Archives for posts with tag: truth

Qui cessat esse melior cessat esse bonus.

This was the motto at a school I attended for five years.  The usual translation is, “He who ceases to be better ceases to be good”, but it was a girls’ school.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
This proverb is listed in The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase, Saying and Quotation under the heading “Action”.  It is no use making any resolutions at the New Year or any other time if you do not carry them out.

In good taste
is often applied to speech, particularly if a joke or remark is not in good taste.

A good talking to is usually about the offences or mistakes of a younger person.  Hopefully the exercise benefits the listener.

Benefit is a lovely word, very much overused to describe money, but going back to its roots, bene is well and fit comes from the Latin verb facere to do.  So if something is of benefit, it does well.

Incidentally, now I am getting technical, “good” is an adjective (or a noun, as in the next saying) and “well” is the corresponding adverb.  In modern usage “good” is increasingly replacing “well”.
“How are you?” “I’m good, thank you.”

He’s too clever for his own good.
Cleverness has to be distinguished from wisdom.  In a recent chidren’s talk during a church service the following distinction was made.  A clever person can find a way out of a difficult situation.  A wise one would have avoided the difficult situation.

Good things come in small packages.
A short lady once used this expression defensively and an unsympathetic colleague retorted “Like poison!”

For what it’s worth is often associated with phrases such as, “That’s my opinion”.

If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
I was brought up with this saying, where the emphasis is on high standards of, for example, workmanship.  The person who gave the talk I mentioned above prefers to use badly instead of well.  His  reason – that it is better to do something than not to do it, in case it turns out not to be of the highest standard.

Don’t rest on your laurels.
Laurels here are (rewards for) past successes.  They come from the awards to athletes in Ancient Rome.

Practice makes perfect
is another proverb, which needs no explanation.

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again
is another way of expressing the same idea.

Better not
is advice against acting unwisely.

Better late than never
can be an excuse, a forgiving attitude or grudging thanks.

It’s better than nothing.
Anything might be better than nothing!

Day by day I am getting better in every way

Every day in every way, I am getting better and better.

These are two versions of positive thinking.  There was a radio programme recently about the author of one of them, Emile Coué.  As he was French, these are probably two different translations!  (And the radio programme link may not work indefinitely.)

Remember you’re as good as anyone else.
This is another saying I was brought up with.

Woolworth’s best.

F.W. Woolworth opened a store using the principle of selling each item for a penny (1d.).  The idea caught on and for a long time almost every town in Britain had a Woolworth’s, although over the years the prices rose and diverged from the single price.  A few years ago the company went into liquidation and in future it will be necessary to explain the saying “Woolworth’s best”, which was applied to something cheap and cheerful.

File:Woolworths Camberwell - 2004 - Exterior.jpg

Woolworths shop frontage, Camberwell. Taken by C Ford 21st February 2004
Photo credit Wikimedia Commons  (License details  Released under the GNU Free Documentation License.)

Mother knows best.
This is often, but not always the case.

Do your best; no-one can do any more
is a saying, which is difficult to argue against.

That’s the best I can do…
…but I’m not really satisfied with it!

Saving the best till last, was something I was complimented on in an earlier post.

In St John’s gospel chapter 2 verse 10 (NIV) The bridegroom at the wedding at Cana in Galilee was told, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now”.  Click here to read the whole story.

Nobody’s perfect.
How often have you heard that?  And it is almost true, but Jesus (the one exception) challenged his disciples in St Matthew’s gospel Chapter 5 verse 48 (NIV) “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect.”

You have to take that with a pinch of salt. 

“A pinch of salt” is often found in recipes.  My mother used to keep her salt in a container wide enough to put her hand inside and bring out salt between her thumb and two fingers.   This is literally a pinch!  Salt has remarkable properties.  It brings out the taste in food.  It preserves meat and fish. Jesus told his followers they were “the salt of the earth.” Matthew Chapter 5  verse 13  

So perhaps the pinch of salt here is something like common sense.  The expression is used when something is deemed to be inaccurate.

Don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes!
If you are deceived, you are not seeing things as they really are.  The same goes for someone with wool over their eyes.

Honesty is the best policy.
This is a proverb.  Policy here means course of action and has nothing to do with insurance…or has it?

Tell the truth and shame the devil.
Another proverb.  The devil “is a liar and the father of lies.” John chapter 8 verse 44 (NIV)

He won’t give you a straight answer.
Is there a polite way of suggesting someone is a liar?

You can’t pin her down
Because she is a slippery customer, perhaps.

It isn’t all that it seems.
How often is there more to a situation than is immediately obvious?

To stretch the truth means to exaggerate.  It makes for colourful story-telling, but listeners should be aware of what is happening.  Perhaps the first saying of this batch comes in handy here! 

“O what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!”
is a quotation from Marmion by Sir Walter Scott.

Habitual liars need very good memories or they will soon be caught out.

I am going to introduce a new element to my blog here.  From time to time I write poetry.  Here is a poem I wrote maybe ten or more years ago.

God’s Word

It isn’t just a lot of pages
Read by searchers
Through the ages.
Do you know which Way it is?

It isn’t just the thoughts of man
Written for those
To learn who can.
Do you know whose Truth it is?

It isn’t just a set of rules
Kept by wise men
Broken by fools.
Do you know whose Life it is?

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