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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What is the English equivalent to the proverb "Somebody finds his soup not thick enough, and somebody finds his pearls too small"

What's the equivalent to the Russian proverb "Somebody finds his soup not thick enough, and somebody finds his pearls too small"("Кому суп не густ, кому жемчуг мелок")? It means a ...
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  • 181
10 votes
4 answers
1k views

A proverb that expresses the idea that an unaddressed problem will lead to consequences? [duplicate]

I'm trying to translate a proverb that roughly translates to "a wound untreated will fester," but I'm having trouble thinking of an English equivalent.
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  • 111
8 votes
3 answers
613 views

Is there a good equivalent for the Italian proverb "Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco"?

One of my favorite Italian sayings is Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco (literally "Not all donuts come out with holes"). It usually gets a smile from another Italian speaker, ...
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0 votes
2 answers
149 views

Phrase for describing someone who ended up buying something much more expensive than what was originally needed

Is there any popular phrase (proverb/idiom/slang) describing someone who ended up buying something much more expensive than what was originally needed? Somewhat like, need a bike, paid for a Mercedes. ...
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  • 101
1 vote
1 answer
55 views

Idiom/proverb reminding someone not mincing their words to be sporting when someone else responds in kind?

In German we have the sentence "Wer austeilt muss auch einstecken können", translated to: "Anyone who dishes it out must also be able to take it", as seen here. I was wondering if ...
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1 vote
1 answer
93 views

Any similar idioms to "Don't blow your own horn/trumpet"? [closed]

I am looking for idioms in English which convey a message that a person should not testify about his own character. Any ideas?
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2 votes
4 answers
68 views

Proverb for weak individuals uniting their power and manage to defeat stronger opponent

I'm looking for an idiom or proverb describing a situation where (otherwise weak and insignificant) individuals/actors decide to join their forces to defeat a much stronger opponent, and they ...
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1 vote
1 answer
96 views

"If two people say you are drunk, go to bed!"

In my mother tongue there is this funny saying that always made me laugh. It normally refers to situations that have nothing to do with getting drunk. Imagine two friends trying to convince a third ...
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7 votes
5 answers
766 views

English Idiom equivalent of the Tamil proverb "every house has doorsteps", meaning that everyone has problems

Is there an idiom/proverb in English which is equivalent to the Tamil proverb "every house has doorsteps" (veetuku veedu vasapadi)? The meaning of it is that everyone faces problems in life ...
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  • 79
5 votes
9 answers
915 views

What is an idiom for "a supervening act that renders a course of action unnecessary"?

What is an idiom (or a proverb) used in situations where a person calls upon another person to carry out an order (mostly of a non-official or non-enforcing type), which the second person tries to ...
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  • 6,545
0 votes
1 answer
72 views

what is its proverb in English [duplicate]

there is a famous proverb in Nepal, i.e. कागले कान समात्यो भन्दैमा म कागको पछि लग्नु. The meaning of this proverb to believe other blindly. For example: "The man said someone that the crow ...
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18 votes
8 answers
4k views

Spoken word equivalent for "paper does not refuse ink"

This phrase advises a healthy skepticism of the written word. Is there a similar idiom that advises skepticism of the spoken word?
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  • 301
0 votes
3 answers
297 views

Idiom/proverb: if you keep calling someone a mouse, they might start thinking they're a mouse

I know there is a similar idiom in English and in other languages like Chinese languages, but I can't remember the exact idiom. It's something like "if you keep calling an elephant a mouse, it might ...
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  • 97
0 votes
3 answers
74 views

Is there an expression in English for "being asked to act on your own suggestion"? [duplicate]

Is there an expression in English for "being asked to act on your own suggestion"? Here's an example of the scenario that I'm thinking about: Wife: Husband, the living room light is broken. We ...
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11 votes
7 answers
2k views

English idiomatic proverb that expresses "work makes the doer"?

Latvian language (one of the Baltic languages, others being Lithuanian and extinct Prussian language) has proverb (with alliterations) Darbs dara darītāju, which can be translated literally into ...
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  • 279
2 votes
0 answers
107 views

Is there an idiom, proverb or a saying about someone who receives all benefits and good things while complaining about it?

For example: Someone who has a tree that gives him fruits, he doesn't take care of it or have to take care of that tree. He eats all the fruits of that tree, and yet he dares to find or come up with ...
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  • 39
2 votes
3 answers
806 views

Proverb saying that one attack a problem from different angles

I want to say that one can attack or slice a problem from different angles. Vaguely I recall that there is some German or English saying for this and I am not sure how exactly it goes. I'd prefer one ...
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2 votes
0 answers
84 views

Idiom/proverb or phrase about never forgetting wrong doings

I could have sworn there was a catchy idiom/proverb in english about how you can be kind to something always, but the moment you do one mean thing, it will never forget that (or hate you forever for ...
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  • 21
1 vote
3 answers
385 views

Idiom or proverb to point out half-measures

What is an idiom or proverb to point out half-measures? Something like, "You locked the door, but left the window open." Or, "You wrote the check, but forgot to mail it." Those expressions seem easy ...
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  • 159
2 votes
0 answers
3k views

What's a word that describes a person who reminds you of the good things they did for you

I don't know if such a word exists in the English language. In the Bisaya language of the Visayas region in the Philippines where I belong, there is a verb that describes exactly that. I can't find ...
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  • 455
2 votes
1 answer
97 views

Is there a proverb for "a problem looks so simple when you know the solution"?

I think I have seen one or two proverbs before that are used in situations where someone thinks a problem/puzzle is very easy but only because he/she has heard the answer to the problem/puzzle. Is ...
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  • 123
1 vote
1 answer
261 views

What's another idiom/proverb for there is more to something than meets the eye?

I have to make an idiom/proverb for 'there is more to something than meets the eye' in the context of culture; that often, traditions and customs are just symbolic/representative of bigger things. ...
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1 vote
0 answers
168 views

What's the other common expression for "You get what you pay for" in reference to high quality?

I’m looking for a familiar saying that I can use for If you pay more money, you get more quality. Because Google has been giving me the same result — that the meaning of the saying You get what you ...
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  • 163
14 votes
8 answers
8k views

Translate the French quote "Il n’y a pas d'amour, il n’y a que des preuves d’amour" to English?

I’d like to translate a quote from Pierre Reverdy (or Jean Cocteau, this is an open question apparently). The quote is: Il n’y a pas d’amour, il n’y a que des preuves d’amour. For some context in ...
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0 votes
2 answers
188 views

An idiom or proverb to describe the ability to identify the best one when given a plethora of choices

I'm looking for an idiom or proverb that emphasise the availability of choices and the ability to identify the best/correct one. The ability is the result of experience, skills and knowledge. For ...
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2 votes
2 answers
121 views

Equivalent Proverb in English

There is a proverb in Urdu, "Bacha bola nahi bola nahi muh khola to Amma maro Bawa maro bola". This could be translated as, the kid never spoke, but when he did, (to his concerned parents shock) he ...
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1 vote
3 answers
279 views

What proverb describes getting out from trouble but ending up in another one? [duplicate]

I remember reading something like "out from something's mouth/jaws (like a dragon) and into another..."
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  • 13
1 vote
2 answers
74 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 ...
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  • 5,065
1 vote
3 answers
77 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 ...
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  • 129
19 votes
15 answers
5k 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?
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21 votes
16 answers
13k 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 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
206 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 ...
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  • 143
0 votes
1 answer
238 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 ...
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2 votes
7 answers
2k 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 ...
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  • 2,889
-2 votes
3 answers
218 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 ...
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7 votes
6 answers
3k views

English equivalent proverb/idiom for the Tamil saying "Pinching a child and then oscillating the child's hammock" [duplicate]

In Tamil language, there is a proverb for a particular sequence of actions performed. The proverb is, "Pillaiya killi vittu, thottila aatradhu", meaning, "Pinching a child and then oscillating the ...
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3 votes
2 answers
250 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 ...
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  • 133
2 votes
5 answers
159 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 ...
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  • 123
16 votes
11 answers
7k 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 (...
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  • 2,889
2 votes
0 answers
44 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 ...
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64 votes
11 answers
22k 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 ...
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  • 751
3 votes
2 answers
163 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 ...
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  • 4,633
28 votes
6 answers
9k 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 puts it ...
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4 votes
4 answers
17k 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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
897 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 ...
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  • 1,068
3 votes
3 answers
539 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?
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1 vote
7 answers
1k 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 ...
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3 votes
2 answers
619 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 ...
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0 votes
2 answers
1k 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?
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1 vote
2 answers
69 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 ?
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