Save the Proverbs

Email Contributions

There have been many interesting emails commenting on and contributing to our Save the Proverbs pages. Below are a selection.
Please do not hesitate to send me an email with your contribution to Save the Proverbs.
NOTE. May 2015:- I must apologise as in recent years I have been negligent in not recording all contributions. I will try to do better in the future.

10 July 2018 - From Hilary
Please can you give me an explanation of the proverb “the dogs bark but the caravan moves on”. Google provided the answer
History (or progress) moves ahead, no matter the criticism it may attract.
11 April 2016 - From Wafa
He directed me to this Proverbs classification web site.
The Matti Kuusi international type system of proverbs.
6 November 2015 - From Gary
G'Day mate, To start off, I enjoyed reading the list you have posted, thanks, Grew up in country North Queensland, Australia (over 50 years ago). Read more .
18 June 2015 - From Elaine
Something my Scottish grandmother used to say and I’ve been known to use it still : “Many a mickle makes a muckle”, meaning small amounts of money accumulate into bigger amounts..
27 December 2009 - From Briar
I too collect beautiful "sayings" "Proverbs" and/or write my own words - this site of yours is a true delight. It makes a persons heart sing.
22 May 2006 From: Cari and Al
Thank you so much for putting together all these proverbs. We have passed them down to family and friends. Cari's Mother said a lot of these during her 97 years (She passed away last year on May 29th). Thanks again.
Editors note.I have been getting old (now 74 years on) and lazy and have neglected to record emails from contributors. Sorry. This one from Al and Cari jolted me into action. I will try harder. Thanks to all, Tom
7 Jan 2005 From: Joyce
I overheard an old man saying 'cold hands warm heart' and he finished it. I never knew there was any more to it. Can you tell me what the rest is? No body seems to know. Or how can I find out?
17 Aug 2004 From Margaret
After visiting your web page and reading a lesson suggestion, I chose to take a session on Proverbs at 'English Conversation' as I am a volunteer working with people from other countries.
Proverbs are not entirely out: I was interested to read about a case brought into a WA district court - and featured in the the Melbourne Herald Sun on two occasions in June - about an elderly couple caught with cannabis. The lawyer for the elderly man said:
'the case reflected the adage "you can choose your friends but not your relatives"'. (I thought perhaps that adage would have been a more old-fashioned term than proverb but there it was 'adage'. Also over the past couple of months there have been references highlighting man's best friend.
1. 'a person's best friend', namely Spud, a companion to a disabled lass.
2. 'a dog is more than man's best friend - it is good medicine too'. This was about therapy dog John and owner visiting children at the Royal Children's Hospital.
3. 'Faithful, affectionate, loyal and reliable - no wonder a dog is woman's best friend'. This was following a survey in which women find a 'loyal pet better than a lovable rogue'.
No doubt the above appeared in your papers. With best wishes.
4 Nov 2003 From: Steve
I really like visiting your site(s), and all the things you have. It must take a lot of time, patience and energy. Anyway, here's a proverb my grandfather used to use, which I never understood until I was older.
Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
The immediate meaning, of course, is "accept something given to you without question", but I never understood where it came from until I read a very old pamphlet that peddlers used to give away as an aid to selling. It was published as a guide to home health and minor treatment for colds and so forth, and was called "The Doctor at Home", published around 1890. It said you could tell a horse's age by examining its teeth.
5 Oct 2003 From: Peter
G'day! I think it was either Henry Bradley in The Making of English or Simeon Potter in Our Language who quoted an old rural English proverb: "Hall binks are oft sliddery" -- roughly translated, "The benches in manorial halls are often slippery", meaning that the favour of the rich is ephemeral. You could possibly modernise it as, "Palace seats are often slippery." Great to see an art-form preserved.
2 Jun 2003 From: Catherine
Just one for the contradictory & animal section (which I'm surprised isn't there already).
"Curiosity killed the cat; Satisfaction brought it back."
I have no idea how old it is, but it's one of my favourites. I inherited it from Mum; cousin Peggy (84) still uses it & *she* got it off my Greatgrandma (looong story); Gran used to spout it at Dad; etc., etc. I now irritate the gang of small cousins with it, when babysitting. BTW (if you hadn't guessed by my idiom ;]): I'm English. From good Durham Co. & Nottinghamshire stock. Best wishes
30 Dec 2002 From: Vince
I just had a quick glance and didn't seem to see this one. I don't know if this is the exact wording, but I think it goes something like - "It is better to stay silent and be thought a fool, then to open one's mouth and remove all doubt". thanks.
1 Sep 2002 From: Mark
      I came across your compilation of commonplace sayings while searching the web for the origin and nominal form of "[Always] hope for the best, {but/and} prepare for the worst."
      I couldn't help but notice your statement that there were no new proverbs being coined. You have probably been beaten about the head and shoulders sufficiently already for this statement, but I cannot resist mentioning the quintessentially modern "Garbage in, garbage out" as a definitive refutation.
      I firmly believe that even today there are many minds cherishing and preserving "old saws" and breeding new ones out of their "modern instances." In fact it hardly matters the intermediate medium in which these sayings, currently or once "popular, " are stored. If they are often said, quoted, written or thought, then they qualify as popular sayings. They must pass thru minds with a sufficient frequency to qualify. Of course old ones can always be dusted off and repopularized. People like yourself and myself can collect and learn the old ones, but to fit at least what I consider a reasonable definition, they can't remain "on the shelf." The library of popular wisdom, is a circulating library.
23 Aug 2002 From: James
Very cool web site!! Very very cool. I am a student of the Holy Bible. My love for God's Word, and my fear of God has caused me to search out Wisdom as it more rare than the most priceless of gems. Your web site is one of those gems. Thank you very much and May God Bless You. Sincerely, yours in Christ Jesus.
19 Aug 2002 From: Graham
Is this saying a proverb: "More haste less speed" ? and is this the correct wording? What is the origin of this saying or proverb?
1 Apr 2002 From: Ronn
When I was a kid growing up my mom quoted the saying below, hope you might find it worth including in your Proverbs - Once a task has first begun, never quit until it's done, be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all"
3 Jan 2002 From: Carolyn
I was looking for the proverb, - Everyone has a twin in the world. - Have you heard of it? Do you know if its origin? Do you know where I could look to get more information. Thank you.
24 Dec 2001 From: Jennifer
Your site is very informative. Thank you for the work you have done on it. I am 51, so know more proverbs than my children, but many on your site I had not heard before.
7 Dec 2001 From: Pam
I have just found your site and I love it. I have read through the list and I don't think these ones are one it I don't know where this one came from, but I use it a lot - 'All things come to them that wait!'
This one is not to do with the weather but means you either get nothing or everything - 'It never rains but it pours!'
This one speaks for itself - 'It's either all or nothing'
1 Nov 2001 From: Bonnie
Lovely, I went looking for your site after we had an exercise on proverbs at our recent writers' group. My Father had a proverb for every possible situation, taught to him, I suspect by his own school teacher Mother. How about "needs must when the devil drives" and "As one door closes, another always opens" and "Never let the sun go down on your anger". Bonnie
26 Oct 2001 From: Artamon
Congratulations on your web site "Save the Proverbs" - great idea. I came accross it through the 50 Something magazine today and one proverb/saying that came to mind was one that I had written another in relation to. George Bernard Shaw was quoted as saying : "Youth is a wonderful thing - what a pity to waste it on children."
So I penned the following one which has proved popular, especially amongst the not so young ones : "Advancing age is a wonderful time - what a pity to waste it on grumpy old fogies!". Hope you like it.
24 Oct 2001 From: Ken
I read with interest the article in issue 10 "Beyond 50". This subject often comes up during my sessions with students at Adult Migrant Education Service (West Coast College, Perth). Part of my responsibility, as English Conversation Tutor, is to ensure students are helped to understand and appreciate local idiom. So proverbs do have a place, and sometimes take up a complete session. I wondered if you had come across this particular interpretation: - "A stitch in time can save a blush, and a hair on the head is worth two in the brush!"
8 Oct 2001 From: Graham
My (Cornish) grandmother, had a quaint expression, I'm not sure if it's exactly a proverb as I repeat it but it was - "Hark at the pot calling the brandy smutty". This is a more cornish way of referring to a pot calling the kettle black. A "brandy" is the iron stand that one used to put pots on to cook in an open fire.
01 Jun 2001 From: Maria
I'm trying help my son on a homework project regarding proverbs. He has to finish the proverb and write what it means. For example:
A penny saved _______________ This means:____________
Is there such a website that list the proverb and the meaning? You're assistance would be greatly appreciated.
29 May 2001 From: Fred
I was wondering if you could help me. My boss sent me this Proverb and I have no idea on what it means so I found your website which has heaps of them, maybe you could help me .. "Shake the hand before you plough the field". Could you help me , it's really starting to bug me .