Mieder: A Dictionary of American Proverbs
1. A closed mouth catches no flies.
Rec. dist.: U.S., Can.
1st cit.: 1599 Minsheu, Dictionaire in Spanish and English;
US 1742 Franklin, PRAlmanac
20c. coll. ODEP 127, Whiting 301, Stevenson 1634:8, Whiting (MP) 430
Manser, The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs:
a shut mouth catches no flies
It is often safest and wisest to say nothing: To avoid the risk on incriminating myself, I remainded silent -- a shut mouth catches no flies. The proverb was first recorded in 1599 in the form "In a closed up mouth a fly cannot get in".
Variant of this proverb: a closed mouth catches no flies.
speech is silver, but silence is golden
It is good to speak, but sometimes it is better to say nothing: "She will give a pound note to the collection if I could cut my eloquence short, so in this case, though speech is silver, silence is certainly golden" (Winifred Holtby, South Riding, 1936). The proverb was first recorded in 1834, with the implication that it was of Swiss orgin.
Proverb expressing similar meaning: silence is golden
silence is golden
Silence is a quality of great value; often used as advice to say nothing, but alos applied to a lack of evironmental noise: "Silence is golden, as her father used to say when she used to fly into tempers and wanted to say nasty things to everybody withing range" (Aldous Huxley, Antic Hay, 1923). The proverb was first recorded in 1865 (W. White, Eastern England), but with the implication that it was already in generla use.
Proverb expressing similar meaning: A still tongue makes a wise head.