- (used with a singular verb) a book of the Bible, containing the sayings of sages. Abbreviation: Prov.
- a short popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought; adage; saw.
- a wise saying or precept; a didactic sentence.
- a person or thing that is commonly regarded as an embodiment or representation of some quality; byword.
- Bible. a profound saying, maxim, or oracular utterance requiring interpretation.
- to utter in the form of a proverb.
- to make (something) the subject of a proverb.
- to make a byword of.
Origin of proverb
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- a word that can substitute for a verb or verb phrase, as do in They never attend board meetings, but we do regularly.
Origin of pro-verb
Examples from the Web for proverbs
She hilariously explains Chinese proverbs when someone sneezes off-camera during interviews.Tennis Star Li Na Says Goodbye to the Court…and Puts the Sport’s Rise in Asia in Question
September 19, 2014
When you think of proverbs, you picture expressions of ancient wisdom.13 Crazy, Dirty Modern Proverbs
Fred R. Shapiro
May 30, 2012
He reminded the audience of the words of Proverbs: As iron sharpeneth iron, so a friend sharpens the mind of his friend.The Hitchens Memorial Service
April 21, 2012
Scripture is real clear in Proverbs 15:1, ‘A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.’The GOP Sounds Un-Christian in Condemning Obama’s Quran-Burning Apology
February 28, 2012
But there is no secret whatever about it, as the proverbs of every nation abundantly testify.Self-Help
Xenophon's ideal wife was a good housekeeper—like her of the Proverbs.The Truth About Woman
C. Gasquoine Hartley
Proverbs ought to be respected; for it is said that no phrase becomes a proverb until after a century's experience of its truth.The Secret Memoirs of Louis XV./XVI, Complete
Madame du Hausset, an "Unknown English Girl" and the Princess Lamballe
Arulai said there was, and she expounded certain verses from the Book of Proverbs.Lotus Buds
Proverbs, like the sacred books of each nation, are the sanctuary of the intuitions.Essays, First Series
Ralph Waldo Emerson
- (functioning as singular) a book of the Old Testament consisting of the proverbs of various Israelite sages including Solomon
- a short, memorable, and often highly condensed saying embodying, esp with bold imagery, some commonplace fact or experience
- a person or thing exemplary in respect of a characteristicAntarctica is a proverb for extreme cold
- ecclesiast a wise saying or admonition providing guidance
- to utter or describe (something) in the form of a proverb
- to make (something) a proverb
Word Origin and History for proverbs
c.1300, in boke of Prouerbyys, the Old Testament work, from Old French proverbe (12c.) and directly from Latin proverbium "a common saying, old adage, maxim," literally "words put forward," from pro- "forth" (see pro-) + verbum "word" (see verb). Used generally from late 14c. The Book of Proverbs in Old English was cwidboc, from cwide "speech, saying, proverb, homily," related to cwiddian "to talk, speak, say, discuss;" cwiddung "speech, saying, report."
A brief, memorable saying that expresses a truth or belief, such as “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” (See examples under “Proverbs.”)