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 






It often happens, that misery will follow a marriage when the dowry is too large.

Decimus Magnus Ausonius

He won't, won't he? Then bring me my boots.
Richard Harris Barham


Let the blacksmith wear the chains he has himself made.

Decimus Magnus Ausonius

No man will revel long in the indulgence of crime.

Decimus Magnus Ausonius

One day unfolds it and one day destroys.

Decimus Magnus Ausonius

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.

Francis Bacon

Knowledge is power.

Francis Bacon, paraphrase, sometimes attributed to Thomas Hobbes

Stay a little, that we may make an end the sooner.

Francis Bacon

The mould of a man's fortune is in his own hands.

Francis Bacon

The folly of one man is the fortune of another.

Francis Bacon, Of Fortune

The remedy is worse than the disease.

Francis Bacon, Of Seditions

Needs must when the devil drives.

Neither fish nor flesh.

Neither here nor there.

Neither rhyme nor reason.

Never cackle till your egg is laid.

Never cast dirt into that fountain of which you have sometime drunk.

Never do things by halves.

Never fry a fish till it's caught.

Never offer to teach fish to swim.

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do (can be done) today.

Never quit certainty for hope.

Never too much of a good thing.

Never try to prove what nobody doubts.

Never write what you dare not sign.

New brooms sweep clean.

New lords, new laws.

Nightingales will not sing in a cage.

No flying from fate.

No garden without its weeds.

No great loss without some small gain.

No herb will cure love.

No joy without alloy.

No living man all things can.

No longer pipe, no longer dance.

No man is wise at all times.

No man loves his fetters, be they made of gold.

No news (is) good news.

No pains, no gains.

No song, no supper.

No sweet without (some) sweat.

No wisdom like silence.

None but the brave deserve the fair.

None so blind as those who won't see..

None so deaf as those that won't hear.

Nothing comes out of the sack but what was in it.

Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.

Nothing must be done hastily but killing of fleas.

Nothing so bad, as not to be good for something.

Nothing succeeds like success.

Nothing venture, nothing have.

Oaks may fall when reeds stand the storm.

Of two evils choose the least.

Old birds are not caught with chaff.

Old friends and old wine are best.

On Shank's mare.

Once bitten, twice shy.

Once is no rule (custom).

One beats the bush, and another catches the bird.

One chick keeps a hen busy.

One drop of poison infects the whole tun of wine.

One fire drives out another.

One good turn deserves another.

One law for the rich, and another for the poor.

One lie makes many.

One link broken, the whole chain is broken.

One man, no man.

One man's meat is another man's poison.

One scabby sheep will mar a whole flock.

One swallow does not make a summer.

One today is worth two tomorrow.

Open not your door when the devil knocks.

Opinions differ.

Opportunity makes the thief.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Out of the frying-pan into the fire.

Packed like herrings.

Patience is a plaster for all sores.

Penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Pleasure has a sting in its tail.

Plenty is no plague.

Politeness costs little (nothing), but yields much.

Poverty is no sin.

Poverty is not a shame, but the being ashamed of it is.

Practice what you preach.

Praise is not pudding.

Pride goes before a fall.

Procrastination is the thief of time.

Promise is debt.

Promise little, but do much.

Prosperity makes friends, and adversity tries them.

Put not your hand between the bark and the tree.

Rain at seven, fine at eleven.

Rats desert a sinking ship.

Repentance is good, but innocence is better.

Respect yourself, or no one else will respect you.

Roll my log and I will roll yours.

Rome was not built in a day.

Salt water and absence wash away love.

Saying and doing are two things.

Score twice before you cut once.

Scornful dogs will eat dirty puddings.

Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

Self done is soon done.

Self done is well done.

Self is a bad counselor.

Self-praise is no recommendation.

Set a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the devil.

Set a thief to catch a thief.

Shallow streams make most din.

Short debts (accounts) make long friends.

Silence gives consent.

Since Adam was a boy.

Sink or swim!


Six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Slow but sure.

Small rain lays great dust.

So many countries, so many customs.

So many men, so many minds.

Soft fire makes sweet malt.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark .

Soon learnt, soon forgotten.

Soon ripe, soon rotten.

Speak (talk) of the devil and he will appear (is sure to appear).

Speech is silver but silence is gold.

Standers-by see more than gamesters.

Still waters run deep.

Stolen pleasures are sweetest.

Stretch your arm no further than your sleeve will reach.

Stretch your legs according to the coverlet.

Strike while the iron is hot.

Stuff today and starve tomorrow.

Success is never blamed.

Such carpenters, such chips.

Sweep before your own door.

Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves.

Take us as you find us.

Tarred with the same brush.

Tastes differ.

Tell that to the marines.

That cock won't fight.

That which one least anticipates soonest comes to pass.

That's a horse of another colour.

That's where the shoe pinches!

The beggar may sing before the thief (before a footpad).

The best fish smell when they are three days old.

The best fish swim near the bottom.

The best is oftentimes the enemy of the good.

The busiest man finds the most leisure.

The camel going to seek horns lost his ears.

The cap fits.

The cask savours of the first fill.

The cat shuts its eyes when stealing cream.

The cat would eat fish and would not wet her paws.

The chain is no stronger than its weakest link.

The cobbler should stick to his last.

The cobbler's wife is the worst shod.

The darkest hour is that before the dawn.

The darkest place is under the candlestick.

The devil is not so black as he is painted.

The devil knows many things because he is old.

The devil lurks behind the cross.

The devil rebuking sin.

The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.

The Dutch have taken Holland !

The early bird catches the worm.

The end crowns the work.

The end justifies the means.

The evils we bring on ourselves are hardest to bear.

The exception proves the rule.

The face is the index of the mind.

The falling out of lovers is the renewing of love.

The fat is in the fire.

The first blow is half the battle.

The furthest way about is the nearest way home.

The game is not worth the candle..

The heart that once truly loves never forgets.

The higher the ape goes, the more he shows his tail.

The last drop makes the cup run over.

The last straw breaks the camel's back.

The leopard cannot change its spots.

The longest day has an end.

The mill cannot grind with the water that is past.

The moon does not heed the barking of dogs.

The more haste, the less speed.

The more the merrier.

The morning sun never lasts a day.

The mountain has brought forth a mouse.

The nearer the bone, the sweeter the flesh.

The pitcher goes often to the well but is broken at last.

The pot calls the kettle black.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

The receiver is as bad as the thief.

The remedy is worse than the disease.

The rotten apple injures its neighbours.

The scalded dog fears cold water.

The tailor makes the man.

The tongue of idle persons is never idle.

The voice of one man is the voice of no one.

The way (the road) to hell is paved with good intentions.

The wind cannot be caught in a net.

The work shows the workman.

There are lees to every wine.

There are more ways to the wood than one.

There is a place for everything, and everything in its place.

There is more than one way to kill a cat.

There is no fire without smoke.

There is no place like home.

There is no rose without a thorn.

There is no rule without an exception.


There is no smoke without fire.

There's many a slip 'tween (== between) the cup and the lip.

There's no use crying over split milk.

They are hand and glove.

They must hunger in winter that will not work in summer.

Things past cannot be recalled.

Think today and speak tomorrow.

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Time and tide wait for no man.

Time cures all things.

Time is money.

Time is the great healer.

Time works wonders.

To add fuel (oil) to the fire (flames).

To angle with a silver hook.

To be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth.

To be head over ears in debt.

To be in one's birthday suit.

To be up to the ears in love.

To be wise behind the hand.

To beat about the bush.

To beat the air.

To bring grist to somebody's mill.

To build a fire under oneself.

To buy a pig in a poke.

To call a spade a spade.

To call off the dogs.

To carry coals to Newcastle.

To cast pearls before swine.

To cast prudence to the winds.

To come away none the wiser.

To come off cheap.

To come off with a whole skin.

To come off with flying colours.

To come out dry.

To come out with clean hands.

To cook a hare before catching him.

To cry with one eye and laugh with the other.

To cut one's throat with a feather.

To draw (pull) in one's horns.

To drop a bucket into an empty well.

To draw water in a sieve.

To eat the calf in the cow's belly.

To err is human.

To fiddle while Rome is burning.

To fight with one's own shadow.

To find a mare's nest.

To fish in troubled waters.

To fit like a glove.

To flog a dead horse.

To get out of bed on the wrong side.

To give a lark to catch a kite.

To go for wool and come home shorn.

To go through fire and water (through thick and thin).

To have a finger in the pie.

To have rats in the attic.

To hit the nail on the head.

To kick against the pricks.

To kill two birds with one stone.

To know everything is to know nothing.

To know on which side one's bread is buttered.

To know what's what.

To lay by for a rainy day.

To live from hand to mouth.

To lock the stable-door after the horse is stolen.

To look for a needle in a haystack.

To love somebody (something) as the devil loves holy water.

To make a mountain out of a molehill.

To make both ends meet.

To make the cup run over.

To make (to turn) the air blue.



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