A Dictionary of American Proverbs

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

I

ice1. In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed. Rec. dist.: N.Y., S.C.1st cit.: US 1841 Emerson, "Prudence" in Essays. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 1211:8, Whiting ( MP) 334.

2. The thinner the ice is, the more anxious is everyone to see whether it will bear. Rec. dist.: Ohio.

3. Thin ice and thick ice look the same from a distance. Rec. dist.: Ill.

4. Thin ice carries no weight. Rec. dist.: Ont.

5. Try the ice before you venture upon it. Rec. dist.: N.J., Okla., Ont., Tex., Vt.

SEE ALSO LOVE can melt the ice and the snow of the coldest regions. / PEOPLE in hell want ice water.

ice cream Enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate. Rec. dist.: N.Y., S.C.1st cit.: US 1942 Wilder, Skin of Our Teeth. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 2325:2.

icebox If the icebox gets on fire, wring the towel. Rec. dist.: Ind.

idea1. Alter ideas and you alter the world. Rec. dist.: Ont.

2. An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy to be called an idea at all. Rec. dist.: N.Y., S.C.1st cit.:US1910 Hubbard, Dictionary of Epigrams. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 1212:12.

3. Good ideas are born in the minds that keep working--lazy minds and good ideas are strangers. Rec. dist.: Ind.

4. Ideas are weapons. Rec. dist.: Ill.

5. Ideas never work unless you do. Var.: Ideas are funny things: they won't work unless you do. Rec. dist.: Ill., Miss.

6. It is better to have no ideas than false ones. Rec. dist.: Minn.

7. It's with ideas as with pieces of money: those with the least value generally circulate the most. Rec. dist.: Ill.

8. Notice that ideas start with "I." Rec. dist.: Minn.

9. One good idea put to use is worth a hundred

buzzing around in the back of your head. Rec. dist.: N.C.

10. To have ideas is to gather flowers; to think is to weave them into garlands. Rec. dist.: Ont.

11. You can't just abstract ideas into concrete heads. Rec. dist.: Wash.

SEE ALSO Small HEAD, big ideas. / TIMES change and people change their ideas. / All WORDS are pegs to hang ideas on.

ideal1. No ideal is as good as a fact. Rec. dist.: Ont.

2. The ideal is but the truth at a distance. Rec. dist.: N.Y.

3. The ideal we embrace is our better self. Var.: Our ideals are our better selves. Rec. dist.: Ill. 1st cit.:US 1877 Alcott, "Habits" in Table Talk. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 1213:1.

idiocy If idiocy were pain, there would be groaning in every house. Rec. dist.: Ill.

idiot1. A natural idiot is bad enough, but a learned idiot is an intolerable bore. Rec. dist.: Ill.

2. An idiot--they happen in the best of families. Rec. dist.: N.Y., S.C.1st cit.:US1939 Barry, Philadelphia Story. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 7:4.

3. The idiot bakes snow in the oven and expects ice-cream pie. Rec. dist.: Ill.

4. The idiot looks at the mirror and sees a scholar. Rec. dist.: Ill.

idle1. Be always ashamed to catch yourself idle. Vars.: (a) Be ashamed to catch yourself idle. (b) Never be idle. Rec. dist.: Ind.1st cit.: US 1741 Franklin, PRAlmanac. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 1215:8.

2. Better be idle than badly employed. Vars.: (a) Better idle than workin' for nothin'. (b) You're idle if you might be better employed. Rec. dist.: Minn. 1st cit.: 1560 More, "Dedication" in Defense of Women. 20c. coll.: Stevenson 1213:5.

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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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