What is a Proverb?

What is a Proverb

Above is a graphic depiction (we call this type of graphic a Wordle) of the words that are used in English proverbs. The size of the word indicates how often it occurs in the proverbs that most of us grew up using almost on a daily basis. Please note that the most common words in English proverbs happen to be ‘good’ and ‘never’.

English Proverb defined: Proverbs are short and pithy sayings that express some traditionally held truth. They are usually metaphorical and often, for the sake of memorability, alliterative.

Wordle, parahprased statement about English proverbs and the definition were found at the following website. http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/proverbs.html

This afternoon I remembered a conversation I had before Winter Break with the Dyslexia teacher on my campus. She was floored that our students did not know common phrases, proverbs and idioms. That memory lead me to do a Google search of common phrases and proverbs that those of use who are Baby Boomers grew up hearing our parents say and in turn added to our own personal lexicon. Sometimes a proverb is just the only thing that will explain something that has happened. Unfortunately, most of our students have no clue the meaning and we have to try to explain the explanation!

Aside from several of my favorite proverbs listed below, I also started thinking of ‘proverbs’ related to helping us remember things we learned when going through school. A very short list, seems like I didn’t learn much!

A few of my favorite English Proverbs:

* A stitch in time saves nine

* A fool and his money are soon parted

* A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

* Finders keepers, losers weepers

* Great minds think alike

* If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen

* It ain’t over till the fat lady sings

* Oil and water don’t mix

* Out of sight, out of mind

* A watched pot never boils (just actually heard this on the TV progam I am watching while typing this blog!)

A few of my favorite Education Phrases: (actually the only ones I can remember — how horrible)

* When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking

* The vowels are a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y when used in words sounding like neighbor and way.

* I before E except after C.

Isn’t it amazing to have these words to live by! We need to begin sharing these with our youngsters, give them a way to explain things that happen without using … ‘it was like’ ‘umm’ ‘you know’ to express themselves. Playing with language and words is fun and we need to reintroduce this word play to ourselves and our young people.

This was just for fun. I love words. I love the way they feel in my mouth as they roll around on my tongue being produced and given birth to through my lips. Some words even taste like the word they describe…’chocolate’ ‘strawberry’ ‘coffee’, etc. These in particular make my mouth water and my mind tells my stomach it must have these tastes and flavors — immediately!

If you remember any other phrases from your childhood education, please add them in the comments section. I need to collect them and share with our students. Also, if you are so inclined, please list in the comments section your favorite or most remembered proverb used by parents, grandparents, teachers, etc during your childhood. Browse around the website I listed above. There is even a list of American Proverbs and Phrases that have come into vogue over the years. I was surprised how long and extensive this American list has become.

Always, I wish you joy, peace and happiness, but most of all I wish you LOVE. Fall in love with words again and share that love.

As Ever, Annie

First published January 31, 2013


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