Questions tagged [proverbs]

A simple truth that expresses an idea or fact.

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2answers
72 views

English equivalent of this Tagalog proverb [duplicate]

We have a saying in Tagalog: Aanhin pa ang damo, kung patay na ang kabayo. which literally translates to English as What is grass good for, if the horse is already dead. Basically, the idea is,...
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2answers
64 views

Is there a word/idiom/proverb for this Hindi phrase? [duplicate]

I'd like to know if there is anything for this in English which is roughly: Shoot many arrows, one will fit. I am from India and we have an idiom dedicated to it in Hindi but I, literally, ...
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1answer
46 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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1answer
102 views

English equivalent of Konkani proverb “kam natilo achari bhurganchi kule tasto” (When jobless, a carpenter takes to even filing children's buttocks)

English equivalent of Konkani proverb "kam (job) natilo (not having) achari (Carpenter) bhurganchi (Children's) kule (buttocks) tasto (files)" (When jobless, a Clueless carpenter takes to even filing (...
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61 views

Is there a close equivalent to Russian saying “Chem dalshe v les tem bolshe drov”

So far I found only one reference which is not helpful https://www.quora.com/What-does-the-Russian-saying-the-deeper-into-the-forest-the-fatter-the-partisans-mean
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2answers
77 views

What would be english equivalent of Hindi proverb char aane ki murgi barah aane ka masala-Chicken is dirt cheap but its ingredients are costing a bomb

What would be english equivalent of Hindi proverb "char aane (Rs. 0.25) ki murgi (Chicken) barah aane (Rs. 0.75) ka masala (spice)" is an old phrase around 60's and the 70's India which mean Chicken ...
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1answer
70 views

Is there an English version for “Unum castigabis, centum emendabis”?

The Latin saying Unum castigabis, centum emendabis is commonly and currently used in Italian as “punirne uno per educarne cento”. Literally the expression means “punish one, to correct one hundred”....
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617 views

'A mind is like a parachute'—who coined this expression, and when?

I recently received a Facebook notification from an online quotation site, which attributed the following saying to Frank Zappa: A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open. I ...
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1answer
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The greatness of a teacher lies in respecting the child [closed]

The greatness of a teacher lies in respecting the child What does respect imply in the sentence. I know it is a quote from Emerson, a great educationist and inspirer of all times. The ...
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215 views

What is the equivalent proverb/idiom for Hindi saying in English?

Muh mein ram ram bagal mein churi It means Speak praise on the face and stab him from behind.
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English equivalent of the Malayalam saying “don't stab/poke the dead body”?

ശവത്തിൽ കുത്തരുത് (śavattil kuttarut) is a Malayalam saying that in literal translation means "Don't stab/poke the dead body". The meaning would be something like: don't humiliate a person when he is ...
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3answers
106 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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5answers
98 views

An epigram for when one bad thing happens, it causes a chain reaction of bad things [duplicate]

I'm not talking about Domino Effect or Murphy's Law, it's something else. I used to know it, but for the life of me, I can't seem to remember. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I think it was "...
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1answer
93 views

What does “A horse may stumble, though he has four feet.” mean?

English is not much of my first language, so I apologise for that first. I've search around on Google, and notice that it's sort of a Dutch Proverb, but not much explanation about what it means. May ...
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4k views

How many birds in the bush?

There is a well known proverb, A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush However, I have discovered that the earliest English version of this proverb according to phrases.org.uk is found in John ...
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1answer
124 views

What's the meaning of “The Pole is wise when the damage is done”

I came across this line while reading the Novel Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer. In the novel, Abel uses this line when he sees his hotel burned to the ground. I searched a lot but found just one ...
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1answer
174 views

Double meanings of English proverbs

I recently read a long list of English proverbs and strongly felt that a considerable number of them have a double meaning, despite that the explanations of the proverbs provide only one meaning for ...
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1answer
101 views

When whores talk about honor [duplicate]

There is a proverb or saying in Arabic and the exact translation is... "When whores talk about honor" ...this is said when someone points out other people's mistakes while he/she makes the same ...
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1answer
294 views

A similar English proverb to Hindi/Urdu [duplicate]

We all have heard this proverb in Urdu and Hindi धोबी का कुत्ता न घर का न घाट का Literal translation The dog of the washerman belongs to neither the riverbank nor the house An alternative: ...
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129 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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12answers
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“Whatever a Russian does, they end up making the Kalashnikov gun”? Are there any similar proverbs in English?

I'm translating a Russian blog post into English and got stuck with the proverb, "Whatever a Russian does, they end up making the Kalashnikov gun." (Humorously meaning it's hard or even impossible to ...
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Idiom or proverbs for the word “not pleasant” [closed]

Furthermore, the toilets should be more clean because some toilets are _________ to go into. What is the idiom or proverb that could be used for the word "not pleasant"?
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48 views

I'm looking for phrase/proverb about unimportant persons?

The phrase I'm looking for has similar meaning to "in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king". When someone is important but the place that person is in not big or important, or when someone ...
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1answer
78 views

Being honest with minor things but being dishonest about big issues

I was looking for a proverb or a saying that describes the hypocrisy of a local dictator at a non profit organization who held and managed fake elections in which he was running for the president ...
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3answers
639 views

English equivalent proverb/idiom for this saying

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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1answer
585 views

Does “throw a leg over” means “riding a horse” or “sexual intercourse”?

Now anyone reading this article - http://mentalfloss.com/article/31841/why-new-york-city-called-big-apple and especially this line from that: "The Big Apple. The dream of every lad that ever threw a ...
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1answer
103 views

Devil take the hindmost!

I came across the following old proverb in which I noticed that a bare infinitive verb is used after a singular subject. Devil take ...
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1answer
73 views

“Jelly in a vise” meaning [closed]

Jelly in a vise is a proverb mentioned in "Asian Figure" by W.S Merwin. What does "Jelly" mean in this proverb? Does it mean gelatinous? Or the jelly that we eat? What kind of clamp is a "Vise"?
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Origin of “the grass is always greener”

Earlier versions of this well-known proverb, according to “writingexplained.org”, include: A Latin proverb cited by Erasmus of Rotterdam was translated into English by Richard Taverner in 1545, as:...
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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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5answers
125 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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0answers
282 views

English word or proverb for expressing a surplus of mental resources in a person? [closed]

In Danish we say that some people have a lot of "overskud" (surplus) or "mentalt overskud" (mental surplus) if they are able to help and look after others, even though they may be very busy themself. ...
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1answer
209 views

Idiom/phrase when one takes some share from the shared resources & offers it to others as if he is offering with his own money & appearing generous

When Jack takes some leftover beverages (shared-resource) from chip-in that is contributed for a party without other member's consent and are yet required for the coming guests. Jack then leaves the ...
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2answers
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What is equivalent of “pottakkannente Maaveleru” means blindman throwing stones in a waterless well, but he thinks he is throw stones at mango tree

What is equivalent of Indian saying "pottakkannente Maaveleru" means while actually the blind man is throwing stones in a waterless well (a job in vain), but he thinks he is throw stones at mango tree ...
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2answers
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Looking for equivalent of Indian saying “ Apne gali mein kutta bhi sher hota hey” which means Every dog in his own territory is/becomes a lion

I am looking for equivalent of Indian saying " Apne gali mein kutte bhi sher hota hey" which is "In their own lane ( or street or area) dogs also are lions". the meaning is when the territory/terrain ...
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2answers
456 views

Is the proverb “it's not over until the fat lady sings” offensive? [closed]

The proverb "it's not/it ain't over until the fat lady sings" is generally understood to be referencing the stereotypically overweight sopranos of the opera (according to Wikipedia). I've got a ...
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3answers
49 views

What does “I like the direction of this” mean?

Context: After I suggested something, someone replied with: "I actually like the direction of this.".
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4answers
211 views

Alternative to “winner takes it all” or “first-past-the-post”

Consider the scenario of two scientists independently and concurrently working on a problem. The first one to achieve the breakthrough and have his or her results published will eventually be the one ...
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2answers
66 views

Idiom or phrase or proverb for When ever you need me you conveniently declare me the head of the department, other times i am no more than a nobody

Idiom or phrase or proverb for When ever you need me you conveniently declare me the head of the department (of course an acting head usually to throw me under the bus to deal/make difficult decisions ...
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2answers
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Is there an English equal for hindi saying “Bandar ke Haath me ustra” or “Razor in hands of a monkey”

Is there a English equal for hindi saying Bandar ke Haath me ustra which literally means "Razor in Monkey's hand" as if Never give a risky job to a people who is like a monkey. If he has a razor ...
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3answers
232 views

Is there a proverb, idiom for “those only who in line of fire only understand the agony”?

Is there a proverb, idiom for Those who are in line of fire only understand the agony. For the freewheeling back-seaters it is far too easy to sit back and say "Why do you worry so much?" Example: ...
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2answers
539 views

Someone who “despite the disgrace, still refuses to admit mistake and instead portrays the event as a victory”

What is the English idiom, expression, or proverb to express that even if I am proved wrong by all the members in the room, still I flaunt a false pride as if nothing happened? In Hindi, there is a ...
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3answers
267 views

A Word for a Person who believes only things which are globally believed/accepted?

Eg. In religious belief, I only believe that marriage is only a physical bond. There is nothing to do with rituals. Because Globally, that is the ONLY common thing in a wedding. Rituals are totally ...
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1answer
484 views

Is “ no news is good news” of Italian origin?

According to Phrase Finder, the origin of the famous proverb “no news is good news”: The earliest version of this familiar saying was attributed to the English King James I, who wrote in 1616, 'No ...
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2answers
62 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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Origin of “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”

According to the following source the adage The apple doesn't fall far from the tree originated in AmE in the first half of the 19th century: The first recorded use in the USA was by Ralph Waldo ...
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1answer
3k views

What's the origin of the proverb “Third time's a charm”?

We all know about the proverb "Third time's a charm", or " Third time lucky". We use it everyday in our day to day lives. I just realized that my own language has a similar proverb: "দানে দানে তিন দান"...
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1answer
270 views

What is the meaning of the proverb “If you must eat dung, eat elephant’s dung”?

I came across this proverb in Ruskin Bond's "Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra". I searched a lot but I am not able to find its meaning. What does this proverb mean? (There is no context about this ...
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3answers
243 views

Is there an english proverb/idiom/phrase for this translation?

English is my second language and I was wondering if there is a proverb/idiom/phrase for this proverb/idiom in my language which directly translates to: "Only who suffers can understand that ...
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4answers
102 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 ...