when in Rome do as the Romans do

Idioms & Phrases

when in Rome do as the Romans do

Follow local custom, as in Kate said they'd all be wearing shorts or blue jeans to the outdoor wedding, so when in Romewe'll do the same. This advice allegedly was Saint Ambrose's answer to Saint Augustine when asked whether they should fast on Saturday as Romans did, or not, as in Milan. It appeared in English by about 1530 and remains so well known that it is often shortened, as in the example.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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