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Archery Proverbs

While similar to quotes, proverbs are old sayings that cannot be applied to any one person. They are often cultural in their origin, and while likely started with one unknown person, they have since become a saying used by many people.

Proverbs often have a deeper meaning for those wise enough to think about what the deeper meaning might be. Typically a proverb is a metaphor, comparing one thing to another. Sometimes the proverb is also meant to be funny, but not always.

An example of a funny proverb is:

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
- English Proverb

The implied pun is fruit flies. It is corny, and you would think that this proverb is pretty much useless - unless you consider that old things tend to go bad, sour, rot, etc - and that time goes faster than you think. Thus a wise person should respect time and take a moment to use things before they go bad and remember to throw them out before they reach the point where they start to have bad consequences (such as old bananas attracting fruit flies).

The primary goal of a proverb is to impart some speck of wisdom. However small.

Lets take for example the Sudanese Proverb: "Let rats shoot arrows at each other." The implied wisdom here is that untrustworthy people (rats) will end up killing each other. The implied wisdom is that a person should: 1) Not associate themselves with untrustworthy rats. 2) They should not be rats themselves.

Many of the proverbs on this page are cultural proverbs that are not necessarily about archery, but using archery as a metaphor to talk about something else.

Below are some examples of Archery Proverbs that are actually about Archery:

"Aim small, miss small."

"When in doubt, aim lower."

"It never hurts to be closer to the target."

"Don't rub your fletching the wrong way."

Some proverbs are also found across multiple cultures but with different wordings. So you may spot a number of proverbs below which are identical or very similar to proverbs to other cultures. This is often because the two cultures were close to each other geographically or perhaps have a historical connection.

For example:

"A man without money is a bow without an arrow."
- Romanian Proverb

"A man without money is like a bow without arrows."
- Indian Proverb

Now you might think India is pretty far from Romania, but if you know your history then you should also know that Romani Gypsies are originally from India. Thus the Romanian Proverb likely has its origin in India and traveled there with wandering gypsies.

Other times it is pretty clear that similarities in proverbs is due to a shared language.

"The archer that shoots badly has a lie ready."
- Spanish Proverb

"The bowman who is a bad marksman has a lie ready."
- Mexican Proverb

And of course sometimes there are proverbs that don't have a known particular culture.

"A wise woman knows her husband like an archer knows their target."
- Traditional Proverb

Note - The list of archery proverbs below are in no way comprehensive or complete. There are doubtlessly more. If you know of any I am missing, please add them in the comments.

Listed Alphabetically, by Culture

"Words are like arrows throw them only when you know where they will fall."
- African Proverb

"A cutting word is worse than a bowstring, a cut may heal, but the cut of the tongue does not."
- African Proverb

"A hunter with one arrow doesn't shoot with a careless aim."
- African Proverb

"The arrow that missed the head of its target will never hit the tail."
- African Proverb

"The last partridge will take the most arrows."
- African Proverb

"A bow too much bent will break."
- Albanian Proverb

"Faster than an arrow."
- Arab Proverb

"I taught him archery everyday, and when he got good at it he throw an arrow at me."
- Arab Proverb

"The ropeman got mixed with the archer."
- Arab Proverb

"When you shoot an arrow of truth, dip its point in honey."
- Arab Proverb

"Four things come not back -- the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity."
- Arab Proverb

"The eagle was killed by an arrow made from its own feathers."
- Armenian Proverb

"If you shoot your arrows at stones, you will damage them."
- Austrian Proverb

"A trick is not an arrow."
- Bajan Proverb

"A son as cunning as his father knows the arrows like father."
- Bajan Proverb

"There is no bow without its meat."
- Bajan Proverb

"For a jest one should not take the arrow out of the quiver."
- Bajan Proverb

"The place to use the club and the above arrow are not the same."
- Bajan Proverb

"Don't use up your arrows before you go to battle."
- Burmese Proverb

"If one archer guards a narrow pass, ten thousand cannot get through."
- Chinese Proverb

"It is easy to dodge the arrow of an enemy, but difficult to avoid the spear of a friend."
- Chinese Proverb

"Deer-hunter, waste not your arrow on the hare."
- Chinese Proverb

"Kill two vultures with one arrow."
- Chinese Proverb

"Mistaking the reflection of a bow in a cup for a snake."
- Chinese Proverb

"Draw the bow but don't shoot - it is a bigger threat to be intimidated than to be hit."
- Chinese Proverb

"A bow long bent at length waxeth weak."
- Danish Proverb

"The bow may be bent until it breaks."
- Danish Proverb

"Don't overstrain your bow -- it may break."
- Dutch Proverb

"Strain not your bow beyond its bent, lest it break."
- Dutch Proverb

"Good hunters track narrowly."
- Dutch Proverb

"The bow must not be always bent."
- Dutch Proverb

"It is too late to cry "Hold hard!" when the arrow has left the bow."
- Dutch Proverb

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
- English Proverb

"An arrow shot upright falls on the shooter's head."
- English Proverb

"The air of a window is as the stroke of a cross-bow."
- English Proverb

"A good archer is not known by his arrows, but his aim."
- English Proverb

"If you sow arrows, you will reap sorrows."
- Filipino Proverb

"Not every sort of wood is fit to make an arrow."
- French Proverb

"Unstringing the bow does not cure the wound."
- French Proverb

"If you have no arrows in your quiver, go not with archers."
- German Proverb

"You will break the bow if you keep it always bent."
- Greek Proverb

"He who wants to shoot at a crow, will not pluck his bow."
- Hungarian Proverb

"A man who shoots his arrows as he makes them does not realize when he has shot a whole sheaf."
- Igbo Proverb

"A man without money is like a bow without arrows."
- Indian Proverb

"Why would a man without a bow look for arrows?"
- Indian Proverb

"It is always good to have two strings to your bow."
- Italian Proverb

"Unbending the bow does not heal the wound."
- Italian Proverb

"A bow that is bent too far will break."
- Italian Proverb

"Have two strings to your bow."
- Italian Proverb

"Time flies like an arrow."
- Japanese Proverb

"A wild goose may be worth a hundred pieces of gold, but you first have to spend three pieces of gold to buy an arrow."
- Japanese Proverb

"A single arrow is easily broken; a quiver of ten is not."
- Japanese Proverb

"The pen wounds deeper than an arrow."
- Jewish Proverb

"Do not throw the arrow which will return against you."
- Kurdish Proverb

"Let but the hours of idleness cease, and the bow of Cupid will become broken and his torch extinguished."
- Latin Proverb

"Don't draw another's bow, don't ride another's horse, don't mind another's business."
- Latin Proverb

"A bow too much bent is broken."
- Latin Proverb

"One little arrow does not kill a serpent."
- Malawian Proverb

"The bowman who is a bad marksman has a lie ready."
- Mexican Proverb

"A man must make his own arrows."
- Native American Proverb

"There are many good moccasin tracks along the trail of a straight arrow.""
- Native American Proverb

"Thoughts are like arrows: once released, they strike their mark. guard them well or one day you may be your own victim."
- Native American Proverb

"A hunter who has only one arrow does not shoot with careless aim."
- Nigerian Proverb

"If a child shoots an arrow that reaches the top of a tall palm tree, then it must be that an elderly person carved the arrow for him."
- Nigerian Proverb

"Even as the archer loves the arrow that flies, so too he loves the bow that remains constant in his hands."
- Nigerian Proverb

"The archer knows his target."
- Nilotic Proverb

"A father without sons is like a bow without arrows."
- Nilotic Proverb

"The archer that speaks too much, goes home empty handed."
- Nilotic Proverb

"Harsh words hurt more than a poisonous arrow."
- Nilotic Proverb

"The bird will not fly into your arrow."
- Ovambo Proverb

"Draw not thy bow before thy arrow be fixed."
- Persian Proverb

"The arrow that has left the bow never returns."
- Persian Proverb

"An arrow can be pulled out of a wound, but a hurtful word stays forever in your heart."
- Persian Proverb

"You have many strings to your bow."
- Portuguese Proverb

"Like wood, like arrow."
- Romanian Proverb

"A bow long bent at last waxes weak."
- Romanian Proverb

"A man without money is a bow without an arrow."
- Romanian Proverb

"You can best shoot an eagle with an arrow made from its own feathers."
- Russian Proverb

"Many speaks of Robin Hood, that never shot in his Bow."
- Scottish Proverb

"I have a good bow, but it is in the Castle."
- Scottish Proverb

"It is the hunter who always beats the lions, because it is the hunter who always tells the stories."
- Senegalese Proverb

"A hunter has no mysterious notions about the forest."
- Shona Proverb

"Better to be shot with a crossbow than rejected by a window slammed shut."
- Sicilian Proverb

"Love kills with golden arrows."
- Spanish Proverb

"The bow that is always bent slackens or breaks."
- Spanish Proverb

"The archer that shoots badly has a lie ready."
- Spanish Proverb

"The pig's tail will never make a good arrow."
- Spanish Proverb

"Let rats shoot arrows at each other."
- Sudanese Proverb

"If an arrow goes into a forest it is not lost."
- Swahili Proverb

"Do not lend your bow or arrows to a man who seeks to do you ill."
- Traditional Proverb

"The enemy's cold heart summons the arrow to it."
- Traditional Proverb

"It is easy to dodge a spear that comes in front of you but hard to keep harms away from an arrow shot from behind."
- Traditional Proverb

"An archer cannot hit the bullseye if he doesnt know where the target is."
- Traditional Proverb

"One arrow does not bring down two birds. But one archer can."
- Turkish Proverb

"The forest provides food to the bowhunter after they are exhaustingly tired."
- Zimbabwean Proverb

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