many a little makes a mickle

The proper version of the next proverb (many a mickle makes a muckle). Pickle, a Scottish word for ‘a small quantity or amount’, is also found instead of little. Mickle (‘a great quantity or amount’) is now only Scottish.

a 1250 Ancrene Wisse (1962) 32 Thys ofte as me seith, of lutel muchel waxeth.

c 1390 CHAUCER Parson’s Tale 1. 361 The proverbe seith that ‘manye smale maken a greet.’

1545 R. TAVERNER tr. Erasmus’ Adages (ed. 2) G5 We commonly say in englyshe: Many a lyttle maketh a great.

1614 W. CAMDEN Remains concerning Britain (ed. 2) 310 Many a little makes a mickle.

1822 CARLYLE in J. A. Froude Life (1884) I. xii. ‘Many a little makes a mickle.’ It will be a long..and weary job, but I must plod along.

1905 Westminster Gazette 29 Apr. 3 ‘There is the Tithe Relief... But that is a small item.’ ‘Yes, but many a pickle maks a muckle.’

1979 C. COLVIN Maria Edgeworth in France & Switzerland 196 Many a pickle (or little) makes a mickle.


Proverbs new dictionary.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • many a little makes a mickle — (also many a mickle makes a muckle) proverb many small amounts accumulate to make a large amount …   Useful english dictionary

  • many a little makes a mickle (also many a mickle makes a muckle) — many small amounts accumulate to make a large amount. → mickle or & …   English new terms dictionary

  • many a mickle makes a muckle — A popular corruption of the preceding entry (many a little makes a mickle). This alternative form is in fact nonsensical, as muckle is merely a variant of the dialectal mickle ‘a large quantity or amount’. 1793 G. WASHINGTON Writings (1939) XXXII …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • mickle — (also muckle) archaic or Scottish & N. English noun a large amount. adjective very large. Phrases many a little makes a mickle (also many a mickle makes a muckle) many small amounts accumulate to make a large amount. Origin OE micel great,… …   English new terms dictionary

  • mickle — adj. & n. (also muckle) archaic or Sc. adj. much, great. n. a large amount. Phrases and idioms: many a little makes a mickle (orig. erron. many a mickle makes a muckle) many small amounts accumulate to make a large amount. Etymology: ME f. ON… …   Useful english dictionary

  • many — see many a little makes a mickle many a mickle makes a muckle there’s many a slip between cup and lip many are called but few are chosen many hands make light work there’s many a good tune played on an old fiddle …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • mickle — see many a little makes a mickle many a mickle makes a muckle …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • little — adjective see there is no little enemy little fish are sweet a little knowledge is a dangerous thing little leaks sink the ship little pitchers have large ears a little pot is soon hot …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • mickle — 1. adjective /ˈmɪkəl/ much, great 2. noun /ˈmɪkəl/ A great amount. Many a little makes a mickle …   Wiktionary

  • mickle — mickle, muckle These are merely variants of the same word meaning ‘a large amount’, and so the proverb Many a mickle makes a muckle is, in its usual form, a meaningless corruption. The correct form is Many a little (or occasionally pickle =… …   Modern English usage

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