Shoes: our everyday footwear in proverbs
The shoes, the boots, the slippers we walk on every day have ended up in our proverbs. Long before opinion polls and statistics existed, these spells reflected our views and ideas about ourselves and our society. It is actually not about concrete shoes such as sports shoes, walking shoes or dancing shoes, but about footwear in the ‘proverbial’ sense. Proverbs are fixed expressions that show how we ‘stand’ and stood in the world. You will find these ‘sayings’ with explanations on the internet, in special proverbial dictionaries and dictionaries such as Koenen or Van Dale. But it is even better if you know and understand them, without having to check anything so that they can be part of your daily language use.
Proverbs like mirrors
Proverbs in a way reflect our society, especially our norms and values. But also a piece of our history. This applies to proverbs about footwear in general, but also to all other proverbs. That is why this article is part of a special on various categories of proverbs.
Proverbs about shoes and their meaning
There are quite a few proverbs in which shoes appear. In addition, there are some that contain other types of footwear. For example slippers: someone can shoot out of their shoes or run the fire out of their slippers. And then there’s another one with boots in it: walking with seven-league boots. But in most proverbs about footwear, ordinary ‘shoes’ appear.
Walk next to his shoes
The saying ‘to walk next to his shoes’ means that someone is conceited, behaves proudly. He does not, in his opinion, need any footwear, as it were, like other ?? ordinary ?? people. He walks next to his shoes with pride.
He lost his courage ??
The proverb ‘his courage loses his courage’ means that someone is losing or is in danger of losing courage. A pair of shoes carries someone at their feet, the lower part of your body, so if that’s where your courage is? Then it is not much, you have almost lost courage, so said.
Go somewhere with lead in your shoes?
If a person goes to something or someone ‘with lead in his shoes’, it means that he is very dreadful and therefore experiences walking as very difficult. As if there is lead in his shoes! The shoes feel ‘very heavy’. That may be because he expects something bad, for example.
Push someone in the shoes?
When you use the phrase “blame someone,” you are blaming someone else for something. You are, as it were, saddling someone else with it. To put it with another proverb …
Don’t like to be in someone’s shoes
When someone uses this proverb, he does not mean literally that he does not like to put on the other person’s shoes, but that he does not like to experience what another person goes through or should rather not do what the other person has to do.
Know where the shoe pinches?
When you know where the shoe pinches, you know what the problem is. Imagine it for a moment with a real shoe: it is too tight at the toes or too loose at the heel or is too tight on your instep. A shoemaker can only fit a shoe that does not fit if he knows where it is jamming. It can be the same with a problem: only when you see what is wrong can you solve that problem.
You shouldn’t get rid of old shoes before getting new ones.
Imagine it again literally: the shoes are so old that they cannot be repaired by the shoemaker and you put them away. But you don’t have a new pair of shoes yet. Well, there you are on your stockinged feet. This is not the way to go. This proverb means that a person should not start on something new if he is not yet sure that the new one is good or that the new one is really what he wants.
Stand strong in his shoes
Anyone who is strong in his shoes stands firm, knows what he wants, knows what he can do, is a steadfast person.
Put on oversized shoes
If you put on too big a pair of shoes, literally, you won’t be able to walk properly. Chances are you will trip and fall or shoot out of those shoes. It is the same if you take on something that you cannot or cannot handle. Then you will stumble and fall, that is, fail.
Find out the meaning of a proverb
Anyone who has had proverbs in Dutch lessons may already know their meaning. Or he can easily look up the meaning himself on the internet. If you like a real book, you can also look up these proverbs in various dictionaries. Prisma’s dictionaries are often too short, but you can go to the dictionary of ‘Koenen, manual dictionary of the Dutch Language’. And certainly in ‘Van Dale, great dictionary of the Dutch language’, in the corridors called ‘The fat van Dale’. There are also numerous special proverbs books, often with background information about the origin of the proverbs and a number of variants in which you can look them up.
There are many proverbs in Dutch with which we express our vision, our way of seeing and judging in our society. Proverbs are more or less an early form of opinion poll in our society.