Listen to 100 Popular Proverbs with Explanations


What are they? And why are they so important?

Proverbs are considered an important aspect of any language for many reasons. If nothing defines a culture more than its language, nothing encapsulates a society’s most intimate beliefs, values, and wiseness better than proverbs. But what exactly is a proverb? And why is it so important? In this article, we’ll try to answer that.

Download  and Listen to audio file of popular proverbs

What is a proverb?

A proverb is a short, traditional saying that expresses a perceived truth or piece of advice, based on common sense or experience. They are considered a genre of folklore, the body of culture shared by a particular group of people which encompasses that group’s traditions, culture, and subculture.

Proverbs often have an allegorical message and their meaning may not be easily identifiable. For example, the proverb “a cat may look at a king” can be difficult to interpret. It means that everyone, even someone with low status, has the same right. This proverb gives us an example of another feature that is very common among proverbs: its origin is unknown.

What is a proverb function?

The most important function of proverbs is to teach and educate the audience. They often contain advice that comes from folk wisdom with the role of educating the reader or listener on what they may face if they do something. Proverbs mainly play a didactic role addressed to common people and regarding common issues. For example, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” is a piece of advice of abiding by the custom of a society when one is a visitor.

Where do proverbs origin from?

Proverbs come from a variety of sources. 

Some origin from literary works published centuries ago, like “A wise man gets more from his enemies than a fool from his friends”, which origins from a work by a Spanish author dated 1653.

A number of sayings from Jesus or Shakespeare have become well-known proverbs, even though they weren’t seen as such when they were coined. “Have more than you show, speak less than you know”, is actually a line from Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Many proverbs are also based on stories. For example, the proverb “Who will be the cat?”  is from the end of a story about the mice planning how to be safe from the cat.

Also, as we’ve already mentioned, the proverbs’ origin is often unknown.

Why are proverbs so important?

Proverbs are considered important for more reasons than just the didactically purpose.

  • They are the gems of wisdom.
  • They are the most particular and intimate expression of the spoken language, embodying a culture’s values and beliefs. 
  • Although they are culturally specific their meaning is often universal. We may not understand a big lecture, but we can all understand a small proverb and relate to it because the truth proverbs speak speaks to the globe.
  • Finally, if you’re learning English, and you want to learn it at a higher level and speak like a Native, you’ll need to learn as many proverbs as you can. Even though you’re preparing an exam like the IELTS it would be definitely useful and rewarding to learning and practice as many proverbs as possible.

Whether it is for learning English, literary research or personal curiosity we thought of providing you with a useful audio list of 100 most popular English proverbs and their explanation. We hope they can help to learn and become familiar with them for whatever is the reason you’ve decided to study them.

Listen to 100 popular English Proverbs and Explainations?

Download and listen to an audio file of popular English proverbs and their explaination.

This audio  narration of popular proverbs is conducted by a by a professional English speaker with years of experience.

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