give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

This saying was coined by Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837–1919) in her novel, Mrs. Dymond (1885):

"I don't suppose even Caron could tell you the difference between material and spiritual," said Max, shrugging his shoulders. "He certainly doesn't practise his precepts, but I suppose the Patron meant that if you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to catch a fish you do him a good turn. But these very elementary principles are apt to clash with the leisure of the cultivated classes. Will Mr. Bagginal now produce his ticket—the result of favour and the unjust sub-division of spiritual environments?" said Du Parc, with a smile.

Proverb[edit]

give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

  1. It is more worthwhile to teach someone to do something than to do it for them.

Translations[edit]