In Ukrainian there is a proverb which says, "She didn't have a problem until she bought a piglet". "She" must be a female farm worker. But the proverb can be used to talk not only about these ladies but everyone (especially women, since "she" is used) who got involved in something and then regretted it. For example:

-How is your charity project? - Oh, don't ask! ... (the proverb) - Poor you! It must have been a bad idea! - You're right! I shouldn't have started it! Now I've got so many problems!

Is there a proverb like this in English?

  • 1
    There's a famous catchphrase (made famous by the character Captain Alberto Bertorelli) from the comedy series " 'Allo 'Allo!": "What a mistake-a to make-a!" Jun 6, 2018 at 10:08
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    @Enguroo Be aware though that it comes from british humour about other Europeans and dates to the 1980s. As a cultural reference itself it is dates , sorry Edwin, but also it would be a very strange thing to hear from a non-UK european speaking English and TBH I would wonder if they hadn't been the victim of a cruel joke.
    – Spagirl
    Jun 7, 2018 at 12:50
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    Not exactly the same thing, but nearby: "No good deed goes unpunished"
    – Mitch
    Jun 7, 2018 at 13:53

4 Answers 4


I would say the proverb, "..bit off more than one can chew" is synonomous.

This proverb means someone, male or female, took on a task that was too much for them.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • I accepted a job as a developer, but I do not know a thing about coding. I bit off more than I can chew!

  • Shawn adopted two labradors, and now he wants to get rid of them. He bit off more than he could chew.

  • I don't know why Alessa would volunteer to babysit those two brats! She's biting off more than she can chew.


It's no use crying over spilt milk. proverbs

Don't express regret for something that has happened and cannot be remedied

As in:

Oh, don't ask! It's no use to cry over spilt milk.


I think it's also possible to use the proverb "no rest/peace for the weary" in this situation:

No rest/peace for the weary. Meaning: One's heavy workload or lack of tranquillity is due to one's own choices (the OED):

‘I have a fairly busy week - no rest for the weary I guess.’

‘Once my mind goes in a particular direction, once I decide to delve into a particular subject, there is no rest for the weary.’

What's more, the phrase "no rest for the weary" is humorous, just like that Ukrainian one seems to be.


The white elephant is an animal figure of speech that comes close.

A white elephant is a possession which its owner cannot dispose of and whose cost, particularly that of maintenance, is out of proportion to its usefulness. In modern usage, it is an object, building project, scheme, business venture, facility, etc., considered expensive but without use or value. - wikipedia

The sample reply would start with:

  • Oh, don't ask! It's a white elephant.

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