A man is known by the company he keeps is a proverb. We will examine the meaning of the proverb a man is known by the company he keeps, where the expression came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.
A man is known by the company he keeps means that a person is similar to the people he chooses to spend time with; he will have the same character and moral standards as those he chooses to surround himself. A person usually associates with those he feels comfortable with and who are like him. The expression a man is known any the company he keeps is derived from a fable written by Aesop in the 500s B.C called The Ass and his Purchaser. In the story, a man takes an ass to his farm on a trial basis to see how the ass will fit in to his herd of asses. When the ass enters the pasture, he seeks out the laziest and greediest ass that the man owns to keep company. The man returns the ass because he knows it too will be lazy and greedy, based on the animal the ass chose to spend time with. The moral of the story is that a man is known by the company he keeps.
A man is known by the company he keeps, and what stellar company Stephen Sondheim will be keeping at “Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration.” (Los Angeles Times)
A man is known by the company he keeps, but also by the company that bids him farewell. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Jackson told the gathering that “a man is known by the company he keeps,” going on to praise those connected with city government. (Leader-Herald)