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 English Proverbs and Sayings  


Alphabetical lists of commonly-used proverbs and sayings in English.


 List N :  "necessity is the mother..."  →  "nothing ventured nothing gained"   



Proverbs and sayings are short statements of wisdom or advice that are transmitted from generation to generation and have passed into general use.


  • Necessity is the mother of invention.
    • The need for something forces people to find a way of obtaining it.

  • Necessity knows no law
    • Being desperate may lead you to do illegal things.

  • Need teaches a plan.
    • Necessity will make you find a solution.

  • Needs must when the devil drives.
    • Sometimes you are compelled to do something that you would rather not do.

  • Never put off till tomorrow what can be done today.
    • Don't postpone until later something you can do now.

  • Never say die.
    • Never give up.

  • Never trouble troubles until troubles trouble you.
    • Don't look for problems in advance; deal with them when they arise.

  • (A) new broom sweeps clean (but the old brush knows all the corners...)
    • A newly-appointed person often makes changes quickly (but experience is also valuable).

  • (A) nod is as good as a wink (to a blind horse / man).
    • A hint or a subtle signal is enough to convey meaning to someone who is ready to understand.

  • Nobody is perfect.
    • It is understandable not to be perfect or to make occasional mistakes.

  • No joy without annoy.
    • There is no happiness without clouds.

  • No losers, no winners.
    • If there were no losers, there could be no winners.

  • No man can serve two masters.
    • It's impossible to follow instructions from two different sources.

  • No man is a hero to his valet.
    • Few people are admired by those who know them intimately and are aware of their failings.

  • No man is an island.
    • People are all interdependent and need each other.

  • No news is good news.
    • If the news was bad, we would hear of it. Since we have heard nothing, we can assume that all is well.

  • No pain, no gain.
    • Nothing is achieved without effort.

  • No rain, no grain.
    • Without rain the harvest will be poor.

  • No smoke without fire.
    • There could be some truth in the rumour ...

  • No wind, no waves.
    • Similar to 'no smoke without fire'.

  • Nothing ventured nothing gained.
    • You cannot expect to achieve anything if you take no risks.

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Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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