A Dictionary of American Proverbs / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 97%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (15) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $39.95   
  • Used (9) from $1.99   


Many surprises await the reader in this vast treasure trove of wit and wisdom. Collected here are popular proverbs on all aspects of American life: weather, agriculture, travel, money, business, food, neighbors, manners, and government. "Amazing. . . . Outstanding. . . . This is a mammoth work which offers a variety of resources for students of literature, history and rhetoric.--Review and Expositor.

A treasury of more than 15,000 sayings, adages, and maxims commonly used in popular speech in the U.S. and Canada. As the first major collection of proverbs in the English language based on oral sources rather than written sources, it includes thousands of uniquely American proverbs that have never before been recorded as well as many thousands of traditional sayings that have found their way into American speech from classical, biblical, British, continental European and American literature. Extensive bibliography lists both primary and secondary sources.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This scholarly work lists U.S. and Canadian proverbs alphabetically by key word, cross-referencing for related proverbs. Although it draws strictly from oral sources, noting the recorded distribution, the book also lists each proverb's first citation in writing along with its inclusion in other collections. Especially valuable are the variants: ``Absence makes the heart grow fonder'' also has ``Absence makes the heart wander'' and five other versions. Understandably, large sections are devoted to ``man,'' ``money,'' and ``woman.'' This is an excellent, well-conceived document of a fast-changing and perhaps dying segment of our language. Recommended for reference sections.--Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, N.Y.
Fifteen thousand proverbs and their variants (in actual use in American speech) are presented here--gleaned from the 150,000 citation slips collected during 40 years of field research in the contiguous US and parts of Canada. Unique in that it is based on oral rather than written sources and identifies geographical distribution (where the proverb was collected), this monument of paremiology (proverb scholarship) will serve as a research tool for scholars of many disciplines. It is also great fun to read, and speech writers, teachers, and general readers will find some good ones to enliven their work. What can't be said is often whistled. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"Excellent."--Library Journal

"A very interesting work. Certainly, it will be of greatest use to researchers of language and folklore, but it lends itself to browsing as well."--RBB/Booklist

"Fills an especially vital need in word study....A superb dictionary."--Reference Book Review

"Exemplary and indispensable....Enjoyable and revealing."--Proverbium

"Amazing....Outstanding....This is a mammoth work which offers a variety of resources for students of literature, history, and rhetoric. It is a valuable text, carefully researched and documented."--Review and Expositor

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195053999
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/5/1991
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 736
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Wolfgang Mieder is Chairperson of the Department of German and Russian at the University of Vermont. The late Stewart A. Kingsbury was Professor of English at Northern Michigan University. Kelsie B. Harder is Professor of English at the State University of New York, Potsdam.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)