"A woman without a man" proverb

Mary Jane missmj at SWITCHB.COM
Sun Apr 27 21:50:33 UTC 2003

Interesting. But there is a subtle, if strident, difference. A garden
without grass is a good, well-kept garden without weeds; there is a
relationship between garden and grass, if a negative one. A fish without a
bicycle (coined by Gloria Steinem?) is, alas, as it should be. A fish has no
use for a bicycle, just as a garden has no use for grass, but the difference
is that you will never see a fish on a bicycle...a garden with grass is
another matter.

----- Original Message -----
From: "James A. Landau" <JJJRLandau at AOL.COM>
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2003 5:37 PM
Subject: "A woman without a man" proverb

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "James A. Landau" <JJJRLandau at AOL.COM>
> Subject:      "A woman without a man" proverb
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I found the following antecedent of a well-known modern proverb on another
> mailing list:
> <begin quote>
> Jan[us] Gruter[us] seems to have been an interesting character: a
> & philologist, he lived in exile in [Elizabethan ]England for a while
> ending up in
> Heidelberg, and produced (amongst many other things) a 3-volume
> (in his case, a collection of proverbs and sayings from various European
> countries).
> One typical English proverb he quotes: "a woman without a man is like a
> garden without grass". Now, of course, we're more likely to find this as
> "...is like a fish without a bicycle". You choose! :-)
> Auteur: Gruterus , Janus
> Titel:  Florilegium ethico-politicum nunquam antehac editum; necnon P.
> ac L. Senecae sententiae aureae; accedunt Gnomae paroemiaeque Graecorum,
> Proverbia Germanica, Belgica, Italica, Gallica, Hispanica
> Uitgave: Francofurti : Jonas Rhodius
> Jaar: 1610
> <end quote>
>               - Jim Landau

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