European proverbs applied to Go

    Keywords: Proverb

Here used to be an introduction to what I planned to become an article. Many have improved on the page, especially on my English, but the upshot is that the page is now not suitable anymore for the original intentions. Absolutely no regrets, enjoy ! Dieter

Jan: Now you're making me curious! Please give us a hint of what you had in mind! Otherwise (ko-threat) I'll start the 'high trees catch a lot of wind?' page :-)

  1. Spreken is zilver, zwijgen is goud (to speak is silver, to remain silent is gold)
  2. Beter een vogel in de hand dan tien in de lucht (it is better to have one bird in one's hand than ten in the air)
  3. Voorzichtigheid is de moeder van de porseleinkast (cautiousness is the mother of the China cupboard)
  4. Men moet een gegeven paard niet in de mond kijken (one should not inspect the mouth of a horse one has been given)
  5. Als het kalf verdronken is, dempt men de put (when the calf has drowned, the well is filled)
  6. Wie een kuil graaft voor een ander, valt er zelf in (He who digs a hole for another, will fall into it himself)
  7. Haastige spoed is zelden goed (Haste and hurry is rarely good / cause nothing but worry / will make you feel sorry)
  8. Wie wind zaait, zal storm oogsten (He who sows wind shall harvest storm)
  9. Wie het kleine niet eert, is het grote niet weerd (He who refuses the small is not worthy of the large)
  10. Stille wateren hebben diepe gronden (silent waters hide deeper grounds)
  11. Ledigheid is des duivels oorkussen (Idleness is the devil's pillow)
  12. Wie het laatst lacht, lacht het best (laughing last, laughing best)
  13. Hoge bomen vangen veel wind (high trees catch a lot of wind?) [1]
  14. Wat in het vat zit, verzuurt niet (what's in the barrel doesn't go sour)
  15. Als er een schaap over de dam is, volgen er meer (if one sheep has crossed the dam, more will follow).

The application to Go will soon appear on this page.


These phrases have English (UK) equivalents:

  1. Speech is silver, silence is golden
  2. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
  3. Prudence is the mother of wisdom
  4. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth
  5. (Don't) lock the stable door after the horse has bolted
  6. Hoist by your own petard
  7. Haste makes waste
  8. Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind
  9. Many a mickle makes a muckle (Scots)
  10. Still waters run deep
  11. The devil finds work for idle hands to do
  12. He who laughs last, laughs longest
  13. The bigger they are, the harder they fall
  14. A penny saved is a penny earned?
  15. Monkey see, monkey do
 also -'Necessity is the mother of invention' - easily applied to Go

Is Spanish... I wonder if some of these are shared because of the 16th century ties between Spain and Flanders, as most of the Spanish proverbs date from that era.

  1. Mas vale pajaro en mano que ciento volando.
  2. A caballo regalado no se le mira el dentado.
  3. Quien siembra vientos recoge tempestades.
  4. Quien rie el ultimo rie mejor

Some French equivalents, then...

  1. La parole est d'argent, mais le silence est d'or
  2. Un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu l'auras
  3. Prudence est mère de sureté
  4. A cheval donné, on ne regarde pas la bouche
  5. Ne ferme pas la cage après que les oiseaux se soient envolés.
  6. Hate toi, lentement
  7. Un ouvrage hâté est un ouvrage gâté. (ou à l'inverse : "Qui va lentement va sûrement")
  8. Qui sème le vent récolte la tempête
  9. Petit a petit l'oiseau fait son nid
  10. Il n'est pire eau que l'eau qui dort
  11. L'oisiveté est mère de tous les vices.
  12. Rira bien qui rira le dernier
  13. Plus dure sera la chute.
  14. Il n'y a pas de petit profit.
  15. Ce que voit le singe, le singe le fait.

Polish equivalents:

  1. Mowa jest srebrem, a milczenie złotem.
  2. Lepszy wróbel w garści niż gołąb na dachu (Better the spearow in hands, than the pigeon on the roof).
  3. Darowanemu koniowi nie zagląda się w zęby.
  4. Kto pod kim dołki kopie, sam w nie wpada.
  5. Kto sieje wiatr, zbiera burzę.
  6. Cicha woda brzegi rwie (silent water burst its banks)
  7. Ten się śmieje, kto się śmieje ostatni.

(I don't understand the third one, but as for the english one about locking the stable, there would suit "Mądry Polak po szkodzie" - "Polishman is clever only after the harm" [1]: This is a Dutch proverb, but I'm sure the Flemish know it as well. It's probably got something to do with big moyos... All the others are in use in the Netherlands too :-) Jan


Stefan: Oh heck. Since this will be WikiMasterEdited anyway:

  1. The stupidest farmers sometimes have the biggest potatoes.
  2. A donkey doesn't bump into the same stone twice.

I'm sure they have some go-related explanation if I think a bit about them.

Migeru: How about

  1. El hombre es el unico animal que tropieza dos veces con la misma piedra (man is the only animal to trip twice over the same stone).

Niklaus: My former math teacher used a slightly different version of the first proverb: Das kubische Volumen der Knolle Solanum tuberosum ist reziprok proportional zur intellektuellen Kapazität des produzierenden Agrariers. Or in english: The cubic volume of solanum tuberosum is reciprocally proportional to the intellectual capacity of the producing agrarian :) By the way, almost all of the proverbs on this page exist in German too, so I guess one could say european proverbs instead of flemish ones.

Matt Noonan: Isn't there a Japanese proverb along the line of "Even monkeys fall out of trees"? Certainly applicable to my Go.. quite a bit more than I'm comfortable with, in fact.

ilan: Actually, I classify example 1 as a "non proverb" along the same lines as: "Every proverb has an exception," which cannot be a proverb, by the liar paradox. In particular, whoever utters proverb 1 violates it.


European proverbs applied to Go last edited by OscarBear on December 27, 2016 - 13:17
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