Appendix:English proverbs

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Main category: English proverbs

List of English proverbs. See also Wikiquote:English proverbs for a more in-depth view


a bad workman always blames his tools.
a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
absence makes the heart grow fonder.
a cat may look at the king.
a chain is no stronger than its weakest link.
a creaking gate hangs long.
actions speak louder than words.
a day late and a dollar short.
a fool and his money are soon parted.
a fox smells its own lair first.
a friend in need is a friend indeed.
after dinner sit a while, after supper walk a mile.
age before beauty.
a good beginning makes a good ending.
a good surgeon has an eagle's eye, a lion's heart, and a lady's hand.
a jack of all trades is master of none.
a lie has no legs.
a lie can be halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on.
a little learning is a dangerous thing.
all flowers are not in one garland.
all good things must come to an end.
all good things come in pairs.
all roads lead to Rome.
all's fair in love and war.
all's well that ends well.
all that glisters is not gold / all that glitters is not gold
all things come to him who waits.
all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
a merry heart makes a long life.
a miss is as good as a mile.
an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
an idle man's mind is devil's workshop.
an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
a penny saved is a penny earned.
a person is known by the company he keeps.
April showers bring May flowers.
a rolling stone gathers no moss.
ask and you shall receive.
ask me no questions; I'll tell you no lies.
ask no questions and hear no lies.
a sound mind in a sound body.
a stitch in time saves nine.
as right as ninepence.
as you make your bed, so you must lie in it.
as you sow, so shall you reap.
a watched pot will not boil.
a woman's work is never done.
a word to the wise is enough.
a word to the wise is sufficient.
a word spoken is past recalling.


barking dogs seldom bite.
beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
beauty is only skin deep.
beggars can't be choosers.
better late than never.
better safe than sorry.
better the devil you know than the devil that you don't know.
birds of a feather flock together.
bitter pills may have blessed effects.
blood is thicker than water.
blood will out.
boys will be boys.
brain is better than brawn.
bread is the staff of life.
butter is gold in the morning, silver at noon, lead at night.
behind evey wealthy man is a woman, with nothing to wear.


cider on beer, never fear; beer upon cider, makes a bad rider.
clothes don't make the man.
cowards die many times, but a brave man only dies once.
cross the stream where it is the shallowest.
curiosity killed the cat.
cut one's coat according to one's cloth.


desperate diseases must have desperate cures.
desperate diseases must have desperate remedies.
desperate times call for desperate measures.
different sores must have different salves.
diseases come on horseback, but steal away on foot.
do as you would be done by.
do unto others as you would have done to you.
doctors make the worst patients.
don't burn your bridges before they're crossed.
don't burn your bridges behind you.
don't change horses in midstream.
don't count your chickens before they're hatched.
don't cross a bridge until you come to it.
don't cry over spilt milk.
don't cut off your nose to spite your face.
don't have too many irons in the fire.
don't make a mountain out of a molehill.
don't put all your eggs in one basket.
don't put the cart before the horse.
don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
don't shut the barn door after the horse is gone.
don't shut the gate after the horse has bolted.
don't spit into the wind.
don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.
doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom.


early bird gets the worm
early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
eat to live, don't live to eat.
eat when you're hungry, and drink when you're dry.
east or West, home is best.
empty barrels make the most sound.
even a worm will turn.
every cloud has a silver lining.
every disease will have its course.
every dog has its day.
every man has a price.
every rule has an exception.
everything comes to him who waits.
every why has a wherefore.


faith will move mountains.
familiarity breeds contempt.
fine feathers make fine birds.
fine words butter no parsnips.
first come, first served.
fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
forbidden fruit is the sweetest.
forewarned is forearmed.
fresh pork and new wine kill a man before his time.
fretting cares make grey hairs.
friend to all is a friend to none.


give a dog a bad name and hang him.
give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
give the devil his due.
god cures and the physician takes the fee.
good eating deserves good drinking.
good fences make good neighbors.
great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ.


half a loaf is better than none.
haste makes waste.
health is better than wealth.
help a lame dog over a stile.
he that lives too fast, goes to his grave too soon.
he that will steal an egg will steal an ox.
he who hesitates is lost.
he who laughs last laughs best.
he who laughs last laughs longest.
he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.
he who sleeps forgets his hunger.
hindsight is 20/20.
history repeats itself.
home is where the heart is.
home is where you hang your hat.
honesty is the best policy.
hunger is the best spice.


if at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again.
if a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well.
if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
if the cap fits, wear it.
if the shoe fits, wear it.
if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
If you are going to eat with the Devil, bring a long spoon.
if you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.
if you can't beat them, join them.
if you can't be good, be careful.
if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
if you keep your mouth shut, you won't put your foot in it.
if you want a thing done well, do it yourself.
in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
it's a good horse that never stumbles.
it never rains, but it pours.
it's a long lane that has no turning.
it's an ill wind that blows no good.
it's an ill wind that blows no one good.
it's better to give than to receive.
it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
It's better to have loved and lost than to have shot and missed.
it's darkest before dawn.
it's easy to be wise after the event.
it's never too late to mend.
it's not over till it's over.
it's no use crying over spilt milk.
it's the early bird that gets the worm.
it's the empty can that makes the most noise.
it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.
it takes all sorts to make a world.
it takes two to make a quarrel.
it takes two to tango.


laughter is the best medicine.
learn to walk before you run.
let sleeping dogs lie.
lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.
like cures like.
little enemies and little wounds must not be despised.
long absent, soon forgotten.
long ways, long lies.
look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.
look before you leap.
love is blind.
let the cobbler make the shoes.


make hay while the sun shines.
manners maketh man or so I'm told
many hands make light work.
money talks.
money talks, bullshit walks.
more haste, less speed.
mutton dressed as lamb.


nature abhors a vacuum.
nature, time, and patience are three great physicians.
necessity is the mother of invention.
never put off till (until) tomorrow what you can do today.
new brooms sweep clear.
new broom sweeps clean.
no cows, no cares.
no gain without pain.
no man can serve two masters.
no news is good news.
no pain, no gain.
no time to waste like the present.
nothing ventured, nothing gained.
nothing succeeds like success.


once bitten, twice shy.
one doctor makes work for another.
one good turn deserves another.
one hour's sleep before midnight is worth two hours after.
one man's meat is another man's poison.
one swallow doesn't make a summer.
opposites attract.


paddle your own canoe.
penny wise, pound foolish.
people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
practice makes perfect.
prevention is better than cure.
pride goeth before a fall.
pride comes before a fall.
procrastination is the thief of time.
proof of the pudding is in the eating.
proverbs hunt in pairs.


Rome wasn't built in a day.
rules are made to be broken.


seek and ye shall find.
six of one, half a dozen of the other.
spare the rod and spoil the child.
still waters are the deepest.
still waters run deep.
strike while the iron is hot.


talk is cheap.
talk of the devil - and the devil appears.
the best things in life are free.
the coat makes the man.
the cure is worse than the disease.
the early bird gets the worm.
the end justifies the means.
the first step to health is to know that we are sick.
the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence
the head and feet keep warm, the rest will take no harm.
the more things change, the more they stay the same.
the pen is mightier than the sword.
the pot calling the kettle black.
the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
there's always a calm before a storm.
there's light at the end of the tunnel.
there's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip.
there's no accounting for taste.
there's no time like the present.
there's plenty more fish in the sea.
the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
the wish is father to the thought.
think before you speak.
those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
time flies (tempus fugit).
time is money.
to err is human; to forgive, divine.
tomorrow is another day.
too many cooks spoil the broth.
truth is stranger than fiction.
two heads are better than one.
two's company, three's a crowd.
two things prolong your life: A quiet heart and a loving wife.


up the creek without a paddle.


variety is the spice of life.


waste not, want not.
we all make mistakes.
we must take the bad with the good.
what goes around, comes around.
what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
when in Rome do as the Romans do
when the cat's away the mice will play.
when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
when you're up to your neck in alligators, it can be difficult to remember that the original goal was to drain the swamp.
where one door shuts, another opens.
where there's a will there's a way.
while there's life, there's hope.
who keeps company with the wolves, will learn to howl.
wide ears and short tongue are the best.
wilful waste makes woeful want.
without sleep, no health.


you can lead (take) a horse to water but you can't make it drink.
you can't have it both ways.
you can't have your cake and eat it too.
you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.
you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
you can't make chicken soup out of chicken poop.
you can't run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.
you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
you can't tell a book by its cover.
you have to be cruel to be kind.
you have to crawl before you can walk.
you have to walk before you can run.
you never know what you've got till it's gone.
you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.