A proverb, or an adage means something different from what it says. It is an expression that gives advice and has some truth to it.
As you cannot determine the meaning of proverbs just by looking at the meaning of each word, so you have to remember them.
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The correct answer is
The smallest number is the one that comes first while counting.
To arrange the given numbers in order from smallest to greatest, find the smallest number among all the given numbers.
21 is the smallest number.