A Dictionary of American Proverbs

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

W

wade Do not wade in unknown waters. Vars.: (a) It's not safe to wade in unknown water. (b) Never wade in unknown waters. Rec. dist.: Ill., N.Y., N.C.1st cit.:ca 1523 Manifest Detection, Percy Soc. 20c. coll.: ODEP863, Stevenson 2459:1.

wagSEE A DOG is loved by old and young; he wags his tail and not his tongue. / Shorttailed DOG wag his tail same as a long 'un.

wage The wages of sin is death. Rec. dist.: Calif., Nebr., N.Y., Wis.1st cit.:US 1875 Eddy, Science and Health. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 2119:6.

wager A wager is a fool's argument. Var.: Fools for arguments use wagers. Rec. dist.: Ill., Wis.1st cit.: 1664 Butler, Hudibras. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 90:11.

waggingSEE A wagging-tailed DOG never bites.

wagon 1. Get off the wagon or quit dragging both feet. Rec. dist.: Ill.

2. Hitch your wagon to a star. Rec. dist.: U.S., Can.1st cit.: 1935 Flynn, Edge of Terror; US 1870 Emerson, "Civilization" in Society and Solitude. 20c. coll.: Whiting (MP) 661, ODEP 375, Stevenson 2207:3.

3. The empty wagon makes the most noise. Vars.:(a) An empty wagon always rattles. (b) An empty wagon always rattles the loudest. (c) An empty wagon makes the most noise. (d) An empty wagon rattles loudest. (e) An empty wagon rumbles loud. (f) Only the empty wagon rattles. Rec. dist.: U.S. 1st cit.: ca 1430 Lydgate, Pilgrimage of Man, E.E.T.S. ( 1899); US 1853 Hammet, Stray Yankee in Texas. 20c. coll.: CODP64, T W391, ODEP 20, Stevenson 676: 17, Whiting(MP) 661.

4. The wagon of God drives slowly and well. Rec. dist.: Ont.

SEE ALSO If you don't believe in COOPERATION, watch what happens to a wagon when one wheel comes off.

wait 1. Everything comes to him who waits. Vars.:(a.) All good things come to those who wait. (b) All things come to him who hustles while he waits. (c) All things come to him who waits--if he hustles while he's waiting. (d) All things come to the other fellow if you will only sit down and wait. (e) Everything comes to the man who waits. (f) Everything comes to them who wait. (g) Everything comes to those who can wait. (h) Everything comes to those who wait. Rec. dist.: U.S., Can.1st cit.:ca 1530 Barclay, Eclogues, E.E.T.S. ( 1927); US 1863 Longfellow, "Student's Tale" in Tales of Wayside Inn.20c. coll.: ODEP231, Stevenson 2440:10, CODP3, Whiting(MP) 205.

2. Wait and you will be rewarded. Rec. dist.: N.Dak.1st cit.: 1647 Gracian, Oraculo Manual; US 1849 Thoreau, "Monday" in Week on Concord and Merrimack Rivers. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 2440:7.

SEE ALSO Wait till we SEE how the CAT jumps. / DEATH waits for no one. / FORTUNE is like price: if you can wait long enough, the price will fall. / Learn to LABOR and to wait. / The LORD never helps him who sits on his ass and waits. / They also SERVE who only stand and wait. / Don't wait till you get TIME--take time. / TIME and tide wait for no man.

wakeSEE An alarm CLOCK will wake a man, but he has to get up by himself. / Don't wake a sleeping LION. / When SORROW is asleep, wake it not.

walk 1. He that walks uprightly walks surely, but he that perverts his ways shall be known. Var.: Upright walking is sure walking. Rec. dist.: Ont.

2. The man who walks takes title to the world around him. Rec. dist.: N.Y.

3. Those who walk down alone walk the least. Rec. dist.: Ky., Tenn.

4. To walk one must use his feet. Rec. dist.: Colo., N.Y.

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