15 Popular English Proverbs on Life (with Meaning) for Positivity

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English Proverbs on Life

Sometimes, when you hit rock bottom, the greatest motivation comes from famous sayings or English proverbs on life. They might seem like mere old sayings in the English language, but those words of wisdom help navigate life’s toughest journey. These short, impactful sayings capture essential truths about life, love, success, failures, and so on. In this way, proverbs offer timeless advice passed down through generations as a general truth. So, this blog will guide you through some popular moral lessons on life along with their meaning as proverbs in English grammar you can turn to in your toughest times. 

Must Read: 100+ Common Proverbs with Meaning and Examples

5 Most Commonly Used English Proverbs on Life with Meaning

By now, you already know that proverbs are short, well-known phrases that express a general truth or moral lesson. They are metaphorical, using vivid imagery to make their point memorable. Therefore, go through these most commonly used proverbs and their meaning to adapt them in future.

Common Proverbs on LifeMeaning in English
Actions speak louder than wordsActions reflect one’s character better than what you hear about that person, as it is easy to say one thing, but difficult to act upon it. 
A beggar can never be bankruptIt implies that someone with no material possessions has nothing to lose financially, emphasising the importance of simplicity in life.
Better late than neverAlthough one should do their work or accomplish their goals on time. But if one can’t then they should still do it before it’s too late instead of giving up.
You reap what you sowBoth success and failure of a person are the outcome of one’s hard work behind the scenes. 
Cleanliness is next to godlinessThis proverb stresses that keeping oneself and the environment is extremely important and divine. 

9+ Best English Proverbs on Life with Meaning for Motivation 

Now, let’s check out some of the most popular and highly motivational proverbs that can transform your views on life for the greater good. 

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step

Proverbs on Life

This proverb likely originated in ancient China, teaches us that even the most challenging goals start with small, initial actions. Similar sayings appear in the Tao Te Ching, a philosophical text attributed to Lao Tzu. 

Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Makes a Man Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise

Proverbs on Life

This rhyming proverb emphasises that good habits like a healthy sleep schedule contribute to the overall well-being and success of a person. Nowadays, often abbreviated as an example of a healthy lifestyle, the phrase was long attributed to Benjamin Franklin in this form in Poor Richard’s Almanack in the 18th century. However, its usage can be traced back to Latin and the old English language in 16th century England.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

French Proverb: Absence Makes the heart grow fonder

This proverb on life particularly talks about the positive side of distance in relations. To elaborate, it means time apart can strengthen relationships. The phrase ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’ first appeared in writing in the 16th century, likely originating from France. 

It Takes Two to Tango

Proverbs on Life

The phrase ‘It takes two to Tango’ has likely come from Argentina in the early 20th century, referencing the popular tango dance. It means success often requires cooperation and effort from multiple parties.

All that Glitters is not Gold

Proverbs on Life

The proverb is another life lesson that teaches you not to be deceived by the outward appearance of a person or any object. The proverbial phrase has roots in ancient Greece and appears in Aesop’s Fables from the 12th or 13th century, but the current saying is derived from a 16th-century work by William Shakespeare.

Quick Read: All That Glitters is Not Gold Idiom Meaning

A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

Proverbs on Life

The proverb emphasises that it is better to have something certain than something uncertain. Though the origin of the proverbial phrase is unclear, there are various examples of this phrase’s usage in early prints dating back to the 16th century. 

Don’t Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today

Proverbs on Life

Just like the phrase Better late than never, ‘Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today’ emphasises the importance of action. Its meaning symbolises that procrastination can lead to missed opportunities. Interestingly, the reference of the proverb can be found in ancient Roman writings like those of Seneca, the Stoic philosopher of ancient Rome. 

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

Proverbs on Life

The phrase every cloud has a silver lining can be termed as both a proverb and idiom, meaning even in difficult situations, there is usually a positive aspect. The first written reference to this proverb appears in John Milton’s poem ‘Comus’ in 1634.

Read More: Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining Meaning & Examples

Honesty is the Best Policy

One of the most commonly used proverbs on life, Honesty is the best policy emphasises that truthfulness builds trust and respect. This proverbial quote has roots in ancient Greece and appears in various forms throughout history. Interestingly, Geoffery Chaucer included a similar saying in his ‘Canterbury Tales’ in the 14th century. 

Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is power means that education and learning empower you to make informed decisions. This proverb is often attributed to Francis Bacon, a 16-17th century English philosopher. However, the concept of knowledge as power can be traced back to ancient civilisations. 

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This was all about the proverbs on life with meaning you can find motivation in. Hope you understand the concept and know how to proceed. You can also follow the Learn English page of Leverage Edu for more exciting and informative blogs related to grammar. 

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