English Proverbs – Cowards die many times before their death, The valiant never taste of death, but once

Proverb Expansion

 The meaning of the statement is that a brave man never fears death whereas a coward is afraid of death. The brave and the courageous have no fear of death or of anything for that matter. This statement is found in the drama ‘Julies Caesar’. When Julius Caesar was about to go the Senate, his wife told him to go out of the house on that day as she had seen some bad omens. But Caesar told his wife that cowards die many times before their deaths and that the valiant would never taste of death but once. The valiant face death and other difficulties in life smilingly as essential facts of life. The terror of death, its pains and torments do not terrify them. It is these people who really lead a life. Cowards experience the pain of death whenever they think of death and whenever they face any danger or difficulty. But the valiant experience death only when they actually die. Fearlessness is the quality of a hero. Fear is the quality of cowards. A coward does not live at all. He lives in constant fear. His heart sinks at the thought of the smallest danger, thus a coward dies many times before his actual death. But the brave embrace death only once and that too fearlessly.

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English Proverbs – Coming events cast their shadow before

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The proverb means that events good or evil that are going to happen give us certain signs before they occur, in ancient days, people interpreted good and bad omens as the harbingers events which would be taking place soon. They regarded certain unnatural happenings as the signs of certain calamities which were about to happen. They predicted the events on the basis of omens. In the play ‘Julius Caesar’, it is said that several evil omens were witnessed on the eve of the assassination of Julius Caesar. It is said that it rained blood in the Capitol, ghosts walked along the streets of Rome and an owl was seen sitting in the market place during any time, we can use this proverb to express the idea that some evils that are likely to occur are foreshadowed by some evil omens. Both wild and domestic animals have the ability to detect certain signs of nature’s changes. They make some peculiar sounds and warn man and the other animals. The occurrence of a storm can be predicted by certain signs. Thus the proverb means that the events that are to take place make themselves known to us by certain signs and symptoms.

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English Proverbs – Cleanliness is next to godliness

Proverb Expansion

The expression emphasises the importance of cleanliness-clean dress and clean habits. Cleanliness means the habit if keeping oneself physically and mentally clean. Godliness means being near to god by loving and obeying him. Cleanliness is very important for a good, healthy and moral life. A well-dressed person with clean habits impresses others. He may be in possession of a good character too. A person’s character can be assessed by his dress and manners. Cleanliness of body is also necessary for self-respect. But even more important than cleanliness of body is cleanliness of mind. Cleanliness of heart is the beginning of godliness. God is considered to be the most sacred and the purest being. A person who is pure and clean in body and mind is considered to be next to god. Men of good character stick to certain principles in life. They are pious and god-fearing. Their minds are free from hatred and jealousy. They do not keep any grudge against others in their hearts. Only a person who possesses a clean heart can become pious. Godliness is to be pious and religious. The character of a person is based on his external appearance, purity of thought, word and deed. A person who is outwardly clean and inwardly poisonous is very dangerous. Cleanliness gives us mental peace and happiness. Only clean-hearted persons can enjoy the bliss of god. Thus the proverb teaches us that cleanliness of body and mind is the way to reach god. If we are clean in mind and body, we are next to God.

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English Proverbs – Charity begins at home

Proverb Expansion

Charity is a kind act. Charity or kindness is giving help to the needy. It is a desirable quality in anyone. It refers to the love and sympathy one has for others. A child should be encouraged first to love his own dear and near ones. This will enable him to love his fellowmen later on. A person’s first duty is to help the members of his family. There are some people who contribute lavishly to charitable institutions, but pay little attention to the poor members of their own families. The proverb can be explained from another point of view also. Any act of goodness can have a solid foundation only if it spreads goodness around. An act of charity must not be undertaken by spreading starvation at home. Any good act must have its beginning from one’s own environment. Similarly, it is hypocrisy to preach to others what we do not practise ourselves. A person may say that there is corruption in the country and that we should oppose it. If this same person is placed in a position of authority, he himself cannot resist the temptations. All the great leaders and reformers preach against the dowry system and they themselves give dowry through the back door. The greatness of Gandhiji lies in the fact that whenever he planned some political programmes for the nation, he would place himself in the font, not minding the sufferings. To be charitable is not bad, but be charitable at home first. The world judges us by our deeds and not by our words.

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English Proverbs – Character is destiny

Proverb Expansion

Character is everything in man’s life. It is the sum total of all the good qualities in a man. Honesty, truth, compassion and consideration for others are part of a good character. A person with a good character should be free from hatred, jealousy and vices. A man with a good character is loved and accepted by others. Such a person will succeed in life. Man, to a great extent, is the maker of his own fate. A man of character determines his path and moves along it with courage and ultimately reaches his goal. Man’s success or failure is determined by his character alone. His capacity to work hard, his ability to realise his potentials and limitations, attitude to the hard realities of life, mental balance, ability to control emotions and capacity to take risks play a decisive role in his life. Tact, perseverance, sincerity of purpose, sense of belonging and keenness to pay the price of success are the chief qualities of one’s character. A healthy combination of these qualities determines his fate. Men of character carve out their own destiny.

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English Proverbs – Blood is thicker than water

Proverb Expansion

Blood relationship lasts forever. This is the message conveyed by the proverb. In this proverb, blood means kinship and water means friendship or acquaintance. Blood is thicker and more endurable than water. The mark made by blood cannot be erased easily. But water does not leave any lasting mark where it falls. Blood relationship is always stronger and lasting. This relationship is formed on the basis of strong love and affection. Of course, there are good and sincere friends ready for help. But it is a fact that they act within their limits. They cannot help us when they too are in trouble. They may give greater attention to their blood relations. It is natural and they cannot be blamed for it. By blood relatives, we mean father, mother, brother and sister. They are ready to sacrifice their comforts and interests to help us. They will be with us in our need. So we must give more values to blood ties. The most unselfish service is got from our blood relatives. So blood relations are strong and last longer.

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English Proverbs – Birds of a feather flock together

Proverb Expansion

Whenever we see a flock of birds flying in the sky, we find that they all belong to the same class. Birds of the same kind flock feed and move together. Pigeons, parrots, crows and swans fly in their own groups. We do not see crows flocking with swans and vice versa. Only birds of a feather or the same kind flock feed and travel together. This is true of human beings also. Usually people make friends with people of same temperament and aptitudes. They like the company of those who are similar in taste and views and have common interests. Those with similar tastes and interests often form groups and associate with one another. They may not feel comfortable in a different kind of company. Learned people seek the company of the learned. Brilliant students prefer the company of brilliant students whereas dullards like dullards. Doctors, lawyers, businessmen and politicians like the company of their own tastes, temperaments and interests. If he keeps company with drunkard, he will also become a drunkard. But if he moves among refined people, he will become a refined and civilized man, the meaning of the proverb is true in the case of nations too. Even the nations keep friendly terms with the nations with similar interests and notions.

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English Proverbs – Better to pay the cook than the doctor

Proverb Expansion

The proverb is a warning to those people who are not ready to spend money on good food but are ready to pay a doctor. The eating of good and nutritious food makes us strong and healthy. A healthy person does not have to pay a doctor as he is not sick. The eating of bad and ill cooked food makes us weak and sick. We have then no other choice than to consult a doctor for treatment. If we were careful with our food, we would not have to pay the doctor. There are people who do not know how to cook good food. If we happen to eat the food prepared by them, we are sure to suffer from indigestion. There are cooks who are very careless in preparing food. It may be because their salary is low or the quality of the food materials which are supplied to them is also low. But if we pay him well and supply him with good quality food materials, he will make good and nutritious dishes for us. If we take nutritious food, we will not fall ill. When we are not ill, we do not have to visit a doctor. That is why it is said that it is better to pay the cook than the doctor. There are people who hesitate to spend money on nutritious food. But they are ready to pay any amount of money to doctors. Health is wealth. If we want to be healthy and wealthy, we should spend money on nutritious food.

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English Proverbs – Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t

Proverb Expansion

The devil is a symbol of wickedness and evil. People are afraid of him. Here the word devil can also mean some danger or problem. When we become familiar with the devil we can know certain peculiarities of his and the nature of his evil work. This will help us to take necessary precautions against his evil work and can thus reduce the dangers to some extent. We may be able to adjust ourselves to his peculiarities to a certain extent and thus to reduce the intensity of danger. But an unknown devil will prove to be more dangerous because we do not know what sort of harm he will bring us. We meet with many difficulties in daily life. A danger or difficulty we have already experienced is less frightening than one we have never known. Since we are familiar with the difficulty, we can always do something to reduce its intensity. But when we face with an unknown danger, we become helpless. This is true in the case of people too. There are people who are very dangerous and we may have to deal with them. But once we are familiar with their ways, we can adjust ourselves with them. So it is better to depend on someone we know despite his faults than on an unknown person who may have less faults.

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English Proverbs – Barking dogs seldom bite

Proverb Expansion

Barking dogs seldom bite because they merely make much noise. They lack courage and they only try to frighten people away by their bark. But there are dogs that do not bark too much. They are sure to bite us. There are people who talk too much without meaning anything serious. They go about boasting about themselves. They also utter big threats, but are incapable of putting them into practice. Those who go about boasting are only anxious to keep up a false image of themselves in front of others. They are weak, not courageous. They are aware of their weakness and are trying to deceive themselves and others by making a false show of strength. We need not take such people seriously. People who talk less are to be watched and taken seriously. They behave with humility. They do not waste their time in unnecessary talks and believe more in practice. People who talk less are great doers while those who talk too much are like barking dogs. Dogs of good breed seldom bark, but can attack others skilfully. In the same way, people who talk less and boast less can do noble deeds.

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English Proverbs – As you sow, so shall you reap

Proverb Expansion

The proverb means that we have to bear the consequences of our own actions. If our actions are good, the results will also be good. If we help others, we will be helped by them. If our actions are bad, the results will also be bad. Id we sow hatred and disunity, we will be hated. One is punished or rewarded according to his own just or unjust deeds. So we have to be careful in our actions, a farmer who sows good seeds in the proper way good soil can expect a good crop. One who sows inferior seeds on unprepared ground will not have anything to harvest. This is true of all our words and actions. Kind words spoken to others will bring us kind words from many. When we do evil things, we can expect only evil as reward. Our joy multiplies when our good deeds bring good results. A hardworking person will attain success in life. A lazy man will get only failures. If students study well, they will get high marks and will secure a high position in life. If they are lazy and do not work hard, they will have to face failure not only in the examinations but also in life. Thus we know that all human achievements are the fruits of pains and sufferings. A bad seed cannot produce a good fruit. If we want a good fruit, we should sow a good seed. Thus the proverb gives us the warning that we should be very careful in our actions.

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English Proverbs – An idle brain is the devil’s workshop

Proverb Expansion

Man’s brain is a workshop. The wonderful inventions which we enjoy today are all made by the brains of men.  Man can create anything constructive as well as destructive using his brain. When a person is busy with some work, he has no time to think of doing anything harmful to others. The person who has nothing to do and whose mind is idle may think of evils things. Idling is dangerous. When we have nothing to do, our minds turn into evil thoughts. Thoughts breed words and words lead to action. An idle man tries to put into practice his evil thoughts and this will cause disorder in the society. A person whose mind is devoid of noble ideas is full of evil thoughts. Only destructive ideas will form in his mind. Keeping the mind idle is dangerous for the person and the society. That is why it is said that an idle man’s mind is the devil’s workshop. The only remedy for this is to be engaged in some useful activity. People who have no work to do should try to find out ways and means to do something useful to others. The youngsters of today go astray because they do not try to do anything constructive. Their minds are preoccupied with harmful thoughts. If they are not given the right directions, they may become terrorists, looters and murderers. So it is always better to engage oneself in a useful activity.

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English Proverbs – All that glitters is not gold

Proverb Expansion

Gold is bright and it glitters. However, all articles that are bright and that glitter may not be made of gold. Imitation ornaments look golden in colour, but they are not really made of gold. Outward appearances are often deceptive. We should take care to find out the reality behind the appearances. We should not be misled by appearances. This is true if human beings also. A man, who lives in bungalow, wears expensive dress and moves about in a car may not be really rich. He might have incurred heavy debits. There are certain persons who are very attractive in appearance and behaviour, but they may not good at heart. If we judge them by their handsome faces and dresses, we are deceived. We are often misled by such people. So we should not led by external appearances and quantity. We should prefer quality to quantity and appearance. When we choose our friends or anything else in our lives, we should give more importance to quality than to appearance. In our modern world we have to be very keen and sharp in order not to be cheated by imitations and appearances. In determining the real value of a thing or a person, we should always probe deeper.

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English Proverbs – All lay load on a willing horse

Proverb Expansion

The proverb warns us against exploiting sincere and co-operative people. Man used horses to carry loads in ancient times. Some horses may be unmanageable or stubborn and they do not allow their masters to load them heavily. But some other horses can be easily controlled and they are gentle. The owners load the gentle horses heavily. Those animals bear the load without any complaint. So their owners use them for hard work always. A sincere, hardworking and co-operative person is referred to as a willing horse. He does any work that is given to him without any complaint. So he is often chosen by others to do all the unpleasant and hard work. In the office he is over burdened by his boss. In the school he is overloaded by his Principal. In the factory he is exploited by his master. A stubborn and lazy person will not do such work and he cannot be asked to do such work by his superiors. So a serviceable person is always exploited by others. He is duty bound and sincere. So he does not refuse to do the work assigned to him. He works silently and his silence is indecently exploited by his lazy co-workers and employers. So they remain overburdened as all lay loads on a willing horse.

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English Proverbs – Action speaks louder than words

Proverb Expansion

The real worth of an individual depends on the quality of the work that is done by him. This is true of an institution or a nation. Life is full of problems. In order to solve them, one must stop unnecessary preaching and should resort to practical action. A person must be a man of action to succeed in life. The great men of the world were men of action. They did not waste their precious time in giving long preaching and advice. Instead, they practised what their conscience had directed them to do and thus become models for others. They preached only what they could practise. Many people are generous and clever in offering promises and in giving advice. But they fail to fulfil and practise them. The greatest talkers are everywhere the least doers. Social reformers and political leaders talk endlessly on principles. But they themselves don’t set an example. A person should be extremely honest to set himself as an example before he begins to advice others. Great men like Gandhiji have proved it in their lives that action is more important than words. It is easy to talk and preach. But fruitful action is a difficult thing. A person’s fame and name depend on the good deeds that he has done during his life time.

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