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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.

All are not thieves that dogs bark at

Beware of judging people by appearance. An honest man may give the impression that he is the biggest scoundrel in the world. Good looks do not always go with virtue, or ugliness with sin.

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Self-praise is no recommendation

You may be proud of your achievements; you may have a very high opinion of yourself; you may thing that others should be made to realize what a fine fellow... more →

As the twig is bent, so shall the tree grow

The proverb means that early influences have a permanent effect on a person. As they grow up, they will act the way they where taught to act as a child. For... more →

All are not thieves that dogs bark at

Beware of judging people by appearance. An honest man may give the impression that he is the biggest scoundrel in the world. Good looks do not always go... more →

You are what you eat

The proverb promotes the idea that to be fit and healthy you need to eat well and consume good food. If you eat well, you will be healthy; but if you eat... more →

There is no rose without a thorn

A rose without a thorn is synonymous with impossible happiness. However happy we are, there is always some little touch of sadness or disappointment. Cynics... more →

There’s a black sheep in every flock

This implies that there is a scoundrel in every family – a ne’er-do-well who is a is a disgrace to his parents and relatives.

Do not put new wine into old bottles

At first sight this would seem to imply that it is false economy to use wine bottles more than once, and that the saying means the same as, for example,... more →

A man’s house is his castle

He is legally entitled to his privacy. No other person may enter his house without his permission. Here is an amusing little extract from a speech by John... more →

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water

In achieving your aim (of pouring away the bath water), make sure you don’t do something else (pouring away the baby) that more than cancels out your... more →