Select one of the keywords
Dictionary Of Proverbs: and their origins    by Linda Flavell & Roger Flavell order for
Dictionary Of Proverbs
by Linda Flavell
Order:  USA  Can
Kyle Cathie, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Ever wondered where old sayings like 'Once bitten, twice shy' came from? Every language has its own versions of such collective wisdom, evolving through the oral tradition. Linda and Roger Flavell present their Dictionary Of Proverbs (which they call 'guidelines for life') here - the sayings themselves, and their origins, interspersed with succinct essays on the topic (including one on proverb-based games).

What is a proverb? I like best Cervantes' summation as quoted by the authors - 'Proverbs are short sentences drawn from long experience'. In the book, they are listed alphabetically from 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder' to 'Two wrongs don't make a right'. Some versions are straightforward in language, others more colorful - compare 'Actions speak louder than words' to 'Fine words butter no parsnips'. Some, like 'Between two stools you fall to the ground', were new to me and I was disappointed not to find a personal favorite - 'A wink's as good as a nod to a blind horse'. But I enjoyed variants like the French 'Even a dog may look at a bishop', and appreciated information on proverbs' literary pedigrees.

If you're interested in etymology and language shifts across cultures and time, then you'll enjoy Dictionary Of Proverbs. Note that the authors have also published Dictionary of Idioms, Dictionary of English Down the Ages, and Dictionary Of Word Origins.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews