List 17 - Proverbs and Sayings





201. Let the cat out of the bag.

 To allow a secret to be known, usually without intending to.


202. Let the genie out of the bottle.

 To allow something bad or unwanted to happen which cannot then be stopped.


203. Let well alone. / Leave well alone.

 Allow something to stay as it is because doing more might make things worse.


204. Lightning never strikes twice (in the same place).

 It is unlikely that something bad or unusual will happen to the same person twice.


205. Like a bull in a china shop.

 This refers to someone who is very careless in the way that they move or behave.


206. Like father, like son.

 Sons tend to resemble their fathers in character and behaviour.


207. Listeners hear no good of themselves.

 It is possible that the conversation you secretly listen to


208. Little strokes fell great oaks.

 Achievement can be attained in small stages and with persistence.


209. Little things please little minds.

 Foolish people are easily pleased.


210. Live and learn.

 People learn by making mistakes which are corrected by others.


211. Live and let live.

 To accept the way other people live and behave, especially if they do things in a different way.


212. Look before you leap.

 Think carefully before you act especially on something that has far-reaching consequences.


213. Look on the bright side.

 Always be optimistic or have positive thinking even when experiencing personal difficulties in life.


214. Love begets love.

 One has to be loving to gain the love of someone.


215. Love is blind.

 You do not notice the faults of the person you love.


216. Love makes the world go round.

 Love motivates people and makes whatever they do worthwhile.


217. Love me little, love me long.

 Warm affection lasts longer than burning passion.


218. Make hay while the sun shines.

 You should make good use of an opportunity while it lasts.


219. Man cannot live by bread alone.

 People need not just food, but other things such as poetry, art, music, etc. to live happily.


220. Man proposes; God disposes.

 The realization or fulfillment of man' plan or project can only com about if God permits it.


221. Manners maketh man. / Manners make the man.

 Good manners distinguish a man..


222. Many hands make light work.

 When many people help to do a piece of work, it is quickly and easily done.


223. Marriage is a lottery.

 Whether one's marriage succeeds or fails, or one's choice of a marriage partner is all a matter of luck.


224. Marriages are made in Heaven.

 God decides a person's marriage.


225. Marry in haste, repent in leisure.

 If you marry someone without knowing them well, you will later fill with regret that you married them.


226. Misfortunes never come singly.

 Misfortunes come in rapid succession.


227. Moderation in all things.

 It is best not to have or do too much or too little of anything.


228. Money begets money.

 It's easy to make money when you have money.


229. Money talks.

 When you are rich or wealthy, you have great influence.


230. More haste less speed.

 If you try to do something too quickly, it will take you longer to complete it.


231. Necessity is the mother of invention.

 If you really need to have something or to do something, you will think of a way of getting it or doing it.


232. Never do things by halves.

 When you do something by halves, you do it half-heartedly without much effort and enthusiasm.


233. Never say die.

 Keep trying without giving a thought to stop trying or give up.


234. Never the twain shall meet.

 When two things or people are completely different or very different in background or outlook and unsuitable for each other are likely never to agree.


235. Never too late to learn.

 Nobody is too old to acquire knowledge or a skill.


236. Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.

 Don't look forward to problems, deal with them only when they need to be dealt with.


237. New brooms sweep clean.

 When someone new takes up a position of control of an organization, he or she makes thorough changes.


238. New wine in old bottle.

 Introduction of new ideas into an old establishment can lead to undesired consequences.


239. No gains without pains / No pain, no gain.

 Nothing can be achieved without effort, suffering, or hardship.


240. No news is good news.

 When no news is received about someone or something, it is assumed that nothing bad has happened.


241. No smoke without fire.

 There is probably a good reason for saying unpleasant things about someone or something.


242. No time like the present.

 It is better to take action immediately instead of waiting.


243. Nothing comes of nothing.

 If you produce or provide nothing, you get nothing in return as nothing results from nothing; everything must result from something


244. Nothing is certain but death and the taxes.

 We are certain about death and taxes, but unsure about other things.


245. Nothing succeeds like success.

 Successful people go on to achieve more success.


246. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 One has to take risk in order to get something good.


247. Of two evils, choose the lesser. / The lesser of two evils.

 Where both choices are no good, we choose the less disagreeable one.


248. Once bitten, twice shy.

 Frightened to do something again because of a bad experience doing it the first time


249. Once in a blue moon.

 Not very often


250. One cannot be in two places at once.

 This is used to tell someone who desires to be at two different places at the same time; a choice that has to be made between varied options.


251. One good turn deserves another.

 A kind act is worthy of reciprocation.


252. One half of the world does not know how the other half lives.

 People lack understanding of how other people live their lives in different circumstances or countries.


253. One man's loss is another man's gain.

 One person benefits from someone else's misfortune.


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

 It often happens that one person dislikes what another person likes.


255. One swallow does not make a summer.

 Making a general statement based on one specific case


256. Out of debt, out of danger.

 People who don't owe money can feel free from fear or anxiety.


257. Out of sight, out of mind.

 There is the tendency for people to forget other people whom they have not seen for some time.


258. Out of the frying-pan into the fire.

 Move from a bad or difficult situation to one which is worse.


259. Penny wise, pound foolish.

 Be extremely careful about small amounts of money but not careful enough about larger amounts of money.


260. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

 You should not criticize other people for bad qualities in their character that you have yourself.


261. Practice makes perfect.

 The repeated doing of something improves one's performance.


262. Practise what you preach.

 Do the things that you advise others to do.


263. Prevention is better than cure. / an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

 It is better to stop something bad from happening than it is to deal with it after it has happened. / It often requires considerable effort to put right something that could have prevented with a little effort.


264. Pride goes before a fall.

 When one is overconfident about one's abilities, it may cause one to fail and suffer the humiliation.


265. Procrastination is the thief of time.

 If you constantly delay or postpone an action, you not only waste the time that you could have used to have it done but also will run out of time to do it in the end.


266. Promises are like pie-crust, made to be broken.

 People make all kinds of big and small promises they have no intention of keeping.


267. Rats desert a sinking ship.

 There is a tendency for people to abandon a failing business, cause or activity.


268. Revenge is sweet.

 Feeling satisfaction from inflicting harm in return on someone because they have done or said something harmful to you


269. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

 Borrowing money from one person to pay it back to someone else from whom you have borrowed money.


270. Rome was not built in a day.

 One cannot expect to do something worthwhile in a short period of time.


271. Run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.

 One can't support two opposing camps at the same time.


272. Second thoughts are best.

 This is a reminder to not act impulsively.


273. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

 Ignore and do not get involved in rumour or gossip that is circulating.


274. Seeing is believing.

 You have to see something yourself before you believe it to exist or be true which is impractical as there are things that actually exist but are extremely hard to see.


275. Self-preservation is nature's first law.

 This is used to demonstrate that people act to protect themselves as survival is the primary natural instinct of all living things.


276. Set a thief to catch a thief.

 A person who has been involved in illegal or dishonest acts is good at detecting such tendencies in others, whose thinking and actions he or she can understand and anticipate.


277. Share and share alike.

 This is used to encourage any person to share things equally with others who have a right to an equal share.


278. Shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.

 To be too late to take action to prevent something bad from happening


279. Silence gives consent.

 Those who do not respond to accusation, objection, etc. are assumed to accept or consent.


280. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

 One is as bad as the other, so there's isn't a choice here.


281. Slow and steady wins the race.

 Success comes to those who move forward at a gentle steady pace and not to those who rush.


282. Sorrow comes unsent for.

 No one individual can escape the feeling of sorrow; it affects everyone.


283. Spare the rod and spoil the child.

 To punish children for misbehaviour is necessary in order to instill discipline.


284. Speech is silver; silence is golden.

 It is good to speak, but there are times when it is better to say nothing.


285. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

 People cannot be hurt by unpleasant things that are said to them.


286. Still water runs deep.

 A person who says little, but who might in fact know a lot.


287. Strike while the iron is hot.

 Seize the opportunity as soon as it presents itself before it is lost.


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

 Be careful with small amounts of money and one will have plenty of money.


289. Take the bull by the horns.

 Be brave and determined in doing something difficult.


290. Take things as they come (or, as you find them).

 One should deal with difficulties or problems only when they occur and not worry about the future.


291. Talk of the devil, and he'll appear. / Speak of the devil and he always appears.

 This refers to the coincidence which happens when someone we are talking about unexpectedly appear.


292. Teach your grandmother to suck eggs.

 Give advice to someone who is more experienced than you or knows more about a subject than you.


293. Tell the truth and shame the devil.

 We are often tempted to tell lies but it is always best to tell the truth.


294. The best of both worlds.

 Be enjoying two very different things at the same time.


295. The best of friends must part.

 No friendships can last a lifetime as friends will eventually move apart.


296. The better the day the better the deed.

 How valuable an action is depends on the day it is performed, especially if it is on a holy day.


297. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

 The loss of power, prosperity, or status of a great or important person is embarrassingly worse and more damaging than a person who is not so great or important.


298. The blind leading the blind.

 A person who knows nothing is getting advice and help from another person who knows almost nothing.


299. The boot/shoe is on the other foot.

 Circumstances have become the opposite of what they were.


300. The burnt child dreads the fire.

 Someone learns from a bad experience and is fearful of going through it again.









301. The cowl does not make the monk.

 One's appearance should not be used to judge one's character.


302. The early bird catches the worm.

 People who are late to arrive tend to miss opportunities already seized by others who come earlier.


303. The end justifies the means.

 A worthy objective can never be justified by employing evil means to achieve it.


304. The exception proves the rule.

 The existence of an exception to a rule shows that the rule itself exists and is applicable in other cases


305. The face is the index of the mind. / The eyes are the mirrors of the soul.

 A person's face/eyes often reveal his or her thoughts, feelings, or character.


306. The grapes are sour.

 This refers to someone's behavior or opinion when they are angry because something they want is unattainable.


307. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

 Anything such as situation, place, job, lifestyle, etc that is not our own always seems to be better.


308. The greater the truth, the greater the libel.

 Some people are hurt more by a true accusation than a false one.


309. The jury is still out.

 This means to say people do not yet know the answer or have a definite opinion about something.


310. The king can do no wrong.

 This means the king above the law as the king is not bound by the rules and regulations that apply to others.


311. The last straw that breaks the camel's back.

 The last one in a series of problems, provocations, etc. that finally causes a person to react such as giving up, getting angry, retaliating, etc.


312. The love of money is the root of all evil.

 Greed is the main cause of much of the evil in this world.


313. The more the merrier.

 There is usually more fun when there are more people participating in an activity.


314. The pen is mightier than the sword.

 Thinking and writing have more influence on people and events than the use of force or violence.


315. The pot calling the kettle black.

 Someone criticizes another person for a fault that they have themselves.


316. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

 One cannot be certain of the quality of something until one has tasted, felt or used it.


317. The remedy is worse than the disease.

 The means used to solve a problem is more damaging than the original problem.


318. The sky's the limit.

 There is almost no limit to what one can do such as indulging, spending, earning, achieving, etc.


319. The stream cannot rise above its source.

 Nothing can be better than the source from which it originates.


320. The unexpected always happens.

 Something not anticipated or predicted will happen for which we are not prepared and this is always a certainty.


321. There are more ways to kill a cat than by choking it with cream.

 If we fail in one way to accomplish something, there are other ways we can choose from.


322. There are two sides to every question.

 One should view an issue from two different angles, both of which are worthy of careful thought.


323. There's no smoke without fire / Where there is smoke there is fire.

 If unpleasant things are said about someone or something, there is probably a good reason for it.


324. There's safety in numbers.

 Being a member of a group makes one feel protected or not exposed to danger.


325. Throw the baby out with the bath water.

 Get rid of the whole thing when only part of it is no longer useful or desirable and as a result, lose valuable ideas.


326. Tied to one's mother's/wife's apron strings.

 Being strongly influenced and controlled by someone.


327. Time and tide waits for no man.

 We should not delay doing things as we cannot stop the passing of time.


328. To cut off your nose to spite your face.

 To do something to hurt others but it causes more harm to you.


329. To kill two birds with one stone.

 Everybody makes mistakes and it is necessary to forgive them for their mistakes.


330. To look for a needle in a haystack.

 Something that is virtually impossible to look for.


331. To put the cart before the horse.

 Not following the proper order when doing something.


332. To turn over a new leaf.

 To start becoming better than before.


333. Tomorrow is another day.

 Don't worry or even if you worry, just think that tomorrow things may become better.


334. Tomorrow never comes.

 Things will never get done if we keep putting them off until tomorrow.


335. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

 Too many people involved in doing something will destroy the quality of the outcome.


336. Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.

 Striving for perfection requires focusing on things which are of little value or importance and is no small matter.


337. Truth is stranger than fiction.

 Real events are more unusual than imaginary ones.


338. Two wrongs don't make a right.

 Wrongful acts can never be justifiable, even if another person does the same.


339. Two's company, three's none.

 Two people who take pleasure in each other's company will regard another person as an unwelcome intruder.


340. Upset the apple cart.

 Cause trouble, especially by spoiling another person's plans.


341. Virtue is its own reward.

 The feeling of satisfaction of having done something right is itself a reward.


342. Walls have ears.

 What we say may be overheard.


343. Water seeks its own level.

 People tend to be drawn toward, or end up with, others of the same background.


344. Waste not, want not.

 Don't waste anything and you will never be in need of it.


345. Well begun is half done.

 A good start to a task ensures its quick completion.


346. What can't be cured must be endured.

 We must learn to put up with things that cannot be endured.


347. What/whatever man has done, man can do.

 If someone has done something, it is not impossible for others to do it.


348. What the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve over.

 We are not bothered by or feel concern about what we are not aware of.


349. Whatever's worth doing at all is worth doing well.

 Completing a task is not enough, one must put in one's best effort.


350. When in doubt, leave out / When in doubt, do nothing.

 If one is not sure what to do, it's best to do nothing at all.


351. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

 When visiting or living another country, one should behave like the people in that country.


352. When the cat's away, the mice will play.

 When the person in charge is away, the people there do as they please.


353. Where there is smoke there is fire / There's no smoke without fire.

 If unpleasant things are said about someone or something, there is probably a good reason for it.


354. Where there's a will there's a way.

 If you are determined enough, you will find a way to achieve it, even if it is very difficult.


355. Where there's life there's hope.

 As long as we are alive, there's within us a feeling of expectation.


356. While the grass grows the steed starves.

 Something that we have been waiting for a long time may arrive too late to be of use.


357. Who goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing.

 Borrowing usually leads to trouble as one is unable to repay what is owed.


358. Who knows most says least.

 People who are knowledgeable say little.


359. With friends like that, who need enemies.

 Friends who are disloyal, betray and deceive you are your actual enemies.


360. Why keep a dog and bark yourself?

 If you employ somebody to do something for you, there is no point in doing it yourself.


361. You can't eat your cake and have it.

 You can't have two good things at the same time that are impossible to have at the same time.


362. You can't get blood out of a stone.

 You can't make someone give you something when he refuses to do so for some reason.


363. You can't lose what you never had.

 Failure to get what you never have is not a real loss.


364. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.

 One has to give up something in order to get something else.


365. You can't teach an old dog new trick.

 It is very difficult to teach old people a new skill or method, or change their habits.


366. You may take a horse to the water, but you can't make him drink.

 You can provide someone with an opportunity to do something, but you cannot force them to do it.


367. You never know what you can do till you try.

 People often don't realize what they are capable of until they try new things.


368. Young men may die, but old men must die.

 This is to say that anyone can die at any age, but it is definitely going to happen in old age.


369. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

 Return favour to someone who receives your favour which applies specifically to corruption or an action of conspiring.


370. Young saint, old devil.

 Bad to be virtuous too early which, in other words, means those who behave best when they are young are often those who behave worst when they are old.