Latin Proverb # 15 – Piscator ictus sapiet

Latin Proverb: Piscator ictus sapiet – Erasmus, Adagia 1.29

English equivalent: A burnt child dreads the fire

Translation: A stung fisherman will be wise.

Meaning: If you have been hurt by something once, you will be more careful in a similar situation in the future. If you burn yourself on the fire or wound yourself on something sharp, you'll be more careful in the future.  

Curiosities: Erasmus explains this proverb with a story about a fisherman who put his hand to hastily into his net and stung himself on a sea-scorpion. Wise from the pain of the sting he was more careful in the future.

Other explanations of the origins of this proverb all begin with the fisherman, what differs is what he wounds himself on – sometimes it is a scorpion, sometimes the back of a scaly fish, sometimes it is a fish hook.


Piscator ictus sapiet in other languages? 

What would you say in your language(s)? Or do you have some fun new versions of this proverb? Let us know in the comments below!

If you want to help out, consider supporting Latinitium on Patreon by clicking below.