A Dictionary of American Proverbs

By Wolfgang Mieder; Stewart A. Kingsbury et al. | Go to book overview

N

nail 1. A nail can go no farther than its head will let it. Rec. dist.: Kans.

2. A nail that sticks out is struck. Rec. dist.: Ill.

3. Do not hang all on one nail. Rec. dist.: Ont.

4. Drive not a second nail till the first be clinched. Rec. dist.: Okla. 1st cit.: 1732 Fuller, Gnomologia; US 1783 Journal of Thomas Scattergood. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 1694:7, Whiting305.

5. For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the horse was lost; for want of a horse, the rider was lost. Rec. dist.: U.S., Can.1st cit.:ca 1390 Gower, Confessio Amantis, E.E.T.S. ( 1900); US 1752 Franklin, PRAlmanac. 20c. coll.: ODEP865, Whiting 469, T&W256, CODP241, Stevenson 1644:5, Whiting ( MP) 663.

6. One nail drives out another. Rec. dist.: Ont. 1st cit.:ca 1200 Ancrene Riwle, ed. Morton, Camden Soc. ( 1853). 20c. coll.: ODEP597, CODP170, Stevenson 1648:8.

SEE ALSO Nothing comes without PAIN except dirt and long nails.

naked1. Naked men never lose anything. Rec. dist.: Ill.

2. Naked we came, naked we go. Var.: Naked into this world we came, and naked will return. Rec. dist.: Mich., N.Y. Ont.1st cit.: US 1875 Scarborough, Chinese Proverbs. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 1652:2.

3. There's no use trying to strip a naked man. Rec. dist.: W. Va.

name1. A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches. Vars.: (a) A good name is better than fine jewels. (b) A good name is better than gold. (c) A good name is better than precious ointment. (d) A good name is better than precious stones. (e) A good name is more precious than rubies. (f) A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favor rather than silver and gold. Rec. dist.: U.S., Can.1st cit.:ca 1350 How Gode Wyfe Taught Her Daughter; US 1739 Colonial Records of Georgia, ed. Chandler, in Original Papers, 1735-1752 ( 1910-16). 20c. coll.: ODEP 322, Whiting306, Stevenson 1656:8, Whiting ( MP) 438.

2. A good name is sooner lost than won. Rec. dist.: Ill., N.Dak. 1st cit.: 1727 Gay, "Fox at Point of Death" in Fables. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 1656:1.

3. A good name will shine forever. Rec. dist.: N.Dak. 1st cit.: 1539 Publilius Syrus, Sententiae, tr. Taverner. 20c. coll.: ODEP322, Stevenson 1657:1.

4. Big names often stand on small legs. Rec. dist.: Miss.

5. Get a good name of early rising, and you may lie abed. Var.: He who gets a name for early rising may sleep all day. Rec. dist.: U.S., Can.1st cit.: 1611 Cotgrave, Dictionary of French and English Tongues; US 1792 Universal Asylum. 20c. coll.: ODEP554, Whiting306, Stevenson 1656:3.

6. He who has a bad name is half hanged. Rec. dist.: N.J.1st cit.:ca 1400 Religious Lyrics of XIVth Century, ed. Brown ( 1957). 20c. coll.: CODP119, Stevenson 1658:4.

7. If the bullet has your name on it, you'll get it. Rec. dist.: Mich. 1st cit.: 1575 Gascoigne, Posies; US 1840 Cooper, Pathfinder. 20c. coll.: ODEP90, CODP27, T&W47, Whiting ( MP) 80.

8. If you have the name, you might as well have the game. Rec. dist.: U.S.1st cit.:US 1836 Haliburton, Clockmaker. 20c. coll.: T&W257, Stevenson 1653:9, Whiting ( MP) 438.

9. Names break no bones. Rec. dist.: Wash. 1st cit.:ca 1450 Townley Play of Noah, eds. England and Pollard, E.E.T.S. ( 1897). 20c. coll.: ODEP353, CODP107, Stevenson 1654: 15.

10. The name lasts longer than the dame. Rec. dist.: N. Y.

11. The name may not spoil the man, but the man may spoil the name. Rec. dist.: N.Y.

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A Dictionary of American Proverbs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • A 3
  • B 33
  • C 79
  • D 133
  • E 173
  • F 193
  • G 245
  • I 323
  • J 337
  • K 345
  • L 357
  • M 395
  • N 423
  • O 435
  • P 447
  • Q 493
  • R 497
  • S 521
  • T 579
  • U 623
  • V 629
  • W 637
  • Y 685
  • Z 689
  • Bibliography 691
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