sábado, 20 de julio de 2013

all’s for the best in the best of all pos- sible worlds

Everything that happens does so for a good reason, and things in general cannot be any better; generally used to present an optimistic worldview:
“The administrative departments were consuming miles of red tape in the cor- rectest forms of activity, and everything was for the best in the best of all possible worlds” (George Bernard Shaw, The Shew-
ing-up of Blanco Posnet, 1911). The proverb is a translation of a line from the French writer Voltaire’s philosophical tale Candide
(1759). In The Silver Stallion (1926), James Branch Cabell made the more cynical observation: “The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.”



viernes, 19 de julio de 2013

all’s fair in love and war

Any action, however mean or unscrupulous, is per- missible in certain situations; often used to justify cheating or deception: “‘You opened the letter!’ . . . ‘How was I to read it if I hadn’t? All’s . . . fair in love and war, you know’” (Francis Edward Smedley, Frank Fairleigh, 1850). The proverb was first recorded, with different wording, in 1620. In modern use an extra word is often added to or substituted for part of the proverb, as in “All’s fair in love—an’ war—an’ politics” (George Ade, County Chairman, 1903).

jueves, 18 de julio de 2013

all roads lead to Rome

There are many different ways to achieve the same result, or to come to the same conclusion: “All
roads lead to Rome: and even animal individuality throws a ray on human prob- lems” (J. S. Huxley, The Individual in the Animal Kingdom, 1912). The proverb was first recorded, with different word- ing, in Chaucer’s Prologue to Astrolabe (c.
1391). Compare the medieval Latin prov- erb “Mille vie ducunt hominem per secula Romam [A thousand roads lead man for- ever toward Rome].” In modern use other place-names are sometimes substituted for Rome.
Proverbs expressing similar mean- ing: there are more ways of killing a cat than choking it with cream; there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

miércoles, 17 de julio de 2013

all men are created equal

No person is born superior or inferior to another, so all should have equal rights: “Colonel Cathcart was infused with the democratic spirit: he believed that all men were cre- ated equal, and therefore spurned all men outside Group Headquarters with equal fervor” (Joseph Heller, Catch-22, 1955). The proverb comes from the Declara- tion of Independence (1776), in which Thomas Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Proverbs expressing similar mean- ing: jack’s as good as his master; all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

martes, 16 de julio de 2013

all is grist that comes to the mill

Every- thing, no matter how small or unpromis- ing, can be put to use: She carried a notebook and pencil with her wherever she went—for a writer, all is grist that comes to the mill. The proverb was first recorded, with slightly different wording, in 1655. It also occurs with my, his, her, and so on in place of the and in the figurative phrase grist to the mill, as in Charles Dickens’s novel A Tale of Two Cities (1859): “The clearance was effected
at last; the Stryver arrears were hand- somely fetched up; everything was got rid of until November should come with its fogs atmospheric, and fogs legal, and bring grist to the mill again.” Grist is grain brought to a mill to be ground.
Variant of this proverb: it’s all grist for the mill.
Proverb expressing similar meaning:
all is fish that comes to the net.

lunes, 15 de julio de 2013

all is fish that comes to the net

Anything that comes along is accepted and turned to advantage: “I don’t know that she cares for one more than the other. There are a cou- ple of young Air Force chaps too. I fancy all’s fish that comes to her net at present”
(Agatha Christie, Murder in Mesopotamia,
1936). First recorded c. 1520, the proverb is sometimes applied to a particular person by substituting my, his, her, and so on for the, as in this example.
Proverb expressing similar meaning:
all is grist that comes to the mill.

domingo, 14 de julio de 2013

all good things must come to an end

Nothing lasts forever; often said resignedly when a pleasant experience or sequence of events finally ends: We had had a wonderful vacation, but all good things must come to an end. The proverb was first recorded c. 1440: “Ye wote wele of all thing moste be an ende” (Partonope of Blois). The word good was probably not added until the 19th or early 20th century.