hear all, see all, say nowt, tak’ all, keep all, gie nowt, and if tha ever does owt for nowt do it for thysen

A proverb now traditionally associated with Yorkshire, with numerous variant forms. The precepts make up the caricature of the Yorkshireman as seen by detractors: canny, dour (say nowt = say nothing), grasping (gie nowt = give nothing), and selfish (if tha ever does owt for nowt do it for theysen = if you ever do anything for nothing do it for yourself).

a 1400 Proverbs of Wisdom in Archiv (1893) XC. 246 Hyre and se, and say nowght. Be ware and wyse, and lye nought..and haue thy will.

1623 J. WODROEPHE Spared Hours of Soldier 276 Heare all, see all, and hold thee still If peace desirest with thy will.

1913 D. H. LAWRENCE Letter 1 Feb. (1962) 1.183 It seems queer, that you do it and get no profit. I should think you’ve forgotten the Yorkshire proverb, ‘An’ if tha does owt for nowt, do it for thysen.’

1925 Notes & Queries 412 The famous Yorkshire motto..is invariably recited with an air of superior bravado, and will be found upon mugs, post cards, etc. The authentic version, I believe, is, ‘Hear all, see all, say now’t, tak’ all, keep all, gie now’t, and if tha ever does ow’t for now’t do it for thysen.’

1984 G. SMITH English Companion 265 ‘Hear all, see all, say nowt; sup all, eat all, pay nowt’, is said by detractors to be the Yorkshireman’s motto.


Proverbs new dictionary.

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  • hear — see hear all, see all, say nowt, tak’ all, keep all, gie nowt, and if tha ever does owt for nowt do it for thysen ask no questions and hear no lies believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see there’s none so deaf as those who… …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • see — what you see is what you get see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see there’s none so blind as those who will not see what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • all — see all good things must come to an end it takes all sorts to make a world all things are possible with God all things come to those who wait all’s for the best in the best of all possible worlds all cats are grey in the dark …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • say — see do as I say, not as I do when in doubt, do nowt what everybody says must be true hear all, see all, say nowt, tak’ all, keep all, gie nowt, and if tha ever does owt for nowt do it for thysen what Manchester says today, the rest of England… …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • owt — see hear all, see all, say nowt, tak’ all, keep all, gie nowt, and if tha ever does owt for nowt do it for thysen you don’t get something for nothing …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • nowt — see there’s nowt so queer as folk when in doubt, do nowt hear all, see all, say nowt, tak’ all, keep all, gie nowt, and if tha ever does owt for nowt do it for thysen …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • thysen — (yourself) see hear all, see all, say nowt, tak’ all, keep all, gie nowt, and if tha ever does owt for nowt do it for thysen …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • nothing — see nothing comes of nothing nothing for nothing nothing is certain but death and taxes nothing is certain but the unforeseen nothing is for ever there is nothing new under the sun …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • yourself — see know thyself physician, heal thyself hear all, see all, say nowt, tak’ all, keep all, gie nowt, and if tha ever does owt for nowt do it for thysen …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Thematic Index — absence absence makes the heart grow fonder he who is absent is always in the wrong the best of friends must part blue are the hills that are far away distance lends enchantment to the view out of sight, out of mind …   Proverbs new dictionary


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