Famous proverbs in English with meaning

Proverb word is taken from the Latin word proverbium which is a simple, concrete, traditional saying that expresses a perceived truth based on common sense or experience. Proverbs are often metaphorical and use formulaic language. Collectively, they form a genre of folklore. 

1. A bad workman quarrels with his tools. (An inefficient man complains of the circumstances)

2. A beggar may sing before a pick-pocket. (a beggar has nothing to lose)

3. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. (one to-day is worth two tomorrows)

4. A burnt child fears the fire or dreads the fire. (experience teachers us caution)

5. A cat has nine lives. (a cat is more tenacious of life than any animal)

6. A drowning man catches at a straw. (while there is life, there is hope)

7. Adversity often leads to prosperity. (misery has its sequel in happiness)

8. A friend in need is a friend indeed. (a true friend is one to depend upon in trouble)

9. After death comes the doctor/ Nothing to do when it is too late. (To be wise after the event)

10. After clouds come fair weather. (Happiness follows misery)

11. After sweetmeat comes to the sour sauce. (If you laugh today you may cry tomorrow)

12. A good beginning is half the battle. (A good start of the war, a clear sign of victory)

13. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. (Shallow knowledge turns one's head)

14. All covet, all lost. (Grasp all, lose all)

15. All's well that ends well. (It is all right if it turns out well at the end)

16. All that glitters is not gold. (Appearances are deceptive)

17. All things come to him who waits. (Patience is better but its fruit is sweet)

18. All seems yellow to the jaundiced eye. (To a biased mind, everything is in fault)

19. All his geese are swans. (One's own things are the best)

20. A penny saved is a penny earned.  (Little savings make a mighty sum)

21. A pet lamb makes a cross ram. (Too much indulgence spoils a child)

22. A rolling stone gathers no moss. (An unsteady fellow will never make good; a perpetual traveller is poor)

23. Art is long, life is short. (Life is too short for all that we have to learn)

24. A sleeping fox catches no poultry. (An idle fellow can do nothing in life)

25. A stitch in time saves nine. (Remove a defect in time)

26. As you sow, so you reap. (As you make your bed, so you must lie on it)

27. Tit for tat. (You must pay for the evil you do)

28. A tree is known by its fruit. (A man's actual character is known by his actions)

29. Bachelors' wives and maids' children are always well taught. (To be worried about things that do not matter)

30. Barking dogs seldom bite. (Angry words and threats lead to nothing worse)

31. Beggars must not be choosers. (Those who seek favour must accept any term)

32. Better alone than in bad company.(Shun evil company)

33. Better an empty house than an ill tenant.(Better alone than in evil company)

34. Birds of the same feather flock together. (Like draws like)

35. Blood is thicker than water. (The tie of kindred is real)

36. Blue are the hills that are far from us. (Distance lends enchantment to the view)

37. Build a castle in the air. (Indulge oneself in a daydream)

38. Call a spade a spade. (Speak plain and spare none)

39. Carry coal to Newcastle. (Help one who needs no help)

40. Cast pearls before swine. (Waste too good a thing on one least deserving)

41. Charity begins at home. (Help yourself first, and then you can help others)

42. Cleanliness is next to godliness. (Man is made god when he becomes clean)

43. Cut your coat according to your cloth. (Spend within your means)

44. Industry is the key to success/ Diligence is the mother of good luck. (Hard work beings success)

45. Don't count your chickens before they are hatched. (Don't be sure of a thing until it is yours)

46. Do or die. (Risk all to win)

47. Empty vessels sound much. (Too much talk ends in nothing)

48. Every dog has his day. (Nobody prospers forever)

49. Self-help is the best help/Every man is for himself. ( Everyone looks after his own interest)

50. An example is better than precept. (It is better to do good than to preach)

51. Fair words butter no parsnips. (Empty promise will not help anybody in distress)

52. Familiarity breeds contempt. (Get to know a man better and you will have less respect for him)

53. Fault are thick where love is thin. (You find everything wrong with a person whom you do not love; less love, more censure)

54. First deserve, then desire. (Quality yourself to fulfil your desires)

55. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. (The rash will undertake a thing from which the wise shrink)

56. Give a dog a bad name and hang him. (Make much of a man when he serves your purpose and then discards him)

57. Give him an inch and he'll take an ell. (Give no change to an intruder/give a wide berth to a self-seeker)

58. Give the devil his due. (Be just even to one who does not deserve sympathy)

59. God helps those who help themselves. (God favours those who spare no pains)

60. Good wine needs no bush. (A known man needs no recommendation)

61. Haste makes waste. (Unnecessary hurry often causes bad things)

62. He laughs best who laughs last. (All's well that ends well)

63. He who spits against the wind spits against his own face. (He that touches pitch shall be defiled therewith)

64. Honesty is the best policy. (It pays to be honest/hunger is great appetizers)

65. Hunger is the best sauce. (Hunger gives taste to our food/hunger is great appetizer)

66. Indolence is the mother of poverty. (The indolent can never thrive)

67. It is no use crying over spoilt milk. (Let bygones be bygones/let the dead past bury its dead)

68. It takes two to make a quarrel. (Both are to blame in a quarrel)

69. Jack of all trades, master of none. (One does many things fairly well, but is not an expert at anything)

70. Knowledge is power. ( Knowledge rules the world)

71. Know thyself. ( Examine your own mind)

72. Let sleeping dogs lie. ( It is useless to deal with the vile)

73. Look before you leap. (Think before you act)

74. Like cures like. (One poison is the antidote against another poison/one thorn drives away another)

75. Make hay while the sun shines. (As the wind blows you must set your sail)

76. Many a little makes a mickle. (Many a penny makes a pound)

77. Many drops make a shower. (Drops of water make the ocean)

78. Misfortune never comes alone. (One Misfortune follows in the wake of another)

79. Necessity is the mother of invention. (Urgent need impels one to devise means)

80. Necessity knows no law. (One in extreme want may resort to anything)

81. Nero fiddles while Rome burns. (To make merry at the distress of others)

82. To err is human. (None but a fool is always right)

83. No pains, no gains. ( Strive and you will win)

84. No some without fire. (There can be no effect without a cause)

85. Nothing succeeds like success. (Success leads to success)

86. Nothing ventured, nothing have. (No risk, no gain/No pain, no gain)

87. Oil your own machine. (Mind your own business/ Don't poke your nose into the affairs of others)

88. One swallow does not make a summer. (Now you get the best of me, but my turn will come again)

89. Out of debt, out of danger. (One having no debt is happy)

90. Out of sight, out of mind.

91. Patience is better, but its fruits is sweet. (Wait and see/ Patience, however painful in the beginning, brings happiness in the end)

92. Penny wise, pound foolish. (Thrifty in small things and careless in large ones)

93. Pride goeth before destruction. ( Fall/Pride has its fall)

94. Put a glutton in charge of cooking for others)                                                       
95. Riches have wings. (Fortune is fickle)

96. Rob Peter to pay Paul. (To benefit one at the expense of another)

97. Rome was not built in a day. (Worthwhile achievements take time and perseverance)

98. Self-help is the best help. (Depend on yourself and you will succeed)

99. Set a thief to catch a thief. (One nail drives out another)

100. Slow and steady wins the race. (Perseverance begets success)

101. Something is better than nothing. (Half a loaf is better than no bread)
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