| Friday, December 15, 2006
| MY CHOSEN PROVERBS TO REMEMBER AND LIVE BY
|MEANINGS AND ORIGINS OF PROVERBS
(toghther with definitions, example of usage, origin of first occurence, variants and cross reference)
1. all good things must come to an end.
Nothing last forever; often said resignedly when a pleasant experience or sequence of events finally ends; We had had a wonderful vacation, but all good things must come to an end. The proverb was first recorded c.1440; "Ye wote wele of all thing most be an ende"(Partonope of Blois) The word good was probably not added until the 19th or early 20th century.
2. all men are created equal.
No person is born superior or inferior to another, so all should have equal rights; "Colonel Cathcart was infused with the democratic spirit; he believed that all men were created equal, and therefore spurned all men outside Group Headquarters sith equal fervor" (Joseph Heller, Cath-22,1955). The proverb comes from teh Declaration of Independence (1776), in which Thomas Jefferson wrote: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalineable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness".
3. all roads lead to Rome.
There are many different ways to achieve the same result, or to come to the same conclusion: "All roads lead to Rome; and even animal individutality throws a ray on human problems" (J.S. Huxley, The Individuals in the Animal Kingdom,1912). The proverb was first recorded, with different wording, in Chauser's Prologue to Astrolabe (c.1391). Compare the medieval Latin proverb "Mille vie ducunt hominem per secula Romam"[A thousand roads leads man forever toward Rome]. In modern use other place-names are sometimes substituted for Rome.
4. all's well that ends well.
Problems and misfortunes along the way can be forgotten when everything ends satisfactorily;"When the books are signed the vicar congratulated the husband and wife on having performed a noble, and righteous, and mutually forgiving act,'All's well that ends well,' he said smiling" (Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure,1895). First recorded in this form c.1530, the proverb is perhaps best known as the title of one of Shakespeare's plays.
5. all that glitters is not gold.
People and things are not always as attractive or vluable as they seem: "I do wish I hand'nt a penny in the world, then I should know who my true friends were,''Poor little lass! She has found out that all that glitters is not gold, and the disillusion has begun,'said the doctor to himself". (Louisa May Alcott, Rose in Bloom,1876). The proverb occurs in Shakespeare's play. The Merchant of Venice(2:7) in the form "All that glisters is not gold," but the sentiment it expresses first recorded c.1220, Variant of this proverb; all is not gold that glitters.
6. all things are possible with God.
Nothing is impossible to the divine will; often used more generally to imply that anything might happen: He seemed an unblikely candidate for the priesthood, but all things are possible with God. The proverb is biblical origin in its current form: "Withmen this is impossible; but with God all things are possible"( Matthew 19:26), but the sentiment it expressed is found much earlier, in Homer's Odyssey (c.8th century B.C.):"with the gods all things can be done".
7. all things come to those who wait.
If you are patient, you will have what you desire: Remember that all things come to thos who wait, and don't be too disappointed if you miss promotion this time. First recorded in 1530 with different wording, the proverb occurs in Henry Wadsworth Longfellows' Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863): "All things come to him who will but wait."
8. all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
People who donot make time for leisure activities risk damaging their bealth, the quality of their work, or their personal relationships; often used to justify a break from work or to persuade somebody to take one: You're doing, far too much overtime - all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. The proverb was first recorded in 1659. It may be applied to people of either sex, often with the person's name in place of Jack (and girl in place of boy, if appropriate).
9. always a bridesmaid, never a bride.
If you are often asked to be a bridesmaid - traditionally, three or more times - you will never marry yourself; also used more generally as a lament by a young woman who receives many invitations to be bridesmaid but no proposals of marriage. I've been bridesmaid to three of my old schoolfriends - when will it be my turn to get married? Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. The proverb was first recorded in 1882 in E.M. Ingraham's Bond & Free in the form "Always a maiden, never a wife", the word maiden meaning "bridal attendant" in this context.
10.always look on the bright side.
You always take the optimistic or positive view, especially when things are going badly;"I was walking the ridgepole and I fell off. I expect I have sprained my ankle.But...I might have broken my neck. Let us look on the bright side of things" (Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables,1908). The proverb was first recorded in 1726, in a sermon by John Wesley. According to a less well-known saying, "If you try tomake some people see the bright side, they will complain that it hurts their eyes". Variant on this proverb, look on the bright side, or polish up the dark one.
11.as you sow, so shall you reap.
The way you behave - badly or well - determines what will happen to you in the future; Her article offended a lot of important people, and now she finds herself ostracized - as you sow, so shall you reap. The proverb is a biblical origin: :"whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting"(Galatians 6:7-8)
12.bad news travels fast.
Bad news, or unfavorable gossip, tends to be disseminated far more quickly than good news, the implication being that people delight in talking or hearing about the misfortunes of others: I know bad news travels fast, but I had only just got home from work when my sister phoned to ask if it was true that I had been fired. The proverb was first recorded in 1592("Euill newes flie faster still than good") Thomas Kyd, Spanish Tragedy, but is probably of ancient origin.
13. christmas comes but one a year.
Extravagance and self-indulgence at Christmas - or any other annual celebration - can be justified by the fact that it is a relatively infrequent occurence: All over the country, people will be eating and drinking to excess, telling themselves that Christmas comes but once a year. The proverb was first recorded in 1557 in Thomas Tusser, A Hundredth goodpointes of husbandrie.
14. cleanliness is next to godliness.
Personal hygiene indicates a pious or virtuous nature; also used more generally to emphasize the importance of cleanness: Having been brought up to believe that cleanliness is next to godliness, she was seriously concerned for the spiritual well-being of her roommate, who bathed only once a week. The proverb was first recorded in this form in a sermon given by John Wesley in 1788, but the sentiment it expresses is of ancient Egyptian or Hebrew origin. In The Advancement of Learning (1605), Francis Bacon wrote,"Cleanness of body was ever esteemed to proceed from a due reverence to God." Variant of this proverb: cleanliness is akin to godliness.
15. don't rock the boat.
It is often wise to avoid taking action or making suggestions that will cause upset or trouble: There are some some who will always speak out when they think things should be changed, and there are others who remain silent, preferring not to rock the boat. The proverb dates from the 1920s and was popularized by the song "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" in the musical Guys and Dolls (1950).
16. don't shoot the messenger.
When you receive bad news, donot vent your anger or distress on the person who brings it: Enraged by a report from one of his financial advisers, the president called for the man's dismissal. He was warned against such a drastic step by somebody who reminded him "The man only wrote the report - don't shoot the messenger". The sentiment expressed by this proverb is of ancient origin: Sophocles wrote c.442 B.C., "Nobody likes the man who brings bad news." Its current form, however, is relatively recent.
17. don't start anything that you cannot finish.
Do not begin something unless you are sure that you have sufficient strength, courage, etc. to see it through to the end: Ignoring the advice "Don't start anything you can't finish," he embarked on a costly lawsuit against his former employers. The proverb was first recorded in 1477 in Dictes and Sayenges of Philosophirs. Proverbs expressing similar meaning: "Don't bite off more than you can chew; don't fo near the water untol you learn how to swim."
18. don't wash your dirty linen in public.
Donot discuss private disputes or family scandals in public; The chat show format in which ordinary people air their personal griveances against friends and family in front of a nationwide audinece was obviously dreamed up by somebody unacquanted with the saying "Don't wash your dirty linen in public". The proverb was first recorded in 1809 in T.G. Fessenden's Pills. Variant of this proverb: don't air your dirty linen in public.
19. faith will move mountains.
Nothing is impossibnle to those who have sufficient faith; applied not only to religious faith, but to any strong belief in a cause or objective; She firmly believes that she can make him change his ways, and faith will move mountains, so she may yet succeed. The proverb is a biblical origin; "If ye have faitn as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossinle unto you". (Matthew 17:20).
20.never let the sun go down on your anger.
If you have quarreled or lost your temper with somebody, make your peace before the end of the day; I believe that you should never let the sun go down on your anger, and I always insist that the children resolve any minor differences among themselves before they go to bed. The proverb is of biblical origina: "Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath"(Ephesians 4:26)
21. never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
If something needs doing - however undesirable the task may be - the sooner you do it, the better; "No idelness, no laziness, no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today" (Lord Chestefield, letter dated December 26,1749). The proverb was first recorded in 1616, but the sentiment it expresses is of earlier origin. The facetious variant "Never do today what you can out off until tomorrow" dates from the 19th century.
22. never say never.
Nobody can look far enough into the future to say with certainty that something will never happen - anything is possible;"Al Marshall did not rule out a resumption of talks, saying 'you can never say "never" in this business" (Washington Post, 1984), First recorded in the title of the James Bond movie Never Say Never Again (1983), allegedly because the actor Sean Connery had been pesuaded to make a comeback as Agent 007, twelve years after announcing that he would never play the role again.
23. seeing is believing.
People are often reluctant to believe soemthing until they see it for themselves, but nobody doubts the evidence of his or her own eyes; "If you had seen de great huge pieces of de plate so massive, Sir Arthur, - so fine fashion, Miss Wardour - and de silver cross dat we did find .... you would never believd them.' 'Seeing is believing indeed". (Sir Walter Scott, The Antiquary 1816) The proverb was first recorded in 1609.
24. see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
Ignore any worngdoing, malice, or gossip that is going around you, and donot get involved; "It's no use asking him about the latest office intrigue - his motto is "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." First recorded in 1926, the proverb is associated with a representation of three monkeys with their hands over their eyes, ears and mouth, respectively.
25. there's a first time for everything
Everything must start somewhere, and the fact that something has not happened before does not mean that it will never happen; also used when somebody does soemthing that he or she has never done before:"It's oerfectly safe - we've been doing it this way for the past ten years and we've never had an accident". "There's a first time for everything" The proverb was first recorded in 1792 in A. Hamilton's Papers.
(Source:DICTIONARY OF PROVERBS by: Martin H. Manser)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 1:09 AM