Scottish Proverbs

by Pappity Stampoy (1663)

(Originally published as A Collection of Scotch Proverbs)

Proverbs Beginning with “I”

Scotsman and squeeze

Keeping warm; detail from a vintage postcard.

  • Ill weeds waxes weil.
  • It is ill to bring out of the flesh that is bred in the bene.
  • It is a fairy brewing that is not good in the newing.
  • It’s tint that is done to old men and bairns.
  • It is a silly flock where the yow bears the bell.
  • Ill win, ill warit.
  • In some mens aught mon the old horse die.
  • It is a sooth board that men sees wakin.
  • In space, comes Grace.
  • It is a sin to lye on the Devil.
  • It is eith till, that the awn self will.
  • It is good mows that fills the wemb.
  • It is na time to stoup when the head is off.
  • It is fair in the hall, when beards wag all.
  • It will come in an hour, that will not come in a year.
  • If thou do no ill, do no ill like.
  • If he steal not my kail, break not my dike.
  • If he may spend meikle, put the more to the fire.
  • If I can get his cart at a Waltar, I shall lend it a put.
  • If I may not keep geese, I shall keep gesline.
  • It is kindly that the poke fair of the Herring.
  • It is eich to cry yule on another man’s cost;
  • Ilk a man as he loves, let him send to the Cooks,
  • It is eith to swim where the head is hild up.
  • It is weil warit they have sorrow, that buyes it with their silver.
  • If ane will not, another will.
  • It is ill to take a breik off a bare [unreadable].
  • It is dear bought honey that is lickt off a thorn.
  • If God be with us, who will be against us.
  • It is weil warit that wasters warn geir.
  • It is ill to bring but the thing that is not thereben.
  • It that lies not in your gate, breaks not your shins.
  • It is na play where ane greits, and another laughs.
  • If a man knew what would be dear, he would be but Merchant for a year.
  • It is true that all men sayes.
  • I have a good bow, but it is in the Castle.
  • It is hard to fling at the brod, or kick at the prick.
  • Ilk man mend ane, and all will be mendit.
  • It is a fairy collop that is tane off a Capon.
  • Ill bairns are best heard at home.
  • It is ill to waken sleeping dogs.
  • Ill herds makes fat wolfes.
  • It is hard to wive and thrive in a year.
  • It is good sleeping in a heal skin.
  • It is not tint that is done to friends.
  • It is ill to draw a strea before an old Cat.
  • It is a pain both to pay and pray.
  • It is good fishing in drumbling waters.
  • It is little of God’s might, to make a poor man a Knight.
  • It is good baking besides meal.
  • It is a good Goose that drops ay.
  • It is not the habit that makes the Monck.
  • It is not good to want, and to have.
  • It hes neither [unreadable], nor elbow.
  • I shall sit on his skirt.
  • It is a bare Moor that he goes over, and gets not a Cow.
  • I shall hold his Nose to the Grindstone.
  • It goes as meiklle in his heart, as in his heel.
  • It goes in at one ear, and out at the other.
  • It is na mair pitty to see a Woman greit, nor to see a Goose go barefoot.
  • It is well said, but who will bell the Cat?
  • It is short while seen the louse boore the langelt.
  • I have a sliddery Eel by the tail.
  • It is as meet as a Sow to bear a Saddle.
  • It is as meet as a thief for the widdie.
  • I would I had as meikle pepper as he counts himself worthy Mice dirt.
  • It will be an ill web to bleitch.
  • I cannot find you both tails and ears.
  • It is ill to make a bowing horn of a tods tail.
  • If ever ye make a lucky pudding, I shall eat the prick.
  • It that God will give, the Devil cannot reave.
  • In a good time I speak it, in a better I leave it.
  • It’s a silly pack that may not pay the custom.
  • I have seen as light a green.
  • It’s a cold coal to blow at.
  • It is a fair feild where all are dung down.
  • It’s a fair dung bairn that dare not greit.
  • I wat where my own shoe binds me.
  • If ye wanted me, and your meat, you would want ane good friend.


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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