A Dictionary of American Proverbs

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

A

A1. If you say A, they'll make you say B. Var.: Never say A without saying B. Rec. dist.: Ill.Infm.: Never start something you don't want to finish. 1st cit.: US1837 Neal, Charcoal Sketches ( 1840). 20c. coll.: T&W 1.

2. In our alphabet B comes after A. Rec. dist.: Miss. Infm.: You have something out of order. Do everything in order.

ability1. Ability is of little account without opportunity. Rec. dist.: Wis.

2. Ability is the poor man's wealth. Rec. dist.: N.J., N.C., Ont.

3. Ability, not luck, conquers. Rec. dist.: N.C.

4. Ability will enable a man to get to the top, but character will keep him from falling. Rec. dist.: Miss., N.Y.

5. Ability will see a chance and snatch it; who has a match will find a place to strike it. Rec. dist.: N.Y.1st cit.: US1924 Guiterman, Poet's Proverbs.20c. coll.: Stevenson 1:4.

6. From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. Rec. dist.: Miss., N.Y.1st cit.: 1875 Marx, Critique of Gotha Program. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 2:1.

7. Most men don't lack the will but the ability. Rec. dist.: Ill.

8. There are many rare abilities in the world that fortune never brings to life. Rec. dist.: Calif., N.C.

SEE ALSO They are the weakest, however strong, who have no CONFIDENCE in their own ability. / The greatest ability is DEPENDABILITY. / True GENEROSITY is the ability to accept ingratitude. / Like a postage stamp a man's VALUE depends upon his ability to stick to a thing till he gets there.

able He who would not when he could is not able when he would. Rec. dist.: "N.Y". 1st cit.: ca 1000 in Anglia ( 1889); US1743 Franklin, PRAlmanac. 20c. coll.: CODP245, Stevenson 1724:2.

abolishmentSEE ISOLATION means abolishment.

absence1. A little absence does much good. Rec. dist.: Miss.

2. Absence cools moderate passions but inflames violent ones. Rec. dist.: Miss., N.Y., Wis.1st cir.: US 1948 Stevenson, Home Book of Proverbs. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 4:7.

3. Absence is love's foe: far from the eyes, far from the heart. Rec. drift,: Wis.Infm.: Cf. "Far from the eye, far from the heart."

4. Absence is the mother of disillusion. Rec. dist.: Wis.

5. Absence kills a little love but makes the big ones grow. Rec. dist.: Wis.

6. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Vars.: (a) Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but don't stay away too long. (b) Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but presence brings better results. (c) Absence makes the heart grow fonder; distance makes affections wander. (d) Absence makes the heart grow fonder for somebody else. (e) Absence makes the heart wander. (f) Absence makes the mind go wander. Rec. dist.: U.S., Can. 1st cir.: ca 1850 Bayly, Isle of Beauty; US1755 Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Labaree ( 1959). 20c. coll.: ODEP1, Whiting2, CODP1, T&W 2, Whiting ( MP) 2.

7. Absence of body is better than presence of mind in time of danger. Rec. dist.: N.C.

8. Absence sharpens love; presence strengthens it. Var.: Absence hinders love; presence strengthens it. Rec. dist.: Wis.1st cit.: 1557 Tottle, Songs and Sonnets. 20c. coll.: ODEP1, Stevenson 4:8.

9. Long absence changes friends. Rec. dist.: N.Y., Oreg. 1st cit.: 1611 Cotgrave, Dictionary of French and English Tongues. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 5:14.

absent 1. He that is long absent is soon forgotten. Vars.: (a) He that is absent is soon forgotten. (b) Long absence, soon forgotten. (c) Long absent, soon forgotten. Rec. dist.: U.S., Can.1st cit.: 1565 Wever, Lusty Juventus. 20c. coll.: ODEP478, Stevenson 5:14.

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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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