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Hi,

What does this proverb mean?

''Success has many fathers, but failure gets the mother-in-law.''
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Comments  (Page 3) 

You are correct. Many people want to claim a success, but no one wants to claim a failure

That interpretation is correct - A person's success is claimed by many, (his school., his family, his friends, his boss..etc etc), but his defeats are his alone.

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?

Only a fool, or someone pretending to be one, would fail to acknowledge that as John Donne put it, "No man is an island." And, NO, Mr Donne was not making a sexist remark when he wrote 'man'.

Some readers may recall Isaac Newton's remark (1675), "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."

And then we have the aphorism made famous by Mrs Clinton, "It takes a village to raise a child."

Some will even recall the words found in Proverbs 22:6 (Authorized Version): "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." 'He' here is sexist only in the mind of an ignorant reader of the 21st century. The King James version of the Bible is a product of the 17th century. At that time the masculine form of the third person singular pronoun was the default word. When it was important to point out that a girl or woman was being referred to, feminine forms of the personal pronouns -- she, her, hers -- were used.

Since we live in an age when it's fashionable to be offended, no doubt some reader will be offended by my comments. Offence being more an opinion, than a fact, when I read or hear that someone is offended, I recall the words of Sen. John Moynihan: "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." BTW, Sen. Moynihan's remark was not sexist when made. If it now be interpreted as such, I suggest it is done by those who behold the mote in their brother's eye but fail to consider the beam in their own. (Matthew 7:3)

This question was asked more than 13 years ago, and several answers have already been given. It's time to close this thread.

CJ