First Drafts of Common Sayings

Posted on October 19, 2012


I spent many years studying foreign languages and one of the biggest challenges was making sense of another language’s proverbs, sayings, and idioms. This led me to research the origins of some of English’s most common sayings, and I was surprised to learn many of the versions we know today have undergone several revisions since the first drafts, some of which I’ve included below.

If you can’t take the heat, open a window.

A fool and his money are easily invited to my party.

Lukes can be deceiving.

Good things come to those who wail.

When one door closes, another always opens. Because of ghosts.

Better to have loved and lost than to have also died of tuberculosis.

Home is where the hearth is.

Absinthe makes the heart beat faster.

Give credit where credit is don’t.

A man is known by the company he keeps. Also his last name.

Kill two birds with ten stones.

It’s raining a lot.

Of course this isn’t a comprehensive list, and if you’re familiar with other first drafts of popular sayings, I’d love to read them in the comments section.


Since you’ve already spent most of the morning researching your Halloween costume on company time, why not top it off by submitting a caption in the Halloween caption contest?

Posted in: Columns