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English Sayings App – PROVERBidioms, Everyday Sayings Come to Life in Bizarre Artwork

Proverbidioms iPad App Review

PROVERBidioms is a fascinating and bizarre educational game for the iOS platform. This iPhone and iPad Games app turns everyday English sayings into fun and clever look and find puzzles that are sure to captivate you. This language app is filled with literal interpretations of common English sayings, idioms, proverbs, cliches, and catch phrases all illustrated inside 4 famous paintings just waiting to be discovered.

And although idioms are not meant to be taken literally, the PROVERBidioms app is. So jump in and keep your eyes peeled while exploring these paintings to see if you can spot the 850+ English sayings. You will also discover the true meaning and history behind all these crazy English expressions along the way.

iPad App Review for English Sayings Game Proverbidioms

PROVERBidioms Overview

This application has an appealing and intuitive user interface, humorous and attention-grabbing graphics, and realistic sounds that bring the bizarre world of PROVERBidioms to life. You can hear these subtle sound effects change as you move about the app, depending upon what part of the app or part of a scene is being displayed. Right when you open this mobile app, you will be transported to an art gallery/museum setting where you hear people murmuring in the back ground.

And as you begin to explore the first puzzle scene, you may hear a horse nay, a frog croak, thunder booming from the sky, and a host of other familiar sounds as you move about. The mind-teasing artwork has a strange and surreal quality about it that’s similar to another interesting artist, Salvador Dali. You’ll probably be fascinated, amused, and maybe even disturbed by what you see.

The original Proverbidioms artwork was an oil painting created by American artist Thomas E. Breitenbach. This famous work of art comes with an interesting history. According to the artist’s website, (, which can also be accessed from within the app), this particular artwork was created as a painting in 1975, published as a poster in 1980 and is America’s best selling poster, being used primarily for educational/teaching purposes. It has been seen in over 100 countries, discussed in books and scholarly works, used in classrooms, on television sets, published by jigsaw puzzle companies, and even counterfeited. And for the enjoyment of mobile app users, eventually turned into “PROVERBidioms,” the iOS Universal Games app by Greenstone Games.

iPad App Review for Proverbidioms English Sayings App

The Free Version

PROVERBidioms is a free app that comes with 4 individual puzzle packs featuring fantastical scenes with over 850+ English sayings and idioms to be discovered. The first puzzle comes unlocked. But before you get too excited, the free version is more of a test drive that gives you access to only 20 proverbs and catch phrases for the Proverbidioms 264 proverbs and cliches gamepack.

You are given 20 idioms to search and find; they are given to you one at a time in a “Challenge” format. You will be asked an example challenge question such as: “Did you know the internet only became popular in 1996? Time flies! Clue: See if you can find time flying for ‘Time Flies.’” After reading your challenge question, I suggest you pinch out to zoom in for a good look around; it shouldn’t take you long to spot a clock with wings. Then it’s off to the next one, and the next. With each idiom you find, your success is recorded as a displayed number completed towards completing all overall 20 free idioms of gameplay.

But this app doesn’t just provide a fun look and find game, there is educational value as well because it actually teaches you what these common English sayings mean. With each newly discovered expression, the idiom is defined in simple terms, an example of how to use it in a sentence is given, a short history is provided for each (some entries have more details than others), and the option to share the painting with others on Twitter, Facebook and email.

After completing all 20 challenge idioms, you can keep playing for free if you share the app via Facebook. After sharing, you will unlock 20 more phrase sayings for free. Or spend $2.99 through in-app purchase to unlock the remaining 244 sayings and get a better playing experience since you’ll have the freedom to get right into the game, unhindered by any restrictions (challenge format). You can also unlock the other game packs individually through in-app purchase, but it’ll cost you less if you spend the $9.99 to get all 4 game packs – this saves you almost $5 extra. And according to the app developer, 3/4 users opt to do just that.

English Sayings iPad App Review for the Proverbidioms App

Noticeable Changes Since I First Played PROVERBidioms

I still love PROVERBidioms, but I recall exploring this app a few years back. At that time the complete first painting was unlocked and you were free to explore the full 264 idioms of the original painting for free, along with the freedom to play and explore the game in 2 different ways. The other 3 painting packs could be purchased through in-app purchase if you liked what you saw. Obviously, things have changed quite a bit since the original app release back in April of 2012. And with its 10+ updates, there have been some improvements and some understandable changes as well.

On the positive side, the app updates made PROVERBidioms available on the iPhone also, expanding the platform beyond just the iPad. However, recent updates limited the available content in pack 1 to just 20 English sayings and expressions that are now played in a “20 Question Challenge” format. With the original version you could explore any and all sayings, either by exploring the picture itself or by scrolling through the alphabetical list or using the search function. Now, the list format is not an available feature until unlocked via in-app purchase. However, earned stars and clues are still provided, and so are definitions, example sentences, origin and the ability to share.

I played through the 20 question challenge for testing purposes, bypassing the option to get 20 more sayings by sharing on Facebook. I opted to upgrade to the $2.99/ Proverbidioms 264 proverbs and cliche pack that I had originally played way back when. Here’s a lesson for some of you: upgrading your previously downloaded app to the latest app version isn’t always in your best interest. But I can tell you, in this case, that after upgrading from the free version, it was a much better playing experience.

A Better Playing Experience

Once unlocked, the English sayings in Proverbidioms can be discovered using 2 different Methods: Guess from the picture or Find from the list (book icon). If you prefer to check out the list area first before venturing into the paintings, just tap on the book icon (bottom left) to select a saying that you’d prefer to search for. The List Search feature allows you to search for a term to find any of the 264 English sayings in alphabetical order, or scroll down the list to select one. Now you’re ready to hunt for them in the painting.

The “Guess from the picture” method lets you freely explore the zaniness seen throughout the artwork. Be sure to pinch out to zoom in for a better view. Once you think you know the answer to the illustration, simply tap on a scene and a list of possible sayings are presented for your best guess. Sometimes there is more than 1 possible choice to a scene. A pop-up box will let you now how many possible choices and then isolate each of them in the picture for easier guessing.

iPad Application Review for Proverbidioms

If you guess correctly, another pop-up box appears and you have an option to explore further using the additional explanations and example tabs. On the other hand, if you make a wrong guess, you get 2 more chances before you can no longer earn stars. Finding idiom sayings earn you different reward stars (Gold: found on 1st try, Silver: found in 2nd try, Bronze: found on 3rd try). For every found phrase, your earned star color (or none) will show in the list feature. The phrase will also be grayed out to help you track what’s been found. The good thing is, you can always go back to revisit any of the English sayings.

If you’re unsure about a particular idiom, you can get some help using a clue or allow the answer to be revealed to you if you’re really stuck. You may get to that point because some sayings or images are a bit tricky and will leave you scratching your head as you try to figure out the correct expression being illustrated. Just be patient; otherwise, you might be kicking yourself for missing what was right in front of your face.

Some Common Idioms

Some of the really well-known cliches and expressions were easy to match up with their literally painted counterpart. I was able to quickly identify things like: “stabbed in the back,” “raining cats and dogs,” “eyes in the back of his head,” and “all ears.” But there are plenty of not so obvious ones in the mix as you’re hunting through the 260+ idioms hidden in the picture. So here’s one tip: for better odds of success, check out the list of English sayings first. Then go into viewing the painting because you may find that looking at the painting alone just “doesn’t ring a bell.” Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

In A Nutshell

PROVERBidioms is definitely a unique, fun, and clever educational game for the iOS platform. This iPhone and iPad app provides a very engaging introduction to English common sayings, proverbs, cliches, and catch phrases. I can’t think of a more entertaining way to teach or learn idiomatic expressions.

Download The English Sayings App PROVERBidoms Now!

iTunes App Download Link



Developer: Greenstone Games LTD
iOS Universal Games app, Cost: $0.00, v. 1.8.2
Written by: Lisa Vallez
Date Published: 03/20/2014
PROVERBidioms is a fun English Sayings puzzle that has a ton of idioms, proverbs, cliches, and catch phrases to find in famous works of art!
4.5 / 5 stars

About The Developer

Greenstone Games was founded by Julian Stewart and Jarn La Rooij, both New Zealanders, in early 2010 for the original purpose of self-publishing a card game they had designed, called Seven.

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About Lisa Vallez

Lisa Vallez - (Mrs. CrazyMike) is the Co-Founder of, as well as the Editor and an Author, among other things. She is also a wife and mother of three teens. Lisa likes to write reviews for apps that appeal to the average everyday family, especially Education, Kids, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Productivity and many other app categories.