Little Birdie Told Me
Old American proverbs are popular,witty statements that express an obvious truth. Most of
the ones on this page contain a bird or an animal theme.
Proverbs and folk sayings have been preserved and past down from generation to
generation demonstrating that basic human observations never really change. Through these
sometimes amusing words, the wit and wisdom of yesteryear
emerge into the present. I'm sure that you have heard you parents or grandparents
come out with a few of these priceless gems. The next time you tell your children something and they
snap back answering "How do you know?" Tell them that a little birdie
- A barleycorn is better than a diamond to a rooster.
- A bird never flew on one wing.
- A coconut shell full of water is an ocean to an ant.
- A crow is never the whiter forever washing.
- A fine cage won't feed the bird.
- A hog in satin is still a hog.
- A leopard cannot change its spots.
- A mischievous dog must be tied short.
- A new net won't catch an old bird.
- A sheep that bleats loses a mouthful.
- A clean conscience makes a soft pillow.
- A lamb is as dear to a poor man as an ox to the rich.
- A false friend and a shadow stay only while the sun shines.
- A big wife and a big barn never did a man any harm.
- A sheep that is no trouble to shear has little wool.
- A living dog is better than a deal lion.
- A closed mouth catches no flies.
- A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush.
- A lovelorn cook over salts the porridge.
- A false friend has honey in his mouth and gall in his heart.
- A little bait catches a large fish.
- A bankbook is the greedy man's bible.
- A good cause finds weapons to defend it.
- A donkey laden with gold is still but a donkey.
- A man with a fixed idea is like a goose that tries to hatch a
- A green Yule means a fat churchyard.
- A guest and a fish are after three days poison.
- A smart mouse has more than one hole.
- A wild colt may become a sober old horse.
- A worm is in the bud of youth and at the root of old age.
- All are not thieves that dogs bark at.
- An empty barrel rattles the loudest.
- An ass burdened with books thinks himself a scholar.
- Bad breath is better than none at all.
- Barking dogs seldom bite.
- Bald-headed barbers preach the miracles of hair tonics.
- Better bowlegs than no legs at all.
- Birds of a feather, flock together.
- Curses, like chickens, come home to roost.
- Curiosity killed the cat.
- Don't change horses in the middle of the stream.
- Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
- Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.
- Don't steal a goose and give the church the giblets.
- Don't worry when you stumble, for the worm is the
only thing that can't fall down.
- Don't sell the bear's skin before you have caught the bear.
- Even a fish wouldn't get caught if he kept his mouth shut.
- Even the devil was an angel in the beginning.
- Every path has a puddle.
- Every bird loves to hear himself sing.
- Every dog has his day.
- Every field looks green from a distance, even a cemetery.
- Every rose has its thorn.
- Fools step in where angels fear to tread.
- Fling enough dirt and some of it will stick.
- God could not be everywhere so he made mothers.
- Gold is the dust that blinds all eyes.
- He who eats when he is full digs his grave with his teeth.
- He that lies with dogs comes up with fleas.
- He who falls in puppy love, leads a dog's life.
- He who plays with a cat must expect to be scratched.
- Hell is never full; there is always room for one more.
- It is a waste of gunpowder to fire at the man-in-the-moon.
- If you go barefoot, don't plant thorns.
- If you have no bacon, you must be content with the cabbage.
- If you act like a donkey, don't complain when people ride you.
- If a beard were a sign of intelligence, a goat would be
- It does no good to beat a dead horse.
- It does no good to cry over spilled milk.
- If you want to make an omelet you must break some eggs.
- In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
- Laws catch flies and let hornets go free.
- Let sleeping dogs lie.
- Little children step on one's lap; tall ones on one's heart.
- Living is sometimes like licking honey off a thorn.
- Liars and gossips are Siamese twins.
- Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
- Make the house clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough
to be happy.
- Modesty is like the snow; when it melts it is gone forever.
- No matter how high a bird flies, it has to come down for water.
- New churches and new bars are well patronized.
- Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
- Never quarrel with your bread and butter.
- None preaches better than the ant, and she says nothing.
- One swallow does not a summer make.
- One murder makes a villain, millions a hero.
- One has only to die to be praised.
- Play with an ass and he'll whisk his tail in your face.
- Patience is a bitter plant, but it has sweet fruit.
- Politics is like a rotten egg: when broken open it stinks.
- Singers, poets and lovers are privileged liars.
- Speak the truth and embarrass the devil.
- The bait hides the hook.
- There are more ways to kill a dog than choking it with butter.
- The sun doesn't shine on the same dog's back everyday.
- To the dog that has money, men say "My lord dog."
- Two can live as cheap as one. (Said the sparrow to the horse).
- The Early bird catches the worm.
- The last straw breaks the camel's back.
- The old forget, the young don't know.
- There is a black sheep in every flock.
- Use a book as a bee does a flower.
- What good is a pretty dish if it's empty?
- What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
- Where there is little sweat there will be little sweet.
- When strong drink enters, wisdom departs.
- When the cat is away, the mice will play.
- You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.
- You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
- You can't make cookies when you haven't got the dough.
- You can't squeeze blood from a turnip.
- You must lose the bait to catch a trout.
- You never know the length of a snake until it is dead.
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