A simple truth that expresses an idea or fact.

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0answers
1k 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
494 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
581 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
656 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
3answers
3k 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
390 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
729 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
227 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
426 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
27k 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
votes
4answers
646 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
3k 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
3k 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
857 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?
3
votes
2answers
810 views

What does this proverb mean and what is the origin [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does this mean: ‘Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink’? Why is it funny? You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
3
votes
1answer
163 views

The name of an honest woman

Could someone clarify the meaning of the following proverb? The name of an honest woman is mickle worth. (the entry in the Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs is not very helpful)
8
votes
2answers
744 views

What is the similar meaning proverb in English?

We have a proverb in Bengali, if I translate it directly into English, it emerges as: Who is in there in the temple? I did not eat the banana! Meaning in the temple banana is used for prayer to ...
3
votes
5answers
286 views

Few lawyers die well, few physicians live well

What is the meaning of the proverb "Few lawyers die well, few physicians live well"? I think "few physicians live well" has to do with the fact that the salary of physicians was once very low, but ...
18
votes
6answers
4k views

Time and tide wait for no man

In the old proverb: Time and tide wait for no man. Our first record of the proverb is from St Marher in 1225: And te tide and te time þat tu iboren were, schal beon iblescet. When it was ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Idiom for opportunistically exploiting a situation to one's advantage

I was wondering what various figures of speech could be used to describe a situation where somebody exploits a situation in order to push their own agenda. For example in Persian we have 'Catching a ...
0
votes
1answer
709 views

Explanation of the proverb “Beauty is only skin deep…” [closed]

Can someone help me understand the following proverb? beauty is only skin deep but ugliness cuts clean through to the bone I know it means something like true beauty is on the inside, but I want ...
1
vote
1answer
433 views

Proverb about the origin of the English language [closed]

Is there a nice proverb that highlights the foreign (e.g. German and French) origins of the English language? I remember that I've once read something like English is the bastard child of a ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

“Nobody does something for nothing”

I have a proverb in my native tongue saying something like "there is no cat chasing fish for God" which implies that anyone who does anything that may seem beneficial to you, is doing it for ...
2
votes
1answer
465 views

“Disappointment is the nurse of wisdom.”

Is this an English proverb? On quotations websites, it is often attributed to Sir Boyle Roche, but it is not listed on WikiQuote (I added it to the list of unsourced quotes on the discussion page). ...
7
votes
2answers
71k views

Origin of “do not argue with idiots” [closed]

What is the origin of the phrase “do not argue with idiots”? Please cite some credible references. From googling around, I found these three variations. One came from the Bible but I couldn’t find ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Proverb: “have fate without destiny”

I was looking for an English equivalent of the Chinese proverb (有缘无分) which describes couples who meet but who do not for whatever reason stay together. My friend (native speaker, no Chinese ...
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votes
5answers
1k views

Is “life is hard without jam” in use?

I am looking for a translation of the French "la vie est dure sans confiture". Babel Fish gives me "life is hard without jam". But I am not sure whether this phrase is really in use. Are there ...
12
votes
5answers
7k views

Is there honour among thieves or not?

I'm not sure which one of these apparently flatly contradictory proverbs I heard first but I have definitely heard both several times. One of them is: There is honour among thieves. Another is: ...
4
votes
4answers
14k views

What's the difference between a proverb and an idiom?

I think I have a notion what is what but maybe you know a good definition what is what? For example "Hindsight is always 20:20" — is that a proverb or an idiom?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “separated at birth” mean?

Sometimes, you come across someone saying something (usually tongue-in-cheek), which might go like this: Tom: I really love eating noodles while watching Star Trek. Linda: Wow, I do exactly the ...
23
votes
12answers
16k views

Proverb or expression for a situation with two choices, both leading to a different kind of trouble

I'm searching for a proverb or expression that describes a situation which has two choices or two ways out (that is, somewhat of a forced choice) where both lead to some kind of trouble (but not the ...
8
votes
8answers
5k views

Proverb or expression for someone taking on too much

What is an appropriate proverb or expression that means one has: Taken on too many tasks Set out to do something that one isn't qualified to do and hence probably will fail Set out to do something ...
5
votes
1answer
959 views

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

A recent question on Skeptics SE, brought up an interesting debate on the origin of this proverb. Particularly, in the comments to this answer we were wondering whether apple really refers to the ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

What construction does ‘A wise man is never less alone than when alone’ have?

I think this proverb roughly means that a wise man isn’t lonely even if he is without company. However, when considering its construction, my understanding is starting to get shaky. Let me explain ...
3
votes
3answers
9k views

What does “Way out of a paper bag” mean?

What do they mean when they say "He can't find himself way out of paper bag?" Or "Couldn't manage himself out of paper bag?" Also what is the history of this statement? What is the origin?
16
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3answers
108k views

Can someone explain the phrase “All is fair in love and war”?

What are its origins and what does it really mean?
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is “xxxx doth not a yyyy make” considered valid English?

Reading doth not a writer make. This sounds all wrong so why it is acceptable to use? The word order looks to be all out sequence (Object-Subject-Verb). It should be "reading does not make you a ...
6
votes
7answers
25k views

What is the meaning of “Many a mickle makes a muckle”?

I've heard this phrase, and don't know what a "mickle" or a "muckle" is. Hence I have no idea at all what the phrase itself is supposed to mean.
12
votes
7answers
111k views

Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth

Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth. What is a gift-horse? Why shouldn't you look in its mouth? What does this idiom actually mean and how is it used?
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a saying in English corresponding to “Another loach under the willow tree”?

In Japanese there's a saying "another loach" in the short form, "look for another loach under the same willow tree" in the long form. This saying is for ridiculing a person who blindly repeats what ...
5
votes
6answers
18k views

Origin of the phrases “third time’s the charm” and “third time lucky”?

What would the origin of the saying “Third time’s the charm”? I’ve also heard “third time lucky” used as well. Are these two expressions related to each other?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How to use “It ain't over till the fat lady sings”?

I know the meaning of this phrase: One should not assume the outcome of some activity (e.g. a sports game) until it has actually finished. I'm curious as to whether it would more likely be used when ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

What does “If she smokes, she pokes” exactly mean?

What does part she pokes of phrase If she smokes, she pokes exactly mean?
3
votes
1answer
22k views

When is “no rest for the wicked” used?

I've stumbled over some dialogue in a textbook, where some people have a chat at work, and at the end, when they get back to their urgent tasks, one character says (emph. mine): Well, I'd better ...
6
votes
13answers
2k views

Are there any English sayings to the effect that little changes may lead to big changes?

Can you think of any sayings about change, especially ones expressing how a big change must begin with a little change? how certain institutions, ideas, or God remain eternally unchanged? Note: ...