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Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

  • Fools rush in where angels fear to tread is a proverb. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase. 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, blood is thicker than water, 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 expression fools rush in where angels fear to tread, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    Fools rush in where angels fear to tread is a proverb that means inexperienced people jump into situations that wiser, more experienced people avoid. The expression fools rush in where angels fear to tread was coined by Alexander Pope in his work An Essay on Criticism, published in 1711: “Nor is Paul’s Church more safe than Paul’s Church-yard: / Nay, fly to Altars; there they’ll talk you dead; / For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.” As with many proverbs, only the first half, fools rush in, is often quoted with the assumption that the listener is familiar with the rest of the proverb.

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    Examples

    Wise men say only fools rush in to a vanity film project for a singer of limited acting ability. (The Jewish Journal)

    The entrepreneur and reality TV star’s quote was the song lyric “Wise men say/ Only fools rush in” in an image, and captioned it with another line from the song: “I can’t help falling in love with you.” (Newsweek)

    When it comes to Petunias, only fools rush in (The Telegraph)

    Only fools rush in, where wise men fear to tread. (The Cowichan Daily Citizen)


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