Adages, the oral transfer of knowledge between generations
Here you will find a list of over seven hundred adages people use everyday to improve their lives. An adage is a short saying that transmits wisdom. Before people knew how to read and write, they passed knowledge by word of mouth. The word adage comes from Latin adagium (saying), formed by the prefix ad- (to, toward, about) and agium (from the verb agio, I say).
- Better a certain enemy than a doubtful friend.
- Better late than never.
- Better late than never, but better never late. (Thank you: James 1941)
- Better now than later.
- Better poverty without care, than riches with.
- Better safe than sorry (Thank you: Greg)
- Better the devil you know than the one you don't.
- Better to be pissed off,than pissed on.
- Better to be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt. (Thank you: L J J)
- Better to end with a bang .
- Beware of the law of unintended consequences.
- Big man big cock, little man all cock. (Thank you: Kendrick Bateson)
- Birds of a feather flock together. (People hang around with people like themselves - Thank you: Pauline)
- Bless your little pointed head.
- Blood is thicker than water.
- Boiling a frog. (You can not stick a frog in boiling water, because it will sense the temperature and jump out. However, you can boil the frog if you stick it in cold water, and then raise the temperature very slowly until it boils.)
- Boys (or girls) Rule (because they can - Thank you: g)
- Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Thank you: Terry Pratchett quote)
- Bull in a China Shop. (Clumsy - Cannot happen literally)
- Buy the ticket, take the ride. (Do not cop-out, even if getting involved in something may get you way over your head)
- Camel's nose. (Don't let the camel stick his nose in the tent, because the next thing you know, his whole body will be inside the tent, and there will be no room for you)
- Can't is a quitter too lazy to try! (Thank you: Robin)
- Can't never could. (If you say you can't, you won't accomplish it.)
- Catch as catch can.
- Chains are better pulled than pushed. (Adapt - Thank you: Dr. Bob)
- Change of habit cannot alter Nature.
- Charity begins at home. Put your own house in order. (For governments everywhere - Thank you: Goya)
- Children are not to be blamed for the faults of their parents.
- Children Learn what they live. (Kids pick up what they see and hear at home, don't blame the outsiders - Thank you: Dona Reynolds, MT)
- Choose your words soft and sweet (Thank you: Kathleen)
- Clean the potatoes out of your year.
- Cleanliness is next to Godliness. (Quote from my mom basically meant "Clean up your room!" - Thank you: Katherine)
- Cleanliness may be next to Godliness, but around here it's next to impossible! (Thank you: TL)
- Clothes maketh the man (When it comes to first impressions, outward appearance is paramount. - Thank you: Staralfur)
- Cross that bridge when you come to it.
- Crow is best eaten warm. (Admit you are wrong as soon as you discover it. - Thank you: Steve Gregg)
- Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back. (A cat has nine lives.)
- Cut from the same cloth. (Thank you: Davidp)
- Cut off your nose to spite your face. ( Thank you: Jake Vinturella )
- Dance with the one that brought you. (Thank you: Jerry)
- Data is the basis of knowledge, and knowledge is power.
- Diamond in the Rough. (Usually used by a mother-inlaw in reference to a new daughter who could be easily taught and polished to her expectations. - Thank you: David)
- Different day, Same shit. (New doesn't mean better - Thank you: Yuri B)
- Do as I say, not as I do.
- Do not bring a knife to gun fight. (Come prepared. - Thank you: Dr. Bob)
- Do not give up, the beginning is always the hardest.
- Do not judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes. That way you are a mile away and you have his shoes. (Thank you: CS)
- Do not mistake kindness for stupidity. (If someone does you a good turn, it does not mean they are stupid! - Thank you: Sandra McCalliskey)
- Do unto others as you would have them do to you. (Golden Rule)
- Do your best and God will do the rest.
- Does a one legged duck swim in circles? (Response to a question to which the answer yes is obvious. - Thank you: JD Pate)
- Done is better than perfect. (Thank you: Josh McKnight)
- Don't be afraid to stand up for whats right, even if your standing alone. (Always voice your opinion - Thank you: Penguinstein)
- Don't be like a handle on a jug, all one sided.
- Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. (Thank you: Jerry)
- Don't be surprised if you pissed in your soup and now it tastes bad.
- Don't bite off more than you can chew. (Thank you: Nellie B)
- Don't bite the hand that feeds you. (Thank you: Carolyn)
- Don't burn the bridges behind you. (Thank you: Jerry)
- Don't burn your candle at both ends. (Thank you: Nellie B)
- Don't buy a goat because of it voice. (Thank you: Abdul Yusuf Abdul Yaqqin
- Don't change horses in the middle of the race. (It is too late to make major changes midstream - Thank you Lydia)
- Don't close the barn door after the horse is gone. (Thank you: Dr. Bob)
- Don't close your eyes when you miss a chance. Keep them open for the next one. (Thank you: Mumtaz)
- Don't count your chickens, before they are hatched.
- Don't crap in your nest. (Don't do something to mess up your marriage or job. - Thank you: Sharon H)
- Don't cry over spilt milk. (If it's something stupid, Don't freak out.)
- Don't cry wolf (when there is no wolf out there).
- Don't dip your pen in company ink. (Don't have relationships at work, you can lose both the job and the loved one.)
- Don't enumerate your fowls, before the act of incubation has fully materialized (Don't count your chickens before they are hatched. - Thank you: Ken Gilliland)
- Don't fight fire with fire (because you will get burned).
- Don't gag at a gnat and swallow a camel. (Thank you: Maxine G)
- Don't, it's like leaving a baby in a garbage can (Something wonderful left where it won't realize its full potential if anything at all. - Thank you: Jay H)
- Don't judge a man until walk a mile in his moccasins.
- Don't judge others by your intelligence (Don't think a person is thinking on the intellectual level as you. - Thank you: Bernice D)
- Don't kick the tiger in his ass unless you have a plan for dealing with his teeth. (Think before you act. - Thank you: Dustin)
- Don't kill the goose that lays golden eggs. (Thank you: Jerry)
- Don't leave for tomorrow what you can do today (Avoid procrastination)
- Don't let go of one vine, until you get the next one. (Thank you: Tarzan)
- Don't let the cat out of the bag.
- Don't let the tail wag the dog. (Thank you: Nellie B)
- Don't let your mouth right a check your butt can't cash. (Thank you: Clynne Artis)
- Don't look a gift horse in the mouth (Thank you: Eric Sim )
- Don't make a mountain out of a molehill (Don't exaggerate a small problem - Thank you: Alisa Lin)
- Don't piss on me and tell me it's raining.
- Don't play fool, to catch wise. (Thank you: Pamella)
- Don't put all your eggs in one basket. (Thank you: Nora Moeller)
- Don't put the cart before the horse. (Thank you: D Pressley)
- Don't rob Peter to pay Paul (Taking from one to pay a debt to another. - Thank you: Elmer T Fudd)
- Don't shoot what you can't eat. (Thank you: Jerry)
- Don't show your cards too early. (If you tilt your cards the other person knows what you got.)
- Don't squat with your spurs on.
- Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. (What this essentially means is: don't be in such a hurry to discard the bad that you throw out the good. - Thank you: Lynn McCaghren)
- Don't try, do. (Thank you: Penguinstein)
- Don't wear out your shoes jumping to conclusions. (Jumping to conclusions can be costly. - Thank you: John Myers)
- Don't wear your heart on your sleeve. (Don't hide your feelings from the one you love. It may help you to hide some cards up your sleeve when you are are playing poker (until you get caught and killed with a Dillinger gun), but in love it is never safe).
- Dressed to kill. (Classy dresser - Thank you: Lorraine)
- Dressed to the nines. (Classy dresser. - Thank you: Lorraine)
- Eagles fly high, but so do the jet engines that suck them in. (Do not become too self-assured and compalcent. - Thank you: Dr. Bob)
- Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. (Benjamin Franklin - Thank you: Chan Kuhn)
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