The word "proverbs" comes from the Latin translation of the title: "Proverbia." But the original Hebrew word is "mashal," and it has a slightly different meaning. We tend to think of proverbs as being pithy sayings—Oscar Wilde quotes, and so on. But the Hebrew meaning is a little broader, and encompasses the longer passages on Wisdom and the adulteress and the capable wife included in Proverbs. A better translation might actually be a word like "Instructions," as in "instructions for leading a good, productive life and not being a lazy, good-for-nothing adulterer"—helpful stuff (source).