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Proverbs

[prov-erbz] /ˈprɒv ərbz/
noun
1.
(used with a singular verb) a book of the Bible, containing the sayings of sages.
Abbreviation: Prov.

proverb

[prov-erb] /ˈprɒv ərb/
noun
1.
a short popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought; adage; saw.
2.
a wise saying or precept; a didactic sentence.
3.
a person or thing that is commonly regarded as an embodiment or representation of some quality; byword.
4.
Bible. a profound saying, maxim, or oracular utterance requiring interpretation.
verb (used with object)
5.
to utter in the form of a proverb.
6.
to make (something) the subject of a proverb.
7.
to make a byword of.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English proverbe < Middle French < Latin prōverbium adage, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + verb(um) word + -ium -ium
Related forms
proverblike, adjective
Can be confused
Synonyms
1. aphorism, apothegm. Proverb, maxim are terms for short, pithy sayings. A proverb is such a saying popularly known and repeated, usually expressing simply and concretely, though often metaphorically, a truth based on common sense or the practical experience of humankind: “A stitch in time saves nine.” A maxim is a brief statement of a general and practical truth, especially one that serves as a rule of conduct or a precept: “It is wise to risk no more than one can afford to lose.”.

pro-verb

[proh-vurb] /ˈproʊˌvɜrb/
noun, Grammar
1.
a word that can substitute for a verb or verb phrase, as do in They never attend board meetings, but we do regularly.
Origin
1905-10; by analogy with pronoun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for Proverbs
  • She is mentioned in the first chapter of the book of Proverbs.
British Dictionary definitions for Proverbs

Proverbs

/ˈprɒvɜːbz/
noun
1.
(functioning as sing) a book of the Old Testament consisting of the proverbs of various Israelite sages including Solomon

proverb

/ˈprɒvɜːb/
noun
1.
a short, memorable, and often highly condensed saying embodying, esp with bold imagery, some commonplace fact or experience
2.
a person or thing exemplary in respect of a characteristic: Antarctica is a proverb for extreme cold
3.
(ecclesiast) a wise saying or admonition providing guidance
verb (transitive)
4.
to utter or describe (something) in the form of a proverb
5.
to make (something) a proverb
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin prōverbium, from verbum word
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Proverbs

proverb

n.

c.1300, in boke of Prouerbyys, the Old Testament work, from Old French proverbe (12c.) and directly from Latin proverbium "a common saying, old adage, maxim," literally "words put forward," from pro- "forth" (see pro-) + verbum "word" (see verb). Used generally from late 14c. The Book of Proverbs in Old English was cwidboc, from cwide "speech, saying, proverb, homily," related to cwiddian "to talk, speak, say, discuss;" cwiddung "speech, saying, report."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Proverbs in Culture

proverb definition


A brief, memorable saying that expresses a truth or belief, such as “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” (See examples under “Proverbs.”)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Proverbs in the Bible

a trite maxim; a similitude; a parable. The Hebrew word thus rendered (mashal) has a wide signification. It comes from a root meaning "to be like," "parable." Rendered "proverb" in Isa. 14:4; Hab. 2:6; "dark saying" in Ps. 49:4, Num. 12:8. Ahab's defiant words in answer to the insolent demands of Benhadad, "Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off," is a well known instance of a proverbial saying (1 Kings 20:11).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Article for Proverbs

an Old Testament book of "wisdom" writing found in the third section of the Jewish canon, known as the Ketuvim, or Writings. The book's superscription, "The proverbs of Solomon. . . ," is not to say that it as a whole or even individual proverbs should be credited to King Solomon, for scholarly examination discloses that it contains seven collections of wisdom materials (mostly short sayings) from a wide variety of periods, all after Solomon's time.

Learn more about Proverbs with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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