German Proverbs

If you want to perform a good jump, sometimes you need to start by taking a step back.

When you sweep stairs, start at the top.

No person can like all, or be liked by all.

Virtue is the reward of virtue.

Confidence begets confidence.

An enemy that is surprised is already half-defeated.

To change and to change for the better are two different things.

What good is it to run when you are on the wrong road?

Never give advice unless asked for it.

It’s hard to scare someone who thinks he will benefit from dying.

Enough is better than too much.

“It has not” does not mean “it will not.”

You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

Great pains cause us to forget the small ones.

Mention money and the world is silent.

A rich man knows not his friends.

Everyone’s companion is no one’s friend.

To be everyone’s friend is to be everyone’s fool.

He who has no enemies also has no friends.

My friend’s enemy is often my best friend.

Your friend’s enemy might be your best friend.

If you wish to be valued, make yourself scarce.

A fence between makes love more keen.

No better friend than the man himself.

Every man is dearest to himself.

The wise can learn of fools.

Better the envy of enemies than the pity of friends.

There is more disputing about the shell than the kernel.

He who follows the crowd has many companions.

He who makes a mouse of himself will be eaten by the cats.

There are plenty of preachers who don’t hear themselves.

Many people preach righteousness and perform sins.

He who will not go to Heaven needs no preaching.

It is too much too believe everything, and it is too little to believe nothing.

Assertion is no proof.

Who are ready to believe are easy to deceive.

When the thief is seen [stealing], he says he is joking; but when the thief is not seen, he steals.

Talking is easier than doing, and promising than performing.

Blaming is easy; doing better is more difficult.

Words are good when works follow.

One man’s story is no story—hear both sides.

Trust, but not too much.

Be silent or say something better than silence.

A good sermon must be brief, clear, and vigorous.

Don’t cry hurrah till you’re over the hill.

Great talkers/speakers are commonly/usually liars.

He who prates much lies much.

Loquacity and lying are cousins.

It is easier to give good counsel than to follow it.

No lie so gross that it does not find believers.

A lie carries ten others.

A good lie finds more believers than a bad truth.

An old lie is often more popular than a new truth.

Truth that is poorly timed is as bad as a lie.

Who does right is born of God.

Who is healthy and free is rich.

Repentance does not bring the lost back.

Each one holds his own religion for the best.

Lost time never returns.

All are not asleep who have their eyes shut.

Speak little with others, much with yourself.

Only one can be Emperor.

When there is no love, all faults are seen.

Long is not forever.

Work is good, as long as you don’t forget to live.

The bridge between joy and sorrow is not long.

Painted flowers have no scent.

The belly does not have a conscience.

Don’t throw away your old shoes before you have new shoes.

Dutch: Don’t throw away your old shoes till you have got new ones.

Many people can pack the cards; fewer can play the game.

Guard your mouth as well as you guard your chest.

Loving and singing are two things that should not be forced.

More Proverbs

Germany borders nine different countries, as well as the Baltic and North Seas. Germanic tribes first arrived in Germany around the 100s BC and drove out the Celts. Germany was able to remain one of few nearby European regions that was not conquered by the Romans. The region later became one of the centers of the Holy Roman Empire (not to be confused with the Ancient Roman Empire) around the 900s.

After many wars and conflicts that decreased its unity, Germany reunited in the 1800s into the German Empire, which dissolved after Word War I. In 1933, Adolph Hitler (an Austrian native who moved to Germany in 1913) became chancellor of Germany and established the Nazi dominated Third Reich. After several invasions of foreign lands, Hitler planned to take over the world. In 1939, he led Nazi Germany in an invasion of Poland, which led to Word War II.

Germany was defeated in 1945, and was soon split into four temporary Ally occupied zones. Shortly later, a dispute between the Soviet Union and other countries led to the spilt of Germany into a democratic West Germany and a Soviet controlled East Germany. The former capital city Berlin was also split, and marked by the infamous Berlin Wall. In 1989, the East German government was overthrown, and the Berlin Wall was for the most part destroyed. Germany fully reunited in 1990.

Themes of Germany include automobile manufacturing, engineering, steel, economic prosperity, book publishing, periodicals, literature, libraries, art, architecture, theatre, music, dance, technology, museums, vacations, festivals, Christmas, soccer, ice hockey, tennis, and volleyball.