Cleanliness is next to godliness

Cleanliness is next to godliness is an idea that has been around since ancient times; the proverb can be traced to the 1700s. 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 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. 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, 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 cleanliness is next to godliness, where the expression came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Cleanliness is next to godliness means that individuals who are pure in spirit and intention are the ones who are closest to God. However, the proverb cleanliness is next to godliness is most often quoted to emphasize that one should be hygienic and keep one’s possessions neat and clean. The idea of cleanliness being affiliated with godliness has been propounded at least since ancient Babylonian times, but the proverb that is quoted today is traced to John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist religion: “Let it be observed, that slovenliness is no part of religion; that neither this, nor any text of Scripture, condemns neatness of apparel. Certainly this is a duty, not a sin. ‘Cleanliness is, indeed, next to godliness.’ ” Note that Wesley used quotation marks around the proverb, suggesting that the expression was already well known.


Nwankwo, who went round the market to ensure that members kept it clean, said their objective is to do regular cleaning of the market, noting that cleanliness is next to godliness. (The Nation Newspaper)

As a child, his mother says, he seemed to have the innate realisation that cleanliness is next to godliness and thus became “meticulous” about keeping clean. (Daily Monitor)

If cleanliness is next to godliness, Toronto’s Caten Twins may be the Lord’s best children, after all. (Vogue Magazine)

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