A simple truth that expresses an idea or fact.

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-4
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2answers
64 views

Do proverbs not require grammar? [on hold]

Do proverbs not require grammar at all? In this proverb, what grammar is used? "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer"
3
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2answers
85 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
396 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
4k 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
151 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
444 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 ...
19
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11answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
289 views

What does “Don’t squat with your spurs on” mean?

My friend e-mailed me a couple days ago a dozen of cowboys’ proverbs included in the book titled, “Don’t squat with your spurs on” by Texas Bix Bender. Though I presume this proverb (Don’t squat ...
3
votes
3answers
711 views

Can “the chickens have come home to roost” have positive as well as negative connotations?

In answering a recent EL&U question (Idiom for the phrase "someone who gets what he deserved"), I cited the phrase "The chickens have come home to roost," and said that it "applies ...
7
votes
4answers
228 views

Ne'er cast a clout till May be out. Meaning?

Today across southern England, it was one of those glorious May mornings of which the poets wrote. The darling buds in bloom, the scent of the blossom hanging like nectar in the air, and the sun up in ...
1
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3answers
67 views

proverb means Consider me as you want you will find me as you consider

alot of companies expect effective performance. Nevertheless, it considers its employees as they are beginners (salary, ....). He want to say: if you consider me as a Junior , you find me a ...
1
vote
3answers
125 views

How come “enemy mine” be a short version of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”?

I have found at several places (e.g., here) that Enemy mine is a short version for the proverb: The enemy of my enemy is my friend. This makes little sense to me, as the essence of the ...
0
votes
1answer
70 views

“The omelette is already cooked”?

Today I saw a proverb introduced in a book. The writer said, " "The omelette is already cooked"means it is too late to change what has already been done. I think the phrase is similar to "there is no ...
0
votes
2answers
76 views

Only a waning candle sheds its light around

I found above mentioned sentence in a article is it some proverb? What does this mean? Below I am copying paragraph where I found this. May be this would be helpful to answer. Only a waning candle ...
2
votes
3answers
249 views

correct idiom for if you were me

I am looking for an idiom that can be used for this like "if you were me you would have done the same thing " OR something like empathy , think from my sight, is there any idiom for such scenerio? I ...
18
votes
8answers
5k views

The logic behind “better safe than sorry”

It struck me that the phrase "better safe than sorry" is somewhat illogical, or perhaps more accurately, it is so logical and obvious that it seems to carry no meaning at all. My problem with this ...
1
vote
2answers
191 views

Repeat vs Repetition - are they exactly the same?

Can the proverb "Repetition is the mother of studies" be replaced by "Repeat is the mother of studies"? Repeat can also be used as a noun, and according to many dictionaries, both repeat and ...
1
vote
2answers
109 views

How should I understand “He was a wise man who invented beer”?

I love beer, and I recently saw a magnet with this phrase on it: He was a wise man who invented beer My knowledge in English is limited, and I'm not sure if I understand correctly this phrase. ...
2
votes
2answers
270 views

Idiom/Phrase/Proverb to describe a scenario where a person who saved me from a bad habit has now fallen into the the same habit

I am facing a dilemma. Someone I know once (long time back) helped me get into a good habit, and abandon the accompanying bad habit, and now they have fallen into the same trap as me. I want to let ...
4
votes
8answers
331 views

Proverb for Someone will work, but another will get the benefit

Can you suggest what would be a good proverb for "Someone will work, but another will get the result"? Like for the situation when one person does the hard work, but some other reaps the benefits. ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

“Rome was not built in a day” [closed]

I always heard this phrase from school, but never understood the actual meaning of it or how this phrase originated. What does this actually mean, and why was it Rome and not any other city? ...
2
votes
4answers
187 views

Is there an English equivalent of this common Maldivian Proverb meaning “to do something carelessly or perfunctorily”?

The proverb is "Amaa buneethee fara-h dhiy-un" which basically translates to "To walk along the shore (the point of which is to collect cowrie shells which were used as currency among seafarers and ...
0
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0answers
51 views

Difference between “idiom” and “proverb”? [duplicate]

What are the differences between idioms and proverbs?
6
votes
2answers
289 views

Meaning of “A man has as many masters as he has vices.”

What does this saying mean? It was said by Augustine of Hippo, but I do not exactly understand it. Thanks. A man has as many masters as he has vices.
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votes
1answer
1k views

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” vs. “Out of sight, out of mind” [closed]

So which is it? Do we feel more sentimental when we are apart from our loved ones, or do we tend to forget friends and lovers easily once they are out of our sight? Which idiom came first, and was the ...
3
votes
4answers
148 views

Looking for a word similar to “proverbial”, but referring to fables or folk stories

I would like to reference something a character said in a famous childhood story, e.g. The Boy Who Cried Wolf, or, Goldilocks and the Three Bears etc. amidst normal writing. For instance, I'll use ...
4
votes
6answers
459 views

What is an English word to mean “something that makes already strong one much stronger”?

We have a Japanese idiom, “鬼に金棒- oni ni kanabo,” of which literal translation is “let an ogres get an iron club,” or an ogres carrying with an iron club. For instance, the United States of America ...
3
votes
7answers
321 views

A proverb to denote the importance of talking and acting in showing your abilities

There is a proverb in Persian which says: تا مرد سخن نگفته باشد عیب و هنرش نهفته باشه This proverb literally translated means: One's skills and weaknesses won't be seen, unless one talks. ...
7
votes
3answers
10k views

“Never slap a man who's chewing tobacco”

Is this a proverb? What does it mean and what is the origin?
1
vote
2answers
265 views

Two's company; three's a crowd [closed]

Two's company; three's a crowd I have checked here "(Often implies that you want to be alone with the person because you are romantically interested in him or her.)" My question: Could you say that ...
9
votes
2answers
323 views

Is there English version of French army cliché, “A friend when you’re lieutenant, companion when captain, … the enemy when you’re general"?

I found a French army cliché; “A friend when you’ re a first lieutenant, a companion when you’re captain, a colleague when you’re major, a rival when you’re colonel, the enemy when you’re general” ...
-1
votes
4answers
2k views

“A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for his client” [closed]

"A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for his client" I have checked online and found this I still hesitate and need to understand it better. What does "A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for ...
4
votes
6answers
427 views

Do we have an equivalent for Persian's proverb “to stretch one's leg more than one's rug”?

In Persian we have this proverb which translated literally becomes: To stretch one's leg more than one's rug which means that you go beyond the circle of your authorities, or the circle of your ...
45
votes
24answers
4k views

Are there counterpart English expressions to Japanese proverb, "the nail that pops up is always hammered down?

I was once reminded by Robusto-san of a Japanese popular saying, ‘出る釘は打たれる - the nail that pops up is always hammered down,’ when I complained about sequential down-votes that I received. I wondered ...
76
votes
12answers
5k views

Is there English counterpart(s) to Japanese old saying, “Present salt to your enemy.”?

We have a popular Japanese saying, “敵に塩を送る” — literally, “present (supply) salt to one's enemy”, meaning ‘play fair and square, not taking advantage of the weak point of your rival.’ It’s different ...
3
votes
0answers
940 views

What is the precise meaning of “fuck” in the context of the hip hop mantra, “Fuck bitches, get money”? [closed]

I've been hearing the line "Fuck bitches / Get money" in hip hop songs recently. I mostly noticed it lately in a couple of notable songs by Lil Wayne and other Young Money affiliated artists, but ...
1
vote
1answer
363 views

“All that glitters” or “Not all that glitters”?

In the phrase finder (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/all-that-glitters-is-not-gold.html) I found the "correct" syntax of the saying: "All that glitters is not gold," and that's fine. The saying ...
8
votes
2answers
455 views

Beggars on Horseback

Near the end of Book I, chapter 17 of Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens writes: There are the beggars on horseback too, in another sense from the sense of the proverb. These are mounted and ready ...
-2
votes
1answer
531 views

Ek kaan se suno aur dusre kaan se nikaal do in English proverb? [closed]

I know a Hindi proverb, but I would like to know translation of same in English. How will we say in form of proverb/idiom Not listening or paying attention to the words that come out of your ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “God sends meat and devil sends cooks” mean?

What does the quote God sends meat and devil sends cooks by Thomas Deloney mean? And if it doesn't have a specific meaning, in which situation can I use it?
0
votes
2answers
322 views

Proverb/Idiom for Free from certain problems only to get trapped into other? [duplicate]

I am looking for a figure of speech which means something vaguely like this: "Free from certain problems only to get trapped into other" Is there a proverb or phrase for this because I am not ...
0
votes
3answers
477 views

Expression for “pulling out something from the past”

I am looking for an expression (proverb / idiom) meaning "pulling out something from the past" in disapproval. An example of this would be: somebody mentioning a thing of the past, which is not ...
2
votes
1answer
174 views

English equivalent for a Portuguese saying on “bad company”

In Brazilian Portuguese, we have: "The bird who goes around with a bat wakes up hanging upside down" Original: "Passarinho que anda com morcego amanhece de cabeça pra baixo" The literal meaning ...
5
votes
2answers
378 views

“The more chickens in a farm the more crap and the fewer eggs”

Consider: The more chickens in a farm the more crap and the fewer eggs. This is a proverb I hear often in Spanish (Cuba). I think it is pretty much self-explained: it is related to productivity ...
8
votes
4answers
21k views

Meaning of “no man is an island, entire by itself”

From an excerpt by Francis Bacon (1561-1626), and does it count as a proverb?
22
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4answers
609 views

Meaning of “medicine bringeth double care when the malady is past cure”

This is an excerpt from John Lyly 'Euphues: the Anatomy of Wit, does anybody know what does it mean? Search the wound while it is green; too late cometh the salve when the sore festereth, and ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

English proverb for when a solution comes too late

In Dutch we have a saying "Vijgen na pasen". Translated: "figs after Easter". It means a solution comes too late to be of any use. What is the English equivalent for this? Some googling gives me ...
6
votes
7answers
1k views

Meaning of “Butter is Gold in the Morning, Silver at Noon, and Lead at Night.”

In his book A Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs: Explain'd and Made Intelligible to the English (1721), James Kelly offers this interesting saying (page 74, #138): "Butter is Gold in the ...
16
votes
7answers
2k views

English equivalent of a Kannada proverb

The saying goes like "ಬಡವನ ಸಿಟ್ಟು ದವಡೆಗೆ ಮೂಲ". When roughly translated to English it means: A poor man's anger only hurts his jaw [due to all the grinding of teeth in the process]. How to ...
5
votes
1answer
666 views

English equivalent of a Malayalam saying

There is a saying in Malayalam which can be roughly translated as "In the land where noone has a nose, the broken-nosed one is the king". Is there a way to express the same sentiment in English?