Posted by ESC on July 28, 2005
In Reply to: "Great oaks from little acorns grow" posted by Mrs. A. Agricole on July 28, 2005
: I would like to use the phrase "Great oaks from little acorns grow" for the 'motto' of the nursery school I am opening. I need to know whether it has a copyright law on it and therefore whether I could use it.
You're on safe ground. From archives and elsewhere on this site:
GREAT OAKS FROM LITTLE ACORNS GROW - "Great people begin as small children. Great successes often develop from something very small. The proverb is similar to the L*tin: Parvis e glandibus quercus ('Tall oaks from little acorns grown'). It appears in Chaucer's 'Troilus and Criseyde' (c. 1385). First attested in the United States in 'Life of Jefferson S. Batkins' . The phrase may take different forms." Including "mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996). Page 125.
Great things start with small beginnings.
The word acorn doesn't come from 'oak' and 'corn', as is popularly supposed, but from the Old English 'aecern', meaning berry or fruit. The tree genus Acer comes from the same root.