the grass is always greener on the other side

The others' circumstances seem more desirable than one's own but in reality are often not.

every dog has its day

Everyone, at some point, experiences some degree of success, impact, or influence in life.

you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink

You can show someone how to do something, but you can't make them do it.

you can't teach an old dog new tricks

It is impossible to change people's habits, traits or mindset.

you can't judge a book by its cover

It is not possible to make reliable judgments about things or people by considering external appearances alone.

the more the merrier

Something is more fun with more people.

you are what you eat

If you eat well, you will be well; however if you eat badly, you will feel bad.

the grass is always greener

the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence

to each his own

Every person is entitled to his or her personal preferences and tastes.

bird in the hand

clothes don't make the man

You cannot accurately judge a person solely by appearances.

barking dogs seldom bite

a rising tide lifts all boats

A truly good outcome benefits all.

every cloud has a silver lining

In every bad situation there is an element of good

forbidden fruit is the sweetest

Forbidden things seem more appealing; people want things more if (or, in some way, because) they can't have them.

you can't run with the hare and hunt with the hounds

You can't have it both ways.

a stopped clock is right twice a day

A normally unreliable person or instrument can occasionally provide correct information, even if only by accident.

beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Different people have different views on what is beautiful.

if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

If you cannot handle the pressure, you should not remain in a position where you have to deal with it.

the end justifies the means

Morally wrong actions are sometimes necessary to achieve morally right outcomes; actions can only be considered morally right or wrong by virtue of the morality of the outcome.

so far so good

Up to this point, all is OK.

shy bairns get nowt

If you're too shy, or don't ask, you will not get what you want.

beggars can't be choosers

When in need of help, one cannot dictate how that help is given; when one's situation requires one to beg, one cannot complain about the insufficient or substandard gifts that one receives.

patience is a virtue

It is better to be patient than impatient.

all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

Too much focus on one's career may lead to one being uninteresting company.

like father, like son

when it rains, it pours

two heads are better than one

Some tasks may be accomplished more easily by two (or more) people working together than by one working alone.

the world is one's oyster

All opportunities are open to someone; the world is theirs.

time flies when you're having fun

Time seems to pass more quickly when one is enjoying oneself.

money doesn't grow on trees

Wealth cannot be obtained without some effort; hence currency is not always available for a prospective purchase.

time and tide

time and tide wait for no man

you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours

If you do me a favor then I will do you a favor; quid pro quo.

there's no time like the present

Now is an appropriate time to take a particular action.

haste makes waste

Being too hasty leads to wasteful mistakes.

any press is good press

Being mentioned in the media, even in the context of a scandal or controversy, is beneficial to the subject because it brings publicity.

never change a running system

Do not change something while it is working.

early bird catches the worm

mocking is catching

Be careful of criticising others, lest the same happen to you.

in for a penny, in for a pound

Having started something, one must see it through to its end, rather than stopping short; one must “go the whole hog”.

April showers bring May flowers

The month of April, traditionally a rainy period, gives way to May, when flowers will bloom because of the water provided to them by the April rains.

a dumb priest never got a parish

Those who fail to speak up fail to get what they want.

all cats are grey in the dark

In the dark, physical appearance is unimportant. <!-- Variants include all cats are gray in the dark, all cats are grey at night, and all cats are gray at night. -->

there's nowt so queer as folk

Nothing is as strange as people can be; people can behave very oddly sometimes.

timing is everything

Consideration of other events can greatly influence some desired outcome (such as whether a joke is well received).

a cat may look at a king

A purported inferior has certain abilities, even in the presence of a purported superior.

the map is not the territory

Our models of the world, and our sensations of the world, are not the true world.

all things come to those who wait

A patient person will be satisfied in due time; patience is a virtue.

it never rains but it pours

Unfortunate events occur in quantity.

spare the rod and spoil the child

If one does not discipline a child, he or she will never learn obedience and good manners.

only fools and horses work

A philosophy of life, holding that people who do not look for an easy way of earning a living are foolish.

the ends justify the means

when in Rome, do as the Romans

where there's smoke, there's fire

If there is telltale evidence of some event, the event is probably occurring.

ne'er cast a clout til May be out

Do not change from winter clothes to summer clothes until June, as there is often a sudden cold snap in May.

almost doesn't count

Near success (or near accuracy) is not adequate.

it's never too late to mend

One is never too old to change one's ways; learning is always possible.

the more things change, the more they stay the same

Turbulent changes do not affect reality on a deeper level other than to cement the status quo.

revenge is a dish best served cold

Emotional detachment is preferable when taking revenge.

enough is as good as a feast

Just the right amount is as good as more than enough: there is no value in excess.

business before pleasure

Discharging one's obligations must take precedence over devoting time to pursuits meant solely for one's own gratification.

no matter how thin you slice it, it's still baloney

Regardless of how many clever points or fine distinctions one makes, what one is saying is still false or is still nonsense.

no matter how thin you slice it, it's still boloney

necessity is the mother of innovation

there are plenty more fish in the sea

There are many more potential opportunities available.

less is more

That which is less complicated is often better understood and more appreciated than what is more complicated; simplicity is preferable to complexity; brevity in communication is more effective than verbosity.

there's no place like home

One feels most comfortable at home.

measure twice and cut once

One should double-check one's measurements for accuracy before cutting a piece of wood; otherwise it may be necessary to cut again, wasting time and material.

home is where you hang your hat

Rather than feeling nostalgic or sentimental, one should simply accept any place where one happens to reside as one's home.

in unity, there is strength

More can be accomplished by a team with a common goal than by individuals.

a man is known by the company he keeps

People are similar in character to their friends.

history repeats itself

Things that have happened in the past will happen again.

hunger is the best sauce

Being hungry makes one less concerned about the taste of one's food.

you make the bed you lie in

A person's circumstances are normally the result of his or her own actions.

the course of true love never did run smooth

There will always be problems in a romantic relationship.

cold hands, warm heart

Having cold hands is an indication of warmheartedness; used as a rejoinder if one finds that another's hands are cold.

bad money drives out good

Debased coinage (with low levels of precious metals) replaces purer coinage (with higher levels of precious metals).

well begun is half done

Much depends on the beginning of an endeavor.

a good beginning makes a good ending

Start off on a good note to reap the benefits at the end.

it's not what you know but who you know

For success, and especially to obtain employment, one's knowledge and skills are less useful and less important than one's network of personal contacts.

good fences make good neighbors

It is better to [[mind one's own business]] than get involved with other people's affairs.

you get more with a kind word and a gun than you do with a kind word alone

It is advantageous not to rely solely on being nice to others.

keep your friends close, and your enemies closer

One should be [[on one's toes]] and alert of one's surroundings if malicious people are around, to ensure that they cannot wreak havoc in one's life.

success has many fathers, failure is an orphan

Many people will seek credit for success, but few will accept responsibility for failure.

every day is a school day

You learn something new every day.

give him enough rope and he'll hang himself

If one gives someone enough freedom of action, they may destroy themselves by foolish actions.

cheaters never prosper

fortune favours the brave

it takes one to know one

no man is an island

All people are connected to and dependent on other people.

it's a long road that has no turning

Progress through life is characterized by change.

once you go black, you never go back

Once a person of another race has a sexual relationship with a black person, they will not return to having sexual relationships with members of the former race.

seek and ye shall find

Something can be found if it is looked for.

opposites attract

People who are completely different make ideal partners.

an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

don't shit where you eat

One should not cause trouble in a place, group, or situation in which one regularly finds oneself.

there is safety in numbers

There is purported decrease in likelihood of being the victim of an attack, accident, or other bad event, as a result of being in a team or group.

misfortunes never come singly

Bad things or situations always come in groups, they never come in a single way.

this too shall pass

Nothing, good or bad, lasts forever; all circumstances are temporary.

when the going gets tough, the tough get going

In difficult times, it is the strong-willed who take action.

desperate times call for desperate measures

In adverse circumstances, actions that might have been rejected under other circumstances may become the best choice.

sauce for the goose

you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

You don't need an expert to tell you what you already know.

where there's muck there's brass

dirty jobs.

grasp all, lose all

One who wants everything may lose it all.

every king needs a queen

Every man needs a woman as a romantic partner to spend his life with.

that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger

Hardship and difficult experiences build moral character.

what doesn't kill you makes you stronger

Hardship builds moral character.

treat them mean, keep them keen

A woman will be more interested in a man if he is not kind to her.

life is like a box of chocolates

Life is full of surprises; you never know what will happen next.

those who will not when they may, when they will they shall have nay

One should take immediate advantage of an opportunity that may not be available later.

a good deed is its own reward

One should not expect a reward for good deeds, but should perform them merely for the satisfaction of doing so.

location, location, location

The most important consideration in buying real estate is its location.

you can't take it with you

It is not possible to take one's material wealth or possessions to whatever world may await one after death.

every Jack has his Jill

Everybody will find someone to have a romantic relationship with at some point in his or her life.

there's no point crying over spilt milk

You should not be upset over something that cannot be undone.

you only get what you give

There is a positive correlation between the effort one puts in and the benefits one receives.

good wine needs no bush

Something good does not need to be advertised.

one swallow does not make a spring

one swallow doesn't a spring make

another day, another dollar

an expression recognizing a balance in life, normalcy, and routineness

great minds

attack is the best form of defence

In a battle, attacking the opposition first is better than waiting for them to attack.

sow the wind and reap the whirlwind

short reckonings make long friends

Borrowed money should be paid back as soon as possible.

respice finem

look to the end; consider the final outcome

one's got to do what one's got to do

A person must do what he or she feels obliged to do.

you've got to be in it to win it

In order to win, or succeed at something, one must first compete or try.

there are many ways to skin a cat

those who can't use their head must use their back

if you do not think, you will take the consequences

chicks before dicks

A woman should prioritize her female friends over her boyfriend or husband.

a camel is a horse made by a committee

haters gonna hate

Critics' opinions ultimately do not affect you and are unlikely to change, so ignore them.

a bad carpenter blames his tools

only Nixon could go to China

Only a politician or leader with an impeccable reputation of upholding particular political values could perform an action in seeming defiance of them without jeopardizing his support or credibility.

on the Internet nobody knows you're a dog

It is easy to conceal one's identity on the Internet.

this too shall pass away

use it or lose it

Skills or knowledge that are seldom applied are likely to be lost with time.

what has been seen cannot be unseen

Repulsive, disturbing, or horrific sights can never be erased from memory once they have been seen.

work smarter, not harder

Problems are solved more effectively by intelligence than by hard graft.

one man's meat is another man's poison

People have differing tastes; what pleases one person may displease another.

it's an ill wind that blows no good

better the devil you know than the one you don't know

handsome is as handsome does

A person's good actions, rather than outward appeal, define his or her handsomeness in the eyes of others.

buy cheap, buy twice

Buying a cheap but inferior product is a false economy since it will need replacement.

pick your battles

Only involve yourself in disputes that you are likely to win.

do as I say, not as I do

eaten bread is soon forgotten

Kind deeds or favours are often forgotten by the beneficiary once they have been done.

an army marches on its stomach

You must eat properly if you want to perform tasks well.

hope springs eternal

The feeling of hopefulness endlessly renews itself.

the cake is a lie

The end being pursued is unattainable or misguided; the reward promised is false.

all cats are grey by night

different strokes for different folks

Different people like different things.

discretion is the better part of valor

even a blind pig can find an acorn once in a while

Being right once doesn't prove anything

The Lord works in mysterious ways

squeaky wheels get oiled

wanton kittens make sober cats

People who are unruly and reckless in youth may nevertheless turn out to be responsible adults.

start from where you are

Achievement requires realism.

every shut eye isn't asleep

One must be careful, because some people who seem not to be paying attention are actually paying attention.

know thyself

Be aware of your own strengths and limitations.

life is short

One should make the most of one's life, as one never knows when one will die.

half a loaf is better than none

Possession or attainment of a partial object, achievement, result, etc is preferable to having no object, achievement, or result at all.

you attract more flies with honey than vinegar

the law is an ass

The law, as created by legislators or as administered by the justice system, cannot be relied upon to be sensible or fair.

the law is a ass

one may as well hang for a sheep as a lamb

If one is going to commit a sin, it may as well be a major one as a minor one.

time and tide tarry for no man

it's an ill wind that blows no one any good

it's an ill wind

the fish rots from the head

Bad leaders damage an organization.

when life gives you lemons, make lemonade


the wheel turns

Time moves forward; circumstances change; life continues.

man plans and God laughs

Things don't always work out as they were planned.

Rome wasn't burned in a day

It takes a long time to destroy something complicated or impressive.

treat 'em mean to keep 'em keen

Treating women badly heightens their romantic/sexual attraction toward you.

don't keep a dog and bark yourself

Don't do anything you are paying a more qualified person to do.

don't change a winning team

loose lips sink ships

Saying too much or releasing confidential information can have dangerous consequences.

don't sweat the small stuff

Do not give in to petty problems; don't worry about insignificant matters.

procrastination is the thief of time

If you put off doing what you ought to do, you will end up not having enough time to do it properly.

united we stand, divided we fall

People are more successful as a group than as individuals.

here today, gone tomorrow

Things are fleeting; something that is ubiquitous or popular at one point is soon forgotten.

no guts, no glory

Success will not be achieved without hard work and struggle.

success depends on your backbone, not your wishbone

Success is achieved by hard work, not by merely wishing for it.

if at first you don't succeed

Persistence is important in the pursuit of success.

close only counts in horseshoes

Coming close to achieving a goal is not good enough.

eat, drink and be merry

slow and steady wins the race

Patient work will eventually conquer any problem.

the heart wants what it wants

Two people will love each other no matter the circumstances.

big things come in small packages

Things should not be underestimated because of their small size.

mess with the bull and you get the horns

if you can't do the time, don't do the crime

One should not carry out an action if they are unwilling to handle the consequences.

a mind is a terrible thing to waste

One should put one's mental faculties to good use.

no sleep for the wicked

handsome is that handsome does

honey catches more flies than vinegar

shallow brooks are noisy

People who do not consider things deeply often chatter or talk a lot.

those that have, get

People who already have wealth and status are the most likely to acquire additional wealth and status (usually with the implication that the distribution of life's benefits and opportunities is unfair).

a promise made is a promise kept

A promise that one makes should be or can be considered a promise that one will certainly honor.

the cowl does not make the monk

The superficial trappings of something are unrelated to its true essence.

can't live with them, can't live without them

There is a hopeless, ongoing conflict between annoyance with someone or something and need for that same person or thing.

it never rains but that it pours

trust everybody, but always cut the deck

ignore all rules

It is acceptable to break rules in situations where it is beneficial not to follow them.

pile it high, sell it cheap

Selling a product at a low price allows large volumes of the product to be sold.

buy low, sell high

beware of Greeks bearing gifts

One should not trust one's enemies.

what happens on tour stays on tour

When a group of people (usually a group of all-male close friends) get together and travel, go on vacation, throw a party, etc., all conduct engaged in during the event must be kept strictly confidential.

what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

money talks and bullshit walks

if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas

Spending time with undesirable people will cause one to take on their undesirable traits.

what happens on the road stays on the road

old sins have long shadows

Past misdeeds are liable to return to haunt a person.

old sins cast long shadows

the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know

you can take the monkey out of the jungle, but you can't take the jungle out of the monkey

Black people behave badly regardless of their whereabouts or socialization.

needs must when the devil drives

There is sometimes no choice but to do something.

there are bad apples in every orchard

Every community and demographic has troublesome members.

when you're up to your neck in alligators, it's hard to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp

It is easy to lose sight of one's initial objective, becoming caught up in subtasks or in tasks only tangentially related to the original goal.

the fewer the better fare

Things are better when fewer people are involved.

if you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging

Quit endangering yourself.

the dose makes the poison

The damage that a substance causes is more determined more by its quantity than its essence.

a little knowledge is a dangerous thing

A small amount of knowledge can mislead individuals into believing that they are more experienced and expert than what is actually the case.

when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging

don't hate the player, hate the game

The frustrations with a system or activity should be blamed on its weaknesses, rather than on individuals who operate within it.

when in Rome, do like the Romans do

justice is blind

Justice is to be meted out impartially, without regard to the identity of the individual being tried.

set a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the Devil

A person unaccustomed to wealth or luxury will easily be corrupted by it.

crime doesn't pay

If you commit a crime you will most likely be punished for it.

good fences make good neighbours

take time by the forelock

To seize an opportunity

when you mess with the bull, you get the horns

If you provoke somebody, you can expect an aggressive reaction.

if you mess with the bull, you get the horns

mess with the bull, get the horns

when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

the eyes are the window to the soul

You can tell a lot about a person from their eyes.

it's the hit dog that howls

If somebody is ranting or complaining about something, they were probably hurt by it.

the customer is always right

Service staff should give high priority to customer satisfaction.

perfect is the enemy of good

Insistence on perfection precludes gradual improvement.

there are no atheists in foxholes

In times of extreme stress or fear, even those who do not believe in a benevolent higher power will hope that one exists.

if you fly with the crows, you get shot with the crows

Somebody who spends time with undesirable people will be regarded as one of them.

see Naples and die

Once one has seen the Italian city of Naples, one can die peacefully, since nothing else can match its beauty.

knowing is half the battle

It is necessary to be informed in order to do the right thing in a given situation.

it takes a heap of living to make a house a home

A house is simply a physical structure and does not count as a home until significant events in the inhabitants' lives have occurred there over a substantial period of time, and they have developed an emotional bond to the house and its immediate environs.

it takes a heap o' livin' to make a house a home

it takes a lot of living to make a house a home

give them an inch and they'll take a mile

Granting somebody a limited concession will encourage them to take greater liberties.

cheats never prosper

One does not profit by cheating.

sunlight is the best disinfectant

Transparency with respect to the dissemination of information promotes the social acceptance of an idea or institution.

it took Nixon to go to China

he that mischief hatches, mischief catches

People who behave wickedly receive their just deserts.

tomorrow never comes

A goal or action which is postponed until a future day is often never accomplished; do not procrastinate.

hydrate or diedrate


once a man, twice a child

s and reverts to a childish state.

once a woman, twice a child


once a man, twice a boy

given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow

will be obvious to someone.

a stick in a bundle is unbreakable

a stick in a bundle can't be broken

sticks in a bundle can't be broken

you can't break a stick in a bundle

you can't break sticks in a bundle

a stick in a bundle cannot be broken

a twig in a bundle is unbreakable

a twig in a bundle cannot be broken

a twig in a bundle can't be broken

sticks in a bundle cannot be broken

you cannot break a stick in a bundle

you cannot break sticks in a bundle

you cannot break a twig in a bundle

you can't break a twig in a bundle

one cannot break a stick in a bundle

one cannot break sticks in a bundle

one cannot break a twig in a bundle

one can't break a stick in a bundle

one can't break sticks in a bundle

one can't break a twig in a bundle

better to light one candle than to curse the darkness

oil and water don't mix


like mother, like daughter

A daughter will have traits similar to her mother upon reaching adulthood.

yesterday is gone

It is impossible to change or to relive what has already happened.

you don't look at the mantelpiece when you poke the fire

you don't look at the mantelpiece when you're poking the fire

A woman's facial attractiveness is irrelevant when considering her as a sexual partner.

sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you

Sometimes you win and sometimes you are defeated; everybody has successes and failures.

you cannot put the same shoe on every foot

What works in one situation does not necessarily work in all situations.

one nail drives out another

New people, things, or customs eventually supplant older ones.

zeal without knowledge is a runaway horse

Enthusiasm of an inexperienced person will cause harm.

new brooms sweep clean

close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades



an ounce of prevention is better than an ounce of cure

an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure

Prevention is much better or less costly than cure when dealing with problems.

who keeps company with wolves, will learn to howl

the jug goes to the well until it breaks

Even though you can use something, it may contain flaws that will lead it to ultimately fail.

no one is born a master

Cleverness and education can be gained only by effort.

he who digs a pit for others, falls in himself

Someone that plans harm or misfortune for others may also inadvertently be the recipient of that same misfortune.

all or none

a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds

Consistency may not be the key to success. Changes, even minor ones, must be introduced.

the apples on the other side of the wall are the sweetest

you cannot please everyone

It is not possible to act in a manner that will please everyone

it takes two to make a quarrel

It takes two or more people to cause a quarrel; one cannot blame an argument entirely on the other side.

two dogs fight for a bone, but a third runs away with it

When two sides contend, it's always the third party that benefits.

it takes two to quarrel

fair exchange is no robbery

Swapping two things or subjects of equal value is considered an honest deal.

the voice of the people, the voice of God

the voice of the people should be heard

money is the root of all evil

The desire for money is the root cause of all evil.

what's done cannot be undone

he who pays the piper calls the tune

something is better than nothing

It is better to be contented over something than to have nothing at all.

accidents will happen in the best regulated families

Accidents will always happen, even where there is an expectation of success.

slow but sure wins the race

you are never too old to learn

accidents will happen

Accidents will happen, even when a project is carefully planned.

manners maketh man

A person may be judged according to his behaviour towards other people

art is long, life is short

Art is more enduring than life.

eat to live, not live to eat

It is best not to be gluttonous; eating shouldn't be one's favorite activity, but one should eat only to supply health.

the pitcher goes so often to the well, that it is broken at last

When you use a thing too much, it ultimately breaks down at some point.

bad things come in threes

If an unfortunate event has already occurred twice, it will most likely happen a third time.

a buck is a buck

a buck is a buck is a buck

a buck's a buck's a buck

one man's fish is another man's poison


all roads lead to Mecca

if we had some ham we could have some ham and eggs, if we had some eggs

if we had ham we could have ham and eggs, if we had eggs

curses, like chickens, come home to roost


pitchers have ears

what you gain on the swings you lose on the roundabouts

what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts

There are both gains and losses in life; [[you win some, you lose some]].

once an eagle, always an eagle

A person's true character never changes.

first catch your hare

Make sure you have a thing before you decide what to do with it.

a hit dog will holler

An offended or defensive response to a statement suggests that the statement applies to the person complaining.

Christmas comes but once a year

a change is as good as a rest

Doing something different from one's routine is as refreshing as taking a break from work altogether.

you can't keep a good man down

A person who has talent, resolve, or moral strength will eventually succeed despite having been overlooked, injured, or defeated.

a fault confessed is half redressed

By confessing to one's own faults, one will begin to make amends.

the house always wins

In a casino, all gambling is designed so that the house ([[i.e.]] the casino owners) will always net a profit, regardless of the successes of the patrons

rules are rules

rules is rules

like father like son

bi now, gay later

Bisexual people tend to become exclusively homosexual later in life.

don't count your chickens before the eggs have hatched

give someone an inch and they'll take a mile