Growing up in a household with few books, I have no memory of ever being read to. No one in the family recalls teaching me how to read, but I started kindergarten knowing how and was bored to tears by my classmates struggling with The cat sat on the hat. Weird words that broke the rules like neighbor, weigh, sure, island, sword, colonel, cough, Wednesday, and foreign, weren’t foreign to me. I was enchanted by the written word at a young age. Words evoke. They capture imagination. They convey. They inspire. Words symbolically take the place of actions. They give us the ability to take a nebulous idea born in our minds and share it with the world. As a writer, I really dig that. 🙂 And speaking of colloquialisms…
My posts over the last few days (with a break for the Sneak Peek) have been all about colloquialisms. Some of these things are so ensconced in our language, we forget that there was a time when someone said them first. If you’re here for the first time, scroll back to previous posts to find Americanisms, Nautical, Biblical, and Shakespearean additions to the tapestry of thoughts, insights, and cultural input that make up our speech.
Today, I’m adding proverbs to the mix. Memorable and often metaphorical, proverbs encapsulate our beliefs and values and generally convey traditionally held truths. All cultures have these sayings, axioms, idioms, and maxims, particular to them, and I’ve found so many that I’m breaking my posts down to offer a portion a day. To begin, here are a few that have been absorbed into the English language starting with the letter. You’ll see a few repeats here from my last several posts, and no doubt you’ll find one or two that you’re familiar with. I recognized a few attributed to Napoleon and Benjamin Franklin.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link * A change is as good as a rest * A dog is a man’s best friend * A drowning man will clutch at a straw * A fool and his money are soon parted * A friend in need is a friend indeed * A golden key can open any door * A good beginning makes a good ending * A good man is hard to find * A house divided against itself cannot stand * A house is not a home * A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step * A leopard cannot change its spots * A little knowledge is a dangerous thing * A little learning is a dangerous thing * A little of what you fancy does you good * A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for his client * A miss is as good as a mile * A new broom sweeps clean * A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind horse * A penny saved is a penny earned * A person is known by the company he keeps * A picture paints a thousand words * A place for everything and everything in its place * A poor workman always blames his tools * A problem shared is a problem halved * A prophet is not recognized in his own land * A rising tide lifts all boats * A rolling stone gathers no moss * A stitch in time saves nine * A swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly * A thing of beauty is a joy forever * A trouble shared is a trouble halved * A volunteer is worth twenty pressed men * A watched pot never boils * A woman’s place is in the home * A woman’s work is never done * A word to the wise is enough * Absence makes the heart grow fonder * Absolute power corrupts absolutely * Accidents will happen * Actions speak louder than words * Adversity makes strange bedfellows * After a storm comes a calm * All good things come to he who waits * All good things must come to an end * All is grist that comes to the mill * All publicity is good publicity * All roads lead to Rome * All that glitters is not gold * All the world loves a lover * All things come to those who wait * All things must pass * All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy * All you need is love * All’s fair in love and war * All’s for the best in the best of all possible worlds * All’s well that ends well * A miss is as good as a mile * An apple a day keeps the doctor away * An army marches on its stomach * An Englishman’s home is his castle * An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure * Another day, another dollar * Any port in a storm * April showers bring forth May flowers * As thick as thieves * As you make your bed, so you must lie upon it * As you sow so shall you reap * Ask a silly question and you’ll get a silly answer * Ask no questions and hear no lies *
One hop is still running where I’m sharing bits of my novels and offering prizes.
The Hot Summer Nights Hop