you might need a Scots Dictionary )
are gude lasses, but where do the ill wives come frae?
"All are good maids, but whence come the bad wives?"--
A' are no friends that speak us fair.
"All are not friends who smile at you."-- Dutch.
A' are no thieves that dogs bark at.
A bad wound may heal, but a bad name will kill.
A bairn maun creep afore it gangs.
A bald head is sune shaved.
A bark frae a teethless dog is as gude as a bite.
A bauld fae is better than a cowardly friend.
A bawbee cat may look at a king.
A beggar's wallet is a mile to the bottom.
Because it generally contrives to contain all he gets.
A bird in the hand's worth twa fleeing by.
A bit is aften better gi'en than eaten.
A black hen can lay a white egg.
A Blainslie lawin'--there's mair for meat than drink.
A blate cat maks a proud mouse.
When discipline is not enforced, subordinates are apt to take
advantage of it.
A blind man needs nae looking-glass.
A blind man's wife needs nae painting.
A blythe heart maks a bloomin' look.
A body's no broke while they hae a gude kail stock.
"When all is not lost, all can be recovered."-- English.
A bonnie gryce may mak an ugly sow.
"Fair in the cradle may be foul in the saddle. "-- English.
A borrowed len' should gae laughing hame.
When we return an article which has been borrowed, to its owner,
we should do it with a good grace.
A bow o'erbent will weaken.
Abundance o' law breaks nae law.
A careless watch invites the thief.
A' cats are grey in the dark.
A close mouth catches nae flees.
"A shut mouth keeps me out of strife."-- Portuguese.
A cock's aye crouse on his am midden-head.
"A cock is valiant on his own dunghill."-- Danish.
A' complain o' want o' siller, but nane o' want o' sense.
A coward's fear maks a brave man braver.
A crackit bell will never mend.
A' cracks mauna be trew'd.
All that is heard must not be believed.
A crafty man's ne'er at peace.
A crammed kyte maks a crazy carcase.
"A full belly sets a man jigging."-- French.
A craw will no wash white.
A crooked man should sow beans, and a woad man peas.
"The one agrees to be thick sown, the other thin."--
A crookit stick will throw a crookit shadow.
A cuddy's gallop's sune done.
A cumbersome cur is hated in company.
A daft nurse maks a wise wean.
A day to come seems langer than a year that's gane.
A dear ship lies lang in the harbour.
A dish o' married love grows sune cauld.
A dog winna yowl if ye fell him wi' a bane.
"Pelt a dog with bones, and you will not offend him."--
friend's past services.
A dreigh drink is better than a dry sermon.
A drink is shorter than a tale.
An excuse for drinking during the telling of a story.
A drink is shorter than a tale.
An excuse for drinking during the telling of a story.
A dry summer ne'er made a dear peck.
"Drought never bred dearth."-- English.
A duck winna dabble aye in ae hole.
A dumb man hauds a'.
That is, figuratively, makes no disclosures.
A dumb man ne'er got land.
A dumb man wins nae law.
A loquacious advocate is more likely to gain his case than a taciturn
Ae fine thing needs twa to set it aff
Ae gude friend is worth mony relations.
Ae gude turn deserves anither.
Ae half o' the warld disna ken how the ither half lives.
Ae hand winna wash the ither for nought.
Ae hour in the morning is worth twa at night.
Ae hour's cauld will drive oot seven years' heat.
Ae lawsuit breeds twenty.
Ae man may steal a horse where anither daurna look ower the hedge.
A man with a bad character is liable to be blamed for any misdeed
which may be done; while a person who is not open to suspicion
may commit depredation without challenge.
Ae man's meat is anither man's poison.
Ae scabbit sheep will smit a hirsel.
One bad character may pollute a whole company.
Ae scone o' that baking's enough.
Ae shook o' that stook's enough.
One specimen of a bad article is sufficient.
Ae swallow disna mak a summer.
Ae word before is worth twa behint.
A' fails that fools think.
A fa'ing maister maks a standin' man.
A fair maid tocherless will get mair wooers than husbands.
A fair offer is nae cause o' feud.
Affront your friend in daffin', and tine him in earnest.
Affront him not in jest, lest you lose him in earnest.
A fidging mare should be wed girded.
"A thief does not always steal, but always be on your guard
against him."-- Russian.
A findsilly bairn gars his faither be hang'd.
A fisherman's walk--twa steps and overboard.
A fool and his money are sune parted.
A fool at forty will ne'er be wise.
A fool is happier thinking weel o' himself, than a wise man is
o' others thinking weel o' him.
A fool may earn money, but it taks a wise man to keep it.
A fool may gie a wise man a counsel.
A fool may speer mair questions than a wise man can answer.
A fool's bolt is sune shot.
A fool winna gie his toy for the Tower o' London.
A foul hand maks a clean hearthstane.
A friend in need is a friend indeed.
A friend to a' is a friend to nane.
"Everybody's friend is nobody's friend."-- Spanish.
A friend's dinner's sune dished.
That is, a true friend is easily served, and will not readily
A friend's ne'er ken't till he's needed.
Aft counting keeps friends lang thegither.
"Short accounts make long friends."-- English.
After a storm comes a calm.
After cheese, naething.
After clouds comes fair weather.
After dinner sit a while, after supper walk a mile.
After joy comes annoy.
After Lammas, corn ripens by day and night.
After that comes a cow to be shod.
After words come weird: fair fa' them that ca' me "Madam."
After libel comes proof: let those who speak ill of me look to
After you is gude manners.
"Spoken when our betters offer to serve us first"--
Aft ettle, whiles hit.
Often try, occasionally succeed.
Aft times the cautioner pays the debt
A fu' cup is ill to carry.
A fu' heart is aye kind.
A fu' heart never lee'd.
Intimating that the truth generally comes out under the impulse
of the feelings.
A fu' man and a hungry horse aye mak haste hame.
A fu' man's a true man.
A man under the influence of drink, if he speak at all, usually
A fu' purse maks a haverin merchant.
A man with a full purse engaged in commercial transactions is
apt to "haver," or gossip freely.
A fu' purse never lacks friends.
A fu' wame maks a straught back.
A full stomach makes a man walk erectly.
A gentle horse should be sindle spurr'd.
A gi'en game was ne'er won.
A voluntary concession may be no tribute to the skill of the opponent
A gi'en horse shouldna be looked i' the mouth.
A gi'en piece is soon eaten.
A gowk at Yule'll no be bright at Beltane.
He that is a fool at Christmas will not be wise in May.
A great rooser was ne'er a gude rider.
A great boaster is rarely a great performer.
A greedy e'e ne'er got a fu' wame.
A greedy e'e ne'er got a gude pennyworth.
This and the preceding proverb signify that a covetous or greedy
man is never satisfied.
A green wound is half hale.
A groat is ill saved that shames its master.
A grunting horse and a graneing wife seldom fail their master.
People that are constantly in the habit of complaining how ill
they are, generally contrive to live as long as their neighbours.
A gude beginning maks a gude ending.
A gude calf is better than a calf o' a gude kind.
The one is good already, while it is possible that the other may
turn out bad.
A gude cause maks a strong arm.
A gude conscience is the best divinity.
A gude day's darg may be done wi' a dirty spade.
A gude dog ne'er barkit about a bane.
A gude face needs nae band, and an ill ane deserves nane.
A gude fellow is a costly name.
A gude fellow ne'er tint but at an ill fellow's hand.
A gude goose may hae an ill gaiflin.
A gude green turf is a gude gudemother.
A mother-in-law is best in the churchyard.
A gude grieve is better than an ill worker.
A gude ingle maks a roomy fireside.
A gude lawyer may be an ill neighbour.
A gude man maks a gude wife.
A gude name is sooner tint than won.
"Good repute is like the cypress; once cut, it never puts
forth leaf again."-- Italian.
A gude paymaster ne'er wants hands to work.
A gude steel is worth a penny.
A gude tale's no the waur o' being twice tauld.
A gude tongue's a gude safeguard.
A gude wife and health is a man's best wealth.
A gude word is as easy said as an ill ane.
A gude year winna mak him, nor an ill year mar him.
"A beggar will ne'er be a bankrupt."-- English.
A guilty conscience self accuses.
A hadden tongue maks a slabbered mou'.
A hairy man's a geary man, but a hairy wife's a witch.
A half burn'd peat is easily kindled.
A hanfu' o' trade is worth a gowpen o' gold.
Literally, the knowledge of a trade is worth a handful of gold.
A hantle cry Murder! and are aye upmost.
Many that are least hurt cry loudest.
A hasty man is never lusty.
A hasty man never wanted wae.
A hearty hand to gie a hungry meltith.
A hen that lays thereout should hae a white nest-egg.
Some attractions should be provided at home for those who are
not naturally attached to it.
A' his buz shakes nae barley.
All his talking does no good, or, vice versa, all his stormy temper
does no harm.
A hook is weel tint to catch a salmon.
"Throw sprats to catch whales."-- Spanish.
A horse broken and a wife to break, is a horse made and a wife
A horse hired never tired.
A horse wi' four feet may snapper.
Snapper, to stumble. Even the best of men may err.
A house built and a garden to grow never brought what they cost.
A house fu' o' folk, and a pouch wi' three fardens i' the corner
o't, dinna sort weel thegither.
Poverty and a desire to keep up appearances do not "sort
A house in a hastrie is downright wastrie.
A house wi' a reek and a wife wi' a reard will mak a man rin to
"Smoke, a dripping roof, and a scolding wife, are enough
to drive a man out of his life."-- Spanish.
A hungry louse bites sair.
"Spoken when the needy are importunate in their cravings,
or exacting."-- Kelly.
A hungry man has aye a lazy cook.
A hungry man's an angry man.
A hungry man smells meat far.
A hungry stomach is aye craving.
A hungry wame has nae lugs.
A hungry man is deaf to reason.
A' I got frae him I could put in my e'e, and see nane the waur
A satirical way of expressing that some service has been allowed
to go unrewarded.
A' ills are gude untried.
Air day or late day, the fox's hide finds aye the slaying knife.
Sooner or later justice overtakes evil-doers.
A kindly word cools anger.
A kiss and a drink o' water mak but a wersh breakfast.
Spoken disapprovingly of those who marry for love, without due
regard to means.
A landward lad is aye laithfu'.
A country or rustic lad is always bashful.
A lang gather'd dam soon runs out.
A lang tongue has a short hand.
"They who are lavish in their promises, are often short in
their performances."-- Kelly.
A lass that has mony wooers aft wails the warst.
A laughing-faced lad often maks a lither servant.
A layin' hen is better than a standin' mill.
A standing mill is profitless, whereas a laying hen is not.
A leaky ship needs muckle pumping.
A leal heart never lied.
Ale-sellers shouldna be tale-tellers.
They hear everybody's story, but prudence demands that they should
keep it to themselves.
A liar should hae a gude memory.
A light-heeled mother maks a heavy-heeled dochter.
A light purse maks a heavy heart.
Alike every day maks a clout on Sunday.
A little wit ser's a lucky man.
A' law's no justice.
A loving heart and a leal within, are better than gowd or gentle
A lucky man needs little counsel.
A maid aft seen and a gown aft worn, are disesteemed and held
"Amaist" and "Very near" hae aye been great
Amaist was ne'er a man's life.
A man at five may be a fool at fifteen.
A man at forty is either a fool or a physician.
A man canna bear a' his ain kin about on his back.
A man canna wive and thrive the same year.
Amang you be't, priest's bairns: I am but a priest's oe.
A man has nae mair gudes than he gets gude o'.
A man is a lion for his ain cause.
"No man so zealous for, or assiduous in, a man's business
as himself."-- Kelly.
A man maun spoil ere he spin.
A man may be kind, yet gie little o' his gear.
A man may haud his tongue in an ill time.
A man may keep silent at a time or under circumstances where it
is an injury to himself.
A man may lose his ain for lack o' craving.
A man may speer the gate he kens fu' weel.
A man may spit in his neive and do but little.
He may make a great show of working but still do very little.
A man may woo where he will, but maun wed where his weird is.
A man o' mony trades may beg his bread on Sunday.
"Jack of all trades, master of none."-- English.
A man o' words, and no o' deeds, is like a garden fu' o' weeds.
A man's aye crouse in his ain cause.
A man's hat in his hand ne'er did him ony harm.
A man's mind is a mirk mirror.
A man's weel or wae as he thinks himsel sae.
A man wi' ae ee, can see mair than you wi' your twa.
A master's ee maks a fat horse.
"No eye like the master's eye."-- English.
A mear's shoe will fit a horse.
"Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander."-- English.
A misty morning may be a clear day.
A mouthfu' o' meat may be a tounfu' o' shame.
"That is, if it be stolen--intimating that a little thing
picked will procure a great disgrace."-- Kelly.
A muckle mouth has aye gude luck for its meat.
A muffled cat was ne'er a gude hunter.
An Aberdeen man ne'er stands to the word that hurts him.
A nag wi' a wame and a mare wi' nane are no a gude pair.
An air winter maks a sair winter.
A naked man maun rin.
A man that is destitute must exert himself.
An auld dog bites sicker.
An auld horse may dee ere the grass grow.
"While the grass is growing the steed is starving."--
An auld knave's nae bairn.
"An old fox needs learn no new tricks."-- English.
An auld man's a bedfu' o' banes.
An auld mason maks a gude barrowman.
An auld pock is aye skailing.
An auld pock needs muckle clouting.
Old things, generally, are often in need of repair.
Ance awa, aye awa.
When people once go away from home for a time, there is always
a feeling among those left that the bond which binds them to home
is weakened, and very little persuasion is required to take them
Ance is nae custom.
Ance paid, never craved.
Ance Provost, aye My Lord.
Ance wud, and aye waur.
Ance wud, never wise.
A person once "wud," or deranged, is always suspected
of being so, in the event of anything strange taking place.
Ane at a time is gude fishing.
An eating horse ne'er foundered.
An excuse for taking a hearty meal, meaning that plenty of food
will injure neither man nor beast.
Ane beats the bush, and anither grips the bird.
Ane does the skaith, anither gets the scorn.
Ane gets sma' thanks for tineing his am.
Ane is no sae soon healed as hurt.
An elbuck dirl will lang play thirl.
Ane may like a haggis weel enough that wouldna like the bag bladded
on his chafts.
Ane may like the kirk weel enough, and no aye be riding on the
Ane would like to be lo'ed, but wha would mool in wi' a moudiewort?
The three preceding proverbs mean, that although a man may be
very fond of his relations, property, and what not, still there
are certain extremes to be avoided, for if even approached, they
verge into the ridiculous.
Ane may think that daurna speak.
Ane never tines by doing gude.
Ane o' the court, but nane o' the council.
Meaning that although your presence and advice may on certain
occasions be requested, it is only for form's sake.
Ane's ain hearth is gowd's worth.
Ane will gar a hundred lee.
A new pair o' breeks will cast down an auld coat.
A new article of dress will make the others look much more worn
than they really are. The acquisition of a new friend may tend
to lower our esteem for those of longer standing.
Anger's mair hurtfu' than the wrang that caused it.
Anger's short-lived in a gude man.
An honest man's word's his bond.
An idle brain is the deil's workshop.
"He that labours is tempted by one devil; he that is idle
by a thousand."-- Italian.
An ilka-day braw maks a Sabbath-day daw.
He that wears his best at all times will have nothing to suit
An ill cook should hae a gude cleaver.
An ill cow may hae a gude calf.
An ill custom is like a gude bannock--better broken than kept.
An ill lesson is easy learned.
An ill life maks an ill death.
An ill plea should be weel pled.
An ill servant ne'er made a gude maister.
An ill turn is soon done.
An ill wife and a new-kindled candle should hae their heads hadden
"But both must be done with care, caution, and discretion;
otherwise you may put the candle out and make the wife worse."--
An ill-willy cow should hae short horns.
"It were a pity that a man of ill-nature should have much
authority, for he'll be sure to abuse it."-- Kelly.
An ill-won penny will cast down a pound.
An inch breaks nae squares.
"A little difference ought not to occasion any contests among
good neighbours."-- Kelly.
An inch o' gude luck is worth a faddom o' forecast.
A nod frae a lord is a breakfast for a fool.
A nod o' honest men's eneugh.
A nod's as gude's a wink to a blind horse.
An olite mother maks a dawdie dochter.
An only dochter is either a deil or a daw.
An ounce o' mither-wit is worth a pound o' clergy.
An ounce o' wit is worth a pound o' lear.
"An ounce of mother-wit is worth a pound of schoolwit."--
An unlucky fish taks bad bait.
An unlucky man's cart is eithly coup'd.
An ye loe me look in my dish.
A delicate request for a second supply of soup.
A' owers spills.
A party pot ne'er plays even.
An interested or prejudiced individual cannot be an impartial
judge of both sides of a question.
A penny hain'd's a penny clear, and a preen a-day's a groat a-year.
A penny hain'd's a penny gained.
A penny in my purse will gar me drink when my friends winna.
A penny in the purse is a gude friend.
A penny in the purse is better than a crown awa.
A pennyweight o' love is worth a pound o' law.
A pickle's no miss'd in a mickle.
A poll parrot thinks weel o' itsel.
A poor man is fain o' little.
A poor man's debt maks muckle din.
A pound o' care winna pay an ounce o' debt.
Care here means sorrow, or trouble of mind, and must not be associated
with care in the sense of frugality or economy, which has paid
many an ounce of debt.
A pound o' woo' is as heavy as a pound o' lead.
A primsie damsel maks a daidlin' dame.
A proud heart in a poor breast has muckle dolour to dree.
A proud mind and an empty purse gree ill thegither.
"A true proverb! and the worst is, they meet often."--
A raggit coat was ne'er a mote in a man's marriage.
A reckless house maks mony thieves.
A red nose maks a raggit back.
A reeky house and a girnin' wife, will lead a man a fashious life.
A reproof is nae poison.
"No, indeed! but a wholesome medicine, which whosoever refuseth
is brutish!"-- Kelly.
A rich man has mair cousins than his faither had kin.
A rich man's wooing's no lang doing.
A rough bane maks a fu' wame.
As a carl riches he wretches.
"Wretch, a covetous or niggardly person."-- Jamieson.
As a man becomes rich he also becomes more parsimonious.
A safe conscience maks a sound sleep.
A saft aiver was ne'er a gude horse.
As ane flits anither sits, and that keeps mailins dear.
As brisk as bottled ale.
A's but lip-wit that wants experience.
A scabbed horse is gude enough for a sca'd squire.
A sca'ded cat dreads cauld water.
As canker'd as a cow wi' ae horn.
"As proud as a hen with one chuck."-- English.
A scar'd head is eith to bleed.
A scar'd head is soon broken.
A reputation already questionable is easily lost altogether.
As coarse as Nancie's harn sark,--three threads out o' the pound.
A Scotch mist will weet an Englishman to the skin.
A Scotsman and a Newcastle grindstane travel a' the world ower.
Alluding to the wandering propensities of the one and the good
qualities of the other.
A Scotsman is aye wise ahint the hand.
"It is too late to throw water on the cinders when the house
is burned down."-- Danish.
As dark as a Yule midnight.
As day brake, butter brake.
"Spoken when a person or thing that was wanting comes opportunely."--
A seven years' maiden is aye at the slight.
As fain as a fool o' a fair day.
A's fair at the ba'.
"All's fair in war."-- English.
As fause as Waghorn.
"Waghorn, a fabulous personage, who, being a liar nineteen
times greater than the devil, was crowned King of liars."--
A's fine that's fit.
A's fish that comes to the net.
As fu' o' mischief as an egg's fu' o' meat.
As gentle as Gorman's bitch, that lap ower the ingle and ate the
As gude a fellow as ever toom'd a bicker.
As gude eat the deil as sup the kail he's boiled in.
As gude fish in the sea as e'er cam out o't.
As gude gie the lichty as tak it.
"Lichtly, and expression of contempt or insult: to undervalue,
to slight, to despise."- Jamieson.
As gude may haud as draw.
As gude may haud the stirrup as he that loups on.
As gude merchants tine as win.
As gude ne'er a bit, as ne'er the better.
"Unless you make a thing the better for you, you had as good
let it alone."-- Kelly.
A's gude that God sends.
A shave aff a new cut loaf's never missed.
A shor'd tree stands lang.
"Men do not die of threats."-- Dutch.
A short grace is gude for hungry folk.
A short horse is sune wispit.
A sillerless man gangs fast through the market.
A silly man will be slily dealt wi'.
"He that makes himself a sheep, shall be eaten by the wolf."--
A sinking maister maks a rising man.
A skelpit bum breaks nae banes.
Ask the tapster if his ale be gude.
Ask your purse what you should buy.
As lang as a dog would be bound wi' a bluidy puddin'.
As lang as the bird sings before Candlemas he greets after it.
As lang as ye serve the tod ye maun carry his tail.
As lang lasts the hole as the heel leather.
"Spoken to them that quarrel with a hole in your coat or
shoe: often applied otherways."-- Kelly.
As Lang lives the merry man as the sad.
As lang rins the tod as he has feet.
A slow hand maks a sober fortune.
A slow fire maks a sweat maut.
A sma' leak will sink a great ship.
As menseless as a tinkler's messan.
As merry's a mautman.
A smith's house is aye lowin'.
As mony beads as mony wits.
As muckle upwith as muckle downwith.
A's no help that's at hand.
A's no ill that's ill like.
A's no part.
A's no tint that fa's bye.
A's no tint that's in hazard.
As poor as a kirk mouse.
A spur in the head's worth twa in the heel.
As sair fights the wren as the crane.
As sure's death.
A steek in time saves nine.
As the auld cock craws the young cock learns.
As the day lengthens the cauld strengthens.
As the fool thinks the bell clinks.
As the market gangs the wares sell.
As the sow fills the draff sours.
A still sow eats a' the draff.
A's tint that's put in a riven dish.
All is lost that is put into a broken dish. Favours bestowed on
ungrateful persons are thrown away.
As true as Biglam's cat crew, and the cock rocked the cradle.
"Spoken when we hear one call that true that we know to be
a lye."-- Kelly
A sturdy beggar should hae a stout nae-sayer.
As wanton as a wet hen.
As weel be hang'd for a sheep as a lamb.
As weel be out o' the warld as out o' fashion.
As wight as a wabster's doublet, that ilka day taks a thief by
As ye are stout be merciful.
As ye mak your bed sae ye maun lie on't.
A taking hand will never want, let the world be e'er sae scant.
A tarrowing bairn was never fat.
A child that refuses or is slow in taking its food. People who
will not take advantage as opportunities offer, cannot expect
to prosper so well as those who do.
A tale never tines in the telling.
A' that's said in the kitchen shouldna be tauld in the ha'.
A' that's said shouldna be sealed.
A' that ye'll tak wi' ye will be but a kist and a sheet, after
In allusion to the death of persons who may be proud of their
A' the claes on your back was ance in clues.
A' the keys of the country hang na in ae belt.
All the influence or power is not in one man's possession.
A' the speed's no in the spurs.
A' the winning's in the first buying.
A' the wit o' the world's no in ae pow.
A'thing angers ye, and the cat breaks your heart.
A' things thrive at thrice.
A'thing wytes that no weel fares.
A thoughtless body's aye thrang.
A thrawn question should hae a thrawart answer.
A thread will tie an honest man better than a rope will do a rogue.
At my leisure, as lairds dee.
"Fair and softly, as lawyers go to heaven."-- English.
A tocherless dame sits lang at hame.
A toolying tike comes limping hame.
"Toolying tike," quarrelsome dog.
A toom hand is nae lure for a hawk.
A toom pantry maks a thriftless gudewife.
A toom purse maks a thrawn face.
At open doors dogs gae ben.
A travelled man has leave to lee.
A tricky man's easiest tricket.
A turn weel done is sune done.
A twalpenny eat may look at a king.
Auld chimes and auld rhymes gar us think on auld times.
Auld folk are twice bairns.
Auld moon mist ne'er died o' thrist.
"Foggy weather in the last quarter of the moon is supposed
to betoken moisture."-- Robert Chambers.
Auld sins breed new sairs.
Auld sparrows are ill to tame.
Auld springs gie me price.
Things out of fashion are valueless.
Auld wives and bairns mak fools o' physicians.
Auld wives were aye gude maidens.
A vaunter and a liar are near akin.
A wa' between best preserves friendship.
Meaning that friends are best separate.
A wad is a fule's argument.
"Fools, for argument, lay Wagers."- Butler.
A waited pat's lang o' boiling.
A wee house has a wide throat.
A wee house weel fill'd, a wee piece land weel till'd, a wee wife
weel will'd, will mak a happy man.
A wee mouse will creep beneath a muckle corn stack.
A wee spark maks muckle wark.
A wee thing fleys cowards.
A wee thing puts your beard in a bleeze.
A wee thing ser's a cheerfu' mind.
A whang off a cut kebbuck's never miss'd.
A wight man ne'er wanted a weapon.
A wild goose ne'er laid tame eggs.
A wilfu' man should be unco wise.
A willing mind maks a light foot.
A winking cat's no aye blind.
A winter day and a wintry way is the life o' man.
A winter night, a woman's mind, and a laird's purpose, aften change.
"Women, wind, and luck soon change."-- Portuguese.
A wise head maks a close mouth.
A wise lawyer ne'er gangs to law himsel.
A wise man gets learning frae them that hae nane o' their ain.
A wise man wavers, a fool is fixed.
A woman's gude either for something or naething.
A word is enough to the wise.
A working mither maks a daw dochter.
Another rendering of "A light-heeled mother," &c.
Aye as ye thrive your feet fa's frae ye.
"Unexpected interruptions occur in business."-- Kelly.
"The farther you go, the farther behind."-- English.
Aye flether away ;--since I'll no do wi' foul play, try me wi'
Aye takin' out o' the meal pock and ne'er puttin' in't soon comes
to the bottom.
Aye tak the fee when the tear's in the ee.
Aye to eild, but never to wit.
That is, he is always growing older, but never any wiser.
wives and auld maids' bairns are aye weel bred.
Bad legs and ill wives should stay at hame.
Bairns are certain care, but nae sure joy.
Bairns speak i' the field what they hear i' the ha'.
Baith weal and woe come aye wi' world's gear.
"'And I positively must not ask you how you have come by
all this money?' said the clergyman. . . . . 'Is it anything that
distresses your own mind?' 'There is baith weal and woe come wi'
warld's gear, Reuben: but ye maun ask me naething mair.--This
siller binds me to naething, and can never be speered back again."'--
Heart of Midlothian.
Baked bread and brown ale winna bide lang.
Bannocks are better than nae bread.
"Half a loaf is better than no bread."-- English.
Barefooted folk shouldna tread on thorns.
"Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones."--
Bare gentry, bragging beggars.
Bare words mak nae bargain.
Bastard brood are aye proud.
Be a friend to yoursel, and others will.
Bear and forbear is gude philosophy.
Bear wealth weel, poortith will bear itsel.
Beauty, but bounty's but bauch.
Beauty is but skin deep.
Beauty's muck when honour's tint.
Beauty is worthless when honour is lost.
Be aye the thing you would be ca'd,
"Because" is a woman's reason.
"I have no other but a woman's reason: I think him so, because
I think him so."-- Shakespeare.
Beds are best, quo' the man to his guest.
We presume he said so on the score of economy, i.e., to evade
Beefsteaks and porter are gude belly mortar.
Bees that hae honey in their mouths hae stings in their tails.
Before an ill wife be gude, even if she was a' turned to tongue.
Before, I ween'd; but now, I wat.
Before, I only suspected; now, I am certain. "Spoken on the
full discovery of some malefice, which before we only suspected."--
Before the deil gaes blind, and he's no blear e'ed yet.
Before ye choose a friend, eat a peck o' saut wi' him.
Be gaun, the gate's before you.
Be going, the road lies before you. A jocose or surly hint to
Beg frae beggars and you'll ne'er be rich.
Beggars breed, and rich men feed.
Beggars downa bide wealth.
Beggars shouldna be choosers.
Begin wi' needles and preens, and end wi' horn'd nowte.
That is, beginnings apparently trifling may lead to very great
results. Used here as a caution against dishonesty.
Be it better, be it worse, be ruled by him that has the purse.
Be it sae, is nae banning.
Used in yielding a point in dispute because you are either unwilling
or unable to argue further; but also indicating that you do not
admit yourself to be in the wrong.
Be lang sick, that ye may be soon hale.
Believe a' ye hear, an' ye may eat a' ye see.
Belyve is twa hours and a half.
A jocular allusion to the fact that if a person says he will be
back, or done with anything "belyve," that is, immediately,
or in a little, the probability is he will be longer than expected.
Be ready wi' your bonnet, but slow wi' your purse.
Be slow in choosing a friend, but slower in changing him.
Best to be off wi' the auld love before we be on wi' the new.
Be thou weel, or be thou wae, yet thou wilt not aye be sae.
Better a bit in the morning than a fast a' day.
Better a clout in than a hole out.
That is, a patched garment is better than one with holes in it.
Better a dog fawn on you than bark at you.
Better ae e'e than a' blind.
Better ae wit bought than twa for nought.
Better a finger aff as aye wagging.
"The first night is aye the warst o't. I hae never heard
o' ane that sleepit the night afore the trial, but of mony a ane
that sleepit as sound as a tap the night before their necks were
straughted. And it's nae wonder--the warst may be tholed when
it's kend: Better a finger aff as aye wagging."-- Heart of
Better a fremit friend than a friend fremit.
Better have a stranger for your friend than a friend turned stranger.
Better a gude fame than a fine face.
Better alane than in ill company.
Better a laying hen than a lying crown.
Better a lean horse than a toom halter.
Better a poor horse than no horse at all.
Better a mouse in the pat than nae flesh.
Better an auld man's darling than a young man's warling.
"Used as an argument to induce a young girl to marry an old
man, to the doing of which no argument should prevail."--
Better an even down snaw than a driving drift.
Better an ill spune than nae horn.
Better a saft road than bad company.
"'I redd ye, Earnscliff' (this Hobble added in a gentle whisper),
'let us take a cast about, as if to draw the wind on a buck--the
bog is no abune knee-deep, and better a saft road than bad company.'"--
The Black Dwarf.
Better a sair fae than a fause friend.
Better a shameless eating than a shamefu' leaving.
Better a sma' fish than an empty dish.
Better at a time to gie than tak.
Better a thigging mither than a riding father.
Better a tocher in her than wi' her.
That is, better that a wife have good qualities without money
than vice versa.
Better a toom house than an ill tenant.
Better auld debts than auld sairs.
Better a wee bush than nae beild.
Better a wee fire to warm you than a big fire to burn you.
Better bairns greet than bearded men.
Better be a coward than a corpse.
"Discretion is the better part of valour."-- English.
Better be at the end o' a feast than at the beginning o' a fray.
Better be before at a burial than ahint at a bridal.
Better be blythe wi' little than sad wi' naething.
Better be envied than pitied.
Better be friends at a distance than enemies at hame.
Better be happy than wise.
Better be idle than ill doing.
Better be John Tamson's man, than Ring and Dinn's, or John Knox's.
"John Thomson's man is he that is complaisant to his wife's
humours; Ring and Dinn's is he whom his wife scolds; John Knox's
is he whom his wife beats."-- Kelly.
Better be kind than cumbersome.
Better belly burst than gude meat spoil.
A plea for gluttony on the score of economy.
Better bend than break.
Better be out o' the warld than out o' fashion.
Better be sonsy than soon up.
Better be the head o' the commons than the tail o the gentry.
"To reign is worth ambition, though in hell
Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven"-- Milton.
Better be the lucky man than the lucky man's son.
Better bow to my faes than beg frae my friends.
Better buy than borrow.
Better cry "Feigh, saut," than " Feigh, stink."
The first can be remedied or improved in cooking; but a putrid
Better day the better deed.
Better do it than wish it done.
Better eat brown bread in youth than in eild.
Better fed than bred.
Better find iron than tine siller.
Better fleech a fool than fight him.
"'I have as much mind as ever I had to my dinner, to go back
and tell him to sort his horse himself, since he is as able as
I am.' 'Hout tout, man !' answered Jasper, 'keep a calm sough:
better to fleech a fool than tight with him.'"-- The Monastery.
Better gang about than fa' in the dub.
Rather a long road and safety than a short one attended with danger.
Better gang to bed supperless than rise in debt.
Better gie the slight than tak it.
Better greet ower your gudes than after your gudes.
Meaning that it is better not to sell goods at all than to sell
and not be paid for them.
Better gude sale than gude ale.
Better guide weel than work sair.
Better hae than want.
Better hain weel than work sair.
Better half egg than toom doup.
"Better half an egg than empty shells."-- German.
Better half hang'd than ill married.
Better hand loose nor bound to an ill bakie.
"Bakie, the stake to which an ox or cow is bound to the stall."--
Better hands loose than in an ill tethering.
Better happy at court than in gude service.
Better haud at the brim than at the bottom.
Better haud by a hair than draw by a tether.
Better haud out than put out.
"Prevention is better than cure."-- English.
Better haud wi' the hounds than rin wi' the hare.
The policy of the Vicar of Bray. It is better to side with the
strongest or winning party.
Better keep the deil out than hae to put him out.
Better keep weel than make weel.
Better lang little than soon naething.
Better late thrive than never do weel.
Better laugh at your ain pint stoup, than greet and gather gear.
It is better to be merry spending money, than sorrowful acquiring
Better learn frae your neebor's skaith than frae your ain.
Learn experience rather from the misfortunes of others than from
Better leave to my faes than beg frae my friends.
Better leave than lack.
That it is better to have too much of some things than too little.
Better live in hope than die in despair.
Better marry ower the midden than ower the muir.
Rather marry among those whom you know than go among strangers
for a wife. "Marry over the mixon, and you will know who
and what she is."-- German. "Your wife and your nag
get from a neighbour."-- Italian.
Better master ane than tight wi' ten.
Better my bairns seek frae me than I beg frae them.
Better my friends think me fremit than fashious.
Better visit friends seldom than so often as to prove troublesome.
Better nae ring nor the ring o' a rash.
Better ne'er begun than ne'er ended.
Better ower 't than in 't.
Better beyond the fear of danger than in it.
Better plays the fu' wame than the new coat.
A man may be well dressed but still have a hungry belly, and vice
versa. He that has the "fu' wame" is the more likely
to be in good spirits.
Better rough an' sonsy than bare an' donsy.
It is better to be rough in manners, if coupled with prosperous
circumstances, than be "genteel" and at the same time
Better rue sit than rue flit.
Better not remove at all than do so and then regret it.
"Didna I see when gentle Geordie was seeking to get other
folk out of the Tolbooth forby Jocky Porteous ? but ye are of
my mind, hinny--better sit and rue, than flit and rue--ye needna
look in my face sae amazed. I ken mair things than that, maybe."--
Heart of Midlothian.
Better saucht wi' little aucht than care wi' mony cows.
Better comfort and peace of mind with little, than care and contention
Better saut than sour.
Better say "Here it is" than "Here it was."
Better short and sweet than lang and lax.
Better sit idle than work for nought.
Better sit still than rise an' fa'.
Better skaith saved than mends made.
Better that offence should not be given than committed and then
Better sma' fish than nane.
Better soon as syne.
Better spared than ill spent.
Better speak bauldly out than aye be grumphin'.
If a complaint requires to be made, make it openly and straightforwardly,
instead of continuing to fret about it in an indirect manner.
Better the barn filled than the bed.
Because a full barn denotes prosperity, a full bed trouble.
Better the end o' a feast than the beginning o' a fray.
Better the mother wi' the pock, than the faither wi' the sack.
"The mother, though in a low condition, will be more kindly
to, and more careful of, orphans, than the father can be, though
in a better."-- Kelly.
Better the ill ken'd than the gude unken'd.
Better the nag that ambles a' the day than him that makes a brattle
for a mile and then's dune wi' the road.
Better thole a grumph than a sumph.
Be troubled rather by an intelligent, though surly man, than by
a stupid one.
Better tine life than gude fame.
"I might line fled frae this Tolbooth on that awfu' night
wi' ane wha wad hae carried me through the warld, and friended
me, and fended for me. But I said to them, Let life gang when
gude fame is gane before it."-- Heart of Midlothian.
Better tine your joke than tine your friend.
Better to baud than draw.
Better to rule wi' the gentle hand than the strang.
Better twa skaiths than ae sorrow.
"Losses may be repaired, but sorrow will break the heart
and ruin the constitution."-- Kelly.
Better unkind than ower cumbersome.
Better unmarried than ill married.
Better wade back mid water than gang forward and drown.
Rather withdraw from a bargain or position found likely to prove
bad or dangerous than proceed with either in hopes of improvement.
Better wait on cooks than leeches.
Better wear shoon than wear sheets.
Better you laugh than I greet.
Meaning, I would rather be ridiculed for not doing a thing, than
do it and be sorry for it.
Better your feet slip than your tongue.
Between Martinmas and Yule, water's wine in every pool.
Between the deil and the deer sea.
Between two extremes equally dangerous.
"I fell into Claverhouse's party when I was seeking for some
o' our ain folk to help ye out o' the hands o' the whigs; sae,
being atween the deil and the deep sea, I e'en thought it best
to bring him on wi' me, for he'll be wearied wi' felling folk
the night, and the morn's a new day."- Old Mortality.
Between three and thirteen, thraw the woodie when it's green.
Train the minds and principles of children when young.
Between you and the lang day be'it.
Be what ye seem and seem what ye are.
Bid a man to a roast and stick him wi' the spit.
Pretend to show kindness to a man while your intention is to injure
Bide weel, betide weel.
Wait well or patiently and you will fare well; or at least as
well as those who are hasty.
Biggin and bairns marrying are arrant wasters.
"Building is a sweet impoverishing."-- Spanish.
Bind the sack ere it be fou.
Do not tax any person or thing to the utmost.
Birds o' a feather flock thegither.
Birk will burn be it burn drawn; sauch will sab if it were simmer
Literally, wood will burn even if drawn through water, and the
willow will droop if sown out of season. Figuratively, natural
will and inclination will predominate and exhibit themselves,
although submitted to the most antagonistic influences.
Birth's gude but breeding's better.
Bitter jests poison friendship.
Black's my apron, and I'm aye washing 't.
When a man has got a bad character, although he may endeavour
to redeem it, he will find great difficulty in doing so.
Black will tak nae ither hue.
Blaw the wind ne'er sae fast, it will lown at the last.
Blind horse rides hardy to the fecht.
"Who so bold as blind Bayard ?"-- French.
Blind men shouldna judge o' colours.
Blue and better blue.
"That is, there may be difference between things of the same
kind and persons of the same station."-- Kelly.
Blue's beauty, red's a taiken, green's grief, and yellow's forsaken.
Examples of the "Poetry of colour."
Blue is love true.
Bluid's thicker than water.
"'Weel, weel,' said Mr Jarvie, 'bluid's thicker than water;
and it liesna in kith, kin, and ally, to see motes in ilk other's
een if other een see them no.'"-- Rob Roy.
Bode a robe and wear it, bode a pock and bear it.
According as our aspirations are high or low, so do we succeed
or fail. "As you make your bed, so you must lie on it."
Bode for a silk gown and ye'll get a sleeve o't.
That is, if we "bode" or earnestly wish for an article
or result, we will get at least something approaching to it. An
Aberdeenshire parallel to this is, "They never bodet a house
o' gowd, but aye got a caber o't."
Bode gude and get it
Boden gear stinks.
The theory of the fox and grapes.
Bonnet aside! how sell you your maut?
Bonny birds are aye the warst singers.
Bonny sport, to fare weel and pay nothing for't.
"Diogenes is said to have thought that the best wine which
cost him nothing."-- Kelly.
Bourdna wi' bawty lest he bite ye.
Bourdna wi' my e'e nor wi' mine honour.
Do not jest or trifle with subjects of delicacy character, &c.
Bread and cheese is gude to eat when folk can get nae ither meat.
Bread and milk is bairns' meat: I wish them sorrow that be it.
Bread's house skail'd never.
A full or hospitable house never wants visitors.
Break my head and syne draw on my how.
Breeding wives are aye beddie.
Bridal feasts are soon forgotten.
Broken bread maks batet bairns.
Broken friendships may be souther'd, but never sound.
Burnt bairns dread the fire.