October 18, 2016

List of Proverbs with Meaning and Usage

proverbs

What are Proverbs?

Proverbs are wise sayings that give advice about life. Every culture has some sayings and these sayings are called proverbs in English. Proverbs are culturally specific, nonetheless there are many proverbs  which go across various cultures and languages.  If you really want to take your English to a higher level, or you want to speak English like a native speaker, it is important to learn  as many proverbs as possible.  If you are preparing for an exam like the TOEFL or the IELTS,  it would definitely be worthwhile to learn and practice all the proverbs listed below.

 

proverbs List of Proverbs with meaning :

Proverbs

Meaning

A bad man is better than a bad name. A bad name spreads very fast and reaches everywhere before a bad man even reaches there
A bad workman quarrels with his tools. Blaming tools for bad workmanship is an excuse for lack of skill.
A bird in hand in worth two in the bush. It is better to keep what you have rather than to risk losing it by searching for something better.
A burnt child dreads the fire. A bad experience will make people stay away from certain things.
A drop in the ocean. a very small amount compared to the amount needed
A drowning man catches at a straw. someone who is in a very difficult situation, and who will take any available opportunity to improve it
A figure among ciphers. In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king
A guilty conscience is always suspicious. the guilty feel bad about what they’ve done,and are suspicious of others doing the same thing to them
A hard nut to crack. a problem that is very difficult to solve or a person who is very difficult to understand
A honey tongue, a heart of gall. Someone who speaks very sweetly, but who has a heart which is very bitter!
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A small amount of knowledge can mislead people into thinking that they are more expert than they really are.
A nine day’s wonder. something that people talk about a lot but only for a short time
A rotten apple injures its companions. A dishonest or immoral person can have a bad influence on a group.
A stich in time saves nine. If you deal with a problem at an early stage you will save time and prevent it from getting worse.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing. a person or thing that appears friendly or harmless but is really hostile.
All’s well that ends well. There is a solution to everything even if there are doubts.
An empty vessel sounds much. The least intelligent people are often the most talkative or noisy.
As the king, so are the subjects. the quality of the people in a family or a team depends a lot the quality head of the family/ captain of the team.
As you sow, so shall you reap. You have to accept the consequences of your actions.
Avarice is the root of all evils. Greediness is the cause of all evils.

Proverbs

Meaning

Barking dogs seldom bite. Someone who constantly makes threats rarely carries them out.
Beggars cannot be choosers. If you request something to be given you should not question what you are given.
Beneath every rose lies the thorn. every good thing has something bad about it, the negative term for every cloud has a silver lineing.
Better be alone than in bad company. Be careful in the choice of the people you associate with.
Better to wear out than to rust out. It is better to die as the result of being worn out with activity than as the result of doing nothing.
Between the two stools we come to the ground. If you cannot make up you mind which of two things to do, you are liable to get yourself into difficulties by doing neither.
Birds of the same feather flock together. Those of similar taste congregate in groups.

Proverbs

Meaning

Casting pearls before swine. to offer something valuable or good to someone who does not know its value:
Diamond cuts diamond. Refers to two people equally matched in wit or cunning.
Do good and cast it into the river. Do a kind & noble deed and forget about it.
Even a good marksman may miss. An experienced hand may also fumble.
Even death cannot be had for the asking. A prayer for end of our life under the circumstances will not work.
Every potter praises his pot. All producers praise their products.
Everything looks yellow to a jaundiced eye. If your attitude is bad everything around you will look bad
Evil got, evil spent. Anything abtained through unlawful means is hardly kept under safe hands.

Proverbs

Meaning

Familiarity breeds contempt. Knowing someone very well can lead to a lack of respect for them.
Fool to others, to himself a sage. Self-praise is no recomadation, one should not give airs to oneself
Forced labour is better than idleness. Sitting idle is the worst thing in the world.
Fortune favours the brave. You will have good luck if you carry out your plans boldly.

Proverbs

Meaning

Gather thistles and expect pickles. True Enjoyment never comes out of evil deeds.
God helps those who help themselves. Success comes to those who make a real effort to achieve it.
God’s will be done. We can’t defy the will of the Almighty.
Good mind, good find. Intellectual assets are more valuable than material ones.
Great cry little wool. A great deal of fuss, noise, fanfare, or protestation over something of little or no substance, importance, or relevance.

Proverbs

Meaning

Half a loaf is better than no bread. You should be grateful for something, even if it is not as much as you wanted.
Handsome is that handsome does. Behaviour is more important than appearance.
He breaks his wife’s head and then buys a plaster for it. Think of some remedy when a thing becomes irreparable.
He jests at scars who never felt a wound. No one knows the weight of another’s burden.
He that is warm, thinks all are so. Person having convenient lifestyle is practically ignorant of ordinary people’s Problem.
He who would catch fish must not mind getting wet. Every reward or gain requires some measure of work and self sacrifice.
Health is wealth. It’s better to be in good health than to be rich.
High winds blow on high hills. The ones who are at the top are the most exposed to criticism and attacks from others.
His wits are gone a wool-gathering. Be absent minded.
History repeats itself. The same kinds of events seem to happen over and over.
Honesty is the best policy. It’s always better to be honest.
Hope for the best and be prepared for the worst. You should have a positive attitude, but make sure you are ready for disaster.

Proverbs

Meaning

If you want a thing well done, do it yourself. You personally have to work if you want a good result.
It is hard to live in Rome and fight with the Pope. It is foolish to fight with someone who has supreme power in the place where you are.
It is no use crying over spilt milk. Don’t express regret for something that has happened and cannot be remedied.
It takes two to make a quarrel. An argument is never only one person’s fault.; If the other person refuses to participate, there cannot be an argument.

Proverbs

Meaning

Kill not the goose that lays the golden eggs. Do not destroy the source of your good fortune.
Killing two birds with one stone. to solve two problems with one action or solution.
King can do no wrong. Might is  right
Know which way the wind blows. To understand what is happening in changing circumstances and to be able to anticipate the future.
Knowledge is power. knowledge is more powerful than physical strength and no great work can be done without knowledge.

Proverbs

Meaning

Lend your money and lose your friend. You should not lend money to your friends; if you do, either you will have to bother your friend to repay the loan, which will make your friend resent you, or your friend will not repay the loan, which will make you resent your friend.
Let bygones be bygones. Let’s forgive and forget past quarrels.
Let sleeping dogs lie. Leave something alone if it might cause trouble.
Let the past bury the dead. Do not try to revive old grievances.; Forget about past conflicts.
Like attracts like. People tend to seek out or be attracted to those that are similar or like-minded.
Like cures like. Your pain is best understood by a like minded person.
Losers are always in the wrong. One always finds fault with the losers no matter what.
Love and cough cannot be hidden. Something which can’t go unnoticed for a long period of time.

Proverbs

Meaning

Man is as old as he feels, and a woman as old as she looks. Your age doesn’t matter as long as you are fit and healthy.
Man proposes, God disposes. Our destiny depends on God’s will.
Many a little makes a mickle. many small amounts accumulate to make a large amount.
Many men, many minds. everybody is different, no two men are the same, in mind.
Measure for measure. Tit for tat.
Misfortune never comes alone or singly. Bad things tend to happen in groups.
Money begets money. If you have money you can make more money.

Proverbs

Meaning

Necessity is the mother of invention. The need for something forces people to find a way of obtaining it.
No one knows the weight of another’s burden. Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches
No pains, no gains. Nothing is achieved without effort.
No pleasure without pain. For every pleasure you enjoy, you must suffer some pain.
No rose without a thorn. every apparently desirable situation has its share of trouble or difficulty.
No smoke without some fire. There could be some truth in the rumour

Proverbs

Meaning

One flower makes no garland. Individual person cannot do the team work.
One nail drives out another. A new pain or problem will stop you worrying or feeling bad about something else.
One today is better than two tomorrow. What you have today is better than what is promised or hoped for.
Out of the frying pan into the fire. from a bad situation to a worse situation.

Proverbs

Meaning

Penny-wise and pound foolish. Refers to a person who is careful about spending small amounts of money, but not careful about spending large amounts.
Poverty breeds strife. Poverty forces one to do bad things
Practice makes a man perfect. Doing something repeatedly is the only way to become good at it.
Prevention is better than cure. It is easier to prevent something from happening than to repair the damage or cure the disease later.
Pride hath a fall. Don’t be too self-confident or proud; something may happen to make you look foolish.
Pure gold does not fear the flame. If you are right you care a damn what others say about you.

Proverbs

Meaning

Quit not certainty for hope. it is better to have one bird in the hand than two in the bush
Respect yourself and you will be respected. good begets good

Proverbs

Meaning

Self-praise is no recommendation. If you praise yourself, people will think that you are boastful and will not respect you.
Set a thief to catch a thief. The best person to catch a thief is another thief, because he or she knows how thieves think.
Something is better than nothing. When something is needed and is available, then something is definitely better than nothing.
Speech is silver, silence is golden. Speaking is good, but discretion can be better.
Steal a goose and give giblets in alms. bad begets worse
Strike the iron while it is hot. When you have an opportunity to do something, do it before you lose your chance.

Proverbs

Meaning

The innocent have nothing to fear. The person who has not done anything wrong should not fear to anything.
The more the merrier. additional people will make something better
The wearer knows where the shoe pinches. This means that it’s hard to know how much someone else is suffering..
There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. We do not own something until we actually get it.
Time and tide wait for none. Delaying a decision will not prevent events from taking place.
To make a mountain out of a mole hill. To make a major issue out of a minor one; to exaggerate the importance of something.
To make castles in the air. To make plans that can never come true.
To rob Peter, to pay Paul. To take or borrow from one in order to give or pay something owed to another.
Tomorrow never comes. When the day arrives that you are now calling “tomorrow,” you will call that day “today” and a different day will be called “tomorrow.”
Too many cooks spoll the broth. If too many people are involved in something, it will not be done properly.
Too much courtesy, too much craft. Beware of a man who is too extravagantly polite, for he is probably trying to cheat you.
Truth is always bitter. It is not easy to accept the truth.
Two heads are better than one. Two people working together have a better chance of solving a problem than one person working alone.

Proverbs

Meaning

Union is strength. A group has more force than an individual.
Vows made in storm are forgotten in calm. To pledge to something just in order to come out of an unpleasant situation
Whistling maid and crowing hen are neither fit for gods nor man. One who does not play his role is of no use to anybody.

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