50 Popular Proverbs You Must Know in English Language

A proverb is a short saying that expresses a traditionally held truth or piece of advice, based on common sense or experience.

Nothing defines a culture as distinctly as its language, and the element of language that best encapsulates a society’s values and beliefs is its proverbs.

Here’s a list of the top 50 common proverbs with their meanings 👇🏾

  1. Absence makes the heart grow fonder
    Meaning: being away from someone or something for a period of time makes you appreciate that person or thing more when you see them or it again.
  2. Actions speak louder than words
    Meaning: Just saying that you’ll do something doesn’t mean much. Actually doing it is harder and more meaningful.
  3. All that glitters is not gold
    Meaning: something might not be as valuable as it seems to be.
  4. All good things come to an end
    Meaning: nothing great lasts forever.
  5. An idle brain is the devil’s workshop
    Meaning: if you’ve nothing to do, you’ll likely think of mischief.
  6. Barking dogs seldom bite
    Meaning: people who appear threatening rarely do harm.
  7. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
    Meaning: what may seem beautiful to one person may not seem the same to another.
  8. Beggars can’t be choosers
    Meaning: people who depend on the generosity of others can’t pick and choose things as per their liking.
  9. Blood is thicker than water
    Meaning: relationships with family (or blood relatives) is stronger than other relationships.
  10. Cleanliness is next to Godliness
    Meaning: Cleanliness is a sign of goodness, a great virtue.
  11. Curiosity killed the cat
    Meaning: inquisitiveness can lead one into dangerous situations.
  12. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
    Meaning: if someone’s paying you or helping you out, you have to be careful not to make them angry or say bad things about them.
  13. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
    Meaning: don’t make plans based on future events that may not happen at all.
  14. Don’t judge a book by its cover
    Meaning: don’t form an opinion about someone by their appearance.
  15. Early bird catches the worm
    Meaning: one who arrives first gets the best chance at success.
  16. Every cloud has a silver lining
    Meaning: there is always a positive side to any difficult situation.
  17. Every dog has his day
    Meaning: even the unluckiest or the most unfortunate will taste success at some point.
  18. Familiarity breeds contempt
    Meaning: if you know a situation, person, or thing well, you stop respecting them and become careless.
  19. Fortune favours the bold
    Meaning: people who bravely go after what they want are more successful than people who try to live safely.
  20. God helps those who help themselves
    Meaning: don’t just wait for good things to happen to you. Work hard to achieve your goals.
  21. Good things come to those who wait
    Meaning: Be patient. Eventually something good will happen to you.
  22. Grass is always greener on the other side
    Meaning: people tend to want whatever they don’t have.
  23. Honesty is the best policy
    Meaning: being honest is the best characteristic trait you can have.
  24. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst
    Meaning: bad things might happen, so be prepared.
  25. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride
    Meaning:  there’s no point in merely wishing for things. You need to actually work for them.
  26. It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all
    Meaning: having experienced real love in one’s life is worth the pain of losing it.
  27. It never rains but it pours
    Meaning: misfortunes or difficult situations tend to follow each other in rapid succession or to arrive all at the same time.
  28. Jack of all trades, master of none
    Meaning: refers to a person who can do many different types of work but who is not necessarily very competent at any of them.
  29. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
    Meaning: keep a keen eye on enemies beyond what one might have on their friends.
  30. Laughter is the best medicine
    Meaning: thinking positively and laughing will help you to feel better.
  31. Let bygones be bygones
    Meaning: forget past offences or causes of conflict and be reconciled.
  32. Look before you leap
    Meaning: consider all consequences before taking an action, especially when you can’t retract.
  33. Make hay while the sun shines
    Meaning: make the most of favorable conditions till they last.
  34. Necessity is the mother of invention
    Meaning: when you’re really in need, you think of creative solutions to your problems.
  35. Never look a gift horse in the mouth
    Meaning: if someone offers you a gift, don’t question it.
  36. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
    Meaning: different people have different ideas about what’s valuable.
  37. Out of sight, out of mind
    Meaning: the idea that something is easily forgotten or dismissed as unimportant if it is not in our direct view.
  38. Pen is mightier than the sword
    Meaning: writing is more effective than military power or violence.
  39. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones at others
    Meaning: people who have faults should not criticize other people for having the same faults.
  40. Practice makes perfect
    Meaning: you have to practice a skill a lot to become good at it.
  41. Rome wasn’t built in a day
    Meaning: important work takes time to complete.
  42. Slow and steady wins the race
    Meaning: slow and consistent work leads to better chance of success than quick work in spurts.
  43. Strike while the iron is hot
    Meaning: take advantage of an opportunity as soon as it comes along.
  44. There is no time like the present
    Meaning: the best time to do something is right now. So, act now.
  45. Two heads are better than one
    Meaning: when two people cooperate with each other, they come up with better ideas.
  46. What goes around comes around
    Meaning: if someone treats other people badly, he or she will eventually be treated badly by someone else.
  47. When in Rome, do as the Romans do
    Meaning: when visiting a foreign land, follow the customs of local people.
  48. When the going gets tough, the tough get going
    Meaning: when conditions become difficult, strong people take action.
  49. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink
    Meaning: if you try to help someone, but they don’t take your advice or offers, give up. You can’t force someone to accept your help.
  50. You show me the man and I’ll show you the rule
    Meaning: rules change depending on how influential or powerful the person likely to be affected by the rules is.

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