Website owner:  James Miller

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Proverbs, sayings, quotations --- Country collection

 Chinese Proverbs

   Study without reflection is a waste of time;  reflection 
   without study is dangerous.

   He who sacrifices his conscience to ambition burns a picture to 
   obtain the ashes.

   It is the beautiful bird which gets caged.

   Good words are like a string of pearls.

   The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected 
   without trials.

   A man who has committed a mistake and doesn't correct it is 
   committing another mistake.

   When your horse is on the brink of a precipice it is too late 
   to pull the reins.

   Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.

   Fool me once, shame on you;  fool me twice, shame on me.

   A man must insult himself before others will.

   When anger arises, think of the consequences.

   Virtue cannot live in solitude;  neighbors are sure to grow up 
   around it.

   Talk does not cook rice.

   They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and 
   they who love it are not equal to those who find pleasure in 

   If you walk on snow you cannot hide your footprints.

   When the ear will not listen, the heart escapes sorrow.

   Do not remove a fly from your friend's head with a hatchet.

   The daughter of a crab does not give birth to a bird.

   Vegetables of one's own raising are not relished --- those from 
   other's gardens are the best.

   Go home and make a net if you desire to get fishes.

   The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

   Words are the voice of the heart.


   A vacant mind is open to all suggestions as a hollow building 
   echoes all sounds.

   It takes little effort to watch a man carry a load.

   Much wealth will not come if a little does not go.

   It is only when the cold season comes that we know the pine and 
   cypress to be evergreens.

   One's good deeds are only known at home;  one's bad deeds far 

   A needle is sharp only at one end.

   Look for a thing till you find it and you'll not lose your 

   He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.

   Thatch your roof before rainy weather;  dig your well before 
   you become parched with thirst.

   Rotten wood cannot be carved.

   Not the cry, but the flight of the wild duck, leads the flock 
   to fly and follow.

   A man's faults all conform to his type of mind.  Observe his 
   faults and you may know his virtues.

   A diamond with a flaw is preferable to a common stone with 

   Those who know when they have enough are rich.

   I was angered, for I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no 

   It is not necessary to light a candle to the sun.

   It is not the knowing that is difficult, but the doing.

   Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.

   Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by 
   the friends whom we choose.

   Men in the game are blind to what men looking on see clearly.

   Men trip not on mountains; they trip on molehills.   

   One man will carry two buckets of water for his own use, Two 
   men will carry one for their joint use; Three men will carry 
   none for anybody's use.

   Only he that has traveled the road knows where the deep holes are.

   Prepare for calamity not yet in bud.

   A dog in a kennel barks at his fleas; a dog hunting does not 
   notice them.

   A hundred men may make an encampment, but it takes a woman to 
   make a home.

   A man without a smiling face must not open shop.   

   A murder may be forgiven, an affront never.

   A young branch takes on all the bends that one gives it.

   Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing 

   He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask 
   remains a fool forever.

   I dreamed a thousand new paths... I woke and walked my old one.

   Small men think they are small; great men never know they are 

   The best soldiers are not warlike.

   The first time it is a favour, the second time a rule.

   The Gods cannot help those who do not seize opportunities.

   The man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out.

   There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view 
   is always the same.

   There is no one to sweep a common hall.

   To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.

   To open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art.   

   Virtue never dwells alone; it always has neighbours.   

   When a finger points at the moon, the imbecile looks at the 

   With money you are a dragon; with no money, a worm.   

   One moment of patience may ward off great disaster, 
   One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.

   Manifest plainness, 
    Embrace simplicity, 
     Reduce selfishness, 
      Have few desires. 


   You are human. You can improve and because you can improve you 
   can do anything.

   To see what is right and not to do it is to want courage.


   The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best 
   is now.

   Great souls have wills, feeble ones have only wishes.

   Patience is power; with time and patience the mulberry leaf 
   becomes silk. 

   I have three treasures: simplicity, patience, and compassion.

                                                  Tao Te Ching

   He who is really kind, can never be unhappy;
   He who is really wise, can never be confused;
   He who is really brave, is never afraid.

   Life unfolds on a sheet called time and once finished is gone 

   Control your emotion or it will control you.

   He who is contented is rich.

   If a man plants melons, he will reap melons; if he sows beans, 
   he will reap beans.

   A man's fortune must first be changed from within.

   Those who realize their folly are not true fools.

   He who asks is a fool for five minutes, he who doesn't ask 
   remains a fool forever.

   Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.

   When troubles are few, dreams are few.

   Towers are measured by their shadows, and men of merit by those 
   who are envious of them. 

   The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected 
   without trials. 


   He who treads softly goes far.

   Thatch your roof before rainy weather;  dig your well before 
   you become parched with thirst.

   A vacant mind is open to all suggestions as a hollow building 
   echoes all sounds.

   The fire you kindle for your enemy often burns yourself more 
   than him.

   A man must insult himself before others will.

   If you give a person a fish he will have food for one day;  if 
   you teach a person to fish he will have food for a lifetime.

   One is willing to pay a hundred kilos of gold for his 
   reputation, but one is willing to pay a thousand kilos of gold 
   for his credibility.    

Arabian Proverbs

   Four things come not back --- the spoken word, the sped arrow, 
   the past life, and the neglected opportunity.

   Think of the going-out before you enter.

   The crown of a good disposition is humility.

   He fled from the rain and sat down under the waterspout.

   They wooed her and she resisted;  they neglected her and she 
   fell in love.

   The crying cat catches nothing.

   The chameleon does not leave one tree until he is sure of 

   Cleanse thy heart from greed and thy foot shall remain free 
   from fetters.

   The mouse that has but one hole is soon caught.

   Do not cut down the tree that gives you shade.

   All sunshine makes a desert.

   He who sows discord will reap regret.

   A narrow mind has a broad tongue.

   Arrogance diminishes wisdom.

   He who plants thorns must never expect to gather roses.

   He who has health has hope;  and he who has hope has 

   He who peeps in at his neighbor's window may chance to lose his 

   Patience is the key to joy;  but haste is the key to sorrow.        

 Persian Proverbs

   What can the enemy do when the friend is cordial?

   Whatever is in the heart will come up to the tongue.

   Spectators see better than actors.

   Thinking is the essence of wisdom.

   One pound of learning requires ten pounds of common sense to 
   apply it.

   Silence betokens consent.                                            

 Yiddish Proverbs

   The truth is not always what we want to hear.   

   The wise man, even when he holds his tongue, says more than the 
   fool when he speaks.   

   The wool seller knows the wool buyer.   

   Time and words can't be recalled, even if it was only 

   To be rich is not everything, but it certainly helps.   

   Don't judge a man by the words of his mother, listen to the 
   comments of his neighbours.  

   How many will listen to the truth when you tell them?   

   Love is sweet, but tastes best with bread.   

   Poverty is no disgrace, but no honour either.   

   The innkeeper loves the drunkard, but not for a son-in-law.

   Tomorrow your horse may be lame.   

 Indian Proverbs

   There is no evil without its advantages.   

   Those who hunt deer sometimes raise tigers.   

   To lend is to buy a quarrel.   

   One "no" averts seventy evils.  

   Pray one hour before going to war,
    Two hours before going to sea,
     And three hours before getting married.   

   The sieve says to the needle:
    You have a hole in your head.

   The tree bestows its shade on all, even the woodcutter. 
   Under the mountains is silver and gold,
    But under the night sky, hunger and cold.   

   When you are in the water you swim.   

 Spanish Proverbs

   He who is contented is not always rich.   

   He who knows nothing, doubts nothing.   

   I dance to the tune that is played.   

   If you pay not a servant his wages then he will pay himself.

   If you want a fine wife, don't pick her on a Sunday.   

   If you want good service, serve yourself.   

   In a calm sea every man is a pilot.   

   In the street of by-and-by one arrives at the house of "never".

   It is better to be born a beggar than a fool.   

   It is better to conceal one's knowledge than to reveal one's 

   A friend to everybody and to nobody is the same thing.   

   A man who prides himself on his ancestry is like the potato 
   plant, the best part of which is underground.  

   Cow of many, well milked and badly fed.   

   Every cask smells of the wine it contained.   

   Every season brings its own joy.   

   Every woman has something of a witch about her.   

   Experience is not always the kindest of teachers, but it is 
   surely the best.   

   God comes to see without ringing the bell.   

   God will listen to you whatever cloak you wear.   

   Happy is the doctor who is called in at the decline of an 

   He that has a good harvest must be content with a few thistles.

   He that is rich will not be called a fool.   

   He that marries a widow will often have a dead man's head 
   thrown into the dish.   

   It is better to weep with wise men than to laugh with fools. 


   Love is like war; begin when you like and leave off when you 

   Love, pain, and money cannot be kept secret; they soon betray 

   Never offer your hen for sale on a rainy day.   

   One lawyer will make work for another.   

   Poverty is not perversity.   

   Punishment is a cripple, but it arrives.   

   Raise ravens and they will peck our your eye.   

   Stars are not seen by sunshine.

   Truth and oil, always come to the surface.   

   Visit your aunt, but not every day of the year.   

   We make more enemies by what we say than friends by what we do.

   What belongs to everybody belongs to nobody.   

   The best mirror is an old friend.   

   The devil is seldom outshot in his own bow.

   The stolen ox sometimes puts his head out of the stall.   

   The wolf loses his teeth, but not his inclinations.   

   There is no better surgeon than one with many scars.   

   To deny all, is to confess all.   

   To whom you tell your secrets, to him you resign your liberty.
   When fortune knocks upon the door open it widely.   

   Where there is love there is pain.   

   Who knows most speaks least.   

 English Proverbs

   Advice when most needed is least heeded.   

   Age can be a bad travelling companion.   

   All evils are equal when they are extreme.   

   An empty purse frightens away friends.   

   An evil weed is soon grown.   

   An ill workman always blames his tools.   

   Beggars cannot be choosers.   

   Better reap two days too soon than one day too late.   

   Better say nothing, than nothing to the purpose.   

   A lawyer never goes to law himself.  

   A man does not have to attend church to be a Christian.   

   A man is as old as he feels himself to be.   

   A man may lead a horse to water, but cannot make him drink. 

   A mother-in-law is what you inherit when you marry.   

   A wicked book is the wickeder because it cannot repent.   

   A woman that loves to be at the window is a bunch of grapes on 
   the highway.   

   Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know. 

   Children are a poor man's riches.   

   Children pick up words as pigeons peas,
     And utter them again as God shall please.   

   Death closes all doors.   

   Death pays all debts.   

   Deeds are fruits, words are leaves.   

   Discreet wives have neither eyes nor ears.   

   Dogs that bark at a distance never bite.   

   Fame is a magnifying glass.   

   For a morning's rain leave not your journey.   

   Even if an ass goes travelling he'll not come home a horse. 

   Every cloud has a silver lining.   

   Every dog hath its day.   

   Every garden may have some weeds.   

   Every mile in winter is two.   

   Experience is good, if not bought too dear.   

   Give the devil his due.   

   God the first garden made, and the first city Cain.   

   Gratefulness is the poor man's payment.   

   He is not wise that is not wise for himself.   

   He that marries for wealth sells his liberty.   

   He that plants thorns must never expect to gather roses. 


   He that plants trees loves others besides himself.   

   He that scattereth thorns must not go barefoot.   

   He that takes the devil into his boat must carry him over the 

   He who is shipwrecked the second time, cannot lay the blame on 

   He who was never sick dies of the first fit.   

   He who would climb the ladder must begin at the bottom.   

   Honesty is the best policy.   

   If three dogs chase a rabbit they cannot kill it.   

   Lend your money and lose your friend.   

   Let sleeping dogs lie.   

   It is a bold mouse that nestles in the cat's ear.   

   Make hay while the sun shines.   

   Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers. 

   No time like the present.   

   One hair of a woman draws more than a team of oxen.   

   One of these days is none of these days.   

   One today is worth two tomorrows.   

   Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.   

   Physicians faults are covered with earth, and rich men's money.

   Poetry is the mirror of the soul.   

   Riches serve a man, but command a fool.   

   The ass that is common property is always the worst saddled.

   The sun shines upon all alike.   

   There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who 
   is striking at the root.   

   There are bearded fools.   

   There is no need of a ferret to catch a harlot.
   There is nothing which we receive with so much reluctance as 

   They are not all saints who use holy waters.   

   They love too much that die for love.   

   They who love most are least valued.   

   Time and thinking tame the strongest grief.   

   Time is a file that wears and makes no noise.   

   Time trieth truth.   

   Tomorrow is a new day.   

   When the fox preaches, beware the geese.   

   Where love fails we espy all faults.   

   Who never climbed high never fell low.   

   Whoredom and grace ne'er dwelt in one place.   

   Witches and harlots come out at night.   

   Youth looks forward but age looks back.   

 Japanese Proverbs

   Fortune will call at the smiling gate.   

   If I peddle salt, it rains; if I peddle flour, the wind blows.

   If you wait, there will come nectar - like fair weather.

   If you wish to learn the highest truths, begin with the 

   Life is for one generation; a good name is forever.

   Don't rejoice over him that goes, before you see him that 

   Never trust a woman, even if she has borne you seven children. 

   Poverty is no sin, but terribly inconvenient.   

   A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle.

   A statement once let loose cannot be caught by four horses.

   An ant hole may collapse an embankment.   

   Better to be a crystal and to be broken, than to be a tile upon 
   the housetop.   

   Breeding rather than birth.   

   Darkness reigns at the foot of the lighthouse.   

   Proof rather than argument.   

   Some people like to make of life a garden, and to walk only 
   within its paths.   

   Ten men, ten minds.   

   The acolyte at the gate reads scriptures he has never learnt. 


   The poor sleep soundly.   

   The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the 
   conduct of one hour.   

   The tongue is more to be feared than the sword.   

   To endure what is unendurable is true endurance.   

   To kick with a sore toe only hurts the foot.   

   Too many boatmen will run the boat up to the top of the 

   Unless you enter the tiger's den you cannot take the cubs. 


   We are no more than candles burning in the wind.   

   When folly passes by, reason draws back.   

   Wisdom and virtue are like the two wheels of a cart.   

   Without oars, you cannot cross in a boat.   

 Latin Proverbs

   He that hath a head of wax must not walk in the sun.   

   He who is not lucky, let him not go to sea.   

   If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.   

   If you be a jester, keep your wit till you have use for it.

   Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage.   

   Like a fish out of water.   

   Eat well, drink in moderation, and sleep sound,
     in these three good health abound.  

   Even a hare will insult a dead lion.   

   Even after a bad harvest there must be sowing.   

   Fashion is more powerful than any tyrant.   

   Hay is more acceptable to an ass than gold.   

   Live your own life, for you will die your own death.   

   Man is a wolf to man.   

   Much coin, much care.   

   Night is the mother of council.   

   No folly like being in love.   

   Nothing dries sooner than tears.   

   Old age is venerable.   

   One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives.   

   Our last garment is made without pockets.   

   What one knows it is sometimes useful to forget.   

   The wolf changes his coat but not his nature.   

   Those who are once found to be bad are presumed to be so 

   To the ass, or the sow, their own offspring appears the fairest 
   in creation.   

   Truth will be out.
   When one dog barks another will join it.   

   When the old dog barks it is time to watch.   

   Who lies with dogs shall rise up with fleas.   

 German Proverbs 

   He who would rule must hear and be deaf, see and be blind. 

   If the servant grows rich and the master poor, they are both 
   good for nothing. 

   In the visible church the true Christians are invisible. 

   It is an ill procession where the devil bears the cross.

   Noble and common blood is of the same colour.

   One beats the bush, another catches the bird.

   Silk and velvet put out the kitchen fire.

   The ass loaded with gold still eats thistles.

   The silent dog is always the first to bite.

   Anger without power is folly.

   Better in the dust than crawl near the throne.

   Beware of a silent dog and still water.

   Fat hens lay few eggs.

   He who holds the ladder is as bad as the thief.

   There are many preachers who don't hear themselves.

   Where the devil cannot come, he will send.

   Who begins too much accomplishes little. 

 Greek Proverbs 

   Nothing will content him who is not content with a little. 


   Poor men's words have little weight. 

   The silence of a treacherous man is to be feared even more than 
   his words. 

   Those who are thirsty drink in silence. 


   The net of the sleeper catches fish. 

   The shepherd, even when he becomes a gentleman, smells of lamb. 

   A word out of season may mar a whole lifetime. 

   Act quickly, think slowly. 

   Add not fire to fire. 


   Hunger is the teacher of many. 

   I live too near a wood to be scared by owls. 


   In hospitality it is the spirit that counts. 

   Welcome is the best cheer. 


   With a relation eat and drink; but conduct no business with 


   Wood that grows warped can never be straightened. 

   Young wood makes a hot fire. 

 Russian Proverbs 

   There is plenty of sound in an empty barrel. 


   They bow to you when borrowing, you bow to them when 

   They gave the naked man a shirt and he said it was too thick. 

   To run away is not glorious, but very healthy. 

   When roubles fall from heaven there is no sack, when there is 
   a sack roubles don't fall. 


   When we sing everybody hears us, when we sigh nobody hears us. 

   Sit a beggar at your table and he will soon put his feet on it. 


   Small children give you headache; big children heartache. 

   Some people are masters of money, and some its slaves. 

   Take thy thoughts to bed with thee, for the morning is wiser 
   than the evening. 

   The horses of hope gallop, but the asses of experience go 


   The lucky man's enemy dies, and the unlucky man's friend. 

   When you live next to the cemetery you cannot weep for 


   Wild ducks and tomorrow both come without calling. 


   With seven nurses the child loses it eye. 

 Italian Proverbs 

   Half a brain is enough for him who says little.

   Have an open face but conceal your thoughts.

   He who begins many things finishes but few.

   He who wants a great deal must not ask for little. 

   High birth is a poor dish at table.

   You are buying a horse and taking a wife, shut your eyes and 
   commend yourself to God.

   In prosperity no altars smoke.

   One may have good eyes and yet see nothing.

   A cat pent up becomes a lion. 

   A runaway monk never praises his monastery. 

   Anger can be an expensive luxury.

   At a dangerous passage, yield to precedence.

   Better a mouse in the pot than no flesh at all.

   Between saying and doing many a pair of shoes is worn out.

   Choose neither a woman nor linen by candlelight.

   Give neither counsel nor salt till you are asked for it.

   She who is born a beauty is born betrothed.

   Silence was never written down.

   Tell not all you know, believe not all your hear, do not all 
   you are able.

   The comforter's head never aches.

   The robes of lawyers are lined with obstinacy of suitors.

   Those who have fine clothes in their chests can wear rags.

   Trifles makes perfection, but perfection is no trifle.

   Trouble rides a fast horse.

   What does not poison fattens.

   When ill luck falls asleep, let none wake her.

   When the sun is highest it casts the least shadow.

   Who gives bread to other's dogs is often barked at by his own.

   Who offends writes on sand; who is offended, on marble.

   Who sows thorns should not go barefoot.

   Write down the advice of him who loves you, though you like it 
   not at present. 

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