Definition of proverb in English:


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  • A short pithy saying in general use, stating a general truth or piece of advice.

    ‘Riddles, proverbs, and sayings that describe proper behavior for both young and old Kenyans are still common.’
    • ‘Beware of proverbs: they are a snare and a delusion.’
    • ‘To quote a Kannada proverb it is like water off a buffalo's back.’
    • ‘It's tough to choose a single epitaph for a man who invoked so many epigrams and proverbs.’
    • ‘It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness, as a rough translation of a Chinese proverb goes.’
    • ‘I hate wise proverbs, as a rule, but the one about ‘all work and no play’ certainly springs to mind.’
    • ‘He gives his advice with old Iraqi proverbs and quotes from the Koran.’
    • ‘There is literal truth in the proverb that habit is second nature.’
    • ‘Riddles and proverbs can influence each other and sometimes a piece of advice in proverb form can be turned into a riddle, or vice versa.’
    • ‘The shrewdness and sharpness of his proverbs and his forceful epigrams serve, in an exceptional degree, to make ethical ideas a popular possession.’
    • ‘He is well known for weaving proverbs and traditional storytelling into the western form of the novel.’
    • ‘Adinkra symbols usually represent popular proverbs, adages or traditional concepts in Ghanaian culture.’
    • ‘Sheikh Mo, who fancies himself a prophet of modernisation, likes to impress visitors with clever proverbs and heavy aphorisms.’
    • ‘The sayings are in the form of proverbs, parables, aphorisms, and exhortations.’
    • ‘Norwegians tend to integrate sayings and proverbs into daily conversations.’
    • ‘When I was younger I had had a Polish violin teacher, and she had told me a Yiddish proverb that proved to be the truth.’
    • ‘They still exchange mnemonic sayings, adages and proverbs.’
    • ‘His sayings and proverbs, which embodied his philosophy of life, were handed down from generation to generation.’
    • ‘Songs, stories, proverbs, and sayings have been passed down over thousands of years.’
    • ‘The epic by Waris is interspersed with proverbs, sayings, folktales, history and poetry par excellence.’
    saying, adage, saw, maxim, axiom, motto, aphorism, epigram, gnome, dictum, precept
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/ˈprävərb/ /ˈprɑvərb/


Middle English from Old French proverbe, from Latin proverbium, from pro- ‘(put) forth’ + verbum ‘word’.