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French Proverbs





French proverbs offer insight into French culture, history, and society, and are often used in speech and writing. There is no substitute for knowing them, and if you can use them in yourself, so much the better. Below are all the standard proverbs used in French, along with English translations and explanations. Use the Search Box at left if you cant't navigate your way to what you want.

A B C D E F G H I J L M N O P Q R S T U V


mains froids, cœur chaud
cold hands, warm heart

mauvaise herbe croît toujours
bad weeds always grow (n.b.: used in reference to rapid growth of a difficult child)

méfiance est mere de sûreté
mistrust is the mother of security

mettre la charrue avant les bœufs
put the cart before the horse (lit.: never put the plow before the oxen)

mettre la charrue devant les bœufs
put the cart before the horse (lit.: put the plow before the oxen)

mieux vaut prévenir que guérir
prevention is better than cure; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (lit.: it is better to prevent than cure)

mieux vaut tard que jamais
better late than never

morte la bête, mort le venin
kill the beast, destroy the venom (i.e.: an enemy or dangerous creature cannot cause harm once dead)


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