An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown



Dictionary of English World Proverbs and Sayings 






A friend is a second self.

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Curses are like young chickens, And still come home to roost!

William Henry Lytton Earle Bulwer


Custom is second nature. (Lat., Consuetudo est secunda natura.)

Saint Aurelius Augustine (Augustine of Hippo)

Repentant tears wash out the stain of guilt.

Saint Aurelius Augustine (Augustine of Hippo)

Be not arrogant when fortune smiles, or dejected when she frowns.

Decimus Magnus Ausonius

Don't count your chickens before they are hatched.

Don't cross the bridges before you come to them.

Don't have thy cloak to make when it begins to rain.

Don't keep a dog and bark yourself.

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Don't sell the bear's skin before you've caught it.

Don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.

Don't whistle (halloo) until you are out of the wood.

Dot your i's and cross your t's.

Draw not your bow till your arrow is fixed.

Drive the nail that will go.

Drunken days have all their tomorrow.

Drunkenness reveals what soberness conceals.

Dumb dogs are dangerous.

Each bird loves to hear himself sing.

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Easier said than done.

East or West ? home is best.

Easy come, easy go.

Eat at pleasure, drink with measure.

Empty vessels make the greatest (the most) sound.

Enough is as good as a feast.

Envy shoots at others and wounds herself.

Even reckoning makes long friends.

Every hole loves to hear himself bray.

Every barber knows that.

Every bean has its black.

Every bird likes its own nest.

Every bullet has its billet.

Every country has its customs.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining.

Every day is not Sunday.

Every dog has his day.

Every dog is a lion at home.

Every dog is valiant at his own door.

Every Jack has his Jill.

Every man has a fool in his sleeve.

Every man has his faults.

Every man has his hobby-horse.

Every man is the architect of his own fortunes.

Every man to his taste.

Every miller draws water to his own mill.

Every mother thinks her own gosling a swan.

Every one's faults are not written in their foreheads.

Every tub must stand on its own bottom..

Every white has its black, and every sweet its sour.

Every why has a wherefore.

Everybody's business is nobody's business.

Everything comes to him who waits.

Everything is good in its season.

Evil communications corrupt good manners.

Experience is the mother of wisdom.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools learn in no other.

Experience keeps no school, she teaches her pupils singly.

Extremes meet.

Facts are stubborn things..

Faint heart never won fair lady.

Fair without, foul (false) within.

Fair words break no bones.

False friends are worse than open enemies.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

Far from eye, far from heart.

Fasting comes after feasting.

Faults are thick where love is thin.

Feast today and fast tomorrow.

Fine feathers make fine birds.

Fine words butter no parsnips.

First catch your hare.

First come, first served.

First deserve and then desire.

First think, then speak.

Fish and company stink in three days.

Fish begins to stink at the head.

Follow the river and you'll get to the sea.

Fool's haste is no speed.

Fools and madmen speak the truth.

Fools grow without watering.

Fools may sometimes speak to the purpose.

Fools never know when they are well.

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

For the love of the game.

Forbearance is no acquittance.

Forbidden fruit is sweet.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Fortune favors the brave (the bold).

Fortune is easily found, but hard to be kept.

Four eyes see more (better) than two.

Friends are thieves of time.

From bad to worse.

From pillar to post.

Gentility without ability is worse than plain beggary.

Get a name to rise early, and you may lie all day.

Gifts from enemies are dangerous.

Give a fool rope enough, and he will hang himself.

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.

Give him an inch and he'll take an ell.

Give never the wolf the weather to keep.

Gluttony kills more men than the sword.

Go to bed with the lamb and rise with the lark.

Good clothes open all doors.

Good counsel does no harm.

Good health is above wealth.

Good masters make good servants.

Good words and no deeds.

Good words without deeds are rushes and reeds.

Gossiping and lying go hand in hand.

Grasp all, lose all.

Great barkers are no biters.

Great boast, small roast.

Great cry and little wool.

Great spenders are bad lenders.

Great talkers are great liars.

Great talkers are little doers.

Greedy folk have long arms.

Habit cures habit.

Half a loaf is better than no bread.

"Hamlet" without the Prince of Denmark .

Handsome is that handsome does.

Happiness takes no account of time.

Happy is he that is happy in his children.

Hard words break no bones.

Hares may pull dead lions by the beard.

Harm watch, harm catch.

Haste makes waste.

Hasty climbers have sudden falls.

Hate not at the first harm.

Hatred is blind, as well as love.

Hawks will not pick hawks' eyes.

He begins to die that quits his desires.

He cannot speak well that cannot hold his tongue.

He carries fire in one hand and water in the other.

He dances well to whom fortune pipes.

He gives twice who gives in a trice.

He goes long barefoot that waits for dead man's shoes.

He is a fool that forgets himself.

He is a good friend that speaks well of us behind our backs.

He is happy that thinks himself so.

He is lifeless that is faultless.


He smells best that smells of nothing.

He is not fit to command others that cannot command himself.

He is not laughed at that laughs at himself first.

He is not poor that has little, but he that desires much.

He jests at scars that never felt a wound.

He knows best what good is that has endured evil.

He knows how many beans make five.

He knows much who knows how to hold his tongue.

He laughs best who laughs last.

He lives long that lives well.

He must needs swim that is held up by the chin.

He should have a long spoon that sups with the devil.

He that comes first to the hill may sit where he will.

He that commits a fault thinks everyone speaks of it.

He that does you an i!i turn will never forgive you.

He that fears every bush must never go a-birding.

He that fears you present wiil hate you absent.

He that goes a borrowing, goes a sorrowing.

He that goes barefoot must not plant thorns.

He that has a full purse never wanted a friend.

He that has a great nose thinks everybody is speaking of it.

He that has an ill name is half hanged.

He that has no children knows not what love is.

He that has He head needs no hat.

He that has no money needs no purse.

He that is born to be hanged shall never be drowned.

He that is full of himself is very empty.

He that is ill to himself will be good to nobody.

He that is warm thinks all so.

He that knows nothing doubts nothing.

He that lies down with dogs must rise up with fleas.

He that lives with cripples learns to limp.

He that mischief hatches, mischief catches.

He that never climbed never fell.

He that once deceives is ever suspected.

He that promises too much means nothing.

He that respects not is not respected.

He that seeks trouble never misses.

He that serves everybody is paid by nobody.

He that serves God for money will serve the devil for better wages.

He that spares the bad injures the good.

He that talks much errs much.

He that talks much lies much.

He that will eat the kernel must crack the nut.

He that will not when he may, when he will he shall have nay.

He that will steal an egg will steal an ox.

He that will thrive, must rise at five.

He that would eat the fruit must climb the tree.

He that would have eggs must endure the cackling of hens.

He who is born a fool is never cured.

He who hesitates is lost.

He who likes borrowing dislikes paying.

He who makes no mistakes, makes nothing.

He who pleased everybody died before he was born.

He who says what he likes, shall hear what he doesn't like.

He who would catch fish must not mind getting wet.

He who would eat the nut must first crack the shell.

He who would search for pearls must dive below.

He will never set the Thames on fire.

He works best who knows his trade.

Head cook and bottle-washer.

Health is not valued till sickness comes.

His money burns a hole in his pocket.

Honesty is the best policy.

Honey is not for the hole's mouth.

Honey is sweet, but the bee stings.

Honour and profit lie not in one sack.

Honours change manners..

Hope is a good breakfast, but a bad supper.

Hope is the poor man's bread.

Hunger breaks stone walls.

Hunger finds no fault with cookery.

Hunger is the best sauce.

Hungry bellies have no ears.

Idle folks lack no excuses.

Idleness is the mother of all evil.

Idleness rusts the mind.

If an hole (donkey) bray at you, don't bray at him.

If ifs and ans were pots and pans...

If my aunt had been a man, she'd have been my uncle.

If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch..

If the sky falls, we shall catch larks.

If there were no clouds, we should not enjoy the sun.

If things were to be done twice all would be wise.

If we can't as we would, we must do as we can.

If wishes were horses, beggars might ride.

If you agree to carry the calf, they'll make you carry the cow.

If you cannot bite, never show your teeth.

If you cannot have the best, make the best of what you have.

If you dance you must pay the fiddler.

If you laugh before breakfast you'll cry before supper.

If you run after two hares, you will catch neither.

If you sell the cow, you sell her milk too.

If you throw mud enough, some of it will stick.

If you try to please all you will please none.

If you want a thing well done, do it yourself.

Ill-gotten gains never prosper.

Ill-gotten, ill-spent.

In every beginning think of the end.

In for a penny, in for a pound.

In the country of the blind one-eyed man is a king.

In the end things will mend.

In the evening one may praise the day.

Iron hand (fist) in a velvet glove.

It is a good horse that never stumbles.

It is a long lane that has no turning.

It is a poor mouse that has only one hole.

It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest.

It is an ill wind that blows nobody good.

It is a silly fish, that is caught twice with the same bait.

It is easy to swim if another holds up your chin (head).

It is enough to make a cat laugh.

It is good fishing in troubled waters.

It is never too late to learn.

It is no use crying over spilt milk.

It is the first step that costs.

It never rains but it pours.

It's as broad as it's long.

It's no use pumping a dry well.

It's one thing to flourish and another to fight.

It takes all sorts to make a world.

Jackdaw in peacock's feathers.

Jest with an hole and he will flap you in the face with his tail.

Judge not of men and things at first sight.

Just as the twig is bent, the tree is inclined.

Keep a thing seven years and you will find a use for it.

Keep your mouth shut and your ears open.

Keep your mouth shut and your eyes open.

Last, but not least.

Laws catch flies, but let hornets go free.

Learn to creep before you leap.

Learn to say before you sing.

Learn wisdom by the follies of others.

Least said, soonest mended.

Leaves without figs.

Let bygones be bygones.

Let every man praise the bridge he goes over.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

Let well (enough) alone.

Liars need good memories.

Lies have short legs.

Life is but a span.

Life is not a bed of roses.

Life is not all cakes and ale (beer and skittles).

Like a cat on hot bricks.

Like a needle in a haystack.

Like begets like.

Like cures like.

Like father, like son.

Like draws to like.

Like master, like man.

Like mother, like daughter.

Like parents, like children.

Like priest, like people.

Like teacher, like pupil.

Little chips light great fires.

Little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Little pigeons can carry great messages.

Little pitchers have long ears.

Little strokes fell great oaks.

Little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.

Little things amuse little minds.

Live and learn.

Live and let live.

Live not to eat, but eat to live.

Long absent, soon forgotten.

Look before you leap.

Look before you leap, but having leapt never look back.

Lookers-on see more than players.

Lord (God, Heaven) helps those (them) who help themselves.

Lost time is never found again.

Love cannot be forced.

Love in a cottage.

Love is blind, as well as hatred.

Love me, love my dog.

Love will creep where it may not go.

Make haste slowly.

Make hay while the sun shines.

Make or mar.

Man proposes but God disposes.

Many a fine dish has nothing on it.

Many a good cow has a bad calf.

Many a good father has but a bad son.

Many a little makes a mickle.

Many a true word is spoken in jest.

Many hands make light work.

Many men, many minds.

Many words hurt more than swords.

Many words will not fill a bushel.

Marriages are made in heaven.

Measure for measure.

Measure thrice and cut once.

Men may meet but mountains never.

Mend or end (end or mend).

Might goes before right.

Misfortunes never come alone (singly).

Misfortunes tell us what fortune is.

Money begets money.

Money has no smell.

Money is a good servant but a bad master.

Money often unmakes the men who make it.

Money spent on the brain is never spent in vain.

More haste, less speed.

Much ado about nothing.

Much will have more.

Muck and money go together.

Murder will out.

My house is my castle.

Name not a rope in his house that was hanged.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Necessity knows no law.

Neck or nothing.

Need makes the old wife trot.



 Back to Daimon Library English Quotes Search Page


website tracking