Last modified on 25 July 2014, at 11:38

Swedish proverbs

"Comes time comes council." Falu red houses are a common sight Sweden.
"Don't complain about lack of wind – learn to sail." The picture depicts Swedish midsummer.

Proverbs from Swedish-speaking parts of the world.

А - В - D - Е - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - R - S - T- U- V - Å - Ä - Ö


AEdit

  • Alla goda ting är tre.
    • Translation: All good things are three.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 368
  • Alla känner apan, men apan känner ingen.
    • Translation: Everyone knows the monkey, but the monkey knows no one.
    • Meaning: Those that stick out are often both well-known and avoided.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 310
  • Alla sätt är bra utom de dåliga.
    • Translation: All ways (of accomplishing something) are good except the bad ones.
    • Note: Originally "all ways are good except the boring ones" from Voltaire.
    • It is better to make well than to do well says the English proverb. "For if absurdity be the subject of laughter, doubt you not but great boldness is seldom without some absurdity."
    • Bacon, Francis (1625). Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall. 
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 162
  • Alla vägar bär till Rom.
    • Translation: All roads lead to Rome.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 284
  • Alla är vi barn i början.
    • Translation: We all start out as children.
    • Meaning: Mistakes should be expected of beginners.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 364
  • Alla vill vara herrar, men ingen vill bära säcken
    • Translation: Everyone wants to be lord, but no one wants to carry the bag.
    • English equivalent: There are too many chiefs and not enough indians.
    • Source: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "1263". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 991. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 
  • Allt är inte guld som glimmar.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Not everything that glimmers is gold.
    • Meaning: "An attractive appearance may be deceptive. It may cover or hide a much less favourable content."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "19". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 125. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 164
  • Anfall är bästa försvar.
    • Translation: Attack is the best defence.
    • English equivalent: The best defence is a good offense.
    • Meaning: "You are more likely to win if you take the initiative and make an attack rather than preparing to defend yourself."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 30 June 2013. 
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 18
  • Arga katter får rivet skinn.
    • Translation: Angry cats get scratched skin.
    • English equivalent: Quarrelsome dogs come limping home.
    • "People who are disrespectful and demeaning of ethers always end up getting into trouble and hurting themselves. "
    • Clifford Sawhney (1 January 2003). Book of Common and Uncommon Proverbs. Pustak Mahal. p. 131. ISBN 978-81-223-0854-9. 
    • Source: Börjesson (2008), p. 34
  • Att skiljas är att dö en smula.
    • Translation: To separate is to die a little.
    • Note: Originally a French proverb: Partir c'est mourir un peu..
    • Source: Hellquist (1986), p. 175
  • Att försvara ett fel är att fela igen.
    • Translation: To defend a wrong, is to wrong do anew.
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 41
  • Att våga är att tappa fotfästet en stund, att inte våga är att förlora sig själv.
    • Translation: To dare is to lose your foothold for a moment, to not dare is to lose yourself.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 179
  • Av barn, fyllon och dårar får man höra sanningen.
    • Translation: From children, drunkards and madmen you get to hear the truth.
    • English equivalent: Children, fools and drunken men tell the truth.
    • Meaning: "Children and fools have no inhibition, and alcohol consumed removes the inhibition against telling the truth that occasionally one would like to keep secret."
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 179
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "51". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 272. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Av skadan blir man vis.
    • Translation: Injury makes you wise.
    • Meaning: You learn from your mistakes.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 156
  • Avundsjukan vilar aldrig.
    • Translation: Envy never rests.
    • English equivalent: Envy takes no holiday.
    • Source: Hellquist (1986), p. 106

BEdit

  • Barn gör som du gör, inte som du säger.
    • Translation: Children do as you do, not as you say.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 47
  • Behandla andra som du själv vill bli behandlad.
    • Translation: Treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.
    • English equivalent: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    • Note: Based on the Bible (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31). "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets" in the King James version; "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." in the New International Version.
    • Meaning: "In planning something concerning others one should consider how one would like to receive the same treatment from others. (The special conditions of the other person, differing from those of one's own, might be a further consideration.)"
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "57". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 295. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 141
  • Blod är tjockare än vatten.
    • Translation: Blood is thicker than water.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 298
  • Blott Sverige svenska krusbär har.
    • Translation: Only Sweden has Swedish gooseberries.
    • Note: Originally from Carl Jonas Love Almqvist.
    • Meaning: Sweden is a unique country.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 189
  • Borsta framför din egen dörr först.
  • Borta bra men hemma bäst.
    • Translation: Away is good but home is best.
    • English equivalents: "There is no place like home" and "east or west, home is best".
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 91
  • Bra karl reder sig själv.
    • Translation: A good man manages on his own.
    • English equivalent: Every bird must hatch its own eggs.
    • Meaning: Avoid being dependent on others.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 47
  • Bränt barn skyr elden.
    • Translation: Burnt child shuns fire.
    • Note: Sometimes jokingly put as "bränt barn luktar illa" ("burnt child smells bad").
    • English equivalent: Once bitten, twice shy.
    • Meaning: "Somebody who has had an unpleasant experience thereafter shrinks from the cause of that experience."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 30 July 2013. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 351
  • Bättre brödlös än rådlös.
    • Translation: Better breadless than "councel-less".
    • English equivalent: Better short of pence than short of sense.
    • Source: Topelius Bokförlag (1974), p. 15
  • Bättre dåligt minne än dåliga minnen.
    • Translation: Poor memory is better than bad memories.
    • Meaning: Don't dwell on past mistakes and bad experiences.
    • Source: Holm (1975), p. 54
  • Bättre ett ärligt nej än ett falskt ja.
    • Translation: Rather an honest 'no' than an insincere 'yes'.
    • Meaning: Telling a bitter truth is usually better than lying.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 361
  • Bättre förekomma än förekommas.
    • Translation: Better to forestall than to get forestalled.
    • "Better be courted and jilted
      Than never be courted at all."
    • Thomas Campbell, The Jilted Nymph. (1859)
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 173
  • Bättre en fågel i handen än tio i skogen.
    • Translation: Better one bird in the hand than ten in the bush.
    • Meaning: Value the things you already have more than the things you might never get.
    • English equivalent: Better is one bird in the hand than two in the bush.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1981), p. 138
  • Bättre ensam än i dåligt sällskap.
    • Translation: Better alone than in bad company.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 29
  • Bättre fly än illa fäkta.
    • Translation: Better to flee than to fence poorly.
    • English equivalent: He who fights and runs away may live to fight another day.
    • Meaning: "It is wiser to withdraw from a situation that you cannot win than to go on fighting and lose – by a strategic retreat you can return to the battle or argument with renewed energy at a later date."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1968), p. 34
  • Bättre sent än aldrig.
    • Translation: Delayed is preferable to never.
    • English equivalent: Better late than never.
    • Meaning: "It is better that somebody arrives or something happens later than expected or desired, than not at all."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 30 June 2013. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 363
  • Bättre stämma i bäcken än i ån.
    • Translation: Better to dam the brook than the creek.
    • Meaning: Be proactive about preventing bad things from happening; defects are best taken care of at an early stage.
    • Other meaning: Take care of your worries now, or they will become greater in the future.
    • English equivalent: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    • English equivalent: Time and tide waits for none.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 361
  • Bättre tiga än illa tala.
    • Translation: Better to keep quiet than to speak badly (of someone).
    • English equivalent: Man more often repents what he did say than he did not.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 57
  • Bättre älskat och förlorat än att aldrig ha älskat.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
    • Note: Originally(?) from the poem In Memoriam A.H.H by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
    • "It is better to have experienced the joy of love, even if it ends in sorrow, than never to have had that experience."
    • Source: Lind (2004), p. 25
  • Bäst att smida medan järnet är varmt.
    • Translation: Strike while the iron is hot.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 48
  • Bäst bli klok av annans skada.
    • Translation: Best to learn from other people's injury.
    • English equivalent: Wise men learn by other men men's harms, fools by their own.
    • Source: Åström (1997), p. 194

DEdit

  • Delad glädje är dubbel glädje (och delad sorg är halv sorg).
    • Translation: Shared joy is twice the joy (and shared grief is half the grief).
    • English equivalent: Joy shared, joy doubled: sorrow shared, sorrow halved.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 251
  • Den dagen, den sorgen.
    • Translation: That day, that sorrow.
    • Meaning: Focus on problems only when you face them.
    • English equivalent: Cross your bridges when you reach them.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 27d
  • Den drucknes tal är den nyktres tankar.
    • Translation: The drunken man's words is the sober man's thoughts.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 136
  • Den enes död, den andres bröd.
    • Translation: The death of one, the bread of the other.
    • Closest English equivalent: It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good.
    • Meaning: "There is usually somebody who benefits from an unfavorable set of circumstances."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 28
  • Den som alltid vet bäst lär sig aldrig något.
    • Translation: He who always knows best never learns.
    • Source: Brombergs Bokförlag (2004), p. 16
  • Den som gapar efter mycket, mister ofta hela stycket.
    • Translation: He who bids for much, often loses all.
    • English equivalent: Grasp all, lose all.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1981), p. 66
  • Den som ger sig in i leken, får leken tåla.
    • Translation: He who enters the game must endure it.
    • English equivalent: He that would have eggs must endure the cackling of hens.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 255
  • Den som gräver en grop åt andra faller ofta själv däri. (Often shortened to "den som gräver en grop åt andra...")
    • Translation: He who digs a pit for others, often falls into it himself.
    • Note: From the Bible, the book of Proverbs 26:27, Ecclesiastes 10:8 and Psalms 7:16.
    • Meaning: Attempts to hurt other people often backfire on the perpetrator.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 36
  • Den som lever får se.
    • Translation: He who lives shall see.
    • English equivalent: Only time will tell.
    • Meaning: Not everything can be known in advance.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 38
  • Den som sover syndar icke.
    • Translation: He who sleeps does not sin.
    • English equivalent: Critcism is something you can avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 298
  • Den som tiger han samtycker.
    • He who stays quiet consents.
    • "Those who do not reply to a request or accusation, or who raise no objection to something said or done, are assumed to have acquiesced."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 244. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 9
  • Den som viskar han ljuger.
    • Translation: He who whispers lies.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 60
  • Den som väntar på något gott, väntar aldrig för länge.
    • Translation: He who waits for something good never waits too long.
    • Meaning: Something good is worth waiting for.
    • Notes: Sometimes jokingly changed into "den som väntar på något gott, väntar alltid för länge" ("he who waits for something good, always waits too long") or "den som väntar på något gott, blir aldrig tjock" ("he who waits for something good, never gets fat").
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 384
  • Den spik som sticker ut blir slagen.
    • Translation: The nail that sticks out gets struck.
    • Meaning: Those who stick out will often be treated poorly.
    • Source: Kriss (2008)
  • Den som är fri från synd skall kasta första stenen.
    • Translation and English equivalent; Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.
    • Note: From the Bible, John 8:7.
    • Meaning: "Only those who are truly virtuous have the right to criticize or condemn others; used to imply that nobody has this right."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Martling (2001), p. 85
  • Det angår också dig när det brinner i grannens vägg.
    • Translation: It concerns you too when your neighbor's wall is on fire.
    • Note: Originally a Latin proverb: "nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet."
    • Meaning: The misfortune of others can have a negative effect on you.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 142
  • Det blir aldrig som man tänkt sig.
    • Translation: Things never turn out the way you imagined.
    • Source: Blomberg (1995), p. 15
  • Det blir som det blir.
    • Translation: It will be like it will be.
    • "Let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances."
    • Tzu, Sun (̃¨ 400 B.C). "VI. Weak Points and Strong". The Art of War. 
    • Source: Bremberg (1992), p. 42
  • Det dunkelt sagda är det dunkelt tänkta.
    • Translation: What is unclearly said is unclearly thought.
    • Note: This is from Esaias Tegnér's poem Epilog at "Magisterpromotionen i Lund 1820."
    • "Before Haig nobody had thought of saying 'at this juncture of maturization' to mean 'now.' He told the American people that terrorism could be fought with 'meaningful sanctionary teeth' and that intermediate nuclear missiles were 'at the vortex of cruciality.'"
    • Zinsser, William On Writing Well (1976)
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 43
  • Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder.
  • Det gäller att smida medan järnet är varmt.
    • Translation: You should forge while the iron is hot.
    • Source: Hellquist (1986), p. 111
  • Det kommer inga stekta sparvar flygande i din mun.
    • Translation: No fried sparrows will fly into your mouth.
    • Meaning: One cannot (or should not) expect to benefit without making some effort.
    • English equivalent: Birds fly not into our mouth ready roasted.
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay (1997, p. 455)
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 578
  • Det man inte har i huvudet får man ha i benen.
    • Translation: What one's head lacks one has to have in one's legs.

̆** English equivalentː A forgetful head makes a weary pair of heels.

    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 289
  • Det man inte vet mår man inte dåligt av.
    • Translation: What you do not know does not hurt you.
    • Source: Åström (1997), p. 192
  • Det man förlorar på gungorna tar man igen på karusellen.
    • Translation: What you lose at the swings you take back at the merry-go-round.
    • English equivalent: What you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts.
    • Meaning: "Gains and losses tend to balance one another overall."
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 550
  • Det ska böjas i tid det som krokigt ska bli.
    • Translation: It is to be bent in time, that which bent shall be.
    • English equivalent: Soon crooks the tree that good gambrel would be.
    • Meaning: Young people are the easiest to influence.
    • Source: Åström (1997), p. 100
  • Det som börjar med en knappnål slutar oftast med en silverskål
    • Translation: What starts with a needle usually ends with a silver bowl.
    • English equivalent: He that steals an egg will steal an ox.
    • Meaning: Crimes tend to escalate.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 4
  • Det som inte dödar, härdar.
    • Translation: What doesn't kill, hardens.
    • English equivalent: That which does not kill you, makes you stronger. -- Nietzsche.
    • Source: Tapper (2011), p. 516
  • Det som göms i snö kommer fram vid tö.
    • Translation: What is hidden in snow is revealed at thaw.
    • Meaning: Things lied about or concealed are often eventually revealed.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 320
  • Det vattnet du hämtar ur bäcken lär dig känna källan.
    • Translation: The water you collect from the stream teaches you about its source.
    • Note: Originally a Japanese proverb.
    • Meaning: If you spend time around something, you will learn about it.
    • Source: Åström (1997), p. 185
  • Det viktigaste är inte att vinna, utan att kämpa väl.
    • Translation: The most important thing is not to win, but to fight well.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 198
  • Det är aldrig för sent.
    • Translation: It is never too late.
    • Source: Forsberg (1972)
  • Det är inte ens fel när två träter.
    • Translation: It is not one person's fault if two people quarrel.
    • English equivalent: It takes two to make a quarrel.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 367
  • Det är lätt att skära breda remsor av andras läder.
    • Translation: It is easy to cut broad strips off other people's leather.
    • English equivalent: Men cut large thongs of other men's leather.
    • Meaning: "This Proverb is not only levelled at a Cutter to a Shoemaker, who does not contrive and cut out his Mafter’s Leather to the beft Advantage; but it aims at all thofe Perfons, who, niggardly to an Excefs of their own, would Fain gain the Character of Generous or Charitable at other People’s Expences, and fo are very liberal of other People's Pockets to fave their own, either in Donations of Amity or Aims."
    • Source for meaning: Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [1]
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 702
  • Det är lätt att vara efterklok.
    • Translation: It is easy to be prudent in hindsight.
    • English equivalent: It's easy to be wise after the event.
    • Meaning: "With hindsight it is easy to see what went wrong or what should have been done, but this is of no practical purpose."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent:Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Lövgren (2007), p. 144
  • Det är mänskligt att fela men gudomligt att förlåta.
    • Translation and English equivalent: To err is human; to forgive, divine.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 173
  • Det är saligare att giva än att taga.
    • Note: From the Bible, Acts 20:35.
    • Translation: It is more blissful to give than to receive.
    • Meaning: "The act of giving is more worthy, noble and spiritually satisfying than the act of receiving,"
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 294
  • Det är skönare lyss till den sträng som brast än att aldrig spänna en båge.
    • Translation: It is fairer to listen to the string that broke than to never strain a bow.
    • Note: Originally from Verner von Heidenstam.
    • Meaning: It is better to fail than to never have tried.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 152
  • Det är som mörkast innan gryningen.
    • Translation: It is darkest before dawn.
    • English equivalent: It's always darkest before the dawn.
    • "The analogy generally holds good, that the darkest moment is just before the dawning light."
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 195. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 98
  • Det är tanken som räknas.
    • Translation: It's the thought that counts.
    • Note: Often said about (unwanted) gifts.
    • Meaning: Good intentions make up for a bad outcome.
    • Source: Hanson (2011)
  • Dra inte alla över en kam.
    • Translation: Do not pull everyone over with a comb.
    • Note: The word "kam" was previously used to describe the motion made with a scythe. To "pull everyone over with a comb" refers to a stroke across wheat with the scythe, meaning that everything along the path gets cut.
    • Meaning: Do not stereotype.
    • Source: Topelius Bokförlag (1974), p. 63
  • Dra sitt strå till stacken
    • Translation: Carry one's straw to the hill.
    • Note: In reference to anthills.
    • Meaning: To do one's share of a work at hand (usually for a good cause).
    • English equivalent: We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 90
  • Droppen kan urholka stenen.
    • Translation: The dripple kan hollow the stone.
    • English equivalent: Constant dropping wears the stone.
    • "A drop hollows out the stone by falling not twice, but many times; so too is a person made wise by reading not two, but many books."
    • (Giordano Bruno, Il Candelaio)
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 590
  • Där vinet går in går vettet ut.
    • Translation: Where wine enters sense leaves.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 287

EEdit

  • Efter regn kommer solsken.
    • Translation: After rain comes sunshine.
    • Meaning: Hard times seldom last forever.
    • English equivalent: It's a long lane that has no turning.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 281
  • Efteråt är intet råd.
    • Translation: Afterwards is no advice.
    • English equivalent: Advice comes too late when a thing is done.
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 62
  • Egen härd är guld värd.
    • Translation: Own hearth is gold worth.
    • English equivalent: There is no place like home.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 140
  • Eget beröm luktar illa.
    • Translation: Self-praise stinks.
    • English equivalent: Don't blow your own horn.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 67
  • En dålig hantverkare skyller på sina verktyg.
    • Translation: A poor craftsman blames his tools.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 173
  • En gnutta osaklighet sparar tonvis med förklaringar.
    • Translation: An ounce of lying saves tons of explanations.
    • Source: Hökby & Åberg (1990), p. 96
  • En kedja är inte starkare än dess svagaste länk.
    • Translation: A chain is no stronger than its weakest link.
    • English equivalent: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
    • Meaning: "A weak part or member will affect the success or effectiveness of the whole."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 31 July 2013. 
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 597
  • En knuten näve kan varken ge eller ta.
    • Translation: A clenched fist can neither give nor take.
    • English equivalent: Better bow than break.
    • Meaning: "It is better to make some confession, or pay a little deference to others, our neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and especially our superiors, rather than lose our credit or break friendship."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 46. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1992), p. 32
  • En plats för var sak och var sak på sin plats.
    • Translation: A place for each thing and each thing in its place
    • Source: Rydberg (1957), p. 77
  • En gång är ingen gång.
    • Translation: One time is no time.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 367
  • En gång, ingen gång -- två gånger, en vana.
    • Translation: One time, no time -- two times, a habit.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 41
  • En olycka kommer sällan ensam.
    • Translation: An accident rarely comes alone.
    • English equivalent: Misery loves company.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 246
  • En svala gör ingen sommar.
    • Translation: One swallow does not make a summer.
    • Note: The earliest known source for this proverb is the Nicomachean Ethics written by Aristotle.
    • Meaning: "Do not feel sure or rejoice noticing a favourable sign. The appearance of a single sign of a favourable event is not yet a definite indication of its coming. It may be an unrelated, sporadic appearance."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 49. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Meaning: "All the falſe as well as fooliſh Concluſions, Afrom a particular to an univerſal Truth, fall under the Cenſure of this Proverb. It teaches, that as he that gueſies at the Courſe of the Year by the Flight of one ſingle Bird, is very liable to be miſtaken in his Conjeéture; ſo alſo a Man cannot be denominated Rich from one ſingle Piece of Money in his Pocket, nor accounted univerſally good from the Practice of one ſingle Virtue, nor temperate: becauſe he is flout, nor liberal becauſe he is exactly juſt: that one Day cannot render a Man completely happy in point of Time, nor one Action confummate his Glory in Point of Valour. In ſhort, the Moral of it is, That the right way of Judging of Things, beyond Impoſition and Fallacy, is not from Particulars, but Univerſals."
    • Source for meaning: Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [2]
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 328
  • En vandring på tusen mil börjar alltid med ett steg.
    • Translation: A journey of a thousand miles always begins with a single step.
    • Note: Originally from Laozi.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 165
  • Ensam är stark.
    • Translation: Alone is strong.
    • Meaning: You can accomplish a lot on your own.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 41
  • Envar är sin egen lyckas smed.
    • Translation: Each person is the forger of his own happiness.
    • English equivalent: Every man is the smith of his own fortune.
    • Meaning: In shaping one's own fortune one should not rely on the help of others, as they are also concerned mainly about their own matters.
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay (1997, p. 388)
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 243
  • Ett gott skratt förlänger livet.
    • Translation: A hearty laugh lengthens your life.
    • Source: Furuland & Furuland (1983), p. 81
  • Ett mjukt svar stillar vreden.
    • Translation: A soft answer calms the wrath.
    • Note: From the Bible, book of Proverbs 15:1.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 27
  • Ett rent samvete är bästa huvudkudden.
    • Translation: A clean conscience is the best pillow.
    • English equivalent: A good conscience is a soft pillow; A safe conscience makes a sound sleep.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 62

FEdit

  • Finns det hjärterum, finns det stjärterum.
    • Translation: If there is room in the heart, there is room for the behind.
    • Meaning: Said when an effort is made to accommodate guests.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 132
  • Friskt vågat, hälften vunnet.
    • Translation: Well dared, half won.
    • Note: From Horace: Well begun half won.
    • English equivalent: Faith is half the battle.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 364
  • För lata svin är marken alltid frusen.
    • Translation: To lazy pigs the ground is always frozen.
    • English equivalent: Idle people have the least leisure.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 147
  • Förbjuden frukt smakar alltid bäst.
    • Translation: Forbidden fruit always tastes the best.
    • English equivalent: Forbidden fruit is sweet.
    • Meaning: "Things that you must not have or do are always the most desirable."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 147
  • Förbjuden väg är ofta hårt sliten.
    • Translation: Forbidden road is often heavily worn.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 375
  • Först till kvarn får först mala.
    • Translation: First to the mill will first grind.
    • English equivalent: First come, first served.
    • Meaning: "Those who arrive or apply earliest are most likely to get what they want from a limited supply of things, such as tickets, discounted goods or refreshments."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 48

GEdit

  • Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig.
    • Translation: Old love never rusts.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 76
  • Gammal är äldst.
    • Translation: Old is oldest.
    • Meaning: (Jokingly) said to imply that the older generation is superior, e.g. when an older person beats a younger one at something.
    • <english equivalent: The older the fiddle the sweeter the tune.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 264
  • Ge dig inte på berg när det finns småsten.
    • Translation: Don’t set about mountains when there are pebbles.
    • Source: Asplund (2011)
  • Genom sig själv känner man andra.
    • Translation: Through yourself you know others.
    • Meaning: You presume others are like yourself, including when it comes to bad characteristics.
    • English equivalent: A thief thinks everyone around him is a thief.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 65
  • Genvägar är ofta senvägar.
    • Translation: Shortcuts are often ’longcuts’.
    • Meaning: What you think will be a shortcut often isn't, since you might get lost. Also used metaphorically.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 374
  • Gräset är alltid grönare på andra sidan (staketet).
    • Translation: The grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence).
    • English equivalent: The grass is always greener on the far side of the hill.
    • Note: Mostly used sarcastically. When you go over the fence, you will see the grass is greener from where you came from.
    • Meaning: "A different place, situation, job, or lifestyle always seems more attractive or appealing than your own."
    • Sourc for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Åström (1997), p. 104
  • Gräv där du står.
    • Translation: Dig where you stand.
    • English equivalent: Bloom where you are planted.
    • Meaning: It is often best to build up upon the prowess and expertise you already have.
    • Source: Lindqvist (1978)
  • Guld blindar många, kärleken blindar alla.
    • Translation: Gold blinds many, love blinds all.
    • Source: Brombergs Bokförlag (2004), p. 81
  • Gå inte över ån efter vatten.
    • Translation: Do not cross the brook for water.
    • Meaning: Do not do things in a needlessly laborious or complicated way.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 152
  • Gör inte en höna av en fjäder.
    • Translation: Do not make a hen out of a feather.
    • English equivalent: Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.
    • Meaning: Do not blow things out of proportion.
    • Source: Åberg (2004), p. 154
  • Gör om, gör rätt.
    • Translation: Redo, do right.
    • English equivalent: He that stumbles and falls not mends his pace.
    • Meaning: "If you possess the ability to learn from your mistakes, then failure is literally impossible, because each rejection brings you closer to perfection."
    • Source for meaning: Strauss, Neil (2007). Rules of the Game. Canongate Books. ISBN 978-1-84767-355-8. 
    • Source: Henrik Fexeus (24 October 2012). Bli kreativ. Bokförlaget Forum. p. 8. ISBN 978-91-37-13974-6. 

HEdit

  • Har man sagt A får man säga B.
    • Translation: If you say 'A' you have to say 'B'.
    • English equivalent: Who says "A" must say "B".
    • Note: Usually said to a person who has hinted at something but refuses to elaborate.
    • Meaning: "If you say or do one thing, you must be prepared to do or say what logically follows."
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 521
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
  • Har man tagit fan i båten får man ro honom i land.
    • Translation: If you have brought the devil aboard, you have to row him ashore.
    • Meaning: You must finish what you start.
    • English equivalent: It is better never to begin than never to make an end.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 102
  • Hastig rikedom gör mannen misstänkt.
    • Translation: Quick wealth makes the man suspicious.
    • English equivalent: No one gets rich quickly if he is honest.
    • Source: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "1208". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 963. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 
  • Hellre en fågel i handen än tio i skogen.
    • Translation: Rather one bird in the hand, than ten in the woods.
    • English equivalent: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
    • Meaning: "Something you have for certain now is of more value than something better you may get, especially if you risk losing what you have in order to get it."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 29 July 2013. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 50
  • Hellre fria en skyldig än fälla en oskyldig.
    • Translation: It is better to free someone guilty than to convict someone innocent.
    • Note: Originally from Voltaire.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 360
  • Hoppet är det sista som lämnar människan.
    • Translation: Hope is the last thing to leave a human being.
    • Source: Liljeholm (1981), p. 102
  • Hungern är bästa kryddan.
    • Translation: Hunger is the best flavouring.
    • Note: From the Greece philosopher Socrates.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 133
  • Hur man än vänder sig har man ändan bak.
    • Translation: Whichever way you turn you have your end in the back.
    • Meaning: Used to express frustration things seems to go wrong no matter what you do.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 299
  • Hut går hem.
    • Translation: Hoots goes home.
    • Meaning: If you treat others in a bad way, you are likely to be treated in a bad way yourself.
    • Source: Silva (2008)
  • Huvudkudden är bästa rådgivaren.
    • Translation: The pillow is the best adviser.
    • English equivalent: Take counsel of one's pillow.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 205
  • Hälsan tiger still.
    • Translation: Health is quietly keeping silent [sic!].
    • Note: From the Odal farmer written by Erik Gustaf Geijer.
    • Meaning: Those who are healthy do not appreciate it.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 74
  • Hämnden är ljuv.
    • Translation: Revenge is sweet.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 257
  • Högmod går före fall.
    • Translation: Pride goes before fall.
    • Note: From the Book of Proverbs 18:12.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 24

IEdit

  • I de blindas rike är den enögde kung.
  • I de lugnaste vattnen går de fulaste fiskarna.
    • Translation: In the calmest waters swim the ugliest fish.
    • Note: 'Ugly fish' is a Swedish idiom for a suspicious or dishonest person, possibly with criminal tendencies.
    • English equivalent: An honest look covereth many faults.
    • Meaning: "An innocent demeanor may hide much guilt."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 75
  • I krig och kärlek är allt tillåtet.
  • I mörker är alla katter grå.
    • Translation: In darkness all cats are gray.
    • Meaning: In the dark we don't see colors.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 319
  • I nöden prövas vännen.
    • Translation: Hardship puts the friend to the test.
    • Meaning: In times of need you will find out who your real friends are.
    • English equivalent: A friend in need is a friend indeed.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 156
  • I vinet kommer sanningen fram.
    • Translation: The truth comes forward in wine.
    • English equivalent: In wine there is truth.
    • Meaning: Alcohol consumed removes the inhibition against telling the truth that occasionally one would like to keep secret.
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, (1997) p. 272
  • I öknen är sanden billig.
    • Translation: In the desert sand is cheap.
    • Meaning: Supply and demand rules.
    • English equivalent: Beggars can't be choosers.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 704
  • Ibland kan man inte se skogen på grund av alla träd.
    • Translation: Sometimes you can't see the forest for all the trees.
    • English equivalent: Missing the forest because of the trees. (idiom)
    • Meaning: Focusing too much on the details can make you miss the big picture.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 70
  • Idel solsken gör öken.
    • Translation: Constant sunshine makes a desert.
    • Meaning: You can have too much of something good.
    • English equivalent: Too much of one thing, good for nothing
    • Source: Lind (2004), p. 51
  • Inga nyheter är goda nyheter.
    • Translation: No news is good news.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 93
  • Inga träd växer till himmelen.
    • Translation: No trees grow to the sky.
    • English equivalent: All that is fair must fade.
    • "Nothing lasts forever."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 21 September 2013. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 93
  • Ingen rök utan eld.
    • Translation: No smoke without fire..
    • English equivalent: Every why has its wherefore.
    • "The more of the context of a problem that a scientist can comprehend, the greater are his chances of finding a truly adequate solution."
    • Russell L. Ackoff, The development of operations research as a science (1956)
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 166
  • Ingen är oumbärlig.
    • Translation: No one is indispensable.
    • Source: Nyberg, Berndt (1965). Skäl för kaniner (Norstedt ed.). p. 26. 
  • Ingen är profet i sitt eget land/i sin egen hemstad.
    • Translation: No one is a prophet in one's own homeland/home city.
    • Note: From the Bible, Luke 4:24 and Matthew 13:57.
    • English equivalent: A prophet is not honoured in his own country.
    • Meaning: An outstanding person is often less respected at home than elsewhere. This may be due to personal reasons unrelated to his achievments, or the result of being in an indifferent/ignorant/hostile community.
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay (1997), p. 327
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 275
  • Ingenting är nytt under solen.
    • Translation: Nothing is new under the sun.
    • Note: From the Bible, Ecclesiastes 1:9.
    • Meaning: Someone has always done the same thing earlier.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 354
  • Inget kalas utan kras.
    • Translation: No party without shattering.
    • Note: Usually said by the host to a guest who has just broken something.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 108
  • Inget ont som inte har något gott med sig.
    • Translation: No bad thing that doesn't bring something good.
    • English equivalent: No cloud without a silver lining.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 123
  • Inget är så bra att det inte kan göras bättre.
    • Translation: Nothing is so good that it can't be made better.
    • Source: James (2008)

JEdit

  • Ju fler kockar desto sämre soppa.
    • Translation: The more chefs, the worse the soup.
    • Note: 'Soppa' (soup) can also mean a mess, and an alternative form is "ju fler kockar desto större soppa" ("the more chefs the more soup (mess)").
    • English equivalent: Too many cooks spoil the broth.
    • Meaning: "You may apply this truth to any province; for instance, the literary profession. If several authors attempt in unison to compose a written treatise upon any subject, there cannot be that natural connection and unity so essential to any production of merit. It will not suit any good taste, will prove unpopular, will lose its designed effect. Thus it is injudicious for many to meddle with any one task, which can be accomplished as well and better by a single individual. Though each may be good in his trade or profession, they are not generally so inclined to agree together, from their different tastes and modes of accomplishment; whence the common saying, 'No enemies so great, as those of the same craft'"
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 173. 
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 73
  • Ju närmare källan, desto klarare vatten.
    • Translation: The closer to the source, the clearer the water.
    • Closest English equivalent: The sweetest flesh is near the bone.
    • Source: Hierta (1865), p. 50
  • Ju senare på kvällen, desto vackrare folk.
    • Translation: The later in the evening, the more beautiful the people.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 349

KEdit

  • Kaka söker maka.
    • Translation: Cookie searches for a wife.
    • Note: In Swedish cookie and wife rhymes, thus indicating that those two are similar.
    • English equivalent: Like will to like.
    • Meaning: "Every man loves well what is like to himself."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent:Folk-Etymology. Ardent Media. 1886. p. 216. 
    • Source: Åberg (2004), p. 155
  • Kasta inte pärlor för svin.
    • Translation: Do not throw pearls before swine.
    • Note: From the Bible, Matthew 7:6.
    • Source: Martling (2001), p. 85
  • Kasta inte ut barnet med badvattnet.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    • Meaning: Do not reject something in its entirety just because parts of it are bad; other parts might be good.
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 25 August 2013. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 178
  • Kasta inte sten i glashus.
    • Translation: Don't throw stones in glasshouses.
    • Meaning: Don't complain about someones else's fault if you also have it.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 29
  • Klaga inte över för lite vind - lär dig segla.
    • Don't complain about lack of wind – learn to sail.
    • "A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."
    • Francis Bacon Essays (1625)
    • "What makes a problem a problem is not that a large amount of search is required for its solution, but that a large amount would be required if a requisite level of intelligence were not applied."
    • Allen Newell and Herbert Simon, (1975) Computer Science as Empirical Inquiry: Symbols and Search. Turing Award Lecture. p. 122
    • Source: Industria. 1970. 
  • Kommer tid kommer råd.
    • Translation: Comes time comes counsel.
    • Source: Stiessel (1983), p. 32
  • Kläderna gör mannen.
  • Kärleken är blind.
    • Translation: Love is blind.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 46
  • Kärt barn har många namn.
    • Translation: A beloved child has many names.
    • Meaning: Someone or something which is popular is often referred to by many different epithets.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 178
  • Köp inte grisen i säcken.
    • Translation: Don't buy the pig in the bag.
    • English equivalent: Let the buyer have a thousand eyes for the seller wants only one.
    • "I formulate my law, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud. Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, e.tc is crap."
    • Theodore Sturgeon Venture (1957)
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 315

LEdit

  • Lagt kort ligger.
    • Translation: Laid card lies.
    • English equivalent: You can't un-ring a bell.
    • Meaning: Said when something cannot be undone or taken back.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 87
  • Lat skräddare tar en lång tråd.
    • Translation: A lazy tailorer uses a long thread.
    • Meaning: Lazy people are wasteful.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 142
  • Lika barn leka bäst.
    • Translation: Alike children play the best.
    • English equivalent: Birds of a feather flock together.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 364
  • Lita inte till en annan, det du själv kan göra.
    • Translation: Don't trust for others, what you can do yourself.
    • English equivalent: For what thou canst do thyself, rely not on another.
    • Latin equivalent: Ne quid expectes amicos, quod tute agere possis.
      • Translation: Expect nothing from friends, do what you can do yourself.
    • Source: Strauss (1994), p. 600
  • Liten tuva stjälper ofta stort lass.
    • Translation: A small tuft often overturns a big load.
    • English equivalent: For want of a nail, the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe, the horse was lost, for want of a horse, the messenger was lost, for want of a messenger, the battle was lost, for want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 132
  • Lyckan kan inte köpas för pengar.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Money cannot buy happiness.
    • Source: Lönnroth (1978), p. 261
  • Lyckan kommer lyckan går.
    • Translation: Happiness comes happiness leaves.
    • English equivalent: The wheel of fortune is forever in motion.
    • Meaning: "People's fortunes are constantly changing – somebody who has good luck one year may have bad luck the next, and vice versa. "
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 295. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 51
  • Lyckan står den djärve bi.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Fortune favours the bold.
    • Meaning: "Those who act boldly or courageously are most likely to succeed."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 240
  • Lägg inte alla ägg i samma korg.
    • Translation: All eggs should not be put in one basket,
    • English equivalent: Don't put all the eggs in the same basket.
    • Meaning: "Spread your risks or investments so that if one enterprise fails you will not lose everything."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 18 August 2013. 
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 181
  • Lägg inte sten på börda.
    • Translation: Don't put stones on a burden.
    • English equivalent: Don't add fuel to the fire.
    • Meaning: One should not make a bad situation even worse by an improper remark.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 149
  • Lärdom är mer värt än guld.
    • Translation: Insight is more valuable than gold.
    • Note: From the Bible, Book of Proverbs 16:16: or from Hávamál.
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 24
  • Lätt fånget, lätt förgånget.
    • Translation: Easily caught, easily lost.
    • English equivalent: Easy come, easy go.
  • * "Unrighteous fortune seldom spares the highest worth; no one with safety can long front so frequent perils. Whom calamity oft passes by she finds at last."
    • Hercules Furens (The Madness of Hercules), l. . ,ines 325-328; (Megara).
    • Source: Ström (1968), p. 5
  • Lättare döljer en vis sin visdom än en dåre sin dårskap.
    • Translation: Easier hides a wise man his wisdom than a fool his madness.
    • Source: Holm (1975), p. 69
  • Lättare sagt än gjort.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Easier said than done.
    • Meaning: "It is usually far easier to advice, suggest, or talk about doing something than actually to do it."
    • Source for meaning:Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 7 September 2013. 
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 22
  • Låt inte gräset gro under fötterna.
    • Translation: Don't let grass grow on your feet.
    • Meaning: Try new things!
    • Source: Brombergs Bokförlag (2004), p. 151
  • Låt inte vargen vakta fåren.
    • Translation: Don't let the wolf guard the sheep.
    • English equivalent: Don't set a wolf to watch the sheep.
    • Meaning: "Do not put somebody in a position where he or she will be tempted to wrongdoing."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 19 August 2013. 
    • English equivalent: He sets the fox to keep his geefe.
    • Meaning: "This Proverb reflects upon the ill Conduct of Men in the Management of their Affairs, by intrufting either Sharpers with their Money, Blabs with their Secrets, or Enemies or Informer: with their Lives: For no Obligation can bind againft Nature: A Fox will love a Goofe ftill, though his Skin be ftript over his Ears for it; and a Common Cheat will always follow his old Trade of tricking his Friend, in fpite of all Promifes and Principle: of Honour, Honefty, and good Faith."
    • Source for meaning: Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [3]
    • Source: Myrdal (1968), p. 61
  • Låt maten tysta mun.
    • Translation: Let the food silence the mouth.
    • Meaning: Said when someone is being inappropriately loud at the dinner table -- often to children.
    • Source: Scheffler (1997), p. 21
  • Lögnaren blir bara trodd en gång.
    • Translation: The liar will only be trusted once.
    • Closest English equivalent: A liar is not believed when he tells the truth.
    • Meaning: "Liars must remember the untruths they have told, to avoid contradicting themselves at some later date."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 443

MEdit

  • Man måste lära sig krypa innan man kan gå.
    • Translation: You must learn to crawl before you can walk.
    • English equivalent: Learn to walk before you can run.
    • Meaning: "It is necessary to learn the basics before progressing to more advanced things."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 175
  • Magen mättas förr än ögat.
    • Translation: The stomach gets full before the eye.
    • English equivalent: The eye is bigger than the belly.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 132
  • Man får ta saken i egna händer.
    • Translation: One must take matters into one's own hands.
    • Meaning: If something is bugging you, take care of the problem yourself.
    • Source: Egard (2003), p. 125
  • Man får ta seden dit man kommer.
    • Translation: Take the custom where you come.
    • English equivalent: When in Rome, do as the Romans; When among wolves you must howl.
    • "You should always follow the customs, rules and laws of the place where you are."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. pp. 296–. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 160
  • Man har aldrig roligare än vad man gör sig.
    • Translation: You never have more fun than what you do.
    • Meaning: How much fun you have depends on what you choose to do.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 130
  • Man hör vad man vill höra.
    • Translation: You hear what you want to hear.
    • English equivalent: None is as deaf as he who does not want to hear.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 293
  • Man lär så länge man lever.
    • Translation: One learns as long as one lives.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 126
  • Man lär sig av misstagen.
    • Translation: One learns from mistakes.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 548
  • Man kan inte både äta kakan och ha kakan kvar.
    • Translation: One cannot both eat one's cookie and keep it.
    • English equivalent: You can't have your cake and eat it too.
    • Meaning: "You cannot do two mutually incompatible things at the same time."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 310. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Åström (1997), p. 190
  • Man kan inte lära gamla hundar sitta.
    • Translation: You can't teach old dogs to sit.
    • English equivalent: You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
    • Meaning: "Old people are often unwilling or unable to learn new skills or adopt new methods."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 314. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 315
  • Man måste rätta munnen efter matsäcken.
    • Translation: You have to correct your mouth according to your lunch pack.
    • English equivalent: Cut your cloak according to your cloth.
    • Meaning: You have to match your revenues with your expenses.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 128
  • Man saknar inte kon förrän båset är tomt.
    • Translation: You don't miss the cow until the stall is empty.
    • English equivalent: You never miss the well till it runs dry.
    • Meaning: "We tend to take some things for granted, and become aware of their value only when they are no longer available."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Manser, Martin H. (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 316. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 283
  • Man ska inte bjuda bagarbarn på bullar.
    • Translation: One should not offer cinnamon rolls to baker's children.
    • Meaning: Avoid doing redundant things.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 21
  • Man skall inte byta häst mitt i strömmen.
    • Translation: One should not change horses in the middle of the stream.
    • Note: When in water it is ardous to mount and dismount.
    • English equivalent: Don't change horses in midstream.
    • Meaning: It is often wise not to quit an undertaking already begun.
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 18 August 2013. 
    • * Holm, Pelle (1981) [1939]. Ett ord i rättan tid och 3529 andra ordspråk och talesätt i urval av Pelle Holm. Sweden: Albert Bonniers Förlag AB. p. 28. ISBN 91-0-043076-5. 
  • Man ska inte buga för dumheten bara för att den är gammal.
    • Translation: One should not bow before stupidity merely because it is old.
    • English equivalent: Might is not always right.
    • Meaning: Authorities, old customs and old institutions might be in the wrong.
    • Source: Nyhlén (2011)
  • Man ska inte döma hunden efter håren.
    • Translation: You should not judge a dog by its fur.
    • English equivalent: Never judge a book by its cover; Never judge by appearances.
    • Meaning: "Do not make a judgment about something or somebody on the basis of outward appearance alone."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Manser, Martin H. (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 315
  • Man ska inte gjuta olja på elden.
    • Translation: One should not add oil to the fire.
    • English equivalent: Don't add fuel to the fire.
    • Meaning: One should not make a bad situation even worse by an improper remark.
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay (1997), p. 338
  • Man ska inte gråta över spilld mjölk.
    • Translation: Do not weep over spilled milk.
    • Meaning: Dwelling on past mishaps will only waste your time.
    • Source: Åström (2004), p. 158
  • Man tröttnar aldrig på att arbeta för sig själv.
    • Translation: You never get tired of working for yourself.
    • English equivalent: A man does not feel a burden of his own choosing.
    • Source: Falk (2001), p. 105
  • Man är alltid sig själv närmast.
    • Translation: You are always closest to yourself.
    • English equivalent: Skin is nearer than the skirt.
    • Meaning: When you make decisions you choose which is best for yourself rather than taking into consideration ethical or ideological convictions.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 254
  • Medan gräset gror, dör kon.
    • Translation: While the grass is growing, the cow is dying.
    • English equivalent: While the grass grows the steed starves.
    • Meaning: Dreams or expectations may be realized too late.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 77
  • Mister du en så står dig tusen åter.
    • Translation: If you lose one, there are a thousand more to choose from.
    • Meaning: Usually used concerning broken hearts. There is also a continuation for it: Väljer du en så är det tusen som gråter. (If you choose one, a thousand will cry.).
    • English equivalent: There are plenty of fish in the sea.
    • Source: Ström (2000), p. 238
  • Morgonstund har guld i mund.
    • Translation: Morning hour has gold in its mouth.
    • Note: 'Mund' is an older spelling of 'mun' ('mouth') that mostly survives in this proverb. 'Mund' has been used since 1523 according to the Swedish Academy's dictionary.
    • English equivalent: The early bird catches the worm.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 25
  • Mycket vill ha mer.
    • Translation: Much wants more.
    • English equivalent: Much would have more.
    • Meaning: When you have much of something, you will want even more.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 373
  • Måla inte fan på väggen.
    • Translation: Don't paint the devil on the wall.
    • Meaning: Do not assume the worst of a situation.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 158
  • Många bäckar små, blir till en stor å.
    • Translation: Many small brooks form a big river.
    • English equivalent: Small streams make great rivers.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 25
  • Många hugg fälla eken.
    • English equivalent: Many strokes cut down great oaks.
    • Meaning: A difficult task, e. g. removing a person/group from a strong position, or changing established ideas cannot be done quickly. It can be achieved gradually, by small steps, a little at a time.
    • Source: Paczolay (1997), p. 252
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay (1997), p. 252
  • Människan spår, men gud rår.
    • English equivalent: Man proposes, God disposes.
    • "Plans are insulted destinies. I don't have plans, I only have goals."
    • Ash Chandler, Freudian Slip, Mumbai Mirror Buzz, April 2006.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 93

NEdit

  • Nya kvastar sopar bäst.
    • Translation: New brooms sweep the best.
    • English equivalent: A new broom sweeps clean.
    • Meaning: "We should never use an old tool when the extra labor in consequence costs more than a new one. Thousands wear out their lives and waste their time merely by the use of dull and unsuitable instruments."
    • Alternate meaning: "We often apply it to exchanges among servants, clerks, or any persons employed, whose service, at first, in any new place, is very good, both efficient and faithful; but very soon, when all the new circumstances have lost their novelty, and all their curiosity has ceased, they naturally fall into their former and habitual slackness."
    • Source for meaning: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 38. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 260
  • Någon måtta får det vara.
    • Translation: There must be some moderation.
    • Source: Granlid (1975), p. 118
  • När det regnar manna från himlen har den fattige ingen sked.
    • Translation: When it rains manna from heaven, the poor one does not have a spoon.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 276
  • När det regnar på prästen, så droppar det på klockaren.
    • Translation: When it rains on the priest, it dripples on the sacristan.
    • Meaning: When someone is successful, his subordinates are a little better off as well.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 112
  • När fan blir gammal blir han religiös.
    • Translation: When the devil grows old he turns religious.
    • Meaning: People often become more religious as they get closer to death. Also used metaphorically when people appear to change in self-serving ways.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 78
  • När Gud kommer med döden, kommer fan med arvingarna.
    • Translation: When God brings death, the devil brings heirs.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 40
  • När man talar om trollen så står de i farstun och lyssnar.
    • Translation: When you're speaking about the trolls, they're standing in the entrance hall listening.
    • Note: Usually said when someone you were just speaking about enters the room. The expression is often shortened to just 'när man talar om trollen...' ('speaking of the trolls...').
    • English equivalent: Speak of the devil...
    • Source: Åström (2004), p. 160
  • När musen är mätt, smakar mjölet beskt.
    • Translation: When the mouse is full, the flour tastes bitter.
    • Meaning: When you finally got something, you don't appreciate it anymore.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 231
  • När nöden är som störst är hjälpen som närmast.
    • Translation: When distress is the greatest, help is the nearest.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 42
  • När katten är borta dansar råttorna på bordet.
    • Translation: When the cat is away, the rats dance on the table.
    • English equivalent: When the cat's away, the mice will play.
    • Meaning: "In the absence of the person in authority those under his control will often neglect the duties/rules imposed on them."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Martin H. Manser (2007). "17". The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 8 September 2013. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 139
  • Nära skjuter ingen hare.
    • Translation: Close does not shoot any hares.
    • English equivalent: Close but no cigar.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 385
  • Nöden har ingen lag.
    • Translation: Distress knows no law.
    • English equivalent: Necessity has no law.
    • Meaning: It is acceptable to break rules in times of need.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 248
  • Nöden är uppfinningarnas moder.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Necessity is the mother of invention.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 255

OEdit

  • Om en blind leder en blind, så faller de båda i gropen.
    • Translation: If a blind one leads another, they both fall together.
    • Note: From the Bible, Matthew 15:14.
    • English equivalent: If a blind leads a blind man both shall fall into a ditch.
    • Meaning: "A person ignorant or inexperienced in something cannot assist someone similar."
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 293
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay (1997, p. 203)
  • Om kvällen får den late brått.
    • Translation: During the evening the lazy get in a hurry.
    • Note: This proverb refers to people "going out".
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 72
  • Om man ger någon ett finger vill han ha hela handen.
    • Translation: If you give someone a finger he wants the whole hand.
    • English equivalent: Give him an inch and he will take a yard.
    • Meaning: "People are inclined to take excessive advantage of the tolerance or generosity of others; often used to warn against making even the smallest concession."
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 91
  • Omväxling förnöjer.
    • Translation: Variety delights.
    • Notes: Originally from Cicero.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 103
  • Ont krut förgås inte så lätt.
    • Translation: Evil gun powder doesn't go away easily.
    • Note: This proverb is a folk etymological misunderstanding of the German 'unkraut vergeht nicht' ('bad weeds grow tall').
    • Meaning: Adverse things are long lived.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 132
  • Ont skall med ont fördrivas.
    • Translation: Evil shall by evil be expelled.
    • English equivalent: Fight fire with fire; Like cures like.
    • Note: Originally from unscientific medicine, earliest written form is known to be from 1623.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 259
  • Osvuret är bäst.
    • Translation: Best to be without oaths.
    • Meaning: Avoid making promises (to yourself as well).
    • English equivalent: Be quick to act, and slow to promise.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 191
  • Otack är världens lön.
    • Translation: Ingratitude is the world's reward.
    • Meaning: Said when it is felt that someone hasn't received the praise or compensation he deserves.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 30

PEdit

  • Pengar luktar inte.
    • Translation: Money does not smell.
    • Notes: Originally a Latin proverb, "pecunia non olet", which might first have been said by the emperor Vespasian after he had introduced a urine tax on public toilets.
    • Meaning: Money has a value regardless of how it is earned.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 235
  • Pengar växer inte på träd.
    • Translation: Money does not grow on trees.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 94
  • Pengar öppnar alla portar utom himmelens.
    • Translation: Money opens all gates but heaven's.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 232
  • Prisa inte dagen fören solen har gått ner.
    • Translation: Don't praise the day before the sun has set.
    • Meaning: Dont celebrate until you are 100% sure there is a reason to.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 357
  • På rullande sten växer ingen mossa.
    • Translation: A rolling stone gathers no moss.
    • Meaning: "The unsettled person does not prosper."
    • Source for meaning:Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "14". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 100. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Meaning: "There are a Set of People in the World of fo unfettled and reftleis a Temper, and such Admirers of Novelty, that they can never be long pleafed with one way of’ living, no more than to continue long in one Habitation; but before they are well enter’d upon one Bufinefs, dip into another, and before they are well fettled in one Habitation, remove to another; fo that they are always bufily beginning to live, but by reafon of Ficklenefs and Impatience, never arrive at a way of living: fuch Perfons fall under the Doom of this Proverb, which is delign’d to fix the Volatility of their Tempers, by laying before them the ill Confequences of fuch Ficklenefs and Inconltancy."
    • Source for meaning: Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [4]
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 661
  • Politiker är som krokodiler, stora i käften men saknar öron.
    • Translation: Politicians are like crocodiles -- big jaws but no ears.
    • Source: Falk (2005), p. 95

REdit

  • Rom byggdes inte på en dag.
    • Translation: Rome was not built in one day.
    • Meaning: "Large undertakings need proper time to complete, they cannot be done quickly."
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 381
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "100". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 449. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Ropa inte hej förrän du är över bäcken.
    • Translation: Don't celebrate until you have crossed the creek.
    • Note: "Hej" is a common way to greet other people, but was used in a more celebratory sense when this proverb emerged.
    • Meaning: Don't cap a victory in advance, and don't announce something officially which you are not entirely sure of.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 132

SEdit

  • Synden straffar sig själv.
    • Translate: The sin punishes itself.
    • Meaning: Said when someone gets in trouble due to having acted in a bad way.
    • Source: Martling (2001)
  • Sagt ord och kastad sten kan inte tas tillbaka.
    • Translation and English equivalent: A word and a stone let go cannot be called back.
    • Meaning: You can't take back what you have said.
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 58
  • Sakta men säkert.
    • Translation: Slow but steady.
    • Notes: Usually said when a work is progressing slowly, but still is heading in the right direction. The word säkert has several meanings (surely, certainly, safely, securely), p. somewhat broadening the use of the proverb, though most Swedes probably would agree that it is mainly used to express certainty about the progress of the work.
    • English equivalent: Slow and steady wins the race.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 133
  • (För) sent skall syndaren vakna.
    • Translation: (Too) late shall the sinner awaken.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 322
  • Själv är bästa dräng.
    • Translation: Self is the best farmhand.
    • English equivalent: If you want something done, do it yourself.
    • "Don't expect no help."
    • Marshall "Eminem" Matters, Beautiful (2009)
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 71
  • Skam den som ger sig.
    • Translation: Shame on he who gives up.
    • Source: Östergren (1978), p. 9
  • Skadeglädjen är den enda sanna glädjen.
    • Translation: Schadenfreude is the only true joy.
    • Source: Åberg (1997), p. 85
  • Skenet bedrar.
    • Translation: Appearances deceive.
    • English equivalent: Never judge by appearances; Judge not a man and things at first sight.
    • Meaning: "Things are not always as they seem, and you can not necessarily trust the evidence of your eyes."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 18 June 2013. 
    • Source: Bengtsson (1967), p. 100
  • Skjut inte dig själv i foten.
  • Skjut inte upp till morgondagen det du kan göra idag.
    • Translation: Don't postpone till tomorrow what you can do today.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 69
  • Skrattar bäst, som skrattar sist.
    • Translation: He laughs best who laughs last.
    • English equivalent: He who laughs last, laughs longest.
    • Meaning: "Minor successes or failures along the way are of no significance – the person who is ultimately triumphant is the only real winner."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 255
  • Skynda långsamt.
    • Translation: Hurry slowly.
    • Meaning: Do your work slowly to make sure it gets done thoroughly.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 288
  • Skåda inte given häst i mun.
    • Translation: Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
    • Note: From the fact that the age of a horse can be determined from its teeth.
    • English equivalent: Look not a horse in the mouth.
    • Meaning: "And so with respect to gifts and donations in general, whether their value be more or less, they should be accounted tokens of kindness and received with promptness and cordiality."
    • Source for meaning: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 127. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 308
  • Slutet gott, allting gott.
  • Smakar det så kostar det.
    • Translation: If it tastes good it is expensive.
    • English equivalent: If you buy quality you only cry once.
    • Meaning: You get what you pay for.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 296
  • Smaken är som baken, delad.
    • Translation: Taste is like the buttocks, divided.
    • English equivalent: There is no accounting for taste.
    • Meaning: Taste is subjective.
    • Source: Hellquist (1986), p. 174
  • Smedens häst och skomakarens ungar är sämst skodda.
    • Translation: The smith's horse and the shoemakers children are worst shod.
    • English equivalent: Cobblers' children are worst shod.
    • Meaning: "Working hard for others one may neglect one's own needs or the needs of those closest to him."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "7". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 65. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Små smulor är också bröd.
    • Small crumbles are bread too.
    • "Something is ever so much better than nothing."
    • Carnivale (2003)
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 106
  • Små sår och fattiga vänner ska man inte förakta.
    • Translation: Small wounds and poor friends should not be despised.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 87
  • Snålheten bedrar visheten.
    • Translation: Stinginess deceives wisdom.
    • English equivalent: If you buy cheaply you pay dearly.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 20
  • Som de gamla sjunga, så kvittra de unga.
    • Translation: As old people sing, young people tweet.
    • Meaning: Young people grow up to be like old people.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 263
  • Som fan läser bibeln.
    • Translation: The way the devil reads the bible.
    • Note: From the Bible, Luke 4:1-13, Matthew 4:1-11 and Psalms 91:11-12.
    • English equivalent: The devil can quote scripture for his purpose.
    • Source: Martling (1991), p. 34
  • Som man bäddar får man ligga.
    • Translation: "As you make your bed, so will you sleep" (or "the way you make your bed is the way you will lie").
    • English equivalent: As you make your bed, so you must lie.
    • "You must put up with the unpleasant results of a foolish action or decision."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 31


  • Som man ropar får man svar. Also: Som man ropar i skogen får man svar.
    • Translation: As you shout you get will be answered. (As you shout in the forest you will be answered.)
    • Meaning: General: The way you formulate a question or a statement will affect the answer you get. Also: your own behavior affects other people's behavior towards you, e.g. You will be treated politely to the same extent that you yourself act politely.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 339
  • Som man sår får man skörda.
    • Translation and English equivalent: As you sow, so shall you reap.
    • English equivalent: What you reap is what you sow.
    • Meaning: "The consequences are directly related to one's actions."
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "2". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 38. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 31
  • Som man är klädd blir man hädd.
    • Translation: As one is dressed one will be judged.
    • English equivalent: Fine feathers make fine birds.
    • Meaning: "By dressing in elegant or good-quality clothing, people create a favorable impression on others, often appearing to be of better breeding or higher class than they are".
    • Source for meaning of English quality: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 27 September 2013. 
    • Source: Åberg (1997), p. 38
  • Somliga straffar Gud direkt.
    • Translation: Some people are punished immediately by God.
    • Meaning: Used sarcastically when something bad -- and possibly unrelated -- happens to someone just after they have acted in a bad way.
    • Source: Rolfer (2006)
  • Sovande bonde får drömmande dräng.
    • Translation: Sleeping farmer gets a dreaming farmhand.
    • English equivalent: A sleepy master makes his servant a lout.
    • "No body can blame young women for putting the best side outmost, and concealing their bad humours till they get husbands : and yet many a good lass is made an ill wife by forward, graceless, ill-natur'd husbands."
    • James Kelly (1818). A Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs Explained and Made Intelligible to the English Reader. Rodwell and Martin. p. 12. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 278
  • Spill inte krut på döda kråkor.
    • Translation: Don't waste gunpowder on dead crows.
    • English equivalent: Don't beat a dead horse.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 89
  • Spotta inte i motvind.
    • Don't spit in headwind.
    • English equivalent: Strive not against the stream.
    • "One does not plan and then try to make circumstances fit those plans. One tries to make plans fit the circumstances."
    • George S. Patton, War as I Knew It (1947), p. 116.** Source: Ström (1981), p. 213
  • Stor i orden, liten på jorden.
    • Translation: Big in the words, small on the ground.
    • Notes: From the short story New Weapons written by August Strindberg.
    • English equivalent: The worst wheel makes the most noise.
    • Meaning: Said about braggarts that have little to show for themselves.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 55
  • Surt sade räven om rönnbären. (or just surt sa räven)
    • Translation: 'Sour' said the fox about rowanberries.
    • Meaning: From a story about a fox that wants to eat some rowanberries that he can't reach because they're high up in a tree. A crow lands in the tree and starts eating the berries. When the crow asks the fox if he wants some, the fox replies No, they're sour. The proverb can be used to state that you think someone really wants something the person claims they do not or that the person makes up an excuse for not wanting it because they cannot get it anyway.
    • English equivalent: Sour grapes.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 332
  • Så länge det finns liv finns det hopp.
    • Translation: While there is life there is hope.
    • Meaning: No matter how grave the situation is, there is always a chance that everything will work out.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 122
  • Sådan herre, sådan dräng/slav/hund.
    • Translation: Like master like farm hand/slave/dog.
    • Note: From Trimalchios feast by Petronius.
    • English equivalent: Like master, like man.
    • Meaning: "Servants and other workers tend to follow the good or bad example set by their employers."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent:: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 213
  • Sådan moder, sådan dotter.
    • Translation: Such mother, such daughter.
    • English equivalent: Like mother, like daughter.
    • Meaning: "Daughters may look and behave like their mothers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and daily."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay (1997), p. 137
  • Sådan fader, sådan son.
    • Translation: Such father, such son.
    • English equivalent: Like father, like son.
    • Meaning: "Sons may look and behave like their fathers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and daily."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay (1997), p. 170
  • Såga inte av den gren du sitter på.
    • Translation: Don't saw off the branch you're sitting on.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 58
  • Sälj inte skinnet förrän björnen är skjuten.
    • Translation: Don't sell the fur until the bear has been shot.
    • 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. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 304


  • Sök och du skall finna.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Seek and ye shall find.
    • Notes: From the Bible, Matthew 7:7-7:8.
    • Meaning: "You must make a personal effort to get what you want."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 351

TEdit

  • Ta tjuren vid hornen.
    • Translation: Grab the bull by its horns.
    • Meaning: To directly tackle a difficult problem.
    • Lundqvist, Peter (2011). Ta tjuren vid hornen: åtgärdsstrategier för säker djurhantering. Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet. pp. 23. ISBN 9186373609. 
  • Tala är silver, tiga är guld.
    • Translation: To speak is silver, to keep silent is gold.
    • English equivalent: Silence is golden.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 483
  • Tala med bönder på bönders vis och med de lärde på latin.
  • Tiden går fort när man har roligt.
    • Translation: Time passes by quickly when you are enjoying yourself.
    • Source: Hagefors (1995), p. 74
  • Tiden läker alla sår.
    • Translation: Time heals all wounds.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 341
  • Tillfället gör tjuven.
    • Translation: Opportunity makes the thief.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 108
  • Tomma tunnor skramlar mest.
    • Translation: Empty barrels are noisiest.
    • English equivalent: It's the empty can that makes the most noise.
    • Meaning: It is not he who advertises for himself the most that can achieve the greatest results.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 205
  • Trägen vinner.
    • Translation: Assiduous wins.
    • English equivalent: God is with those who persevere; Persevere and never fear.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 536
  • Tron kan försätta berg.
  • Tänk efter före.
    • Think before (you act).
    • English equivalent: Look before you leap.
    • The proverb is somewhat of a word game, as the Swedish expression for reflect, 'tänk efter', literally translates to 'think after', rendering the sentence 'think after before'. "The man who thinks before he acts, is most likely to act with discretion, and have no future cause to repent of his conduct; but he who acts blindly, without any foresight, will probably suffer for his rashness."
    • Trusler, John (1790). Proverbs exemplified, and illustrated by pictures from real life. p. 115. 
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 49
  • Två fel gör inte ett rätt.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Two wrongs do not make a right.
    • Meaning: "Wrongdoing is always unacceptable, even if another person has done the same thing."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 283. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Popova (2004), p. 93
  • Tålamod är konsten att hoppas.
    • Translation: Patience is the art of hoping.
    • Source: Topelius Bokförlag (1974), p. 86

UEdit

  • Undantaget bekräftar regeln.
    • Translation: The exception confirms the rule.
    • English equivalent: The exception proves the rule.
    • Meaning: "The existence of an exception to a rule shows that the rule itself exists and is applicable in other cases; often used loosely to explain away any such inconsistency."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 21 September 2013. 
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 293

VEdit

  • Var dag har nog av sin egen plåga.
    • Translation: Each day has enough of its own misery.
    • Note: From the Bible, Matthew 6:34.
    • English equivalent: Sufficient untill the day is the evil thereof.
    • "The best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today's work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future."
    • Dale Carnegie How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948)
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 236
  • Var sak har sin tid.
    • Translation: Each thing has its time.
    • English equivalent: Everythings in its season.
    • Note: From the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1.
    • Source: Söderbäck (1989), p. 42
  • Var fågel sjunger efter sin egen näbb.
    • Translation: Each bird sings according to its own beak.
    • English equivalent: Different strokes, suit different folks.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 295
  • Var skall sleven vara om inte i grytan?
    • Translation: Where shall the ladle be if not in the cauldron?
    • English equivalent: Let him that is cold blow the coals.
    • "My definition of success is doing what you love. I feel many people do things because they feel they have to, and are hesitant to risk following their passion."
    • Tony Hawk, American businessman, entrepreneur, skateboard pro. Interviewed by Gary Cohn for Entrepreneur Magazine (October 2009)
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 315
  • Var smed har sin sed.
    • Translation: Each smith has his custom.
    • Meaning: Each household has its own customs.
    • Source: Svenska Akademin (1876), entry Smed
  • Varav hjärtat är fullt talar munnen.
    • Translation: Of what fills the heart speaks the mouth.
    • English equivalent: The tongue ever turns to the aching tooth; What the heart thinketh the tongue speaketh.
    • Note: From the Bible, Matthew 12:34.
    • "People cannot help thinking or talking about what is bothering them most at a particular time."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 277. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 56
  • Varje moln har en silverkant.
    • Translation: Every cloud has a silver lining.
    • Meaning: Bad situations often bring something good with them.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 108
  • Varnad är väpnad.
    • Translation: Warned is armed.
    • Meaning: A warned person is prepared.
    • English equivalent: Warned is forearmed.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 185
  • Verkligheten överträffar dikten.
    • Translation: Reality surpasses the poem.
    • English equivalent: Fact is stranger than fiction.
    • Meaning: "Things that happen in real life are often far more unlikely than those dreamed up by writers."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 23 September 2013. 
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 171
  • Vill man vara fin får man lida pin.
  • Vis är den som råd lyder, men oråd skall ingen lyda.
    • Translation: Those are wise that heed advice, but no one should heed dissuasive advice.
    • Closest English equivalent: He who cannot be adviced cannot be helped.
    • Meaning: Advice often contain a genuine warning or an effective suggestion, which is unprudent not to take into consideration.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 205
  • Visdomen har långa öron och kort tunga.
    • Translation: Wisdom has long ears and short tongue.
    • English equivalent: Nature gave us two ears and one mouth.
    • Source: Topelius Bokförlag (1974), p. 90
  • Väck inte den björn som sover.
    • Translation: Do not wake the bear that sleeps.
    • English equivalent: Let sleeping dogs lie.
    • Meaning: "Do not cause trouble by disturbing a stable – but potentially problematic – situation."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 116
  • Vännens örfil är ärligt menad, fiendens kyssar vill bedra.
    • Translation: A friend's slap has honest intentions, your enemies' kisses are meant to deceive.
    • English equivalent: A friend's frown is better than a foe's smile.
    • Other English equivalent: Many do kiss the hand they wish to see cut off.
    • Note: From the Book of Proverbs 27:6.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 155
  • Vägen till helvetet är kantad med goda föresatser.
    • Translation and English equivalent: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    • Source: Åberg (2004), p. 93
  • Vägen till mannens hjärta går genom magen.
    • Translation and English equivalent: The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
    • Meaning: "The best way to please a man is by feeding him well."
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 281
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 354. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 26 September 2013. 
  • Väggarna har öron.
    • Translation: The walls have ears.
    • Meaning: Someone you are talking about will often overhear your conversation.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 281
  • Världen är liten.
    • Translation and English equivalent: It's a small world.
    • English equivalent: It's a small world.
    • Meaning: "It is amazing how often you meet somebody you know – or somebody who knows one of your friends or relatives, comes from your home town, or went to your school – in a distant or unexpected place; said when such a coincidence occurs."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Holm (1965), p. 366

ÅEdit

  • Åsnan känns igen på öronen, den dumme på sina ord.
    • Translation: The donkey is known by his ears, the fool by his words.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 309

ÄEdit

  • Älska mig när jag minst av allt förtjänar det, för det är då jag behöver det som mest.
    • Translation: Love me when I least deserve it, because that is when I need it the most.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 184
  • Ändamålet helgar medlen.
    • Translation and English equivalent: The end justifies the means.
    • Note: This saying can be found in Ovid, Heroides (c. 10 BC): Exitus acta probat.
    • Meaning: "Any course of action, however immoral or unscrupulous, is justifiable if it achieves a worthy objective."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 8 September 2013. 
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 400
  • Äpplet faller inte långt från trädet.
    • Translation: The apple does not fall far from the tree.
    • Meaning: Children observe daily and — in their behaviour — often follow the example of their parents.
    • Source: Ström (1926), p. 337
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay (1997), p. 259
  • Är det inte det ena så är det det andra, sa flickan som blödde näsblod.
    • Translation: 'If it isn't one thing it's the other' said the girl with a nosebleed.
    • Meaning: There is always something to be dissatisfied with.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 114
  • Är huvudet dumt får kroppen lida.
    • Translation: If the head is dumb, the body suffers.
    • Meaning: Said when someone hurts him- or herself through a foolish act.
  • Ärlighet varar längst.
    • Translation: Honesty lasts the longest.
    • English equivalent: Honesty is the best policy.
    • Meaning: "Being honest or telling the truth is always the wisest course of action."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 186
  • Äras den som äras bör.
    • Translation: Honor whom should be honored.
    • English equivalent: Give credit where credit is due.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 402
  • Äta bör man annars dör man.
    • Translation: One should eat or one dies.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 403
  • Även den bäste kan fela.
    • Translation: Even the best can make mistakes.
    • English equivalent: A good marksman may miss.
    • Source: Dalin (1850), p. 744
  • Även dåren tros vis om han tiger.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Even a fool when he holdeth his peace is counted wise.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 43
  • Även en blind höna kan hitta ett korn.
    • Translation: Even a blind hen can find a grain.
    • English equivalent: Even a blind pig may occasionally pick up an acorn.
    • Meaning: "An incompetent person or an unsystematic approach is bound to succeed every now and then by chance."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 8 September 2013. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 293
  • Även små grytor har öron. or Små grytor har också öron.
    • Translation: Small pots have ears too.
    • English equivalent: Little pitchers have big ears.
    • Meaning: Children often understand more than one might think.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 95
  • Även solen har sina fläckar.
    • Translation: The sun also has its spots.
    • English equivalent: Every rose has its thorns.
    • Meaning: No one is perfect.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 356

ÖEdit

  • Öga för öga, tand för tand.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.
    • Note: Originally from the Bible, Leviticus 24:19-21, Exodus 21:23-25 and Deuteronomy 19:16-21.
    • Meaning: "Retaliation or punishment should take the same form as the original offense or crime."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 23 September 2013. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 293
  • Ögonen vill ha mer än magen.
    • Translation: The eyes want more than the stomach.
    • English equivalent: The eye is bigger than the belly.
    • Meaning: "Greed persuades a person to take more the he or she can manage."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 23 September 2013. 
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 181
  • Övning ger färdighet.
    • Translation: Practice gives skill.
    • English equivalent: Practice makes perfect.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 121

ReferencesEdit