Historically Speaking: Proverbs, adages, maxims brighten conversation
Some sayings came into being in certain parts of the country, some are strictly “city” sayings and some are predominantly “rural.” However, many of these proverbs, adages or maxims have been a part of our life, and some of them still are heard in conversations today. Most of these I have heard within the last several months, just listening carefully to how people use these numerous homey sayings to brighten our speech.
Waste not, want not. The way to a friend’s house is never long. Let sleeping dogs lie. Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Half a truth is a whole lie. Home is where the heart is. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Charity begins at home. Time waits for no man. Beauty is only skin deep. Don’t cry over spilt milk. Don’t put all your eggs into one basket. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. To err is human, to forgive is divine. Money talks. The hand is quicker than the eye. You are what you eat.
Life is what you make it. A picture is worth a thousand words. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. The wheel that does the squeaking is the one that gets the grease. Silence is golden. Talk is cheap. Practice makes perfect. Necessity is the mother of invention. It is better to give than to receive. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Great oaks from little acorns grow. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Never underestimate the power of a woman. Ignorance is bliss. You can’t judge a book by its cover. All things come to he who waits. Seeing is believing.
Man cannot live by bread alone. Put your money where your mouth is. A dog is man’s best friend. Never put off until tomorrow that which you can do today. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. If you don’t succeed at first, try, try again. Appearances are deceiving. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved. Don’t put the cart before the horse. A place for everything, and everything in its place. Keep your troubles in your home, and don’t let them get out. Variety is the spice of life. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Better to feed one cat than 100 mice. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. A stitch in time saves nine. Cleanliness is next to godliness. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. There are two sides to every question. Character is what you are in the dark. Silence is golden. When the cat’s away, the mice will play. To have a friend, you must first be one. Confession is good for the soul. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Time and tide wait for no man. Two heads are better than one. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. A man’s house is his castle. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
He lives long who lives well. Busy as a bee. Like mother, like daughter. A fool and his money are soon parted. It takes two to tango. Old soldiers never die – they just fade away. A penny for your thoughts. A miss is as good as a mile. Man works from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done. A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds. Laugh and the world laughs with you – cry and you cry alone. Diamonds are forever.
Listen to the conversations around you, and you will be surprised how many times sayings are quoted in ordinary chatter. Some contain good sense, and some do not. Some originated in the rural areas and are still used constantly by those folk. Some belong to an old-time era and some to the present time, but they do help to prove a point, make a statement and color our language. Some of these catchy sayings I remember my folks using – perhaps to prove a point or make a positive statement. Can you think of any to add to my list? I am sure you have many more that you have heard and still hear every day. When you are in a group of people, listen and you will hear many of these proverbs, sayings, adages and maxims. Good listening!