10 Old Sayings That Aren’t Relevant Anymore Or Are They Even More Significant Today?

Society is constantly evolving, and our perspectives and beliefs undergo significant transformations. As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, it becomes apparent that some age-old sayings no longer hold the same relevance they once did. These old sayings, once considered pearls of wisdom and guiding principles, may now seem out of touch with the realities of contemporary life. However, some of these adages are particularly significant in today’s world.

1. “A Bird in the Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush”

This 15th-century saying implies that it’s better to hold onto something you have for sure rather than take a risk for something better. It warns against taking unnecessary risks. However, in today’s dynamic world, opportunities and options are abundant. Embracing change and exploring new possibilities often lead to greater rewards. Instead of settling for what we have, we should strive for growth and embrace the potential of the unknown. Balancing risk with growth is a worthy strategy.

2. “Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch”

This adage attributed to Aesop’s fables warns against prematurely celebrating or assuming future outcomes. While it’s essential to maintain a level of cautious optimism, it’s equally crucial to plan and set goals. By actively preparing for the future and taking calculated risks, we can work towards achieving our aspirations. It’s about balancing being mindful of potential pitfalls and proactively pursuing our dreams.

3. “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”

While this 17th century saying holds some truth, communication has evolved significantly in the digital age. With the rise of social media and online platforms, the impact of words has become more pronounced than ever before. Expressing thoughts, ideas, and emotions through well-crafted messages and persuasive rhetoric can be as influential as physical actions. Effective communication now encompasses a combination of both words and deeds. However, actions follow their real attitudes and are more valuable.

4. “You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks”

This saying originated in the Book of Husbandry in 1534 and suggests that older individuals resist change or learn new things. However, with technological advancements and lifelong learning opportunities, age is no longer a barrier to acquiring new skills or knowledge. People of all ages can embrace lifelong learning and adapt to unique circumstances. The idea of being “set in one’s ways” is becoming less relevant as society values continuous growth and personal development. This adage may refer to the difficulty of breaking habits, which is valid for the young and older.

5. “Penny Wise, Pound Foolish”

While being frugal is often commendable, this saying implies that saving money on small expenses can result in more significant losses. However, savvy financial management in today’s consumer landscape includes budgeting, comparative shopping, and seeking cost-effective alternatives. By being mindful of small and large expenses, we can make informed decisions that align with our long-term financial goals without sacrificing quality or value. Long attributed to Benjamin Franklin, it may have predated his use of the proverb by a few decades.

6. “The Early Bird Catches the Worm”


This English expression was in a 1605 book of proverbs, recognizing that the early birds have the best chance of a desirable meal.  In a world that values work-life balance, this saying does not always hold. It suggests that success solely depends on waking up early and being the first to act. However, individual circumstances vary, and different people may have varying productivity levels at other times of the day. Prioritizing self-care, finding a routine that suits personal needs, and maximizing productivity during peak hours can lead to success, regardless of waking up at dawn.

7. “Better Safe Than Sorry”

While it’s essential to consider the consequences of our actions, taking calculated risks is often necessary for personal and professional growth. This adage is attributed to an Irish novelist, Samuel Lover, and may advise against taking risks. Playing it safe in today’s fast-paced and innovative world may lead to missed opportunities and stagnant growth. It’s crucial to strike a balance between cautious decision-making and seizing opportunities, as well as learning from failures and embracing the potential rewards that come with calculated risks.

8. “Don’t Air Your Dirty Laundry in Public”

This saying implies that personal matters should be kept private and not discussed openly. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard could have used a dose of this adage attributed to Anthony Trollope’s novel in 1867.  However, in today’s social media and online sharing era, people often find solace, support, and advice by openly discussing their challenges and experiences. Sharing personal stories can foster empathy, create connections, and inspire others. The notion of secrecy and shame surrounding personal struggles is replaced by a culture of openness and vulnerability. These days, there may be an oversharing of what ails us.

9. “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Words Will Never Hurt Me”

This adage suggests that physical harm is more significant than emotional or verbal harm. The earliest use of this proverb was found in an American daily publication for a Black audience in 1862.  However, words have the power to affect individuals profoundly and can cause emotional distress, anxiety, and even long-term damage. With the rise of cyberbullying and online harassment, it is evident that words can profoundly impact mental well-being. Recognizing the importance of kindness, empathy, and respectful communication is essential in fostering healthy relationships and a supportive society. Words can be hurtful, especially on social media.

10. “Curiosity Killed the Cat”

This English saying dates back to 1598 and was adapted by William Shakespeare. It implies that being inquisitive or exploring unfamiliar territories can have negative consequences. Invasion of privacy was not as pervasive as in today’s knowledge-driven world. Curiosity is highly valued as a catalyst for innovation, learning, and personal growth. We can expand our horizons, challenge assumptions, and discover new possibilities by embracing curiosity. We can make meaningful discoveries and advancements through questioning and exploring.

This article was produced and syndicated by The Cents of Money.

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