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What is the difference between a proverb and an idiom?

 
 
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 08:43 am
What is the difference between an idiom and a proverb? I understand the following is an idiom.

A rolling stone gathers no moss.


Can an idiom be a proverb?

Thanks in advance.
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Type: Question • Score: 2 • Views: 4,776 • Replies: 10
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farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 09:19 am
@tanguatlay,
A proverb is a folksy saying but an idiom is a folksy saying unique to a culture or ethnic group.

I cant think of any similar examples right now.
Francis
 
  2  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 09:31 am
@farmerman,
It's a bit more than that.

A proverb is a statement that reveals wisdom or an experience shared by many people.

A rolling stone gathers no moss is a proverb.

As you say, a saying peculiar to a certain ethnic group or culture is an idiom: A Dime A Dozen, for example.
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tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 09:41 am
@tanguatlay,
AN idiom is a saying in one language that can't necessarily be directly translated into another.

Example: The French have coup d'etat. If you directly translated it into English it would say Cut off the state.

Something is lost when its translated into English. So English speaking people use the French language of the idiom saying.

Quote:
coup d'é·tat   [koo dey-tah; Fr. koo dey-ta] Show IPA
"noun,pluralcoups d'é·tat  [koo dey-tahz; Fr. koo dey-ta] Show IPA.
a sudden and decisive action in politics, esp. one resulting in a change of government illegally or by force.
Origin:
1640"50; < F: lit., stroke concerning the state

"Synonyms
overthrow, rebellion, revolution, uprising.



Quote:
id·i·om   [id-ee-uhm] Show IPA
"noun
1.
an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements, as kick the bucket or hang one's head, or from the general grammatical rules of a language, as the table round for the round table, and that is not a constituent of a larger expression of like characteristics.
2.
a language, dialect, or style of speaking peculiar to a people.
3.
a construction or expression of one language whose parts correspond to elements in another language but whose total structure or meaning is not matched in the same way in the second language.

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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:10 am
Pa German--Du kanst nicht mich verkaufen--You cant buy me, It means that Im difficult to cheat.


ENGLISh--You cant sell me a pig in a poke--It also means Im difficult to cheat

both are proverbs AND idioms.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 01:58 pm
@tanguatlay,
Interesting question. I've always considered them to be different animals but I'm not so sure now.

A proverb is an idiom that reaches an elevated status. Smile
tanguatlay
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 08:01 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Interesting question. I've always considered them to be different animals but I'm not so sure now.

A proverb is an idiom that reaches an elevated status. Smile

Thanks, JTT.

Does the sentence in bold mean that a proverb is an idiom that has been accepted as a truth or is a piece of good advice?
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 08:23 pm
@tanguatlay,
The sentence in bold is/was an attempt at a bit of humor, Ms Tan. I'd say that there are lots of idioms that don't reach the status of a proverb. There were some good ideas presented here as to the differences.

The only real difference that I can think of right now is that a proverb seems to carry a message.

The idioms, 'kick the bucket' & 'buy the farm' both hold the meaning 'die' but they convey no "deep" message/meaning. They are not proverbs. I suppose a proverb could be an idiom but not all idioms are proverbs.

Look at it this way. We all got this far in life without knowing the difference, at least consciously, [and I can assure you that it's pretty far for a lot of these jokers] and we haven't suffered a great deal.
0 Replies
 
tanguatlay
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:20 pm
@tanguatlay,
tanguatlay wrote:

What is the difference between an idiom and a proverb? I understand the following is an idiom.

A rolling stone gathers no moss.


Can an idiom be a proverb?

Thanks in advance.

Thanks, JTT.

In fact, I was taught that "A rolling stone gathers no moss" is an idiom. However, Francis says that it is a proverb. So, as you say, an idiom can be a proverb.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:47 pm
@tanguatlay,
Quote:
In fact, I was taught that "A rolling stone gathers no moss" is an idiom. However, Francis says that it is a proverb. So, as you say, an idiom can be a proverb.


It's certainly idiom but as to whether it's an idiom, I have my doubts. I don't want to leave you with the impression that I'm sure of all I've stated. I said, "I suppose" an idiom can be a proverb.

At this point, I agree with Francis.
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oolongteasup
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 09:36 pm
@tanguatlay,
this discussion is proverbially idiomatic
0 Replies
 
 

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