A simple truth that expresses an idea or fact.

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3answers
270 views

Did Sir Arthur Conan Doyal 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
52 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?
3
votes
1answer
69 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 ...
2
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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 ...
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2answers
37 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
130 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 ...
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 ...
13
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3answers
95k views

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

What are its origins and what does it really mean?
3
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2answers
95 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 ...
4
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4answers
13k 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?
6
votes
4answers
406 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
157 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: ...
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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 ...
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 ...
20
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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 ...
4
votes
1answer
19k 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
5answers
488 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 ...
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votes
8answers
4k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
197 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 ...
3
votes
7answers
336 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. ...
1
vote
2answers
389 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 ...
12
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5answers
6k 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: ...
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3answers
1k 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
245 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
79 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 ...
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3answers
136 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
74 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 ...
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
84 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
259 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
90k 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?
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3answers
11k views

“Never slap a man who's chewing tobacco”

Is this a proverb? What does it mean and what is the origin?
18
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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
218 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 ...
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vote
2answers
117 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
294 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 ...
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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 ...
4
votes
8answers
374 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
4k 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? ...
4
votes
4answers
15k views

Origin of the phrase “third time's the charm” / “third time lucky”?

What would the origin of the saying "Third time's the charm" ? I've also heard it used as "third time lucky" ....Does anyone know if they are related ?
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0answers
51 views

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

What are the differences between idioms and proverbs?
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
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: ...
6
votes
2answers
298 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.
6
votes
6answers
23k 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.
3
votes
4answers
154 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 ...
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12answers
13k 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
619 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
438 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 ...