An English proverb is a simple and concrete saying, popularly known and repeated, that expresses a truth based on common sense or experience.
It’s good to know the really common English proverbs because you hear them come up in conversation all the time. Sometimes people say the entire proverb to give advice to a friend.
Learning proverbs can also help you to understand the way that people in English-speaking cultures think about the world.
Learn more about common idioms in English.
In the list below, we are going to explore 33 common sayings with their meaning.
Most Useful English Proverbs
1. If you play with fire, you’ll get burned
Meaning: If you get involved in something dangerous or beyond your abilities, you will probably experience negative consequences.
2. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself
Meaning: Don’t depend on someone else to do a good job; do it yourself.
3. Knowledge is power
Meaning: The more you know, the more powerful you can be in different areas of your life.
4. Laughter is the best medicine
Meaning: When you’re in a difficult situation, laughing can make it easier to get through that situation.
5. No man is an island
Meaning: No one is truly capable of living alone. We need human connection to be healthy.
6. Actions speak louder than words
Meaning: What do you do is more important than what you say.
7. All good things must come to an end
Meaning: Everything ends; good times don’t last forever.
8. A picture is worth a thousand words
Meaning: An image can tell a story better than a words.
9. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Meaning: What is “beautiful” is different for each other.
10. Better late than never
Meaning: It’s better to finish something late than to never do it at all.
11. Birds of a feather flock together
Meaning: People who are similar spend time together.
12. Don’t judge a book by its cover
Meaning: Don’t judge someone or something by appearance alone.
13. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
Meaning: Don’t expect a positive result before you actually see it.
14. Don’t out all of your eggs in one basket
Meaning: Don’t put all of your hopes and resources into one goal or dream.
15. Don’t put too many irons in the fire
Meaning: Don’t try to do too many things at the same time; focus on one thing at a time.
16. Good things come to those who wait
Meaning: If you are patient, good things can happen.
17. Honesty is the best policy
Meaning: It’s always better to tell the truth than it is to lie.
18. There is no place like home
Meaning: Your home is the most comfortable place in the world.
19. Easy come, easy go
Meaning: When you get money quickly, like by winning it, it’s easy to spend it or lose it quickly as well.
20. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
Meaning: If someone’s paying you or helping you out, you have to be careful not to make them angry or say bad things about them.
21. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em
Meaning: When you try to change someone’s behavior or it doesn’t work, you might have to change instead.
22. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
Meaning: Different people have different ideas about what’s valuable.
23. There’s no time like the present
Meaning: If you need to do something, don’t wait until later. Do it now.
24. Necessity is the mother of invention
Meaning: When you’re really in need, you think of creative solutions to your problems.
25. A penny saved is a penny earned
Meaning: Save your money.
26. Familiarity breeds contempt
Meaning: When you’re around someone for too long, you get tired of them and annoyed by them.
27. You can’t judge a book by its cover
Meaning: Things sometimes look different than they really are. A restaurant that looks old and small might have amazing food.
28. Good things come to those who wait
Meaning: Be patient.
29. Better late than never
Meaning: The delayed occurrence or achievement of something that one desires is better than it not happening at all.
30. Birds of a feather flock together
Meaning: People like to spend time with others who are similar to them.
31. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
Meaning: If you have an enemy, pretend to be friends with them instead of openly fighting with them. That way you can watch them carefully and figure out what they’re planning.
32. A picture is worth a thousand words
Meaning: Picture conveys emotions and messages better than written or spoken explanations.
33. There’s no such thing as a free lunch
Meaning: Things that are offered for free always have a hidden cost.
Most Useful English Proverbs | Image