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The best collection of English proverbs and idioms

Explore our A to Z list of explained and easy-to-understand English proverbs, idioms and quotes.

Cat got your tongue proverb

Cat got your tongue

"Has the cat got your tongue?" is an expression in the form of a question that originated in the mid-nineteenth century and was used when addressing a child who refused to answer a parent's questions after some mischief. It is often shortened to "cat got your tongue?". It means... Read more →

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A bad beginning makes a bad ending

If you start a thing badly it takes a long time to finish it, because the bad start seriously affects the later work. But if you make a good start,... more →

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link

A chain is made up of a row of links fitted together. If all the links are strong, the chain will be strong also, but if even one link is faulty, no greater... more →

The strength of the chain is in the weakest link

A chain is made up of a row of links fitted together. If all the links are strong, the chain will be strong also, but if even one link is faulty, no greater... more →

Nothing is as good as it seems beforehand

This means the same as Expectation is better than realization.

Rome was not built in a day

Rome, with it’s fine architecture, couldn’t be built in a day. Likewise, important tasks call for a lot of hard work and take a long time to complete.... more →

What soberness conceals, drunkenness reveals

A sober man keeps a guard on his tongue, holding back anything he wishes to hide. Strong drinks unseals his lips and he tells everything. A similar proverb... more →

The rotten apple injures its neighbours

It is dangerous to keep bad company even if that is only one person because that rotten one can have a very bad influence on the rest for the friends. The... more →

It takes two to make a quarrel

A quarrel is an angry dispute between two persons. Tom cannot quarrel with himself, nor can he quarrel with Dick if Dick does not wish to quarrel with him.... more →

Respect is greater from a distance

A man who keeps himself apart from other people is more likely to be held in high esteem than one who lowers himself by mixing with every Tom, Dick and... more →