Living a life is not an easy task, especially if you want to live it well. There are things you have to learn from your own experience as you go, but there are also things that are universal and don’t change as centuries pass by. From time immemorial, people have tried to accumulate that knowledge and relay it to the coming generations. This is how proverbs came to exist.

A proverb is a short saying, usually just one or two sentences, that contains a piece of truth about life. They are very succinct and express a deep philosophical concept in just a few words. These old sayings come from the time when people still very much relied on oral communication and instead of writing things down, would just repeat them from one person to another until they became common knowledge.  

As it often happens when things are disseminated by word of mouth, some parts of proverbs have been forgotten. Some of the common proverbs we use today initially had a different meaning, but parts of it got lost over time. That’s why if you want to know the full meaning of a particular proverb, it can be helpful to consult a scientific source.   

Interestingly, some common sayings can be found in different cultures. Though worded in various ways, they essentially portray the same truth. This shows that some things are equally important for everyone, no matter where you come from. 

For this article, we collected popular proverbs from all over the world. Which one do you like the most? Let us know in the comments if you have any favorite sayings that you live by. 

#1

A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.

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#2

Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows fall behind you.

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AnnaJ718
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's that song from the movie "Home"!!!! I am in love with that song

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#3

It’s not enough to learn how to ride, you must also learn how to fall.

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Pedantic Panda
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Falling isn't important, getting back up is.

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#4

If you can’t live longer, live deeper.

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#5

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

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Sara
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If you expect the worst you will never be dissapointed.

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#6

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

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#7

Actions speak louder than words.

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#8

Mind your own business.

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Robert T
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Needs an expletive between "own" and "business". ;-)

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#9

There is no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out.

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Charles Mayberry
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This. Ignorance is normal, there's always things we don't know. Willful ignorance is another matter. Ignorance can be fixed. But you can't fix willful ignorance (willful ignorance can also rightly be called stupid)

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#10

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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Robert T
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

* If it ain't broke, don't TRY to fix it.

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#11

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

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Robert T
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Letterboxes need to learn from this one. Got bitten by several of them delivering leaflets the other day!

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#12

All good things must come to an end.

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Headless Roach
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Also, everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright - it’s not the end.

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#13

Better late than never.

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Emily Taylor
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The second best time is NOW. The first best time was yesterday.

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#14

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

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#15

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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#16

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it.

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lauralett50
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I always heard it continues as follows:. You can give a man a brain, but you can't make him think .

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#17

Knowledge is power.

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#18

Laughter is the best medicine.

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Pedantic Panda
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Unless you have an actual medical condition, then get medicine from a doctor.

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#19

It takes a whole village to raise a child.

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Robert T
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well how did you think village idiots come about?

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#20

Even though you know a thousand things, ask the man who knows one.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If you are a woman, and you know a thousand things, you can be sure that from somewhere, out of nowhere, comes a man who knows a single thing, and starts explaining to you the thousand things you know.

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#21

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

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lauralett50
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If you enjoy it today, you can enjoy it again tomorrow.

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#22

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It sings because it wants to mate or has a territory. It has nothing to do with romantic illusions the humans have.

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#23

Even from a foe a man may learn wisdom.

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#24

Honesty is the best policy.

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#25

The early bird gets the worm.

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#26

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

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#27

Curiosity killed the cat.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And satisfaction brought it back. Take that, mr. Schrödinger!

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#28

The forbidden fruit is always the sweetest.

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lauralett50
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

No. It will go right to your hips/ thighs.

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#29

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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#30

Coffee and love taste best when hot.

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#31

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Among other things. Or prance around naked.

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#32

There is no place like home.

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#33

You can’t always get what you want.

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Robert T
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

But if you try sometime you'll find, You get what you need

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#34

Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Spit it out then. But not on my floor. Take care of your mess in your own turf.

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#35

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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Hugh Cookson
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Or a greedy relative .... and lots and lots of lawyers fees.

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#36

Love is blind.

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#37

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

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Sara
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

No room to be spontaneous

#38

Those who wish to sing always find a song.

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#39

If you can walk you can dance. If you can talk you can sing.

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#40

A watched pot never boils.

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Sara
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes it does. I have seen it happen.

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#41

Beggars can’t be choosers.

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K W
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

They deserve to have boundaries and dignity though.

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#42

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

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Sara
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Unless you are throwing them away because they are rotten.

#43

If you play with fire, you’ll get burned.

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#44

If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If you want something broken, don’t pay for professionals.

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#45

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

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#46

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

They can be your enemy too, if you ask nicely.

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#47

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

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Robert T
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes there is, just don't tell the taxman. ;-)

#48

Two heads are better than one.

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#49

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

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XenoMurph
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

= "The mob is correct, she is a witch"

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#50

Out of sight, out of mind.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You should have gone to Specsavers.

#51

Learn to walk before you run.

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Hugh Cookson
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

A more prescient one is ' learn to swim before you jump into deep water'

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#52

Always put your best foot forward.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What does that mean? I have psoriasis of the joints, I don’t have a best foot. I have a bad foot and a worse foot, and they fight which one gets to be which.

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#53

Practice makes perfect.

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#54

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

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Sara
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Tell that to the weather guy

#55

Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You can promote peace for years and years, only to be backstabbed by those who plot evil. Naivete gets you to an early grave.

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#56

Where one door shuts, another opens.

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Robert T
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Or "When one door opens, another slams shut", or at least it does in my house when it's windy out. ;-)

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#58

Time waits for no one.

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Sara
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What if I get stuck in traffic and call to let Time know I'm running a bit behind?

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#59

Fall seven times, stand up eight.

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Anna Poręba
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Or you can stand up just the one time more 😉

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#60

The tree with most leaves will not necessarily produce juicy fruit.

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#61

A mother understands what a child does not say.

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#62

Cheese, wine, and friends must be old to be good.

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#63

Easy come, easy go.

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EnderWolfie
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm surprised no one did this, so I will Little high, little low

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#64

God helps those who help themselves.

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Sparkysheep
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I hate this 1. My family always uses it to be a**holes

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#65

The pen is mightier than the sword.

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Robert T
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Especially when dipped in poison ink. ;-)

#66

There is no time like the present.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Present time is when gifts are given and recieved.

#67

Time is money.

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#68

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

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Robert T
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

But when in Florida, don't do as the Floridians do. ;-)

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#69

Many hands make light work.

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Sara
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's why there are so many people standing around during road construction and why it takes so damn long for them to finish.

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#70

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

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lauralett50
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It took I believe three years. In other words something may take longer than you think it will

#71

First things first.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Procrastination is the first nation in my state of mind.

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#72

Don’t make a mountain out of an anthill (or molehill).

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Sara
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How about out of a regular hill?

#73

Every cloud has a silver lining.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Metals are usually excellent conductors of electricity.

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#74

Every dog has its day.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And the cat wakes you up at night. At 3.15 am usually.

#75

Practice what you preach.

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lauralett50
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What do you preach? No don't. I don't want to know.

#76

The calm (comes) before the storm.

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#77

Good things come to those who wait.

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#79

Necessity is the mother of invention.

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Sara
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If you have the proper tools

#80

The longest mile is the last mile home.

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#81

If you snooze, you lose.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How about yawning? How many of you yawned when you read this? Or blinking?

#82

Ignorance is bliss.

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#83

Some men go through a forest and see no firewood.

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#84

Birds of a feather flock together.

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#85

The grass is always greener on the other side.

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#86

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

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#87

My hands are tied.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And I have nice, sharp knife right here.

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#88

If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That’s what some people keep on saying. It’s best to have your own backscratcher, a long one. You can slap those beggars with it.

#89

A rolling stone gathers no moss.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Another proverb to slutshame sexually active women.

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#90

All that glitters is not gold.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Of course it isn’t. It may even be diamonds.

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#91

A picture is worth a thousand words.

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#92

A friend in need is a friend indeed.

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#93

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don’t understand this one.

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#94

Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.

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lauralett50
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

For if you trouble , trouble ,trouble will trouble you. Thanks gran .

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#95

Cowards die many times before their deaths.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In other words ”I’m cannonfodder and I love it!”

#96

Beauty is only skin-deep.

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Nicole Weymann
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"..., but no man ever fell for an attractive pair of kidneys", as PTerry wrote.

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#97

While the cat’s away, the mice will play.

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#98

It never rains, but it pours.

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lauralett50
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Get a bigger umbrella.,Ella ,Ella ,Ella,eh eh,eh, eh eh eh,eh.

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#99

Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it.

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#100

The cat is out of the bag.

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#101

You made your bed, now you have to lie in it.

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7773989
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don’t usually make my bed.

#102

No news is good news.

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#103

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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#104

Fortune favors the bold.

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