50+ Popular Proverbs In English - wordcoach.co

50+ Popular Proverbs in English

50+ Popular Proverbs in English


What Is A Proverb?

A proverb is a brief, popular saying that expresses a common truth or piece of advice. It is a short statement that is usually handed down from generation to generation, often reflecting cultural and social values, and usually contains a moral lesson or a practical message. Proverbs can be found in all cultures and languages, and they often provide insights into the beliefs and practices of a particular community.

Proverbs are used to teach and convey wisdom, and they can be applied to a wide range of situations. They are often used in speeches, literature, and everyday conversations to make a point or emphasize a message. Some proverbs have become so popular that they have become idioms, or expressions whose meanings cannot be understood from the individual words alone.


Here are 50 popular English proverbs with their meanings and examples:

A picture is worth a thousand words.
Meaning: A visual representation can convey an idea or message more effectively than words can.
Example: I don’t have the words to describe my emotions, but this painting expresses them perfectly. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Actions speak louder than words.
Meaning:
What you do is more important than what you say.
Example: Don’t tell me you’re going to clean your room, show me! Actions speak louder than words.

All that glitters is not gold.
Meaning:
Something that appears valuable or promising might not be as good as it seems.
Example: I thought this job was going to be perfect, but after working here for a few weeks, I realized that all that glitters is not gold.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Meaning:
Eating healthy foods can prevent illness and promote good health.
Example: I always make sure to eat an apple with breakfast. An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Barking dogs seldom bite.
Meaning:
People who make threats are often the least likely to follow through on them.
Example: Don’t be afraid of the dog, he’s just barking to scare you. Barking dogs seldom bite.

Better late than never.
Meaning:
It’s better to do something late than to not do it at all.
Example: I know I’m late with my homework, but I still want to turn it in. Better late than never.

Blood is thicker than water.
Meaning:
Family relationships are more important than friendships.
Example: My friend wanted me to go to the party with her, but I promised my sister I would help her move. Blood is thicker than water.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
Meaning:
Don’t assume that something will happen until it actually does.
Example: I’m excited about the job offer, but I’m not going to start celebrating until I’ve signed the contract. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Meaning:
Don’t risk everything on one opportunity.
Example: I’m considering two different job offers. I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, so I’m going to keep looking until I find the right fit.

Every cloud has a silver lining.
Meaning:
There is something positive to be found in every negative situation.
Example: I was upset about losing my job, but now I have time to focus on my passion project. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Fortune favors the bold.
Meaning:
Taking risks can lead to great rewards.
Example: I decided to start my own business, even though it was risky. Fortune favors the bold.

Hindsight is 20/20.
Meaning:
It’s easy to understand something after it has already happened.
Example: I should have invested in that stock when I had the chance. Hindsight is 20/20.

Home is where the heart is.
Meaning:
A home is not just a physical place, but where one feels emotionally connected.
Example: I love traveling, but I always look forward to coming back home. Home is where the heart is.

If the shoe fits, wear it.
Meaning:
If something applies to you, accept it.
Example: I know I can be a bit of a perfectionist, but if the shoe fits, wear it.

Ignorance is bliss.
Meaning:
It’s better to not know about certain things, especially if they could cause worry or distress.
Example: I wish I had never found out about the company’s financial problems. Ignorance is bliss, and now I can’t stop worrying about the future of my job.

It takes two to tango.
Meaning:
Both parties are responsible for a situation or problem.
Example: The argument wasn’t just his fault. It takes two to tango.

Kill two birds with one stone.
Meaning:
Accomplish two tasks with a single action.
Example: I need to go to the grocery store and the post office. If I combine the errands, I can kill two birds with one stone.

Laughter is the best medicine.
Meaning:
Laughing can have positive physical and emotional effects on a person’s well-being.
Example: I was feeling down, but after watching a funny movie, I felt much better. Laughter is the best medicine.

Let sleeping dogs lie.
Meaning:
Don’t disturb a situation that could become dangerous or uncomfortable.
Example: I don’t want to bring up the issue with my boss again. Let sleeping dogs lie.

Live and learn.
Meaning:
People can learn from their mistakes and experiences.
Example: I made a mistake in the presentation, but I’ll do better next time. Live and learn.

Money doesn’t grow on trees.
Meaning:
Money is not unlimited and should be spent wisely.
Example: I know you want the latest phone, but money doesn’t grow on trees. We need to stick to our budget.

No pain, no gain.
Meaning:
Success requires hard work and effort.
Example: I know training for the marathon is tough, but no pain, no gain.

Out of sight, out of mind.
Meaning:
People forget about things that are not immediately visible or present.
Example: I haven’t seen my old friend in years. Out of sight, out of mind.

Practice makes perfect.
Meaning:
Repetition and practice can lead to improvement.
Example: I’m not very good at playing the guitar yet, but practice makes perfect.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Meaning:
Great accomplishments take time and effort.
Example: I know we have a lot to do, but we can’t expect to finish everything in one day. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Slow and steady wins the race.
Meaning:
Consistent effort and perseverance can lead to success.
Example: I’m not the fastest runner, but slow and steady wins the race.

The early bird catches the worm.
Meaning:
Being proactive and starting early can lead to success.
Example: I always wake up early to get a head start on my work. The early bird catches the worm.

The grass is always greener on the other side.
Meaning:
People tend to desire what they don’t have.
Example: I wish I had a bigger house like my friend, but the grass is always greener on the other side.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Meaning:
The true quality or value of something can only be determined by experiencing it.
Example: I’m not sure if this restaurant is good or not. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Meaning:
Everything has a cost or a catch.
Example: The seminar may be free, but there’s no such thing as a free lunch. We’ll probably be sold something.

Time heals all wounds.
Meaning:
Emotional pain will lessen over time.
Example: I was devastated after the breakup, but time heals all wounds.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Meaning:
Retaliation or revenge is not justified.
Example: Sarah stole money from her roommate, so her roommate stole Sarah’s phone in revenge. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and now both Sarah and her roommate have done something wrong.

Every dog has his day
Meaning:
Everyone will have their moment of success or good luck at some point in their life.
Example: After years of hard work, Sarah finally received the promotion she had been working towards. Every dog has his day, she thought, as she realized that her persistence and dedication had paid off.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Meaning:
When visiting a foreign place or culture, it’s best to follow the customs and norms of that place.
Example: In Japan, it’s customary to take off your shoes when entering a home. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Meaning:
Rumors or suspicions often have some basis in truth.
Example: People have been saying that the company is going bankrupt. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Meaning:
You can’t have everything you want. Sometimes, choices must be made.
Example: I want to save money, but I also want to travel. I can’t have my cake and eat it too.

You can’t judge a book by its cover.
Meaning:
Appearances can be deceiving. You can’t know everything about someone or something just by looking at it.
Example: She may seem quiet, but you can’t judge a book by its cover. She’s actually very talented.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.
Meaning:
Achieving a goal often involves making sacrifices or facing difficulties.
Example: Starting a business is risky, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

You reap what you sow.
Meaning:
Your actions have consequences, either positive or negative.
Example: If you work hard and treat people well, you’ll reap what you sow.

It’s a piece of cake.
Meaning:
Something is easy or simple to do.
Example: Don’t worry, this project is a piece of cake.

It’s not over until the fat lady sings.
Meaning:
Don’t assume the outcome of a situation until it’s actually finished.
Example: The game is tied, but it’s not over until the fat lady sings.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Meaning:
Children often have similar qualities or behaviors to their parents.
Example: Mark is a successful businessman, just like his father. It seems that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
Meaning:
You can give someone an opportunity or offer assistance, but you can’t force them to accept it or use it.
Example: I gave him a book on how to improve his English, but he never read it. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

It is no use locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.
Meaning:
it is useless to take action after the damage has already been done.
Example: Tom forgot to save his work on his computer and then it crashed. He realized that it was no use locking the stable door after the horse has bolted, as his work was already lost.

Many hands make light work
Meaning:
A task can be completed more easily and quickly if many people help to do it.
Example: When they organized the community cleanup, the residents followed the proverb many hands make light work and divided themselves into teams to clean up the streets, parks, and public places.

A stitch in time saves nine
Meaning:
it’s better to deal with a problem early, before it gets worse or becomes harder to fix.
Example: Jane noticed a small hole in her shirt and decided to stitch it up right away. A stitch in time saves nine, she thought, and by fixing the hole early, she prevented it from getting larger and more difficult to repair later.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Meaning:
That what one person finds beautiful, another may not.
Example: John finds his dog the most beautiful animal in the world but his friend Arthur does not think she is beautiful at all. Each person sees beauty in different things.

A bad workman always blames his tools
Meaning:
Someone who performs poorly will often try to shift the blame to external factors, such as their tools or equipment, instead of taking responsibility for their own shortcomings.
Example: After losing the game, the tennis player blamed his racket for his poor performance instead of admitting that he had played badly. He was behaving like a bad workman who always blames his tools.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Meaning:
The lack of something or someone can increase our appreciation and love for them.
Example: After being away from his family for several months, Tom realized that absence makes the heart grow fonder, as he missed them more than he had ever thought possible and appreciated them even more when he returned home.

Strike while the iron is hot
Meaning:
To take advantage of an opportunity while it is still available or at its peak.
Example: He knew that he had to strike while the iron is hot because the job would be in high demand and the competition would be tough.

Honesty is the best policy
Meaning:
It is always better to tell the truth and be honest, even if the truth might be difficult to hear or share.
Example: Although it was difficult to admit the error, he knew that honesty is the best policy, and he wanted to maintain his integrity and reputation.


Download Vocab Quiz: English Vocabulary Builder


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *