I want to express the idea that:

  1. If you want to be rich, you have to have guts and take a big risk.

  2. If you want to achieve a high position in your society, like becoming a doctor or lawyer, you need to have a strong will (strong will is enough, not necessarily taking risk).

Does "fortune favors the bold; cheek brings success" express those two ideas?

Is it a popular idiom in English?

If not, what is another way to express those two ideas?

closed as primarily opinion-based by tchrist, Avon, Chenmunka, FumbleFingers, Misti Aug 5 '15 at 13:06

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  • Note: You don't mean "big gut", this is a big gut! ----> mozo.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/… ---> You may want to say "have guts" – chasly from UK Aug 2 '15 at 9:44
  • 2
    Fortune favors the bold certainly is. In fact, it was apparently an idiom in Latin. The earliest reference I can find for cheek brings success in Google books is a 1969 English-Ukrainian phrase book, and it appears thereafter only in foreign books of English idioms. Native English speakers have never heard of it. – Peter Shor Aug 2 '15 at 9:51
  • In #2, you call it strong will, but it seems more like perseverence. I suggest you look for adages about perseverence. As for # 1, there are many related: No pain, no gain. For more relevant ones, look for adages about "dare", "chance", "risk" "brave", "venture". – Brian Hitchcock Aug 2 '15 at 11:30
  • I've heard/read the first part a number of times. Not familiar with the second (though I've heard vaguely similar phrases). – Hot Licks Aug 2 '15 at 11:56
  • And it should be noted that the two are saying essentially the same thing. Neither expresses "no pain -- no gain". – Hot Licks Aug 2 '15 at 11:57

The former is common. I have never heard the latter and it sounds as if it had been coined by an unskilled amateur epigrammist.

However, even if the latter of your two were a common idiom, you would be weakening the effect of the former by conflating them. Among the defining characteristics of a good idiom are concision and pithiness.

Fortune favors the bold.

Says it all, especially for your original two-fold case, since fortune has connotations of material wealth as well as good luck and general success.


McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs (As an alternative to "Fortune favors the brave")

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913


Is it a popular idiom in English?

No. For my mostly American English ear, they are rare or unknown.

If not, what is another way to express those two ideas?

  1. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. (Could be money and/or time.)
  2. This isn't an adage, but there is an idiom that fits with your second idea, to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, for example: My father pulled himself up by his bootstraps to become one of the richest men in the country. (from http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/pull+up+by+bootstraps) Also, the expression make something of yourself might be useful. For example, The nuns who taught him urged him to make something of his life and he did.

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