Cultural Literacy: Proverbs
Terms in this set (91)
Actions speak louder than words.
It is safer to rely on what people do than on what they say.
All for one and one for all.
Every member supports the group and the group supports every member; taken from "The Three Musketeers" by 19th-century French author Alexandre Dumas
All's well that ends well.
In any effort, what matters is a good outcome.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Apples help keep us healthy.
April showers bring May flowers.
Unpleasant things may bring about good things, just as rainy days cause flowers to bloom later on.
Beauty is only skin deep.
People should be judged not by their appearance but by their inner qualities.
Beggars can't be choosers.
People who have very little can't be fussy about what they get.
The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.
No matter how carefully you plan, something may still go wrong.
Better late than never.
It is better to do something after it was supposed to be done than not to do it at all.
Better safe than sorry.
Be careful before you act, or you may suffer later.
The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
The more powerful and successful people are, the more spectacular is their downfall.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
What you already have is more dependable than something that you only hope to get.
Birds of a feather flock together.
People are attracted to others who are like themselves.
Count your blessings.
Be happy for what you have; think of the good things in your life instead of hte bad.
Curiosity killed the cat.
People should mind their own business.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Treat others with the same kindness that you would like shown to you; the Golden Rule from the Bible.
A dog is man's best friend.
A dog is even more faithful to its owner than human friends are to each other.
Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
Don't assume that you'll get the things you want before you actually have them.
Don't cry over spilt milk.
It doesn't do any good to be unhappy about something that has already happened.
Don't cut off your nose to spite your face.
Don't take some action in anger that will hurt you more than it hurts someone else.
Don't judge a book by its cover.
Don't judge the value of a thing simply by its appearance.
Don't lock the stable door after the horse is stolen.
After the damage has already been done, it's pointless to take the actions that could have prevented it.
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
If you get something for nothing, don't complain if it's not exactly what you want; examining a horse's mouth is one way of estimating its age.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Don't make all your plans depend on one thing, because that one thing could go wrong and destroy your plans.
Don't put the cart before the horse.
Begin at the beginning; do things in their proper order.
The early bird catches the worm.
To achieve a goal, get an early start.
Early to bed and early to rise / Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Saying about industrious habits taken from Benjamin Franklin's 18th-century publication "Poor Richard's Almanack"
Every cloud has a silver lining.
There is something good in every misfortune.
Fish out of water.
You can feel awkward when you are out of your familiar environment.
A fool and his money are soon parted.
Foolish people spend their money as soon as they get it.
A friend in need is a friend indeed.
Someone who helps us when we are in trouble is a genuine friend.
God helps those who help themselves.
Don't expect to get what you want without working hard for it yourself.
The grass is always greener on the other side.
Some people are never satisfied with what they have; they always think others are more fortunate.
Great oaks from little acorns grow.
Great things or great people often have humble beginnings.
Half a loaf is better than none.
To have something is better than to have nothing at all.
Haste makes waste.
If you do something too quickly, you will make even more work for yourself.
He who hesitates is lost.
A person who spends too much time thinking about what to do misses the chance to act at all.
He who laughs last laughs best.
People may be laughed at when they try to achieve a goal, but when they succeed, they will be able to laugh at those who laughed at them.
Hitch your wagon to a star.
Aim high; hope for great things; advice penned by 19th century poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
Never give up.
If the shoe fits, wear it.
If a description of you is true, then you must accept it -- even if you don't like it.
If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.
If wishing could make things happen, we would all have everything we wanted.
Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone.
Most people would rather be around happy people than sad ones; so happy people have many friends, and sad people are often alone.
A leopard cannot change his spots.
People cannot change their basic nature -- that is, the way they are inside.
Let bygones be bygones.
Don't hold grudges; let past offenses stay in the past.
Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.
Good luck or bad luck never comes to the same person twice in exactly the same way; this statement is NOT true regarding actual weather.
Little strokes fell great oaks.
Persistent effort can accomplish great things, just as a person can chop down even the largest tree by staying on the task long enough.
Live and learn.
We should learn from our mistakes.
Live and let live.
We should live the way we choose and allow others to do the same.
Look before you leap.
We should know what we are getting into before we act.
Make hay while the sun shines.
When you have a chance to do something, do it; you will not have the chance forever.
Many hands make light work.
Large tasks become easier when they are divided among several people.
Mind your Ps and Qs.
Be on your best behavior, taken from a common confusion among students as they learn to write similar letters of the alphabet.
A miss is as good as a mile.
If you fail at a task, it doesn't matter if you almost succeeded; losing a game by one score is still losing.
Money is the root of all evil.
Most wrongdoing occurs because of greed for money and what it can buy; adapted from St. Paul 1 Timothy 6:10.
The more the merrier.
If many people take part in something, it will be more fun than if just a few participate; often used to welcome those who join in an ongoing activity.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
When people really need something, they will think of a way to get it.
It's never over till it's over.
Until a competition has come to its completion, its ultimate outcome is in doubt.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
Don't delay doing a thing if you can do it now.
It's never too late to mend.
It's always a good time to correct a flaw or change your ways.
Nothing will come of nothing.
You can't gain from any endeavor unless you have contributed to it; proverb used by Shakespeare in "King Lear"
Once bitten, twice shy.
If you've done something that has led to suffering, you will avoid doing that thing again.
One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.
One bad person can ruin a larger gathering of people.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
It's better to make the small effort to plan ahead so that things don't go wrong than to do a lot of repair afterward.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
Money not spent is like accumulated wealth.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
A visual image can give people a better sense of something than the written word.
A place for everything and everything in its place.
Things should be kept in order.
Practice makes perfect.
Doing something over and over makes one better at it; only true if the repetitions are of a high or improving quality throughout the activity.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Putting off doing something makes us lose valuable time.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
If you want to find out if something is good, you must experience it yourself.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Good intentions don't matter if wicked actions result; people should be judged by actions and not intentions.
Rome wasn't built in a day.
It takes a long time to achieve worthwhile lasting achievements.
Seeing is believing.
Proverb intended to compel one who asserts a things as true to provide conclusive evidence; refers to the reaction of the Apostle Thomas to the news of the Resurrection.
The show must go on.
People are counting on us to do this, and we must not disappoint them.
A stitch in time saves nine.
It's easier to take precautions than to repair the damage that may result at least partly from failing to take them.
Strike while the iron is hot.
You should act on an opportunity as soon as it arises, just as a smith shapes metal by striking or bending it when it is malleable.
There's more than one way to skin a cat.
There are usually several ways to accomplish a particular task or achieve a given goal.
There's no place like home.
One's home is the best place to be.
Time heals all wounds.
As time passes, people get over insults, injuries, and hatreds.
Truth is stranger than fiction.
Sometimes the things that happen in real life are harder to believe than the things we imagine might happen.
Two heads are better than one.
Some problems can be solved more easily by two people working together than by one person working alone.
Two wrongs don't make a right.
A wrongdoing shouldn't be answered by more wrongdoing; particularly a common warning against taking vengeful action.
Waste not, want not.
If we don't waste the things we have, won't lack the things we need.
A watched pot never boils.
When we impatiently wait for a thing to happen, it feels like it will never happen.
Well begun is half done.
Getting off to a good start on a task can propel you through much of its labor.
What will be, will be.
Some things will happen regardless of what we do, so we should accept them.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Adapt yourself to the ways of the people around you.
When it rains, it pours.
When bad luck comes, it seems that a lot of bad things happen at once.
Where there's a will, there's a way.
If you really want to do something, you will figure out how to accomplish it.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
You can present an opportunity to another person, but you cannot force that person to seize it.
You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
A person who has done things one way for very long will resist change.
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