Please imagine:

  • A sales person / manufacturing company's directing manager ets. is marketing their recently produced goods or any other product in order to either be sold or be launched into the market via TV or in any meeting So it would not be surprising that they would make some good remarks for advertising them. Now, let's suppose that qualitatively the product is so poor or not all that they've made it out to be and you're well aware about it! As a saying you would probably say....................... [Sarcastically]


  • Let's suppose you are going to be hired in a company; you are sitting in front of the interviewer and talking to them now! The person asks you about your feedback about your character! You start to tell so many good things about you! The person just for fun would say........... [Humorously]

Figuratively, in both cases above, there is a saying in my language which literally says:

  • No sales person make bad remarks about what they are supposed to sell!

In the course of my researches I bumped into several proverbs, which I have no any idea if they sound archaic; if they sound like translations from foreign proverb; if using them somehow would sound unidiomatic to a native person etc. I have listed them below:

1 - No fish-seller cries stinking fish.
2 - Every cook praises his own broth.
3- Every bird likes its own nest.
4- Every potter praises his own pot.

I would be grateful if you let me know which one is in current use in English, or if none of them works, what uaually a native speaker would say instead?


1 Answer 1


I can't think of a phrase which is appropriate for both scenarios (talking about company's products, commenting on you speaking about your good points).

For the company's products:

Perhaps the most ordinary for the first situation, talking about your own company's products:

  • "to bite the hand that feeds you" Collins Can be used in any construction "You don't bite the hand the feeds you", "I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me"


  • "Got to dance with the one that brung ya" (US, colloquial) ("brung ya" = "brought you") Wiktionary Sounds faintly 1950s
  • "It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest" Oxfordreference with "ill bird" sounds faintly literary, often just "foul your own nest". Note that "foul" is formal for "to make dirty" = "to defecate" (wiktionary) and sounds the same as "fowl" = kind of bird wiktionary

There are many, many, vulgar variants of this latter phrase:

  • "Don't shit in your own back yard" (US, vulgar) = Don't make trouble in your own area
  • "Don't shit on your own door step" (UK, vulgar) = Don't make trouble immediately next to yourself
  • "Don't shit where you eat" (vulgar) = Don't make trouble on your source of food/income

Any kind of bad-action-verb can take the place of "shit" (vulgar), often "piss" (vulgar) and any home-place-noun would work: polite versions such as "defecate on the door step" and "do one on the doorstep" would be immediately understood in many verbal situations.

For responds to person talking about self

The interviewer might say

  • "I wouldn't expect you to rain on your own parade" (US)
  • "I suppose you have to blow your own trumpet"
  • Thank you very much @jonathanjo; but how about telling: "Why are you blowing your own trumpet all the time?!" for the interview case? I knwo it would be more blunt, but I'm more about the idiomaticity of the setructires.
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 7:03
  • Moreover, @jonathanjo please let me know which one of these two sentences is more common and more clear in meaning in English: No bird fouls its own nest and Nobody shits in their own backyard? I mean among both Britons and Americans of the current English.
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 7:17
  • An interviewer being humourous might well say "I'm glad you know how to blow your own trumpet". It would be rude to say "Why are you blowing your own trumpet all the time?" -- that sounds like siblings or spouses arguing.
    – jonathanjo
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 9:33
  • 1
    Regarding the salesman: "he's not going to bite the hand that feeds him, is he?" probably the most often heard, common in both UK, US. The bird/foul nest version I've only ever seen in print, The shit/backyard version is quite common, but US/vulg: I certainly hear it, but only amongst people who know each other very well. The bite/feed variant is very appropriate because it's the case of rejecting your source of money/food. The backyard/doorstep/nest versions are about making trouble for yourself near your home, more appropriate if the sales speech is in the premises of the company.
    – jonathanjo
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 9:41

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