a friend in need is a friend indeed

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The idea that false friends will flake and true friends will reveal themselves as such in times of adversity is ancient; Ennius (circa 239–169 BCE) observed amicus certus in re incerta cernitur (a sure friend is known in unsure times), and Euripides observed in his Hecuba (424 BCE) that ἐν τοῖς κακοῖς γὰρ ἁγαθοὶ σαφέστατοι φίλοι: τὰ χρηστὰ δ᾽ αὔθ᾽ ἕκαστ᾽ ἔχει φίλους (en toîs kakoîs gàr hagathoì saphéstatoi phíloi: tà khrēstà d᾽ aúth᾽ hékast᾽ ékhei phílous, it is in trouble's hour that the good most clearly show their friendship; though prosperity by itself in every case finds friends).[1]

Proverb[edit]

a friend in need is a friend indeed

  1. A true friend is one who helps you when you are in need.
    • 1958 September, Marvin L. Middlebrooks, a letter published in Flying Magazine, volume 63, number 3, page 8:
      I had a flight plan to cancel so asked if there were a telephone near. Mr. Littrell said his neighbor across the way had one. He was happy to drive us there{{subst:mdash}about three miles across some fields that would shake your eye teeth out. [] They say “a friend in need is a friend indeed.” Mr. Littrell proved it. I am grateful.
    • 1999, The Alaskan Saga of Thomas Churchill O'Brien (ISBN 1583485902), page 87:
      [] trying to think instead of all the good things that happened to me in my life, trying to think of some important person I knew who could help me, but I couldn't think of anyone. A friend in need is a friend, indeed, and I sure could have used one then.
  2. If one of your friends is in need (of help), be a good friend to them and help them.
    • 2011, Paul A. Rose, Los Hombres de Bolton (ISBN 1848766483), page 153:
      ‘Stan!’ Ian replies, with a hurt look on his face. ‘Would I do a thing like that? I'm just here to give you moral support. I reckon you're going to need all the help you can get. You know what they say; a friend in need is a friend indeed.’
      ‘Or in your mind, a friend in need is a soft target. Now piss off!’
    • 2011, Our Perfect Moment (ISBN 1462874584), page 81:
      "You know, they say a friend in need is a friend indeed. I donated blood, but others even donate hearts, so after all, I feel pretty good that my friend is now safe from the little blood I could drop," Katy said passionately.

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

References[edit]

  • Gregory Y. Titelman, Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings, 1996, ISBN 0-679-44554-4, p. 107.
  1. ^ Julia Cresswell, The Cat's Pyjamas: The Penguin Book of Clichés