called provribs, freits or sawes in Scots, are short
familiar sayings expressing a supposed truth or moral lesson.
|A bonnie bride is suin buskit, an a
short horse is suin wispit.
||A pretty bride needs little decoration;
a small horse little grooming.
|A cauld needs the ceuk sae muckle the doctor.
||I need it like a hole in the head.
|A gien cou shoudna be leukit in the mou
||Don't look a gift horse in the mouth
|A greedy gutsie ee ne'er gat a fou wame.
||Greedy persons are never satisfied.
|A guid dug ne'er barkit aboot a bane.
||Good servants don't look for rewards.
|A guid name's suiner tint nor wun.
||A good name is sooner lost than gained.
|A hungersome wame haes nae lugs.
||A hungry person can't listen to reason.
|A rowin stane gaithers nae fog.
||A rolling stone gathers no moss.
|A shored tree staunds lang.
||Threatened folk live long.
|A smaw buss is better nor nae bield.
||Any port in a storm.
|Ae man's meat is anither man's pushion.
||One man's food is another man's poison.
|Early creuk the tree that guid crummock wad be.
||If at first you don’t succeed,
try, try and try again.
|An ill shearer aye blames his tuils.
||A bad workman always blames his tools.
|As ae door's steekit anither appens.
||As one door closes another one opens.
|As daft as a yett on a windy day.
||As mad as a hatter.
|Auld sawes speaks suith.
||Old proverbs tell the truth.
|Auld speugies is ill tae tame.
||You can’t teach an old dog new
|Aw compleen o want o siller but nane o want o mense.
||If they had more sense they would soon
have more money.
|Aw things haes an end, an a pudden haes twa.
||All things have an end, and a sausage
|Aye tae eild but niver tae wit.
||Always growing older but never wiser.
|Bairns maun creep ere thay gang.
||Don’t try to walk before you
|Better a fremmit freend nor a freend fremmit.
||Better friendly stranger than a friend
|Better a moose in the pat nor nae flesh.
||A bird in the hand is worth two in
|Better a tuim hoose nor an ill tenant.
||Better an empty house than a bad tenant.
(Said when letting wind)
|Better a wee buss nor nae bield.
||Any port in a storm.
|Better hauf an egg nor a tuim dowp.
||Better half a loaf than no bread.
|Better ma freends thinks me fremmit as fashious.
||Better my that friends think me a stranger
owing to infrequent visits than troublesome owing
to too many.
|Better mak yer feet yer freends.
||Show a clean pair of heels.
|Better suin nor syne.
||Better sooner rather than later.
|Beauty's muck whan honour's tint.
||Beauty is of no value when honour is
|Claw ye ma back, an A'll claw yers
||If you scratch my back, I'll scratch
|Craft maun hae claes but suith gangs nakit.
||Cunning must have clothes but truth
|Dinna speak o raip til a chield that's faither wis
||Don't talk of rope to a man whose father
|E'enin orts is guid mornins' fother.
||Today’s rain is tomorrow’s
|Facts is chields that winna ding.
||Facts are stubborn things.
|Gie a beggar a bed an, he'll pey ye wi a loose.
||Give a beggar a bed, and he'll pay
you with a louse.
|Gie yer tongue mair halidays nor yer heid.
||Give your tongue more holidays than
|He shoud hae a hale powe that caws his neebour neetie
||People who live in glass houses shouldn't
|He that's angry appens his mou an steeks his een.
||The angry man speaks unadvisedly, without
investigating the matter.
|He that's scant o braith shoudna meddle wi the chanter.
||Never begin anything for which you
have no aptitude.
|He that blaws in stour fills his ain een.
||He who stirs up trouble finds himself
|He that sleeps wi dugs maun rise wi flaes.
||He who keeps bad company will be the
worse for it.
|He that will til Cupar maun til Cupar.
||A wilful man must have his way.
|Ilk blad o girse keeps its ain dew.
||Mind your own business.
|It's a bare muir that ye gang throu an no find a
||It's a long lane that has no turning.
|It's a blate cheetie that maks a prood moose.
||A shy cat makes a proud mouse.
|It's an ill bird that fyles it's ain nest.
||Don’t foul your own nest.
|It's better tae hear the laverock sing nor the moose
||The outdoor life is the better.
|It's guid tae begin weel, but better tae end weel.
||Make hay while the sun shines.
|It's ill bringin but, whit's no ben.
||You can't have your cake and eat it.
|It's like butter in the black dug's hause.
||It's no use crying over spilt milk.
|It's no the rummlin cairt that faws ower the brae.
||It's not the likeliest person who dies
|It's past joukin whan the heid's aff.
||It's too late to lock the stable door
after the horse has bolted.
|Keep yer ain fish-guts tae yer ain seamaws.
||Charity begins at home.
|Kinnle a caunle at baith ends, an it'll suin be
||Go to bed late and rise early, and
you'll soon be dead.
|Lat the belled wether brak the snaw.
||Tried leaders are best in emergencies.
|Lig the heid o the sou til the tail o the gryce.
||Balance gains and losses.
|Makna tuim ruise.
||Bestow no empty praise.
|Mony ane for laund, taks a fuil by the haund.
||Many marry for money.
|Mony a puckle maks a muckle.
||Every little helps.
|Muckle whistlin for little redd laund.
||Much cry for little wool.
|Nae gairdener iver lichtlied his ain leeks.
||No man speaks ill of what he values
|Ne'er find faut wi ma shuin unless ye pey ma souter.
||Don't criticise something you know
nothing about and which is none of your business.
|Ne'er gang til the deil wi a dishcloot on yer heid.
||As well be hanged for a sheep as a
lamb. In for a penny, in for a pound.
|Ne'er lat yer feet rin faster nor yer shuin.
||Don't outstrip your resources.
|Ne'er lat yer gear owergang ye.
||Pride not yourself in your riches.
|Ne'er pit yer haund oot faurer nor yer sleeve will
||Spend no more than you can afford.
|Niver tak a forehaimer tae brak an egg (whan ye
can dae't wi the back o a knife).
||To crack a nut with a sledgehammer.
|Oot the hie-gate is aye fair play.
||Honesty is the best policy.
|Pit twa pennies in a pootch, an thay'll creep thegither.
||Put two pennies in a purse, and they
will creep together.
|Raise nae mair deils nor ye can lig.
||Don't start anything you can't stop.
|Reek follaes the fairest; beir witness tae the creuk.
||Excellence is accompanied by envy.
|Set a stoot hert til a stey brae.
||The harder the task, the more determination
|Tak help at yer elbucks.
||Heaven helps those who help themselves.
|The eemock bites sairer nor the clock.
||It is dangerous to interfere with a
man seriously engaged in business.
|The keeng ligs doun an the warld rins roond.
||No man is indispensable.
|The pruif o the pudden's in the preein o't.
||The proof of the pudding is in the
|The thing that's duin is no tae dae.
||There's no time like the present.
|Thare's a dub at ilka door.
||There's a skeleton in every cupboard.
|Thare's aye some watter whaur the stirkie drouns.
||No smoke without fire.
|Thay are fremmit freends that canna be fasht.
||They are strange friends who can't
|Thay gang faur that disna meet ae day.
||It’s a small world.
|We can shape wir bairn's wyliecoat but canna shape
||We can shape our children's clothes
but not their fate.
|Ye are feart for the day ye niver seen.
||You are worrying unnecessarily.
|Ye canna gaither berries aff a whinbuss.
||Don't go to ill-tempered people for