Contradictory Proverbs

atkins-bookshelf-phrasesMost people are familiar with Newton’s third law: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Sir Isaac Newton could have easily been talking about proverbs. Certainly, for every proverb that promotes a certain concept, there is another that states its exact opposite. It’s no way to win an argument, since both summarize conventional wisdom — albeit from totally different perspectives. Here are some popular contradictory proverbs.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Out of sight, out of mind.

Actions speak louder than words.
The pen is mightier than the sword.

Clothes makes the man.
Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Great minds think alike.
Fools never differ.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Don’t beat your head against a stone wall.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Like attracts like.
Opposites attract.

Look before you leap.
He who hesitates is lost.

Many hands make light work.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Silence is golden.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Two is company; three is a crowd.
The more, the merrier.

You’re never too old to learn.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Read related posts: Clothes Make the Man
Rhadamanthine Oath
The Sword of Damocles
Hoist with His Own Petard


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