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Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor
The Difference between Idioms and Proverbs
Wednesday November 28th 2018
Question
What is the difference between an idiom and a proverb? — Thiraan, Malaysia
Answer

An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a separate meaning of its own. Below are some examples of idioms:

  • Look a gift horse in the mouth
  • Eat someone alive
  • The short end of the stick
  • Hate someone's guts

 

Each of these phrases has a meaning that is different from what the words themselves mean.

 

A proverb is a brief popular saying that gives advice about how people should live or that expresses a belief that is generally thought to be true.

  • Two wrongs don’t make a right.
  • The pen is mightier than the sword.
  • The early bird catches the worm.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words.

 

Each of these sayings tells us something about what is thought to be good or right or true.

 

 

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