International Sayings

International Sayings

Sayings, proverbs, and aphorisms are a rich source of wisdom that are interwoven throughout the many human civilizations, languages, and customs. These brief statements, which are frequently handed down through the years, provide insights into the shared values, worldviews, and experiences of communities throughout. Every region of the world has its own distinct collection of proverbs that capture the spirit of its people, from the sun-drenched beaches of Hawaii to the rough mountains of Tibet, and from the busy streets of Tokyo to the tranquil towns of Norway.

Los dichos, proverbios y aforismos son una rica fuente de sabiduría que están entrelazados a lo largo de las muchas civilizaciones humanas, idiomas y costumbres. Estas breves afirmaciones, que a menudo se transmiten de generación en generación, ofrecen perspectivas sobre los valores compartidos, las cosmovisiones y las experiencias de las comunidades a lo largo del mundo. Cada región del mundo tiene su propia colección distinta de proverbios que capturan el espíritu de su gente, desde las playas bañadas por el sol de Hawái hasta las montañas ásperas del Tíbet, y desde las bulliciosas calles de Tokio hasta los pueblos tranquilos de Noruega.

Powiedzenia, przysłowia i aforyzmy są bogatym źródłem mądrości, które są splecione z wieloma kulturami, językami i obyczajami. Te krótkie stwierdzenia, które często są przekazywane z pokolenia na pokolenie, pozwalają dostrzec wspólne światopoglądy, wartości i doświadczenia ludzi z całego świata. Każdy region, od słonecznych plaż na Hawajach, poprzez surowe góry Tybetu, ruchliwe ulice Tokio, aż po spokojne miasteczka Norwegii, ma swój własny zestaw przysłów, które odzwierciedlają ducha swojego narodu.

  1. Abkhaz: "Аҿалла амҭа азаар абжьыгә агәац.⏤ "Forced peace brings hardship."

    Explanation: This Abkhaz proverb conveys the idea that peace imposed through coercion or force often results in negative consequences or suffering. It suggests that genuine peace and harmony can only be achieved through mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation among parties.

  2. Afrikaans: "Jy moet die huid van die beer nie verkoop voor jy hom geskiet het nie." ⏤ "Don't sell the bear's skin before you've shot him."

    Explanation: This Afrikaans proverb advises against premature celebration or counting one's chickens before they hatch. It suggests that it's unwise to assume success or make plans based on anticipated outcomes that have not yet been achieved.

  3. Albanian: "Gjithmonë pas borës, dielli risjell." ⏤ "After every snowfall, the sun shines again."

    Explanation: This Albanian proverb conveys optimism and resilience, suggesting that difficult times are often followed by brighter days. It emphasizes the cyclical nature of life, where hardships are eventually overcome, and better times follow.

  4. Arabic: "الكتمان أحسن من الجواب" (Al-kitmān aḥsan min al-jawāb) ⏤ "Silence is better than an answer."

    Explanation: This Arabic proverb extols the virtue of silence and discretion, implying that sometimes it is wiser to refrain from speaking, especially when words may cause harm or escalation. It emphasizes the power and wisdom of restraint in communication.

  5. Azerbaijani: "Dostumun dostu mənə dostdur." ⏤ "My friend's friend is my friend."

    Explanation: This Azerbaijani proverb emphasizes the interconnectedness of social networks and relationships. It suggests that the friends of one's friends are also considered friends, promoting inclusivity, and trust among social circles.

  6. Basque: "Orain ama, orain belarria; goazen aurrera!" ⏤ "Now front, now back; let's move forward!"

    Explanation: This Basque proverb encourages perseverance and adaptability in the face of challenges. It suggests the importance of being flexible and proactive, alternating between different approaches or strategies to make progress towards goals.

  7. Bengali: "যে কুঁড়ে তেল, তার পাঁচো হাত" (Je kure tel, tar pacho hat) ⏤ "One who digs a well, gets five hands."

    Explanation: This Bengali proverb highlights the idea of collective benefit and mutual support. It suggests that individuals who undertake efforts to create resources or opportunities not only benefit themselves but also contribute to the welfare of others in their community.

  8. Bulgarian: "Близък гост – по-добър от далечен роднина." (Blizuk gost – po-dobar ot dalechen rodina) ⏤ "A close guest is better than a distant relative."

    Explanation: This Bulgarian proverb emphasizes the importance of intimacy and emotional closeness in relationships. It suggests that the support and companionship of close friends or acquaintances can be more meaningful and valuable than distant familial ties.

  9. Corsican: "A scopa nova ghjunghje megliu." ⏤ "A new broom sweeps better."

    Explanation: This Corsican proverb conveys the idea that fresh starts or new beginnings often lead to improved outcomes. It suggests that introducing new tools, approaches, or perspectives can be more effective in addressing challenges or achieving goals.

  10. Croatian: "Što se dogodilo, dogodilo se." ⏤ "What happened, happened."

    Explanation: This Croatian proverb advocates acceptance of past events or circumstances that cannot be changed. It suggests the futility of dwelling on the past or lamenting over things that are beyond one's control, emphasizing the importance of moving forward.

  11. Czech: "Cizí svět má spoustu pastí." ⏤ "The foreign world has plenty of traps."

    Explanation: This Czech proverb warns against naivety and recklessness when navigating unfamiliar or foreign environments. It suggests that venturing into unknown territories or engaging with unfamiliar cultures or systems carries inherent risks and challenges.

  12. Danish: "Man skal ikke skue hunden på hårene." ⏤ "You should not judge the dog by its fur."

    Explanation: This Danish proverb cautions against making assumptions based on superficial appearances. It suggests that one should not judge or evaluate others solely based on their external traits or characteristics, emphasizing the importance of looking beyond surface impressions.

  13. Dutch: "Beter één vogel in de hand dan tien in de lucht." ⏤ "Better one bird in the hand than ten in the sky."

    Explanation: This Dutch proverb advocates for prudence and caution in decision-making. It suggests that it is preferable to possess something tangible or certain, even if it is modest, rather than pursuing uncertain or ambitious possibilities that may never materialize.

  14. English: "A penny saved is a penny earned."

    Explanation: This English proverb extols the virtue of frugality and saving money. It suggests that being thrifty and avoiding unnecessary expenses is equivalent to earning additional income, emphasizing the value of wise financial management.

  15. Estonian: "Kel on kiire, see tuleb kaks korda." ⏤ "He who is in a hurry, will come twice."

    Explanation: This Estonian proverb underscores the importance of patience and thoroughness in completing tasks or achieving goals. It suggests that rushing through activities may lead to mistakes or inefficiencies, necessitating additional effort or corrections later on.

  16. Fijian: "Noda vanua, noda ivola." ⏤ "Our land, our life."

    Explanation: This Fijian proverb expresses a deep connection to one's homeland and environment. It suggests that the well-being and identity of individuals are closely tied to the land they inhabit, emphasizing the significance of preserving and nurturing natural resources.

  17. Finnish: "Joka myöhään nukkuu, se pitkään nukkuu." ⏤ "Who sleeps late, sleeps long."

    Explanation: This Finnish proverb highlights the consequences of procrastination and laziness. It suggests that individuals who habitually delay tasks or waste time in idleness are likely to experience prolonged periods of inactivity or underachievement.

  18. French: "Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid." ⏤ "Little by little, the bird builds its nest."

    Explanation: This French proverb emphasizes the importance of gradual progress and perseverance in achieving goals. It suggests that consistent effort and incremental steps lead to significant accomplishments over time, likening the process to the patient construction of a bird's nest.

  19. Georgian: "წინა მედუღება უფრო ძვირია." (ts'ina medugheba up'ro dzv'iria) ⏤ "The first step is the hardest."

    Explanation: This Georgian proverb acknowledges the initial challenges or difficulties encountered when starting a new endeavor. It suggests that overcoming inertia and taking the first step towards a goal can be particularly daunting, but subsequent progress becomes easier with momentum.

  20. German: "Aller Anfang ist schwer." ⏤ "All beginnings are hard."

    Explanation: This German proverb echoes the sentiment of the previous one, emphasizing the universal struggle associated with starting something new. It suggests that initial phases of any undertaking involve obstacles and uncertainties, requiring perseverance and determination to overcome.

  21. Greek: "Η γνώση είναι δύναμη" (I gnosi einai dinami) ⏤ "Knowledge is power."

    Explanation: This Greek proverb highlights the transformative potential of knowledge and education. It suggests that acquiring understanding and expertise empowers individuals to navigate challenges, make informed decisions, and effect positive change in their lives and communities.

  22. Gujarati: "લોકો જેમ કરે તેમ ભરે." (Loko jem kare tem bhare) ⏤ "As you sow, so shall you reap."

    Explanation: This Gujarati proverb encapsulates the principle of cause and effect or karma. It suggests that the consequences of one's actions, whether positive or negative, are proportional to the deeds performed, emphasizing personal responsibility and accountability.

  23. Haitian Creole: "Piti, piti, wazo fe nich li." ⏤ "Little by little, the bird builds its nest."

    Explanation: This Haitian Creole proverb shares a similar sentiment with the French proverb mentioned earlier. It underscores the significance of gradual progress and perseverance, using the metaphor of a bird diligently constructing its nest over time to convey the idea of incremental achievement.

  24. Hawaiian: "I ka wā ma mua, ka wā ma hope." ⏤ "The future is in the past."

    Explanation: This Hawaiian proverb emphasizes the interconnectedness of past, present, and future experiences. It suggests that understanding and learning from past events and actions inform and shape future outcomes, highlighting the importance of historical perspective in guiding decisions and actions.

  25. Hebrew: "עֵינַיִם לַחֲכָמִים, בְּרֹאשֵׁיהֶם" (Einayim la'chachamim, b'roshem) ⏤ "The eyes of the wise are in their heads."

    Explanation: This Hebrew proverb extols the value of wisdom and discernment in perception and judgment. It suggests that wise individuals possess insight and foresight, enabling them to see beyond surface appearances and make sound decisions based on thoughtful consideration.

  26. Hindi: "जल में रहकर मगर से बैर ठीक नहीं" (Jal me rahkar magar se bair thik nahi) ⏤ "Living in water, but having enmity with the crocodile is not right."

    Explanation: This Hindi proverb cautions against maintaining relationships with individuals or entities that pose inherent risks or dangers. It suggests that it is unwise to associate with adversaries or hostile forces, even if one is in close proximity to them, emphasizing the importance of discerning alliances.

  27. Hmong: "Peb mus kuv txoj kev hlub, kuv niam tais tias kuv mus txog dab tsi." ⏤ "We go to look for love, and we find it where we were born."

    Explanation: This Hmong proverb emphasizes the idea of finding love or fulfillment in familiar surroundings and connections. It suggests that one's roots and origins hold the key to discovering meaningful relationships and contentment.

  28. Icelandic: "Brennt barn oft upp því að sérhvert kertabálkur kemur í góðan hlut." ⏤ "A burnt child often fears the fire because every candlestick comes with a good portion."

    Explanation: This Icelandic proverb conveys the notion of learning from past experiences, particularly negative ones. It suggests that individuals who have faced adversity or hardship are often more cautious or wary in similar situations, recognizing the potential risks and consequences.

  29. Irish: "Ní neart go cur le chéile." ⏤ "There is no strength without unity."

    Explanation: This Irish proverb underscores the importance of solidarity and cooperation in achieving collective goals or overcoming challenges. It suggests that true strength and resilience emerge from unity and collaboration, emphasizing the power of working together towards common objectives.

  30. Italian: "Chi dorme non piglia pesci." ⏤ "He who sleeps does not catch fish."

    Explanation: This Italian proverb emphasizes the value of diligence and effort in achieving success or attaining goals. It suggests that passive inaction or laziness leads to missed opportunities, contrasting the idea of proactive engagement and productivity with the metaphor of fishing.

  31. Japanese: "石の上にも三年" (Ishi no ue ni mo san nen) ⏤ "Even on a stone, three years."

    Explanation: This Japanese proverb reflects the perseverance and endurance required to accomplish challenging tasks or endure difficult circumstances. It suggests that with determination and persistence, even the most daunting obstacles can be overcome over time.

  32. Kazakh: "Талқан көргендей, күркім жүркендей." (Talqan kórgendey, kürkim júrkendey) ⏤ "As the snake sees, the venom moves."

    Explanation: This Kazakh proverb underscores the idea of cause and effect, particularly in relation to harmful actions or intentions. It suggests that negative behaviors or intentions have consequences, likening them to the movement of venom as observed by a snake.

  33. Korean: "가재는 게 편이다." (Gajae-neun ge pyeon-ida) ⏤ "The crab is easier to catch than the fish."

    Explanation: This Korean proverb highlights the notion of choosing the path of least resistance or taking advantage of easier opportunities. It suggests that pursuing simpler or more accessible objectives can lead to quicker and more certain outcomes compared to tackling more challenging endeavors.

  34. Kurdish: "هەر کەسێک پێی هەنێك چاوی نەكەنێك دڵی پێی هەنێك پیاوی گۆڕانی گوێ دەردەکەنێك." (Her keseke peyî heneq cawî neke nek dillî peyî heneq piyawî gorani gû dêrdeke neke) ⏤ "If everyone holds a cup, no one will feel thirsty, if everyone holds hands, the voice of protest will come out."

    Explanation: This Kurdish proverb emphasizes the power of collective action and unity in effecting change or addressing shared needs. It suggests that solidarity and cooperation among individuals lead to mutual support and amplification of voices, facilitating social cohesion and advocacy.

  35. Kyrgyz: "Балапан балдайды жеткенден курткой айтып тур." (Balapan baldaidy jetkenden kurtkoy aityp tur) ⏤ "A child's cry will attract more attention than seven sacks of wool."

    Explanation: This Kyrgyz proverb illustrates the potency of a child's distress, implying that emotional appeals or vulnerabilities often garner more sympathy and attention than material wealth or abundance. It highlights the importance of empathy and sensitivity to human suffering.

  36. Lao: "ຫົວຂໍ້ບໍ່ດັງເດີນທົ່ວ" (Houk khom baw dang deun thu) ⏤ "Words don't leave without reason."

    Explanation: This Lao proverb underscores the idea that words have consequences and are not spoken without purpose or intention. It suggests that verbal communication carries significance and impact, emphasizing the importance of thoughtful speech and mindful expression.

  37. Latvian: "Aklais neredz tik tālu, cik tālu neredz redzētais." ⏤ "The blind person doesn't see as far as what can be seen."

    Explanation: This Latvian proverb metaphorically contrasts physical blindness with limited perception or insight. It suggests that individuals who lack awareness or understanding are unable to comprehend or foresee as much as those who possess greater knowledge or foresight.

  38. Lithuanian: "Kas daug nori, tas mažai gauna." ⏤ "He who wants much, gets little."

    Explanation: This Lithuanian proverb warns against excessive desire or greed, suggesting that those who constantly seek more often end up with less. It highlights the importance of contentment and moderation in fostering satisfaction and fulfillment.

  39. Macedonian: "Човекот пред сè мисли, а потоа рече." (Čovekot pred se misli, a potoa reče) ⏤ "A man thinks first, and then speaks."

    Explanation: This Macedonian proverb advocates for deliberation and reflection before verbal expression. It suggests that thoughtful consideration precedes effective communication, emphasizing the importance of mindfulness and intentionality in speech.

  40. Malay: "Air dicincang tidak akan putus." ⏤ "Water that is chopped will not break."

    Explanation: This Malay proverb employs a metaphor of water to illustrate resilience and continuity. It suggests that resources or entities that are divisible or fragmented remain intact and functional, highlighting the robustness of interconnected systems.

  41. Maltese: "Il-ħadd ma jaħdimx f'idejja." ⏤ "He who does not work, has nothing in his hands."

    Explanation: This Maltese proverb emphasizes the importance of effort and productivity in achieving success or acquiring possessions. It suggests that individuals who do not engage in labor or activity will not have tangible results or possessions to show for themselves.

  42. Mongolian: "Мэргэжлийн тэнгэр өмнө нүдэндээ байхгүй." (Mergelijn tenger ömnö nyden dee baikhgui) ⏤ "The sky of success is not reached without seeing hardships."

    Explanation: This Mongolian proverb underscores the idea that success and achievement are often preceded by challenges and adversity. It suggests that overcoming obstacles and persevering through difficulties are integral parts of the journey towards success.

  43. Nepali: "मुर्ख कुवाँत ले ठेल्छ, बुद्धि बिरलोमा हेर्दैन" (Murkha kuwanta le thelcha, buddhi birloma herdain) ⏤ "A frog in a well does not see the big pond."

    Explanation: This Nepali proverb uses the metaphor of a frog in a well to illustrate narrow-mindedness and limited perspective. It suggests that individuals who are ignorant or confined to a restricted environment fail to perceive the vastness and diversity of the world beyond their immediate surroundings.

  44. Norwegian: "Den som graver en grav for andre, faller selv i den." ⏤ "He who digs a grave for others, falls into it himself."

    Explanation: This Norwegian proverb conveys the concept of poetic justice or karma. It suggests that individuals who plot harm or ill intent towards others ultimately bring about their own downfall or face similar consequences, highlighting the inherent fairness of the universe.

  45. Persian: "هر که دروغ گوید، راستی را از بین می‌برد" (Har ke dorogh gooyad, raasti ra az beyn mibarad) ⏤ "Whoever speaks lies, erases the truth."

    Explanation: This Persian proverb underscores the destructive nature of deceit and falsehood. It suggests that dishonesty not only obscures reality and undermines trust but also diminishes the value of truth itself, emphasizing the importance of honesty and integrity in communication.

  46. Polish: "Nie chwal dnia przed zachodem słońca." ⏤ "Don't praise the day before sunset."

    Explanation: This Polish proverb cautions against premature celebration or optimism. It suggests that it is unwise to express confidence or satisfaction regarding future outcomes before they have been realized, advising prudence and restraint in judgment.

  47. Portuguese: "Água mole em pedra dura, tanto bate até que fura." ⏤ "Soft water on hard stone, beats until it bores through."

    Explanation: This Portuguese proverb illustrates the power of persistence and gradual effort in overcoming obstacles. It suggests that consistent, albeit gentle, pressure applied over time can eventually achieve significant results, even against formidable resistance.

  48. Romanian: "Cine se scoală de dimineaţă, departe ajunge." ⏤ "He who wakes up early, goes far."

    Explanation: This Romanian proverb extols the virtue of industriousness and early rising. It suggests that individuals who begin their day promptly and seize the morning hours with purposefulness and diligence are more likely to achieve success and make significant progress in their endeavors.

  49. Russian: "Друг познаётся в беде" (Drug poznayetsya v bede) ⏤ "A friend is known in adversity."

    Explanation: This Russian proverb emphasizes the true test of friendship during difficult times. It suggests that adversity reveals the sincerity and loyalty of companions, distinguishing genuine friends who offer support and solidarity from mere acquaintances or fair-weather associates.

  50. Samoan: "E lele le toloa ae ma'au i le vai." ⏤ "The flying fish jumps, but it ends up in the water."

    Explanation: This Samoan proverb uses the imagery of the flying fish to illustrate the inevitability of returning to one's origins or natural habitat. It suggests that regardless of temporary deviations or adventures, individuals ultimately return to familiar environments or circumstances.

  51. Serbian: "Лако је на свечу узети огањ, али је тешко сунце ујахати." (Lako je na sveću uzeti oganj, ali je teško sunce ujahati) ⏤ "It's easy to take fire from a candle, but it's hard to harness the sun."

    Explanation: This Serbian proverb metaphorically contrasts the ease of accomplishing small tasks or feats with the difficulty of achieving grander ambitions or goals. It suggests that while minor achievements may be attained effortlessly, significant accomplishments require greater effort and determination.

  52. Slovak: "Šťastie sa nehráva s nami." ⏤ "Happiness doesn't play with us."

    Explanation: This Slovak proverb reflects the unpredictable and elusive nature of happiness. It suggests that luck or fortune is not always favorable, emphasizing the transient and capricious aspect of human experiences.

  53. Slovenian: "Kdor se zadnji smeje, se najslajše smeje." ⏤ "He who laughs last, laughs the sweetest."

    Explanation: This Slovenian proverb highlights the satisfaction derived from overcoming challenges or adversity. It suggests that the ultimate victor or successful individual enjoys the most profound sense of triumph and satisfaction.

  54. Somali: "Ninkii dhego lahayn, haweeneey dhegaha u hayaa." ⏤ "A man without a beard is a woman."

    Explanation: This Somali proverb humorously comments on the significance of masculine characteristics, particularly facial hair, in distinguishing men from women. It reflects cultural perceptions and stereotypes regarding gender identity and appearance.

  55. Spanish: "Más vale tarde que nunca." ⏤ "Better late than never."

    Explanation: This Spanish proverb conveys the idea that it is preferable to complete or accomplish something belatedly rather than not at all. It emphasizes the value of taking action and fulfilling commitments, even if delayed, as opposed to procrastination or inaction.

  56. Swahili: "Asiyefunzwa na mamaye hufunzwa na ulimwengu." ⏤ "He who is not taught by his mother will be taught by the world."

    Explanation: This Swahili proverb underscores the influence of maternal guidance and upbringing in shaping an individual's character and behavior. It suggests that those who lack maternal instruction or nurturing will inevitably learn life lessons from external experiences and interactions.

  57. Swedish: "Man ska inte sälja skinnet innan björnen är skjuten." ⏤ "You shouldn't sell the skin before the bear is shot."

    Explanation: This Swedish proverb advises against premature assumptions or speculation regarding future outcomes. It suggests that it is imprudent to make plans or count on success before it is assured, emphasizing the importance of caution and realism.

  58. Tajik: "Санги рост, сақофати рост." (Sangi rost, saqofati rost) ⏤ "The straighter the stick, the straighter the shadow."

    Explanation: This Tajik proverb metaphorically expresses the idea that individual conduct or behavior influences the perception and reputation of others. It suggests that moral integrity and upright conduct lead to positive impressions and reputation.

  59. Thai: "ทำดีได้ดี ทำชั่วได้ชั่ว" (Tam dii dâai dii, tam chûua dâai chûua) ⏤ "Do good and good will come to you, do evil and evil will come to you."

    Explanation: This Thai proverb emphasizes the concept of karma, suggesting that one's actions determine their outcomes. It reflects the belief that positive deeds lead to favorable consequences, while negative actions result in undesirable effects.

  60. Tongan: "Ko e feitu'u ke mau mai, ka 'oku taka ke tau." ⏤ "The wave that comes in will go back out again."

    Explanation: This Tongan proverb symbolizes the cyclical nature of life and events. It suggests that just as waves ebb and flow in the ocean, circumstances and fortunes fluctuate, reminding individuals to remain resilient and adaptable.

  61. Turkish: "Bir elin nesi var, iki elin sesi var." ⏤ "What one hand has is what makes noise, what two hands have is silent."

    Explanation: This Turkish proverb conveys the idea that teamwork and collaboration lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness. It suggests that unified efforts produce more significant results than individual actions, highlighting the power of cooperation.

  62. Ukrainian: "Що на умі, то на язику." (Shcho na umi, to na yazyku) ⏤ "What's on the mind is on the tongue."

    Explanation: This Ukrainian proverb emphasizes the link between thoughts and speech. It suggests that one's words often reflect their thoughts and intentions, highlighting the importance of self-awareness and mindfulness in verbal communication.

  63. Uzbek: "Talpinar baland, dengizga tushar." ⏤ "The more you ascend, the more you become like the sea."

    Explanation: This Uzbek proverb metaphorically suggests that as individuals achieve greater success or ascend higher in society, they become more influential and expansive, like the vastness of the sea. It underscores the idea that with increased power or status comes greater responsibility and impact.

  64. Vietnamese: "Khôn lớn đầu rồi mới học khôn." ⏤ "Wisdom comes only after experience."

    Explanation: This Vietnamese proverb highlights the value of practical knowledge gained through lived experiences. It suggests that true wisdom is acquired through encountering and overcoming challenges, emphasizing the importance of learning from life's lessons.

  65. Yiddish: "ווער פֿאָרלאָרט קיינמאָל קען זיך ניט אויפֿפֿירן." (Ver forlort keynmol ken zikh nit oyfirn) ⏤ "Whoever speaks never gets lost."

    Explanation: This Yiddish proverb humorously comments on the tendency of some individuals to be verbose or loquacious. It suggests that those who are talkative or prone to speaking their minds seldom find themselves at a loss for words.

“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” ⏤ Muriel Rukeyser