- 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 for proverb 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 proverb
This work takes a page from President Ronald Reagan, who liked to repeat the Russian proverb “trust but verify.”It’s Time to Nail the Iran Nuke Deal
Rep. Rush Holt, Kate Gould
October 15, 2014
In the case of Kudo-kai case boss Nomura, the appropriate Japanese proverb appears to be: “The mouth is the gate of misfortune.”The Case of the Yakking Yakuza
September 16, 2014
The catch phrase, which Reagan borrowed from a Russian proverb, was “trust but verify.”Mike Leach Tackles Geronimo the Motivational Murderer
James A. Warren
August 17, 2014
The rich,” according to a Spanish proverb, “laugh carefully.Mel Brooks Is Always Funny and Often Wise in This 1975 Playboy Interview
February 16, 2014
An Arabic proverb: “Think of the going-out before you enter.”Their Fight…But Our Legacy: The New Battle for Fallujah
John Kael Weston
January 12, 2014
"Like master, like man" was a proverb which he saw daily fulfilled.The Raid From Beausejour; And How The Carter Boys Lifted The Mortgage
Charles G. D. Roberts
"As docile as Daisy" might have been a proverb in the neighborhood, so general was this view of her nature.In the Valley
There's no inconvenience but has its convenience, said Betty, giving me proverb for proverb.Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
"In a multitude of counsellors there is wisdom," saith the proverb.
An Italian proverb says: "The furrier gets the skins of more foxes than asses."
- 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 proverb
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.”)