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Proverbs starting with letter I

It is better to wear out than to rust out

It is better to die as the result of being worn out with activity than as the result of doing nothing. The proverb is often quoted by elderly... Read more →

It is better to give than to take

The source of this is Acts, xx, 35: 'I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring we ought to support the weak, and to remember to words... Read more →

It is as well to know which way the wind blows

It is as well to know what developments are likely, or what is the state of public opinion. 'To know which way the cat is going to jump' has... Read more →

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good

When all ocean-going ships depended upon the wind to blow them along, a wind favourable to a vessel travelling east was unfavourable to one... Read more →

It is a sad house where the hen crows louder than the cock

No home is happy in which the husband is such weakling that it is his wife who gives all the orders.

It is a sad heart that never rejoices

Sometimes 'poor' is used instead of 'sad'. Even the most confirmed of pessimists can't be miserable all the time. We can't look for ever on the... Read more →

It’s a long lane that has no turning

Bad times don't go on for ever. Sooner or later things will improve.

It is a foolish sheep that makes the wolf his confessor

Never confide in anyone unless you are sure that he will respect your confidence and will not turn to his own advantage what you have said to... Read more →

It is a foolish bird that soils its own nest

Just as a bird doesn't dirty its own nest, so human beings shouldn't do anything to harm what is close to them. In other words, don't commit... Read more →

In wine there is truth

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