Definition of proverb in English:



  • A short, well-known pithy saying, stating a general truth or piece of advice.

    • ‘Sheikh Mo, who fancies himself a prophet of modernisation, likes to impress visitors with clever proverbs and heavy aphorisms.’
    • ‘Norwegians tend to integrate sayings and proverbs into daily conversations.’
    • ‘Adinkra symbols usually represent popular proverbs, adages or traditional concepts in Ghanaian culture.’
    • ‘To quote a Kannada proverb it is like water off a buffalo's back.’
    • ‘There is literal truth in the proverb that habit is second nature.’
    • ‘They still exchange mnemonic sayings, adages and proverbs.’
    • ‘The shrewdness and sharpness of his proverbs and his forceful epigrams serve, in an exceptional degree, to make ethical ideas a popular possession.’
    • ‘Riddles and proverbs can influence each other and sometimes a piece of advice in proverb form can be turned into a riddle, or vice versa.’
    • ‘It's tough to choose a single epitaph for a man who invoked so many epigrams and proverbs.’
    • ‘Songs, stories, proverbs, and sayings have been passed down over thousands of years.’
    • ‘He is well known for weaving proverbs and traditional storytelling into the western form of the novel.’
    • ‘When I was younger I had had a Polish violin teacher, and she had told me a Yiddish proverb that proved to be the truth.’
    • ‘Beware of proverbs: they are a snare and a delusion.’
    • ‘Riddles, proverbs, and sayings that describe proper behavior for both young and old Kenyans are still common.’
    • ‘He gives his advice with old Iraqi proverbs and quotes from the Koran.’
    • ‘It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness, as a rough translation of a Chinese proverb goes.’
    • ‘The sayings are in the form of proverbs, parables, aphorisms, and exhortations.’
    • ‘I hate wise proverbs, as a rule, but the one about ‘all work and no play’ certainly springs to mind.’
    • ‘His sayings and proverbs, which embodied his philosophy of life, were handed down from generation to generation.’
    • ‘The epic by Waris is interspersed with proverbs, sayings, folktales, history and poetry par excellence.’
    saying, adage, saw, maxim, axiom, motto, aphorism, epigram, gnome, dictum, precept
    words of wisdom
    catchphrase, slogan, byword, watchword
    truism, platitude, cliché
    bon mot
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French proverbe, from Latin proverbium, from pro- (put) forth + verbum word.