Questions tagged [proverb-requests]

For questions that ask for an English-language proverb that would be appropriate to use in a particular context.

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0
votes
1answer
29 views

When a limited but working version of something is better

There is a Persian proverb ("One habitable village is better than one hundred desolated towns") which emphasizes that a limited and small-scale but working thing (e.g. a solution or an achievement) is ...
1
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3answers
45 views

Looking for a well-known refrain or proverb indicating that some big trouble has just started

I am translating into English a famous refrain from Spanish, Ahí fue Troya. That means something like Then a big trouble started. I am looking for some correspondingly recognizable refrain I can ...
19
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15answers
4k views

Someone whose aspirations exceed abilities or means

What would be a clear and concise way to describe someone whose ambitions or aspirations far exceed his means or abilities?
20
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16answers
6k views

Opposite of “Squeaky wheel gets the grease”

I want a fun and playful retort to use against someone who says "The squeaky wheel gets the grease", which, according to the so-named Wikipedia1 article means: The squeaky wheel gets the grease is ...
4
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2answers
116 views

Equivalent for “Make the jacket to the button”

We have a proverb in my language: "Make the jacket to the button". I'm looking for the equivalent in English. The meaning of the proverb is: A tiny part of job is already done. It turns out that the ...
0
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1answer
55 views

Is there a word for when you/someone seeks help with a problem from someone else, but then the problem is resolved/gone when the helper arrives? [duplicate]

This is a situation I see my self first hand very often as someone who works in an IT related role. I also see it in other areas and experienced by seemingly everyone, but I don't know if there is a ...
2
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6answers
245 views

What is the saying for when “early adaptors (first timers) always takes the hit” which is opposite of “early bird catches the worm”

While we say "early bird catches the worm" which means whoever arrives first has the best chance of success; some opportunities are only available to the first competitors. On the opposite end, what ...
-2
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3answers
85 views

Looking for a proverb related to people who don't take a stand

I have come across this very famous proverb many times that blames people who don't take a stand for bad things that happen in the world. As far as I remember, it had something to do with the world ...
3
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2answers
53 views

A proverb about a “sore loser”

Is there a proverb in the english language that describes a person with a "sore loser" type of attitude? For example to convey a context, say there are two children (let's refer to them as Alice ...
2
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5answers
118 views

Help me to find a proverb about average being better

I am looking for an American proverb which connotes that average is better than maximum or minimum. For instance, if you work regularly you are probably in some cases more successful than people who ...
16
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11answers
5k views

Equivalent of “teri lal” a Hindi phrase which means “you are right” said sarcastically (but not actually meant) [closed]

There is a saying in Hindi in India "teri lal" which translates "yours is red" which means "Whatever the case may be you are right" as in "you are always right". It is a sarcastic way of telling (...
2
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0answers
37 views

A proverb that means “using big measures/actions for small things” [duplicate]

In Vietnamese we have a proverb that would translate as "you dont kill a chicken with a blade that you would use to hack a buffalo". It's been in my mind for some work-related stuff and i cant think ...
62
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11answers
17k views

Is there a proverb to express “You are too late and it's your own fault.”?

In Lithuanian language there is a proverb that translated word-for-word would say "The train does not wait for the shitting ones." While sounding somewhat rude, it is perfect for expressing: "You ...
5
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3answers
119 views

A proverb for when one starts taking action after losing many times

Is there a proverb for "when one starts shaping up after losing many times". For example, I have failed in Maths Test many times, but now I am taking it serious and working hard to pass next time. The ...
29
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6answers
8k views

Proverb for when one person sees something, but someone else takes it [closed]

Is there a proverb that fits the following situation: John and Anderson (while walking): John: [sees a $100 bill lying in the road, and shouts] Yahoo! $100! Anderson: [takes the money and ...
2
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4answers
511 views

Is there an English proverb similar to the Hindi “Elephant goes to the bazar; Thousands of dogs bark”?

There is a proverb in Hindi language हाथी चले बाज़ार कुत्ते भौंकें हज़ार Literal English translation: Elephant goes to the bazar; Thousands of dogs bark It figuratively means when a person ...
2
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1answer
347 views

If you lie down with dogs you will rise up with fleas

Though I have two questions, they are both related to this proverb, so I thought they could combined. Are there other proverbs or idioms with the same effect? Is there a proverb or an idiom that is ...
3
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3answers
90 views

Proverb about not interfering in a couple's fight? [closed]

Is there any English "folk wisdom" proverb about how one should not meddle in an ongoing argument between a married couple?
1
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3answers
242 views

Metaphor for conflict of interest

I'd like a metaphor/allegory which depicts a situation where one is compelled to not act. As an example (of such a situation), a company CEO, surrounded by and probably partial towards protecting ...
3
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2answers
227 views

Does English have a saying for “The person who orders something is the one has to pay for it”?

In German, we have the saying Wer bestellt, bezahlt, which translates literally into Who(ever) orders, pays in English. Is there a corresponding English idiomatic expression or proverbial refrain for ...
0
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2answers
130 views

What's the proverb that runs something along the lines of “Even God doesn't help the fool”?

There is a proverb that goes something like "even God doesn't help the fool". I cannot remember the exact proverb. Can anyone help me get the exact one?
1
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2answers
61 views

Saying to cover a few good deeds but person still corrupt [closed]

Is there a saying that covers the scenario where a ruler does a few good deeds but by and large is corrupt and deceptive ?
1
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2answers
70 views

Idiom or proverb for "Productive members get punished for their hard work by getting dumped with more responsibilities

what is the idiom or proverb for When good people/smart hard working people/productive employees are punished by pushing/dumping more responsibility on to them by the authority/management, etc ...
1
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5answers
137 views

A secular version of fate/destiny? [closed]

The Wikipedia page for destiny states: Destiny, sometimes referred to as fate (from Latin fatum – destiny), is a predetermined course of events. It may be conceived as a predetermined future, ...
6
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5answers
1k views

Expressing that you are prepared because you feared the worst

While others took it easy, you worked and saved like you might be fired at any moment. Now there is a corporate takeover and you're glad you took the pessimistic path. Unlike Cassandra or the ant and ...
6
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3answers
842 views

What English idiom or proverb is equivalent to this Hindi expression: “Having eaten 900 rats, cat moves to Hajj”

There's a Hindi proverb: नौ सौ चूहे खाकर बिल्ली हज को चली The literal translation is: Having eaten 900 rats, cat moves to Hajj (pilgrimage) This proverb means you adulate yourself pretending ...
0
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4answers
97 views

Proverb to use when regretting something

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 ...
1
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3answers
89 views

When one thing is over, the next is just around the corner [closed]

I'm looking for an appropriate phrase to finish a semi-formal letter to a colleague. I'm thanking him for his cooperation and looking forward to the next event we'll be preparing together. At the ...
2
votes
2answers
384 views

Is there a proverb of proverbs?

In my language (Vietnamese), there is a proverb (or at least a common saying) that proverbs are the treasure of our ancestors. Do we have such proverbs, proverbial phrases or sayings in English? ...
1
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2answers
93 views

A jar won`t always bring the water

This idiomatic expression exists in my native language. The implication is that when you do something dangerous, risky or unlawful, you may be lucky on a few occasions, but this kind of risky behavior ...
2
votes
2answers
127 views

A rooster said: I’ll crow – but whether dawn will break or not is not my business

This proverb comes from my native language (Georgian). It behaves like a warning, when it is used in reference to a person. It can be used, when you are giving a piece of advice to somebody, thus ...
44
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14answers
20k views

Is there a common saying in English that means “It's just business, I don't feel any shame”

In Gujarati language there is a saying which literally means "no shame in business". It is used in a context where one has to do something unpleasant (or immoral) for the sake of their business (...
3
votes
6answers
431 views

Idiom for paying a price without any gain

Can someone please provide an idiom for a situation when one gains nothing from a certain affair, but still has to pay the price for it. For example: a person goes to a resturant to have a meal with ...
-1
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3answers
163 views

Looking for a proverb/idiom that means dont get lot of people to decide on your personal trival matters

Looking for a proverb/idiom/saying that means Don't get lot of outside people/heads to decide on personal and/or trivial matter, all of them will give their free recommendation and finally you who ...
2
votes
1answer
981 views

An English idiom for the common Hindi phrase - 'Ulti Ganga Bahana'(as in Reverse The Flow Of the river Ganga)

Is there an English equivalent of the Hindi phrase Iss Desh mein (In this part of the world) ulti ganga bheti hey (Reverse flows the river ganga). It is often shortened as "ulti ganga bheti" ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

Is there English equivalent of phrase “If two friends fight the third outsider will take away with the prize shield”

Is there English equivalent of marathi phrase Dhoghanchya bhandnya madhe (Fight between both) tisryacha fayda (will yield third's (outsider's) profit). If two friends fight the third outsider ...
4
votes
5answers
139 views

Is there a phrase for the following?

Is there an idiom, proverb or phrase which means "one living in abundance lying to one with little about the importance of the item of scarcity to, for eg., avoid resentment" For eg. Like the king is ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Word/idiom for not only to get restless, worried or scared (oneself) but also to make others worried /scared

Is there word/idiom hindi expression khud bhi (Self also) darna (to get worry or scared) dusre ko bhi darake chodna (infuse tension/scare in others too). Because of their timid nature not on ...
0
votes
1answer
798 views

Idiom/proverb applicable when a driver forces his car into roundabout without stopping just because he thinks he has signaled ahead of time [closed]

What is the idiom/proverb applicable to this situation? When a driver forces his car into roundabout without stopping (as the traffic rule would recommend) just because he thinks he has signaled ...
5
votes
6answers
3k views

What is the idiom/proverb for “the more you pressure someone they will run away from committing”?

What is the idiom/proverb for the following? the more you pressure someone they will run away from committing/engaging" This is attributed to a girlfriend and boyfriend, parent and child, teachers ...
2
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4answers
196 views

What is the idiom/proverb for “You have to fend for yourself, no one is going to come for our rescue”?

What is the idiom/proverb for "You have to fend for yourself, no one is going to come for our rescue"?
5
votes
4answers
169 views

English equivalent phrase for “To set a fire and also to go and extinguish it”

Is there equivalent of this Hindi expression Aag (Fire) bhi (also) lagana (to set/ignite) , Bhujane (Extinguish) bhi (also), Khudhi (self) Jana (to go) which means To set a fire and also to ...
0
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5answers
151 views

A speaker of truth must have his/her horse saddled up

The implication is that, upon telling the truth, one must be ready to gallop his/her horse away, any moment because, people may find such justness unacceptable and resort to violence in response. ...
0
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2answers
96 views

The quail did not perch in a tree, that wasn’t its way

This is a Georgian idiomatic expression. It conveys the idea that, as a quail will never perch in a tree because it can not, so a person will not be able to accomplish a task or perform, due to his/...
2
votes
4answers
106 views

English equivalent phrase for “If left free, it runs and if leashed, it bites”

Is there equivalent of this Marathi expression sodala (release) ki (then) palato (runs) pakala (kept caught) ki (then) chavto (bites) which means (if a dog is) set free (it) runs away (and if) ...
0
votes
1answer
82 views

When you don't respect your parents, no outsider will not respect them either. Is there a actual proverb or idiom or expression for the above quote [closed]

When you don't respect your parents, no outsider, not even your spouse, will respect them either. OR When you don't respect your spouse, no one, even including your own children, will respect ...
4
votes
2answers
134 views

Reading scripture in front of a donkey [duplicate]

Reading scripture in front of a donkey. The country of origin of this proverb is Afghanistan (as far as I know) but we also have exactly the same idiom, identical in meaning, in our native language - ...
22
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10answers
8k views

In my native language, we have this obscene saying - don't take a dump in the barrel of honey

The implication is that one must not display a disrespectful behavior in regards to his/her friends or the people he/she knows very well, because as the honey in the barrel won't be edible anymore ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

a person who calls out for eliciting ideas from others and does what he wants

What expression would you use for a impressionable person (a decision maker like a boss or potential customer) who comes to your facility (office, shop, garage, showroom) makes you do all the leg work ...
4
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8answers
293 views

In my native language, we have a saying - a stone will get a wretched person, going uphill

Is there a similar saying or idiomatic expression in English, which would correlate with the above-mentioned one, implying that misfortune will befall even on those ones, already in trouble ?