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Cut your Coat according to your Cloth

Stretch your arm no farther than your sleeve will reach.

Little barks must keep near shore,
Larger ones may venture more.

French:
“Selon ta bourse nourris ta bouche.” “Selon le pain il faut le couteau.” “Fou est, qui plus dèpense que sa rente ne vaut.”

Italian:
“Noi facciamo la spese secondo l'entrata.” Latin: “Ex quovis ligno non fit Mercurius.” “Parvum parva decent” (Horace). “Messe tenus propria vive” (Persius). “Cui multum est piperis, etiam oleribus immiscet.” “Sumptus censum ne superat” (Plautus). “Si non possis quod velis, velis id quod possis.” “Ne te quæiveris extra” (Horace).

Cut a Dash
Make a show. Cut is the French couper, better seen in the noun coup, as a grand coup, a coup de maltre (a masterly stroke), so “to cut” means to make a masterly coup, to do something to be looked at and talked about. Dashing means striking —i.e. showy, as a “dashing fellow,” a “dashing equipage.” To cut a dash is to get one's self looked at and talked about for a showy or striking appearance.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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