Cultural Resources

Scottish Proverbs

by Pappity Stampoy (1663)

(Originally published as A Collection of Scotch Proverbs)

Proverbs Beginning with “A”

Scottish boy on Christmas postcard

Detail from a vintage Christmas postcard.

  • A Fair Bride is soon buskt, and a short Horse is soon wispt.
  • A friend’s Dinner is soon dight.
  • All is not in hand that helps.
  • All the Keys of the Countrey hangs not at one Belt.
  • An ill Cook would have a good Cleaver.
  • As good haud, as draw.
  • As the old Cock craws, the young Cock lears.
  • All fails that fools thinks.
  • A blyth heart makes a blomand visage.
  • A gentle Horse would not be over fair spur’d.
  • A still Sow eats all the Draff.
  • All things hath a beginning, God excepted.
  • A blind man should not judge of colours.
  • A good fellow tint never, but at an ill fellows hand.
  • All the Corn in the Country is not shorn by the Kempers.
  • A good beginning makes a good ending.
  • As many heads as many wits.
  • A black shoe makes a blythe heart.
  • A Vaunter and a Lyar is both one thing.
  • A dum man wan never land.
  • And old hound bytes fair.
  • A sloathfull man is a Beggers brother.
  • As soon comes the Lamb-skin to the market as the old Sheeps.
  • At open doors Dogs come in.
  • An hungry man sees far.
  • All is not tint that is in peril.
  • As the Sow fills the Draff fowres.
  • A good asker should have a good nay-say.
  • A good ruser was never a good rider.
  • A Lyar should have a good memory.
  • Ane Begger is wae, another by the gate gae.
  • A wight man never wanted a weapon.
  • A half-penny Cat may look to the King.
  • As fair greits the bairn that is dung after noon, as he that is dung before noon.
  • An oleit Mother makes a fweir Daughter.
  • A borrowed len should come laughing ahme.
  • As long runs the Fox as he hath feet.
  • A proud heart in a poor breast, has meikle dolour to dree.
  • A teem purse makes a bleat merchant.
  • Ane year a Nurish, seven years a Daw.
  • Ane ill word begets another, and it were at at the Bridge at London.
  • A Wool-seller kens a Wool-buyer.
  • Auld men are twice bairns.
  • All fellows, Jock and the Laird.
  • A hasty man never wanted woe.
  • A silly bairn is eith to lear.
  • As good merchant tines as wins.
  • A racklesse hussy makes mony thieves.
  • A hungry lowse bites fair.
  • Anes pay it never crave it.
  • A fools bolt is soon shot.
  • Anes wood, never wise, ay the worse.
  • As the Carle riches he wretches.
  • An ill life, an ill end.
  • A Skabbed Horse is good enough for a skald Squire.
  • A given Horse should not be lookt in the teeth.
  • An old seck craves meikle clouting.
  • A travelled man hath leave to lye.
  • A fool when he hes spoken, hes all done.
  • A man that is warned, is half-armed.
  • A mirk mirrour is a mans mind.
  • A full heart lied never.
  • A good Cow may have an ill Calf.
  • A dum man holds all.
  • A Cock is crouse upon his own midding.
  • A greedy man God hates.
  • As fair fights Wrans as Cranes.
  • A skade mans head is soon broke.
  • A yeeld Sow was never good to gryses.
  • An unhappy mans Cairt is eith to tumble.
  • As meikle upwith, as meikle downwith.
  • A new Bissom sweeps clean.
  • A skabbed sheep syles ail the flock.
  • A tarrowing bairn was never fat.
  • A tratler is worse then a thief.
  • An ill shearer gat never a good hook.
  • A burnt bairn fire dreads.
  • All the speed is in the spurs.
  • A word before is worth two behinde.
  • An ill win penny will cast down a pound.
  • An old seck is ay skailing.
  • A fair fire makes a room flet.
  • An old Knave is na bairn.
  • A good yeoman makes a good woman.
  • A man hath no more good then he hath good of.
  • A fool may give a wise man a counsell.
  • A man may speir the gate to Rome.
  • As long fives the merry-man, as the wretch for all the craft he can.
  • All wald have all, all wald forgive.
  • Ane may lead a Horse to the water, but four and twenty cannot gar him drink.
  • A bleat Cat makes a proud Mouse.
  • An ill-willy Cow should have short horns.
  • A good piece steil is worth a penny.
  • A shored Tree stands long.
  • A gloved Cat was never a good Hunter.
  • A gangan foot is ay getting, and it were but a thorn.
  • All is not gold that glitters.
  • Ane Swallow makes no summer.
  • A man may spit on his hand, and doe full ill.
  • An ill servant will never be a good maister.
  • An hired Horse tired never.
  • All the winning is in the first buying.
  • An unch is a feast, (of Bread and Cheese.)
  • An Horse may snapper on four feet.
  • All things wytes that well not fares.
  • All things thrive but thrice.
  • Absence is a shro.
  • Auld sin, new shame.
  • A man cannot thrive except his wife let him.
  • A bairn must creep ere he gang.
  • As long as ye bear the tod, ye man bear up his tail.
  • All overs are ill but over the water.
  • A man may wooe where he will, but wed where is his weard.
  • A mean pot plaid never even.
  • Among twenty four fools not ane wise man.
  • Ane mans meat is another mans poyson.
  • A fool will not give his Bauble for the Tower of London.
  • A foul foot makes a son wemb.
  • A man is a Lyon in his own cause.
  • A hearty hand to give a hungry meltith.
  • A cumbersome Cur in company is hated for his miscarriage.
  • A poor man is fain of little.
  • An answer in a word.
  • A bettlesie brain cannot lye.
  • A yule feast may be quit at Pasch.
  • A good dog never barkt but a bene.
  • A full seck will take a clout on the side.
  • An ill hound comes halting home.
  • All things helps quoth the Wran, when she pisht in the Sea.
  • All cracks, all beares.
  • All Houndlesse man comes to the best Hunting.
  • All things hes an end, a Pudding hes twa.
  • All is well that ends well.
  • As good hads the stirep as he that loups on.
  • A begun work is half ended.
  • A Scots man is ay wife behind band.
  • A new tout in all old horn.
  • A broken a Ship hes come to land.
  • As the fool thinks ay the bell clinks.
  • A man may see his friend need, but will not see him bleed.
  • A friend is not known but in need.
  • A friend in Court is worth a penny in purse.
  • All things are good unseyed.
  • A good Goose indeed, but she hes an ill gansell.
  • All are not maidens that wears bare hair.
  • A Mach and a Horshoe are both alike.
  • Airly crooks the Tree that good Lammock should be.
  • An ounce of mother-wit, is worth a pound of clergie.
  • An inch of a nag is worth a span of an aver.
  • A good word is as soon said as an ill.
  • A spoon full of skytter spills a pot full of skins.


Scottish Proverbs

Many fine collections of Scottish proverbs have been published over the years. An assortment of some of our favorites are available as new or used copies. Your purchase will help support the non-profit activitites of Compass Rose Cultural Crossroads.

You are free to use the proverbs in this online collection on your own site as long as you credit Compass Rose Cultural Crossroads as the source and provide a link to our Web site:

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