when in doubt, do nowt

Nowt is a dialect form of ‘nought’ = ‘nothing’, here used for the rhyme.

1874 G. J. WHYTE-MELVILLE Uncle John xx. I should wait. When in doubt what to do, he is a wise man who does nothing.

1884 G. WEATHERLY ‘Little Folks’ Proverb Painting Book 64 Err ever on the side that’s safe, And when in doubt, abstain.

1917 J. C. BRIDGE Cheshire Proverbs 155 When in doubt, do nowt. This shows the cautious Cheshireman at his best.

1952 H. CECIL Ways & Means ii. I don’t know. I think it’s one of those occasions where it’s best to follow the maxim: When in doubt, don’t.

1972 E. GRIERSON Confessions of Country Magistrate vii. ‘When in doubt say nowt’ is a precept enshrined over most magistrates’ courts.

1981 E. AGRY Assault Force i. What to do?.. ‘When in doubt, do nowt,’ had always been my grandfather’s advice.


Proverbs new dictionary.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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

  • doubt — see when in doubt, do nowt …   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

  • 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

  • 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

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.