When a foolish person gains wealth suddenly, s/he might start to spend it ostentatiously and sometimes even talks rubbish. If such people get a powerful position, they might even abuse it foolishly. Such persons need not necessarily be evil ones, but the results could be because of their foolishness.

There are a few proverbs in Telugu language which translates to when a poor person became rich all of a sudden, he asked the barber to dress his hair at midnight.

To take one a peg lower - does this convey the appropriate meaning? What are the other English equivalent proverbs or idioms for the same?

  • The question title and body text are asking different things. Are you looking to describe a change in someone's character due to newfound power, or newfound wealth? Sep 7, 2017 at 17:45
  • @NuclearWang I have edited both the title and the body. Yes, I am referring to the change but their actions are a result of their foolishness and not necessarily because of the pride.
    – user75512
    Sep 7, 2017 at 17:51
  • penny wise, pound foolish?
    – Spagirl
    Sep 7, 2017 at 18:02
  • 1
    All that money seemed to go to his head. Sep 7, 2017 at 18:04
  • Upstart, parvenu, nouveau riche? It's not clear to me the matter of your "foolish person" getting money is necessarily relevant. What you seem to be talking about is people who get ideas above their station, whether this is connected to unmerited sudden wealth, or to equally bizarre "elevation", such as Forrest Gump's meteoric rise from obscurity. Sep 7, 2017 at 18:09

3 Answers 3


There is an old saying A fool and his money are quickly parted*.

It dates from at least as early as the sixteenth century.

Thomas Tusser, in his rhyme Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie (1573) says:

A foole & his money, be soone at debate: which after with sorow, repents him to late.

And more exactly to the point:

Dr. John Bridges, in Defence of the Government of the Church of England (1587) says:

If they pay a penie or two pence more for the reddinesse of them..let them looke to that, a foole and his money is soone parted.

Quotations from The Phrase Finder

  • Parted? I'm sensing a theme here. Sep 7, 2017 at 18:26
  • @EdwinAshworth Your comments Edwin remind me of cryptic clues. I never seem to get them. Unless it has to do with this
    – WS2
    Sep 7, 2017 at 18:42
  • Look at Prov 21:5b below. And [the translation of] the original proverbs. Sep 7, 2017 at 18:45
  • @EdwinAshworth Well I'll upvote your answer, but your comment remains as cryptic as ever.
    – WS2
    Sep 7, 2017 at 18:51
  • when a poor person became rich all of a sudden, he asked the barber to dress his hair at midnight. // quickly parted // hasty short cuts (sorry, shortcuts) Sep 7, 2017 at 19:09

Proverbs 13:11 English Standard Version: BibleHub has

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.

And I feel I have to include Proverbs 21:5 New Living Translation: BibleHub

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.


spend money like a drunken sailor: to spend large amounts of money frivolously.

pour money down the drain: to waste money on something useless

(a less nice saying that means the same thing: piss money up the wall)

wear a ten-dollar hat on a five-cent head: to be rich but stupid

more money than sense: same as above, with the implication that the person doesn't know how to spend the money sensibly.

money talks and bullshit walks: a rich person can get away with anything, or make others do their bidding, no matter how bad.

References: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/money+talks+and+bullshit+walks http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/piss+money+up+the+wall http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/pour+money+down+the+drain http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/He+wears+a+ten-dollar+hat+on+a+five-cent+head http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/spend+money+like+a+drunken+sailor http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/have-more-money-than-sense

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