In this article you can find a series of English sayings and proverbs that will make you think and reflect on life. They are phrases that we often use and that, with just a few words, we can say a lot.
Proverbs are popular phrases that have been repeated, without variation, for years and even centuries. Generally, through these a moral thought, advice or vital teaching is expressed.
45 proverbs and sayings in English
Below you can find a list of proverbs and sayings in English with their translation (not literal) and a brief explanation.
1. Kill two birds with one stone
- Translation: Kill two birds with one stone.
This saying is used to refer to having achieved two things at the same time or to solve two problems at the same time by doing only one thing.
2. Eat, drink and be merry (for tomorrow we die)
- Translation: Drink and swallow, the world is going to end.
A beautiful rhyme that talks about how there is only one present moment and that we must take advantage of it. We only have one life, we must make it an unbeatable experience.
3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder
- Translation: Absence feeds the heart.
Human beings value what we don’t have around us. These words express precisely that meaning. That is, when we miss something, that is when we value it.
4. All that glitter is not gold
- Translation: All that glitters is not gold.
Many times we stay with the superficial part of things, leaving aside the true meaning or what really happens. In addition, it is also used to recommend that we should not trust appearances.
5. Barking dogs never bite
- Translation: Barking dog, little biting
We all know those people who lie more than they talk., and who usually boast, but then do nothing. The barking dog is the person who always tells his little stories, but bites little because in reality he has not done half of what he says.
5. A stitch in time saves nine
- Translation: Prevention is better than cure.
It is better to take action early than to have to regret not having done so in the future.
6. A cat in gloves catches no mice
- Translation: Cat with gloves does not catch mice.
It is used to criticize those people who do not dedicate themselves fully to work.. For example, when someone goes to work on the construction site but they are so dressed up that they don’t do their job properly so as not to get dirty.
7. Actions speak louder than words
- Translation: Actions are worth more than words.
This phrase can also be expressed in different ways: “words are carried by the wind or “from word to deed there is a long way.”
8. Things often happen when you least expect them to
- Translation: Where the greyhound least thinks, the hare jumps.
Sometimes opportunities come when you least expect it.
9. A leopard never changes its spots
- Translation: He who is born a pig dies a pig.
This phrase refers to the fact that no one changes their nature and you cannot fight against destiny.
10. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
- Translation: An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
This saying applies in times when something bad is done to us and all we want is revenge. It goes against reconciliation.
11. A word is enough to the wise
- Translation: To a good understander, few words are enough
In other words, there is no need to repeat things when just once should be enough.
12. All cats are gray in the dark
- Translation: At night all cats are brown.
In reference to the fact that at night and in the dark, imperfections are not seen.
13. Give the benefit of the doubt
- Translation: Give the benefit of the doubt.
We should not judge people at the first opportunity, but we must wait until we have evidence to accuse.
16. Appearances are deceptive
- Translation: Appearances are deceiving.
It is a similar saying to the previous one, in that people should not be judged because their body image may not be what the person really is.
17. Take what someone says with a pinch of salt
- Translation: Pick something up with tweezers.
Picking something with tweezers refers to being careful, as it is not something that is very safe or proven.
18. An apple a day keeps the doctor away
- Translation: Prevention is better than cure.
Another saying in English that refers to prevention being better than cure.. That is, it is better to take action now than to have to regret it later.
19. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
- Translation: A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.
It is better to play it safe than to speculate and have a thousand things in mind and then be left with nothing.
20. Take no notice of the stupid things people say
- Translation: To foolish words, deaf ears.
You have to ignore the comments of others. Why be bitter about what ignorant people say.
21. Add insult to injury
- Translation:Add fuel to the fire.
A phrase that goes in the sense of making things worse, of complicating the matter.
22. There’s nothing so queer as folk
- Translation: There is everything in the Lord’s vineyard.
A quote used when someone is strange or does not fit within social standards.
23. Speak of the devil
- Translation: Speaking of the king of Rome.
Although the literal translation is rather, “speaking of the devil”, in Spanish it is “speaking of the king of Rome”. In other words, to be talking about someone and for them to appear precisely at that moment.
24. Costs an arm and a leg
- Translation: It costs an arm and a leg.
A saying that is used to talk about something being very expensive.
25. All roads lead to Rome
- Translation: All roads lead to Rome.
No matter which path you take, in the end you will reach your destination.
26. Feeling a bit under the weather
- Translation: Being a little pachucho in Spanish.
Basically, feeling bad or not looking good. When you are tired or sick.
27. Love laughs at locksmiths
- Translation: Love does not respect the law, nor does it obey the king
Love is a very intense feeling that causes us the desire and impulse to be with the person we love.
28. Beggars can’t be choosers
- Translation: When there is hunger, there is no stale bread.
When one is having a bad time, one clings to anything to appease that feeling.
29. Curiosity killed the cat
- Translation: Curiosity killed the cat.
It means that we should not ask or be curious, that we may regret it.
30. Hear it through the grapevine
- Translation: A little bird told me.
A little bird told you when you tell someone that you know something but you don’t want to say the name of the person who told it to you.
31. Everyone gets his comeuppance in the end
- Translation: Every pig gets his Saint Martin.
Bad people, sooner or later, pay for their actions.
32. Once in a blue moon
- Translation: From figs to figs.
It is said when something happens on very rare occasions and at unexpected moments.
33. All griefs with bread are less
- Translation: The pain with bread is less.
There is no bigger problem than not having enough to eat, nor being able to feed yourself. In other words, all problems have a solution.
34. Caught between two stools
- Translation: Being swimming between two waters.
Expresses being undecided and not knowing what to do. You have to make a decision but you can’t make it clear.
35. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
- Translation: You have to have fun and put work aside for a while.
We only live onceso you have to enjoy this life and have pleasant and fun moments.
36. Familiarity breeds contempt
- Translation: Familiarity breeds contempt.
In some cases, over time, spending too many moments with a person can make us bored and annoyed by their presence.
37. Good things happen to those who wait
- Translation: Good things happen to those who know how to wait.
Patience has a reward.
38. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link
- Translation: the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
A powerful image that highlights that even large organizations can have a point so vulnerable that it incapacitates them.
39. Don’t count for chickens before they hatch
- Translation; Don’t count on the chickens before they hatch.
It is better to keep your feet on the ground and not take a very optimistic future for granted.
40. The early bird catches the worm
- Translation: The earliest bird reaches the worm.
Preparing in advance can give you a competitive advantage.
41. A picture is worth a thousand words
Translation: A picture is worth a thousand words.
There are sensations that explain more than textual information.
42. No man is an island
- Translation: no man is an island.
We do not live in isolationbut we are part of a social system.
43. The pen is mightier than the sword
- Translation: The pen is more virtuous than the sword.
The power of ideas is greater than that of concrete violence.
44. If you build they will come
- Translation: If you build, they will come.
To be lucky, you first have to work to make that happen.
45. There’s always more fish in the sea
- Translation: There are more fish in the sea
A proverb used especially regarding finding a partner.