The word ‘proverb’ is derived from the Latin word ‘proverbium’. Proverbs are rich in meaning and they usually express truth that is based on human experience and common sense. These simple, concrete meaningful sayings are often metaphorical. Every culture has its own culture-specific proverbs. As far as English proverbs are concerned, the Bible and Medieval Latin have played a significant role in propagating proverbs throughout Europe.
Let us look at some of the proverbs that are often used to convey a wealth of meaning.
Actions speak louder than words.
A Jack of all trades is a master of none.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
A stitch in time saves nine.
All is fair in love and war.
All that glitters is not gold.
As you sow, so shall you reap.
A rolling stone gathers no moss.
A bird in hand in worth two in the bush.
Birds of a feather flock together.
Blood is thicker than water.
Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dine like a pauper.
Beggars cannot be choosers.
Beauty is only skin deep.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.
Before you point your fingers, be sure your hands are clean.
Clothes maketh a man.
Chance favors the preferred mind.
Cross the stream where it is shallowest.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
Cultivate not a barren soil.
Charity begins at home.
Crooked wood is straightened with fire.
Cut your coat according to your cloth.
Confession is the first step to repentance.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Do not put all your eggs in one basket.
Do as you would be done by.
Doubt in the beginning, not the end, of wisdom.
Do not make a mountain out of a molehill.
Do not cry over split milk.
Dread the anger of the dove.
Do not wash your dirty linen in public.
Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.
Every rule has its exception.
Every path has its puddle.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Every dog has its day.
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man, healthy, wealthy and wise.
Empty pots make the most noise.
Ends do not justify the means.
Experience is the mother of wisdom.
Even the smallest candle burns brighter in the dark.
Except for the night, we could never know the stars.
Example is better than precept.
Familiarity breeds contempt.
Faith will move mountains.
Friend to all is a friend to none.
Forewarned is forearmed.
Failure is the stepping stone to success.
Fortune favors the bold.
Forbidden fruit is the sweetest.
Friend in need is a friend indeed.
Great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ.
Great oaks from acorns grow.
Good fences make good neighbors.
Give the devil his due.
Good advice is beyond all price.
Great talkers are little doers.
Gambling is the son of avarice and the father of despair.
Home is where the heart is.
He who pays the piper calls the tune.
Half a loaf is better than none.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast.
Hasty climbers have sudden falls.
Haste makes waste.
He knows most who speaks least.
He laughs best that laughs last.
It takes two to tango.
Idleness has poverty for wages.
If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
Ignorance is bliss.
Ill gotten goods seldom prosper.
In a flat country, a hillock thinks itself a mountain.
In the country of the blind blessed is he that hath one eye.
It is courage that vanquishes in war and not good weapons.
It is the early worm that gets the worm.
Jack of all trades, master of none.
Judge not, lest ye be judged.
Judgment delayed is judgment avoided.
Judge not the dog by its hair.
Jealousy is nourished by doubt.
Knowledge is power.
Kill not the goose that laid the golden egg.
Kill two birds with one stone.
Kindness begets kindness.
Knowledge without practice makes but half an artist.
Knowledge is the mother of all virtues.
Kind words are worth much and cost little.
Look before you leap.
Love is blind.
Learn to walk before you run.
Lost time is never found.
Let bygones be bygones.
Let sleeping dogs lie.
Learning is a treasure no thief can touch.
Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.
Make hay while the sun shines.
Man proposes, God disposes.
Misfortunes seldom come singly.
Misery loves company.
Many hands make light work.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
Nothing succeeds like success.
Never cross the bridge until you have come to it.
Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today.
No man can serve two masters.
One swallow does not make a summer.
Old is gold.
One man’s food is another man’s poison.
One may lead a horse to the water but twenty cannot make it drink.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Once bitten, twice shy.
Out of the frying pan into the fire.
Penny wise pound foolish.
Practice makes perfection.
People who live in glass houses ought not to throw stones.
Patience is a virtue.
Prevention is better than cure.
Procrastination is a thief of time.
Rome was not built in a day.
Rats desert a sinking ship.
Rumor is a great traveler.
Still waters run deep.
Strike while the iron is hot.
Spare the rod and spoil the child.
Spilt salt is never all gathered.
Slow and steady wins the race.
The early bird catches the worm.
The end justifies the means.
Time and tide wait for no man.
To err is human, to forgive, divine.
Two heads are better than one.
Two wrongs do not make a right.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
Truth is stranger than fiction.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.
Up the creek without a paddle.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
What cannot be cured has to be endured.
Where there is smoke, there is fire.
You cannot have the cake and eat it too.
The above mentioned are a few proverbs that are commonly used. Proverbs are pithy and yet, they manage to convey all that we want to say in those few words. Therefore, it is small wonder that they are used in literature and even in our day-to-day conversations to make them more interesting and meaningful.