In Arabic, we literally say:

The mistake made by a clever person is worth a thousand.

That is, is worth a thousand mistakes made by other people who are not clever. We use it to mean that people who are experienced are expected to be more careful and more immune to wrong-doing. And so if they do make mistakes, there's going to be major consequences and these mistakes will probably live on unforgiven. How can we nicely express this (rather extreme) idea in English?

  • Is clever really the closest word for the original? Would accomplished also work? Nov 20, 2018 at 11:43
  • Yes. Clever such as craftsmen who are good at why they do.
    – Sara
    Nov 20, 2018 at 11:45
  • 1
    I think you want "accomplished". clever in English can mean "ingenious" and there's not necessarily the sense that the person is an expert in a particular domain. Nov 20, 2018 at 11:47
  • So, it's accomplished then. :)
    – Sara
    Nov 20, 2018 at 11:48

1 Answer 1


If you're looking for a set phrase of some kind:

Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown.

Figuratively it could be used to say that a person with great responsibilities may feel burdened by them, that their decisions will have far-reaching consequences.

Let's make one up:

The novice errs. The master fails.

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