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A rolling stone gathers no moss

  • The expression a rolling stone gathers no moss is a proverb. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase. These language tools particularly give advice or share a universal truth, or impart wisdom. Synonyms for proverb include adage, aphorism, sayings, and byword, which can also be someone or something that is the best example of a group. Often, a proverb is so familiar that a speaker will only quote half of it, relying on the listener to supply the ending of the written or spoken proverb himself. Speakers of English as a second language are sometimes confused by these expressions as translations from English to other languages do not carry the impact that the English phrases carry. Some common proverbs are better late than never, curiosity killed the cat, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, never look a gift horse in the mouth, blood is thicker than water, and don’t count your chickens before they hatch. One of the books of the Bible is the Book of Proverbs, which contains words and phrases that are still often quoted in the English language because they are wise. Many current proverbs are quotations taken from literature, particularly Shakespeare, as well as the Bible and other sacred writings. We will examine the meaning of the expression a rolling stone gathers no moss, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    A rolling stone gathers no moss means that a person who does not settle in one place and build relationships with a community does not prosper. The original intent of the phrase is that it is advantageous for a rock to have moss growing upon it. Today, people may use the proverb to illustrate that someone who wanders from place to place or from job to job does not build anything permanent. However,they may use the proverb a rolling stone gathers no moss to illustrate that such a person does not become burdened with responsibilities, or that a person who keeps moving does not become stagnant and hidebound. The expression a rolling stone gathers no moss was included in John Heywood’s collection of proverbs published in 1546: “The rollyng stone neuer gatherth mosse.” However, the sentiment was known since ancient times. Publilius Syrus is credited with the earlier proverb: “People who are always moving, with no roots in one place or another, avoid responsibilities and cares. “

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    Examples

    They say a rolling stone gathers no moss, which means Wyvern Lingo have done their share of rotations down the hill over the past few years.  (The Irish Times)

    Perhaps a rolling stone gathers no moss — but just because it doesn’t stick doesn’t preclude said moss from dramatically increasing its downward rate of travel. (The Traverse City Record-Eagle)

    “Once, we used to say ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’,” Dhar says with a chuckle. (Pune Mirror)

    “It has been said that a rolling stone gathers no moss,” Helms told a vast audience, seated in front of the university’s famed Rotunda.  (The Hollywood Reporter)


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