50 Proverbs

The following is a short list of 50 English proverbs culled from several online sources. I simply took those that sparked an interest, or that those that I’ve never heard in quite this phrasing, or those that caused a moment of thoughtful agreement. I’ve mostly excluded sayings from Shakespeare as he does make up a surprising volume of English language wordage.

  1. A bellyful is one of meat, drink, or sorrow.
  2. A blind man will not thank you for a looking-glass.
  3. A cat may look at a king.
  4. A degenerate nobleman is like a turnip. There is nothing good of him but that which is underground.
  5. A full cup must be carried steadily.
  6. A good mind possesses a kingdom.
  7. A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
  8. A hedge between keeps friends green.
  9. A hero is a man who is afraid to run away.
  10. A lie has short legs.
  11. A puff of wind and popular praise weigh the same.
  12. A ragged colt may make a good horse.
  13. A shady lane breeds mud.
  14. A small family is soon provided for.
  15. A smooth sea never made a skilful mariner.
  16. A stumble may prevent a fall.
  17. Absence sharpens love; presence strengthens it.
  18. Adversity flatters no man.
  19. Ale in, wit out.
  20. All are not merry that dance lightly.
  21. All are not thieves that dogs bark at.
  22. All cats love fish but hate to get their paws wet.
  23. All clever men are birds of prey.
  24. All temptations are found in either hope or fear.
  25. As the old cock crows, so crows the young.
  26. Better a snotty child than his nose wiped off.
  27. Beware of a man of one book.
  28. Cats hide their claws.
  29. Crooked logs make straight fires.
  30. Custom is the guide of the ignorant.
  31. Death always comes too early or too late.
  32. Death is a shadow that always follows the body.
  33. Death keeps no calendar.
  34. Do not be in a hurry to tie what you cannot untie.
  35. Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork.
  36. Don’t drown the man who taught you to swim.
  37. Everyone must row with the oars he has.
  38. Far fowls have fair feathers.
  39. Few are fit to be entrusted with themselves.
  40. Friends are like fiddle strings, they must not be screwed too tight.
  41. Gray hairs are death’s blossoms.
  42. Half a loaf is better than none.
  43. He that hath no children doth bring them up well.
  44. He who killeth the lion when absent feareth a mouse when present.
  45. If you want to be happy for a year, plant a garden; If you want to be happy for life, plant a tree.
  46. It is an equal failing to trust everybody and to trust nobody.
  47. It is better to begin in the evening than not at all.
  48. It is ill prizing of green barley.
  49. Little strokes fell great oaks.
  50. The devil dances in empty pockets.

About Christopher Johnstone

Christopher Johnstone lives in Melbourne
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