The Encyclopedia Britannica describes proverbs as "succinct and pithy sayings that are in general use and express commonly held ideas and beliefs."
It adds that "proverbs are part of every spoken language and folk literature, originating in oral tradition. Often proverbs are found with variations in many different parts of the world."
Civilization since ancient Egypt has collected proverbs. In the English language, The Proverbs of Alfred, from 1150-80, is one of the earliest known collections of proverbs. In North America, Poor Richard's, published 1732-57 by Benjamin Franklin, is probably the most celebrated collection of proverbs.