[Ads-l] New to me: a saw

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Sat Sep 15 02:24:15 UTC 2018

> On Sep 14, 2018, at 7:18 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Below is a proverb containing the words "bought" and "taught" that was
> circulating by 1678. Its meaning is not clear to me.
> Year: 1678
> Title: A collection of English proverbs digested into a convenient
> method for the speedy finding any one upon occasion: with short
> annotations: whereunto are added local proverbs with their
> explications, old proverbial rhythmes, less known or exotick
> proverbial sentences, and Scottish proverbs
> Author: John Ray (1627-1705)
> Publication info: Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Printed by John Hayes
> ..., for W. Morden, 1678.
> Database: Early English Books Online
> [Begin excerpt]
> - Good wits jump.
> - Wit once bought, is worth twice taught.
> - A wonder lasts but nine days.
> - A wooll-seller knows a wooll-buyer. Yorksh.
> - A word is enough to the wise.
> [End excerpt]

the interpretation i had for this from (i think) my teenage years is that a lesson you have *bought* -- taken in as your own -- is worth twice as much as  lesson people have merely preached at you.  but i know nothing about the history.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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