Wisdom of Nations – Proverbs (Part IV)

“Some are wise and some are otherwise.” Ben Franklin turned this saying around with “Some men are weather-wise, but most men are other-wise.”

“Swim like a stone (brick).”

“The game is not worth the candle.” French (referring to gambling and the undertaking is not worth the risk or effort.)

“The wind cannot be caught in a net.”

“There is no royal road to learning.” (Euclid said this to King Ptolmey’s request about geometry)

“To be between the beetle and the block.” (Chinese – between you and me)

“To be wise behind the hand.”

“To go for wool and come home shorn.” (Many seek to better themselves and end up losing what they already have.)

“To pick the plums out of the pudding.”

“To plough the sand.” Arabic (insults should be written in sand, compliments should be carved in stone.)

“To stick like a limpet to a rock.”

“To throw a stone in one’s own garden.”

“Tread on a worm and it will turn.” Shakespeare (No matter how lowly a creature is, it will respond to ill treatment OR defenseless creature will attempt to defend itself.)

“True coral needs no painter’s brush.”

“Wear the old coat and buy the new book.” (Austin Phelps an American educator and clergyman – 1820-1890)

“When Greek meets Greek, then comes the tug of war.” (Competition will be particularly fierce when two people of similar caliber encounter one another.)

“When the moon turns green cheese.” Sarcastic to a person who is gullible

“Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.” Thomas Gray (1716-1771)

“With time and patience the leaf of the mulberry becomes a silk gown.” Chinese

“You cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs.” Russian equivalent – When the wood is cut, the chips fly. This means in order to achieve something, it is inevitable and necessary that something should be destroyed.

“You must spoil before you spin.” (Making mistakes before becoming proficient)

“Zeal without knowledge is a runaway horse.” (Action without deep thought will fail)

All proverbs from the last four blog entries have been taken from “Dictionary of English Proverbs, Sayings and Idioms in Russian, Kazakh and German” by Sakina Akmetova, published by Mektel in Almaty, Kazakhstan 2009

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