Proverbs are often borrowed from similar languages and cultures, and sometimes come down to the present through more than one language. Both the Bible and medieval Latin have played a considerable role in distributing proverbs across Europe. Mieder has concluded that cultures that treat the Bible as their “major spiritual book contain between three hundred and five hundred proverbs that stem from the Bible.” However, almost every culture has examples of its own unique proverbs.
A small quiz first
- What should you do before you leap?
- What shouldn’t you judge a book by?
- What can’t a leopard do?
- What do too many cooks do?
- What can things that don’t kill you do?
Now let’s have a look at some proverbs
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
If you spend time away from someone you love, you will love them even more. In other words, you realize how much you love something when you are spend time away from it.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
There is more than one way to skin a catThere is more than one way to solve a problem. In other words, if one solution doesn’t work, try to find another way to solve the problem.
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Necessity is the mother of invention
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
Don’t rely on something that hasn’t happened yet. For example, you shouldn’t spend money that you haven’t earned yet.
That’s the pot calling the kettle black
Every cloud has a silver lining
There is a positive side to every bad situation. In other words, bad things also produce some good.
You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover
Outward appearances can be deceiving. In other words, you should look at something closely before deciding if it is good or bad.
Look before you leap
Too many cooks spoil the broth
When it rains, it pours
When bad* things happen, they happen all at once. In other words, if you have some bad luck, more bad luck will follow shortly. (*It is also sometimes used for good things as well.)
A leopard cannot change its spots
People cannot change their personality or nature. For example, if someone is bad then they will always be bad (so don’t believe people who say they’ve changed).
Now you can easily answer these questions
- What does every cloud have?
- What shouldn’t you count?
- What does the pot call the kettle?
- What doesn’t fall far from the tree?
- Where shouldn’t you put all of your eggs?
- What do many hands do?
- What animal can be skinned in many ways?
- What is the mother of invention?
- What does absence do?
- What can’t you make a horse do?