Last modified on 12 May 2014, at 08:53

Arabic proverbs

Proverbs from all Arabic speaking parts of the world.

SourcedEdit

  • حبل الكذب قصير
    • Translation: The rope of lying is short.
    • English equivalent: A lie has short legs.
    • Katibah, Habib Ibrahim (1940). The new spirit in Arab lands. Published privately by the author. p. 121. 
  • الباب اللي يجي منه ريح، سدُهُ واستريح.
    • Translation: The door that the wind comes from, close it and relax.
  • كل ساقط له لاقط
    • Translation: Every faller has a catcher.
    • حسن, دين، محمد علي (2011). الامثال الشعبية. دار المحجة البيضاء للطباعة والنشر والتوزيع،. 
  • لا يفل الحديد إلا الحديد
    • Translation: Only iron strikes iron.
    • English equivalent: Fight fire with fire.
    • Meaning: "The best way to deal with an opponent is to fight back with similar weapons or tactics."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • al-Kitäb. 1946. 
  • الوقت كالسيف إن لم تقطعه قطعك
    • Translation: Time is like a sword; if you dont cut it it'll cut you.
    • Closest English equivalent: Time and tide wait for no man.
    • Manṣūr, ʻAbd al-Fattāḥ (1987). Mudhakkirāt kāìn maḥmūm. 

Bedouin ProverbsEdit

  • الطول طول نخله والعقل عقل صخله*
    • Translation: [He has] The length of a palm tree but the brain of a goat.
    • فوزية, دريع، (2008). الرجل الحيوان. منشورات الجمل،. 
  • اترك اللي مايفيدك ياخذ منك ولايزيدك
    • Leave what you dont benefit from; it takes from you but doesnt give you.
  • إذا غاب القط العب يافار
    • When the cat is absent then play 'O mouse.
  • أصابع يدك مهي سوى
    • Your fingers arent of an equal length.
  • العين ماتعلى على الحاجب
    • The eye doesnt go higher than the brow.
  • اللي في البير ايطلعه المغرف
    • Whats in the well the bucket gets out.
  • اللي في الجدر يطلعه الملاس
    • What's in the pot the spoon gets out.
  • اللي في بطنه ريح مايستريح
    • He with gas in his belly never rests.
  • اللي في قلبه الصلاه ماتفوته
    • He with prayer in his heart never misses it [The prayer].
  • إلى كثروا الرعيان ضاعت الغنم
    • If the herders are a lot the sheep will get lost.
    • English equivalent: Too many cooks spoiled the broth.
  • الدبس مايلطا الا بشارب لاحسه
    • The honey only sticks to the mostache of the one who licked it.
  • الرجال مخابر ماهي بمناظر
    • Manhood is by knowledge, not by looks.
  • اللي يده بالنار موب مثل اللي يده في الماي
    • He who's hand in fire isnt like him who's hand is in water.
  • النار ماتحرق الا رجل واطيها
    • Fire only burns he who approaches it.
  • علمناهم الطراره سبقونا على البيبان
    • We taught them how to beg and they raced us to the doors.
  • أم لقمان تعرف لغة عيالها
    • The mother of Luqman knows the language of her sons.
  • ثوبه زري يرطخ وماعنده قدر يطبخ
    • His clothes are glittery and shiny but he doesn't have a pot to cook in.
  • جَود لي وأقطع لك
    • Hold it for me and i'll cut for you.
  • جيتك عون وصرت علي فرعون
    • I came to you with help and you became a Pharaoh on me.
  • رَخ ايدك تلقى الناس عبيدك
    • Loose your hand and you'll find people your slaves
  • كلٍ ايقّرب الضو صوب قرصه
    • Everybody's gathering the coals around his own bread
  • لاصرت أمير وأنا امير من بيسوق الحمير
    • If you become a prince and i become a prince then who rides the donkeys?
    • English equivalent: You a lady and I a lady, who will put the sow out?
  • وش على السما من نبح الكلاب
    • Why should the heavens care about the barking of dogs?
    • English equivalent: The dogs bark but the caravan passes on.
  • ربعـٍ تعاونوا ما ذلوا و لا جاهم المطر ما ابتلوا
    • Friends who take care of each other never get scared, and when rain pours they're never wet.
  • قرصـه في نـاره و عيـنـه في جـاره
    • His bread is on his fire and his eyes are on his neighbour.
  • لا تقول بـُر ليـن توكيــه
    • Translation: Dont say its wheat untill you harvest it
    • English equivalent: Sell not the bear's skin before you have caught him.
    • Meaning: "Do not plan too far ahead and do not be too optimistic. One cannot be sure of the success of a job until it is completed. Unforeseen unfavourable developments can never be excluded."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "X". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 217. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.