Special Sub-Topic: Overfishing - A Real Can of Worms
|The Indian proverb 'Don't bargain for fish which are still in the water' has the same meaning as which of these?|
Don't count your chickens before they are hatched. Both these proverbs advise you not to be overconfident and to wait until you actually have what you expect in your possession. Similar proverbs are 'First catch your hare' and 'There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip'. 'A stitch in time' advises you not to delay, 'Don't put all your eggs...' is advice to spread your risk and 'Do as you would be done by' suggests that you treat other people as you would like to be treated yourself.
|When the sky is patterned with small, white, fleecy clouds, it is called after which fish?|
Mackerel. A mackerel sky is covered by rows of cirrocumulus clouds with blue sky showing through the gaps and is named for its resemblance to the scales on the fish. An associated saying is 'mackerel sky, mackerel sky - never long wet, never long dry'. Dictionary.com dates the saying to 1660-70. 'Mackerel sky' is used in the UK and US. In France and Germany, this sky pattern is called 'sheep cloud' as they believe it looks like a flock of sheep.
|Having the same meaning as 'Let sleeping dogs lie', which type of worm fits in the blank in this proverb: 'Don't feed a ____ that's sleeping'?|
Silkworm. The silkworm is the larva/caterpillar stage of the silkmoth and spins itself a cocoon of raw silk. Most of the larvae are killed at this stage, by boiling or steaming, to prevent them spoiling the thread when emerging. If the silkworm is disturbed while dormant, it is likely to make its way out of the cocoon. This proverb appears to be of Thai origin. The slow worm is a type of lizard, resembling a snake. Roundworms and flatworms are often parasites and best avoided.
|The proverb recommending that you should not outstay your welcome states that 'The freshest fish smell after' how many days?|
Three. This is also worded as 'Fish and guests smell after three days'. The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs quotes the phrase as having been used in much the same form by Lyly in 1580. The three-day rule for guests, not mentioning fish, is much older, having been used by the Roman playwright Plautus, who lived around 254-184 BC.
|A proverb which advises you to take a small risk in the hope of obtaining larger gains tells you to throw out which small fish to catch a mackerel?|
Sprat. Other proverbs with similar meanings are 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained' and 'Cast your bread upon the water'. All the other options are small fish which the mackerel would probably find just as attractive. This is possibly originally from Spain.
|Three of the following proverbs or idioms relate to things best left unopened or undisturbed. Which is the odd one out?|
Don't judge a book by its cover. To open a can of worms is to cause problems, which could be avoided by leaving well alone. Pandora, having been told not to, could not contain her curiosity, opened her box and released a host of troubles on the world. To stir up a hornets' nest creates controversy. 'Don't judge a book by its cover' means you should not jump to conclusions based on outward appearances. The use of the phrase for its current meaning appears to be fairly recent. World Wide Words has the earliest date it can find as 1951.
|A Polish proverb states that 'Fish, to taste good, must swim three times: in water, in butter and in ___'. Which liquid completes the saying?|
Wine. First catch your fish, then cook it in butter and drink wine while you eat it. This seems like good advice, especially the last bit. I have not been able to date this one, so assume it is traditional. The Scottish version substitutes sauce for butter.
|The saying 'A closed mouth catches no flies' has a similar meaning as which of these proverbs?|
A still tongue makes a wise head. This one advises you that it is wiser and safer to keep your opinions to yourself. I have found this described as English, Italian and Spanish in origin. 'A still tongue makes a wise head' is similar in advising you to listen rather than speak. 'Letting the cat out of the bag' is pretty much the opposite, meaning telling something that should have been kept quiet. 'The early bird catches the worm' suggests that the best opportunities go to those who get there first, contradicted by 'Slow but sure wins the race', which tells you not to rush as thoroughness will get you there in the end.
|Another proverb advising you to risk a little to gain a lot is 'You must lose a fly to catch a ____'. Which fish completes the saying?|
Trout. While all these fish can by caught by fly-fishing, trout is the most common. The phrase appears to have been coined by George Herbert, who was a Welsh poet who lived from 1593 - 1633.
|Proverbial advice tells you that you can catch more flies with honey than with what?|
Vinegar. Being nice to people is likely to get a better response than being unpleasant. From my internet research, the earliest appearance of this proverb seems to be in 1666 when it was quoted in G Torriano's 'Common Place of Italian Proverbs'.
Trying to pin down the exact origin of proverbs is difficult as most countries seem to have variations of the same sayings and claim them as their own. I have had to use 'seems', 'appears' and 'possibly' more often than I would like. Perhaps the best idea is to attribute most of them to that prolific author 'Anon'.
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