Words can inspire, motivate, and offer insights into the human experience. In this blog post, I've compiled a collection of timeless phrases and sayings that capture essential truths and offer a unique perspective on life. Use these words as a tool for self-reflection and understanding the world around you. Read on for a dose of inspiration and enlightenment.

“If the bulk of people buying something can’t fully appreciate or care about good quality, it’s a waste of time and money to provide it”

-John S

Terms and Phrases

Hard work usually pays off

Follow the money

K.I.S.S - Keep it Simple, Stupid

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"

"Brevity is the soul of wit"

"It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away"

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler"

“You’re only as good as your last at-bat”

“Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.”

“"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men..."

“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God.[8][7] (Shermer's last law)

Any sufficiently advanced act of benevolence is indistinguishable from malevolence[9] (referring to artificial intelligence)

The following two variants are very similar, and combine the third law with Hanlon's razor

Any sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice[10] (Clark's law)

Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice[7] (Grey's law)

Any sufficiently advanced troll is indistinguishable from a genuine kook or the viewpoints of even the most extreme crank are indistinguishable from sufficiently advanced satire (Poe's law)

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo[11]

Any sufficiently advanced idea is distinguishable from mere magical incantation provided the former is presented as a mathematical proof, verifiable by sufficiently competent mathematicians[12]

Any sufficiently crappy research is indistinguishable from fraud (Andrew Gelman)[13]

It is easier to destroy than to create.

Ethics change with technology.

Positioning: When one party speaks for 80%+ of the conversation, padding with generalities, vacuous truths, and self-evident, obvious statements, they are seizing control and ownership of the conversation, positioning its participants and everyone’s understanding. As people nod along with a stream of clear, undeniable statements, misinformation and opinion can be injected, and the people listening often swallow it, unaware. Positioning makes the speaker seem like they have understanding and a foundation of truth their statements are built on. A shrewd dissection of this behavior actually reveals that everyone’s intelligence is insulted by obvious generalities and their time is wasted by someone who controls the conversation’s outcome by verbal bombardment.

“Perfect is the enemy of good”

"Premature optimization is the root of all evil"

A bad excuse is better than none

A bad penny always turns up

A bad workman blames his tools.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

A cat may look at a king

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link

A dog is a man's best friend.

A fool and his money are soon parted[11]

A friend in need (is a friend indeed)

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

A little learning is a dangerous thing

A leopard cannot change its spots.

A mill cannot grind with the water that is past.

A miss is as good as a mile

A new language is a new life. Persian proverb[12]

A penny saved is a penny earned.

A picture is worth a thousand words

A rising tide lifts all boats

A rolling stone gathers no moss

A stitch in time (saves nine)

A watched man never plays

A watched pot/kettle never boils

Absence makes the heart grow fonder [a]

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. John Dalberg-Acton, 1887[a][13]

Accidents will happen (in the best-regulated families).[a]

Actions speak louder than words.[a][b]

Adversity makes strange bedfellows[a]

All good things come to he who waits[a]

All good things must come to an end[a][b]

All hands on deck/to the pump

All is grist that comes to the mill[a]

All roads lead to Rome,[a][b]

All that glitters/glistens is not gold,[a][b]

All the world loves a lover[a]

All things come to those who wait[a]

All things must pass[a]

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy[a][b]

All you need is love[a]

All is fair in love and war[a]

All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds[a]

All is well that ends well[a]

An apple a day keeps the doctor away[a]

An army marches on its stomach. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821), military leader and Emperor of France[14]

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948), leader of the Indian independence movement

An Englishman's home is his castle/A man's home is his castle[a]

Another day, another dollar.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure[a]

Any port in a storm[a][b]

Any publicity is good publicity[a]

April showers bring forth May flowers,[a][b]

As you make your bed, so you must lie upon it[a]

As you sow so shall you reap[a]

Ask a silly question and you will get a silly answer[a]

Ask my companion if I be a thief[b]

Ask no questions and hear no lies[a]

Attack is the best form of defense[a]


Bad news travels fast[a]

Barking dogs seldom bite,[a][b]

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder[a]

Beauty is only skin deep[a][b]

Beggars cannot be choosers[a][b]

Behind every great man, there is a great woman[a]

Better late than never[a]

Better safe than sorry[a]

Better the Devil you know (than the Devil you do not)[a]

Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all[a]

Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness[a]

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt[a]

Better wear out than rust out.[b]

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Trojan War, Virgil in the Aeneid[15]

Big fish eat little fish[a]

Birds of a feather (flock together)[a]

Blood is thicker than water

Born with a silver spoon in one's mouth

Boys will be boys[a]

Brevity is the soul of wit (Shakespeare),[a][b]

Business before pleasure[a]


Caesar's wife must be above suspicion[a]

Careless talk costs lives

Charity begins at home[a]

Cheats never prosper[a]

Cheese, wine, and friends must be old to be good.

Children should be seen and not heard[a]

Christmas comes but once a year[b]

Cleanliness is next to godliness[a]

Clothes make the man[a]

Coffee and love taste best when hot. Ethiopian proverb

Cold hands, warm heart[a]

Comparisons are odious[a]

Count your blessings[a]

Courage is the measure of a Man, Beauty is the measure of a Woman[a]

Cowards may die many times before their death[a]

Crime does not pay[a]

Cross the stream where it is shallowest

Cut your coat according to your cloth[a][b]

Curiosity killed the cat[16]


Dead men tell no tales[a]

Devil take the hindmost[a]

Discretion is the better part of valour[a]

Do as I say, not as I do[a]

Do as you would be done by[a]

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you[a]

Do not bite the hand that feeds you[a]

Do not burn your bridges behind you[a]

Do not cast your pearls before swine[a]

Do not cry over spilled milk

Do not change horses in midstream[a]

Do not count your chickens before they are hatched[a]

Do not cross the bridge till you come to it[a]

Do not cut off your nose to spite your face[a]

Do not fish for a shark with your hands, fish for hands with a shark.

Do not judge a book by its cover[a]

Do not keep a dog and bark yourself[a]

Do not let the bastards grind you down

Do not let the grass grow beneath (one's) feet

Do not look a gift horse in the mouth[a]

Do not make a mountain out of a mole hill

Do not meet troubles half-way[a]

Do not put all your eggs in one basket[a]

Do not put the cart before the horse[a]

Do not put too many irons in the fire

Do not put new wine into old bottles[a]

Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today

Do not rock the boat[a]

Do not shut/lock the stable door after the horse has bolted

Do not spend it all in one place

Do not spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar[a]

Do not throw pearls to swine[a]

Do not teach your Grandmother to suck eggs[a]

Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater[a]

Do not try to walk before you can crawl[a]

Do not upset the apple-cart[a]

Do not wash your dirty linen in public[a]

Do not sympathize with those who can not empathize

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Often referred to as the Golden Rule

Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom[a]


Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise[a][b]. Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), polymath and Founding Father of the United States

Easier said than done

East is east, and west is west (and never the twain shall meet)[a]

East, west, home is best,[a][b]

Easy come, easy go[a]

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper

Eat, drink and be merry, (for tomorrow we die)[a]

Empty vessels make the most noise[a]

Enough is as good as a feast[a]

Even a worm will turn[a]

Even from a foe a man may learn wisdom.

Every cloud has a silver lining[a]

Every dog has his day[a]

Every Jack has his Jill[a]

Every little bit helps[a]

Every man for himself (, and the Devil take the hindmost)[a]

Every man has his price[a]

Every picture tells a story[a]

Every stick has two ends[a]

Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die[a]

Everyone has their price

Everything comes to those who wait[b]

Every statement has an exception

Every tide has its ebb


Failing to plan is planning to fail[a]

Faint heart never won fair lady (Scott),[a][b]

Fair exchange is no robbery[a]

Faith will move mountains[a]

Fall seven times, stand up eight.

False friends are worse than open enemies.

Fake it til' you make it.

Familiarity breeds contempt[a]

Feed a cold and starve a fever[a]

Fight fire with fire[a]

Fine feathers make fine birds

Finders keepers (, losers weepers)[a]

Fine words butter no parsnips[a]

First come, first served[a]

First impressions are the most lasting[a]

First things first[a]

Fish always rots from the head downwards[a]

Fish and guests smell after three days[a]

Flattery will get you nowhere[a]

Fools rush in (where angels fear to tread)[a]

For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the man was lost[a]

Forewarned is forearmed[a]

Fortune favours the bold/brave[a]

Free is for me[a]

Fretting cares make grey hair

From the sublime to the ridiculous (is only a step)


Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains[a]

Give a dog a bad name and hang him[a]

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

Give a man rope enough and he will hang himself[a]

Give credit where credit is due[a]

Give him an inch and he will take a mile[b]

Give the devil his/her due

God helps those who help themselves[a]

Good fences make good neighbours[a]

Good talk saves the food[a]

Good things come to those who wait[a]

Great minds think alike[a][b]


Half a loaf is better than no bread[a]

Handsome is as handsome does[a]

Hard cases make bad law[a]

Hard work never did anyone any harm[a]

Haste makes waste[a]

He that goes a-borrowing, goes a-sorrowing[a]

He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches[a]

He who hesitates is lost[a]

He who laughs last laughs longest[a]

He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword[a]

He who loves the world as his body may be entrusted with the empire. Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC – c. 531 BC)[17]

He who makes a beast out of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man[a]

He who pays the piper calls the tune[a]

He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know. Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC – c. 531 BC)[17]

He who sups with the Devil should have a long spoon[a]

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned[a]

Heav'n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn'd,

Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn'd.

William Congreve, The Mourning Bride, Act III scene viii

Hindsight is always twenty-twenty[a]

History repeats itself[a]

Home is where the heart is[a]

Honesty is the best policy[a]

Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

Hope springs eternal[a]

Horses for courses[a]

Hunger never knows the taste, sleep never knows the comfort[a]

History repeats itself, and it does not care what it repeats


If anything can go wrong, it will[a]. Also referred to as Murphy's Law

If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well[a]

If at first you do not succeed, try, try again[a]

If God had meant us to fly, he would have given us wings[a]

If ifs and ands were pots and pans, there would be no work for tinkers[a]

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

If it were not for hope the heart would break.

If it were a snake, it would have bit you.

If the shoe fits, wear it[a]

If the mountain will not come to Mohammed, then Mohammed must go to the mountain[a]

If wealth is lost, nothing is lost. If health is lost, something is lost. If character is lost, everything is lost.[a]

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride[a]

If you're growing in Age, then you're nearing to the Graveyard[a]

If you cannot be good, be careful[a]

If you cannot beat them, join them[a]

If you cannot live longer, live deeper.

If you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen[a]

If you give a mouse a cookie, he'll always ask for a glass of milk[a]

If you think that you know everything, then you're a Jack ass[a]

If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas[a]

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys[a]

If you play with fire, you will get burned.

If you steal from one author, it is plagiarism; if you steal from many, it is research. Wilson Mizner (1876–1933), American writer and entrepreneur[18]

If you want a thing done well, do it yourself[a]

If you have never seen the bottom of the tree, you cannot know how tall it stands[a]

If you must dance with the Devil, you might as well know his favorite song. (H. Anthony Ribadeneira)[a]

If you've got it, flaunt it

Ignorance is bliss

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery[a]

In for a penny, in for a pound[a]

(March comes) in like a lion, (and goes) out like a lamb

In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king[a]

In the midst of life, we are in death[a]

Into every life a little rain must fall[a]

It ain't over till/until it's over

It ain't over till the fat lady sings

It goes without saying[a]

It is a small world

It is all grist to the mill[a]

It is an ill wind (that blows no one any good)[a]

It is best to be on the safe side[a]

It is better to be smarter than you appear than to appear smarter than you are.

It is better to give than to receive[a]

It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all[a]

It is better to cultivate a Land with two Bulls, rather working under Boss who never gives Wage when asked[a]

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness[a]

It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive[a]

It is easy to be wise after the event[a]

It is like juggling sand (Ian Murray)[a]

It is never too late[a]

It is no use crying over spilt milk[a]

It is no use locking the stable door after the horse has bolted[a]

It is not enough to learn how to ride, you must also learn how to fall.

It is on[a]

It is the early bird that gets the worm[a]

It is the empty can that makes the most noise[a]

It is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease[a]

It is what it is

It needs a Hundred Lies to cover a Single Lie[a]

It never rains but it pours[a]

It takes a thief to catch a thief[a]

It takes a whole village to raise a child

It takes all sorts to make a world[a]

It takes one to know one[a]

It takes two to tango[a]

I'm going to have to give you the pink slip[a]

It will come back and haunt you[a]

It will be the same a hundred years hence.

Islands depend on reeds,just as reeds depend on islands.[19]


Jack of all trades, master of none/one/some

Judge not, that ye be not judged


Keep your chin up[20]

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Keep your powder dry. Valentine Blacker, 1834 from Oliver's Advice[21]

Kill the chicken to scare the monkey.

Kill the goose that lays the golden egg(s).

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC – c. 531 BC)[17]

Knock on/touch wood

Know which side (one's) bread is buttered (on)

Knowledge is power, guard it well.


Laugh before breakfast, cry before supper.

Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone[a]

Laughter is the best medicine[a]

Late lunch makes day go faster.

Learn a language, and you will avoid a war. Arab proverb[12]

Least said, soonest mended[a]

Less is more[a]

Let bygones be bygones[a]

Let not the sun go down on your wrath[a]

Let sleeping dogs lie[a]

Let the buyer beware[a]

Let the cat out of the bag[22]

Let the dead bury the dead (N.T.)[a]

Let the punishment fit the crime[a]

Let well alone[a]

Let your hair down.

Life begins at forty[a]

Life is too short not to do something that matters.

Life is not all beer and skittles[a]

Life is what you make it[a]

Lightning never strikes twice in the same place[a]

Like father, like son[a][b]

Little pitchers have big ears[a]

Little strokes fell great oaks[a]

Little things please little minds[a]

Live and let live

Live for today, for tomorrow never comes[a]

Live to fight another day. This saying comes from an English proverbial rhyme, "He who fights and runs away, may live to fight another day".[a]

Loose lips sink ships

Look before you leap[a]

Love is blind. The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act II, Scene 1 (1591)[a]

Love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.[23]

Love makes the world go around[a]

Love will find a way[a]


Make hay while the sun shines[a]

Make love not war[a]

Man does not live by bread alone[a]

Manners maketh man[a]

Many a little makes a mickle[a]

Many a mickle makes a muckle[a]

Many a true word is spoken in jest[a]

Many hands make light work[a]

March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb[a]

Marriages are made in heaven[a][a]

Marry in haste, repent at leisure[b]

Memory is the treasure of the mind

Men are blind in their own cause. Heywood Broun (1888–1939), American journalist

Men get spoiled by staying, Women get spoiled by wandering[b]

Might is right[b]

Might makes right

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow[a]

Milking the bull

Misery loves company[a]

Moderation in all things[a]

Monday's child is fair of face, Tuesday's child is full of grace, Wednesday's child is full of woe, Thursday's child has far to go, Friday's child is loving and giving, Saturday's child works hard for its living, and a child that is born on the Sabbath day is fair and wise and good and gay.[a]

Money does not grow on trees[a]

Money earned by deceit, goes by deceit[a]

Money is not everything[a]

Money makes the world go around[a]

Money talks[a]

Money makes many things, but also makes devil dance[a]

More haste, less speed[a]

Mud sticks

Music has charms to soothe the savage breast[a]


Nature abhors a vacuum[a][b]

Necessity is the mother of invention[a]

Needs must when the devil drives[a]

Never cast a clout until May be out[a]

Never reveal a man's wage, and woman's age[a]

Never give advice unless asked.

Never give a sucker an even break[a]

Never judge a book by its cover[a]

Never let the sun go down on your anger[a]

Never look a gift horse in the mouth[a]

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today[a]

Never speak ill of the dead[a]

Never say never[24]

Never say die

Never tell tales out of school[a]

Never too old to learn.

Nine tailors make a man,[a][b]

No guts, no glory[a]

No man can serve two masters[a]

No man is an island[a]

No names, no pack-drill[a]

No news is good news[a]

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent[a]

No pain, no gain[a]

No rest for the wicked[a]

Not all those who wander are lost "All that is gold does not glitter" J.R.R. Tolkien (1954)

Nothing is certain but death and taxes[a]

Nothing succeeds like success,[a][b]

Nothing ventured, nothing gained[a]


Once a(n) _, always a(n) _[a]

One might as well throw water into the sea as to do a kindness to rogues

One kind word can warm three winter months

One who speaks only one language is one person, but one who speaks two languages is two people. Turkish Proverb[12]

Oil and water do not mix[a]

Old soldiers never die, (they simply/just fade away). From a soldiers' folklore song, the phrase was most notably used by U.S. General Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964) in his farewell address to the Congress.[a]

Once bitten, twice shy[a]

One good turn deserves another[a]

One half of the world does not know how the other half lives[a]

One hand washes the other[a]

One man's meat is another man's poison[a]

One man's trash is another man's treasure

One might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb[a]

One law for the rich and another for the poor[a]

One swallow does not make a summer[a]

One who believes in Sword, dies by the Sword[a]

One year's seeding makes seven years weeding[a]

Only fools and horses work[a]

Open confession is good for the soul.

Opportunity never knocks twice at any man's door[a]

Other times other manners.

Out of sight, out of mind[a]

Out of the frying pan and into the fire

Out of the mouths of babes (and sucklings)

Over greedy man, over wrathful woman will never flourish[a]


Parsley seed goes nine times to the Devil[a]

Patience is a virtue[a]

Pearls of wisdom[a]

Penny wise and pound foolish[a]

Penny, Penny. Makes many.

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones[a]

Physician, heal thyself[a]

Possession is nine-tenths of the law[a]

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely[a]

Practice makes perfect[a]

Practice what you preach[a]

Prevention is better than cure[a]

Pride comes/goes before a fall (O.T.),[a][b]

Procrastination is the thief of time

Put your best foot forward[a]

Put your money where your mouth is[a]


Red sky at night shepherds delight; red sky in the morning, shepherds warning[a]

Respect is not given, it is earned.

Revenge is a dish best served cold[a]

Revenge is sweet[a]

Rome was not built in a day[a][b]

Right or wrong, my country[a]

Rules were made to be broken.


See a penny and pick it up, all the day you will have good luck; see a penny and let it lay, bad luck you will have all day[a]

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil[a]

Seeing is believing[a]

Seek and ye shall find[a]

Set a thief to catch a thief[a]

Shiny are the distant hills[a]

Shrouds have no pockets[a]

(Speech is silver but) Silence is golden[a]

Slow and steady wins the race[a]

Slow but sure[a]

Softly, softly, catchee monkey[a]

Some are more equal than others

Sometimes we are the student. Sometimes we are the master. And sometimes we are merely the lesson – Jacalyn Smith[a]

Spare the rod and spoil the child[a]

Speak as you find[a]

Speak softly and carry a big stick[a]

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me[a]

Still waters run deep[a]

Strike while the iron is hot[a]

Stupid is as stupid does[a]

Success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan[a]

Speak of the devil and he shall/is sure/will appear

(A) swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly


Take care of the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves[a]

Talk is cheap[a]

Talk of the Devil, and he is bound to appear[a]

Tell me who your friends are, and I'll tell you who you are[25]

Tell the truth and shame the Devil (Shakespeare, Henry IV),[a][b]

That which does not kill us makes us stronger[a]

The age of miracles is past[a]

The apple does not fall/never falls far from the tree[a]

The best defence is a good offence[a]

The best-laid schemes of mice and men often go awry[a]

The best things in life are free[a]

The bigger they are, the harder they fall[a]

The boy is father to the man[a]

The bread never falls but on its buttered side[a]

The child is the father of the man[a]

The cobbler always wears the worst shoes[a]

The course of true love never did run smooth[a]

The customer is always right[a]

The darkest hour is just before the dawn[a]

The Devil finds work for idle hands to do[a]

The Devil looks after his own[a]

The die is cast[26]

The early bird catches the worm[a]

The end justifies the means[a]

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

The exception which proves the rule[a]

The female of the species is more deadly than the male[a]

The good die young[a]

The grass is always greener (on the other side) (of the fence)[a]

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world[a]

The husband is always the last to know[a]

The innocent seldom find an uncomfortable pillow. William Cowper, English poet (1731–1800)[27]

The labourer is worthy of his hire[a]

The law is an ass. From English writer Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist

The leopard does not change his spots[a]

The light is on but nobody is home

The longest day must have an end[b]

The longest journey starts with a single step[a]

The moon is made of green cheese

The more the merrier[a]

The more things change, the more they stay the same[a]

The only disability in life is a bad attitude. Scott Hamilton

The only way to understand a woman is to love her[a]

The pen is mightier than the sword[a]

The pot calling the kettle black

The proof of the pudding is in the eating[a]

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions[a]

The shoemaker's son always goes barefoot[a]

The squeaky wheel gets the grease[a]

The streets are paved with gold

The straw that broke the camel's back[a]

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach[a]

The work praises the man.

The worm will turn

There ain't no such thing as a free lunch

There are more ways of killing a cat than choking it with cream[a]

There are none so blind as those who will not see[a] — attributed variously to Edmund Burke or George Santayana

There are two sides to every question[a]

There but for the grace of God go I[a]

There is an exception to every rule[a]

There are always more fish in the sea[a]

There is honour among thieves[a]

There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle[a]

There is many a slip 'twixt cup and lip[a]

There is more than one way to skin a cat[a]

There is no accounting for tastes[a]

There is no fool like an old fool[a]

There is no place like home[a]

There is no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out.

There is no smoke without fire/Where there is smoke, there is fire[a]

There is no such thing as a free lunch[a]

There is no such thing as bad publicity[a]

There is no time like the present[a]

There are none so deaf as those who will not hear[a]

There is nowt so queer as folk[a]

There is one born every minute[a]

There is safety in numbers[a]

They that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind[a]

Third time is a charm[a]

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it[a]

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones[a]

Those who know many languages live as many lives as the languages they know. Czech proverb[12]

Those who sleep with dogs will rise with fleas[a]

Time and tide wait for no man[a]

Time flies[a]

Time is a great healer[a]

Time is money[a]

(Only) time will tell[a]

'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all[a]

To be worn out is to be renewed. Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC – c. 531 BC)[17]

To each his own.

To err is human, to forgive divine[a]

To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world. Chinese proverb[12]

To the victor go the spoils[a]

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive[a]

Tomorrow is another day[a]

Tomorrow never comes[a]

Too many cooks spoil the broth[a]

Truth is stranger than fiction[a]

Truth is more valuable if it takes you a few years to find it. Often attributed to French author Jules Renard (1864–1910)

(The) truth will out[a]

Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows fall behind you.

Two can play at that game

Two heads are better than one[a]

Two is company, but three is a crowd,[a][b]

Two wrongs (do not) make a right[a]


Variety is the spice of life. William Cowper, English poet (1731–1800)[28]

Virtue is its own reward


Walk softly but carry a big stick. 26th U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, 1900 in letter relating an old African proverb[29]

Walls have ears

Walnuts and pears you plant for your heirs[a]

Waste not, want not[a]

Well begun is half done

Well done is better than well said.

What cannot be cured must be endured[a]

What goes around, comes around

What goes up must come down[a]

What you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts[a]

What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander[a]

What the eye does not see (the heart does not grieve over.)

When in Rome, (do as the Romans do). St. Ambrose 347AD[30]

When it rains it pours.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade[a][31]

When the cat is away, the mice will play[a]

When the going gets tough, the tough get going[a]

When the oak is before the ash, then you will only get a splash; when the ash is before the oak, then you may expect a soak[a]

When three women gather, it becomes noisy.

When you have seen one, you have seen them all

What is learnt in the cradle lasts to the tombs.

What the eye does not see, the heart does not grieve over[a]

Where there is a will there is a way[a]

Where there is muck there is brass[a]

Where there is life there is hope.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right.[a]

While there is life there is hope[a]

Who will bell the cat?

Whom the Gods love die young[a]

Why keep a dog and bark yourself?[a]

With great responsibility comes great power

Woman is the root of both good and evil[a]

Wonders will never cease[a]

Work expands so as to fill the time available[a]

Worrying never did anyone any good[a]


You are never too old to learn[a]

You are what you eat[a]

You can have too much of a good thing[a]

You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink[a]

You can never/never can tell

You cannot always get what you want

You cannot eat your cake and have it too[a]

You cannot get blood out of a stone[a]

You cannot make a silk purse from a sow's ear[a]

You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs[a]

You cannot make bricks without straw[a]

You cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds[a]

(You cannot) teach an old dog new tricks[a]

You cannot win them all[a]

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar[a]

You pay your money and you take your choice[a]

Youth is wasted on the young[a]

You may/might as well be hanged/hung for a sheep as (for) a lamb

You must have rocks in your head[a]

You scratch my back and I will scratch yours

You've got to separate the wheat from the chaff[a]

You've made your bed and you must lie in/on it


Zeal without knowledge is fire without light.

Actori incumbit onus probatio

"On the plaintiff rests the proving". The burden of proof falls to the plaintiff, claimant, or petitioner.

Audi alteram partem or audiatur et altera pars

"Listen to the other side", or "let the other side be heard as well". Refers to the idea that one cannot be fairly judged unless the cases for and against them have been heard.

Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

"No one suffers punishment for mere intent." A crime is only committed through some act, not through a mere thought.

Consensus facit legem

"Consensus makes law". Stipulates that when two or more persons arrive at a good faith agreement, the law will insist on that agreement being carried out.

Consuetudo pro lege servatur

"Custom is held as law." Where no laws apply to a given situation, the customs of the place and time will have the force of law.

Contra non valentem agere nulla [or non] currit praescriptio

A statute of limitation does not run against those who cannot act; this is the basis of the American discovery rule limiting prescriptive limitation periods.

Cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos

"Whoever's is the soil, all the way to heaven and to the depths is theirs." Used in reference to the rights of property owners to the air above, and land below, their property.

Delegatus non potest delegare

"That which has been delegated cannot delegate further."

De minimis non curat lex

"The law does not concern itself with the smallest things". There must be a minimal level of substance or impact in order to bring a legal action.

Dubia in meliorem partem interpretari debent

"Doubtful things should be interpreted in the best way." Often spoken as "to give the benefit of the doubt".

Dura lex, sed lex

"The law [is] harsh, but [it is] the law." It follows from the principle of the rule of law that even draconian laws must be followed and enforced; if one disagrees with the result, one must seek to change the law.

Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit

"Proof lies on the one who asserts." The concept that one is innocent until proven guilty.

Ex factis jus oritur

"The law arises from the facts." A principle in international law that one must take facts on the ground into account when considering the legality of certain kinds of questions.

Expressio unius est exclusio alterius

"The express mention of one thing excludes all others." When items are listed, anything not explicitly stated is assumed to not be included.

Ex turpi causa non oritur actio

"From a dishonorable cause an action does not arise." A party cannot bring a legal action for consequences of his own illegal act.

Fiat justitia et pereat mundus

"Let there be justice, though the world perish." Often used as a motto, notably by Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor.

Fiat justitia ruat caelum

"Let justice be done though the heavens fall." Also sometimes a motto, a legal maxim that justice must be done regardless of the result otherwise.

Generalia specialibus non derogant

"The general does not detract from the specific." Specifies that a certain matter of law be covered by the most specific laws pertaining, in the event that broader laws conflict with the specific one.

Ignorantia juris non excusat

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse." Not knowing that one's actions are forbidden by the law is not a defense.

In claris non fit interpretatio

"In clear things no interpretation is made." When a rule is clearly intelligible, there is no need of proposing a (usually extensive) interpretation.

Inadimplenti non est adimplendum

"One has no need to respect his obligation if the counter-party has not respected his own." This is used in civil law to briefly indicate a principle (adopted in some systems) referred to as the synallagmatic contract.[3]

Inter arma enim silent leges

"For among arms, the laws fall silent." A concept that during war, many illegal activities occur. Also taken to mean that in times of war, laws are suppressed, ostensibly for the good of the country.

Iura novit curia

"The court knows the law." Concept that parties to a case do not need to define how the law applies to their case. The court is solely responsible for determining what laws apply.

Iudex non calculat

"The judge does not calculate." A principle that calculation errors made by the court do not invalidate the judgement on a technicality. Also taken to mean that the judge does not tally up the arguments of both sides and decide in favor of the more numerous, but rather weighs all of the evidence without regard to the number of arguments made.

Leges humanae nascuntur, vivunt, moriuntur

"The laws of man are born, live, and die." Illustrates that laws are made, are in force for a period, and then become obsolete.

Lex posterior derogat priori

"Later law removes the earlier." More recent law overrules older ones on the same matter.

Lex retro non agit

"The law does not operate retroactively." A law cannot make something illegal that was legal at the time it was performed. See ex post facto law.

Lex specialis derogat legi generali

"A law governing a specific subject matter overrides a law which only governs general matters."

Maleficia propositis distinguuntur

"Evil acts are distinguished from (evil) purposes"[4] or "crimes are distinguished by evil intent".[5]

Nemo auditur propriam turpitudinem allegans

"No one can be heard, who invokes his own guilt." Nobody can bring a case that stems from their own illegal act.

Nemo dat quod non habet

"No one gives what they do not have."[6] The basic rule that a person who does not own property (e.g. a thief) cannot confer it on another except with the true owner's authority (i.e. as his agent). Exceptions to this rule include sales under statutory powers, and cases where the doctrine of estoppel prevents a legal owner from denying a seller's right to sell.

Nemo debet esse iudex in propria

"No one shall be a judge in his own case." In the past it was thought that it included just two rules, namely (1) nemo debet esse iudex in propria causa (no one shall be a judge in his own case).

Nemo ius ignoratur censetur

"Not knowing the law is harmful." Everyone should know the law. This is used in European Law-countries with a history of Roman law; the 'sentence' was first made by Aristotle.

Nemo judex in sua causa

"No one shall be a judge in his own case." Prevents conflict of interest in courts. Often invoked when there is really no conflict, but when there is even the appearance of one.

Nemo plus iuris ad alium transferre potest quam ipse habet

"No one can transfer a greater right than he himself has." A purchaser of stolen goods will not become the rightful owner thereof, since the seller himself was not the owner to begin with.

Non faciat malum, ut inde veniat bonum

"Not to do evil that good may come." Performing some illegal action is not excused by the fact that a positive result came therefrom. Often used to argue that some forms of expression, such as graffiti or pornographic films, cannot be given the protection of law (e.g. copyright) as they are or may be considered illegal or morally reprehensible.

Nulla poena sine lege or nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali

"No penalty without law" or "no crime, no punishment without a previous penal law". (1) One cannot be prosecuted for doing something that is not prohibited by law. (2) One cannot be prosecuted for doing something that was not prohibited by law at the time and place it was committed, notwithstanding laws made since that time. A form of prohibition on retroactive laws.

Pacta sunt servanda

"Agreements are to be kept." Contracts are the law or contracts establish obligations (between those who sign them).

Par in parem non habet imperium

"Equals have no sovereignty over each other."

Prior tempore potior iure

"Earlier in time, stronger in law." A legal principle that older laws take precedence over newer ones. Another name for this principle is lex posterior.

Prius quam exaudias ne iudices

"Before you hear, do not judge."

Probatio vincit praesumptionem

"Proof overcomes presumption."

Prout patet per recordum

"As appears in the record". Used to cite something that has already been admitted into the record. It was frequently used in pleadings, generally abbreviated "prout &c.", to indicate that a fact was supported by documentary evidence. Failure to use this phrase correctly could be a fatal defect and so cause a case to fail.[7]

Qui facit per alium facit per se

"Who acts through another, acts himself." One who delegates a task to another, takes full responsibility for the performance of that act as if he himself had done it. Basis for the law of agency.

Quod est necessarium est licitum

"What is necessary is lawful."

Quod non est in registro, non est in Mundo

"What is not in the register is not in the world." What is not reported in the (related, referring) registry, has no legal relevance. Used when a formal act (usually a recording or a transcription) is required in order to give consistence, content or efficacy to a right.

Res ipsa loquitur

"The thing speaks for itself." Used in tort law when there is no proof of what caused the harm, but it is most likely only the thing that could have caused the harm.

Res inter alios acta vel iudicata, aliis nec nocet nec prodocet

What has been agreed/decided between people (a specific group) can neither benefit nor harm a third party (meaning: two or more people cannot agree amongst each other to establish an obligation for a third party who was not involved in the negotiation; furthermore, any benefit that may be established will have to be accepted by the third party before it can be implemented).

Rex non potest peccare

"The king can do no wrong." Used to describe the basis for sovereign immunity.

Salus populi suprema lex esto

"The good of the people shall be the supreme law." Used variously as a motto, a reminder, or a notion of how the law and governments in general should be.

Sententia quae in rem iudicatam transit, pro veritate habetur

When a definitive sentence is declared, it is considered to be the truth. In the case of a sentence in rem iudicatam (that finally consents to consider a judgement completed), its content will then be the only legally relevant consideration of a fact.

Sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas

"Use your property so as not to injure that of your neighbours." While an individual is entitled to the use and enjoyment of one's estate, the right is not without limits. Restrictions can give rise to tort actions including trespass, negligence, and nuisance.[8]

Solve et repete

"Solve and resume." Respect your obligation first, then you can ask for reimbursement. Used in those situations in which one of the two (or more) parties needs to complete his obligation before being allowed to ask for the opposite obligation to be respected by his counter party. Usually this principle is used in fields and subjects in which a certain general steadiness or uniformity of the system has been considered a relevant value by the legislator. The case is typical of service contracts with repeated obligations (like with gas, water, electricity providers and similars), in which irregularities on one side cannot be balanced if not in a regular situation (i.e., of payments) on the other side. The customer, for example, might be asked to pay regularly the new bill, before contesting the previous one in which he found irregular calculations, and asking for a balancement with newer bills; he thus cannot by himself determine a discount in the next payment.

Ubi lex voluit, dixit; ubi noluit, tacuit

"When the law wills, it speaks; when it does not will, it is silent." When the law wants to regulate a matter in further detail, it does regulate the matter; when it does not want to regulate a matter in further detail, it remained silent (in the interpretation of a law, an excessively expansive interpretation might perhaps go beyond the intention of the legislator, thus we must adhere to what is in the text of the law and draw no material consequences from the law's silence).

Ultra posse nemo obligatur

"No one is obligated (to do) more than he can." Specifies that one should do what he can to support the community, but since everyone has different levels of ability, it cannot be expected that all will perform the same.

Vigilantibus non dormientibus aequitas subvenit

"Equity aids the vigilant, not the sleeping." Concept that if an opposing party unreasonably delays bringing an action, that it is no longer considered just to hear their claim, due to fundamental changes in circumstance brought on by their delay.

Volenti non fit injuria

"Injury is not done to the willing." Notion that a person cannot bring a claim against another for injury, if said person willingly placed themselves in a situation where they knew injury could result.


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John Solly

Hi, I'm John, a Software Engineer with a decade of experience building, deploying, and maintaining cloud-native geospatial solutions. I currently serve as a senior software engineer at New Light Technologies (NLT), where I work on a variety of infrastructure and application development projects.

Throughout my career, I've built applications on platforms like Esri and Mapbox while also leveraging open-source GIS technologies such as OpenLayers, GeoServer, and GDAL. This blog is where I share useful articles with the GeoDev community. Check out my portfolio to see my latest work!