Questions tagged [proverbs]

For questions about English proverbs, well-known sentences, often with a literal as well as a figurative meaning, which are appropriate for certain situations.

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An English proverb for we should always use sweet words

Aisi vaani boliye, man ka apa khoye Auran ka shital kare, aphaun shital hoye English translation: Speak such words, sans ego’s ploy Body remains composed, giving the listener joy Written by Kabir Das ...
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What did Martin Luther King mean by "In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends"?

I was reading a pamphlet titled 'The Wise saying' then saw this saying: "In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." By Martin Luther King ...
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2 answers
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Caesar's wife must be above suspicion [closed]

What is the interpretation of the following proverb? Caesar's wife must be above suspicion. Does it mean that people associated with public figures must act cautiously to avoid suspicion of ...
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What does reach across the table mean in this context?

What does reach across the table mean in this context? I'm translating a novel and I came across this sentence which I'm not sure whether it means literally what it says or it has an implied meaning. ...
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Proverb having the use of past tense

Nothing comes out of the sack but what was in it. It is a proverb. As it is taught, a proverb is always constructed by using simple present tense, here this one has past form in its second clause. I ...
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Question tags after half proverbs

According to Longman, there are some proverbs (my examples below) that native speakers mostly use half of. In this case, I was wondering weather it would sound natural, if I use a question tag after a ...
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pro-verb (Many people answered that saving money made them happier than eating healthy did.)

Many people answered that saving money made them happier than eating healthy did. Does the pro-verb 'did' mean "made them happy", and, thus, " ~ happier than eating healthy made them ...
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3 answers
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In the land of milk and honey

What does this sentence below mean? He never had a chance in the land of milk and honey. I took the sentence from someone's comment, so there's no context. I've tried to search on Google, but there ...
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When things can't get any worse and you want to take the plunge

Let's imagine someone has a girlfriend who's his one and only and means the world to him. She breaks up with the guy for whatever reason (say she sees no future in that relationship.) "While he ...
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3 votes
4 answers
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An English proverb or idiom that describes you shouldn’t condemn the weak

Do not ever condemn a straw/dust that comes under your foot. If it ever rises up and goes into your eye, it will cause a lot of pain! That’s an English translation.Kabir Das says that you should not ...
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Is there an idiom that says not to change a perfectly good thing?

Is there an idiom/word/proverb that says not to change a perfectly good thing or something that works?
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Equivalent of a Hindi proverb: Only a jeweller can identify a diamond

There’s a saying in Hindi: “Only a jeweller can identify a diamond.” Example: The master found the art hidden inside Viddiya and made her a famous lyricist. It’s true only a jeweller can identify a ...
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2 answers
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saying request for "one success after another"

Is there a saying to the effect that when a person has a sucess, another soon follows?
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1 answer
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Is there a saying in English to do ‘now’ or ‘today’?

There is a saying in Hindi implies do not wait for tomorrow to do anything that you can do today. Kal kare so aaj kar aaj kare so ab. Pal men parle hogi bahuri karoge kab? Literal translation: ...
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"Is for every proverb there an opposite one?" Does that question sound natural?

I want to make a question from the proverb "For every proverb there is an opposite one". Here are some attempts and why they don't work: "Is for every proverb there an opposite one?&...
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1 answer
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Idiom/phrase/proverb to describe a poorly conducted case in court

Are there any phrases, idioms, proverbs in english to indicate a situation where a litigant loses his case in court because of his solicitor's professional negligent in conducting the case in court. ...
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What kind of "effect" is it when something has ended but temporarily affects still?

Consider a situation where a circumstance causes an effect. Once the circumstance changes or vanishes, the effect is expected to cease. In certain cases, the observable effect continues to transpire, ...
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"Mum's the word" and "See no evil, hear no evil"

There is an eastern proverb (perhaps a Middle Eastern one, ) which is used to ask someone in a spoken manner to keep something as a secret and do not reveal that they have seen or heard anything. I ...
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A proverb to convey: "There is always someone better"

I am wondering whether there is any routine, English proverb which is used to imply there is always someone better; so you have to prevent from being too proud of yourself. I came across the ...
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1 answer
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Quotes about "it is easy to do something important for one day, but hard to do it repeatedly for a long period of time"

I wonder if there are any English quotes like It is easy to do something important for one day, but hard to do it repeatedly for a long period of time I do know "Rome is not built in one day&...
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Reverting back to what you belong to

I was wondering if there is any fixed expression, poem, proverb to imply: Every one who is left far from his source (source= his / her tendencies,) wishes back the time when he was united with it. I....
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When you are blamed for no reason in a company

I was wondering whether there is any English proverb, idiom or expression which can be used to describe the situation in which someone behaves in an unfair way to you, for instance by blaming or ...
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1 answer
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What does "The scale is always heavily weighted" mean?

What does "The scale is always heavily weighted" mean? Even at the present day the air is charged with prejudice. If any man of standing at the present instant were to enter a London ...
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21 votes
9 answers
5k views

What's the English saying for "That the ancestors are successful is inferior to that the descendants are successful"?

There goes a Chinese maxim "前人 强 不如 后人 强". 前人= former generation, ancestor; 后人= later generation, descendant; 强= strong, powerful; 不如= not as good/well as, inferior to, less desirable than. ...
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1 answer
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What is the well known proverb to say "Be a king of kings, not a king of slaves, let alone a slave of slaves"?

I am looking for a proverb that conveys the following meaning: Be a king of kings, not a king of slaves, let alone a slave of slaves Is it the following understandable? Be a big fish in a big ...
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4 votes
1 answer
353 views

An idiom for “Until you punish the offender, they will not give up offenses”

In writing I've come across an idiom of my language that means: Until you punish the offender, they will not give up offenses. What is the English idiom for this? Let me add some explanation to ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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When one problem is added to the previous one

Let's assume someone has a big problem and is dealing with it. While he/she has not solved the first problem, another problem comes up and adds to the previous one. I wonder how you would explain this ...
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When one has a spouse that they do not deserve him / her

There is a hyperbole which says always a best husband/wife belongs to somebody who really doesn't deserve him/her! For instance, a quite gorgeous girl with a high educational degree and good family, ...
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1 answer
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Need (destitution) makes the strongest people foxlike

I wonder if there is any English proverb alluding to this fact that destitution and poverty (generally 'need'), makes strongest and the most powerful people to act in a different (always negative) way?...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Is there an idioms for "nothing is yet clear"

I usually say that something is not clear yet like "it is still in the wind" when something is uncertain. Is there any English idiom or proverb that describe this saying?
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1 answer
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Is there an idiom or proverb that implies simplicity is good?

Is there an idiom or proverb that implies simplicity is good? I was trying to find some idioms or proverbs that implied simplicity is good, and I was looking for some idioms or proverbs that implied ...
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1 answer
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What is the most common sarcastic response to something you already know?

How sarcastically imply someone who is trying to teach you something that you are well aware in that case Edited: I am going to find an up-to-date English metaphorical and sarcastic expression or ...
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1 vote
2 answers
434 views

An English equivalent for "all truth will not bear telling"

We all believe that telling the truth is fine. But sometimes there are some occasions in which you'de better keep someone in the dark about something (possibly on their own or someone else's favor) or ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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An expression / a proverb to say: "liars often forget what they said"

As you may confronted some liars, you possibly would confirm that usually they forget what they have made-up and then related to you in the past and it's not unlekely that once they will forget in the ...
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0 votes
2 answers
400 views

An expression/idiom/proverb to say "losing a small amount would be much better than losing everything"

Is there any common English expression, idiom or proverb which implies: Stop and accept a small loss, rather than continue and risk losing everything. When someone is losing or possibly would lose ...
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10 votes
3 answers
5k views

A person lacking money who shows off a lot

There is a proverb in our language which is used when someone tries to show off and pretend to be very rich and also try to spend much money, and somehow prepare well-brand clothes to keep up with the ...
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1 answer
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A saying / an expression to say: "most of the problems occure to the weakest people"

There is a proverbial sentence in our culture which says: Every obstacle is often on the way of (the weakest / the most poore etc.) people. (literal translation) Connotation: it means ...
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2 answers
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A proverb/an expression to convey "a tendency towards a very big and unrealistic objective can be indicative of a failure"

In the old times, when it came to a match between our ancient wrestlers, the participants in order to define the strongest ones used to grab a rock and raise it to gain more popularity; but prior to ...
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1 answer
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"Put a spoke in sb's wheel" Vs "Throw/put a (monkey) wrench in the works"

The English expressions: throw a spanner in the works put a spanner in the works throw a (monkey) wrench in the works Mean: to do something that prevents a plan or activity ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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A proverb about the belief that "there is a downhill for every uphill"

Is there any fixed saying in English which can encompass the mesaage that you should not get proud of what you have or what you are; because as you got famous/wealthy/etc. you might get weak or poor......
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2 votes
2 answers
315 views

Even some useless stuff would be of use some day

Is there any common idiom or expression in English which can convey such a message that: anything that is of no use, will be used someday for sure. It is a translated proverb which believes do not ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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An equivalent English saying for "Those who are more humble and calm are more knowledgeable"

How would you normally convey the following message throgh a fixed saying: Those who are quiet and seem to be more humble, may belong very deep knowledge or even very strong feelings. Note: It's not ...
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To say something indirecty to someone through telling it to a third person

Please imagine the person "A" is not going to tell something directly to the person "B" in a company. "A" says it to "C" who has a more friendly relations with "A", but in the manner that "C" (who is ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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An equivalent for the proverb "A creaking door hangs longest or..."

Please have a look on the following scenarios and let me know what is the current English equivalent for the meaning in my question that can be used to fill in the blanks: Please imagine a couple ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Cut your coat according to your cloth

I have found two similar sayings in English which say: undertake only what you have the money or ability to do and no more. But apparantly they work only in British English, whilst I need something ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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A proverb / an expression to imply: "One can manage their own affairs"

Is there any idiom / expression or proverb in English which can imply the situation that someone can manage their own affairs in rather severe conditions? For instance, a) I'm going to go ...
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1 vote
2 answers
51 views

When someone suddenly loses their everything

Is there any idiom / expression in English which can imply the situation in which someone due to some bad happenings suddenly and quickly plummets from the height of success and glory to the depth of ...
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0 votes
2 answers
99 views

An English equivalent for the proverbial sentence: "if gold rusts, what will iron do?!"

I've been looking for a proverbial sentence which literally says: People usually sprinkle salt on "every perishable thaink" that is going bad or has started to rot! But, imagine the case when ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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A proverb / an expression to imply: "Enough is as good as a feast" or "Too much spoil, too little doesn't satisfy"

Please imagine a situation that a person goes too far in doing something and in another task they son't put enough effort! Or a cook who's making a food and salts a it too much, and the other food ...
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The meaning of "corruption of the best is the worst of all"

I have searched the web and found out that the proverbial sentence the corruption of the best is the worst of all has some Latin roots: Corruptio optimi pessima. Which apparantly is ...
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