A Dictionary of American Proverbs

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

R

rabbit1. Brer Rabbit trusts no mistake. Rec. dist.: S.C.

2. Don't stay with the rabbits but run with the hounds. Rec. dist.: Ont.1st cit.: ca 1440 Jacob's Well, E.E.T.S. ( 1900); US 1755 Colonial Virginia Satirist, ed. Davis, Am. Phil. Soc. Transactions ( 1967). 20c. coll.: ODEP689, Whiting225, CODP195, Stevenson 1077:10, Whiting ( MP) 288.

3. First catch your rabbit and then make your stew. Var.: Don't make your stew until you catch the rabbit. Rec. dist.: Ont.1st cit.: 1801 Spirit of Farmers' Museum; US 1922 Fox , Ethel Opens the Door. 20c. coll.: CODP81, Whiting( MP) 287, ODEP262, Stevenson 1075:14.

4. It is better to be a live rabbit than a dead tiger. Rec. dist.: Ala., Ga.

5. There is always something to keep the rabbit's tail short. Var.: Anything to keep the rabbit's tail short. Rec. dist.: N.Y., N.C., Ont., S.C.

6. You can't tell how far a rabbit can jump by the length of its cars. Rec. dist.: Ill.

7. You get the rabbit from the hind legs. Rec. dist.: N.Y., S.C.Infm.: Sneak up on your prey from behind.

SEE ALSO Cows can't catch no rabbits. / If the DOG hadn't stopped to lift his leg he would have caught the rabbit. / It's safer to be a HOUND than a rabbit. / WHISKEY make rabbit hug lion.

race 1. No race is won or lost until the line is crossed. Rec. dist.: Ind.

2. The race is not always to the swift. Vars.: (a) The race is not always to the swift, but that is where to look. (b) The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. (c) The race is not to the swift. (d) The races are not always to the swift. (e) To the swifter the race is lost. Rec. dist.: U.S., Can.1st cit.: 1581 Elliot , Report of Taking E. Campion; US 1671 Pray in Winthrop Papers, Mass.Hist.Soc. Collections ( 1863-92). 20c. coll.: ODEP661, Whiting355, CODP188, Stevenson 1930:2, T&W 301, Whiting ( MP) 521.

3. You must run to win the race. Rec. dist.: Ind. 1st cit.: 1732 Fuller , Gnomologia. 20c. coll.: ODEP661, Stevenson 1930:6.

SEE ALSO A lean HORSE wins the race. / It's a difference of OPINION that makes a horse race. / SLOW and easy wins the race. / A good START is half the race.

racehorse1. Don't judge a man's knowledge of racehorses by the clothes he wears. Rec. dist.: Oreg.

2. You can't make a racehorse out of a mule. Rec. dist.: Okla.

SEE ALSO A skinny WOMAN is like a racehorse: fast and fun, but no good for work.

rack Stand to the rack, fodder or no fodder. Rec. dist.: S.C. Infm.: Stay at your task or assigned position. 1st cit.: US1834 Crockett, Life of David Crockett. 20c. coll.: T&W 301.

SEE ALSO Use your HEAD for something besides a hat rack.

racketSEE ROOSTER makes more racket dan de hen w'at lay de aig.

radio Always turn the radio on before you listen to it. Rec. dist.: N. Dak. rag Every rag meets its mate. Rec. dist.: N.Y.

rage 1. Provoke not the rage of a patient man. Rec. dist.: Mich.

2. Rage is brief insanity. Rec. dist.: Ont.1st cit.: ca 1200 Ancrene Riwle , Camden Soc. ( 1853); US 1652 Complete Writings of Roger Williams ( 1963). 20c. coll.: ODEP13, Whiting9, Stevenson 68:11.

SEE ALSO FEAR is a fine spur; so is rage. / It is better to bear a single INJURY in silence than to provoke a thousand by flying into a rage.

rail1. One broken rail will wreck a train. Rec. dist.: N.C.

2. The bottom rail gets on top every fifty years. Rec. dist.: N.Y., S.C.

-497-

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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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