Dictionary of European Proverbs

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We use this common proverb when we do not have enough money to get what we want but only what we need. Count the cost Before buying or building anything, this proverb reminds us to count the cost. How much will it cost me in money, time and energy? Do to others as you would have them do to you This proverb is called the Golden Rule by millions of people around the world.

It has a simple meaning, treat others the way you would like them to treat you. If you are kind to someone else, they would normally be kind in return. Mistreat someone, and they will mistreat you too. However, if we betray the trust that person has placed in us, we could find ourselves without a job and in much trouble. For example, I am going to buy a dress, even though no one has invited me to the party. However, a book with a beautiful cover may not be an enjoyable book to read at all! While a book with an ugly cover may be an excellent book to read.

This proverb is also called a metaphor, to teach us not to judge another person by the way they look on the outside. Early in the year, early in the month, early in the week, early in the day To stress how important our time is, we are encouraged to do things as soon as possible and not delay. Enjoy it while it lasts How do you feel on the final day of your vacation?

Sad and upset it has already passed?

Failing to plan is planning to fail It is a tongue twister to say out loud, but it is very clever advice. Success is often dependent on good planning. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst It is an interesting proverb because it is telling us to stay positive but be realistic. We hope that everything always goes to plan and has a good result, but just in case, we should make plans in case something goes wrong. Laughter is the best medicine Scientists have discovered that laughter has many health benefits and can actually improve our overall health.

It is free and fun making it the best medicine for everyone on earth! Love of money is the root of all evil Perhaps not a proverb as much as it is a general truth. Sadly, the love of money causes many people to lie, steal and cheat from others. Greed, the love of money is sadly the primary cause of many terrible things that happen in the world.

Many hands make light work The more help we have from others, the easier a big job becomes to complete. Money takes time and effort to obtain so we should use it wisely. It is often at these moments when we invent something to solve our problem, which is why necessity is the mother of invention. Patience is a virtue Any virtue, is an excellent, admirable quality that we should all aspire to obtain.

Patience is something many of us lack and therefore a quality which most of us find desirable and like to see in others.


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Shrewd is the one that has seen the calamity and proceeds to conceal himself A shrewd or intelligent person is someone who is smart and thinks ahead. They will take action to protect themselves from any danger that they think could happen.

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The early bird catches the worm Similar to our previous proverb about doing things at the beginning of the day, this proverb explains that a person who takes action sooner rather than later will benefit from doing so. Two heads are better than one When trying to solve a problem on our own, we may not be able to think of a solution. If someone was to help us find a solution, this is better than trying to do it on our own. Where there is no wood, the fire goes out Another metaphor which helps us understand that when two people or sides are arguing if one of them were to stop fighting, the argument will die out.

The same applies to people. You cannot serve two masters This wise proverb tells us that anyone who tries to do two things at the same time will either do well at one thing and not the other or fail at both. It is impossible to do both things well at the same time. You reap what you sow If a farmer plants potatoes, he will get potatoes, not another thing like tomatoes. Therefore, if we do good things we can expect good results, however, is we do wicked things we should expect the consequences. Many of these proverbs will work in various situations, some almost daily.


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  • Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs.
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  • Why not try to memorize one Proverb every week and attempt to use it at least three to five times during the week. Try to use it during a general conversation as this will make it sound more natural and fluent. Take care not to offend anyone also by applying a Proverb to the person directly.

    Oxford Concise Dictionary of Proverbs - PDF Free Download

    It is better to use a Proverb to describe a situation or about a person from afar. Do you know an English proverb? This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title This concise edition of the definitive 3-volume Dictionary of European Proverbs constitutes a fascinating collection of proverbs in 29 languages.

    Popular Italian Proverbs

    Review : The volume is designed for serious scholars, but even a casual reader interested in the way different nationalities have coined similar aphorisms would enjoy browsing in this dictionary of common proverbs.. Buy New Learn more about this copy. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. Search for all books with this author and title.

    Dictionary of European proverbs

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