Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Think before you start

A few years ago I compiled a fairly massive list of common English language idioms, proverbs, maxims, adages and sayings. My thinking was that perhaps these formed some sort cultural programming that complements parental modeling, educational lessons, etc. The idea is that these proverbs form a linguistic cultural foundation that likely shapes and even influences human decisions and actions, likely unconsciously.

I know I mined all sorts of old and ancient texts. I don't recall, though, running across Erasmus's Adagia. Erasmus apparently compiled an immense collection of Latin and Greek proverbs. An English translation is here.

Below is a sample of some of the English translations of Greek and Latin proverbs recorded by Eramus. Just a sample.
More haste, less speed
One step at a time
To be in the same boat
To lead one by the nose
A rare bird
Even a child can see it
To have one foot in Charon's boat (To have one foot in the grave)
To walk on tiptoe
One to one
Out of tune
A point in time
I gave as bad as I got (I gave as good as I got)
To call a spade a spade
Hatched from the same egg
Up to both ears (Up to his eyeballs)
As though in a mirror
Think before you start
What's done cannot be undone
Many parasangs ahead (Miles ahead)
We cannot all do everything
Many hands make light work
A living corpse
Where there's life, there's hope
To cut to the quick
Time reveals all things
Golden handcuffs
Crocodile tears
To show the middle finger
You have touched the issue with a needle-point (To have nailed it)
To walk the tightrope
Time tempers grief (Time heals all wounds)
With a fair wind
To dangle the bait
To swallow the hook
The bowels of the earth
From heaven to earth
The dog is worthy of his dinner
To weigh anchor
To grind one's teeth
Nowhere near the mark
Complete the circle
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king
A cough for a fart
No sooner said than done
Neither with bad things nor without them (Women: can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em)
Between a stone and a shrine (Between a rock and a hard place)
Like teaching an old man a new language (Can't teach an old dog new tricks)
A necessary evil
There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip
To squeeze water out of a stone
To leave no stone unturned
Let the cobbler stick to his last (Stick to your knitting)
God helps those who help themselves
The grass is greener over the fence
The cart before the horse
Dog in the manger
One swallow doesn't make a summer
His heart was in his boots
To sleep on it
To break the ice
To die of laughing
To have an iron in the fire
To look a gift horse in the mouth
Neither fish nor flesh
Like father, like son
Not worth a snap of the fingers
He blows his own trumpet
To show one's heels

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