A proverb is a short saying/phrase about life that comes from way back in ancient times. They are usually based on some sort of truth with the purpose giving advice or imparting wisdom.

Whether you’re having a casual chat with friends or in a business meeting, you will probably hear proverbs being quoted.

You’ll see they often contradict each other for example “too many cooks spoil the broth”, but “many hands make light work”. English is never straight forward is it? Just remember practice makes perfect.

proverb about work - many hands make light work
proverb about work - too many cooks spoil the broth

Proverbs can be about many topics including:

  • about books
  • about faith
  • about friendship
  • about happiness
  • about love
  • about money
  • about time
  • about women
  • about work
  • about wisdom


Plus many more topics to do with life.

Click on the links below to see an alphabetical list of some of the most common proverbs we use in English with meaning. I’ve illustrated them with pictures to try and help with understanding.

Do you have any similar proverbs in your country? Or any totally different ones? I’d love to hear them if you do.

Alphabetical list of English proverbs with pictures and meaning

Click the links below to study common English proverbs.