B2 English Language Skills

Strange but Wise Proverbs

You must have heard of proverbs like “never judge a book by its cover” or “many hands make light work”. These are English proverbs and sayings.

Wise old sayings from the elders of the past are sometimes difficult to comprehend. Some of them even sound strange. Nevertheless, these deep sayings from our elders are valuable as they teach us important lessons. Furthermore, these strange proverbs can also be used to describe a difficult situation or enhance the nature of our writings.


  1. A slippery ground does not recognise a king
    Country of origin: Kenya
    Definition: The most powerful people are just similar to normal people like you and me. Sometimes they are happy and sometimes they are stressed. They also make mistakes and have to go through rough waters in life. They do not get special treatment on a slippery surface – they will slip and fall just like everyone else.
  2. To live with the wolves, you have to howl like a wolf
    Country of origin: Russia
    Definition: In dangerous situations, try to look like everyone around you. Being among a pack of wolves brings the risk of being eaten by them alive. It is thought that if you howl, the wolves may see you as their equal. Whenever we are in a dangerous situation, it is of utmost importance that we learn to adapt to the situation in order to overcome it.
  3. A nice fig is often full of worms.
    Country of origin: Zulu
    Definition: The English equivalent is “Never judge a book by its cover.”
    A nice looking fig fruit does not mean automatically that it will also be nice on the inside. There might be worms. You will not know until you cut open the fruit itself. This is the same with any other thing in life: never be too hasty to judge anything by just looking.


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comprehend – grasp mentally; understand
enhance – further improve the quality
utmost – most extreme; greatest
adapt – change to suit all that is around you, to harmonise with your surroundings
hasty – acting too quikly, often without thinking

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