6 Types of Proverbs: Know Definition, Examples & More

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Types of Proverbs

Types of Proverbs: Irrespective of what field one is in, having basic knowledge of the English language is very important for one. On top of that, knowing when to use proverbs in your written and spoken English is like an icing on the cake. But to be able to do so, it is very important that one must know the types of proverbs and how they can be used. Continue reading this blog to get all the knowledge you need about the same along with examples. 

Types of Proverbs

As discussed above, proverbs are short but popular sayings which have been passed down through generations. They contain a piece of wisdom for one to get out of that situation. Now, you might have seen several types of proverbs, often confusing the way they are constructed. For this, we have compiled a list of types of proverbs with definitions and examples. 


‘Synonymous’, simply implies that one or two words or expressions of the same language have the same meaning or in a similar way. Likewise, synonymous proverbs are ones where both lines of a proverb say the same thing but in a different way. Here is an example of this type of proverb.


Types of Proverbs: Synonymous


The word ‘antithetical’ comes from two words: Anti meaning ‘not’ and Thetic meaning ‘laying down or setting forth a positive statement.’ In this type of proverb, the actual teaching of the proverb is stated in the first line and the opposite (negative side) of the teaching in the second line. In many proverbs, the first line states “You will be blessed” whereas the second line states “if you don’t do a particular thing, this will happen to you (the negative thing).” In antithetical proverbs, you will often find the word ‘but’ to differentiate between the two stances. Take a look at this example to get a better understanding.


Types of Proverbs: Antithetical


The word ‘synthetic’ comes from ‘synthesis’ which means composition or combination of parts, and elements. In a synthetic proverb, both lines express a totally different thought—even opposites—yet have one common meaning. Take a look at this example to understand this proverb.


Synthetic Proverbs


In this type of proverb, the second line of the proverb completes the first line. In this proverb, the thought flows so well that it looks like a continuous thought. Basically, the second line emphasises the result that will take place after the first line is incorporated into the line.


Types of Proverbs: Integral


In the Parabolic proverb, the first line is an analogy (similarity) while the second line states the teaching. Just like other proverbs, it teaches/gives a simple lesson to the people.


Types of Proverbs


This type of proverb makes a comparison to convey a message, teach a lesson or highlight a truth. Common examples of comparative proverbs have words like “better than,” “more than,” or “as… as” in them. 

Example: Better late than never

Also Read:

What Are Proverbs In English Grammar? Check Explanation and Examples 
21 Best Proverbs for Essay Writing
18+ Proverbs Starting with Don’t and their Meaning
9 Best English Proverbs on Education Every Student Must Know
15+ Best English Proverbs for Health and Wellness

Examples of Proverbs with Meanings

We all know that proverbs are well-known short sayings which provide advice, and motivation to people to move ahead in their lives and not repeat their mistakes. For more understanding, check out some common examples of proverbs along with their meanings. 

Examples of Proverbs
Proverbs Meaning
Birds of the same feather flock together It means that people who have similar interests, backgrounds, or characteristics tend to associate with one another.
He who plays the piper calls the tuneIt implies the person who provides the money or resources has the control or authority to make decisions.
Beggers can’t be choosersIt notes that people who are in desperate need or who depend on the charity of others cannot afford to be selective about what they receive.
Make hay when the sun shines This proverb means to take advantage of favourable conditions or opportunities when they arise. 
A drowning man catches all strawsIt refers to when a man is in a desperate circumstance, they will always try to seize any opportunity, no matter how slim or unlikely, to save themselves.
Once bitten twice shyIt implies that when a person is once having a bad experience, a person is likely
The proof the pudding is in its eating It means that the true value, quality, or effectiveness of something can only be judged when it is put to use or tested in practice. 
Every dog has his dayThis proverb means that everyone will have a moment of success or good fortune at some point in their life, even if it seems unlikely. 
Source: @Daily_Proverbs

Also Read: 15+ English Proverbs for Class 8 Students to Improve Communication

Difference Between Proverbs and Proverbial Phrase

Now that we know what are proverbs what is the difference between proverbial phrases and can one differentiate between the two. Proverbs and proverbial phrases are both similar but at the same time, they have distinct characteristics. Check out the difference between the two.

ProverbsProverbial Phrase
Proverbs are concise and often metaphorical sayings that convey a nugget of wisdom or a universal truth about human experience.On the other hand, these are expressions or phrases derived from proverbs used in everyday language.
They are typically passed down through generations within a culture and are often anonymous.This a type of conventional saying similar to a proverb and transmitted by oral tradition. 
“A penny saved is a penny earned”
“Actions speak louder than words”
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”
“Bite the bullet”
“Beat around the bush”
“Don’t cry over spilled milk.”
Source: Persona Institute for English

Find more reads on Proverbs Below!

15 Popular English Proverbs on Life 13+ English Proverbs for Class 1
11 Best Hard Work Proverbs11+ English Proverbs for Class 2
11+ Best Idioms for Friendship15+ English Proverbs for Class 3
11 Proverbs About Money 11+ English Proverbs for Class 4
9 English Proverbs For Peace English Proverbs for Class 5
35 Best English Proverbs about Love 9+ Proverbs on Time for School Students


What are the four types of proverbs?

The four types of proverbs are comparative, integral, synthetic and synonymous.

Which are some of the most famous proverb?

Some of the most famous proverbs are: A penny saved is a penny earned, Birds of a feather flock together, Every cloud has a silver lining.

What is a proverb?

Proverbs is a short and popular saying often passed down through generations which contains a piece of advice and wisdom. 

This was all about the types of proverbs. 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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