A simple truth that expresses an idea or fact.

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1answer
143 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: ...
5
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 ...
5
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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 ...
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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
16k 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
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5answers
409 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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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
181 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
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7answers
303 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
199 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 ...
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5answers
5k 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: ...
3
votes
3answers
379 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
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4answers
199 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
64 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
118 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
68 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
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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
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2answers
65 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
236 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
78k 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?
7
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3answers
10k views

“Never slap a man who's chewing tobacco”

Is this a proverb? What does it mean and what is the origin?
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8answers
4k 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
171 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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2answers
97 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
249 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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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
290 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
2k 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
13k 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 ?
4
votes
3answers
12k 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?
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0answers
49 views

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

What are the differences between idioms and proverbs?
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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
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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
279 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
21k 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.
7
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2answers
87k views
3
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4answers
141 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 ...
20
votes
12answers
11k 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
599 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
422 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
7k 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?
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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 ...
3
votes
2answers
509 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
4
votes
6answers
430 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 ...
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2answers
214 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 ...
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votes
2answers
320 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” ...
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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 ...
8
votes
4answers
19k 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?
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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 ...