers
74 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
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3answers
70 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
158 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
309 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
150 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
127 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
175 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
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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
123 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
237 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
113 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
349 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
114 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
710 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
169 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
231 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
98 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 ...
44
votes
21answers
8k views

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

Context - One might use it in the following situations: "An employee has an argument with her boss and a dispute follows." (she gets fired a few weeks later) "A student having an argument with his ...
2
votes
1answer
688 views

English folk saying or proverb involving the number four (of people)?

We have: "it takes two to tango", "two is company; three is a crowd", etc... Are there any similar sayings that refer to four people?
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2answers
5k views

Good Things Come In Threes - has a definite positive connotation.

From fairytales to hollywood blockbusters, “the rule of three” (Latin-"omne trium perfectum") principle suggests things that come in threes are inherently more humorous, satisfying and effective ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

What does “There’s less to the deal than meets the eye,” mean?

There was the following passage in New Yorker’s (November 18) article that came under the title, ”Is China really going green?”: “But here was President Xi Jinping pledging that, by 2030, his ...
1
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3answers
128 views

Correct proverbial anecdote for: To fix a bucket, I need a bucket

An proverbial anecdote I've heard for a problem solving deadlock is something along the lines of: A farmer needs to fix a bucket, which requires this, that then requires that and so on and so ...
24
votes
16answers
5k views

Is there English proverb or saying equivalent to Chinese / Japanese common proverb 李下に冠を正さず- Don’t touch (redress) your coronet under the plum tree?

Recently I made an inadvertent mistake, which reminded me a familiar Japanese proverb to admonish us to stay away from situation and the likelihood to be suspected as a rule-offender. It is a set of ...
1
vote
1answer
137 views

Is the expression “having a kitten in one's pocket” a proverb or slang?

Is the phrase, from ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ by Alexander Baron having one's kitten in one's pocket a proverb or common slang? How common is this expression? What exactly does it mean and how ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

English proverb or saying on “you can't have too many friends”

I'm curious if there's an English proverb or saying that has the meaning "you can't have too many friends". The matter is, we have such a saying in Russian ("Друзей много не бывает"). In other words, ...
2
votes
2answers
200 views

Is this expression a well-established proverb or just a slight variation of a well-established one?

I'm referring to this one: Any man who is his own translator has a fool for an editor. The resemblance that this expression bears to the one about any individual who chooses to represent ...
49
votes
17answers
7k views

What is the English equivalent to the Chinese/Japanese saying, “塞翁失馬— Life is like Old Sai’s horse”?

Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, 2012 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine, the initiator of all-around (iPS) cells told a recently-held public symposium, quote: “I’m often asked by many people: ‘You ...
1
vote
2answers
116 views

Is there a set phrase for being polite to a person only when they are present?

Is there a saying or proverb for when a person or group of people act politely and with respect towards a certain member of a group in front of a person of respect or elder, and then acts with ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle coin the proverb “A change is as good as a rest”?

The proverb a change is as good as a rest is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as: A change of work or occupation can be as restorative or refreshing as a period of relaxation Cambridge ...
3
votes
1answer
649 views

What is the Proverb or Quotation?

Is there a proverb or quote in English that has similarity with this one: "If the big two ox fight then the rubble gets the brunt." This is a Maldivian idiom that explains how juniors get ...
1
vote
2answers
495 views

What does “all words are pegs to hang ideas on” mean?

I have searched for this quote's meaning by Henry Ward Beeccher on the internet, but couldn't find the meaning. What does all words are pegs to hang ideas on means?
-1
votes
2answers
219 views

Grammar in proverbs

"Tomorrow come never" I have seen it in a dictionary of English idioms. Not "never comes", not "will never come". I am confused. "Tomorrow come never" - is it correct?
3
votes
1answer
473 views

Meaning and use of phrase “proverbial bucket”

I can't understand the meaning of the following sentence and need a short description of the content with an example: The proverbial bucket has not been constructed that would carry my pitiful ...
3
votes
2answers
196 views

“Made a rhyme without effort” in English from Spanish “Hice verso sin esfuerzo”

In Spanish we can say "Hice verso sin esfuerzo", which means something along the lines of "I made a rhyme without effort", whilst rhyming. What would be an English equivalent of this phrase? I've ...
6
votes
4answers
489 views

Responding to a poor question

There's a proverb in my native language (Norwegian) which is used as a reply to a person who complains about a poor answer given to his/her poor question. It says that the quality of the answer is ...
20
votes
9answers
5k views

Are there English equivalents to a Japanese old saying, “Be the mouth of cock rather than remaining as the tail of ox”?

Every time I hear about the success story of entrepreneurs such as IT business, not to mention Apple, Microsoft, and Soft Bank founders, an old Japanese saying, 鶏口となるとも牛後となる勿れ‐“(Choose to) be the ...
3
votes
1answer
254 views

Standard English proverb for “When you see a useful resource, you feel lazy to work.”

What would be the standard English proverb for something like this: Your leg starts to ache when you see a horse. OR When you see a useful resource/means, you feel lazy to do the job/work. EDIT: ...
3
votes
5answers
725 views

English idiom related to time

I wonder what is the English idiom with the following meaning. "There are two opinions and only time could decide what is true". It should be something like "survive time's exam" or something like ...
21
votes
12answers
2k views

Are there any English sayings equivalent to the Japanese proverb, “Go to bed early and wait for the good news”?

When politicians are waiting for the results in a Primary election, your son is waiting for admission to Harvard, an entrepreneur is waiting the bank’s approval for a financial loan, everyone frets ...