Read our selection of the best known and inspiring proverbs in English.

What’s a proverb?

A proverb is a brief, simple, traditional saying that gives advice based on practical experience, often in the form of a metaphor or allegory Proverbs are popular in spoken language, and form part of the folklore of a culture, passing down the generations.

The proverbs in English below originate mostly from the UK, but also include proverbs from other English speaking countries, as well as proverbs that originated in other languages where the translation has become commonly used in English. As with proverbs from any country, these proverbs in English give unique insight into the culture.  Read on below for 50 of the most inspiring and thought-provoking proverbs in English.

“A bad workman always blames his tools.”

.

“A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.”

.

“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”

.

“A fool and his money are easily parted.”

.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

.

“A stitch in time saves nine.”

.

“A watched pot never boils.”

english proverbs - a watched pot never boils

.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

.

“Actions speak louder than words.”

.

“All good things come to an end.”

.

“All’s fair in love and war.”

.

“Among the blind the one-eyed man is king.”

.

“An empty vessel makes the most noise.”

.

“As you sow, so you shall reap.”

.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

.

“Beauty is only skin deep.”

.

“Beggars can’t be choosers.”

.

“Better late than never.”

.

“Better safe than sorry.”

.

“Birds of a feather flock together.”

.

“Blood is thicker than water.”

.

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”

.

“Curiosity killed the cat.”

.

“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

.

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

.

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

.

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

.

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

.

“Every cloud has a silver lining.”

.

“Every dog has his day.”

.

“Familiarity breeds contempt.”

.

“Good things come to those who wait.”

.

“Honesty is the best policy.”

.

“If you can’t beat them, join them.”

.

“It takes two to tango.”

proverbs in english - it takes two to tango

.

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

.

“Knowledge is power.”

.

“Laughter is the best medicine.”

.

“Learn to walk before you run.”

.

“Let sleeping dogs lie.”

.

“Like father, like son.”

.

“Look before you leap.”

.

“Make hay while the sun shines.”

.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

.

“No man is an island.”

.

“No news is good news.”

.

“Once bitten twice shy.”

.

“One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

.

“Out of sight, out of mind.”

.

“Pen is mightier than sword.”

.

“People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

.

“Practice makes perfect.”

.

“Practice what you preach.”

.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

english proverbs - rome wasn't built in a day, on roman square background

.

“Slow and steady wins the race.”

.

“Still waters run deep.”

.

“Strike while the iron is hot.”

.

“The best things in life are free.”

.

“The devil makes work for idle hands.”

.

“The early bird catches the worm.”

.

“The ends justifiy the means.”

.

“The grass is greener on the other side.”

.

“The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

.

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

.

“There are more ways than one to skin a cat.”

.

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

.

“There’s no use crying over spilt milk.”

.

“There’s no place like home.”

.

“There’s no time like the present.”

.

“There’s safety in numbers.”

.

“Time and tide wait for no man.”

.

“Too many cooks spoil the broth.”

.

“Two heads are better than one.”

.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

.

“What goes around comes around.”

.

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

.

“Where one door shuts, another opens.”

.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

.

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

.

“While the cat’s away, the mice will play.”

.

“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”

.

“You can’t fit a round peg in a square hole.”

.

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

.

“You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.”

.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

.

“You can’t unscramble a scrambled egg.”english proverbs - you can't unscramble a scrambled egg

That’s your lot for proverbs in English. What do you think – any great ones that we’re missing? Drop us a line in the comments section below.


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *