Miguel de Cervantes? Don Quixote? Sancho Panza? mr Chesterfield? Johann Wolfgang von Goethe? Joseph Hordern? Anonymous?

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Dear Quote Investigator: If you room attempting to assess the character of an separation, personal, instance you deserve to do it indirectly by identify his or her friends and also assessing their proclivities. Here are 3 versions the a pertinent saying:

Show me who your girlfriend are, and also I’ll tell you who you are.Tell me her company, and also I’ll call you who you are.By the agency you save I deserve to tell what life you lead.

You are watching: Show me your friends and i will tell you who you are

Would girlfriend please discover the provenance that this family of expressions?

Quote Investigator: The faster close complement known come QI showed up in the prominent Spanish novel “Don Quixote” through Miguel de Cervantes which appeared in two components published in 1605 and also 1615. The Spanish title to be “Ingenioso Cavallero Don Qvixote de la Mancha” (“Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha”). The second component in 1615 consisted of the complying with passage making use of non-standard spelling. The saying was talked by Sancho Panza that was the faithful servant and squire that the key character Don Quixote. Boldface included to excepts through QI: 1

A qui encaxa bien el refran, dixo Sancho, de dime, con quien andas, dezirte the quien eres . . .

Here is a slightly much longer passage from an English translate in by Charles Jarvis released in 1749. The statement above is consisted of in the rendering below. The phrase “your worship” synchronizes to Don Quixote in this context: 2

Here, quoth Sancho, the proverb hits right, Tell me your company, and also I will tell you what friend are. If your praise keeps company with those who fast and watch, what wonder is it that you neither eat no one sleep when you room with them?

Miguel de Cervantes disclaimed credit for the saying by calling that proverbial; thus, that was currently circulating in Spanish prior to 1615.

Here are extr selected citations in chronological order.

The reference occupational “English Proverbs and also Proverbial Phrases: A historic Dictionary” by G. L. Apperson contained a citation for a thematically related saying that appeared in 1586: 3

Tell me v whom thou goest, and I’ll tell thee what you doest.1586: Pettie, tr. Guazzo’s polite Convers., fo. 22

The first English translate into of “Don Quixote” to be performed by cutting board Shelton, and also the 2 parts showed up in 1612 and also 1620. The phrasing employed by Shelton given listed below differed a bit from the later on interpretation by translator Charles Jarvis: 4

That fits the Proverb, quoth Sancho, i beg your pardon sayes, You shall recognize the human being by his company: you have beene among the enchanted, and those the watch and fast: no marvell as such though you neyther slept no one eat whilest friend were among them . . .

In 1683 the publication “Moral indict of a dad To His son Upon His departure for a long Voyage” contained a careful explanation that the adage: 5

Consult Prudence, and also she will teach friend to choose your Friends, i m sorry is a thing of the greatest consequence; because we gain generally the Habits and Passions that those whom we frequent: This to be so famous to our Fore-fathers, the they did no scruple to pass their referee upon any type of Man as soon as they were once acquainted v the Temper of his Companions; follow to this old speak of theirs, Tell me what agency you keep and I will certainly tell girlfriend what friend are.

In 1709 a didactic book titled “The imperial French Grammar” contained French and English instances of the saying: 6

Dis moi qui tu hantes, & je car dirai qui tu és.Tell me her Company, and I shall call you who you are.

In 1726 the reference “A brand-new Dictionary, Spanish and also English” included an entry for the proverb and presented instances in both languages: 7

Prov. Díme con quién andas, diréte quién eres: tell me your agency and I’ll tell you that you are. the is, by the company you save I have the right to tell what life you lead, for birds that a feather flock together.

In 1755 an version of “Don Quixote” contained the following alternate translation the the saying by T. Smollett: 8

Here then, said the squire, we might conveniently thrust in the proverb, Tell me her company, and I’ll phone call you your manners.

Lord Chesterfield (Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl that Chesterfield) wrote a famous collection of letter to his son regarding proper manners and also etiquette in the joined Kingdom. A 1747 letter contained an circumstances of the saying: 9

People will, in a good degree, and also not without reason, form their opinion of you, upon the which they have actually of her friends; and there is a Spanish proverb, which says an extremely justly, tell me who you live with, and also I will tell you what girlfriend are. One may reasonably suppose, that a man, who renders a knave or a silly his friend, has actually something an extremely bad to do, or come conceal.

In 1814 a variation using words “associate” appeared in a compilation titled “Proverbs, Chiefly Taken native the Adagia that Erasmus, v Explanations”. Numerous adages to be grouped under the Latin location “Corrumpunt Mores bonos Colloquia prava”: 10

“Tell me,” us say, “with whom you associate, and I will tell girlfriend what girlfriend are.” “Che dorme co cani, si leva col le pulci,” those that sleep through dogs rise up v fleas, and “La mala compagnia, e quella che mena huomini a la furca,” the is bad firm that brings guys to the gallows.

In 1830 a variation using words “friends” showed up in a repertoire of sermons native Reverend Joseph Hordern: 11

There is one old saying which you will possibly recollect, “tell me who your friend are, and I will tell friend what girlfriend are.” Men normally judge of rather from the firm they save . . .

The major German literary number Johann Wolfgang von Goethe died in 1832. A arsenal of his works published shortly afterward contained a volume title “Maximen und Reflexionen” (“Maxims and also Reflections”) which contained the adhering to passage: 12

Sage mir mit wem du umgehst, therefore sage ich dir wer du bist; weiß ich womit du dich beschäftigst, so weiß ich was aus dir werden kann.

The words above have been rendered into English together follows: 13

Tell me v whom friend associate, and also I will tell you who you are. If I recognize what your business is, I recognize what can be do of you.

In conclusion, Miguel de Cervantes contained the saying in the second part of his celebrated Spanish opus “Don Quixote” in 1615. The character Sancho Panza ceded the line while indicating that it was a pre-existing proverb. Various other prominent numbers such together Lord Chesterfield and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe work instances in later years.

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Image Notes: Illustration the Don Quixote and Sancho Panza by Gustave Dore. Image has been cropped and resized.

(Great many thanks to Simon Kasif whose inquiry led QI to build this question and perform this exploration.)