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]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The oldest English-language use of the proverb has been found in Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie's (1837–1919) novel, Mrs. Dymond (1885), in a slightly different form:

"[] 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."[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

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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 (for themselves) than to do it for them (on an ongoing basis).

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [Anne Isabella Thackeray] Ritchie (August 1885), “Mrs. Dymond”, in Macmillan’s Magazine, volume LII, issue 310, London: Macmillan and Co., []; and New York, chapter XXI (St. Cloud Before the Storm), page 246.