German Proverbs

Spoken directly or with humor, the German proverbs are a great source of thought provoking ideas.
German proverbs represent one of the finest cultures in Europe. They have a very practical approach and the humor present in some of them gives them a bit of a sweeter taste so to speak. However the sharp realism in some of them is pretty blunt and will not pet anyone, embodying somehow the German direct way of speaking.

As an old German proverb says "A country can be judged by the quality of its proverbs"; when it comes to Germany there is plenty to say. Given to the fact that over 40 million Americans are of German ancestry, it is obvious how due to their emigration in the United States of America their words of wisdom inheritance was translated into English, therefore, some of these proverbs may seem familiar.

I'll let you enjoy the wit and the life lessons you can learn in these proverbs:

"The oldest trees often bear the sweetest fruit."

"A hedge between keeps friendship green."

"A poor person isn't he who has little, but he who needs a lot."

"To remain young while growing old is the highest blessing."

"Anger without power is folly."

"He who conquers his anger has conquered an enemy."

"The more laws the less justice."

"Silence is a fence around wisdom."

"Joy and sorrow are next door neighbors."

"As fast as laws are devised, their evasion is contrived."

"Be silent, or say something better than silence."

"When a dove begins to associate with crows its feathers remain white but its heart grows black."

"Attack is the best defense."

"The greatest step is out the door."

"Charity sees the need not the cause."

"Speaking comes by nature, silence by understanding."

"Age does not protect from foolishness."

"An example from the monkey: the higher it climbs, the more you see of its behind."

"The old forget, the young don't know."

"He who wants to warm himself in old age must build a fireplace in his youth."

"Nobody is too old to learn."

"What the lion cannot manage to do the fox can."

"All beginning is difficult."

"A teacher is better than two books"

"God gives, but man must open his hand."

"People show their character by what they laugh at."

"He who prizes little things is worthy of great ones."

"If the eye does not want to see, neither light nor glasses will help."

"This will pass as well."

"It's not healthy to swallow books without chewing."

"He who cannot doubt, is a stupid man."

"He who teaches children learns more than they do."

"From hurts and harms one becomes wise(r)."

"To live long, eat like a cat, drink like a dog."

"First food, then moral."

"A fence lasts three years, a dog lasts three fences, a horse lasts three dogs, and a man lasts three horses."

"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree trunk."

"A loved old man is a winter with flowers."

"Show me who you are friends with, and I will tell you who you are. A man is known by the friends he keeps."

"Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is."

"Age counsels, youth acts."

"Envy eats nothing but its own heart."

"Love grows with the square of the distance."

"It's fear that brings about idolatry."

"Towards evening the lazy person begins to get busy."

"Who has never tasted what is bitter does not know what is sweet."

"Never hurt an animal for the fun of it, for it can feel pain like you."

"Frugality keeps the house."

"If you have a good friend, you don't need a mirror."

"Money alone doesn't make one happy."

"It's the whole, not the detail, that matters."

"Coffee and love are best when they are hot."

"Hunger is the best cook."

"Never give advice unless asked."

"Happy is the one who forgets that which cannot be changed"

"Nothing is as new as something which has been long forgotten."

"Who begins too much accomplishes little."

"You can do anything with children if only you play with them."

"To change and to improve are two different things."

"No one is luckier than him who believes in his luck."

"One bad apple spoils the bunch."

"Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be happy that the thorn bush has roses."
By Claudia Miclaus
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