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Proverbs | List of Proverbs and Sayings

A List of proverbs and sayings. This page contains examples of proverbs and an ever growing list of proverbs. It is a good practice to avoid use of these proverbs in poetry unless used in a completely original way. See also: Idioms.

What is a Proverb?

A proverb is a brief and popular saying that typically gives advice about how people should live or that expresses a belief that is commonly thought to be true.

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Examples of Proverbs


A bad bush is better than the open field.
A bad custom is like a good cake, better broken than kept.
A bad day never hath a good night.
A bad excuse is better than none at all.
A bad workman quarrels with his tools.
A bald head is soon shaven.
A bargain is a bargain.
A beggar can never be bankrupt.
A bird can roost upon but one branch.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
A bird that can sing and won't sing, must be made to sing.
A bit in the morning is better than nothing all day.
A black plum is as sweet as a white.
A blind man would be glad to see it.
A bow long bent at last waxeth weak.
A bribe will enter without knocking.
A broken leg is not healed by a silk stocking.
A burden which one chooses is not felt.
A burnt child dreads the fire.
A bushel of March dust is worth a king's ransom.
A cat has nine lives, yet care will kill a cat.
A cat loves fish, but she's loth to wet her feet.
A cat may look at a king.
A cherry year, a merry year.
A child may have too much of his mother's blessing.
A chip of the old block.
A clear conscience is a sure card.
A close mouth catcheth no flies.
A cold April a barn will fill.
A contented mind is a continual feast.
A creaking gate hangs longest on its hinges.
A crooked tree will have a crooked shadow.
A crow is never the whiter for washing herself often.
A dark man's a jewel in a fair woman's eye.
A doctor and a clown know more than a doctor alone.
A drowning man will catch at a straw.
A drunken night makes a cloudy morning.
A dry cough is the trumpeter of death.
A fair face may hide a foul heart.
A false report rides post.
A famine in England begins at the horse-manger.
A fat kitchen, a lean will.
A fat sorrow is better than a lean one.
A fault once denied is twice committed.
A feast is not made of mushrooms only.
A fool and his money are soon parted.
A fool demands much, but he's a greater that gives it.
A fool is fulsome.
A fool may ask more questions in half an hour than a wise man can answer in seven years.
A fool may give a wise man counsel.
A fool may make money, but a wise man should spend it.
A fool's bolt is soon shot.
A fox should not be of the jury at a goose trial.
A friend at court is better than a penny in the purse.
A friend in need is a friend indeed.
A friend is not so soon gotten as lost.
A full purse makes the mouth to speak.
A full purse maketh the mouth to speak.
A full purse never lacketh friends.
A generous confession disarms slander.
A gift with a kind countenance is a double gift.
A good beginning makes a good ending.
A good dog deserves a good bone.
A good horse cannot be of a bad colour.
A good horse often wants a good spur.
A good lawyer, an evil neighbour.
A good maxim is never out of season.
A good name is better than riches.
A good name keeps its lustre in the dark.
A good recorder sets all in order.
A good surgeon must have an eagle's eye, a lion's heart, and a lady's hand.
A good wife makes a good husband.
A good winter brings a good summer.
A good word is as soon said as an ill one.
A great dowry is a bed full of troubles.
A great ship needs deep waters.
A green winter makes a fat churchyard.
A green wound is soon healed.
A growing youth hath a wolf in his stomach.
A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
A hand-saw is a good thing, but not to shave with.
A heavy purse makes a light heart.
A hog in armour is still but a hog.
A hot May makes a fat churchyard.
A hungry horse makes a clean manger.
A hungry man, an angry man.
A liar should have a good memory.
A life spent worthily should be measured by deeds—not years.
A little good is soon spent.
A little mischief is too much.
A little pot is soon hot.
A living dog is better than a dead lion.
A low hedge is easily leapt over.
A man at five may be a fool at fifteen.
A man can do more than he can.
A man cannot both wive and thrive in a year.
A man cannot live by the air.
A man in a passion rides a horse that runs away with him.
A man is not so soon healed as hurt.
A man may bear till his back breaks.
A man may buy gold too dear.
A man may cause his own dog to bite him.
A man may dig his grave with his teeth.
A man may hold his tongue in an ill time.
A man may lead a horse to the water, but he cannot make him drink unless he will.
A man may lose his goods for want of demanding them.
A man must plough with such oxen as he hath.
A man must sell his ware at the rate of the market.
A man never surfeits of too much honesty.
A man of gladness seldom falls into madness.
A man's best fortune or his worst is his wife.
A May flood never did good.
A mere scholar a mere ass.
A merry companion on the road is as good as a nag.
A miss is as good as a mile.
A mother's heart never grows old.
A mouse, in time, may bite in two a cable.
A new broom sweeps clean.
A nimble ninepence is better than a slow shilling.
A noble housekeeper needs no doors.
A penny in my purse will bid me drink when all my friends I have will not.
A penny in your pocket is a good companion.
A penny saved is a penny got.
A pennyworth of ease is worth a penny.
A pennyworth of mirth is worth a pound of sorrow.
A pin a day is a groat a year.
A place for everything, and everything in its place.
A plant often removed cannot thrive.
A poor man's table is soon spread.
A ragged colt may make a good horse.
A rolling stone gathers no moss.
A rotten apple injures its companions.
A rugged stone grows smooth from hand to hand.
A scalded cat fears cold water.
A sceptre is one thing, a ladle another.
A Scotch mist will wet an Englishman through to the skin.
A single fact is worth a ship-load of argument.
A small leak will sink a great ship.
A small pack suits a small pedlar.
A smart reproof is better than smooth deceit.
A snow year, a rich year.
A soft answer turneth away wrath.
A stitch in time saves nine.
A story never loses by re-telling.
A thin meadow is soon mowed.
A thousand pounds and a pottle of hay is all one thing at doomsday.
A tradesman who gets not loseth.
A tree is known by its fruit, and not by its leaves.
A wager is a fool's argument.
A watched pot never boils.
A wet August never brings dearth.
A whet is no let [hindrance].
A wilful man never wants woe.
A windy March and a rainy April make a beautiful May.
A wink's as good as a nod to a blind horse.
A wise man changes his mind; a fool never.
A woman conceals what she knows not.
A woman's mind and winter wind often change.
A woman's strength is in her tongue.
A woman's tongue wags like a lamb's tail.
A woman's work is never at an end.
A wonder lasts but nine days.
A word is enough to the wise.
A young man idle, an old man needy.
Absence cools moderate passions, and inflames violent ones.
According to the old proverb.
Adversity flattereth no man.
Adversity makes a man wise, not rich.
Adversity tries friends.
Advice comes too late when a thing is done.
After a storm comes a calm.
After cheese comes nothing.
After clouds comes clear weather.
After death the doctor.
After dinner sit awhile, after supper walk a mile.
After Lammas corn ripens as much by night as by day.
After rain comes fair weather.
Age before honesty.
Agree, for law is costly.
Agues come on horseback, but go away on foot.
All are not friends that speak us fair.
All are not hunters that blow the horn.
All are not thieves that dogs bark at.
All is fish that comes to his net.
All lay load on the willing horse.
All that glitters is not gold.
All the keys hang not at one man's girdle.
All things are soon prepared in a well-ordered house.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All's well that ends well.
Almost was never hanged.
An empty purse fills the face with wrinkles.
An Englishman's house is his castle.
An honest man's word is as good as his bond.
An idle brain is the devil's workshop.
An ill marriage is a spring of ill fortune.
An ill stake standeth longest.
An oak is not felled by one blow.
An occasion lost cannot be redeemed.
An old cat laps as much as a young kitten.
An old doctor, a young lawyer.
An old dog barks not in vain.
An old dog will learn no tricks.
An old fool is the worst of fools.
An old sack wanteth much patching.
An ounce of discretion is worth a pound of wit.
An ounce of knowledge may be worth a pound of comfort.
An ounce of mother-wit is worth a pound of clergy.
An unbidden guest must bring his own stool with him.
An unhappy lad may make a good man.
Anger is short-lived in a good man.
Angry men seldom want woe.
Any flat can talk of change of weather.
Any fool can bet.
Anything for a quiet life.
April and May are the keys of the year.
April borrows three days of March, and they are ill.
Apt to promise, apt to forget.
Argus at home, but a mole abroad.
As blind as a bat.
As clear as mud.
As dead as a door-nail.
As easy kiss my hand.
As good as gold.
As good sit still as rise up and fall.
As good to be out of the world as out of the fashion.
As good twenty as nineteen.
As great a pity to see a woman weep, as to see a goose go barefoot.
As like as chalk and cheese.
As like as two peas.
As long lives a merry heart as a sad.
As patient as Job.
As poor as Job.
As sound as a nut.
As the fool thinks, so the bell chinks.
As the old cock crows so crows the young.
As the twig is bent the tree's inclined.
As welcome as the flowers in May.
As well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.
As you brew, so shall you bake.
As you make your bed so you must lie on it.
Ask but enough, and you may lower as you list.
Ask thy purse what thou shouldst buy.
At a great bargain make a great pause.
At twelfth-day the days are lengthened a cock's stride.