The brilliant philosopher Plato once said that “At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.”
This now quotable phrase is a perfect example of a proverb about love.
While this proverb was first stated in Greek, the English language is full of meaningful proverbs relating to love, life, work, family and great universal truths. Many of these proverbs are entirely unique to the English language, which makes them particularly special to learn.
Sometimes, the only way to express a feeling, extend a piece of advice or state a truth is through the use of an age-old proverb.
While there are hundreds of English proverbs, knowing a few English proverbs about love is an easy way to impress a native English speaker that you might be fond of or in love with. There are also plenty of English proverbs about self-love, family love and lost love.
As a wise English proverb so simply states, “never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Today, you will learn 30 English proverbs about love!
What Are English Proverbs?
English proverbs are catchy sayings that state a truth or give advice. They are generally used when speaking, and many come from old literature, songs, specific moments in history or from great philosophers and great great-great-grandparents. Often, there is a literal meaning and a figurative (not literal) meaning of each proverb. The figurative meaning is what really makes it a proverb, though.
An example of this is the proverb: “Strike while the iron is hot.” This saying literally came from blacksmiths (metalworkers) who were referring to hitting the iron with the hammer as soon as it became red hot. The figurative meaning translates to: “Seize opportunities as they arise.”
Most native English speakers know at least a few proverbs. And, having a few of these in your back pocket will make you sound like a real English speaking pro.
The difference between proverbs and idioms
When learning new languages, idioms can be mistaken as proverbs since they are both short and relatively well-known sayings that are both commonly used in the spoken word. However, English idioms differ in that they are not complete sentences and the literal meaning does not often make much sense.
An example of an idiom would be “a dime a dozen,” (something or someone very common) or “beat around the bush” (to avoid or delay talking about or dealing with something).
Proverbs about love are universal
Proverbs are found in every language and culture. There are many proverbs from other languages that have been translated into English and are now commonly-heard English proverbs.
- “Nothing is impossible for a willing heart.” (French)
- “Love understands all languages.” (Romanian)
- “Love has to be shown by deeds, not words.” (Swahili)
- “The heart that loves is always young.” (Greek)
Speak from the Heart with These 30 English Proverbs About Love
1. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
This English proverb about love explains that a man will fall in love with a woman who is a great cook. Alternatively, some people use it to indicate that a woman can make a man fall in love with her by cooking him delicious food.
2. There is no difference between a wise man and a fool when they fall in love.
Regardless of how intelligent a person may be, when in love the heart rules over the brain. Love can make a wise man or woman act foolishly.
3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
This proverb states both a truth and offers some advice. Spending time apart from the one you love gives you the chance to miss that person and for that person to miss you. It is this yearning for each other that often strengthens the love and desire for one another.
This well-known English love proverb first appeared in an 1844 poem by Thomas Haynes Bayly titled “Isles of Beauty.”
4. Two shorten the road.
This proverb originated in Ireland. It suggests that long journeys feel shorter when done with another person, and that life is more enjoyable with companionship, especially when it is with someone who you love.
5. Opposites attract.
You can use this proverb when you want to describe two people who are in love but who have opposite personalities, interests or backgrounds.
6. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
This proverb does not only apply to romantic love, but it is most often used in this way. People say this proverb when they are perplexed as to why a person is in love with another person. In this case, beauty could be physical, intellectual, emotional, personality-related or something else.
7. The heart wants what it wants.
This proverb can be said by someone in love or by someone on the outside of the relationship who is trying to understand the relationship. Like “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” it is often said when the reason for desire, attraction and love is unclear.
8. Love is blind.
A person who is blind in love fails to see any faults in the person they are in love with. This proverb is often used by friends or family members who can clearly see the bad parts of a relationship that the people in love do not notice.
9. All you need is love.
This is both the title and lyrics of a famous song by the British rock band, The Beatles. It was released in 1967. Today, it is commonly quoted in casual conversations about love. This proverb means that nothing in life is more important than giving and receiving love.
10. Love conquers all.
The meaning behind this proverb is that love is the strongest force in the world, and nothing can overpower it.
11. Love will find a way.
This English love proverb means that regardless of the obstacles in place, love will always prevail in the end.
12. Love makes the world go ’round.
This proverb proclaims that love is what keeps us going.
13. Love knows no bounds.
This translates to mean that love is limitless. True love cannot be contained or broken by any means.
14. Blood is thicker than water.
People use this to describe the bonds and loyalties found between blood family relations. It states that the bonds of family are stronger and more important than any other type of relationship.
15. Home is where the heart is.
This proverb explains how your home is the place your heart is drawn to. This place may or may not be where you grew up. In this proverb, home can be a specific location or when you are with particular people.
16. You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.
This proverb is adapted from a famous quote by Harper Lee: “You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.”
The take away from this proverb is that while you might not like or get along with some or all of your family, you should try and accept them for who they are and as they are. Since you do not get to pick them, you just have to accept them and love them.
17. That’s a face only a mother could love.
People use this proverb jokingly for something unattractive. Sometimes it is used to describe a person, but very often, people say it to describe a weird-looking animal or plant. The idea behind this proverb is that a mother’s love of her children is strong and goes beyond physical beauty. You could even say that a mother’s love is blind since she will love her children no matter what.
18. Tough love.
This proverb is usually used to describe parents when they are disciplining their children. It means that sometimes, a person or parent must be severe to teach someone a valuable life lesson. The discipline or lesson taught comes from a place of love but is often unpleasant for everyone involved.
19. Happy wife, happy life.
This lighthearted, jokey proverb means that by keeping one’s wife happy, the spouse, in turn, will have a happier and less stressful life.
19. You can’t love until you love yourself.
The meaning behind this English proverb about love is that loving yourself is very important. Before you can truly love someone else, you must first know, accept and love yourself.
20. Love yourself or no one else will.
With a very similar meaning to the proverb above, this proverb means that no one else will be able to fully love you until you first love yourself.
21. Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.
This quote by the famous 1950’s American actress Marilyn Monroe has become a modern proverb of sorts about self-love. It means that you are who you are, whether you like it or not. Therefore, you might as well accept and embrace yourself rather than wasting time wishing you were someone else.
22. Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself.
This English proverb about loving yourself is derived from the writing of the famous French Renaissance philosopher Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Lord of Montaigne. It advises that you should not give all of your love away since you also need your own love.
23. Love thyself.
Short, sweet and to the point. This proverb means that you should love and accept yourself for who you are.
24. Trust me, but look to thyself.
This Irish proverb instructs that while you should trust others, you should first trust yourself and your instincts.
25. All is fair in love and war.
When it comes to love and war, apparently nothing is out of bounds. If someone does something terrible, it is more justified and potentially forgivable if it was done in the name of love or while at war. Versions of this proverb are found in many other languages.
In 1717, a more modern version of this proverb was written in William Taverner’s play “The Artful Husband” in the form of: “All advantages are fair in love and war.”
26. Love hurts.
This proverb applies to the emotional pain and stress experienced when one loses a lover or has a huge argument with someone they love.
27. There are plenty more fish in the sea.
People commonly say this to someone after a breakup to remind them that there are many other eligible people available.
28. If you love someone, let them go. If they come back to you, they were really yours.
The meaning behind this proverb is that you cannot force someone to love you. If you truly love someone, you must be willing to let them go. In the end, if they truly love you back, they will return to you.
This is often said to someone who feels like they are struggling to keep their beloved partner. The struggle may be enough to push that person further away. Therefore, the person must let them go and give them a chance to choose whether or not they will return.
29. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
This proverb is attributed to the English poet and playwright William Congreve. In his 1697 play, “The Mourning Bride,” William wrote: “Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d, Nor Hell a Fury like a Woman scorn’d.”
This means you should beware of a woman who has been rejected or betrayed in love, as the wrath that can follow is worse than hell.
30. Time heals all wounds.
Last but not least, this proverb applies to many situations. However, it is frequently said when lovers split, or a loved one has passed away. With time, the emotional pain of heartbreak is said to fade.
Tips for Memorizing English Proverbs About Love
If you want to memorize and master some of these English proverbs about love, try one or all of these techniques. You never know when that perfect moment will arise when there is no better thing to say than a proverb about love!
Try spaced repetition
By merely repeating something over and over, you will likely end up memorizing the word or phrase. However, by using the specialized memorizing technique called spaced repetition, you will learn words or phrases in a more time-efficient manner. Plus, with spaced repetition, you are more likely to install it into your long-term memory.
Spaced repetition works by repeating something to yourself, and then waiting a set time, such as five seconds before you repeat it again. In the next round, you’ll wait 10 seconds before repeating it, then 30 minutes, then 24 hours and so on.
Using spaced repetition flashcard software such as Anki is an easy way to take advantage of this technique.
Utilize FluentU’s love-related resources
FluentU is an online immersion platform that takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. You can browse videos by difficulty level and topics of interest, including love and romance. There are actually dozens of videos, lessons and vocabulary related to love on FluentU.
You are sure to encounter some of these English proverbs about love and many others within FluentU’s vast love-related content. This is an excellent way to gain exposure to proverbs about love being spoken by native English speakers in real-life situations and scenarios.
Build a memory palace
If you are familiar with the TV show “The Mentalist,” you will be familiar with the concept of memory palaces. Using memory palaces is a visualization technique that links objects in a room or house to specific words or phrases to create memory triggers.
To create a memory palace, start with a place you are familiar with and choose a specific path through that place.
For example, if you want to remember the proverb, “There are plenty more fish in the sea,” you would first visualize a fish tank in the living room. Or, to remember the proverb “Time heals all wounds,” you could walk into the bathroom past a clock on the wall before seeing a packet of bandaids on the shelf.
When used effectively, memory palaces are a powerful technique. Memory palaces have been used since Ancient Rome to remember all kinds of complex ideas and lists. One of the keys to using memory palaces is to memorize the objects in a room then imprint the specific paths you will take through the palace. This helps you remember everything in the correct order.
While love is universal, expressing it verbally can be a challenge in any language. Fortunately, these English proverbs about love can help you say what you might have difficulty finding the words for otherwise. Because you know what they say, “love is all you need!”
Adrianne Elizabeth is a freelance writer from New Zealand. English is her first language. When she is not writing, she loves traveling and learning about new cultures. Currently, she is passionately studying Latin American Spanish, so she understands the joys and challenges of learning a new language.
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