82 Interesting English Idioms and Proverbs with Meaning


1. PROVERB- A BAD PENNY ALWAYS TURNS UP MEANING- A PERSON OR THING THAT IS UNPLEASANT, DISHONORABLE, OR UNWANTED ALWAYS TENDS TO REAPPEAR OR RESURFACE.

2. PROVERB- A BARKING DOG NEVER BITES MEANING- A PERSON OR SOMEONE WHO ALWAYS THREATENS OTHER PEOPLE DO NOT OFTEN CARRY OUT HIS/HER THREATS

3. PROVERB- A BIRD IN THE HAND IS WORTH TWO IN THE BUSH MEANING- IT’S BETTER TO HOLD ONTO SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE, THAN TO RISK LOSING EVERYTHING BY SEEKING TO GET MORE.

4. PROVERB- A CAT MAY LOOK AT A KING MEANING- SOMEONE WHO IS OF LOW STATUS, IS NOT TOTALLY RESTRICTED IN HOW THEY BEHAVE IN FRONT OF A SUPERIOR. A PERSON OF LOW STATUS HAS RIGHTS.

5. PROVERB- CHAIN IS ONLY AS STRONG AS ITS WEAKEST LINK MEANING- NO MATTER THE STRENGTH OF A CHAIN, ONE WEAK PART COULD BREAK THE ENTIRE CHAIN. A WEAK PERSON IN A STRONG GROUP OR ORGANIZATION CAN DAMAGE THE WHOLE GROUP.

6. PROVERB- A CHANGE IS AS GOOD AS A REST MEANING- YOU CAN GET AS MUCH GOOD FROM CHANGING THE WORK YOU DO OR OCCUPATION AS FROM HAVING A REST.

7. PROVERB- A DROWNING MAN WILL CLUTCH AT A STRAW MEANING- SOMEONE WHO IS IN A VERY DIFFICULT SITUATION, WILL TAKE DESPERATE MEASURES IN ORDER TO COME OUT OF THE SITUATION.

8. PROVERB- A FISH ALWAYS ROTS FROM THE HEAD DOWN MEANING- IF THE PERSON IN CHARGE OR LEADER OF ORGANIZATION OR STATE DOES A BAD JOB, IT WILL HAVE NEGATIVE IMPLICATIONS FOR EVERYONE WORKING UNDER HIM OR HER.

9. PROVERB- A FOOL AND HIS MONEY ARE SOON PARTED MEANING- A FOOLISH OR UNWISE PERSON SPENDS MONEY CARELESSLY AND TOO QUICKLY ON UNIMPORTANT THINGS AND WILL SOON BE PENNILESS.

10. PROVERB- A FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED MEANING- A FRIEND OR PERSON WHO HELPS YOU WHEN YOU REALLY NEED HELP IS A TRUE FRIEND.

11. PROVERB- A GOLDEN KEY CAN OPEN ANY DOOR MEANING- SUFFICIENT MONEY CAN ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING. 2. PROVERB- A GOOD BEGINNING MAKES A GOOD ENDING MEANING- STARTING PROPERLY IS REWARDING AT THE END.

12. PROVERB- A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND. MEANING- SUCCESS COMES FROM WORKING IN UNITY. 2. PROVERB- A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME. MEANING- A HOME IS NOT MERELY A PHYSICAL STRUCTURE, BUT REQUIRES INHABITANTS.

13. PROVERB- A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP MEANING- A DIFFICULT OR BIG TASK CAN USUALLY BE STARTED BY DOING A SIMPLE THING. DON’T GET OVERWHELMED BY A LARGE PROJECT.

14. PROVERB- A LEOPARD CANNOT CHANGE ITS SPOTS MEANING- IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR ONE TO CHANGE THEIR CHARACTER, EVEN IF THEY TRY VERY HARD TO.

15. PROVERB- A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS A DANGEROUS THING MEANING- GAINING SOME KNOWLEDGE CAN MISLEAD PEOPLE INTO THINKING THAT THEY ARE MORE EXPERT THAN THEY REALLY ARE.

16. PROVERB- A MAN WHO IS HIS OWN LAWYER HAS A FOOL FOR HIS CLIENT MEANING- A MAN WHO TRIES TO DEFEND HIMSELF, RATHER THAN HIRING A TRAINED LAWYER, IS A FOOL.

17. PROVERB- A MISS IS AS GOOD AS A MILE MEANING- FAILING OR LOSING BY A SMALL MARGIN IS JUST AS BAD AS FAILING OR LOSING BY A LARGE MARGIN.

18. PROVERB- A NEW BROOM SWEEPS CLEAN MEANING- LEADER, ADMINISTRATOR OR MANAGER NEWLY APPOINTED TO A POSITION OF RESPONSIBILITY TEND TO MAKE MANY CHANGES.

19. PROVERB- A NOD’S AS GOOD AS A WINK TO A BLIND HORSE MEANING- IT IS UNNECESSARY TO EXPLAIN OR ELABORATE UPON SOMETHING BECAUSE ONE ALREADY UNDERSTANDS OR KNOWS ABOUT IT IN FULL.

20. PROVERB- A PENNY SAVED IS A PENNY EARNED MEANING- IT IS AS IMPORTANT TO SAVE MONEY THAT YOU ALREADY HAVE AS IT IS TO EARN MORE.

21. PROVERB- A PICTURE PAINTS A THOUSAND WORDS MEANING- A PICTURE WILL BE FAR MORE DESCRIPTIVE OF SOMETHING THAN WORDS CAN EVER BE.

22. PROVERB- A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE MEANING- THE BEST WAY TO STAY WELL ORGANIZED IS TO KEEP THINGS IN THEIR CORRECT POSITIONS.

23. PROVERB- A POOR WORKMAN ALWAYS BLAMES HIS TOOLS MEANING- A PERSON WHO HAS DONE SOMETHING BADLY WILL SEEK TO LAY THE BLAME ON THEIR EQUIPMENT RATHER THAN ADMIT THEIR OWN LACK OF SKILL.

24. PROVERB- A PROPHET IS NOT RECOGNIZED IN HIS OWN LAND MEANING- IT IS VERY DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE WHO KNOW YOU CLOSELY OR RELATED YOU TO ACKNOWLEDGE OUR GREATNESS.

25. PROVERB- A RISING TIDE LIFTS ALL BOATS MEANING- IMPROVEMENTS IN THE GENERAL COUNTRY’S ECONOMY WILL BENEFIT ALL PARTICIPANTS IN THAT ECONOMY.

26. PROVERB- A ROLLING STONE GATHERS NO MOSS MEANING- IF A PERSON KEEPS MOVING FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER, THEY WILL NOT GET MANY FRIENDS OR POSSESSIONS.

27. PROVERB- A VOLUNTEER IS WORTH TWENTY PRESSED MEN MEANING- A PERSON WHO VOLUNTARILY OFFERS HIMSELF/HERSELF FOR A SERVICE OR UNDERTAKING PERFORMS BETTER THAN 20 PEOPLE FORCED TO DO THESAME THING.

28. PROVERB- A WATCHED POT NEVER BOILS MEANING- TIME PASSES VERY SLOWLY WHEN ONE IS WAITING FOR SOMETHING TO HAPPEN IF THAT IS THE ONLY THING ONE IS THINKING ABOUT.

29. PROVERB- ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER MEANING- WHEN PEOPLE WE LOVE ARE NOT WITH US, WE LOVE THEM EVEN MORE.

30. PROVERB- ADVERSITY MAKES STRANGE BEDFELLOWS MEANING- DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES WILL BRING TOGETHER VERY DIFFERENT PEOPLE WHO WOULDN’T NORMALLY ASSOCIATE WITH EACH OTHER TO FORM AN ALLIANCE.

31. PROVERB- AIN’T OVER TILL THE FAT LADY SINGS MEANING- A PERSON SHOULD NOT ASSUME THE OUTCOME OF A SITUATION UNTIL IT REACHES ITS END.

32. PROVERB- ALL IS GRIST THAT COMES TO THE MILL MEANING- ALL THAT ONE EXPERIENCES, ENCOUNTERS, OR OBTAINS IN LIFE CAN BE PUT TO GOOD USE.

33. PROVERB- ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME MEANING- THE SAME OUTCOME CAN BE REACHED BY MANY METHODS OR IDEAS. FOLLOWING DIFFERENT PATHS WILL STILL GET YOU TO SAME DESTINATION.

34. PROVERB- ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY MEANING- CONTINUOUS WORK WITHOUT TIME OFF TO RELAX IS HARMFUL TO ONE’S PERSONAL LIFE AND WELL-BEING.

35. PROVERB- ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR MEANING- DURING SITUATIONS WHERE LOVE IS AT STAKE OR DURING WAR, PEOPLE ARE NOT BOUND BY RULES OF FAIR PLAY.

36. PROVERB- AN APPLE A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY MEANING- EATING NUTRITIOUS FOOD WILL MAKE YOU HEALTHIER. AS A RESULT, YOU WON’T NEED TO GO TO THE DOCTOR VERY OFTEN

37. PROVERB- AN ARMY MARCHES ON ITS STOMACH MEANING- YOU MUST EAT PROPERLY IF YOU WANT TO PERFORM TASKS WELL. SOLDIERS OR WORKERS CAN ONLY FIGHT OR FUNCTION EFFECTIVELY IF THEY HAVE BEEN WELL FED.

38. PROVERB- AN ENGLISHMAN’S HOME IS HIS CASTLE MEANING- PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO WHAT THEY WANT IN THEIR OWN HOME. EVERYBODY HAVE A RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND AUTONOMY IN THEIR HOME.

39. PROVERB- IT’S AN ILL WIND THAT BLOWS NOBODY ANY GOOD MEANING- ONE PERSON’S MISFORTUNE IS OFTEN ANOTHER PERSON’S GOOD LUCK.

40. PROVERB- AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE MEANING- IT IS BETTER TO TRY TO AVOID PROBLEM, ILLNESS, ETC IN THE FIRST PLACE, RATHER THAN TRYING TO FIX THEM ONCE THEY ARISE.

41. PROVERB- ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DOLLAR MEANING- EVERYTHING IS ORDINARY, SAME ROUTINE. NOTHING HAS CHANGED AND EVERYTHING REMAINS THE SAME.

42. PROVERB- ANY PORT IN A STORM MEANING- WHEN YOU ARE FACING SOME DIFFICULTY, YOU NEED TO ACCEPT ANY SOLUTION WITHOUT WAITING FOR A PERFECT SOLUTION.

43. PROVERB- APRIL SHOWERS BRING FORTH MAY FLOWERS MEANING- THAT A TIME OF ADVERSITY OR MISFORTUNE CAN PROVIDE THE BASIS FOR A PERIOD OF HAPPINESS AND FORTUNE.

44. PROVERB- ASK NO QUESTIONS AND HEAR NO LIES MEANING- USED TO REPLY TO A QUESTION WITH AN ANSWER BEST KEPT SECRET.

45. PROVERB- BEAUTY IS ONLY SKIN DEEP MEANING- A PERSON’S CHARACTER IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HOW THEY LOOK. A PERSON WHO LOOKS BEAUTIFUL MAY NOT HAVE A PLEASING PERSONALITY.

46. PROVERB- THE BEST IS THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD MEANING- IN ALL PROCESS OR HUMAN ACTIVITY IT IS NECESSARY TO FIND A REASONABLE BALANCE BETWEEN THE INTENDED PURPOSE AND THE RESOURCES USED.

47. PROVERB- BETTER TO TRAVEL HOPEFULLY THAN TO ARRIVE MEANING- YOU SHOULD ENJOY THE PROCESS OF DOING SOMETHING, RATHER THAN ANTICIPATE THE RESULT OF DOING IT.

48. PROVERB- BETWEEN TWO STOOLS ONE FALLS TO THE GROUND MEANING- UNABLE TO DECIDE WHICH OF TWO COURSES OF ACTION TO TAKE AND AS A RESULT THEY HAVE NOT DONE EITHER OF THEM SUCCESSFULLY.

49. PROVERB- BEWARE OF GREEKS BEARING GIFTS MEANING- YOU SHOULD BE SUSPICIOUS OF RIVAL OR ENEMY WHO SUDDENLY SHOWS ONE GENEROSITY OR KINDNESS.

50. PROVERB- BLUE ARE THE HILLS THAT ARE FAR AWAY MEANING- SOMETHINGS WE DON’T HAVE SEEMS MORE ATTRACTIVE THAN WHAT WE MAY HAVE READILY AT HAND.

51. PROVERB- THE BOY IS FATHER TO THE MAN MEANING- YOUR PERSONALITIES OR QUALITIES AS A CHILD WILL BE THE SAME WHEN YOU BECOME AN ADULT.

52. PROVERB- BREAD ALWAYS FALLS ON THE BUTTERED SIDE DOWN MEANING- IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG, THE WORST POSSIBLE OUTCOME OFTEN HAPPENS.

53. PROVERB- BREVITY IS THE SOUL OF WIT MEANING- ONE CAN SAY A LOT MORE BY USING THE MINIMUM OF LANGUAGE TO CONVEY SOMETHING

54. PROVERB- BUILD A BETTER MOUSETRAP AND THE WORLD WILL BEAT A PATH TO YOUR DOOR MEANING- TO INVENT THE NEXT GREAT THING

55. PROVERB- CAESAR’S WIFE MUST BE ABOVE SUSPICION MEANING- IF ONE IS INVOLVED WITH A FAMOUS OR PROMINENT FIGURE, ONE MUST AVOID ATTRACTING NEGATIVE ATTENTION OR SCRUTINY.

56. PROVERB- CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR MEANING- CHRISTMAS IS A TIME OF CELEBRATION THAT ONLY HAPPENS ONCE A YEAR, AND THAT WE SHOULD MARK THE OCCASION BY BEING GENEROUS TO OTHERS.

57. PROVERB- CLOTHES MAKETH THE MAN MEANING- THE WAY YOU DRESS HELP CONVEY THE TYPE OF PERSON YOU ARE. THE STYLE OR QUALITY OF PEOPLE’S CLOTHING IS OFTEN VIEWED AS AN INDICATOR OF THEIR CHARACTER.

58. PROVERB- COBBLER ALWAYS WEARS THE WORST SHOES MEANING- ARTISANS WORK FOR THE WEALTHY BUT CANNOT AFFORD THEIR OWN PRODUCE.

59. PROVERB- COLD HANDS, WARM HEART MEANING- SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT OUTWARDLY SHOW FEELINGS BUT, INWARDLY, IS VERY KIND AND LOVING.

60. PROVERB- CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT MEANING- BEING INQUISITIVE OR CURIOUS ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE’S AFFAIRS MAY LEAD TO DANGER OR MISFORTUNE.

61. PROVERB- DARKEST HOUR IS JUST BEFORE THE DAWN MEANING- THERE IS ALWAYS A RAY OF HOPE EVEN IN THE WORST SITUATIONS, OR CIRCUMSTANCES.

62. PROVERB- THE DEVIL LOOKS AFTER HIS OWN MEANING- EVIL PEOPLE ARE OFTEN PROSPEROUS OR WELL TAKEN CARE OF. GOOD THINGS CAN HAPPEN TO BAD PEOPLE.

63. PROVERB- DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES MEANING- ONCE SOMEONE IS DEAD, THEY CAN NO LONGER COMMUNICATE OR REVEAL SECRETS. — PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN

64. PROVERB- DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS MEANING- PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT, AND THAT SOME INDIVIDUALS OR GROUPS HAVE DIFFERENTNEEDS AND WANTS FROM OTHERS.

65. PROVERB- DISCRETION IS THE BETTER PART OF VALOUR MEANING- AVOIDING A DANGEROUS OR UNPLEASANT SITUATION IS SOMETIMES THE MOST SENSIBLE THING TO DO THAN TO CONFRONT IT.

66. PROVERB- DISTANCE LENDS ENCHANTMENT TO THE VIEW MEANING- THINGS OR PEOPLE WHO APPEAR ATTRACTIVE OR DESIRABLE WHEN THEY ARE AT A DISTANCE, OR NOT PRESENT.

67. PROVERB- DON’T BURN YOUR BRIDGES BEHIND YOU MEANING- INTENTIONALLY RUINING A RELATIONSHIP OR SITUATION YOU ARE LEAVING BY DOING SOMETHING UNPLEASANT THAT WOULD MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU TO CHANGE YOUR PLANS AND RETURN TO THE SAME SITUATION LATER.

68. PROVERB- DON’T CAST YOUR PEARLS BEFORE SWINE MEANING- DO NOT WASTE GOOD THINGS ON PEOPLE WHO WILL NOT APPRECIATE THEM.

69. PROVERB- DON’T COUNT YOUR CHICKENS BEFORE THEY ARE HATCHED MEANING- SOMEONE SHOULD NOT DEPEND ON SOMETHING HOPED FOR UNTIL HE OR SHE KNOWS FOR CERTAIN THAT IT WILL HAPPEN.

70. PROVERB- DON’T KEEP A DOG AND BARK YOURSELF MEANING- DO NOT PAY SOMEONE TO DO A TASK AND THEN DO IT YOURSELF OR DON’T DO A CHORE THAT SHOULD BE DONE BY SOMEONE YOU HIRED TO DO IT.

71. PROVERB- DON’T LET THE GRASS GROW UNDER YOUR FEET MEANING- DON’T HESITATE TO TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY. DON’T WASTE TIME OR TO FAIL TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AN OPPORTUNITY.

72. PROVERB- DON’T LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH MEANING- DON’T QUESTION THE VALUE OF A GIFT. DON’T FIND FAULT WITH SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN RECEIVED AS A GIFT OR FAVOUR.

73. PROVERB- ENOUGH IS AS GOOD AS A FEAST MEANING- THERE IS NO POINT IN HAVING MORE OF SOMETHING THAN YOU NEED OR WANT. BETTER TO HAVE JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF SOMETHING, THAN EXCESS OF IT.

74. PROVERB- EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING MEANING- THERE IS COMFORT AND HOPE EVEN IN A EVERY DIFFICULT OR SAD SITUATION. EVERY NEGATIVE OCCURRENCE HAS A POSITIVE ASPECT TO IT.

75. PROVERB- FAIR EXCHANGE IS NO ROBBERY MEANING- AN EXCHANGE OF TWO THINGS OF EQUAL VALUE IS A REASONABLE AND HONEST TRADE.

76. PROVERB- FINDERS KEEPERS, LOSERS WEEPERS MEANING- A PERSON CAN KEEP WHAT HE OR SHE HAS FOUND AND DOES NOT NEED TO GIVE IT BACK TO THE PERSON WHO HAS LOST IT.

77. PROVERB- A FOOLS RUSH IN WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD MEANING- IT IS FOOLISH TO TAKE ACTION IF ONE DOES NOT KNOW MUCH ABOUT WHAT HE OR SHE IS DOING. IT IS WRONG TO GIVE ADVICE OF AN UNKNOWN SUBJECT.

78. PROVERB- HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE RULES THE WORLD MEANING- THE PERSON WHO RAISES A CHILD DETERMINES THE CHARACTER OF THAT CHILD AND SO INFLUENCES THE TYPE OF SOCIETY THAT THE NEXT GENERATION WILL CREATE. – WILLIAM ROSS WALLACE

79. PROVERB- HOLD WITH THE HARE AND RUN WITH THE HOUNDS MEANING- TO OPPOSE AN ACTION OR BEHAVIOR AND YET ENGAGE IN THE SAME ACTION OR BEHAVIOR.

80. PROVERB- MANY A MICKLE MAKES A MUCKLE MEANING- A LOT OF SMALL AMOUNTS, PUT TOGETHER, BECOME A LARGE AMOUNT.

81. PROVERB- MARCH COMES IN LIKE A LION, AND GOES OUT LIKE A LAMB MEANING- MARCH STARTS OFF WITH COLD WINTERS AND ENDS WITH WARMER, SPRING WEATHER.

82. PROVERB- NEEDS MUST WHEN THE DEVIL DRIVES MEANING- SOMETIMES DO THINGS THAT YOU DO NOT LIKE DOING


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