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 English Proverbs and Sayings  


Alphabetical lists of commonly-used proverbs and sayings in English.


 List T :  "tall oaks grow..."  →  "two wrongs don't make a right..."   



Proverbs and sayings are short statements of wisdom or advice that are transmitted from generation to generation and have passed into general use.


  • Tall oaks grow from little acorns.
    • Great things may come from small beginnings.

  • The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
    • Children resemble their parents.

  • The best advice is found on the pillow.
    • A good night's sleep may help us find an answer to our problem.re

  • The best things in life are free.
    • You don't have to pay for what is important: happiness, friendship, good health.

  • The darkest hour is just before dawn.
    • The most difficult moment is just before a problem is solved.

  • The devil looks after his own.
    • Success comes to those who deserve it least.

  • The devil makes work for idle hands.
    • People who have no work, or who are idle, often get into trouble.

  • The die is cast.
    • A decision has been made and it is impossible to change it.

  • The early bird catches the worm.
    • Act early, or before anyone else, if you want to have an advantage or be successful.

  • The end justifies the means.
    • Wrong or unfair methods may be used if the result of the action is good.

  • The first step is the hardest.
    • The most difficult part of an action is the beginning.

  • The more haste, the less speed.
    • A person makes more progress if they take time to do things carefully.

  • The more you have, the more you want.
    • People have a constant desire to possess more.

  • The mouse that has but one hole is quickly taken.
    • If you depend on just one thing, and it fails, you have no alternatives.

  • The pen is mightier than the sword.
    • Words and communication have a greater effect than war and fighting.

  • The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
    • The real value of something can be judged only after it has been tried or tested.

  • The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    • It is not enough to intend to do something, you must actually do it.



  • The tongue wounds more than a lance.
    • Insults can be more hurtful than physical injuries.

  • The truth is in the wine.
    • People speak more freely under the influence of alcohol.

  • The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
    • Feed a man well and he will love you.

  • The wish is father to the thought.
    • You think that something is true because you want it to be so.

  • There is a black sheep in every flock.
    • There is always someone who doesn't behave or perform like the others.

  • There's many a slip between the cup and the lip.
    • We do not own something until we actually get it.

  • There is a trick in every trade.
    • There is an established way of doing things.

  • There is no fool like an old fool.
    • An older person is expected to behave more sensibly.

  • There is safety in numbers.
    • Being in a crowd makes you feel more confident.

  • (A) tidy house holds a bored woman.
    • If a house is always tidy, the owner (woman) has nothing but housework to occupy her time.

  • Time and tide wait for no man.
    • Delaying a decision will not prevent events from taking place.

  • Time has wings.
    • Time goes by quickly.

  • Time heals all wounds.
    • The passage of time lessens the impact of bad events.

  • Time is money.
    • Time is valuable and should not be wasted.

  • To err is human, to forgive divine.
    • It is human nature to make mistakes, therefore one should forgive them.

  • Too many cooks spoil the broth.
    • If too many people are involved in something, it will not be done properly.

  • Too much bed makes a dull head.
    • When you sleep too much, you are not able to think clearly.

  • (The) tongue wounds more than a lance.
    • Insults can be more hurtful than physical injuries.

  • A tree is known by its fruit.
    • A person is judged by their actions.

  • Trust not a horse's heel nor a dog's tooth.
    • A horse kicks from behind, a dog attacks with its teeth.

  • Truth has no answer.
    • You cannot argue against facts or refute what is true.

  • (The) truth is in the wine.
    • People speak more freely under the influence of alcohol.

  • Truth is stranger than fiction.
    • Events in real life are often stranger than in fiction.

  • Two wrongs don't make a right.
    • It is wrong to harm someone because they have harmed you.

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Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.