Last modified on 24 April 2014, at 22:21

Turkish proverbs

Proverbs from all Turkish speaking parts of the world.


  • Acele işe şeytan karışır.
    • The Devil interferes with hurried work.
    • English equivalent: Haste makes waste.
    • Gölpınarlı (1977). Tasavvuf'tan deyimler ve atasözleri. İnkılâp ve Aka Kitabevleri. p. 9. 
  • Al elmaya taş atan çok olur.
    • There are many who throw stones at a red apple.
    • English equivalent: If you have no enemies it is a sign that fortune has forgotten you; People only throw stones at trees with fruit on them.
    • Yurtbaşı (1993). Dictionary of Turkish Proverbs. Turkish Daily News. p. 78. ISBN 9759570300. 
  • Altın kılıç her kapıyı açar.
    • Golden saber opens every door.
    • English equivalent: Money talks.
    • Yengec Ile Kizi. Tudem Publishing. p. 49. ISBN 9758275747. 
  • Ateş olmayan yerden duman çıkmaz.
    • No smoke will come out from a place where there is no fire.
    • English equivalent: Where there is smoke, there is fire.
    • "There is no effect without some cause. or It is supposed that if there is a rumour, there must be some truth behind it."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalentː Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "1". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 33. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Aydın, Nurhan (2007). Finansal Yönetim. Anadolu Universitesi. p. 192. ISBN 9750601971. 


  • Babası oğluna bir bağ bağışlamış, oğul babaya bir salkım üzüm vermemiş.
    • The father donated a vineyard to his son, the son didn't give a single bunch of grapes to the father.
    • Note: Used when a person does something ungrateful and selfish to another person who made good deeds for him.
    • English equivalent: Ingratitude is the world's reward.
    • Sakaoğlu, Saim (2003). 101 Türk efsanesi. Akçağ. p. 200. ISBN 975338467X. 
  • Baban nasılsa oğlu da öyledir.
    • Such father, such son.
    • English equivalent: Like father, like son.
    • "Sons may look and behave like their fathers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and daily."
    • Source for meaning and proverb: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 170. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Bir vurmakla ağaç devrilmez.
    • English equivalent: A tree won't fall with a single blow.
    • "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 for proverbs and meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 252. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 


  • Çıkmayan candan umit kesilmez.
    • Hope won't be cut from the soul that has not expired.
    • English equivalent: As long as there is life, there is hope.
    • Yetiş, Kâzım (1993). Türkçenin nakısları: atasözleri, deyimler, tekerlemeler, bilmeceler (Edition 31 of Kubbealtı neşriyâtı ed.). Kubbealtı Neşriyâtı. p. 241. 


  • Dost kara günde belli olur.
    • A friend is known on black (i. e bad days).
    • English equivalent: A friend is known in adversity, like gold is known in fire.
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 159. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 


  • Elma kendi ağacından īrak düşmez.
    • English equivalent: The apple does not fall far from the tree.
    • "Children observe daily and — in their behaviour — often follow the example of their parents."
    • Source for proverbs and meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 259. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 


  • Gözden uzak olan gönülden de uzak olur.
    • Who is far from the eye will also be far from the heart.
    • English equivalent: Out of sight, out of mind.
    • Arslanoğlu, Kaan (2007). Öteki Kayıp Volym 510 of İthaki Yayınları. Ithaki Publishing. p. 84. ISBN 9752733220. 
  • Gülü seven, dikenine katlanır.
    • Who loves roses, would bear its thorns.
    • English equivalent: Love me, love my dog.
    • Steuerwald, Karl (1974). Deutsch-türkisches Wörterbuch: Almanca-Türkc̦e sözlük (2 ed.). Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 1. ISBN 3447015845. 
  • Güneşte yanmayan gölgenin kıymetini bilmez.
    • Who has never been burned in the sun won't know the value of shadow.
    • English equivalent: He knows good best who has experienced evil.
    • Millı̂ Folklor Araştırma Dairesi, Turkey. II. Milletlerarası Türk Folklor Kongresi bildirileri: cilt. Halk edebiyatı. p. 204. 


  • Havlayan köpek ısırmaz.
    • English equivalent: Barking dogs seldom bite.
    • "People who make the most or the loudest threats are the least likely to take action."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 20 June 2013. 
    • Steuerwald, Karl (1974). Almanca-Türkçe sözlük. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 303. ISBN 3447015845. 
  • Herkes kendi yıldızının demircisi.
    • 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 and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 388. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 


  • Isıracak köpek dişini göstermez.
    • English equivalent: Barking dogs seldom bite.
    • Kemal, Orhan (1976). Hanımın çiftliği: roman. Tekin Yayınevi. p. 307. 
  • İt ürür, kervan yürür.
    • English equivalent: The dogs bark, but the caravan passes on.
    • Lalesi, Kar. epubli. p. 162. 
  • İyi bașlamak yari btirmektir.
    • English equivalent: Well begun, is half done.
    • "Starting properly ensures the speedy completion of a process. A – beginning is often blocked by one or more obstacles (potential barriers) the removal of which may ensure the smooth course of the process."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 228. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 


  • Ne ekersen onu biçersin.
    • English equivalent: What you reap, is what you sow.
    • Slaughter, Karin (2006). Büyü Gibi Volume 435 of İthaki yayınları: Edebiyat ; 351. Ithaki Publishing. p. 245. ISBN 9752732313. 


  • Sabır acıdır, meyvesi tatlıdır.
    • Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
    • Çobanoğlu, Özkul. Türk dünyası ortak atasözleri sözlüğü. Atatürk Kültür Merkezi Başkanlığı. p. 412. 


  • Tekerlenen tas yosun tutmaz.
    • English equivalent: A rolling stone gathers no moss.
    • 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 of English equivalent: Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [1]
    • 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. 


  • Zorla güzellik olmaz.
    • Forced beauty won't do.
    • Emre Özer, Mehmet. Beyaz Üstüne Eflatun v. 7.12. p. 340.