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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17
votes
7answers
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?
0
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3answers
66 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 ...
0
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0answers
27 views

Is there an expression in English for “being asked to act on your own suggestion”?

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 ...
11
votes
7answers
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
41 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 ...
1
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2answers
50 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 ...
1
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0answers
43 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
105 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
170 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
64 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
66 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. ...
1
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0answers
44 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 ...
14
votes
8answers
7k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
114 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
96 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 ...
1
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3answers
115 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..."
1
vote
2answers
69 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
vote
3answers
68 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
votes
15answers
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?
20
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16answers
8k 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
votes
2answers
147 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
votes
1answer
79 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
votes
7answers
541 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
votes
3answers
108 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
votes
2answers
125 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
votes
5answers
133 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
votes
11answers
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 (...
2
votes
0answers
39 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 ...
64
votes
11answers
19k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
132 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 ...
28
votes
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 ...
4
votes
4answers
6k 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
votes
1answer
663 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
votes
3answers
146 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
vote
7answers
491 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
votes
2answers
374 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
votes
2answers
303 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
vote
2answers
63 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
vote
2answers
89 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
vote
5answers
177 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
votes
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
votes
3answers
2k 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
votes
4answers
106 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
vote
3answers
93 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
927 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
vote
2answers
98 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
139 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
votes
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
973 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
votes
3answers
347 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 ...