An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is a proverb with roots in medieval times. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase that may be a famous quote, an inspirational quote, an epigram, or the topic of a parable. These common sayings are language tools or figures of speech that 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 because these common phrases and popular sayings are so well known. Certain phrases may be a metaphor or a quotation; but if it is a proverb, it is often-used and has a figurative meaning. Speakers of English as a second language are sometimes confused by these pithy sayings as translations from English to other languages do not carry the impact that the English phrases carry. Some common proverbs are the wise sayings better late than never; early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise; an apple a day keeps the doctor away; don’t cry over spilt milk; actions speak louder than words; haste makes waste, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth; and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. 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 proverb an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, where the expression came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure means it is easier to take small steps to prevent something from happening than dealing with a problem once it is established. Another way to state the definition: It is easier to avert a problem than try to repair a problem. The expression an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure was popularized by Benjamin Franklin in the 1700s, though the sentiment dates by the thirteenth century in Jurist Henry De Bracton’s work, De Legibus, which was written in Latin. Like most proverbs, a speaker may only cite the first half of the proverb, an ounce of prevention, assuming that the listener will supply the rest of the sentence for himself.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he said of masks and vaccines. (Odessa American)
To all those folks who refuse to wear masks, remember the adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” (The Republic)
“As in the old adage, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ for reducing black bear conflicts.” (Crookston Times)