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PROVERBS BY NATIONS

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PROVERBS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
  AFRICAN & CARRIBBEAN PROVERBS

When two elephants fight it is the grass that gets trampled.

The disease which affects the eyes usually affects the nose as well. (Nigeria, and Cameroon)

What hurt eyes does make nose run. (Trinidad)

Tales are the food of the ear. (Nigeria)

Talk is the ear's food. (Jamaica)

What is done in the dark will appear in the light. (St. Lucia, Dominica)

When the cat's away, the rats have a ball. (St. Lucia)

The tears of the orphan run inside. (Cameroon)

An empty stomach can make a person lose his or her cattle.  (Soudan)

One who bathes willingly with cold water doesn't feel the cold. (Tanzania)

Tout homme qui descend au fond d'un puits pour y regarder le ciel le trouvera petit.

Que celui qui n'a pas traversé ne se moque pas de celui qui s'est noyé.

Lorsque tu ne sais pas où tu vas, regarde d'où tu viens.

La langue qui fourche fait plus de mal que le pieds qui trébuche.

Ce qui est plus fort que l'éléphant c'est la brousse.

Une pirogue n'est jamais trop grande pour chavirer.

L'eau chaude n'oublie pas qu'elle a été froide.

Le léopard ne se délace pas sans ses taches.

Tout a une fin sauf la banane qui en a deux.

 

 

 

AMERICAN PROVERBS

Great trees keep little ones down.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep. - Navajo Proverb

 

 

 

 

ARABIAN WISDOM  

The willing contemplation of vice is vice.

Write the bad things that are done to you in the sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble.  

All sunshine makes a desert.

Trust in Allah, but tie your camel. -Arabic saying

If the camel once gets his nose in a tent, his body will soon follow.
-Arabian proverb

 

 
 

   CZECH PROVERBS

The big thieves hang the little ones.  

Many a friend was lost through a joke, but none was ever gained so.
 
Many doctors, death accomplished.

 
 

CHINESE PROVERBS

It is not economical to go to bed early to save the candles if the result is twins.

A closed mind is like a closed book: just a block of wood. 

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with
one, and a lily with the other. 

Swords and guns have no eyes. 

If you are planning for one year, grow rice. If you are planning for 20 years, grow trees. If you are planning for centuries, grow men.

To understand your parents' love, bear your own children.

A book is a garden carried in the pocket.

To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.

Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever. –

In the midst of great joy, do not promise anyone anything. In the midst of great anger, do not answer anyone's letter.

The palest ink is better than the best memory. 

If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time. 

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.

He who sacrifices his conscience to ambition burns a picture to obtain the ashes.

 

ENGLISH PROVERBS

A bad penny always turns up.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

A fool and his money are soon parted.

A full cup must be carried steadily.  

A friend in need is a friend indeed.

A man is known by the company he keeps.

A man's home is his castle.

A red sky at night is a sailor's delight. A red sky in the morning is a sailor's warning.  

A stitch in time saves nine.

Actions speak louder than words.

After a storm comes a calm.

All good things must come to an end.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Easy tiger! 

Floats like a butterfly. Stings like a bee.

It never rains, but it pours.

Justice delayed is justice denied.

Keep your mouth shut and your ears open.

Laughter is the best medicine.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

Life is a bitch!  

Life's too short to be miserable, so cheer up and smile.

Life is just a bowl of cherries.

Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.

Like father, like son.

Love is blind.

Love sees no faults.

Nothing ever happens until it does.  

One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.

One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.
English Proverb (17th century)

One good turn deserves another.

One of these day is none of these days.

Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches

Opportunity seldom knocks twice.

Poor men seek meat for their stomach, rich men stomach for their meat.

Practice makes perfect.

Prevention is better than cure.

Rats desert a sinking ship.

Shit happens!  

Spare the rod, spoil the child. 

Take a chill pill.

The early bird catches the worm.

The first step is the hardest.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

The last straw breaks the camel's back.

The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune.

The pot calls the kettle black.

There's a black sheep in every flock.

There's more than one way of skinning a cat.

There's no fool like an old fool.

There's no place like home.

Things are not always what they seem.

This is too twee to answer-yuck! Trop mignon, beurk!  

When the goings get tough, the tough get going. 

Where there is a will there is a way.

Write down the advice of him who loves you, though you like it not at present.  

You need to come before you go.

You 're a big lad for your mam!!!

You can lead a horse to water but you can not make him drink. 

NOTE: Dorothy Parker punquoted this proverb changing it in " You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think".

 
  FLEMISH PROVERBS

What a man says drunk he has thought sober.  

 
 

GERMAN PROVERBS

Charity sees the need not the cause.

 

 
 

GREEK PROVERBS

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

 

 
 

HUNGARIAN PROVERBS

  The believer is happy; the doubter is wise. 

 

 
 

IRISH PROVERBS

You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book.

 
 

ITALIAN PROVERBS

Also see latin

After the game, the king and pawn go into the same box.

Bed is the poor man's opera.

If the secret sorrows of everyone could be read on their forehead, how many who now cause envy would suddenly become the  objects of pity.

A calamity that affects everyone is only half a calamity. 

 
  LATIN PROVERBS

carpe diem (enjoy, enjoy) seize the day. Enjoy today because there may be no tomorrow. You can't go back in time and re-live the past for all is gone and ubi sunt. You can't either know what the future holds for everything passes away. So we have to seize the day, to carpe diem.

verbum sap un mot suffit au sage

 

 
 

JAPANESE PROVERBS

Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.

One kind word can warm three winter months.  

 
 

JEWISH PROVERBS

A man is not old until his regrets take the place of dreams. -Yiddish proverb

If you have only two alternatives, then choose the third.

To a worm in horseradish, the whole world is horseradish. -Yiddish proverb

If you want your dreams to come true, don't sleep.

Plutôt que de chercher des réponses aux questions que tu te poses, demandes-toi plutôt pourquoi tu te les poses.

 

 
  SCOTTISH PROVERBS

A child may have too much of his mother's blessing.

A dry lent, a fertile year.
 
A penny saved is a penny gained.
 
A thistle is a fat salad for an ass's mouth.
 
Better keep the devil at the door than turn him out of the house.
 
Bring a cow into the hall and she'll run the byre.
 
Cutting out well is better than sewing up well.
 
Every fisher loves best the trout that is of his own tickling.
 
He that has one sheep in the flock will like all the rest the better for it.
He that loves law will get his fill of it.

 
 

SPANISH PROVERBS

A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.  

 
 

SWEDISH PROVERBS

Those who wish to sing always find a song. - The Swedish version of "Where there is a will there is a way."

A life without love is like a year without summer.

A wise man has his tongue in his heart.

All beginnings are difficult.

By doing nothing we learn to do ill.

Day gives and night takes.

Don't believe the tears of the ocean, for its eyes are always full of water.

God gives every bird his worm, but he does not throw it into the nest.

Luck never gives; it only lends.  

Love often creeps where it should not grow.

Love has made heroes of many and fools of many more.

Mistakes of others make no laws.

No thief steals love, but love often makes thieves.

One gains wisdom through suffering.

The afternoon knows what the morning never dreamed.

 
 

TURKISH PROVERBS

Man is harder than iron, stronger than stone and more fragile than a rose.  

 
 

WELSH PROVERBS

He that would be a leader must be a bridge.

The older the man, the weaker his mind.

One time a man, two times a child.

I was wise once, when I was born I cried.

A boy is easier cheated than an old lady.

Milk for a child, meat for a man, beer for the old.

 
  ZEN PROVERBS

He who seeds a thought, harvests a destiny.

If you understand, things are just as they are... If you don't understand, things are just as they are.

Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind.

Better to see the face than to hear the name.

Better to sit all night than to go to bed with a dragon.

Better to struggle with a sick jackass than carry the wood by yourself.

Chop wood, carry water.

From the withered tree, a flower blooms

Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong.

Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.

The infinite is in the finite of every instant.

To set up what you like against what you dislike, this is the disease of the mind.

 
     
     

 

   
 

  

 

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