Cultural Resources

Scottish Proverbs

by Pappity Stampoy (1663)

(Originally published as A Collection of Scotch Proverbs)

Proverbs Beginning with “B”

  • Better give nor take.
  • Better lang little, then soon right nought.
  • Better hand loose, nor bound to an ill baikine.
  • Better late thrive then never.
  • Buy when I bid you.
  • Better sit idle then work for nought.
  • Better learn by your neighbors skaith nor by your own.
  • Better half an egge, nor teem doup.
  • Better apple given nor eaten.
  • Better a Dog faun nor bark on you.
  • Boden gear stinks.
  • Bourd neither with me, nor with my Honour.
  • Betwixt twae stools the arse falls down.
  • Better bide the Cooks nor the Mediciners.
  • Better bairns greit, nor bearded men.
  • Better saucht with little aucht, nor care with many cow.
  • Better two skaiths, nor ane sorrow.
  • Bring a Cow to the Hall, and she will run to the byre again.
  • Better bow nor break.
  • Bear wealth, poverty will bear itself.
  • Better a wit cost, nor two for nought.
  • Better good sale, nor good Ale.
  • Better wooe over midding, nor over mosse.
  • Better happy to court, nor good service.
  • Blaw the wind nere so saft, it will lowen at the last.
  • Better be happy nor wise.
  • Binde fast, finde fast.
  • Better plays a full wemb nor a new coat.
  • Better say, Here it is, nor, Here it was.
  • Better auld debts nor auld sairs.
  • Bourd not with Bawty, fear lest he bite ye.
  • Better a fowl in hand nor twa flying.
  • Better rew sit, nor rew flie.
  • Better spare at the breird nor at the bottome.
  • Better finger off, nor ay warking.
  • Bind the seck ere it be full.
  • Better be well loved, nor ill won geir.
  • Better a clout nor a hole out.
  • Better no ring, nor the ring of a rash.
  • Butter and burn-trouts gar maidens f[unreadable] the wind.
  • Better held out nor put out.
  • Better have a Mouse in the pot as no flesh.
  • Better sit stil, nor rise and get a fall.
  • Better leave nor want.
  • Better buy as borrow.
  • Better be dead as out of the fashion.
  • Better unborn nor untaught.
  • Better be envied nor pittied.
  • Better a little fire that warms, nor a meikle that burns.
  • Be the same thing that thou wald be cald.
  • Better a laying Hen nor a lyin Crown.
  • Bannaks is better nor na kind of bread.
  • Black will be no other Hue.
  • Beauty but bounty avails nought.
  • Bairns mother burst never.
  • Breads House skiald never.
  • Biting and scarting is Scots folks Wooing.
  • Beware of Had I wist.
  • Better be alone nor in ill company.
  • Better a chigging mother, nor a riding father.
  • Better never begun nor never endit.
  • Bonie silver is soon spendit.
  • Before I wein, and now I wat.


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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