Home English Language 50+ English Proverbs with Meanings, Examples and Pronunciation

50+ English Proverbs with Meanings, Examples and Pronunciation

50+ English Proverbs with Meanings, Examples and Pronunciation


Have you ever ever had a day at work the place individuals mentioned the strangest issues?

“The cat’s out of the bag,” a co-worker says at a employees assembly. “Nevertheless it’s no use crying over spilled milk. We are able to nonetheless make quite a lot of progress right now.”

Cats? Milk? What’s occurring right here? The reply is that your co-worker is utilizing proverbs.

Right here we’ll share 50 of the commonest English proverbs so that you’ll catch them each time they’re talked about in dialog! 


What Is a Proverb?

Proverbs are the standard (historic) sayings of a rustic. They’re quick, intelligent sentences that normally supply life recommendation. Native English audio system usually use them in dialog with out even realizing it.

Proverbs can train you extra about a rustic’s tradition than any textbook. They present what’s necessary to the group of individuals, what is taken into account good conduct and what’s unhealthy conduct.

Proverbs can even inform you the historical past of a spot. For instance, proverbs from farming cities will use quite a lot of farming language, and fishing villages will discuss in regards to the sea.

So to higher perceive this language, beneath are 50 of the highest English proverbs, clearly defined only for you!

50 Helpful English Proverbs 

1. The grass is at all times greener on the opposite facet of the fence.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

“The grass is at all times greener” is a proverb that teaches us it’s not good to be jealous (to need what different individuals have). It might seem to be everybody round you has “greener grass,” that means nicer automobiles, higher jobs, and so forth.

However your neighbor in all probability thinks you’ve greener grass too, which implies that your folks and different individuals assume that you’ve got higher appears to be like, a happier household, and so forth. So as a substitute of occupied with what everybody else has, this proverb desires you to be pleased about what you have.

2. Don’t choose a e book by its cowl.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Issues will not be at all times what they appear. This proverb teaches you to not make judgments about different individuals due to how they give the impression of being or costume.

A e book with a boring or plain cowl might be superb. The identical is true with individuals. An individual may seem like an athlete or idiot, however there’s in all probability much more to them than garments counsel.

3. Strike whereas the iron is sizzling.

Blacksmith at work in anvil

This outdated expression comes from the times of blacksmiths (individuals who work with steel). To form the steel, the blacksmith must beat it with a hammer. Iron is less complicated to work with when it’s sizzling.

This proverb means you must reap the benefits of the second. If a possibility presents itself to you, take it! Take motion as a result of the prospect could not come once more.

4. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Or because it’s extra generally mentioned, “Too many cooks within the kitchen.” This can be a well-known expertise—so much individuals all attempting to work in a kitchen round a small desk or stovetop will make a multitude and smash the meals.

This proverb talks in regards to the hassle of too many individuals attempting to do the identical factor without delay.

5. You’ll be able to’t have your cake and eat it too.

young boy on birthday

In the event you eat your cake, you received’t have it anymore, will you? So you may’t do each. This proverb is about having two reverse wishes, and the way it’s inconceivable to get each.

Its that means is the alternative of the expression, “to have one of the best of each worlds.”

6. Many fingers make mild work.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

If lots of people carry a heavy object, it doesn’t really feel heavy. That’s the basic that means of this proverb.

If everybody works collectively to finish one thing—like cleansing, portray or group initiatives—then every particular person has much less to do. Extra importantly, the job might be accomplished way more rapidly.

7. When in Rome, do because the Romans do.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Generally this proverb is shortened to only “when in Rome…” If you end up a customer someplace away from house, you must act like everybody else. It’s well mannered to take action, and will hold you from stepping into hassle. 

This proverb refers back to the historical days of the Roman Empire when the capital metropolis had guests from all around the world. Cultures have been very totally different between cities in these occasions. However whereas in Rome, one would behave like a Roman, regardless of the place you got here from.

8. Don’t cross the bridge till you come to it.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

This proverb tells you to not fear a lot! Issues will definitely come sooner or later. However what could be executed about that now?

It’s higher to consider what you might be doing proper now—with out worrying in regards to the unknown—and care for points once they really occur.

9. Honesty is one of the best coverage.

young businessman oath Truth on white background

Mendacity so much could be tough, since you may neglect your lies. Quickly sufficient, somebody will discover out you might be mendacity. Then, you might be in hassle. Or even when nobody ever finds out, you will really feel responsible for not telling the reality.

However if you’re sincere and inform the reality, individuals will consider you and respect you. You’ll earn their belief and sleep properly at evening.

10. Follow makes good.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

It will be superb if the primary time you picked up a guitar you may play it like a rock star. Or if the primary time you bought in a automobile, you may drive like an expert. Or when you may converse English completely after one lesson.

Every little thing is tough if you find yourself a newbie. However when you keep it up, when you hold training, you may grasp something.

11. The place there’s a will, there’s a approach.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

This proverb is alleged to encourage individuals who need to surrender. Generally, we face issues that appear inconceivable. However if you need it unhealthy sufficient, nothing can stand in your approach.

That’s what this proverb means—in case you have the desire to satisfy the issues which might be in entrance of you, there’s a strategy to overcome them.

12. Look earlier than you leap.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Don’t rush into issues! Ensure you know what will occur subsequent. You wouldn’t soar off a cliff with out first checking how far the bottom is beneath or what there’s to land on.

You must wait a couple of moments and ensure it’s a good suggestion to leap from that cliff. So when making a giant “soar” in life, ensure you’ve regarded on the scenario and actually perceive it earlier than you’re taking a giant motion.

13. Beggars can’t be choosers.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

If somebody provides you free issues or affords that can assist you do one thing when you actually need it, you may’t ask for a unique shade or select the right time in your schedule.

Whenever you obtain assist or items and also you don’t actually have many different choices, you must settle for what you’re supplied—you may’t be choosy (a “chooser”) since you’re not paying!

14. Don’t make a mountain out of an anthill.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Folks generally get very upset over small issues. This proverb reminds you to take a second and see how necessary (or not necessary) the difficulty is.

Messing up your laundry or being late for work will not be crucial when you think about your whole life. So it’s necessary to remain calm and never get indignant about tiny issues.

15. An apple a day retains the physician away.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

An apple is filled with Vitamin C, which retains you wholesome. Nevertheless, the “apple” on this proverb means maintaining a healthy diet basically.

In the event you eat properly and your food plan consists of quite a lot of vegatables and fruits, there might be no want to go to the physician.

16. The early chook catches the worm.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

This proverb is so much just like the phrase “First come, first served.” It merely implies that it’s normally finest to be early.

In the event you arrive earlier—whether or not it’s to a clothes retailer, restaurant, convention, and so forth.—you’ll have one of the best choices to select from. In the event you come later, although, one of the best garments may have offered out, the restaurant might be full and have a protracted ready time, and so forth.

17. Higher late than by no means.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Whereas being the early chook is one of the best, even latecomers could get one thing for coming. It will be so much worse in the event that they by no means got here in any respect.

This proverb is alleged about ending fights with individuals. It’s higher to apologize and make up years later, than to by no means resolve your combat in any respect.

18. The cat is out of the bag.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

This proverb implies that a secret has been instructed. It comes from the Center Ages and was widespread recommendation given out there.

You’ll have thought you bought a tasty pig, however the vendor put a easy cat within the bag as a substitute. “To let the cat out of the bag” was to disclose the vendor’s trick.

19. Two wrongs don’t make a proper.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

If any person insults you or harms you (“a improper”), doing the identical to them (“two wrongs”) is not going to make every part okay.

It should most probably trigger a back-and-forth combat with out finish. If any person is imply to you, don’t be imply to them in return as a result of it’s not proper to take action.

20. All the time put your finest foot ahead.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

If you end up beginning on a mission or a journey, it’s finest to start out with angle and quite a lot of vitality. First impressions (what individuals take into consideration you once they meet you for the primary time) can final for a very long time.

That’s why this proverb can also be used when assembly new individuals or for job interviews. Having a optimistic angle—your “finest foot”—is the easiest way to make impression.

21. Rome wasn’t inbuilt a day.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Rome is a good metropolis. Nevertheless, it took a few years to be accomplished. The builders didn’t rush to finish their work and neither do you have to.

In the event you want to create one thing fantastic and long-lasting, you’ll have to spend greater than a day engaged on it. You’ll in all probability must spend a number of days, weeks and even months to do job. Take your time and do it proper!

22. It’s higher to be protected than sorry.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Do every part potential to maintain unhealthy issues from occurring to you. It solely takes a second to placed on a seatbelt or to verify that you just locked the door.

However when you’re not protected, the unhealthy outcomes can final a lifetime. So it’s finest so that you can watch out, in any other case you’ll be sorry.

23. Don’t chunk the hand that feeds you.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

This proverb warns towards performing imply to those that present for you or who do good issues for you.

In the event you have been to chunk the hand that gave you meals, that hand in all probability received’t come again to feed you once more. Then what would you eat? So try to be form and grateful to those that look after you.

24. The squeaky wheel will get the grease.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

In case you have an issue however by no means discuss it, nobody will allow you to. How may they? However when you inform somebody, issues will get higher.

This proverb is about somebody who complains so much (the “squeaky wheel”) as a result of they get extra consideration (“the grease”). For instance, a baby who cries so much will get extra consideration from his mom than his silent brothers and sisters.

25. Don’t chunk off greater than you may chew.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

In the event you take a chunk of meals that’s too huge, you received’t have the ability to chew! Plus you may choke on all of that further meals.

It’s the identical when you tackle extra work or accountability than you may deal with—you’ll have a tough time. So it’s finest to not get entangled in too many initiatives, since you received’t have the ability to focus and get all of them executed properly.

26. You made your mattress, now you must lie in it.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Nobody likes sleeping in a poorly made mattress. In the event you make your mattress with the sheets all tangled and blankets dealing with the improper approach, you may’t swap with another person. You need to sleep in that mattress.

This proverb makes use of bed-making to explain any unhealthy scenario in which you’ll end up. You’ll be able to’t commerce locations with anybody else. You should reside with the outcomes of your actions, so make good selections.

27. Actions converse louder than phrases.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

The Greek thinker Plato as soon as mentioned that motion is character. Individuals are not outlined by what they are saying as a result of quite a lot of discuss doesn’t imply something. Individuals are judged by the issues they do. Your actions are extra necessary than what you say.

28. It takes two to tango.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

This proverb is usually mentioned throughout a combat by which one particular person is placing all the blame on the different particular person, when each individuals have been really accountable.

Simply as one particular person can’t tango (a Spanish dance with two individuals) alone, two persons are answerable for some conditions, so you may’t simply blame one particular person.

29. Don’t depend your chickens earlier than they hatch.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

This proverb warns towards being too keen. Simply because you’ve 5 eggs, doesn’t imply you’ll have 5 chickens. It isn’t a good suggestion to make plans based mostly on expectations (what you assume will occur).

Anticipate all issues to return true earlier than build up your desires. Or worse, your guarantees. Issues could not occur such as you thought they might and that might get you in hassle.

30. It’s no use crying over spilled milk.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Milk is straightforward to get. You could get in hassle for spilling the milk, you shouldn’t cry as a result of it isn’t a giant deal. Additionally, crying received’t remedy something.

This proverb advises you to remain calm throughout such small issues. Don’t waste time worrying about little issues that can not be modified. Clear up the mess and go purchase some extra milk.

31. Don’t put all of your eggs in a single basket.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Watch out! In the event you put all of your items in a single bag or all of your cash in a single inventory, you take a giant danger. It’s smarter to unfold your wealth round. That approach if one basket ought to break, you’re not left with nothing.

32. Folks in glass homes shouldn’t throw stones.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

“Folks in glass homes” means anybody who’s delicate about their failures. Folks like this could not insult others (shouldn’t “throw stones”) as a result of most probably the opposite particular person will flip round and insult you again.

And like glass, which is straightforward to interrupt, your shallowness (what you consider your self) will simply break into items.

33. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Solely a stone that’s in the identical place for a very long time can have moss rising on it. A stone on the transfer will stay naked.

The identical is true with individuals. In the event you stay in a single place for a very long time, the indicators of life—mates, household, objects and your native status (what individuals consider you)—will develop on you. However not when you at all times transfer from place to put.

34. First issues first.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

This proverb advises you to do issues in the fitting order. Don’t skip over the tougher or much less satisfying duties as a way to get to the better, extra enjoyable ones.

For instance, in case you have an examination to review for a similar evening your good friend is having a celebration, research for the examination first. The get together can be extra enjoyable, however the examination is extra necessary so it needs to be executed first.

35. Nonetheless waters run deep.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

“Nonetheless waters run deep” describes people who find themselves quiet and calm. These individuals usually have “deep,” attention-grabbing personalities. So even when somebody doesn’t discuss so much, they may nonetheless be very considerate.

The proverb makes use of water to explain individuals. When the floor of a physique of water is tough and quick, it normally implies that it’s shallow (not deep) and has rocks near the floor, like in a river or stream. However water that’s calm and nonetheless is usually very deep, like in a lake.

36. If it ain’t broke, don’t repair it.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

This phrase is used when somebody is attempting to alter or “enhance” a approach of doing one thing that works completely properly. Why change one thing that works? You possibly can smash every part! This proverb goes properly with the expression “depart properly sufficient alone.”

*Observe: “Ain’t” will not be appropriate English. It’s a casual approach of claiming “isn’t” or “will not be.” This model of talking is well-liked within the Southern states of the US and in farming areas.

37. Curiosity killed the cat.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

This proverb is usually used to cease somebody from asking too many questions.

Curiosity (while you’re excited and keen to know one thing) can lead you into harmful conditions. Cats, who’re naturally curious, usually find yourself in hassle. They get caught up in bushes or between partitions.

38. Study to stroll earlier than you run.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Do issues in the fitting order, from easy to extra sophisticated.

For instance, don’t attempt to learn a tough English novel while you’re simply beginning to be taught English. In the event you attempt to soar forward, you’ll most probably fail—similar to a baby who tries to run earlier than studying to stroll will fall.

All issues will are available time, however you have to be affected person and undergo the correct course of.

39. Cash doesn’t develop on bushes.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

This proverb is usually mentioned to individuals who waste their cash on foolish purchases.

Issues that develop on bushes, comparable to fruit or leaves, are thought of plentiful (sufficient, a lot) as a result of they’ll develop again. In the event you eat an apple from a tree, extra apples will proceed to develop.

However cash have to be earned by means of onerous work, and doesn’t “develop again” after you spend it. When you spend cash, it’s gone. 

40. My fingers are tied.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

This phrase shouldn’t be taken actually. You say this proverb when you may’t do what you want to do, particularly when somebody asks you to do one thing.

For instance, say you might be in control of an workplace and everybody (together with you) desires to have fun somebody’s birthday. However your boss tells you it’s towards the foundations. You possibly can inform your coworkers, “Sorry, my fingers are tied.” You want to have a birthday celebration with them, however you may’t.

41. It’s the tip of the iceberg.

Solely a small quantity of an iceberg could be seen above the floor of the water. Most of it lies beneath.

This proverb makes use of the iceberg to explain a scenario the place you might be solely starting to know the issue. The little indicators which you could see are in actual fact a part of a a lot bigger downside.

42. No information is sweet information.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

No details about a scenario means that nothing unhealthy has occurred. This phrase is alleged by households ready nervously for information of a father or son who has gone to conflict.

To obtain information would imply listening to that your beloved has been killed, captured or damage.  Despite the fact that it’s tough to know nothing about what’s occurring, it’s nonetheless higher than listening to unhealthy information.

43. Out of sight, out of thoughts.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

In the event you can see one thing every single day, your thoughts will give it some thought. This proverb is in regards to the behavior of forgetting issues that aren’t close by.

For instance, if you wish to cease consuming chips and junk meals, you may transfer them from the counter prime and conceal them in a cabinet. In the event you don’t see them, you received’t assume to eat them. Out of sight, out of thoughts.

44. In the event you scratch my again, I’ll scratch yours.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

This proverb merely implies that when you assist me, I’ll allow you to too. Often, while you do a favor for somebody, they do one thing for you in return. This may be useful (useful) to each individuals.

45. Ignorance is bliss.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

“Ignorance” is while you don’t know or are unaware of one thing. “Bliss” is pure pleasure and happiness. So generally it feels higher and also you’re extra snug while you don’t learn about sure issues, for instance, about occasions on the information. 

46. Straightforward come, simple go.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Cash, fame, love or something that occurs simply could be misplaced simply as rapidly. In the event you get some huge cash or all of the sudden turn out to be well-known, you may lose that cash or fame in a short time—because you didn’t work onerous to earn it.

47. The forbidden fruit is at all times the sweetest.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

“Forbidden” means it’s not allowed, so this phrase implies that if one thing isn’t allowed, you usually need it essentially the most (it would “style” the sweetest).

For instance, let’s say you’re a child whose dad and mom don’t allow you to drink soda. You go to a good friend’s home, and her dad and mom ask if you need a soda. You say sure and actually get pleasure from that soda since you by no means get to drink it at house.

48. Each cloud has a silver lining.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Folks say this when issues are going badly or when somebody is gloomy. Clouds stand for unhealthy conditions. Each unhealthy scenario has some good elements to it—you simply must search for them.

This proverb is supposed to assist individuals really feel higher and hold going. It’s additionally the place the identify of the film “Silver Linings Playbook” got here from.

49. You’ll be able to’t make an omelet with out breaking a couple of eggs.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Generally, to get issues executed, you must be pushy or break a couple of guidelines. You could even must insult some individuals. An omelet is a tasty dish and definitely worth the effort to make. Nevertheless, you could break some eggs to make it.

So if you wish to get a worthwhile mission executed or make adjustments, you may’t please everybody. Somebody is perhaps offended or damage, so that you must determine if the worth is price it.

50. Shut however no cigar.

50 useful proverbs all english speakers should know

Within the outdated days, fairgrounds would give cigars as prizes for video games. The phrase “shut however no cigar” implies that you have been near succeeding within the recreation, however you didn’t win the cigar.

As a proverb, it implies that regardless that you probably did your finest or nearly had it proper, you weren’t utterly appropriate.


English has many proverbs and these are simply the tip of the iceberg.

However you don’t need to chunk off greater than you may chew. So begin with these helpful English proverbs and sayings and also you’ll be utilizing them your self very quickly!