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proverb: a short, well-known pithy sayimg, stating a general truth
or piece of advice

~ from the Oxford Dictionary

Proverbs can offer more wisdom than one can find in a philosophical treatise. I like to compare them to a demitasse, the small cup used to serve strong black coffee. The following are 30 such sayings. I have collected and arranged them by theme in the hope that seafarers and other readers of Marine Café Blog would benefit from their homespun truths.



1. Where one door shuts, another opens.

When you miss an opportunity, another one will often arise. So do not dwell on what is past.

2. Fortune favors the bold.

Those who take risks in life are more likely to get what they desire.

3. The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

People are usually not satisfied with what they have. They think others are better off than they are.

4. It never rains but it pours.

Good or bad things tend to happen, not one at a time, but all at once.

5. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

You don’t get something for nothing. People usually expect something in return when they help you or do you a favour.

Work and Career


1. Begin to weave and God will give the thread.

Get yourself to start the job, and you will have more faith and confidence in the outcome.

2. The work praises the man.

Let the quality of your work speak for itself. It is your best commendation, not what others say.

3. A good beginning is half the battle.

If started well, a project tends to gain momentum and and is more likely to lead to success than in the case of a bad beginning.

4. Fall seven times, stand up eight.

The important thing is to try again when you have failed. Giving up means losing the opportunity to succeed.

5. Nothing succeeds like success.

Success gives you the confidence and encouragement needed for future undertakings. It also tends to invite the support of other people.



1. Money is a good servant but a bad master.

Money can satisfy your desires. But if you are obsessed with accumulating more of it, you become its slave.

2. A penny saved is a penny earned (or gained).

A thrifty person is better off than one who squanders his money.

3. Money doesn’t grow on trees.

Money is not easy to come by, so spend it wisely.

4. A fool and his money are soon parted.

A person who is gullible and too trusting is easily victimised by fraudsters.

5. Shrouds have no pockets.

Don’t be too materialistic. You can’t take it with you.



1. When one is in love, a cliff becomes a meadow.

A person who is in love often ignores the red flags (e.g., the fact that the object of his love is only after his or her money).

2. All’s fair in love and war.

This proverb expresses the idea that affairs of the heart are no different from war. Lovers can resort to any strategem or action that otherwise would be considered unfair or unethical.

3. Eggs and oaths are easily broken.

Promises made by lovers are fragile like eggs and can be broken at any time.

4. ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Love is such an enriching human experience that it is worth whatever pain or anguish it may bring.

5. There are plenty more fish in the sea.

This is often said to a man who has been rejected or betrayed by the woman he loves.



1. Time and tide wait for no man.

Like the tide, time will not stop for one who delays or procrastinates.

2. Haste makes waste.

Rushing a job can lead to mistakes, which means you will have to do it over again and spend more time and perhaps more money.

3. A stitch in time saves nine.

Do not wait for a small problem to get bigger. Fix it right away to save yourself trouble.

4. Procrastination is the thief of time.

If you put off doing what needs to be done, you may have little or no time to do it when you finally decide to do so.

5. Time is a great healer.

Emotional pain will eventually subside or go away as time passes.

Social Relations


1. Do as you would be done by.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

2. A friend in need is a friend indeed.

A true friend will be there to help you when you need help.

3. He that hath a full purse never wanted a friend.

Rich people have no problem winning and keeping friends precisely because they are rich.

4. He is a good friend that speaks well of us behind our backs.

A true friend will not speak ill of you when you are not present.

5. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Be careful in criticising others as you may have your own faults that they can attack.

~ Barista Uno

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