Brownielocks and The 3 Bears

Common sayings seem to be the grass roots of our American culture. If your parents had nothing to say, they always seemed to resort to some previously spoken phrase their parents said to them, didn't they? But, to claim that these are really "American" sayings is false. Our nation is a melting pot of many cultures, so the sayings listed below represent years of generations handing them down one to another (mostly orally) with their own cultural spin.  Many were told to help educate and pass wisdom down from young to old. Their motive was to teach you  a message of behavior or to give you philosophical wisdom. Some come from the bible, although are not actually word for word. Why? Because many people did not read or write. But their preacher came around and told them the bible. So they remembered the bible "as they interpreted the message" and passed it down that way.

Proverbs and sayings are usually short and sweet or short and tangy. They have been defined as the wisdom of many and the wit of one.

Although proverbs, sayings and maxim may be highly believed, they ironically often contradict each other. I found this true pertaining to marriage and wives as I read through them. Another example is about being to hasty. One says "He who hesitates is lost" and yet another advises, "Look before you leap."  The first one says to wisely NOT stop and wait before you venture forth while the other one tells us the opposite and warns us to stop and wait before we start a venture. So you decide which ones work for you!

PS: If you're making your own fortune cookies,
then these sayings are a good  for you to print out, cut out and stick inside the cookies. 

Here are some sayings I don't think you've heard?
( I didn't put in the common ones most of us already heard or  know.)

A big wife and a big barn, will never do a man any harm.

A clean conscience makes a soft pillow.

A merry companion is music on a journey.

A poor excuse is better than none at all.

A wife that does not know how to keep house throws out more with a teaspoon than a man can bring in with a shovel.

A little too late is much too late.

A good deed is never lost.

A smile is worth a thousand words.

A person who gets all wrapped up in himself makes a mighty small package.

A false friend and a shadow stay only while the sun shines.

All is fair in love and war, but friendship there is truth.

A word of praise is equal to ointment on a sore.

A chain is as strong as it's weakest link.

A clock will run without watching it.

A man is judged by the company he keeps.

A good neighbor, a found treasure!

A friend to everyone is a friend to nobody.

A man is the only animal that can be skinned more than once.

A small leak will sink a great ship.

A living dog is better than a dead lion.

A woman is as old as she admits.

A man without guts lives on his knees.

A man who marries twice is a two-time loser.

A woman thinks it takes two to keep a secret.

A good lie finds more believers than a bad truth.

A man is not better than his conversation.

A good name is a second inheritance.

A man warned is half saved.

A good wife is the best household furniture.

A frightened atheist half believes in God.

A pebble and a diamond are alike to a blind man.

A good cause finds weapons to defend it.

A tree is known by it's fruit, not by its leaves.

A guilty conscience needs no accuser.

A false friend is worse than an open enemy.

A good word costs n more than a bad one.

At the center of climb is "I".

An arrogant bug is a cocky roach.

Anger without power is folly.

Anytime means no time.

A handsome husband is common property.

A small body may harbor a great soul. 

Arrogance is a roadblock on the highway of wisdom.

Adversity makes men; prosperity makes monsters.

Believe nothing you hear, half of what you see and only one fourth of what you know to be true.

Bad neighbors count a man's income but not his expenses.

Better an hour early and stand and wait than a moment behind time.

Better weak beer than lemonade.

Better a dollar earned than ten inherited.

Beware of a door that has too many keys.

Borrowing does well only once.

By candlelight every country wench is handsome.

Be what you appear to be.

Better to ask twice than lose your way once.

Better bowlegs than no legs at all.

Better to heaven in rags than to hell in embroidery.

Be silent and pass for a philosopher.

Curses, like chickens, come home to roost.

Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.

Corruption finds a dozen alibis for its evil deeds.

Cowards die daily, the brave but once.

Concealed knowledge is buried treasure.

Don't live it up so high that you can't lie it down.

Don't dare kiss an ugly girl, she'll tell the world about it.

Don't taste every man's  soup, you'll burn your mouth.

Doctor's faults are covered with earth and rich men's with money.

Even a fish wouldn't get caught if he kept his mouth shut.

Every donkey thinks itself worthy of standing with the king's horses.

Even the devil was an angel in the beginning.

Even the devil will swear on a stack of bibles.

Every slip is not a fall.

Envy is the sincerest form of flattery.

Every family has at least one black sheep.

Every man judges others by himself.

Every man knows best when his own shoe pinches.

Every path has a puddle.

Every mother's child is handsome.

Every age explodes old errors and creates new ones.

Early ripe, early rotten.

Every field looks green from a distance, even a cemetery.

Everybody lays his load on the willing horse.

Fate is the course when men fail to act.

Fools use bets for arguments.

Figures, never lie, but liars can figure.

First deserve it, then desire it.

Fortune and misfortune are next-door neighbors.

Good actions speak for themselves; they need no tin horn.

God gives food but does not cook it.

Guilty men see guilt written on the faces of saints.

Good health is above wealth.

Gross negligence is equal to intentional wrong.

Great possessions are great cares.

He who laughs last, laughs longest.

He who rides slowly gets just as far, only it takes longer.

He who never fails will never grow rich.

He who hears forgets, he who sees remembers, he who does learns.

Hearsay is half lies.

He who holds the ladder is as bad as the thief.

He who follows the crowd has many companions.

He who has no enemy has no friend.

Honest doubt is better than faith in a pious fraud.

He doubles his gift who gives in time.

He who excuses himself, accuses himself.

He that falls in love with himself will find no rival.

If you come to the end of your rope -- tie a knot in it and hang on.

It takes pennies to make dollars.

It is easier to supress the first desire than to satisfy all those that follow.

If you are always dwelling in trouble, change your address.

If the stone hits you, I threw it.

In trying times, don't quit trying.

If a race could be won after the first gallop, thousands would wear blue ribbons.

It is a waste of gunpowder to fire at the man-in-the-moon.

It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.

It is better to bend than break.

If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.

It is better to be a has-been than a never-was.

"IF's" and "But's" butter no bread.

If you can't take advice, you can't be helped.

If there were no fools in the world, all people would agree on everything.

If you hate storm and strife lead a bachelor's life.

It takes a good many shovelfuls to bury the truth.

It's easy to be generous with another man's money.

It's easier to go down than up.

It's easier to lose faith than to find it again.

It's better to be happy than wise.

If you want a neat wife, choose her on a Saturday.

If you wish another to keep your secret, keep it first yourself.

It is better to have a hen tomorrow than an egg today.

Joy is not in things, it is in us.

Judges should have two ears, both alike.

Lost time is never found.

Little minds still be little, even when they are made professors.

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a gift to be enjoyed.

Life goes on, no matter what we try to do to it.

Life is like a grindstone, whether it grinds him down or polishes him depends on the stuff he is made of.

Living is like licking honey off a thorn.

Listen at the keyhole and you'll hear news of yourself.

Life is a game played with marked cards.

Lawyers, like painters, can easily change white to black.

Laughter is worth a hundred groans in any market.

Lend your money and lose your friend.

Liberty, like charity, must begin at home.

Liars and gossips are Siamese twins.

Living in worry invites death in a hurry.

Let thy maid-servant be faithful, strong and homely.

Make the house clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.

Men who talk like big wheels usually are merely spokes men.

Many love triangles are really wrecktangles.

Man is the only animal that can be skinned more than once.

Marry a handsome man and you marry trouble.

Must is a hard nut to crack.

Modesty is like the snow; when it melts it is gone forever.

Many a pearl is still hidden in the oyster.

Many persons think they are wise, when they are only windy.

No matter how high a bird flies, it has to come down for water.

Nothing dries faster than a tear.

Nothing is gained by having one donkey call another "Long Ears!"

Never stop the plough to catch a mouse.

No piper ever suited all ears.

New churches and new bars are well patronized.

Necessity sharpens industry.

Naked men never lose anything.

No man tells the truth about himself, only his neighbors do.

Nonsense charms the multitude; plain sense is despised.

One who thinks he can live without others is mistaken but he who thinks others cannot live without him are more mistaken.

Of all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest ones, "It might have been."

One eyewitness is better than ten hearsays.

One murder makes a villian, millions make a hero.

One does not put beauty in a kettle.

One can learn even from an enemy.

One has only to die to be praised.

Obstinacy is the strength of the weak.

Overdone is worse than underdone.

Poverty is no disgrace but decidedly inconvenient.

Punctuality is the key to success.

Peace without truth is poison.

Put the light out and all women are alike.

Promises won't butter any bread.

Pleasant hours fly fast.

Put your trust not in money but your money in trust.

Poets and pigs are appreciated only after their death.

Rest is sweet when one has earned it.

Rich get richer and poor get children.

Religion is the best armor but the worst cloak.

Relatives are friends from bitter necessity.

Repurations is what you are in the light; character is what you are in the dark.

Revolutions are vices when they fail; they are virtues when successful.

Self praise is half slander.

Silcence is consent.

Spend your money as you go with shoes worn down at heel and toe.

Search others for their virtues, and yourself for your vices.

Self-defense is natures oldest law.

Sickness comes in haste and goes at leisure.

Swallows and sparrows cannot understand the ambitions of swans.

Some people have tact, others tell the truth.

Speak the truth and embarrass the devil.

She that is born a beauty is half married.

Small talk is sufficient for little men.

Small men imitate; great men originate.

Together we stick; divided we are stuck.

Things turn up for the man who digs.

The smart man knows how little he really knows.

The person who thinks too little usually talks too much.

The sun doesn't shine on the same dog's back every day.

They that have no other meat, bread and butter, they are glad to eat.

To act is easy to think is hard.

Trouble comes when the New Year's resolutions collide with the old year's habits.

The second million is always easier than the first.

Today is that tomorrow you thought about yesterday.

Truth is the best advocate.

Tell me whom you associate with and I will tell you who you are.

The remedy is often worse than the disease.

The ugliest girl makes the best housewife.

Truth is the opinion that survives.

The best patch is of the same cloth.

There is no rule without it's exception.

The belly hates a long sermon.

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.

The old forget the young don't know.

The drunken mouth reveals the heart's secrets.

There is no head so holy that the devil does not make a nest in it.

There is no one so rich that he does not still want more.

The wise man has long ears, big eyes and a short tongue.

The stable wears out a horse more than a road.

The worst use that can be made of success is to boast of it.

Until tomorrow, equality is elusive.

Vanity is a sixth sense.

Victory belongs to the most persevering.

Vows made in storms are forgotten in calms.

Visits should be short, like a Winter's day.

We shall be judged not by what we might have done, but by what we have been.

When the well is dry, you know the worth of water.

What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult for others?

When one has seen the bear in the woods, he hears his growl in every bush.

Wedlock is a padlock.

Weeds need no sowing.

Woman is a mystery to men but are wise to each other.

You can't anymore give away something you ain't got than you can come back from someplace you haven't been.

You never know the length of a snake until it is dead.

You can't tell the depth of the well by the length of the handle on the pump.

You can't put out old heads on young shoulders.

Zeal is blind when it encroaches upon  the rights of others.

Morning is welcome to the industrious.

Do a little well and you do much.

Gold is the dust that blinds all eyes.

If you are in debt, somebody owns a part of you.

A bad broom leaves a dirty room.

Plain words make the most ornamental sentences.

When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry a hundred.

They must hunger in frost who will not work in heat.

A cracked plate will last as long as a sound one.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap.

Envy shoots at others but hits itself.

Water run by will does not turn a mill.

There is a difference between profanity and dramatic fervor.

Merit is superior to birth and virtue is not hereditary.

Every pea helps to fill the pod.

One watch set right will do to set many by.

Children and fools tell the truth.

Little children step on one's lap; tall ones tread on one's heart.

He who rides slowly gets just as far, only it akes a little longer.

Here Are MY favorites:

Bad breath is better than no breath at all.

Don't worry when you stumble. Remember, a worm is the only thing that can't fall down.

Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but rising every time we fail.

Quarreling is the weapon of the weak.

People give nothing so willingly as advice.

The smaller the waistline the longer the life.

Too many square meals make too many round people.

There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it should remind all of us, not to criticize the rest of us.

The beard does not make the philosopher.

When you feel all steamed up, remember the tea kettle -- it is always up to its neck in hot water and it still sings.

You can't make cookies when you haven't got the dough.

One had better have no dealings with girls with fat legs.



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Source: "American Proverbs, Maxims & Folk Sayings"
The Wit and Wisom of Yestrday
Compiled by Lemer L. Smith
Applied Arts Publishers, Lebanon, PA  © 1968

This book at 1,500 sayings. I chose the
ones I liked and understood.

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