an idle brain is the devil’s workshop

Recent US usage appears to conflate this proverb with the devil finds work for idle hands to do (see quot. 2001).

a 1602 W. PERKINS Works (1603) 906 The idle bodie and the idle braine is the shoppe [workshop] of the deuill.

1732 T. FULLER Gnomologia no. 3053 Idle Brains are the Devil’s Workhouses.

1855 H. G. BOHN Hand-Book of Proverbs 311 An idle brain is the devil’s workshop.

1859 S. SMILES Self-Help viii. Steady employment..keeps one out of mischief, for truly an idle brain is the devil’s workshop.

1930 E. D. BIGGERS Charlie Chan Carries On xxii. Tell him to be [a] good boy and study hard. An idle brain is the devil’s workshop.

1988 C. G. HART Design for Murder ix. ‘Idle minds are the devil’s workshop.’ She lifted the watch..and stared at it accusingly. ‘Five minutes after eight. Is no one else here\?’

2001 Washington Times 3 Sept. A12 Young people need to learn to work. Their parents must not let them be idle all summer for, as they say, idle hands are the devil’s workshop.


Proverbs new dictionary.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • devil — see the devil can quote Scripture for his own ends the devil finds work for idle hands to do why should the devil have all the best tunes? the devil is in the details the devil is not so black as he is painted the devil lo …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • idle — see an idle brain is the devil’s workshop idle people have the least leisure as good be an addled egg as an idle bird the devil finds work for idle hands to do it is idle to swallow the cow and choke on the tail …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • idle — 01. My son has been [idle] for weeks. He really needs to find himself a summer job. 02. Our city s buses are sitting [idle] today due to a strike by maintenance workers. 03. The city s road crew has been [idled] by poor weather. 04. The factories …   Grammatical examples in English

  • workshop — see an idle brain is the devil’s workshop …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • brain — see an idle brain is the devil’s workshop …   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

  • literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… …   Universalium

  • computer — computerlike, adj. /keuhm pyooh teuhr/, n. 1. Also called processor. an electronic device designed to accept data, perform prescribed mathematical and logical operations at high speed, and display the results of these operations. Cf. analog… …   Universalium

  • Europe, history of — Introduction       history of European peoples and cultures from prehistoric times to the present. Europe is a more ambiguous term than most geographic expressions. Its etymology is doubtful, as is the physical extent of the area it designates.… …   Universalium

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