Cool proverbs

Have you heard any proverbs or sayings that you really like?

I just came across a Turkish saying that uses the characteristic style of the Turkish language to express a really neat idea.

Egri oturalim, dogru konusalim


Let’s sit slanted and talk straight

“It ain’t what you want that makes you fat; it’s what you get.”
Granny, The Beverly Hillbillies

Au royame des aveugles, les borgnes sont rois. In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed men are kings.

Confucius say he who go to bed with itchy bottom, wake up with smelly finger…

Confucius say, Near-sighted girl not know her friends until they are on top of her.

But seriously, one of my favorite sayings happens to be in Chinese: lan yu chong shu. It refers to a story of an emperor who loved music, so he wanted to create the largest orchestra ever. However, there were only so many talented musicians to go around, so the nobles hired a bunch of people to sit in the orchestra and pretend that they’re playing, only to have the talented people do all the real work.

So, when someone complements you for something you’ve done, and you wish to deny that you’ve done anything great, you can put yourself in the place of one of those unskilled people who are just pretending to keep up with the real masters: lan yu chong shu.

I’ve never figured out a short, pithy way to relate the meaning of that proverb.

“When you see ants on the staircase, know that there is semolina upstairs.”

*Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus * (Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon)

“Semper ubi sub ubi”, meaning “Always wear underwear”.

Early to rise, early to bed, makes a man healthy, wealthy and dead.

Walk softly, and you will harvest many bananas.

A cougar can kill a dog, but five dogs can kill a hundred cougars.


That seems to point up a significant difference between Europeans and Americans. A European says: “I can’t understand this, what’s wrong with me?” An American says: “I can’t understand this, what’s wrong with him?”
–Terry Pratchett

“Don’t put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That’s why they’re called revolutions. People die, and nothing changes.” –Vimes

“Why does a chicken? I don’t know why.”

– A. A. Milne

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.

–Terry Pratchett

Every clown has a silver lifeboat.

Children should be seized and not hard.

  • John Lennon (from “In His Own Write”)

What do you mean? A 100 cougars could probably tear their way through at least 300 dogs.

Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable, let’s prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.

–Douglas Adams (I’m on a Hitchhiker’s kick today)

Early to rise and early to bed makes a man healthy, but socially dead.

–The Wheel O’Morality (Animaniacs)

God, I miss that show.

The 5 dogs will work together to kill each cougar one at a time. The cougars will never team up like that.

Dripping water can eat through stone.