100+ Common Proverbs with Meaning and Examples

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Common Proverbs: Who hasn’t used proverbs in their speech at some point in time? We all have! Proverbs are an integral part of our daily communication. Having a strong knowledge of proverbs will not only help you increase your communication skills but will also help you do well in various competitive exams like TOEFL, IELTS, SSC-CGL etc. This blog will help you get an idea of some common English proverbs useful in everyday life.

What is a Proverb?

A proverb is a folk piece of advice expressed through short, brief sentences. Most proverbs are related to local, beliefs, and traditions of a particular place. Proverbs can be figurative or literal.

Common Proverbs

Most Common English Proverbs for Students

Proverbs are short, well-known expressions that offer wisdom or advice. They can be particularly helpful for students as they often encapsulate important life lessons and values. Here are some common proverbs that are relevant for students:

  1. Knowledge is power.”
  2. “Practice makes perfect.”
  3. “A stitch in time saves nine.”
  4. “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
  5. “The early bird catches the worm.”
  6. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
  7. Actions speak louder than words.”
  8. “You reap what you sow.”
  9. “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
  10. “Honesty is the best policy.”
  11. “Never judge a book by its cover.”
  12. “Two heads are better than one.”
  13. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
  14. “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
  15. “All that glitters is not gold.”
  16. “Hard work pays off.”
  17. “Every cloud has a silver lining.”
  18. “The more, the merrier.”
  19. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
  20. “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”

Lesser Known English Proverbs

While the proverbs I mentioned in my previous response are fairly common, many lesser-known proverbs also offer valuable insights. Here are some lesser-known proverbs that you might find interesting:

A closed mouth catches no flies.”
Meaning: Sometimes it’s better to keep quiet.

The darkest hour has only sixty minutes.”
Meaning: Even in difficult times, there’s hope and a limited duration of darkness.

A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”
Meaning: Challenges and hardships are opportunities for personal growth.

You can’t unscramble eggs.”
Meaning: Once something is done, it’s irreversible.

A fool and his money are soon parted.
Meaning: People who are not careful with their finances will quickly lose their wealth.

Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it.”
Meaning: Don’t worry about problems before they actually occur.)

A watched pot never boils.”
Meaning: Time seems to pass more slowly when you’re eagerly waiting for something.

Penny wise, pound foolish.”
Meaning: Being overly frugal with small expenses can lead to greater, more costly problems.

The early worm gets eaten.”
Meaning: A twist on the early bird proverb, emphasizing the risks of being too hasty.)

Common English Proverbs on Life

“Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil”

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” 

“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart”

Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense”

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and one who saves life”

Common English Proverbs on Love

common proverbs

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to act”

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”

“Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy”

“Love those who love me, and those who seek me find me”

“ Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs”

Best Proverbs on Wisdom in English

“ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” 

“For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding”

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding” 

“For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her”

“ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” 

Best Proverbs on Trust in English

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”

“But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of them” 

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind of words cheers it up”

“Good Judgement wins favour, but the way of unfaithful leads to their destruction” 

“In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” 

Best Proverbs for Essay Writing

Out of the frying pan into the fire.

Don’t cast pearls before swine.

What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.

No man is an island.

Politics makes strange bedfellows.

Best Proverbs for Speech Making

Cross the stream where it is the swallowest.

After the feast comes to the reckoning.

A leopard can not change his spots. Meaning: You cannot change your true nature

You reap what you sow.

Adversity and loss make a man wise. Meaning: Tough times can make a wise person out of anyone.

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List of Common Proverbs in English

Proverbs are pieces of brief and popular sayings, generally in the form of a phrase. They are commonly used to illustrate a specific point. Knowledge about proverbs is important since it increases your vocabulary and enhances social skills. Proverbs often appear in questions for various competitive exams, and thus getting familiar with different proverbs and their meanings should be an essential part of your preparation.

Below we have created a list of 80 common English proverbs used extensively in daily conversations. We have also added their meanings and some examples of proverbs:

1.     All that glitters is not gold
Meaning: Something might not be as valuable as it seems to be
Example: Radhika bought an attractive bracelet recently, but it broke in less than a week. All that glitters is not gold.

2.     A picture is worth a thousand words
Meaning: Explaining something is easier through a picture than by words
Example: It’s easier to learn from pictures than only text, since a picture is worth a thousand words.

3.     All good things come to an end
Meaning: Nothing great lasts forever
Example: It was a fantastic vacation, but all good things come to an end.

4.     Beggars can’t be choosers
Meaning: People dependent on others must be content with what is offered to them
Example: People who depend on the generosity of others can’t pick & choose things as per their liking. They’ve to accept what is given to them.

5.     A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
Meaning: It is necessary to take the first step to reach your goal
Example: I feel overwhelmed with all the tasks I have to finish, but I have to start with something since a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

6. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
Meaning: What you have is better than what you might get
Example: I think I’ll sell my car at the offered price instead of waiting for something higher. After all, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

7.     Actions speak louder than words
Meaning: What someone does means more than what they say they will do
Example: She never bragged about her grades but secured the second position in the board exams. Truly, actions speak louder than words.

8.     An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Meaning: Eating an apple daily keeps you healthy
Example: You won’t fall ill if you eat the fruits, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

9.     An idle brain is the devil’s workshop
Meaning: Evil thoughts come to us easily when we are idle
Example: You should give your daughter something to do in the afternoon, after all an idle brain is the devil’s workshop.

10.  Better safe than sorry
Meaning: It is better to take precautions than to regret later
Example: Don’t ride your bike without wearing a helmet. It is better to be safe than sorry.

11.  Appearances can be deceptive
Meaning: Something might be different from how they appear outwardly
Example: Don’t trust people you are not familiar with; appearances can be deceptive.

12.  A stitch in time saves nine
Meaning: It is better to deal with problems immediately than letting them become bigger
Example: Don’t ignore the sudden malfunctioning of your car, just go to the garage. A stitch in time saves nine.

13.  As you sow, so you shall reap
Meaning: Your actions determine your results
Example: If you don’t go to sleep early, you will wake up late. As you sow, so shall you reap.

14.  The grass is always greener on the other side
Meaning: Other people always seem to be in a better situation, although it might not be true
Example: Sometimes I feel I should have gone for my master’s degree like you instead of this job. Well, the grass is always greener on the other side.

15.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Meaning: The perception of beauty varies from person to person
Example: I don’t really like the colour of your car, but then, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

16.  Better late than never
Meaning: Getting something late is better than never getting it
Example: we have been waiting for you for 3 hours, but okay, it’s better late than never.

17.  Blood is thicker than water
Meaning: Family relationships are always stronger than other relationships
Example: I had a party to attend but I still chose to stay home because my grandmother was sick. As they say, blood is thicker than water.

18.  When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Meaning: Follow the local customs when you visit a foreign place
Example: You cannot be picky about food in this foreign country, you have to make do with the local food. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

19.  Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
Meaning: Don’t make plans based on events that have not yet happened
Example: Wait for the offer letter before celebrating about getting a job. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

20.  Don’t judge a book by its cover
Meaning: Don’t form an opinion about someone by their appearance
Example: She may look innocent, but don’t judge a book by its cover – she is the greatest troublemaker I have ever seen.

21.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Meaning: Don’t risk everything on a single venture
Example: Don’t invest all the money in the stock market, you should never put all your eggs in one basket.

22.  Early bird catches the worm
Meaning: One who arrives first gets the best chance at success
Example: We should go early to the boutique on the day of their sale to get the best stuff. The early bird catches the worm!

23.  Every cloud has a silver lining
Meaning: There is always a positive side to any difficult situation
Example: I got a much better job after losing my last one. Every cloud does have a silver lining.

24.  Enjoy it while it lasts
Meaning: Make the best of a moment since it won’t last forever
Example: College life is the best time of your life, enjoy it while it lasts.

25.  Honesty is the best policy
Meaning: Being honest is the best characteristic
Example: Don’t lie to land a job, remember that honesty is the best policy.

26.  Haste makes waste
|Meaning: Doing something too quickly results in mistakes
Example: Don’t rush through your assignment, remember haste makes waste.

27.  It’s no use crying over spilt milk
Meaning: You shouldn’t be upset over something that has already happened
Example: The trip was a disaster, but it’s no use crying over spilt milk.

28.  Strike while the iron is hot
Meaning: Grab an opportunity at the most favourable time
Example: To overtake your competitor, you should strike while the iron is hot.

29.  Laughter is the best medicine
Meaning: Trying to be happy is the best cure
Example: Being in good company can lift your spirits, after all, laughter is the best medicine.

30.  Every dog has its day
Meaning: everyone attains success at some point in their lives
Example: don’t give up just because you were rejected twice, remember every dog has its day.

31.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree
Meaning: A child has similar characteristics to their parents
Example: Renu sings so well, just like her mother. Indeed, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

32.  Necessity is the mother of invention
Meaning: When you really need something, you find a way to meet the need
Example: When the strap of my sandals came off while I was in the office, I stapled it back. Necessity is the mother of invention, you know!

33.  Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today
Meaning: Do not delay a task if you can do it immediately
Example: Don’t leave the drawing incomplete, you should never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

34.  Practice makes perfect
Meaning: You become better at a skill by practising it
Example: Don’t give up if you can’t do it right the first time, remember practice makes perfect.

35.  A friend in need is a friend indeed
Meaning: A true friend is one who helps you when you need it
Example: He helped me with the notes while I was sick, a friend in need is a friend indeed.

36.  Mind your own business
Meaning: To not interfere in someone else’s matter
Example: Will you please mind your own business and stop telling me what to do?

37.  Practice what you preach
Meaning: Follow what you want others to follow
Example: You always tell us to reach early and yourself come late. You should practice what you preach.

38.  Rome wasn’t built in a day
Meaning: Good work takes time
Example: It took him ten years to get to this position. Rome was not built in a day.

39.  Forgive and forget
Meaning: Pardon and hold no resentment regarding a certain event
Example: What was done cannot be changed, so let’s just forgive and forget.

40.  Two wrongs don’t make a right
Meaning: Someone’s wrongful conduct is not a justification for acting in the same way
Example: You shouldn’t hit her because she hit you, two wrongs don’t make a right.

You’re doing great. Here’s your next set of common proverbs to learn!

common english proverbs

41.  Look before you leap
Meaning: Act after considering the possible consequences
Example: It is always better to look before you leap.

42.  Fortune favours the bold
Meaning: Courageous actions are often rewarded
Example: Although fortune favours the bold, you should also calculate the risks involved in this venture.

43.  Out of sight, out of mind
Meaning: People or things that are no longer present are easily forgotten
Example: The employees relaxed as soon as the boss left. Out of sight, out of mind.

44.  To kill two birds with one stone
Meaning: Achieving two goals at once
Example: Using a cycle for exercise and transport is like killing two birds with one stone.

45.  Good things come to those who wait
Meaning: Patience is rewarded
Example: Don’t be hasty with your decisions, good things come to those who wait

46.  Great minds think alike
Meaning: Intelligent people have similar ideas
Example: both of us suggested similar solutions for this problem, indeed, great minds think alike.

47.  Once bitten, twice shy
Meaning: One unpleasant experience leads to caution
Example: After his road accident, he became very cautious during crossing roads. Once bitten, twice shy.

48.  Money doesn’t grow on trees
Meaning: It requires effort to earn money
Example: Don’t keep buying unnecessary things, money doesn’t grow on trees.

49.  The pen is mightier than the sword
Meaning: Written words are more effective than brute force
Example: The journalists proved to the world that ultimately the pen is mightier than the sword.

50.  Birds of a feather flock together
Meaning: One tends to stick together with similar-minded people
Example: Both of them are computer geeks, no wonder they are best friends. As they say, birds of a feather flock together.

51. Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Meaning: We love the people who are not with us more in their absence
Example: We never understood each other’s worth when we were together. Now we miss each other all the time. I think absence makes the heart grow fonder.

52. A cat has nine lives
Meaning: Cats can survive the most fatal of accidents
Example: We haven’t been able to meet for months now. But I am not worried, I know a cat has nine lives.

53. A drowning man will clutch at a straw
Meaning: If someone is in a difficult or tough situation, he/ she will grasp on any available opportunity to improve it
Example: Since the allopathic medicines have not been able to help him, he is now trying homoeopathic for a cure. A drowning man will clutch at a straw. 

54. A leopard doesn’t change its spots
Meaning: A person cannot change his/her innate character, especially the bad aspects
Example: I don’t think he will change his habits if he gets caught? A leopard can’t change its spots. 

55. Alls well that ends well
Meaning: It doesn’t matter how many problems in the world as long as the result is good
Example: I am glad you didn’t get hurt in the accident, even if the car got smashed. Alls well that ends well.

56. Among the blind the one-eyed man is king
Meaning: Even an incapable person can come to a powerful position if others in the fray are even more incapable
Example: He has become the head of the department in his office despite his lack of skills and exposure. Among the blind the one-eyed man is king. 

57. An empty vessel makes much noise 
Meaning: People who are stupid or foolish are the most talkative
Example: Rather than help the siblings resolve the fight, he kept interfering and inciting them. An empty vessel makes much noise.

58. A rolling stone gathers no moss
Meaning: A person who keeps changing his/her jobs always has the advantage of fewer responsibilities and also the disadvantage of no particular place to live
Example: Can’t believe he is married and well settled now. He was a bit of a rolling stone a few years back.

59. Cleanliness is next to Godliness
Meaning: Cleanliness is a good virtue. It is next to Godliness. 
Example: You must keep yourself and your room clean. You must remember that cleanliness is next to Godliness.

60. Curiosity killed the cat
Meaning: You should never poke your nose in the business of others. It can be dangerous
Example: I am aware that curiosity killed the cat, but I still want to find out if he hit her. It is not right. 

Must Read: Common Phrases with Meanings

61. Practice what you preach
Meaning: Behave the way you encourage other people to behave
Example: You keep telling us to go for a jog in the morning, but I wish you would practice what you preach.

62. Rome wasn’t built in a day
Meaning: Important work takes time to complete
Example: You can’t expect her to finish such a complex project in a week. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

 63. Ignorance is bliss
Meaning: If you don’t know about something, you don’t need to bother about it. In other words, if you’re unaware of something, it won’t cause you stress.
Example: I didn’t know that the neighbour next door was involved in criminal activities. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

64. It’s better to be safe than sorry
Meaning: It’s better to be cautious than regret later
Example: One shouldn’t complain about the inconvenience of security check each time you enter the building. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

64. It’s easy to be wise after the event
Meaning: It is easy to understand what you could have done to prevent something bad from happening after it has happened.
Example: I would have never bought an apartment if I had known that the land on which it has been built is disputed. Well, it’s easy to be wise after the event.

65. It’s never too late to mend
Meaning: It’s never too late to change your wrong ways or habits
Example: X: I still miss my best friend, but it’s been a year since our fight and we haven’t spoken to each other since. Y: Well, it’s never too late to mend; why don’t you call him up and apologize?

66. It’s not over till it’s over
Meaning: Till the event has completely played, you’re still in with a chance to succeed
Example: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came back from two sets down at Wimbledon to pull off a miraculous win. That’s why they say it’s not over till it’s over.

67. It’s no use crying over spilled milk
Meaning: There is no point in being sad over things that have already happened
Example: There is no point in staying upset over a mistake because you can’t undo what has happened.

68. Necessity is the mother of invention
Meaning: A need or problem forces people to come up with innovative solutions
Example: In some parts of the world, farmers use washing machines to clean potatoes in large volumes. Necessity, after all, is the mother of invention.

69. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today
Meaning: Don’t delay doing something if you can do it immediately
Example: X: I’m done with most of my assignment, but I’ll pick the remaining part on Monday. Y: Why don’t you complete it now? You’ll be more relieved and in a better state of mind. You shouldn’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

70. Never test the depth of the water with both feet
Meaning: If you’re in the water with both feet down, you risk being swept away by the currents. The message is: don’t put all your eggs in the same basket. Think twice before placing all your bets and investments on one thing.
Example: While applying to colleges, don’t limit yourself only to those with high cutoff marks. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

71. No gain without pain
Meaning: It is necessary to suffer or work hard in order to succeed or make progress.
Example: You’ve to drastically reduce the time you spend on video games and TV if you want to get admission to a good college. No gain without pain.

72. No news is good news
Meaning: If you don’t receive any news about someone or something, it means that everything is fine and going normally.
Example: My daughter has been working in Australia for nearly five years now. At first, I used to get worried when I didn’t hear from her, but now I know that no news is good news.

73. Once bitten twice shy
Meaning: You say this proverb when someone won’t do something a second time because they had a bad experience the first time.
Example: I won’t try this drink, because last time I had a burning sensation in my throat. Once bitten twice shy, I guess.

74. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure
Meaning: What may seem to be junk to one person may be valuable to another
Example: I sold my 6-year-old laptop for a little amount, but I’m sure the buyer will make a hefty profit on it by refurbishing and selling it to someone else. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, after all.

75. One shouldn’t miss the forest for the trees
Meaning: Sometimes you get so focused on small details that you may miss the larger context.
Example: The marketers got so bogged down on creating the perfect ad campaign that they didn’t realize that the medium – Facebook – they wanted to use was no longer a viable option because of its recent algorithm updates.

76. The show must go on
Meaning: A performance, event, etc., must continue even though there are problems
Example: The chairman died yesterday but the show must go on.

77. The squeaky wheel gets the grease
Meaning: People who complain the most are the ones who get attention or what they want.
Example: If you’re not satisfied with the service at the hotel, then you should call up the manager there. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, after all.

78. Time and tide wait for no man
Meaning: You’ve no control over the passage of time; it’ll keep slipping. So don’t procrastinate, don’t delay things.
Example: We need to hurry up or else we’ll miss the flight. Time and tide wait for no man.

79. Too many cooks spoil the broth
Meaning: When too many people work together on a project, the result is inferior
Example: This proposal has received feedback from too many parliamentary committees, and that’s probably the reason why it lacks clear actionable. I’ve no doubt that too many cooks spoil the broth.

80. Two heads are better than one
Meaning: Two persons have a better chance to solve a problem than one.
Example: More startups have two cofounders than one. That’s because they very well understand that two heads are better than one.

Apart from the above listed most common English proverbs, here we have got some more popular proverbs for you to learn. Check them out:

  1. Two wrongs don’t make a right
    Meaning: You shouldn’t harm a person who has harmed you, even if you think that person deserves it.
    Example: Just because he insulted you doesn’t mean it’s OK for you to start a rumour about him – two wrongs don’t make a right.
  2. Watch the doughnut and not the hole
    Focus on what you have and not on what you don’t.
    Example: X: I’ve to submit the assignment next Monday, but I don’t have a clue on the topic. Y: Consult your friends. Consult books. Understand the topic. Watch the doughnut and not the hole.
  3. What goes around comes around
    Meaning: If someone treats other people badly, he or she will eventually be treated badly by someone else.
    Example: He tormented me back in high school, and now he has his own bully. What goes around comes around.
  4. When in Rome, do as the Romans do
    Meaning: When visiting a foreign land, follow the customs of local people.
    Example: I don’t love cotton candy, but we are at a carnival. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?
  5. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
    Meaning: When conditions become difficult, strong people take action.
    Example: I know you’re not used to climbing at such heights, but come on when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
  6. Where there’s a will, there’s a way
    Meaning: If you are determined enough, you can find a way to achieve what you want, even if it is difficult.
    Example: He had few resources to start his business, but he eventually did through a small opening – blog. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
  7. Where there’s smoke there’s fire
    Meaning: If there are rumours or signs that something is true so it must be at least partly true
    Example: X: Do you believe those rumours about the mayor? Y: Well, you know what they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
  8. Where one door shuts, another opens
    Meaning: When you lose an opportunity to do one thing, an opportunity to do something else appears.
    Example: X: I failed to get into my dream college. Y: Don’t worry, this has happened with many. I’m sure something better is waiting for you. Where one door shuts, another opens.
  9. While the cat’s away, the mice will play
    Meaning: Without supervision, people will do as they please, especially in disregarding or breaking rules.
    Example: As soon as their parents left, the children invited all their friends over – when the cat’s away, you know.
  10. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar
    Meaning: It’s easier to win people to your side by persuasion and politeness than by confrontation and threats.
    Example: X: The courier service has taken more time to deliver than they had promised. I want to take the issue up with them and get a refund. Y: I would suggest you deal with them politely. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
  11. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink
    Meaning: You can show people the way to do things, but you can’t force them to act
    Example: X: He has received all the resources one needs to start a business, but even after six months I don’t see anything happening. Y: Well, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
  12. You can’t always get what you want
    Meaning: Sometimes you may face disappointments in your pursuits or your wishes may not be fulfilled.
    Example: X: I want a bike on my birthday. Y: Sorry, you can’t always get what you want.
  13. Out of sight, out of mind
    Meaning: If someone or something is not seen for a long time, it’ll be forgotten.
    Example: Many celebrities find a way to appear in the media because they know that out of sight is out of mind.
  14. Pen is mightier than the sword
    Meaning: Thinking and writing have more influence on people and events than the use of force.
    Example: After the mass killings at the newspaper office, there is a protest happening in the city declaring support for the paper and proving that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Common Proverbs Used in Daily Life

Here is a list of some common English proverbs that you can easily use in your day-to-day lives:

  1. An Apple a day keeps the doctor away 
    : If you eat healthily, you will be healthy!
  2. Its better to be safe than sorry
    You should always take any necessary precautions. 
  3. Better late than never 
    You are never too old to do something you want to do. 
  4. Actions speak louder than words
    What you do shows how you actually feel more than what you say.
  5. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar
    If you have a sweet disposition you will get more from people than if you are rude to them. 
  6. Don’t judge a book by its cover
    Meaning: Don’t judge people solely on their appearance.

Woahh! You just completed a list of the 100 most common proverbs in English! Let’s celebrate your century!

  1. Cleanliness is next to godliness
    It’s very important to be clean.
  2. The early bird catches the worm
    Meaning: People who act promptly will have more opportunities available to them, and will ultimately be more successful.
  3. Where there’s a will, there’s a way
    If you are determined, you will find a way to achieve what you want. 
  4. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
    If something works well, there’s no point trying to change it. 
  5. Make the best of a bad bargain. 
    to deal with and create the best possible outcome of a bad situation.
  6. Desperate times call for desperate measures. 
    Meaning: actions that might seem extreme under normal circumstances are appropriate during adversity.
  7. The calm (comes) before the storm.
    Meaning: turbulent times wait just around the corner when it is calm.
  8. A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
    Meaning: you don’t lose anything by enlightening others.
  9. Bitter pills may have blessed effects.
    Meaning: the remedy might be bitter, but the cure might be wonderful. 
  10. Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.
    Meaning: you will become like your company. 
  11. The longest mile is the last mile home.
    Meaning: It is always the end of something that feels the most difficult. 
  12. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
    Meaning: don’t worry about the future, focus on today’s worries. 
  13. Familiarity breeds contempt.
    Meaning: having extensive knowledge about someone or something leads to a loss of respect for them or it. 
  14. Hindsight is better than foresight.
    Meaning: it is always easier for us to evaluate the past choices than the choices we have to make in the present. 
  15. If you can’t beat them, join them.
    Meaning: if someone is too strong for you to defeat, it is better to be on the same side as them. 
  16. Forewarned is forearmed.
    Meaning: if you know about a problem in advance, then you will be able to deal with it when you need to. 
  17. Variety is the spice of life.
    Meaning: new and exciting experiences make life more interesting. 
  18. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    Meaning: plans must be put into action otherwise they are useless.
  19. Too many chiefs, not enough Indians.
    Meaning: Too many people giving orders, not enough to carry them out. 
  20. A workman always blames his tools.
    Meaning: When someone blames their equipment rather than their performance.

Let’s take a quick break! Read Synonyms List: 50 Difficult Words with Meanings

common english proverbs
Courtesy: Tenor
  1. Absence makes the heart fonder.
    Meaning: When someone we love is far away, we tend to love them more.
  2. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
    Meaning: If one person fails, the whole group fails
  3. There is more than one way to skin a cat.
    Meaning: There are many ways to do what you want.
  4. You reap what you sow.
    Meaning: You get what you deserve
  5. Adversity and loss make a man wise.
    Meaning: Tough times can make a wise person out of anyone.
  6. A fool and his money are soon parted.
    Meaning: Foolish people often lose their money.
  7. One good turn deserves another.
    Meaning: If someone does you a favour, you should always repay it.
  8. Possession is nine-tenths of the law.
    Meaning: Ownership is easy to maintain if one has possession of something.
  9. A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what a ship is for.
    Meaning: You never grow if you don’t leave your comfort zone.
  10. Barking dogs, seldom bite.
    Meaning: People look threatening are often harmless.
  11. Beauty is only skin-deep.
    Meaning: Personality and character matter more than physical beauty.
  12. Best things in life are free.
    Meaning: Things that matter the most are truly free.
  13. Better to be poor and healthy than rich and sick.
    Meaning: Good health is the most important thing.
  14. Better to wear out rather rust out.
    Meaning: Its better to stay active than idle.
  15. The first step is always the hardest.
    Meaning: Stepping out of our comfort zone is the hardest step.
  16. Cowards die many times before their deaths.
    Meaning: People who do not challenge themselves die many times 
  17. After the feast comes the reckoning.
    Meaning: People tend to pay for their pleasures and indulgences 
  18. Cross the stream where it is the swallowest.
    Meaning: To do things in the easiest way
  19. Hard words break no bones.
    Meaning: It is often good to tell the harsh truth
  20. Half truth is whole lie.
    Meaning: Hiding the truth is the same as lying.
  21. Head and feet keep warm the rest will take no harm.
    Meaning: If you take care of important things, other stuff will follow.
  22. He who hesitates is lost.
    Meaning: Wait too long and you might lose the opportunity 
  23. Curses like chicken, come home to roost.
    Meaning: Wrong doings tend to catch up with us.
  24. Out of the frying pan into the fire.
    Meaning: Moving from a difficult position to a worse one.
  25. One should fight fire with fire.
    Meaning: Use the same methods to defeat them.
  26. Use it or lose it.
    Meaning: Not using a skill might lead you into losing it.
  27. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
    Meaning: Don’t be mean to people who help you.
  28. You cant have an omelete unless you break the egg.
    Meaning: You must sacrifice something to create something bigger
  29. Walk the walk, talk the talk.
    Meaning: First show worth then do flaunt it.
  30. A watched pot never boils.
    Meaning: While waiting for something to happen, time feels slower.
  31. What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.
    Meaning: what is good for men is good for women.
  32. Willful waste makes woeful want.
    Meaning: If you waste something you will regret it in future.
  33. Dont cast pearls before swine.
    Meaning: Dont offer something valuable to someone who doesnt value it.
  34. Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.
    Meaning: Be prepared in life.
  35. No man is an island.
    We are social beings and dependent on each other.
  36. Politics makes strange bed fellows.
    Politics creates unholy alliances.

You can now call yourself a proverb EXPERT!

common english proverbs
Courtesy: Giphy

Tips for Remembering Common Proverbs

Now that you are familiar with the meanings and ways to use these proverbs, you have a better chance at competitive exams. Remembering proverbs can be difficult since there are so many of them. To help you in this task here are a few tips which you can follow for memorizing proverbs:

  • Start incorporating these proverbs in your daily speech
  • Make a few drawings or posters of motivational proverbs to hang around your room
  • Practice including proverbs in sentences while writing
  • Play quizzes with your friends on proverbs and their meanings
Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs by Jennifer SpeakeBuy it here
The Penguin Dictionary of Proverbs by Rosalind FergussonBuy it here
English Proverbs by Terry O’ BrienBuy it here
3000 Proverbs by Sam PhillipsBuy it here
Big Book of Proverbs by Maple PressBuy it here
Idioms, Phrases & Proverbs by H.S. Bhatia & P.S. BhatiaBuy it here
Concise Dictionary Of Proverbs by Tanvir KhanBuy it here
Handbook of Proverbs by Nawal Kant JhaBuy it here
A Dictionary Of Proverbs by Thomas PrestonBuy it here
The Wise World Of English Proverbs by S.C. Gupta and Kumkum GuptaBuy it here


Q1. What is a popular proverb?

Ans. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence is one of the most popular proverbs.

Q2. What is the most famous proverb in the world?

Ans. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” is one of the most famous proverbs in the world

Q3. What is a traditional proverb?

Ans. A proverb (derived from the Latin word proverbial) is a simple and perceptive traditional saying that reflects a perceived truth based on common sense or experience. Proverbs are frequently figurative and employ formulaic language.

We hope this blog has provided you with all the necessary information on common proverbs. To advance your grammar knowledge and read more informative blogs, check out our Learn English page and don’t forget to follow Leverage Edu.

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  1. During ironing, you will need a way for the steam generated by your iron to escape without burning you or spoiling the clothes or fabrics you are ironing.

  1. During ironing, you will need a way for the steam generated by your iron to escape without burning you or spoiling the clothes or fabrics you are ironing.