There is a proverb in my language which says:

Whoever's house has a bigger roof, they will have more snow on it.

Meaning that the especially wealthy people are mightier. I know two proverbs here, but I have no idea which one sounds more idiomatic to an AE native speaker:

  • A great ship needs deep water.

  • A big head has a big ache.

P.S. I am looking for a common proverb. I would appreciate it if someone could help me find out if they are natural. If not please tell me what I have to say instead?

  • Big feet need big shoes. As for the two you suggest, the second one sounds more negative to me. Jan 24, 2017 at 7:58
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    None of your self translated phrases mean "the wealthy are more important/ powerful". Could you please include the original proverb in your native language. Thanks.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 24, 2017 at 8:33
  • @Mari-LouA I have already put it. :)
    – A-friend
    Jan 24, 2017 at 20:18
  • I asked that you include the proverb in your native language, your mother tongue. Users who are familiar with your language (it's Russian, I think) would be able to answer.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 24, 2017 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


The expression

He casts a long shadow

comes to mind - when something or someone that casts a long shadow, it means they have considerable influence on other people or events.

However, your second example, 'a big head has a big ache', differs in meaning from the thread title, and when I read it, the expression

With great power comes great responsibility.

...comes to mind.

It's generally attributed to Voltaire:

Ils doivent envisager qu’une grande responsabilité est la suite inséparable d’un grand pouvoir.

They must consider that great responsibility follows inseparably from great power.

though variations thereof have been attributed to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill over the years. Sadly, most people will recognise it as the words spoken by Uncle Ben in Spiderman 2 :)

Incidentally, in English we use the term big-headed (or variations thereof) to describe a person who is conceited, arrogant or self-important, rather than to describe someone of wealth or power, as implied by your translation of your native proverb.

  • The adage does not mean a wealthy person is more powerful or more important. Your suggestion does not match the OP's title.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 24, 2017 at 8:30
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    @Mari-LouA - it does match the OP's second example though (which also seems at odds with the post title) - was editing to reflect that as you posted :)
    – mike
    Jan 24, 2017 at 8:32
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    In the context of the thread, one could interpret a big head to mean important, or powerful, and a big ache to mean the worries and responsibilities that go with that power. It is, after all, a direct translation from the OP's mother tongue, rather than being an English expression that he or she has heard before.
    – mike
    Jan 24, 2017 at 8:37

You may be familiar with the biblical Golden Rule:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

There is also a cynical parody version of the Golden Rule:

He who has the gold makes the rules.

One of the morals of the legend of "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" is about the need to "pay the piper". (Not paying one's debts can result in disastrous consequences.) A similar proverb is:

He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Jesse Unruh, who was powerful in California politics, often said:

Money is the mother's milk of politics.

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