Reference > Quotations > W.C. Hazlitt, comp. > English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · ABBREVIATIONS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
W.C. Hazlitt, comp.  English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases.  1907.
 
Wilful waste  to  You cast your net
 
Wilful waste brings woeful want.  10400
Will any hang a wooden kettle over the fire?  10401
Will buyeth, and money payeth. B. OF M. R.  10402
Will is the cause of woe.  10403
Will will have will, though will woe win. HE.  10404
Willi nilli. SPENSER.
  i.e., Will he, nill he. Nilly-willy is a phrase for a wavering person.
  10405
Willows are weak, yet they bind other wood. H.  10406
Will’s a good boy when Will’s at home. CL.  10407
Willy Bickerton’s blade.
  A cant term of somewhat dubious signification. “— if not, and that I proue too weake for him in sophistrie, I meane to borrowe Wili Bickertons blade, of as good a temper as Morglay….” A Notable Discovery of Cosenage, 1591, Preface.
  10408
Wiltshire moonrakers.
  The expression of ‘Hampshire and Wiltshire moonrakers’ had its origin in the Wiltshire peasants fishing up the contraband goods at night brought through the [New] Forest and hid in the various ponds.”—Wise’s New Forest, 1867, p. 170. Compare the History of Sign-Boards, 1867, p. 463.
  10409
Win at first, and lose at last.
  Title of a ballad printed about 1660. See my Bibl. Coll., 1882, p. 115.
  10410
Win gold and wear gold. C.  10411
Win whoso may, it is for all to sell.
  Chaucer’s Wif of Bathes Prologe.
  10412
Wind and weather, do thy worst.  10413
Wine and wenches empty men’s purses.  10414
Wine by the savour, bread by the colour. B. OF M. R.  10415
Wine-counsels seldom prosper. H.
  Sometimes we find this in rhyme:
        “The counsels that are given in wine,
Will do no good to thee or thine.”
  10416
Wine hath drowned more men than the sea.  10417
Wine is a turncoat: first a friend, then an enemy.  10418
Wine makes old wives wenches. CL.  10419
Wine neither keeps secrets nor fulfils promises.  10420
Wine that costs nothing is digested ere it be drunk.  10421
Wine washeth off the daub.  10422
Wine, wood, women, and water. Herefordshire.
  This county is said to be famous for its four W’s, viz., its wine (cider), its wood (its sylvan scenery), its women, and its water (the river Wye).
  10423
Winkabank and Temple-brough,
will buy all England through and through. Yorkshire.
  Winkabank is a wood upon a hill near Sheffield, where there are some remainders of on old camp. Temple-brough stands between the Rother and the Don, about a quarter of a mile from the place where these two rivers meet. It is a square plat of ground, encompassed by two trenches. Selden often inquired for the ruins of a temple of the god Thor, which he said was near Rotherham. This probably might be it, if we allow the name for any argument: besides, there is a pool not far from it called Jordon-dam, which name seems to be compounded of Jor, one of the names of the god Thor, and Don, the name of the river.—R.
  10424
Wink at small faults.
  One of the earliest originators, if not authors, of a proverb, was Cipius the Roman, who winked at a very great fault, in pretending to be asleep while his wife received her admirer. The saying ascribed to him was, “Non omnibus dormio,” by way, as it were, of self-vindication.
  10425
Winter and wedlock tame man and beast.  10426
Winter finds out what summer lays up.  10427
Winter is summer’s heir.
  Al invierno lluvioso, verano abundoso. Span.—R.
  10428
Winter never rots in the sky. D.  10429
Winter shall warp water.
        “Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky;
Thou dost not bite so nigh
  As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
  As friend remembered not.”
As You Like It.    
  10430
Winter thunder makes summer’s wonder. C.
  Willsford’s Nature’s Secrets, 1658, p. 113.
  10431
Winter-time for shoeing,
peascod-time for wooing. Devonshire.
  See my Faiths and Folklore, 1905, p. 485.
  10432
Winter weather and women’s thoughts often change.  10433
Winter’s thunder and summer’s flood
never boded Englishman good.
  10434
Wisdom in a poor man is a diamond set in lead.  10435
Wisdom is a good purchase, though we pay dear for it.  10436
Wisdom liketh not chance.
  Lottery of 1567 (Kempe’s Loseley MSS., 1836, p. 210).
  10437
Wisdom sometimes walks in clouted shoes.  10438
Wise behind the hand.
  The Comicall History of the Marriage twixt Fergusia and Heptarchus (circa 1670), p. 32.
  10439
Wise fear begets care.  10440
Wise men change their mind, fools never.  10441
Wise men have their mouth in their heart, fools their heart in their mouth.  10442
Wise men in the world are like timber trees in a hedge, here and there one.  10443
Wise men learn by other men’s mistakes, fools by their own.  10444
Wise words and great seldom agree.  10445
Wishers and woulders be no good householders. HE.
  Stanbridge in his Vulgaria, more than once printed by W. de Worde, includes in his examples:—
        “Wysshers and wolders be small housholders—”
  Countryman’s New Commonwealth, 1647.
        “The Hauke sayd, wysshers want wyll,
Whether they speake loud or styll.”
Parliament of Byrdes (circa 1550), in Hazlitt’s P. P., iii. 171.    
  10446
Wishes can never fill a sack.  10447
Wit and wisdom are good warison, quoth Hendyng.
  i.e., possession. P. of H. in Rel. Antiq., i. 109.
  10448
Wit bought is better than wit taught.
  Chamberlain’s Conceits, Clinches, &c., 1639 (ap. Old Engl. J. B., iii.)
  10449
Wit goes not all by the hair.
  Sir Thomas More, a play (circa 1590), ed. Dyce, 59.
  10450
Wit is folly unless a wise man hath the keeping of it.  10451
Wit is never good till it be bought. HE.
  Scogin’s Jests, ed. 1626.
  10452
Wit may be bought too dear.  10453
Wit, whither wilt thou?
  See Nares’ Glossary, ed. 1859, p. 966.
  10454
Wit without wisdom cuts other men’s meat and its own fingers.  10455
With a fool and a knave there’s no conclusion.  10456
With a grain of allowance.
  The Latin Cum grano salis is at least equally familiar.
  10457
With a little steel a little man’s armed. DS.  10458
With a mischief.
        “And also your comming I would disdayne,
And bid you walke with a wylde mischief.”
Wife Lapped in Morelles Skin (circa, 1570), in Hazlitt’s Pop. Poetry, iv. 187.
  10459
With a wanion.
  Towneley Mysteries, 109; Harman’s Caveat, 1567. “Was not this a good prelate? he should haue bene at home preachynge in hys Dioces in a wanion.”—Latimer’s Sermons, 1549, repr. Arber, p. 63.
  10460
With a wet finger, i.e., without any trouble. HE.*
  Bishop Pilkington’s Burning of Paules Church, 1561.
        “Lentulo.  No, sir? what will you lay, and I can finde
One with a wet finger that is starke blinde?”
Rare Triumphes of Love and Fortune, 1589, edit. 1851, p. 107.
  “Porter.  If I may trust a woman, sir, she will come.
  “Fustigo.  There’s for thy pain (gives money): God a mercy, if ever I stand in need of a Wench that will come with a wet finger, porter, thou shalt earn my money before any clarissimo in Milan.”—The Honest Whore, by Decker and Middleton, 1604 (Middleton’s Works, 1840, iii. 10). See also v. 1 (ibid. 97). It also occurs in Day’s Ile of Gvls, 1606, repr. 107, in Dekker’s Strange Horse Race, 1613, sign. D 3, and elsewhere. My American correspondent, however, says:—“I think Heywood errs in rendering this “without any trouble.” “The wet finger of intrigue” is an old phrase, apparently derived from a practice of writing on the table with a wine-wet finger.”
  10461
With all your joy join all your jeopardy. HE.*  10462
With as good a will as ever I came from school.  10463
With as good will as a bear goeth to the stake. HE.  10464
With bag and baggage.
  Decker’s Lanthorne and Candlelight, 1608, sign. I 4.
  10465
With butler’s grace.
  i.e., with very little grace at all. “The respect which the wantonest and vainest heads haue of them, is as of fiddlers, who are regarded but for a baudy song, at a merry meeting, and when they haue done, are commonly sent away with Butlers grace.”—Melton’s Sixe-Folde Politician, 1609, sign. D.
  10466
With cost one may make good pottage of a footstool.  10467
With empty hand men may no hawks lure. HE.
  Chaucer’s Wif of Bathes Prologe.
  10468
With foxes we must play the fox.  10469
With no fortune but a Midland water-mill.
  The New Westminster Wedding, 1693, p. 3. A coarse adage requiring no gloss.
  10470
With one child you may walk; with two you may ride;
when you have three, at home you must bide. Cornwall.
  10471
With respect to the gout, / the physician is but a lout.  10472
With time and patience the leaf of the mulberry-tree becomes satin. Walpoliana.  10473
Witham pike: / England hath none like.
  Witham seems to have been famed for its eels:—
        “Thence to Witham, having red there
That the fattest Eele was bred there,
Purposing some to intangle,
Forth I went and tooke mine angle,
Where an huge one having hooked,
By her headlong was I dooked.”
Barnabæ Itinerarium (1638), sign. Q 7.    
  Compare note to my edition on this passage.
  10474
Withhold not thine hand from shewing to the poor.  10475
Within a hog’s gape. E. Anglia.
  Very near or soon.
  10476
Within the danger of any one.
  Into any one’s hands or power. “I was as ware as I could bee, not to vtter anything for mine owne harme, for feare I should come in their daunger.”—Wilson’s Arte of Rhetorique, edit. 1584, sign. A v. So, in the Paston Letters, ed. Gairdner, iii. 179, speaking of a man who had left his home in debt, John Paston writes to his father, 9th March, 1477: “he departyd with ought lycence of hys mastyr, Sir Thomas Brewse, and is fere endangered to dyvers in thys contrey.” The phrase occurs again in a letter from Henry Windsor to John Paston, assigned to 1458.
  10477
Without all [awl] the cobbler’s nobody. CL.  10478
Without book.
  At random. So Gascoigne, in the Epistle to the Yong Gentlemen before his Posies, 1575, says: “There are also certaine others who thinke it sufficient if (parrot like) they can rehearse things without booke.” See also the Works, ii. 3.
  10479
Without hope the heart would break. C.  10480
Without pains, no gains.
  Or, No gains without pains; or, No sweet without some sweat. “Dii laboribus omnia vendunt. Carne sem osso, proveito sem trabalho. Port. Quien peces quiere, mejarse tiene. Span. No se toman truchas á bragas enxutas.”—R.
  10481
Wits are most wilful where women have wits,
which curtily [curtly] cometh upon them by fits.
  Rel. Ant., ii. 195.
  10482
Wives must be had, / be they good or bad.  10483
Woe the pie!
  A saying found in Damon and Pithias, 1571. Dodsley’s O. P., 1825, i. 193.
  10484
Woe to the house where there is no chiding. H.
  New Help to Discourse, 1721, p. 134.
  10485
Wolves College.
  i.e., The Rose Tavern. See Thoms’ Anecdotes and Traditions, p. 21.
  10486
Wolves in lambskins.
  Part of the title of a volume issued by Anthony Munday in 1605.
  10487
Wolves lose their teeth, but not their memory.
  This is curiously illustrated by the story in the Philosopher’s Banquet, 1614, which I printed in Faiths and Folklore, 1905—at least as regards the memory of wolves.
  10488
Women and dogs cause much strife.
  Schole-house of Women, 1541 (Hazlitt’s Pop. Poetry, iv. 131), where it is called “the proverb olde.”
  10489
Women and hens, through too much gadding, are lost.  10490
Women and wine, game and deceit,
make the wealth small and the wants great.
  10491
Women are born in Wiltshire,
brought up in Cumberland,
lead their lives in Bedfordshire,
bring their husbands to Buckingham,
and die in Shrewsbury.
  Wit Restor’d, 1658.
  10492
Women are saints in the church, angels in the street, devils in the kitchen, and apes in bed.
  Middleton’s Blurt, Master Constable, 1602 (Works, 1840, i. 280). This saying is rather elaborately illustrated in Jacques Olivier’s work called L’Alphabet de l’ Imperfection des Femmes, first published about 1617.
  10493
Women are ships, and must be manned.
  An Excellent Medley, a ballad printed about 1630 (Collier’s Broadside Black-letter Ballads, 1868, p. 122).
  10494
Women are the devil’s nets.
  Comedy, &c., showing the Beauty and Good Properties of Women, &c. (circa 1520), fol. 3 verso. This is printed in the first volume of Hazlitt’s Dodsley.
  10495
Women be forgetful, / children be unkind,
executors be covetous, / and take what they find:
if anybody asks where / the dead’s goods become?
they answer,
so God me help and holydoom, / he died a poor man.
  Reliquiæ Hearnianæ, p. 215. This is quoted from Stowe, who calls it an “old proverb.” See Southey’s Commonplace Book, 3rd Ser., p. 139.
  10496
Women commend a modest man, but like him not.  10497
Women conceal all that they know not.  10498
Women in mischief are wiser than men.
  When the clue to any trouble is wanting, the French say: “Cherchez la femme!”
  10499
Women laugh when they can, and weep when they will. H.
  See Hazlitt’s Dodsley, xiii. 141.
  10500
Women, money, and wine, / have their good and their pine. W.  10501
Women must have their wills while they live, because they make none when they die.
  This is one of the saws which legal changes have deprived of their truth and application.
  10502
Women think plaice a sweet fish.
  Apparently a jeu de mot on the similarity of sound and form between plaice and the Latin place.
  10503
Women, wind, and fortune, are ever changing.  10504
Women’s jars breed men’s wars.  10505
Women’s tongues, whene’er they talk:
    Tittle tattle! tittle tattle!
Like their pattens, when they walk:
    Pittle pattle! pittle pattle!
Won with an apple and lost with a nut.
  Day’s Blind-Beggar of Bednal Green, 1659, ed. Bullen, 66.
  10506
Won with the egg and lost with the shell. CL.
        “Wonne with an egge, and lost againe with shell.”
—Gascoigne’s Aduentures of Master F. I. (Poems, by Hazlitt, i. 483).
  10507
Won’t beguil’d the lady.  10508
Wood Fidley rain. Hampshire.
  Wise’s New Forest, 2nd ed., 1867, p. 79.
  10509
Wood half-burnt is easily kindled. H.  10510
Wood in wilderness and strength in a fool.  10511
Wooers and widows are never poor.
  Ralph Roister Doister (1566).
  10512
Worcester, poor, proud, and pretty.  10513
Words are but wind, but blows unkind.
  [Greek].—R.
  10514
Words have long tails, and have no tails.  10515
Words may pass, but blows fall heavy. Somersetshire.  10516
Worse afeard than hurt.
  Title, or subtitle rather, of a play produced in 1598.
  10517
Worth a Jew’s eye.
  Perhaps this means the ransom of a Jew’s eye in the old days of persecution, what a Hebrew would give to save his eye.
  10518
Worth a plum.
  It is said of a man who is accredited with large means that he is “worth a plum.” Tiene pluma. Span. The Spanish word pluma means wealth or a feather. Perhaps we get from the same language the phrase, “To feather one’s nest.”
  10519
Worth one’s weight in magpies. Cornwall.  10520
Wotton under Weaver, / where God came never. C.
  Leigh’s England Described, 1659, p. 179. “Wotton under Weaverhill (Staff.) is so much out of the sunshine that this rhime is common with the neighbours.”—England’s Gazetteer, 1751.
  10521
Would you be thanked for feeding your own swine?  10522
Would you cut down Falkland-wood with a penknife?  10523
Would you draw oil out of sand?  10524
Would you dye a raven black?  10525
Would you have potatoes grow by the pot-side?  10526
Would you know what money is, go borrow some. H.  10527
Would you thatch your house with pancakes?  10528
Wranglers are never in the wrong.  10529
Wraysbury.
  It is a local saying connected with this place, in Buckinghamshire near Staines, when all is well, “From Wraysbury—where do you think?” in reply to an inquiry; but when the place is in floods, the form is: “From Wraysbury—God help me!” This is common to other places.
  10530
Wrens may prey where eagles dare not perch.  10531
Wrinkled purses make wrinkled faces.  10532
Write down the advice of him who loves you, though you like it not at present.  10533
Write with the learned, but speak with the vulgar.  10534
Wroth as the wind.
  Langland’s Poem on the Deposition of Richard II., Camd. Soc., 20.
  10535
Yarmouth for the sinners: / Cromer for the saints: / Lowestoft …
  Four places are enumerated in a complete copy of this saying; but my informant had forgotten the rest. Not in Forby.
  10536
Ye be a baby of Beelzebub’s bower. HE.*  10537
Ye be as full of good manners as an egg is of oatmeal.
  Whitinton’s Vulgaria, 1520, cited in Bibliographer, Jan. 1882.
  10538
Ye came a clipping-time.  10539
Ye cut afore the point.  10540
Ye drive a snail to Rome.  10541
Ye lean to the wrong shore. HE.*  10542
Ye look liker a thief than a bishop.  10543
Ye may keep y’re dry rubs for your watery p’taturs. Irish.  10544
Ye ride a bootless errand.  10545
Years know more than books.  10546
Ye’d as lief go to mill as to mass. C.  10547
Yeker that can’t scheme must louster. S. Devon and Corn.
  Mr. Shelly observes: “He that cannot direct, must labour with his hands. Mr. Wedgwood thinks Yeker may be ‘thikky there;’ I know no other instance of the use of the word.” Probably Younker.
  10548
Yellow as a peigle. Kent.
  Skeat’s ed. of Pegge’s Kenticisms, 100. This is substantially identical in sense with, As black [or pale] as a paigle, supra.
  10549
Yellow bellies.
  An appellation given to persons born in the Fens.—R.
  10550
Yelping curs may anger mastiffs at last.  10551
Yeow mussent sing a’ Sunday, / becaze it is a sin:
but yeow may sing a’ Monday,
till Sunday cums agin. Suffolk.
  10552
Ye’re early with your orders, as the bride said at the church door. Irish.  10553
Ye’ve nails at wad scrat your granny out of her grave. Leeds.  10554
Yoke, Irwell, Medlock, and Fame,
when they meet with the Mersey do lose their name.
  Higson’s MSS. Coll., No. 91. These are the names of small streams, which flow into the larger one, and so lose their individuality.
  10555
York, you’re wanted.
  See N. and Q., 3rd S., x. 355.
  10556
Yorkshire.
  A term proverbially applied to a share in travelling expenses. “To do Yorkshire.”
  10557
You and I draw in the same yoke.  10558
You are a fine fellow to fetch the devil a priest.  10559
You are a man among the geese when the gander is away.  10560
You are a man of Duresley. Gloucestershire.
  This is taken for one that breaks his word and fails in performance of his promise; parallel to Fides Græca or Punica. Duresley is a market and clothing town in this county, the inhabitants whereof will endeavour to confute and disprove this proverb, to make it false now, whatsoever it was at the first original thereof.—R.
  10561
You are a pretty fellow to ride a goose a gallop through a dirty lane.  10562
You are a sweet nut if you were well cracked.  10563
You are all for the Hoistings.
  Or, hustings. “It is spoken of those, who, by pride or passion, are elated or mounted to a pitch above the due proportion of their birth, quality, or estate. It cometh from Hustings, the principal and highest court in London (as also in Winchester, Lincoln, York, &c.); so called from the [A.S. hus, a house, and thing, a plea or cause—the Court of Pleas.]”—R.
  10564
You are always best when asleep.  10565
You are an honest man, and I am your uncle; and that’s two lies.  10566
You are hanging ripe. W.  10567
You are in your roast-meat when others are in their sod.  10568
You are like a cuckoo: you have but one song.  10569
You are like a hog, never good while living.  10570
You are like fig-tree fuel: much smoke and little fire.  10571
You are like foul weather, you come unsent for, and troublesome when come.  10572
You are mope-eyed by living so long a maid.  10573
You are never well, full nor fasting.  10574
You are not one of our paste. WALKER (1672).  10575
You are on the high-road to Needham. Suffolk.
  Needham is a market town in this county; according to the wit of the vulgar, they are said to be in the high-way thither which do hasten to poverty.—R.
  10576
You are one of those lawyers that never heard of Littleton.  10577
You are saying the ape’s paternoster. D.
  A kind of proverbial taunt to one whose teeth are chattering with cold.—D.
  10578
You are so cunning, you know not what weather it is when it rains.  10579
You are very free of another man’s pottage.  10580
You are well seen in crane’s dirt: your father was a poulter.
  This appears to be cited as a proverbial phrase by Lyly in his Mother Bombie (Works, 1858, ii. 97): its import is obvious enough.
  10581
You ask an elm-tree for pears.  10582
You been like Smithwick, either clemed or bossten. Cheshire.
  See Wilbraham’s Cheshire Glossary, 1820, pp. 21–26.
  10583
You bestow water on a gate-post. CL.  10584
You bring a bit of wire and take away a bar.  10585
You bring owls to Athens. F.
  Noctuas Athenas.—Motto on the title of Drayton’s Owl, 1604.
  10586
You cackle often, but never lay an egg.  10587
You came for wool, but shall return shorn yourself.  10588
You can have no more of a cat than her skin.
  i.e., The skin is the only valuable part.
  10589
You cannot both eat your cake and have your cake. HE.
  Vorrebbe mangiar il formagio e le trovar in tasca. Ital.
  10590
You cannot flay a stone. H.  10591
You cannot hide an eel in a sack. H.  10592
You cannot know wine by the barrel. H.  10593
You cannot make a horn of a pig’s tail.
  Parallel hereto is that of Apostolius, [Greek]. An ass’s tail will not make a sieve.—R.
  10594
You cannot make a silk purse of a sow’s ear.
  De ruin paño nunca buen sayo. Span.—R.
  10595
You cannot make a windmill go with a pair of bellows. H.  10596
You cannot say B to a battledore.
  Humphrey King’s Pennyworth of Wit in Half a Pennyworth of Paper, 1613.
  10597
You cannot say Bo to a goose.
  Ludus Ludi Literarius, 1672. Pref.
  10598
You cannot see the wood for trees. HE.  10599
You cannot spell Yarmouth steeple right.
  Yarmouth spire being crooked or awry. This saying is likewise applied to Chesterfield spire in Derbyshire.—R.
  10600
You cannot tell: you are naught to keep sheep.
  “Clare.  Troth, sir … I cannot tell.
  “Sear.  And if you cannot tell, beauty, I take the adage for my reply: you are naught to keep sheep.”
—Wilkins, Miseries of Enforced Marriage, 1607 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, ix. 477).
  10601
You can’t fare well, but you must cry roast-meat. C.
  Sasse bonne farine sans trompe ni buccine. Fr. Bolt thy fine meal, and eat good paste, without report or trumpet’s blast. [Greek]. They that are thirsty drink silently.
                    “Si corvus tacuisset, haberet
Plus dapis et rixæ multo minus invidiæque.” Horat.—R.
  10602
You can’t judge of the horse by the harness.  10603
You can’t see green cheese, but your teeth must water. R. 1670.  10604
You can’t sell the cow, and have her milk too.  10605
You can’t whistle and drink at the same time.  10606
You cast your net, but nothing was caught.  10607
 

 
CONTENTS · ABBREVIATIONS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors