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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_proverb

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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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 →

When the cat is away, the mice will play

This is a very old proverb, dating back to the sixteenth century. It means that when the person in authority is away, those under him will take advantage of... more →

He that cannot obey cannot command

We must learn to obey orders before we are qualified to give them. The experience gained in a subordinate position is invaluable when we have to take charge.