Scottish Proverbs

Enjoy dozens of witty and insightful Scottish proverbs and idioms that have been passed down from one generation to the next for hundreds of years!

  • Plenty is better than scarcity.
  • Where vice is, vengeance follows.
  • ’Tis hard to hold a conger by the tail.
  • Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.
  • What the little ones see, the little ones do.
  • A craft is an enemy if not learned.
  • Keep a thing seven years and you’ll find a use for it.
  • A feast tonight and a famine tomorrow.
  • A covetous eye never got a good bargain.
  • Carelessness is worse than a thief.
  • Though you should take a wife from Hell, yet she will bring you home.
  • No wonder the cast smells of the herrings that it holds.
  • Were it not for hope, the heart would break.
  • He who is successful is celebrated with drink; he who is down is kicked.
  • Nothing is easy to the unwilling.
  • Assurance is two-thirds of success.
  • False friends are worse than bitter enemies.
  • Plenty makes dainty!
  • A feast is no use without good talk.
  • Repentance won’t cure mischief.
  • Peace is better than a hundred cows on a hill.
  • The drunk man thinks himself the only one sober.
  • Where the stream is shallowest, it is noisiest.
  • The pen’s blow is the most treacherous.
  • A little can be tasty.
  • A priest should be learned, but learning won’t make a priest.
  • It is easier to cure a disease if caught early.
  • Better bend than break.
  • Hold back your dog until the deer falls.
  • A fire of broken peat, and a boy’s love, do not last.
  • It is better to be a little miserly than to lose a lot.
  • Grass does not grow on the high road.
  • If it is worth taking, it is worth asking for.
  • There is no recollection of eaten bread.
  • Praise youthfulness and it will respond to you.
  • The man who puts not a knot on his thread loses the first stitch.
  • There’s not a wise man without fault.
  • Beauty won’t boil the pot.
  • More than we use is more than we want.
  • Honey may be sweet, but no one licks it off a briar.
  • Nothing can get into a closed fist.
  • Don’t go to him with your problem who has no sympathy for your case.
  • He has eaten the calf in the stomach’s cow.
  • Prayer and practice is good rhyme.
  • There is often the look of an angel on the devil himself.
  • Common sense hides shame.
  • It’s the quiet pig that eats the meal.
  • A man may do without a brother, but not without a neighbor.
  • Two should stay together when crossing a ford.
  • What the ear does not hear will not worry the heart.

For thousands more proverbs and words of wisdom, collected from over 40 countries, check out Proverbs from Around the World!

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