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Title: A Polyglot of Foreign Proverbs

Compiler: Henry G. Bohn

Release date: January 31, 2016 [eBook #51090]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Giovanni Fini, Chris Curnow, Lindy Walsh and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at




—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

—The transcriber of this project created the book cover image using the front cover of the original book. The image is placed in the public domain.















While engaged in editing my Handbook of English Proverbs, it occurred to me that a Collection of Foreign Proverbs, arranged in monographs, and brought as far as possible into juxta-position by a General Index, would be an interesting volume, as well to the ordinary reader as to the linguist. And it happened that more than one public writer, in reviewing my Handbook, suggested nearly the same idea, which determined me to realise it as speedily as other engagements would permit.

After a lapse of more than two years, and much patient labour, during intervals of business or hours snatched from repose, I am enabled to present my gleanings to the public, and hope they will not be found deficient of grain.

It will be seen that many of the proverbs are quite new to the English reader, and that others, hitherto supposed to be essentially, if not exclusively, English, are common to several other languages.

A task so various and complicated could not well be executed without aid, nor do I pretend to be master of all the languages included. Accordingly, I sought the assistance of competent scholars, and have great pleasure in here proclaiming my acknowledgments to them. After the groundwork of the volume had been laid by selections from a great variety of sources, an operation in which Mr. W. K. Kelly was my principal collaborateur, I was aided in correcting the Italian by Signor Pistrucci, the Spanish by Señor Yrazoqui and the Chevalier Francisque Michel, the Portuguese by Senhôr Guerra, the Danish by[iv] Miss Rowan, and the Dutch by Mr. John van Baalen, of Rotterdam. It seemed to me advisable, to secure all possible accuracy, that each foreign language should be read over by a native of the country.

For the English translations (excepting those from the Danish) I am myself mainly responsible, as, where those already existing did not satisfy me, I generally substituted others. I have, however, been very forbearing towards some pleasant bits of doggerel and alliteration found in early volumes, and have occasionally indulged in similar playfulness of my own. One so deeply immersed in Proverb-lore may, perhaps, be forgiven for having imbibed such a tendency.

In the Index, a single line is often made to represent a whole group, although the several translations may not be exactly the same. That adopted as the key, being the last thought, ought to be the best. The running lines at the top indicate the pages of each of the several languages, so that by a comparison of them with the figures of reference below, it will be easy to see what monograph a proverb belongs to, without actually turning to the page.


August 30, 1857.


French Proverbs 1 64
Italian 65 132
German 133 192
Spanish 193 262
Dutch 296 345
Danish 346 403
English Index 405 579




A barbe de fol apprend-on à raire. On a fool’s beard the barber learns to shave.

A beau demandeur, beau refuseur. Handsomely asked, handsomely refused.

A beau jeu beau retour. One good turn deserves another.

A beau mentir qui vient de loin. He may lie boldly who comes from afar.

A bon appétit il ne faut point de sauce. Hunger is the best sauce.

A bon chat bon rat. To a good cat a good rat.

A bon cheval point d’éperon. Spur not a willing horse.

A bon chien il ne vient jamais un bon os. A good dog never gets a good bone.

Abondance de biens ne nuit pas. Store is no sore.

A bon entendeur demi-mot. A word to the wise.

A bon pêcheur échappe anguille. An eel escapes from a good fisherman.

A bon vin point d’enseigne. Good wine needs no sign.

A brebis tondue Dieu mesure le vent. God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.

Absent le chat, les souris dansent. When the cat’s away the mice will play.

Absent n’est point sans coulpe ni présent sans excuse. Absent, none without blame; present, none without excuse.

A carême-prenant chacun a besoin de sa poële. At shrove-tide every one has need of his frying-pan.

A celui qui a son pâté au four on peut donner de son gâteau. To one who has a pie in the oven you may give a bit of your cake.

A chacun son fardeau pèse. Every one feels his own burden heavy.


A chair de loup sauce de chien. For wolf’s flesh dog sauce.

A chaque fou plaît sa marotte. Every fool likes his bauble.

A chaque jour suffit sa peine. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.

A chaque saint son cierge. To every saint his candle.

A chemin battu ne croît point d’herbe. No grass grows on a beaten road.

Acheter chat en poche. To buy a cat in a poke.

A cheval donné, il ne faut point regarder à la bouche. Look not a gift horse in the mouth.

A chose faite conseil pris. When a thing is done advice comes too late.

A confesseurs, médecins, avocats, la vérité ne cèle de ton cas. From confessors, doctors, and lawyers, do not conceal the truth of your case.

Adieu paniers, vendanges sont faites. Farewell baskets, the vintage is ended.

A dur âne dur aiguillon. For a stubborn ass a hard goad.

A femme avare galant escroc. A covetous woman deserves a swindling gallant.

A force de mal aller tout ira bien. By dint of going wrong all will come right.

A fripon fripon et demi. To a rogue a rogue and a half.

A goupil endormi rien ne lui chet en gueule. Nothing falls into the mouth of a sleeping fox.

A homme hardi fortune tend la main. To a bold man fortune holds out her hand.

Aide-toi, le ciel t’aidera. Help thyself and heaven will help thee.

Aime-moi un peu, mais continue. Love me a little, but love me long.

Aimer et savoir n’ont même manière. To love and to be wise are two different things.

Ainsi dit le renard des mûres, quand il n’en peut avoir: elles ne sont point bonnes. The fox says of the mulberries when he cannot get at them: they are not good at all.

Aisé à dire est difficile à faire. Easy to say is hard to do.

A la chandelle la chèvre semble demoiselle. By candle-light a goat looks like a lady.

A la fin saura-t-on qui a mangé le lard. In the end it will be known who ate the bacon.


A la guerre comme à la guerre. At the wars as they do at the wars.

A l’amour et au feu on s’habitue. One grows used to love and to fire.

A la presse vont les fous. Fools go in throngs.

A la queue gît le venin. In the tail lies the venom.

A l’aventure on met les ”oe]ufs couver. Eggs are put to hatch on chance.

A laver la tête d’un âne on ne perd que le temps et la lessive. To wash an ass’s head is but loss of time and soap. (To reprove a fool is but lost labour.)

A l’impossible nul n’est tenu. No one is bound to do impossibilities.

Aller aux mûres sans crochet. To go mulberry-gathering without a crook.

Aller en vendanges sans panier. To go to the vintage without baskets.

A l’”oe]il malade la lumière nuit. Light is bad for sore eyes.

A l’”oe]uvre on connaît l’ouvrier. The workman is known by his work.

A l’ongle on connaît le lion. You may know the lion by his claw.

A longue corde tire qui d’autrui mort désire. He pulls at a long rope who desires another’s death.

A mal enfourner on fait les pains cornus. Loaves put awry into the oven come out crooked.

A mal pasteur le loup chie laine. An easy shepherd makes the wolf void wool.

A marmite qui bout mouche ne s’attaque. Flies will not light on a boiling pot.

A mauvais chien l’on ne peut montrer le loup. There’s no showing the wolf to a bad dog.

A méchant chien court lien. A vicious dog must be tied short.

A merle soûl cerises sont amères. Cherries are bitter to the glutted blackbird.

Ami de table est variable. A table friend is changeable.

A morceau restif éperon de vin. A restive morsel needs a spur of wine.


Amour de grands, ombre de buisson qui passe bientôt. The friendship of great men is like the shadow of a bush, soon gone.

Amour et seigneurie ne veulent point de compagnie. Love and lordship like no fellowship.

Amour fait moult, argent fait tout. Love does much, money everything.

Amour soumet tout hormis c”oe]ur de félon. Love subdues everything except the recreant’s heart.

Amour, toux, fumée, et argent, ne se peuvent cacher longuement. Love, a cough, smoke, and money, cannot long be hid.

Amour, toux, et fumée, en secret ne font demeurée. Love, a cough, and smoke will not remain secret.

Ane piqué convient qu’il trotte. A goaded ass must trot.

A nouveaux seigneurs nouvelles lois. New lords, new laws.

A nul ne peut être ami qui de soi-même est ennemi. He cannot be a friend to any one who is his own enemy.

A paroles lourdes oreilles sourdes. To rude words deaf ears.

A père avare enfant prodigue. A miserly father makes a prodigal son.

A petite achoison le loup prend le mouton. Upon a slight pretext the wolf takes the sheep.

A petite fontaine boit-on à son aise. At a little fountain one drinks at one’s ease.

A petit mercier, petit panier. A little pack serves a little pedlar.

Après bon vin bon cheval. Good wine makes the horse go.

Après dommage chacun est sage. After mischance every one is wise.

Après la fête on gratte la tête. After a feast a man scratches his head.

Après la pluie le beau temps. After rain fine weather.

Après la mort le médecin. After death the doctor.

Après le fait ne vaut souhait. After the act wishing is in vain.

Après moi le déluge. After me the deluge.

Après perdre perd-on bien. After one loss come many.

Après raire n’y a plus que tondre. After shaving there’s nothing to shear.


A quelque chose malheur est bon. Ill-luck is good for something.

A qui il meschet on lui meffaict. Where misfortune befals injuries follow.

A qui vendez-vous vos coquilles? A ceux qui viennent de Saint Michel. To whom do you offer your shells for sale? To people who come from Saint Michel (where shells abound).

A qui veut rien n’est impossible. Nothing is impossible to a willing mind.

A raconter ses maux souvent on les soulage. By telling our woes we often assuage them.

Argent ard gent. Money burns many.

Argent comptant porte médecine. Ready money works great cures.

Argent emprunté porte tristesse. Money borrowed is soon sorrowed.

Argent est rond, il faut qu’il roule. Money is round, it must roll.

Argent reçu, le bras rompu. The money paid, the workman’s arm is broken.

A Rome comme à Rome. At Rome do as Rome does.

A rude âne rude ânier. For a stubborn ass a stubborn driver.

Assez a qui se contente. He has enough who is content.

Assez demande qui bien sert. Who serves well asks enough.

Assez dort qui rien ne fait. He slumbers enough who does nothing.

Assez écorche qui le pied tient. He flays enough who holds the foot.

Assez gagne qui malheur perd. He gains enough who loses sorrow.

Assez n’y a si trop n’y a. There’s not enough if there’s not too much.

Assez parents, assez tourments. Much kindred, much trouble.

Assez sait qui sait vivre et se taire. He knows enough who knows how to live and keep his own counsel.

Assez tôt se fait ce qui bien se fait. That is done soon enough which is well done.

Assez tôt si assez bien. Soon enough if well enough.


A tard crie l’oiseau quand il est pris. Too late the bird cries out when it is caught.

A toile ourdie Dieu envoie le fil. For a web begun God sends thread.

A tout il y a commencement. Everything must have a beginning.

A tout oiseau son nid est beau. To every bird its nest seems fair.

A tout seigneur tout honneur. To every lord every honour.

A trop acheter n’y a que revendre. For overbuying there’s no help but selling again.

Au battre faut l’amour. By beating love decays.

Au besoin l’on connaît l’ami. A friend is known in time of need.

Au dernier les os. For the last-comer the bones.

Au diable tant de maîtres, dit le crapaud à la herse. To the devil with so many masters, said the toad to the harrow.

Aujourd’hui marié, demain marri. Married to-day, marred to-morrow.

Au long aller petit fardeau pèse. Light burdens borne far become heavy.

Au nouveau tout est beau. What is new is always fine.

Au pays des aveugles les borgnes sont rois. The one-eyed are kings in the land of the blind.

Au petit pourceau Dieu donne bonne racine. God puts a good root in the little pig’s way.

A un pauvre homme sa vache meurt et au riche son enfant. Death takes the poor man’s cow and the rich man’s child.

Au plus débile la chandelle à la main. The weakest must hold the candle.

Au premier coup ne chet pas l’arbre. The tree does not fall at the first stroke.

Au prêter ange, au rendre diable. In borrowing an angel, in repaying a devil.

Au prêter cousin germain, au rendre fils de putain. At borrowing cousin german, at repaying son of a whore.

Aussi tôt meurt veau que vache. As soon dies the calf as the cow.

Autant chemine un homme en un jour qu’un limaçon en cent ans. A man travels as far in a day as a snail in a hundred years.


Autant dépend chiche que large, et à la fin plus davantage. The niggard spends as much as he who is liberal, and in the end more.

Autant de têtes, autant d’avis. So many men, so many minds.

Autant de trous, autant de chevilles. A peg for every hole.

Autant pèche celui qui tient le sac que celui qui met dedans. He sins as much who holds the bag as he who puts into it.

Autant vaut bien battre que mal battre. You may as well give a good beating as a bad one.

Autant vaut bien battu que mal battu. One may as well be well beaten as badly beaten.

Autant vaut être mordu d’un chien que d’une chienne. It is all one whether you are bit by a dog or a bitch.

Autant vaut l’homme comme il s’estime. A man is valued according to his own estimate of himself.

Autre temps, autres m”oe]urs. Other times, other manners.

Aux grands maux les grands remèdes. Desperate ills require desperate remedies.

A vaillant homme courte épée. A short sword for a brave man.

Avec du temps et de la paille les nèfles mûrissent. With time and straw medlars ripen.

Avec un Si on mettrait Paris dans une bouteille. With the help of an If you might put Paris into a bottle.

A vieille mule frein doré. A gilt bridle for an old mule.

A vieux comptes nouvelles disputes. Old reckonings breed new disputes.

Avoir des amis en paradis et en enfer. To have friends both in heaven and hell.


Bâton porte paix. A stick is a peacemaker.

Battre le chien devant le lion. To beat the dog in presence of the lion.

Beaucoup de mémoire et peu de jugement. Much memory and little judgment.

Beauté et folie sont souvent en compagnie. Beauty and folly are often companions.


Belle, bonne, riche, et sage, est une femme en quatre étages. Fair, good, rich, and wise, is a woman four stories high.

Belle chose est tôt ravie. Fair things are soon snatched away.

Belle fille et méchante robe trouvent toujours qui les accroche. A fine girl and a tattered gown always find something to hook them.

Belle hôtesse c’est un mal pour la bourse. A handsome hostess is bad for the purse.

Belle promesse fol lie. A fair promise binds a fool.

Besoin fait vieille trotter. Need makes the old woman trot.

Bien embarrassé celui qui tient la queue de la poële. He has enough to do who holds the handle of the frying-pan.

Bien dire fait rire; bien faire fait taire. Saying well causes a laugh; doing well produces silence.

Bien est larron qui larron dérobe. He is a thief indeed who robs a thief.

Bien nourri et mal appris. Well fed but ill taught.

Bien vient à mieux, et mieux à mal. Good comes to better, and better to bad.

Boire et manger, coucher ensemble, c’est mariage, ce me semble. To eat and drink, and sleep together, is marriage, methinks.

Bon avocat, mauvais voisin. A good lawyer is a bad neighbour.

Bon charretier tourne en petit lieu. A good driver turns in a small space.

Bon chien chasse de race. A good dog hunts by instinct.

Bon droit a besoin d’aide. A good cause needs help.

Bon fait voler bas à cause des branches. It is well to fly low on account of the branches.

Bon gaignage fait bon potage. Fat pastures make fat venison.

Bon guet chasse malaventure. Good watching drives away ill-luck.

Bon jour bonne ”oe]uvre. The better day the better deed.

Bonjour lunettes, adieu fillettes. Good morrow spectacles, farewell lasses.

Bon nageur de n’être noyé n’est pas sûr. A good swimmer is not safe against drowning.


Bonne bête s’échauffe en mangeant. A good beast heats with eating.

Bonne epée, point querelleur. A good swordsman is never quarrelsome.

Bonne est la maille qui sauve le denier. ’Tis a good farthing that saves a penny.

Bonne journée fait qui de fol se délivre. He does a good day’s work who rids himself of a fool.

Bonne renommée vaut mieux que ceinture dorée. Good repute is better than a golden belt.

Bon sang ne peut mentir. Good blood will never lie.

Bons mots n’épargnent nuls. Witticisms spare no one.

Bons nageurs sont à la fin noyés. Good swimmers are drowned at last.

Bouche serrée, mouche n’y entre. No flies get into a shut mouth.

Bourdes vrayes ne plaisent jamais. True jokes never please.

Brebis comptées, le loup les mange. Counted sheep are eaten by the wolf.

Brebis qui bêle perd sa goulée. The sheep that bleats loses its mouthful.

Brebis trop apprivoisée de trop d’agneaux est tettée. The sheep that is too tame is sucked by too many lambs.

Bûche tortue fait bon feu. A crooked log makes a good fire.


Calomniez, calomniez: il en reste toujours quelque chose. Slander! slander! some of it always sticks.

Cela fait venir de l’eau au moulin. That brings water to the mill.

Celui à bon gage du chat qui en tient la peau. He has a good pledge of the cat who has her skin.

Celui est homme de bien qui est homme de biens. A good man is a man of goods.

Celui gouverne bien mal le miel qui n’en taste et ses doigts n’en lèche. He is a very bad manager of honey who leaves nothing to lick off his fingers.

Celui peut hardiment nager à qui l’on soutient le menton. He may swim boldly who is held up by the chin.

Celui qui est adonné aux dez, le diable le tire par le nez.[10] The devil leads him by the nose who the dice too often throws.

Celui qui est sur les épaules d’un géant voit plus loin que celui qui le porte. He who rides on the giant’s shoulders sees further than he who carries him.

Celui qui tient la queue de la poële risque de se brûler. He that holds the handle of the frying-pan runs the risk of burning himself.

Ce ne sont pas les plus belles qui font les grandes passions. It is not the greatest beauties that inspire the most profound passion.

Ce n’est pas tout que des choux, il faut encore de la graisse. It is not enough to have cabbage, one must have something to grease it.

Ce n’est rien, c’est une femme qui se noye. It is nothing at all, only a woman drowning.

Cent ans bannière, cent ans civière. A hundred years a banner, a hundred years a barrow.A very old proverb, signifying the changeful fortunes of great feudal families.]

Cent ans de chagrin ne payent pas un sou de dettes. A hundred years of fretting will not pay a halfpenny of debt.

Cent ans n’est guère, mais jamais c’est beaucoup. A hundred years is not much, but never is a long while.

Cependant le bonhomme n’a pas son sac. But for all that the honest man has not got his purse.

Ce que fait la louve plaît au loup. What the she-wolf does (or brings forth) pleases the he-wolf.

Ce que femme veut Dieu le veut. What a woman wills God wills.

Ce que le gantelet gagne le gorgeret le mange. What the gauntlet wins the gorget consumes.

Ce que l’enfant oit au foyer est bientôt connu jusqu’au moustier. What the child hears at the fireside is soon known at the parish church.

Ce que le sobre tient au c”oe]ur est sur la langue du buveur. What the sober man keeps in his heart is on the tongue of the drunkard.

Ce que moine pense, il ose le faire. What a monk thinks he dares to do.

Ce qu’”oe]il ne voit, au c”oe]ur ne deult. What the eye sees not the heart rues not.


Ce que poulain prend en jeunesse il le continue en vieillesse. What the colt learns in youth he continues in old age.

Ce qui est différé n’est pas perdu. All is not lost that is delayed.

Ce qui nuit à l’un duit à l’autre. What is bad for one is good for another.

Ce qui suffit ne fut jamais peu. What is enough was never little.

Ce qui vient de la flûte s’en retourne au tambour. What comes from the fife goes back to the drum. (Lightly come, lightly go; or, what is got over the devil’s back is spent under his belly.)

Ce qu’on apprend au berceau dure jusqu’au tombeau. What is learned in the cradle lasts till the grave.

Ce sont les pires bourdes que les vraies. The worst jests are those that are true.

C’est folie de béer contre un four. It is folly to gape against an oven.

C’est folie de faire son médecin son héritier. He is a fool who makes his physician his heir.

C’est folie de faire un maillet de son poing. He is a fool who makes a mallet of his fist.

C’est la cour du roi Petaud, chacun y est maître. Like King Petaud’s court, where every one is master.

C’est la maîtresse-roue qui fait tourner le moulin. It is the master-wheel that makes the mill go round.

C’est le chien de Jean de Nivelle, il s’enfuit quand on l’appelle. He is like Jean de Nivelle’s dog, that runs away when he is called.

C’est le ton qui fait la musique. It is the tone that makes the music.

C’est le valet du diable, il fait plus qu’on ne lui commande. He is the devil’s valet, he does more than he is ordered.

C’est partout comme chez nous. ’Tis everywhere the same as here.

C’est peu que de courir, il faut partir à point. It is not enough to run; one must start in time.

C’est quand l’enfant est baptisé qu’il arrive des parrains. When the child is christened you will have godfathers enough.


C’est toujours la plus mauvaise roue qui crie. The worst wheel always creaks most.

C’est trop aimer quand on en meurt. It is loving too much to die of love.

C’est un cheval à quatre pieds blancs. He is a horse with four white feet (i.e., he is unlucky).

C’est un long jour qu’un jour sans pain. ’Tis a long day a day without bread.

Chacun à son goût. Every man to his taste.

Chacun a un fou dans sa manche. Every one has a fool in his sleeve.

Chacun chien qui aboye ne mord pas. Not every dog that barks bites.

Chacun dit: J’ai bon droit. Every one says: My right is good.

Chacun doit balayer devant sa porte. Every one should sweep before his own door.

Chacun le sien, ce n’est pas trop. Every one his own, is but fair.

Chacun n’est pas aise qui danse. Not every one that dances is glad.

Chacun porte sa croix. Every one bears his cross.

Chacun pour soi et Dieu pour tous. Every one for himself and God for all.

Chacun prêche pour son saint. Every one preaches for his own saint.

Chacun prend son plaisir où il le trouve. Every one takes his pleasure where he finds it.

Chacun se fait fouetter à sa guise. Every one takes his flogging in his own way.

Chacun sent le mieux où le soulier le blesse. Every one knows best where the shoe pinches him.

Chacun son métier, et les vaches seront bien gardées. Let every one mind his own business, and the cows will be well tended.

Chacun tire l’eau à son moulin. Every one draws the water to his own mill.

Chacun vaut son prix. Every man has his value.

Changer son cheval borgne contre un aveugle. To exchange a one-eyed horse for a blind one.


Chaque demain apporte son pain. Every to-morrow brings its bread.

Chaque potier vante son pot. Every potter vaunts his own pot.

Chaque médaille a son revers. Every medal has its reverse.

Charbonnier est maître chez soi. The coalheaver is master at home.

Charité bien ordonnée commence par soi-même. Well-regulated charity begins with one’s self.

Château abattu est moitié refait. A mansion pulled down is half built up again.

Chat échaudé craint l’eau froide. A scalded cat dreads cold water.

Chercher midi à quatorze heures. To look for noon at fourteen o’clock.

Chercher une aiguille dans une botte de foin. To look for a needle in a bundle of hay.

Cherté foisonne. Dearness gluts.

Cheval rogneux n’a cure qu’on l’étrille. A galled horse does not care to be curried.

Chien affamé, de bastonnade n’est intimidé. A hungry dog is not afraid of a cudgelling.

Chien enragé ne peut longuement vivre. A mad dog cannot live long.

Chien hargneux a toujours l’oreille déchirée. Snarling curs never want sore ears.

Chien qui aboie ne mord pas. Barking dogs don’t bite.

Chien sur son fumier est hardi. Every dog is valiant in his own kennel.

Chose perdue, chose connue. A thing lost is a thing known.

Choses promises sont choses dues. Things promised are things due.

Chose trop vue n’est chère tenue. A thing too much seen is little prized.

Chou pour chou. Cabbage for cabbage.

Comme on fait son lit on se couche. As you make your bed so you must lie on it.

Communautés commencent par bâtir leur cuisine. Communities begin by building their kitchen.

Compagnon bien parlant vaut en chemin chariot branlant.[14] A pleasant companion on a journey is as good as a postchaise.

Comparaison n’est pas raison. Comparison is not proof.

Comparaisons sont odieuses. Comparisons are odious.

Contre coignée serrure ne peut. No lock avails against a hatchet.

Couard souvent coup mortel au preux donne. A coward often deals a mortal blow to the brave.

Coudre la peau du renard à celle du lion. To sew the fox’s skin to the lion’s.

Courte messe et long dîner. A short mass and a long dinner.

Courtoisie qui ne vient que d’un côté ne peut longuement durer. Courtesy that is all on one side cannot last long.

Craignez la colère de la colombe. Dread the anger of the dove.

Crier famine sur un tas de bled. To cry famine on a heap of corn.

Croyez cela et buvez de l’eau. Believe that, and drink some water (to wash it down.)


Dans la nuit tous chats sont gris. All cats are alike grey at night.

Débander l’arc ne guérit pas la plaie. Unstringing the bow does not cure the wound.

De court plaisir long repentir. From short pleasure long repentance.

Découvrir saint Pierre pour couvrir saint Paul. To strip St. Peter to clothe St. Paul.

De demain à demain le temps s’en va bien loin. From to-morrow till to-morrow time goes a long journey.

De deux maux il faut choisir le moindre. Of two evils choose the least.

De deux regardeurs il y en a toujours un qui devient joueur. Of two lookers on one is sure to become a player.

De fol juge brève sentence. A foolish judge passes brief sentence. (A fool’s bolt is soon shot.)

De forte coûture forte déchirure. The stronger the seam the worse the rent.


De grande montée, grande chute. The higher the rise the greater the fall.

De gerbe remuée chet le grain. The corn falls out of a shaken sheaf.

De jeune angelot vieux diable. A young angel, an old devil.

De la main à la bouche se perd souvent la soupe. Between the hand and the mouth the soup is often spilt. (’Twixt the cup and the lip there’s many a slip.)

De la panse vient la danse. A full belly sets a man jigging.

De maigre poil âpre morsure. A gaunt brute bites sore.

Demander de la laine à un âne. To ask wool of an ass.

Demandez-le à mon compagnon, qui est aussi menteur que moi. Ask my comrade, who is as great a liar as myself.

Deniers avancent les bediers. Money advances meacocks.

De oui et non vient toute question. Out of yes and no comes all dispute.

Dépends le pendard et il te pendra. Take down a rogue from the gallows and he will hang you up.

De peu de drap courte cape. Of little cloth but a short cloak.

De qui je me fie Dieu me garde. God save me from those I trust in.

Derrière la croix souvent se tient le diable. The devil often lurks behind the cross.

De toute taille bon chien. There are good dogs of all sizes.

De tout s’avise à qui pain faut. A man who wants bread is ready for anything.

Deux hommes se rencontrent bien, mais jamais deux montagnes. Two men may meet, but never two mountains.

Deux moineaux sur même épi ne sont pas long-temps unis. Two sparrows on the same ear of corn are not long friends.

Dieu aide à trois sortes de personnes: aux fous, aux enfants, et aux ivrognes. God helps three sorts of people: fools, children, and drunkards.

Dieu donne le froid selon le drap. God gives the cold according to the cloth.

Dieu garde la lune des loups. God saves the moon from the wolves.

Dieu sait qui est bon pélerin. God knows who is a good pilgrim.

Dieu seul devine les sots. God alone understands fools.


Dieu vous garde d’un homme qui n’a qu’une affaire. God save you from a man who has but one business.

Dis-moi qui tu hantes, je te dirai qui tu es. Tell me the company you keep, and I will tell you who you are.

Dites toujours fanfare, vous ne mourrez jamais. Always talk big and you will never be forgotten.

Dites toujours nenni, vous ne serez jamais mariée. Always say no, and you will never be married.

D’oiseaux, de chiens, d’armes, d’amours, pour un plaisir mille doulours. In hawks, hounds, arms, and love, for one pleasure a thousand pains.

Donner de l’eau bénite de cour. To give court holy-water.

Donner une chandelle à Dieu et une au diable. To offer one candle to God and another to the devil.

Donner un ”oe]uf pour avoir un b”oe]uf. To give an egg to get an ox.

Dormir une heure avant minuit vaut mieux que trois après. One hour’s sleep before midnight is better than three after it.

Douce parole n’écorche pas langue. Soft words don’t scotch the tongue.

Du cuir d’un vieux mari on en achète un jeune. With an old husband’s hide one buys a young one.

Du dire au fait il y a grand trait. ’Twixt the word and the deed there’s a long step.

Du larron privé on ne peut se garder. There’s no guarding against the privy thief.

D’une vache perdue c’est quelque chose de recouvrer la queue, ne fût-ce que pour faire un tirouer à son huis. When a cow is lost it is something to recover its tail, were it only to make a handle for one’s door.

D’un sac à charbon ne saurait sortir de blanche farine. White meal is not got out of a coal-sack.


Ecorcher l’anguille par la queue. To begin skinning the eel at the tail.

Elève le corbeau, il te crèvera les yeux. Bring up a raven and he will peck out your eyes.

Enfants et fous sont devins. Children and fools are prophets.


En fin les renards se trouvent chez le pelletier. Foxes come at last to the furrier’s.

En forgeant on devient forgeron. By working in the smithy one becomes a smith.

En grand fardeau n’est pas l’acquêt. The greatest burdens are not the gainfullest.

En la cour du roi chacun y est pour soi. At the king’s court every one for himself.

En la maison du ménétrier chacun est danseur. In the fiddler’s house every one is a dancer.

En mariage trompe qui peut. In marriage cheat who can.

Ennemi ne s’endort. An enemy does not sleep.

En petit champ croît bien bon bled. Very good corn grows in little fields.

En petites boîtes met-on les bons onguents. Precious ointments are put in small boxes.

En peu d’heure Dieu labeure. God’s work is soon done.

En sûreté dort qui n’a que perdre. He sleeps securely who has nothing to lose.

Entre deux selles le cul à terre. Between two stools the breech comes to the ground.

Entre promettre et donner doit-on marier sa fille. Between promising and giving a man should marry his daughter.

En vaisseau mal lavé ne peut-on vin garder. Wine will not keep in a foul vessel.

Envie passe avarice. Envy goes beyond avarice.

Erreur n’est pas compte. A mistake is no reckoning.

Est assez riche qui ne doit rien. He is rich enough who owes nothing.

Evêque d’or, crosse de bois; crosse d’or, évêque de bois. Golden bishop, wooden crosier; wooden bishop, golden crosier.


Face d’homme porte vertu. There’s virtue in a man’s face (i.e., presence carries weight).

Faire bonne mine à mauvais jeu. To put a good face on a bad game.

Faire comme le singe, tirer les marrons du feu avec la patte du chat. To do like the monkey, get the chesnuts out of the fire with the cat’s paw.


Faire de nécessité vertu. To make a virtue of necessity.

Faire des châteaux en Espagne. To build castles in the air.

Faire du cuir d’autrui large courroie. To cut broad thongs from another man’s leather.

Faire d’une pierre deux coups. To make two hits with one stone.

Faire un trou pour en boucher un autre. To make one hole by way of stopping another.

Faisant son office la balance, d’or ni de plomb n’a connaissance. The balance in doing its office knows neither gold nor lead.

Fais ce que dois, advienne que pourra. Do what you ought, come what may.

Fais-moi la barbe et je te ferai le toupet. Trim my beard and I will trim your topknot.

Femme, argent, et vin, ont leur bien et leur venin. Women, money, and wine have their balm and their harm.

Femme et melon à peine les connaît-on. A woman and a melon are hard to choose.

Femme qui beaucoup se mire peu file. A woman who looks much in the glass spins but little.

Femme qui prend, se vend; femme qui donne, s’abandonne. A woman who accepts, sells herself; a woman who gives, surrenders.

Femme rit quand elle peut, et pleure quand elle veut. A woman laughs when she can, and weeps when she pleases.

Femme sotte se cognoit à la cotte. A foolish woman is known by her finery.

Fiançailles vont en selle et repentailles en croupe. Wedlock rides in the saddle and repentance on the crupper.

Fi de manteau quand il fait beau. Fie upon a cloak in fair weather.

Fille oisive, à mal pensive. A girl unemployed is thinking of mischief.

Fin contre fin. Diamond cut diamond.

Fin contre fin n’est pas bon pour faire doublure. Fine and fine make but a slender doublet.

Foi de gentilhomme, un autre gage vaut mieux. The word of honour of a gentleman—another pledge would be better.

Folle est la brebis qui au loup se confesse. ’Tis a silly sheep that makes the wolf her confessor.


Force n’a pas droit. Might knows no right.

Fou qui se tait passe pour sage. The fool who is silent passes for wise.

Fumée, pluie, et femme sans raison, chassent l’homme de sa maison. Smoke, floods, and a troublesome wife, are enough to drive a man out of his life.


Gâteau et mauvaise coutume se doivent rompre. A cake and a bad custom ought to be broken.

Gâter une chandelle pour trouver une épingle. To burn out a candle in search of a pin.

Gentilhomme de Beauce qui reste au lit pendant qu’on raccommode ses chausses. A gentleman of Beauce who stays in bed till his breeches are mended.

Goutte à goutte emplit la cuve. Drop by drop fills the tub.

Goutte à goutte la pierre se creuse. Drop by drop wears away the stone.

Graissez les bottes d’un vilain, il dira qu’on les lui brûle. Grease a churl’s boots and he’ll say you are burning them.

Grand besoin a de fol qui de soi-même le fait. He has great need of a fool who makes himself one.

Grand bien ne vient pas en peu d’heures. A great estate is not gotten in a few hours.

Grande chère petit testament. A fat kitchen makes a lean will.

Grande dispute vérité rebute. Great disputing repels truth.

Grand parleur grand menteur. A great talker is a great liar.

Grands oiseaux de coutume sont privés de leurs plumes. Fine birds are commonly plucked.

Grand vanteur, petit faiseur. Great boaster, little doer.

Grosse tête, peu de sens. Big head, little wit.


Habillé comme un moulin à vent. Dressed like a windmill.

Habille-toi lentement quand tu es pressé. Dress slowly when you are in a hurry.

Hardiment heurte à la porte qui bonne nouvelle y apporte. He knocks boldly at the door who brings good news.


Hâtez-vous lentement. Hasten leisurely.

Heureux commencement est la moitié de l’”oe]uvre. Well begun is half done.

Heureux sont les enfants dont les pères sont damnés. Happy the child whose father goes to the devil.

Homme assailli à demi vaincu. A man assailed is half overcome.

Homme chiche jamais riche. A stingy man is always poor.

Homme matineux, sain, alègre, et soigneux. The early riser is healthy, cheerful, and industrious.

Homme ne connaît mieux la malice que l’abbé qui a été moine. No man understands knavery better than the abbot who has been a monk.

Homme plaideur, menteur. A litigious man, a liar.

Honnête pauvreté est clair semée. Honest poverty is thinly sown.

Honneur fleurit sur la fosse. Honour blossoms on the grave.


Il a battu les buissons et un autre a pris les oisillons. He beat the bushes and another caught the birds.

Il a beau se lever matin qui a le renom de dormir la grasse matinée. It is in vain for a man to rise early who has the repute of lying in bed all the morning.

Il a beau se taire de l’escot qui ne paie rien. He needs say nothing about the score who pays nothing.

Il advient souvent en un jour ce qui n’advient en cent ans. That often happens in a day which does not happen in a hundred years.

Il a mangé son blé en herbe. He has eaten his corn in the blade.

Il a mis tous ses ”oe]ufs dans un panier. He has put all his eggs into one basket.

Il attend que les alouettes lui tombent toutes rôties dans le bec. He expects that larks will fall ready roasted into his mouth.

Il cherche son âne et il est monté dessus. He looks for his ass and sits on its back.

Il est avis au renard que chacun mange poules comme lui. The fox thinks everybody eats poultry like himself.


Il est avis à vieille vache qu’elle ne fût oncques veau. It is the old cow’s notion that she never was a calf.

Il est bien aisé d’aller à pied quand on tient son cheval par la bride. It is pleasant enough going afoot when you lead your horse by the bridle.

Il est bien fou qui s’oublie. He is a great fool who forgets himself.

Il est bon d’avoir des amis partout. It is good to have friends in all parts.

Il est comme le chien du jardinier, qui ne mange point de choux, et n’en laisse pas manger aux autres. He is like the gardener’s dog, who don’t eat cabbages and will let no one else eat them.

Il est dit habile, qui fraude ami et pile. He is called clever who cheats and plunders his friend.

Il est du naturel du chat, il retombe toujours sur ses pieds. He is like a cat, he always falls on his feet.

Il est juste que le prêtre vive de l’autel. It is just that the priest should live by the altar.

Il est né coiffé. He was born with a caul.

Il est né dimanche, il aime besogne faite. He was born on a Sunday, he likes work ready done.

Il est plus aisé de se tirer de la rive que du fond. It is easier to get away from the bank than the bottom.

Il est tout prêché qui n’a cure de bien faire. He is past preaching to who does not care to do well.

Il est trop tard de fermer l’écurie quand les chevaux sont pris. It is too late to lock the stable-door when the steeds are stolen.

Il fait bien mauvais au bois quand les loups se mangent l’un l’autre. Very hard times in the wood when the wolves eat each other.

Il fait bon battre l’orgueilleux quand il est seul. It is good to beat a proud man when he is alone.

Il fait toujours bon tenir son cheval par la bride. It is always well to keep hold of your horse’s bridle.

Il faut amadouer la poule pour avoir les poussins. To get the chicks one must coax the hen.

Il faut avaler les pilules sans les mâcher. Pills must be swallowed without chewing.


Il faut battre le fer tandis qu’il est chaud. Strike while the iron is hot.

Il faut bien laisser le jeu quand il est beau. It is well to leave off playing when the game is at its best.

Il faut casser la noix pour manger le noyau. He that would eat the kernel must crack the nut.

Il faut être enclume ou marteau. One must be either anvil or hammer.

Il faut faire ce qu’on fait. What you are doing do thoroughly. (Age quod agis.)

Il faut gratter les gens par où il leur démange. Scratch people where they itch.

Il faut hurler avec les loups. One must howl with the wolves.

Il faut laisser l’enfant morveux plutôt que lui arracher le nez. It is better to leave the child’s nose dirty than wring it off.

Il faut laver son linge sale en famille. Foul linen should be washed at home.

Il faut louer la mer et se tenir en terre. Praise the sea, and keep on land.

Il faut passer par la porte ou par la fenêtre. One must pass through the door or the window.

Il faut perdre un véron pour pêcher un saumon. One must lose a minnow to catch a salmon.

Il faut placer le clocher au milieu du village. Put the belfry in the middle of the village.

Il faut prendre le bénéfice avec les charges. The benefice must be taken with its liabilities.

Il faut que tout le monde vive. Everybody must live.

Il faut qu’une porte soit ouverte ou fermée. A door must either be open or shut.

Il faut reculer pour mieux sauter. One must step back to make the better leap.

Il faut se défier d’un ennemi réconcilié. Beware of a reconciled enemy. (Take heed of an enemy reconciled.)

Il faut se dire beaucoup d’amis et s’en croire peu. Give out that you have many friends, and believe that you have but few.

Il faut tendre voile selon le vent. Set your sail according to the wind.


Il faut tondre les brebis et non les écorchier. Shear the sheep but don’t flay them.

Il faut tourner sept fois sa langue dans sa bouche avant de parler. Turn your tongue seven times before speaking.

Il faut vouloir ce qu’on ne peut empêcher. One must needs like what one cannot hinder.

Il ment comme un arracheur de dents. He lies like a toothdrawer.

Il met sa faucille dans la moisson d’autrui. He puts his sickle into another man’s harvest.

Il n’a rien oublié, sinon de dire adieu. He forgot nothing except to say farewell.

Il ne choisit pas qui emprunte. Borrowers must not be choosers.

Il ne faut jamais défier un fou de mal faire. Never challenge a fool to do wrong.

Il ne faut pas badiner avec le feu. It won’t do to trifle with fire.

Il ne faut pas chômer les fêtes avant qu’elles ne soient venues. It will not do to keep holidays before they come.

Il ne faut pas clocher devant les boiteux. Never limp before the lame.

Il ne faut pas dire: Fontaine, je ne boirai pas de ton eau. Never say, Fountain, I will not drink of thy water.

Il ne faut pas enseigner les poissons à nager. Don’t teach fishes to swim.

Il ne faut pas faire d’un diable deux. Do not make two devils of one.

Il ne faut pas faire passer tous les chats pour des sorciers. All cats are not to be set down for witches.

Il ne faut pas jeter des pierres dans le jardin de ton voisin. You must not throw stones into your neighbour’s garden.

Il ne faut pas laisser de semer pour crainte des pigeons. Do not abstain from sowing for fear of the pigeons.

Il ne faut pas lier les ânes avec les chevaux. Asses must not be tied up with horses.

Il ne faut pas mettre le doigt entre l’arbre et l’écorce. Never put your finger between the tree and the bark.

Il ne faut pas parler latin devant les cordeliers. Don’t talk Latin before the Franciscans.


Il ne faut pas se moquer des chiens qu’on ne soit hors du village. Don’t snap your fingers at the dogs before you are out of the village.

Il ne faut pas s’en rapporter à l’étiquette du sac. Don’t rely on the label of the bag.

Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir mis par terre. Never sell the bearskin till you have killed the bear.

Il ne faut point parler de corde dans la maison d’un pendu. Never speak of a rope in the house of one who was hanged.

Il ne faut point se dépouiller avant de se coucher. Do not strip before bedtime.

Il ne faut que tourner le dos à Dieu pour devenir riche. To grow rich one has only to turn his back on God.

Il ne faut qu’une brebis galeuse pour gâter tout le troupeau. One scabby sheep is enough to spoil the whole flock.

Il ne faut rien dérober que la bourse d’un avocat. One may steal nothing save a lawyer’s purse.

Il ne perdra pas l’avoine faute de brailler. He will not lose his oats for want of braying.

Il ne se garde pas bien qui ne se garde toujours. He does not guard himself well who is not always on his guard.

Il n’est banquet que d’homme chiche. No feast like a miser’s.

Il n’est chasse que de vieux chiens. There is no hunting but with old hounds.

Il n’est cheval qui n’ait sa tare. ’Tis a good horse that has no fault.

Il n’est orgueil que de pauvre enrichi. There is no pride like that of a beggar grown rich.

Il n’est pas échappé qui traîne son lien. He is not escaped who drags his chain.

Il n’est pas si diable qu’il est noir. He is not so much of a devil as he is black.

Il n’est pire eau que l’eau qui dort. There is no worse water than that which sleeps.

Il n’est pire sourd que celui qui ne veut pas entendre. None so deaf as he that won’t hear.

Il n’est point de belles prisons ni de laides amours. Never seemed a prison fair or mistress foul.


Il n’est que d’avoir la clef des champs. There’s nothing like having the key of the fields.

Il n’est que d’être crotté pour affronter le bourbier. There’s nothing like being bespattered for making a man defy the gutter.

Il n’est rien si bien fait où l’on ne trouve à redire. There is nothing so well done but may be mended.

Il n’est secret que de rien dire. The only way to keep a secret is to say nothing.

Il n’est si bon charretier qui ne verse. The best driver will sometimes upset.

Il n’est si grand dépit que de pauvre orgueilleux. There is no spite like that of a proud beggar.

Il n’est si petite chapelle qui n’ait son saint. There is no chapel so small but has its saint.

Il n’est si riche festin, où il n’y ait quelqu’un qui mal dîne. There never was a banquet so sumptuous but some one dined ill at it.

Il n’y a cheval si bien ferré qui ne glisse. Be a horse ever so well shod, he may slip.

Il n’y a cheval si bon qui ne bronche. It is a good horse that never stumbles.

Il n’y a ni rime ni raison. There’s neither rhyme nor reason.

Il n’y a pas de gens plus affairés que ceux qui ne font rien. None so busy as those who do nothing.

Il n’y a pas de miroir au monde qui ait jamais dit à une femme qu’elle était laide. There never was a looking-glass that told a woman she was ugly.

Il n’y a pas de sots métiers, il n’y a que de sottes gens. There are no foolish trades, there are only foolish people.

Il n’y a plus d’enfans. There are no children now-a-days.

Il n’y a point d’amour sans jalousie. There is no love without jealousy.

Il n’y a point de héros pour son valet de chambre. No man is a hero in the eyes of his valet.

Il n’y a point de petit ennemi. There is no such thing as an insignificant enemy.

Il n’y a que la première bouteille qui est chère. It is only the first bottle that is dear.


Il n’y a que le premier pas qui coûte. The first step is all the difficulty.

Il n’y a que les bons marchés qui ruinent. It is only good bargains that ruin.

Il n’y a que les honteux qui perdent. It is only the bashful that lose.

Il n’y a qu’heur et malheur en ce monde. All is luck or ill luck in this world.

Il n’y a rien de fait tant qu’il reste à faire. Nothing is done while something remains undone.

Il n’y a rien si hardi que la chemise d’un meunier. Nothing so bold as a miller’s shirt (because it takes a thief by the throat every morning).

Il n’y a sauce que d’appétit. No sauce like appetite.

Il n’y a si bel acquêt que le don. No purchase like a gift.

Il n’y a si bonne compagnie qui ne se quitte, comme disait le roi Dagobert à ses chiens. The best company must part, as King Dagobert said to his hounds.

Il n’y a si grand jour qui ne vienne pas a vêpres. No day so long but has its evening.

Il n’y a si méchant pot qui ne trouve son couvercle. There is no pot so bad but finds its cover.

Il n’y a si petit buisson qui n’ait son ombre. There is no bush so small but casts its shadow.

Il n’y eut jamais bon marché de peaux de lions. Lion-skins were never had cheap.

Il porte le deuil de sa blanchisseuse. He wears the mourning of his washerwoman.

Il porte le feu et l’eau. He carries fire and water.

Il ressemble à chat brûlé, il vaut mieux qu’il ne se prise. He is like a singed cat, better than he looks.

Il se ruine à promettre, et s’acquitte à ne rien donner. He ruins himself in promises, and clears himself by giving nothing.

Il tombe sur le dos et se casse le nez. He falls on his back and breaks his nose.

Il vaut mieux avoir affaire à Dieu qu’à ses saints. It is better to have to do with God than with his saints.

Il vaut mieux être fou avec tous que sage tout seul. Better be mad with all the world than wise alone.


Il vaut mieux être le premier de sa race que le dernier. It is better to be the first of one’s race than the last (meanest).]

Il vaut mieux être marteau qu’enclume. It is better to be the hammer than the anvil.

Il vaut mieux faire envie que pitié. Better to be envied than pitied.

Il vaut mieux plier que rompre. It is better to bend than break.

Il vaut mieux trébucher une fois que toujours chanceler. Better to stumble once than be always tottering.

Il y a des calomnies contre lesquelles l’innocence même perd courage. There are calumnies against which even innocence loses courage.

Il y a des hochets pour tous les ages. There are toys for all ages.

Il y a fagot et fagot. There are fagots and fagots (all are not alike).

Il y a plus de fols acheteurs que de fols vendeurs. There are more foolish buyers than foolish sellers.

Il y a remède à tout fors à la mort. There is a remedy for everything but death.


J’aime mieux un raisin pour moi que deux figues pour toi. Rather a single grape for me than a brace of figs for thee.

Jamais bon chien n’aboie à faux. A good dog never barks at fault.

Jamais chapon n’aima géline. Never did capon love a hen.

Jamais chat emmitouflé ne prit souris. A muffled cat never caught a mouse.

Jamais coup de pied de jument ne fit mal à un cheval. A kick from a mare never hurt a horse.

Jamais grand nez n’a gâté joli visage. A big nose never spoiled a handsome face.

Jamais honteux n’eut belle amie. Faint heart never won fair lady.

Jamais la cornemuse ne dit mot si elle n’a le ventre plein. The bagpipe never utters a word till its belly is full.


Jean a étudié pour être bête. John has been to school to learn to be a fool.

Je ne vis oncques riche muet. I never saw a silent rich man.

Je sais à mon pot comment les autres bouillent. I know by my own pot how the others boil.

Jeter le manche après la cognée. To throw the helve after the hatchet.

Jeux de mains jeu de vilains. Manual jokes are clown’s jokes.

Joyeuse vie père et mère oublie. A merry life forgets father and mother.


L’abattu veut toujours lutter. He that is thrown would still wrestle.

La belle cage ne nourrit pas l’oiseau. A fine cage won’t feed the bird.

La belle plume fait le bel oiseau. Fine feathers make fine birds.

La borne sied très bien entre les champs de deux frères. A landmark is very well placed between the fields of two brothers.

La brebis sur la montagne est plus haute que le taureau dans la plaine. The sheep on the mountain is higher than the bull on the plain.

La caque sent toujours le hareng. The cask always smells of the herring.

La chandelle qui va devant vaut mieux que celle qui va derrière. The candle that goes before is better than that which comes after.

L’adresse surmonte la force. Policy goes beyond strength.

La faim chasse le loup hors du bois. Hunger drives the wolf out of the wood.

La faim regarde à la porte de l’homme laborieux, mais elle n’ose pas entrer. Hunger looks in at the industrious man’s door but dares not enter.

La farine du diable s’en va moitié en son. The devil’s meal turns half to bran.

La faute est grande comme celui qui la commet. The fault is great in proportion to him who commits it.


La fête passée, adieu le saint. The saint’s-day over, farewell the saint.

La fin couronne l’”oe]uvre. The end crowns the work. (All is well that ends well.)

La fortune est une femme; si vous la manquez aujourd’hui, ne vous attendez pas à la retrouver demain. Fortune is a woman; if you neglect her to-day, expect not to regain her to-morrow.

La fortune la plus amie vous donne le croc-en-jambe. The most friendly fortune trips up your heels.

La fortune ne peut nous ôter que ce qu’elle nous a donné. Fortune can take from us only what she has given us.

La gibecière de l’avocat est une bouche d’enfer. The lawyer’s pouch is a mouth of hell.

La gloire vaine ne porte graine. Vainglory bears no grain.

La gourmandise a tué plus de gens que l’épée. Gluttony has killed more than the sword.

La guerre fait les larrons, la paix les pend. War makes robbers, peace hangs them.

L’aigle ne chasse point aux mouches. The eagle does not hunt flies.

Laissez le moustier où il est. Leave the minster where it is.

La jeunesse revient de loin. Youth may stray afar yet return at last.

La lame use le fourreau. The blade wears out the sheath.

La langue des femmes est leur épée, et elles ne la laissent pas rouiller. A woman’s tongue is her sword, and she does not let it rust.

La langue va où la dent fait mal. The tongue goes to where the tooth aches.

La lisière est pire que le drap. The list is worse than the cloth.

La loi dit ce que le roi veut. The law says what the king pleases.

La mauvaise garde paît souvent le loup. Bad watch often feeds the wolf.

L’ami par intérêt est une hirondelle sur les toits. The interested friend is a swallow on the roof. (Prepared to leave at the approach of winter.)

La moitié du monde ne sait comment l’autre vit. One half the world knows not how the other half lives.


La moitié du monde se moque de l’autre. One half the world laughs at the other.

L’amour apprend aux ânes à danser. Love teaches asses to dance.

L’amour chasse jalousie. Love expels jealousy.

L’amour fait passer le temps, et le temps fait passer l’amour. Love makes time pass away, and time makes love pass away.

L’amour fait rage, mais l’argent fait mariage. Love does wonders, but money makes marriage.

L’âne de la montagne porte le vin et boit de l’eau. The mountaineer’s ass carries wine and drinks water.

L’âne du commun est toujours le plus mal bâté. The ass that is common property is always the worst saddled.

Langue de miel et c”oe]ur de fiel. A honeyed tongue with a heart of gall.

La nuit n’a point d’amis. Night has no friend.

La nuit porte conseil. The night brings counsel.

La nuit tous chats sont gris. By night all cats are grey.

Là où sont les poussins la poule a les yeux. The hen’s eyes are with her chickens.

La patience est la vertu des ânes. Patience is the virtue of asses.

La peau est plus proche que la chemise. The skin is nearer than the shirt.

La pelle se moque du fourgon. The shovel scouts the poker.

La petite aumône est la bonne. The little alms are the good alms.

La peur est grand inventeur. Fear is a great inventor.

La plus belle femme ne peut donner que ce qu’elle a. The handsomest woman can only give what she has.

La plus grande finesse est de n’en avoir point. The greatest cunning is to have none at all.

La pomme est pour le vieux singe. The old monkey gets the apple.

La poule ne doit pas chanter devant le coq. The hen ought not to cackle in presence of the cock.

L’appétit vient en mangeant. Appetite comes with eating.

La queue est la pire à écorcher. The tail is the hardest to scourge.


La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure. The arguments of the strongest have always the most weight.

L’arbre ne tombe pas du premier coup. The tree does not fall at the first stroke.

L’argent est un bon serviteur, mais c’est un mauvais maître. Money is a good servant but a bad master.

L’argent ne se perd qu’à faute d’argent. Money is lost only for want of money.

La rouille use plus que le travail. Rust wastes more than use.

La seule victoire contre l’amour c’est la fuite. The only victory over love is flight.

La vanité n’a pas de plus grand ennemi que la vanité. Vanity has no greater foe than vanity.

L’avare et le cochon ne sont bons qu’après leur mort. The miser and the pig are of no use till dead.

L’avarice rompt le sac. Avarice bursts the bag.

La vérité est la massue qui chacun assomme et tue. Truth is the club that knocks down and kills everybody.

Lavez chien, peignez chien, toutefois n’est chien que chien. Wash a dog, comb a dog, still a dog remains a dog.

La vie est moitié usée avant qu’on ne sache ce qu’est la vie. Life is half spent before one knows what life is.

Le beau soulier blesse souvent le pied. A handsome shoe often pinches the foot.

Le bedeau de la paroisse est toujours de l’avis de monsieur le curé. The beadle of the parish is always of the vicar’s opinion.

Le b”oe]uf par la corne et l’homme par la parole. Take an ox by his horn, a man by his word.

Le bossu ne voit pas sa bosse, mais il voit celle de son confrère. The hunchback does not see his own hump, but he sees his brother’s.

Le bouton devient rose et la rose gratte-cul. The bud becomes a rose and the rose a hip.

Le bruit est si fort qu’on n’entend pas Dieu tonner. The noise is so great one cannot hear God thunder.

Le bruit pend l’homme. Repute hangs a man.

Le chaudron mâchure la poële. The kettle smuts the frying-pan.


Le c”oe]ur mène où il va. The heart leads whither it goes.

L’écoutant fait le médisant. The listener makes the backbiter.

Le dernier venu le mieux aimé. The last come is the best liked.

Le diable était beau quand il était jeune. The devil was handsome when he was young.

Le diable n’est pas toujours à la porte d’un pauvre homme. The devil is not always at a poor man’s door.

Le diable pourrait mourir que je n’hériterais pas de ses cornes. The devil may die without my inheriting his horns.

Le faux ami ressemble à l’ombre d’un cadran. The false friend is like the shadow of a sun-dial.

Le feu le plus couvert est le plus ardent. The most covered fire is always the most glowing.

Le fou cherche son malheur. The fool hunts for misfortune.

Le fou se coupe de son couteau. The fool cuts himself with his own knife.

Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle. The game is not worth the candle.

Le lièvre revient toujours à son gite. The hare always returns to her form.

Le loup mourra dans sa peau. The wolf will die in his skin.

Le mal an entre en nageant. The ill year comes in swimming.

Le mal de l’”oe]il il faut le panser avec le coude. If you have a sore eye wipe it with your elbow. (Elbow-grease is a great preventive of disease.)

Le mal vient à cheval et s’en va à pied. Misfortune comes on horseback and goes away on foot.

Le médecin est souvent plus à craindre que la maladie. The doctor is often more to be feared than the disease.

Le meilleur vin a sa lie. The best wine has its lees.

Le miel est doux, mais l’abeille pique. Honey is sweet, but the bee stings.

Le miel n’est pas pour les ânes. Honey is not for asses.

Le moine répond comme l’abbé chante. The monk responds as the abbot chants.

Le mortier sent toujours les aulx. The mortar always smells of the garlic.


Le moulin ne moult pas avec l’eau coulée en bas. The mill does not grind with water that is past.

L’empereur d’Allemagne est le roy des roys, le roy d’Espagne roy des hommes, le roy de France roy des ânes, et le roy d’Angleterre roy des diables. The Emperor of Germany is the king of kings, the King of Spain king of men, the King of France king of asses, the King of England king of devils.

Le mulet garde longuement un coup de pied à son maître. The mule long keeps a kick in reserve for its master.

L’encens entête et tout le monde en veut. Incense intoxicates and every one wishes for it.

L’entente est au diseur. The meaning is best known to the speaker.

Le papier souffre tout. Paper bears anything.

L’épine en naissant va la pointe devant. A thorn comes into the world point foremost.

Le plus riche n’emporte qu’un linceul. The richest man carries nothing away with him but a shroud.

Le plus sage est celui qui ne pense point l’être. He is the wisest man who does not think himself so.

Le premier coup en vaut deux. The first blow is as good as two.

Le premier pas engage au second. The first step binds one to the second.

Le premier venu engrène. The first comer grinds first. (First come, first served.)

Le repentir coûte bien cher. Repentance costs very dear.

Le riche a plus de parents qu’il ne connaît. The rich man has more relations than he knows.

Les abeilles ne deviennent point frelons. Bees do not become hornets.

Les absents ont toujours tort. The absent are always in the wrong.

Le sac ne fut oncques si plein que n’y entrât bien un grain. A sack was never so full but that it would hold another grain.

Les Allemands ont l’esprit aux doigts. The Germans carry their wit in their fingers.

Les battus payent l’amende. The beaten pay the fine.

Les beaux esprits se rencontrent. Great wits meet.


Les belles ne sont pas pour les beaux. Belles are not for the beaux.

Les belles robes pleurent sur des épaules indignes. Rich garments weep on unworthy shoulders.

Les bons comptes font les bons amis. Short reckonings make long friends.

Les bons marchés ruinent. Good bargains are ruinous.

Les chevaux courent les bénéfices et les ânes les attrapent. Horses run after benefices and asses get them.

Les cloches appellent à l’église mais n’y entrent pas. Bells call to church but do not enter.

Les conseillers ne sont pas les payeurs. Advisers are not the payers.

Les corbeaux ne crèvent pas les yeux aux corbeaux. Ravens do not peck out ravens’ eyes.

Les cordonniers sont toujours les plus mal chaussés. Shoemakers are always the worst shod.

Les derniers venus sont souvent les maîtres. The last comers are often the masters.

Les deux font la paire. The two make a pair.

Les enfants sont ce qu’on les fait. Children are what they are made.

Les envieux mourront, mais non jamais l’envie. The envious will die, but envy never.

Les extrêmes se touchent. Extremes meet.

Les fous inventent les modes et les sages les suivent. Fools invent fashions and wise men follow them.

Les gens fatigués sont querelleurs. Tired folks are quarrelsome.

Les grands b”oe]ufs ne font pas les grandes journées. It is not the big oxen that do the best day’s work.

Les grands clercs ne sont pas les plus fins. Great scholars are not the shrewdest men.

Les grands diseurs ne sont pas les grands faiseurs. Great talkers are not great doers.

Les gros larrons ont toujours les manches pleines de baillons. Great thieves always have their sleeves full of gags.

Les gros larrons pendent les petits. Great thieves hang the little ones.

Les gros poissons mangent les petits. The big fish eat the little ones.


Les gueux ne sont jamais hors de leur chemin. A beggar is never out of his road.

Les hommes sont rares. Men are rare.

Les honneurs changent les m”oe]urs. Honours change manners.

Les honneurs comptent. Much worship, much cost.

Les Italiens pleurent, les Allemands crient, et les Français chantent. The Italians cry, the Germans bawl, and the French sing.

Les jours se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas. The days follow each other and are not alike.

Les larrons s’entrebattent et les larcins se découvrent. When thieves fall out the thefts are discovered.

Les lois ont le nez de cire. Laws have wax noses.

Les loups ne se mangent pas entre eux. Wolves do not eat each other.

Les maisons des avocats sont faictes de la teste des folz. Lawyers’ houses are built of fools’ heads.

Les mal vêtus devers le vent. The worst clothed go to windward.

Les mariages sont écrits dans le ciel. Marriages are written in heaven.

Les mauvaises nouvelles ont des ailes. Bad news has wings.

Les morts sont bientôt oubliés. The dead are soon forgotten.

Les morveux veulent toujours moucher les autres. Snivelling folks always want to wipe other folks’ noses.

Les murs ont des oreilles. Walls have ears.

Les oisons veulent mener les oies paître. The goslings would lead the geese out to grass.

Le soleil lui-même n’a-t-il pas des taches? Are there not spots on the sun?

Le soleil luit pour tout le monde. The sun shines for all the world.

Les petits cadeaux entretiennent l’amitié. Little presents maintain friendship.

Les petits ruisseaux font les grandes rivières. Little brooks make great rivers.

Les plus courtes folies sont les meilleures. The shortest follies are the best.


Les plus rusés sont les premiers pris. The most cunning are the first caught.

Les pots fêlés sont ceux qui durent le plus. The flawed pot lasts longest.

Les premiers vont devant. First come first served.

Les princes ne veulent point de servitudes limitées. Princes will not be served on conditions.

Les princes se servent des hommes comme le laboureur des abeilles. Princes use men as the husbandman uses bees.

Les princes tiennent toujours leurs comptes, ils ne perdent jamais rien. Princes keep good reckoning, they never lose anything.

L’esprit qu’on veut avoir gâte celui qu’on a. The wit one wants spoils what one has.

Les raisonnements bannissent la raison. Reasonings banish reason.

Les rois ont les mains longues. Kings have long hands.

Les tonneaux vides sont ceux qui font le plus de bruit. Empty casks make the most noise.

Leurs chiens ne chassent point ensemble. Their dogs don’t hunt in couples.

Le ventre emporte la tête. The belly overrules the head.

Lever à cinq, disner à neuf, souper à cinq, coucher à neuf, font vivre d’ans nonante-neuf. To rise at five, dine at nine, sup at five, go to bed at nine, makes a man live to ninety-nine.

Lever à six, manger à dix, souper à six, coucher à dix, font vivre l’homme dix fois dix. To rise at six, eat at ten, sup at six, go to bed at ten, makes a man live years ten times ten.

Le vilain ne sait ce qu’éperons valent. The churl knows not the worth of spurs.

Le vin donné aux ouvriers est le plus cher vendu. The wine given to your workmen is that for which you get the best paid.

Le vin ne porte point de chausses. Wine wears no breeches.

Le vrai n’est pas toujours vraisemblable. What is true is not always probable.

L’habit ne fait pas le moine. The gown does not make the monk.

L’homme est bien heureux qui a une belle femme auprès[37] d’une abbaye. Happy is the man who has a handsome wife close to an abbey.

L’homme est de feu, la femme d’étoupe; le diable vient qui souffle. Man is fire, woman is tow, and the devil comes and blows.

L’homme n’a ni sens ni raison, qui jeune femme laisse au tison. The man has neither sense nor reason who leaves a young wife at home.

L’homme propose et Dieu dispose. Man proposes and God disposes.

L’hôte et le poisson en trois jours sont poison. A guest and a fish after three days are poison.

L’ignorance des hommes fait bouillir le pot aux prêtres. Men’s ignorance makes the pot boil for priests.

L’intention est réputée pour le fait. The will is taken for the deed.

L’occasion fait le larron. Opportunity makes the thief.

L’”oe]il du maître engraisse le cheval. The eye of the master fattens the steed.

Loin des yeux loin du c”oe]ur. Out of sight out of mind.

L’oiseau ne doit pas salir son nid. The bird ought not to soil its own nest.

Longue demeure fait changer ami. Long absence changes friends.

Longue langue, courte main. Long tongue, short hand.

Longues paroles font les jours courts. Long talk makes short days.


Maille à maille on fait le haubergeon. Link by link the coat of mail is made.

Maints sont bons parce qu’ils ne peuvent nuire. Many a one is good because he can do no mischief.

Maison faite et femme à faire. A house ready made and a wife to make.

Mal d’autrui n’est que songe. Another’s misfortune is only a dream.

Mal soupe qui tout dîne. He sups ill who eats up all at dinner.

Mal sur mal n’est pas santé. Misfortune upon misfortune is not wholesome.


Marchand d’oignons se connaît en ciboules. A dealer in onions is a good judge of scallions.

Marchand qui perd ne peut rire. The merchant that loses cannot laugh.

Mariage d’épervier: la femelle vaut mieux que le mâle. A hawk’s marriage: the hen is the better bird.

Marie ton fils quand tu voudras, ta fille quand tu pourras. Marry your son when you please, your daughter when you can.

Mari sourd et femme aveugle font toujours bon ménage. A deaf husband and a blind wife are always a happy couple.

Mauvais c”oe]ur et bon estomac. A bad heart and a good stomach.

Mauvaise herbe croît toujours. Ill weeds grow apace.

Mauvais ouvrier ne trouvera jamais bon outil. A bad workman never finds a good tool.

Méchant chien, court lien. A wicked dog must be tied short.

Méchant poulain peut devenir bon cheval. A ragged colt may make a good horse.

Mère piteuse fait sa fille rogneuse. A tender-hearted mother makes a scabby daughter.

Mets ton manteau comme vient le vent. Arrange your cloak as the wind blows.

Mettre la charrue devant les b”oe]ufs. To put the plough before the oxen.

Mieux nourri qu’instruit. Better fed than taught.

Mieux vaut assez que trop. Enough is better than too much.

Mieux vaut avoir ami en voye qu’or ou argent en corroye. Better to have a friend on the road than gold or silver in your purse.

Mieux vaut bon repas que bel habit. Better a good dinner than a fine coat.

Mieux vaut couard que trop hardi. Better be a coward than foolhardy.

Mieux vaut engin que force. Contrivance is better than force.

Mieux vaut être tête de chien que queue de lion. Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion.

Mieux vaut faire envie que pitié. Better be envied than pitied.


Mieux vaut glisser du pied que de la langue. Better a slip of the foot than of the tongue.

Mieux vaut marcher devant une poule que derrière un b”oe]uf. Better walk before a hen than behind an ox.

Mieux vaut perdre la laine que la brebis. Better lose the wool than the sheep.

Mieux vaut plein poing de bonne vie que ne faict sept muys de clergie. A handful of good life is better than seven bushels of learning.

Mieux vaut plier que rompre. Better bend than break.

Mieux vaut règle que rente. Thrift is better than an annuity.

Mieux vaut tard que jamais. Better late than never.

Mieux vaut terre gâtée que terre perdue. Better a ruined than a lost land.

Mieux vaut une once de fortune qu’une livre de sagesse. An ounce of luck is worth a pound of wisdom.

Mieux vaut un pied que deux échasses. One foot is better than two stilts.

Mieux vaut un tiens que deux tu l’auras. One “take this” is worth more than two “you shall have.”

Moineau en main vaut mieux que pigeon qui vole. A sparrow in the hand is better than a pigeon on the wing.

Moine qui demande pour Dieu demande pour deux. The monk that begs for God’s sake begs for two.

Moins vaut rage que courage. Rage avails less than courage.

Moitié figue, moitié raisin. Half figs, half raisins.

Montre-moi un menteur je te montrerai un larron. Show me a liar and I’ll show you a thief.

Montrer le soleil avec un flambeau. To show the sun with a torch.

Morceau avalé n’a plus de goût. There is no flavour in a swallowed morsel.

Morte la bête, mort le venin. The beast dead, the venom is dead.

Mot à mot on fait les gros livres. Word by word the big books are made.

Muraille blanche papier de fou. A white wall is the fool’s paper.



Nager entre deux eaux. To swim between two waters.

Nage toujours et ne t’y fie. Swim on and don’t trust.

N’a pas fait qui commence. He has not done who is beginning.

Nécessité est mère d’invention. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Nécessité n’a pas de loi. Necessity has no law.

Ne crachez pas dans le puits, vous pouvez en boire l’eau. Spit not in the well, you may have to drink its water.

Ne croire à Dieu que sur bons gages. Trust not to God but upon good security.

Ne fais pas un four de ton bonnet ni de ton ventre un jardinet. Don’t make an oven of your cap or a garden of your belly.

Ne mets ton doigt en anneau trop étroit. Don’t put your finger into too tight a ring.

Ne meurs cheval, herbe te vient. Horse, don’t die yet, grass is coming.

Ne prêtez point votre argent à un grand seigneur. Do not lend your money to a great man.

Ne reprens ce que n’entens. Don’t find fault with what you don’t understand.

Ne sont pas tous chasseurs qui sonnent du cor. All are not hunters who blow the horn.

Ne touchez point à l’argent d’autrui, car le plus honnête homme n’y ajouta jamais rien. Touch not another man’s money, for the most honest never added to it.

N’éveille pas le chat qui dort. Wake not a sleeping cat.

Noblesse oblige. Nobility imposes obligations.

Noire geline pond blanc ”oe]uf. A black hen lays a white egg.

Nous verrons, dit l’aveugle. We shall see, as the blind man said.

Nul feu sans fumée. No fire without smoke.

Nul n’aura bon marché s’il ne le demande. No one will get a bargain he does not ask for.

Nul n’est prophète dans son pays. No man is a prophet in his own country.


Nul n’est si large que celui qui n’a rien à donner. No one is so liberal as he who has nothing to give.

Nul vent ne fait pour lui qui n’a point de port destiné. No wind can do him good who steers for no port.


Oignez vilain il vous poindra, poignez vilain il vous oindra. Anoint a villain and he will prick you, prick a villain and he will anoint you.

Oiseau débonnaire de lui-même se fait. The gentle hawk mans herself.

On a beau mener le b”oe]uf à l’eau s’il n’a soif. It is in vain to lead the ox to the water if he is not thirsty.

On achète tout fors le jour et la nuit. Everything may be bought except day and night.

On a plus de mal à se damner qu’à se sauver. People take more pains to be damned than to be saved.

On apprend en faillant. One learns by failing.

On a souvent besoin de plus petit que soi. One often has need of a lesser than oneself.

On a tant crié Noël qu’à la fin il est venu. Christmas has been talked of so long that it has come at last.

On a toujours assez de force pour supporter le malheur de ses amis. One has always strength enough to bear the misfortunes of one’s friends.

On compte les défauts de ceux qu’on attend. People count up the faults of those who keep them waiting.

On connaît l’ami au besoin. A friend is known in time of need.

Oncques mâtin n’aima levrier. Mastiff never liked greyhound. (A churl never liked a gentleman.)

Oncques souhait n’emplit le sac. Wishes never filled the bag.

Oncques vieil singe ne fit belle moue. An old ape never made a pretty grimace.

On dit est un sot. ”They say” is a fool.

On fait dire aux cloches tout ce qu’on veut. People make the bells say what they please.


On fait le loup plus grand qu’il n’est. The wolf is not so big as people make him.

On ferait un bien gros livre de tous les peut-être qui se disent en un jour. It would be a very big book that contained all the maybes uttered in a day.

On frotte tant le fer qu’à la fin il s’échauffe. Iron may be rubbed so long that it gets heated.

On lie bien le sac avant qu’il soit plein. A sack is best tied before it is full.

On n’a jamais bon marché d’une mauvaise marchandise. Bad ware is never cheap.

On n’a jamais de marchandise que pour son argent. One never gets more than one’s money’s worth of anything.

On n’a jamais vu chèvre morte de faim. No one ever saw a goat dead of hunger.

On n’a rien pour rien. Nothing is had for nothing.

On ne connaît point le vin aux cercles. The wine is not known by the hoops.

On ne doit pas à gras pourceau le cul oindre. There’s no need to grease the fat pig’s rump.

On ne doit pas laisser bonne terre pour mauvais seigneur. Good land should not be quitted for a bad landlord.

On ne fait pas de rien grasse porée. Fat broth cannot be made of nothing.

On ne jette des pierres qu’à l’arbre chargé de fruits. It is only at the tree loaded with fruit that people throw stones.

On ne peut contenter tout le monde et son père. One cannot please everybody and one’s father.

On ne peut faire qu’en faisant. To do, one must be doing.

On ne peut pas empêcher le vent de venter. One can’t hinder the wind from blowing.

On ne peut pas être en même temps au four et au moulin. One cannot be at the oven and the mill at the same time. (One cannot be in two places at once.)

On ne peut pas être et avoir été. One cannot be and have been.

On ne peut sonner les cloches et aller à la procession. One cannot ring the bells and walk in the procession.

On ne prend pas le lièvre au son du tambour. Hares are not caught by the sound of the drum.


On ne prête qu’aux riches. People lend only to the rich.

On ne sait pas pour qui on amasse. One knows not for whom he gathers.

On ne saurait faire boire un âne s’il n’a pas soif. You cannot make an ass drink if he is not thirsty.

On ne saurait faire d’une buse un épervier. You cannot make a hawk of a buzzard.

On ne saurait tirer de l’huile d’un mur. You cannot get oil out of a wall.

On n’est jamais crotté que par la boue. One is never soiled but by filth.

On n’est jamais si riche que quand on déménage. One is never so rich as when one removes (from one house to another).

On ne va jamais si loin que lorsqu’on ne sait pas où l’on va. One never goes so far as when one doesn’t know whither one is going.

On pêche bien en eau troublé. It is good fishing in troubled waters.

On peut payer l’or trop cher. One may buy gold too dear.

On prend plus de mouches avec du miel qu’avec du vinaigre. Flies are easier caught with honey than with vinegar.

On prend son bien où on le trouve. A man takes his own wherever he finds it.

On revient toujours à ses premières amours. One always returns to one’s first love.

On se heurte toujours où l’on a mal. One always knocks oneself in the sore place.

On se soûle bien de manger tartes. One may tire of eating tarts.

On touche toujours sur le cheval qui tire. The horse that draws most is most whipped.

On trouve remède à tout fors à la mort. There is a remedy for everything but death.

On va bien loin depuis qu’on est las. One may go a long way after one is tired.

On voit plus de vieux ivrognes que de vieux médecins. There are more old drunkards than old doctors.

Or est qui or vaut. That is gold which is worth gold.

Ote-toi de là que je m’y mette. Get out of that place and let me take it.


Où il est faible le fil se rompt. Where the thread is weakest it breaks.

Où il n’y a point de mal il ne faut point d’emplâtre. Where there is no sore there needs no plaister.

Où il n’y a rien le roi perd ses droits. Where there is nothing the king loses his rights.

Où la chèvre est attachée il faut qu’elle broute. Where the goat is tied she must browse.

Où la guêpe a passé le moucheron demeure. Where the wasp has passed the fly sticks fast.

Où la haie est plus basse on saute dessus. Where the hedge is lowest men jump over.

Où l’hôtesse est belle le vin est bon. Where the hostess is handsome the wine is good.

Oy, voy, et te tay, si veux vivre en paix. Hear, see, and say nothing if you would live in peace.


Pain dérobé réveille l’appétit. Stolen bread stirs the appetite.

Pain tant qu’il dure, vin à mesure. Eat bread at pleasure, drink wine by measure.

Parens sans amis, amis sans pouvoir, pouvoir sans vouloir, vouloir sans effet, effet sans profit, profit sans vertu, ne vaut un fétu. Kindred without friends, friends without power, power without will, will without effect, effect without profit, profit without virtue, is not worth a rush.

Paris n’a pas été fait en un jour. Paris was not built in a day.

Parole jetée va partout à la volée. A word once out flies everywhere.

Partage de Montgomery: tout d’un côté, rien de l’autre. A Montgomery division: all on one side, nothing on the other.

Par trop débattre la vérité se perd. In too much disputing truth is lost.

Par trop presser l’anguille on la perd. To squeeze an eel too hard is the way to lose it.


Pas à pas on va bien loin. Fair and softly goes far.

Passez-moi la rhubarbe je vous passerai le séné. Give me the rhubarb and you may take the senna.

Pauvreté est une espèce de ladrerie. Poverty is a sort of leprosy.

Pauvreté n’est pas vice. Poverty is not a vice.

Péché caché est à demi pardonné. A sin concealed is half pardoned (meaning when care is taken to conceal the scandal).

Pendant que les chiens s’entre-grondent le loup dévore la brebis. Whilst the dogs are growling at each other the wolf devours the sheep.

Pense moult, parle peu, écris moins. Think much, say little, write less.

Petit à petit l’oiseau fait son nid. Little by little the bird builds its nest.

Petit chaudron, grandes oreilles. Little pitchers have long ears.

Petit dîner longuement attendu, n’est pas donné, mais chèrement vendu. A little dinner, long expected and cold, is by no means given, but dearly sold.

Petite brebiette toujours semble jeunette. A little sheep always seems young.

Petite chose aide souvent. A little thing often helps.

Petite étincelle luit en ténèbres. A little spark shines in the dark.

Petite pluie abat grand vent. A little rain stills a great wind.

Petit homme abat grand chêne. A little man fells a great oak.

Peu de levain aigrit grand’pâte. A little leaven leavens a great mass.

Pierre qui roule n’amasse point de mousse. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Plumer l’oie sans la faire crier. To pluck the goose without making it cry out.

Plus fait douceur que violence. Gentleness does more than violence.

Plus le singe s’élève plus il montre son cul pelé. The higher the ape climbs the more he shows his rump.


Plus on est de fous, plus on rit. The more fools the more laughter.

Plus on remue la merde et plus elle pue. The more you stir it the more it stinks.

Plus on se découvre, plus on a froid. The more a man exposes his nakedness the colder he is.

Plus on se hâte moins on avance. The more haste the worse speed.

Point d’argent, point de Suisse. No money no Swiss.

Point de nouvelles bonnes nouvelles. No news is good news.

Point de roses sans épines. No rose without a thorn.

Porte fermée, le diable s’en va. When the devil finds the door shut he goes away.

Porter de l’eau à la rivière. To carry water to the river.

Porter lanterne à midi. To carry a lantern in mid-day.

Possession vaut titre. Possession is as good as a title.

Pour bien connaître un homme il faut avoir mangé un boisseau de sel avec lui. To know a man well one must have eaten a bushel of salt with him.

Pour de l’argent les chiens dansent. Money makes dogs dance.

Pour faire un bon ménage, il faut que l’homme soit sourd et la femme aveugle. To make a happy couple, the husband must be deaf and the wife blind.

Pour l’amour du chevalier baise la dame l’écuyer. For sake of the knight the lady kisses the squire.

Pour néant demande conseil qui ne le veut croire. He asks advice in vain who will not follow it.

Pour un moine l’abbaye ne faut point. The abbey does not fail for want of one monk.

Pour un plaisir mille douleurs. For one pleasure a thousand pains.

Prendre l’occasion aux cheveux. To take opportunity by the forelock.

Prends le premier conseil d’une femme et non le second. Take a woman’s first advice and not her second.

Près de l’église et loin de Dieu. The nearer the church the farther from God.

Près du moustier à messe le dernier. The nearer the minster the later to mass.


Promettre et tenir sont deux. Promising and performing are two things.

Promettre plus de beurre que de pain. To promise more butter than bread.

Puisque le vin est tiré il faut le boire. Since the wine is drawn it must be drunk.


Quand Dieu envoie la farine le diable enlève le sac. When God sends flour the devil carries off the sack.

Quand il n’y a point de vent chacun sait naviguer. When there is no wind every man is a pilot.

Quand la cage est faite l’oiseau s’envole. When the cage is ready the bird is flown.

Quand la fille est mariée il arrive assez de gendres. After the daughter is married, then come sons-in-law in plenty.

Quand la porte est basse il faut se baisser. When the door is low one must stoop.

Quand l’arbre est tombé tout le monde court aux branches. When the tree is down everybody runs to the branches.

Quand l’aveugle porte la bannière, mal pour ceux qui marchent derrière. When the blind man carries the banner, woe to those who follow.

Quand le chien se noye chacun lui porte de l’eau. When the dog is drowning every one brings him water.

Quand le diable devient vieux il se fait ermite. When the devil grows old he turns hermit.

Quand le diable dit ses patenôtres il veut te tromper. When the devil says his paternosters he means to cheat you.

Quand le Français dort le diable le berce. When the Frenchman sleeps the devil rocks him.

Quand les biens viennent les corps faillent. When goods increase the body decreases.

Quand les paroles sont dites l’eau bénite est faite. When the words are said, the holy water is made.

Quand on a des filles on est toujours berger. He who has daughters is always a shepherd.

Quand on est bien il faut s’y tenir. When you are well off keep as you are.


Quand on est mort, c’est pour longtemps. When one is dead, it is for a long while.

Quand on n’a pas ce que l’on aime, il faut aimer ce que l’on a. When one has not what one likes, one must like what one has.

Quand on parle du loup, on en voit la queue. Talk of the wolf and you see his tail.

Quand tous péchés sont vieux l’avarice est encore jeune. When all other sins are old avarice is still young.

Quand vient la gloire s’en va la mémoire. When glory comes memory departs.

Que ta chemise ne sache ta guise. Let not your shirt know your way of thinking.

Qui a bonne tête ne manque pas de chapeaux. A good head does not want for hats.

Qui a bu boira. He who has drunk will drink.

Qui a compagnon a maître. He who has a companion has a master.

Qui a de l’argent a des pirouettes. He who has money has capers.

Qui a froid souffle le feu. Let him who is cold blow the fire.

Qui a honte de manger a honte de vivre. He that is ashamed to eat is ashamed to live.

Qui aime Bertrand aime son chien. Love Bertrand love his dog.

Qui aime bien châtie bien. Who loves well chastises well.

Qui aime bien tard oublie. Who loves well is slow to forget.

Qui a la bourse pleine prêche au pauvre. He who has his purse full preaches to the poor man.

Qui a tête de cire ne doit pas s’approcher du feu. He that hath a head of wax must not approach the fire.

Qui attend les souliers d’un mort risque d’aller pieds nus. He who waits for a dead man’s shoes is in danger of going barefoot.

Qui cache peut trouver. He that hides can find.

Qui casse les verres les paye. He pays for the glasses who breaks them.

Qui cesse d’être ami ne l’a jamais été. He never was a friend who has ceased to be one.

Qui chapon mange chapon lui vient. Who eats capon, capon comes to him.


Qui choisit, prend le pire. He who chooses takes the worst. (Pick and choose, and take the worst.)

Qui commence et ne parfait, sa peine perd. He who begins and does not finish loses his labour.

Qui compte sans son hôte, compte deux fois. He that reckons without his host must reckon again.

Qui court deux lièvres, n’en prendra aucun. He that hunts two hares will catch neither.

Qui crache contre le ciel, il lui tombe sur la tête. Who spits against heaven, it falls on his head.

Qui craint de souffrir, souffre de crainte. He who fears to suffer, suffers from fear.

Qui cuir voit tailler, courroye en demande. He who sees leather cut asks for a thong.

Qui dit averti, dit muni. Forewarned, forearmed.

Qui donner peut, il a maint bon voisin. He who can give has many a good neighbour.

Qui doute ne se trompe point. Who doubts errs not.

Qui écoute aux portes, entend plus qu’il ne désire. He who listens at doors hears more than he desires.

Qui en dit du mal, veut l’acheter. He who dispraises a thing, wants to buy it.

Qui épargne, gagne. Saving is getting.

Qui épargne le vice, fait tort à la vertu. He who spares vice wrongs virtue.

Qui est avec les loups, il lui faut hurler. He who kennels with wolves must howl.

Qui est bien, qu’il s’y tienne. Whose is well let him keep so.

Qui est sur la mer, il ne fait pas des vents ce qu’il veut. He who is at sea does not direct the winds.

Qui femme a, noise a. He that hath a wife is sure of strife.

Qui femme croit et âne mène, son corps ne sera jamais sans peine. He who trusts a woman and leads an ass will never be free from plague.

Qui gagne, joue bien. He plays well that wins.

Qui juge entre deux amis, perdra l’un ou l’autre. He who judges between two friends loses one of them.

Qui mal cherche, mal trouve. Harm watch harm catch.

Qui mange de l’oye du roi, chiera une plume quarante ans[50] après. He who eats of the king’s goose will void a feather forty years after.

Qui mange la vache du roi maigre, la paie grasse. He who eats the king’s cow lean, pays for it fat.

Qui menace, a peur. He who threatens is afraid.

Qui monte la mule, la ferre. He who rides the mule shoes her.

Qui mouche trop son nez, en tire du sang. Who blows his nose too hard makes it bleed.

Qui naît le dimanche, jamais ne meurt de peste. A Sunday’s child never dies of the plague.

Qui n’amorce pas son haim, pèche en vain. He who does not bait his hook fishes in vain.

Qui n’a, ne peut. Who has not, cannot.

Qui n’a pas argent en bourse, ait miel en bouche. He that has not money in his purse should have honey in his mouth.

Qui naquit chat, court après les souris. Who is born of a cat will run after mice. (An allusion to one of Æsop’s fables.)

Qui n’a qu’un ”oe]il, bien le garde. A man who has but one eye must take good care of it.

Qui n’a rien, ne craint rien. He who has nothing fears nothing.

Qui n’a santé, n’a rien. He who has not health has nothing.

Qui ne châtie culot, ne châtie culasse. He that corrects not youth controls not age.

Qui ne dit mot, consent. Silence gives consent.

Qui ne fait pas quand il peut, il ne fait pas quand il veut. He that will not when he may, when he will shall have nay.

Qui ne fait rien, fait mal. He who does nothing does ill.

Qui ne gagne, perd. He who does not gain loses.

Qui ne hasarde rien, n’a rien. Nothing venture, nothing have.

Qui n’entend qu’une cloche, n’entend qu’un son. Who hears but one bell hears but one sound.

Qui ne parle, n’erre. He who holds his tongue does not commit himself.

Qui ne peut faire son salut par c”oe]ur, ne le fera par livre. Who cannot work out his salvation by heart will not do it by book.


Qui ne peut mordre, ne doit pas montrer les dents. Don’t show your teeth if you can’t bite.

Qui ne regarde pas en avant, se trouve en arrière. He who looks not before finds himself behind.

Qui ne retire de sa vache que la queue, ne perd pas tout. He who recovers but the tail of his cow does not lose all.

Qui ne sait bien parler de son métier, il ne le sait pas. He who cannot speak well of his trade does not understand it.

Qui ne s’aventure, n’a ni cheval ni mule; et qui trop s’aventure, perd cheval et mule. Who does not venture gets neither horse nor mule, and who ventures too much loses horse and mule.

Qui ne se lasse pas, lasse l’adversité. He who does not tire, tires adversity.

Qui ne sort que de jour, n’a que faire de lanterne. He who goes abroad by day has no need of a lantern.

Qui ne souffre pas seul, ne souffre pas tant. Company in distress makes trouble less.

Qui ne veut parler, ne veut gagner. Spare to speak and spare to speed.

Qui n’y va, n’y chet. He that ventures not fails not.

Qui parle, sème; qui écoute, recueille. Who speaks, sows; who listens, reaps.

Qui partout va, partout prend. He who goes everywhere gains everywhere.

Qui passe un jour d’hiver, il passe un de ses ennemis mortels. He who passes a winter’s day passes one of his mortal enemies.

Qui paye, a bien le droit de donner son avis. He who pays is fairly entitled to speak his mind.

Qui paye bien, est bien servi. He who pays well is well served.

Qui paye tôt, emprunte quand il veut. Who pays soon borrows when he will.

Qui perd, pèche. He who loses sins.

Qui peut lécher, peut mordre. He who can lick can bite.

Qui plus qu’il n’a vaillant dépend, il fait la corde à quoi se pend. He that spends more than he is worth spins a rope for his own neck.

Qui plus sait, plus se tait. Who knows most says least.


Qui porte un fardeau, en portera bientôt cent. He who carries one burden will soon carry a hundred.

Qui pourrait vivre sans espoir? Who could live without hope?

Qui prend femme, prend maître. He who takes a wife takes a master.

Qui prend une femme pour sa dot, à la liberté tourne le dos. Who wives for a dower, resigns his own power.

Qui prête à l’ami, perd au double. Who lends to a friend loses doubly.

Qui prouve trop, ne prouve rien. Who proves too much proves nothing.

Qui quitte sa place, la perd. He who quits his place loses it.

Qui refuse, muse. Who refuses, muses.

Qui répond, paye. Who answers for another pays.

Qui reste dans la vallée ne passera jamais la montagne. He that stays in the valley will not get over the hill.

Qui rien ne porte, rien ne lui chet. He who carries nothing loses nothing.

Qui s’acquitte, s’enrichit. He who gets out of debt enriches himself.

Qui s’arrête à chaque pierre, n’arrive jamais. He who stops at every stone never gets to his journey’s end.

Qui s’attend à l’écuelle d’autrui, dîne souvent par c”oe]ur. He who waits for another man’s trencher often dines in imagination (or with Duke Humphrey).

Qui saurait les aventures, ne serait jamais pauvre. Could a man foresee events he would never be poor.

Qui se couche avec des chiens, se lève avec des puces. He who lies down with dogs gets up with fleas.

Qui se détourne, évite le danger. He who turns aside avoids danger.

Qui se fâche, a tort. He who loses his temper is in the wrong.

Qui se fait brebis, le loup le mange. Make yourself a sheep and the wolf will eat you.

Qui se marie à la hâte, se repent à loisir. Marry in haste and repent at leisure.

Qui se marie par amours, a bonnes nuits et mauvais jours. He who marries for love has good nights and bad days.


Qui sème des chardons, recueille des épines. He who sows thistles reaps thorns.

Qui sème épines, n’aille déchaux. Who sows thorns should not go barefoot.

Qui sème, recueille. Who sows reaps.

Qui se remue, Dieu l’adjue. God helps him who helps himself.

Qui se ressemble s’assemble. Like will to like.

Qui sert commun, nul ne le paye, et s’il défaut, chacun l’abbaye. Who serves the mass is thanked by none, but cursed if aught be left undone.

Qui se sent galeux, se gratte. Let him that itches scratch himself.

Qui se sent morveux, se mouche. Let him who feels he has a dirty nose wipe it.

Qui se tient à Paris, ne sera jamais pape. He who never budges from Paris will never be pope.

Qui s’excuse, s’accuse. He who excuses himself accuses himself.

Qui s’y frotte, s’y pique. No jesting with edged tools.

Qui terre a, guerre a. Whoso hath land hath war.

Qui tient la poële par la queue, il la tourne là où il veut. He who holds the handle of the frying-pan turns it as he pleases.

Qui tient le fil, tient le peloton. He who holds the thread holds the ball.

Qui tôt donne, deux fois donne. He gives twice who gives in a trice.

Qui tourmente les autres, ne dort pas bien. He who torments others does not sleep well.

Qui trébuche et ne tombe pas, avance son chemin. He that stumbles and falls not, mends his pace.

Qui trop change, empire. Who often changes, damages.

Qui trop embrasse, mal étreint. He who grasps too much holds not firmly.

Qui trop se hâte en cheminant, en beau chemin se fourvoye souvent. He that is too much in haste, may stumble on a good road.

Qui un punit, cent menace. Who punishes one threatens a hundred.


Qui va chercher de la laine, revient tondu. He who goes to collect wool may come back shorn.

Qui va et retourne, fait bon voyage. Who goes and returns makes a good journey.

Qui va, il lèche; qui repose, il sèche. He who bestirs himself sucks up, he who lies still dries up.

Qui veut apprendre à prier, aille souvent sur la mer. If a man would learn to pray let him go often to sea.

Qui veut être riche en un an, au bout de six mois est pendu. He who wants to be rich in a year is hanged at six months’ end.

Qui veut faire une porte d’or, il y met tous les jours un clou. He who wishes to make a golden door drives a nail into it every day.

Qui veut noyer son chien, l’accuse de rage. A man who wants to drown his dog says he is mad.

Qui veut plaire à tout le monde, doit se lever de bonne heure. He had need rise early who would please everybody.

Qui veut prendre un oiseau, qu’il ne l’effarouche. To scare a bird is not the way to catch it.

Qui veut tenir nette maison, il n’y faut prêtre ni pigeon. He that would keep his house clean must not let priest or pigeon into it.

Qui veut vivre à Rome, ne doit pas se quereller avec le pape. He who wishes to live at Rome must not quarrel with the pope.

Qui veut voyager loin, ménage sa monture. He who wants to travel far takes care of his beast.

Qui vient, est beau; qui apporte, est encore plus beau. Fair is he that comes, but fairer he that brings.

Qui vit à compte, vit à honte. Who lives on the score has shame evermore.

Qui vit longtemps, sait ce qu’est douleur. He who lives long knows what pain is.

Qui vivra, verra. Who lives will see.

Qui voit une épingle et ne la prend, vient un temps qu’il s’en repent. See a pin and let it lie, you’ll want a pin before you die.

Quoique fol tarde, jour ne tarde. Though the fool waits, the day does not.



Raison contre le fort est un trepiteux port. Reason not with the great, ’tis a perilous gate.

Renard qui dort la matinée, n’a pas la langue emplumée. The fox that sleeps in the morning has not his tongue feathered.

Rendre à quelqu’un la monnaie de sa pièce. To give change out for his coin.

Rendre pois pour fève. To give a pea for a bean. (A Rowland for an Oliver.)

Ressembler aux bahutiers, qui font plus de bruit que de besogne. Like box-makers, more noise than work.

Rien n’a qui assez n’a. He has nothing who has not enough.

Rien n’arrive pour rien. Nothing happens for nothing.

Rien ne pèse tant qu’un secret. Nothing is so burthensome as a secret.

Rien ne ressemble plus à un honnête homme qu’un fripon. Nothing is more like an honest man than a rogue.

Rien ne se donne si libéralement que les conseils. Nothing is so liberally given as advice.

Rien n’est bon comme le fruit défendu. Nothing so good as forbidden fruit.

Rien ne vaut poulain s’il ne rompt son lien. A colt is good for nothing if it does not break its halter.

Rien ne vieillit plus vite qu’un bienfait. Nothing grows old sooner than a kindness.

Rira bien qui rira le dernier. He’ll laugh well that laughs longest.

Rome n’a pas été faite en un jour. Rome was not built in a day.


Saint ne peut, si Dieu ne veut. Saint cannot if God will not.

Saint qui ne guérit de rien, n’a guère de pélerins. The saint who works no cures has few pilgrims to his shrine.

Sans pain, sans vin, amour n’est rien. Without bread and wine even love will pine.

Sauter de la poële sur la braise. To jump out of the frying pan into the fire.


Secret de deux, secret de Dieu; secret de trois, secret de tous. The secret of two is God’s secret, the secret of three is everybody’s secret.

Se faire d’évêque meunier. From bishop to turn miller.

Se faire marchand de poissons la veille de Pâques. To turn fishmonger on Easter-eve.

Se jeter dans l’eau de peur de la pluie. To jump into the water for fear of the rain.

Selon le bras la saignée. According to the arm be the bleeding.

Selon le saint l’encens. Like saint like incense.

Selon le vent la voile. As the wind so the sail. (Set your sail to the wind.)

Sers comme serf, ou fuy comme cerf. Serve as a serf or fly like a deer.

Service de grands n’est pas héritage. Service is no inheritance.

Si ce n’était le si et mais, nous serions tous riches à jamais. Were it not for “if” and “but,” we should all be rich for ever.

Si c’était un loup, il vous sauterait au cou. Were it a wolf it would spring at your throat.

Si enfer n’est plein, jamais n’y aura d’avocat sauvé. Unless hell is full no lawyer will ever be saved.

Signer pour les deux parties. To sign for both parties.

Si jeunesse savait! si vieillesse pouvait! If youth knew! if age could!

Si le ciel tombait il y aurait bien des alouettes prises. If the sky were to fall we should catch plenty of larks.

Si le diable sortait de l’enfer pour combattre, il se présenterait aussitôt un Français pour accepter le défi. Were the devil to come from hell to fight, there would forthwith be a Frenchman to accept the challenge.

S’il est vrai, il peut être. ’Tis possible if true.

S’il fait beau, prends ton manteau; s’il pleut, prends-le si tu veux. If the weather is fine, put on your cloak; if it rains, do as you please.

S’il ne tient qu’à jurer, la vache est à nous. If it only depends on swearing, the cow is ours.

Si nous payons la musique, nous voulons aussi danser. If we pay for the music we will join in the dance.


Si souhaits fussent vrais, pastoureaux rois seraient. If wishes were true, shepherds would be kings. (If wishes would bide, beggars would ride.)

Si tu as la tête de beurre, ne te fais pas boulanger. If your head is made of butter, don’t be a baker.

Si tu ne le peux dire, si le monstre au doigt. If you cannot say it, point to it with your finger.

Si vous lui donnez un pied, il vous en prendra quatre. Give him a foot and he’ll take four.

Six choses au monde n’ont mestier: prestre hardy, coüard chevalier, juge convoiteux, puant barbier, mère piteuse, rogneux boulengier. Six things have no business in the world: a fighting priest, a coward knight, a covetous judge, a stinking barber, a soft-hearted mother, and an itchy baker.

Sois vraiment ce que tu veux qu’on te croie. Be truly what thou wouldst be thought to be.

Soleil qui luisarne au matin, femme qui parle latin, enfant nourri de vin, ne viennent point à bonne fin. A glaring sunny morning, a woman that talks Latin, and a child reared on wine, never come to a good end.

Son cheval a la tête trop grosse, il ne peut sortir de l’écurie. His horse’s head is too big, it cannot get out of the stable.

Songes sont mensonges. Dreams are lies.

Soubs ombre d’asne entre chien en moulin. The dog gets into the mill under cover of the ass.

Souffler le chaud et le froid. To blow hot and cold.

Soupçon est d’amitié poison. Suspicion is the poison of friendship.

Souris qui n’a qu’un trou est bientôt prise. The mouse that has but one hole is soon caught.

Souvent les railleurs sont raillés. The biter is often bit.

Suivez la rivière et vous gagnerez la mer. Follow the river and you will reach the sea.

Surement va qui n’a rien. He goes safely who has nothing.

Sur un ”oe]uf pond la poule un ”oe]uf. Upon an egg the hen lays an egg.



Tant doit-on le chien blandir qu’on ait la voie passée. One must talk soothingly to the dog until one has passed him.

Tant va la cruche à l’eau qu’à la fin elle se brise. The pitcher goes often to the well and gets broken at last.

Tant vaut l’homme, tant vaut sa terre. As the man is worth his land is worth.

Tard donner, c’est refuser. To give tardily is to refuse.

Tel a beaux yeux qui n’y voit goutte. Some have fine eyes and can’t see a jot.

Tel a du pain qui n’a plus de dents. Some have bread who have no teeth left.

Tel croit se chauffer qui se brûle. Some who mean only to warm, burn themselves.

Tel cuide avoir fait qui commence. Some think they have done when they are only beginning.

Tel cuide venger sa honte qui l’accroît. Some thinking to avenge their shame increase it.

Tel en pâtit qui n’en peut mais. Many a one suffers for what he can’t help.

Tel maître, tel valet. Like master, like man.

Tel menace, qui a peur. A man may threaten yet be afraid.

Tel menace, qui est battu. The threatener sometimes gets a beating.

Tel qui rit vendredi, dimanche pleurera. He that laughs on Friday may cry on Sunday.

Tel vend, qui ne livre pas. Some sell and don’t deliver.

Temps, vent, femme, et fortune, changent comme la lune. Weather, wind, women, and fortune change like the moon.

Tendresse maternelle toujours se renouvelle. Mother’s love is ever in its spring.

Tenir le loup par les oreilles. To hold the wolf by the ears.

Tête de fou ne blanchit jamais. A fool’s head never whitens.

Tirer le diable par la queue, ne mène loin jeunes ni vieux. Pulling the devil by the tail does not lead far young or old.

Tirer les marrons du feu avec la patte du chat. To take the chesnuts out of the fire with the cat’s paw.

Tôt gagné, tôt gaspillé. Soon gained soon squandered.


Toujours amoureux, jamais marié. Always in love, never married.

Toujours ne frappe-t-on pas ce à quoy l’on vise. One does not always hit what one aims at.

Toujours pêche qui en prend un. He fishes on who catches one.

Toujours truye songe bran. A sow is always dreaming of bran.

Tout bec crochu de proye est soustenu. Every hooked beak is maintained by prey.

Tout bois n’est pas bon à faire flèche. Not every sort of wood is fit to make an arrow.

Tout ce qui branle ne tombe pas. Every thing does not fall that totters.

Tout ce qui reluit n’est pas or. All is not gold that glitters.

Tout chemin mène à Rome. Every road leads to Rome.

Toute chair n’est pas venaison. All flesh is not venison.

Toute chose qui est bonne à prendre est bonne à rendre. What is worth receiving is worth returning.

Toute comparaison est odieuse. Comparisons are odious.

Toute eau éteint feu. Any water puts out fire.

Toutes les clefs ne pendent pas à une ceinture. All the keys don’t hang at one girdle.

Toutes têtes ne sont pas coffres à raison. All heads are not sense-boxes.

Toutes vérités ne sont pas bonnes à dire. All truths are not good to be uttered.

Tout état, et rien au plat. All state, and nothing on the plate.

Tout fait ventre, pourvu qu’il entre. A bellyful is a bellyful.

Tout le monde est sage après l’événement. Everybody is wise after the thing has happened.

Tout paraît jaune à qui a la jaunisse. To the jaundiced all things seem yellow.

Tout passe, tout casse, tout lasse. Everything passes, everything breaks, everything wearies.

Tout va à qui n’a pas besoin. Everything goes to him who does not want it.

Tout vient à point à qui sait attendre. Everything in time comes to him, who knows how to wait.

Tout y va par compère et commère. Everything goes by favour and cousinship.


Tricherie revient à son maître. Trickery comes back to its master.

Triste est la maison où le coq se tait et la poule chante. It is a sorry house in which the cock is silent and the hen crows.

Trois déménagements valent un incendie. Three removals are as bad as a fire.

Trois frères, trois châteaux. Three brothers, three castles.

Trop achète le miel qui le lèche sur les épines. He pays dear for honey who licks it off thorns.

Trop de zèle gâte tout. Too much zeal spoils all.

Trop gratter cuit, trop parler nuit. Too much scratching smarts, too much talking harms.

Trop tard crie l’oiseau quand il est pris. It is too late for the bird to scream when it is caught.

Trop tranchant ne coupe pas, trop pointu ne perce pas. Too keen an edge does not cut, too fine a point does not pierce.

Truie aime mieux bran que roses. A sow prefers bran to roses.

Tuer la poule pour avoir l’”oe]uf. To kill the hen by way of getting the egg.

Tuer un mercier pour un peigne. To kill a mercer for a comb.


Un ami de table et de vin, tenir ne faut pour bon voisin. A friend to my table and wine, is no good neighbour.

Un âne ne trébuche pas deux fois sur la même pierre. An ass does not stumble twice over the same stone.

Un apothicaire ne doit être longtemps cocu. An apothecary ought not to be long a cuckold.

Un aveugle mène l’autre en la fosse. One blind man leads another into the ditch.

Un barbier en rase un autre. One barber shaves another.

Un bienfait reproché tint toujours lieu d’offense. Upbraiding makes a benefit an injury.

Un boiteux ne veut aller avec un plus boiteux que lui. A lame man won’t walk with one who is lamer.


Un bon avis vaut un ”oe]il dans la main. A good advice is as good as an eye in the hand.

Un bon bailleur en fait bailler deux. A good gaper makes two gapers.

Un bon renard ne mange pas les poules de son voisin. A good fox does not eat his neighbour’s fowls.

Un bon repas doit commencer par la faim. A good repast ought to begin with hunger.

Un brochet fait plus qu’une lettre de recommandation. A jackfish does more than a letter of recommendation.

Un cerveau ne vaut guère sans langue. A brain is worth little without a tongue.

Un chien regarde bien un évêque. A dog may look at a bishop.

Un clou chasse l’autre. One nail drives out another.

Un coup de langue est pire qu’un coup de lance. The tongue wounds more than a lance.

Un courtisan doit être sans humeur et sans honneur. A courtier should be without feeling and without honour.

Une chandelle à Saint Michel et une à son diable. One candle for St. Michael, and another for his devil.

Une conscience pure est un bon oreiller. A clear conscience is a good pillow.

Une faute niée est deux fois commise. A fault denied is twice committed.

Une femme ne cèle que ce qu’elle ne sait pas. A woman conceals only what she does not know.

Une fleur ne fait pas une guirlande. One flower does not make a garland.

Une fois n’est pas coutume. Once is no custom.

Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps. One swallow does not make a spring.

Une once de faveur vaut mieux qu’une livre de justice. An ounce of favour goes further, or is worth more, than a pound of justice.

Une poule aveugle peut quelquefois trouver son grain. A blind hen can sometimes find her corn.

Une science requiert tout son homme. An art requires a whole man.

Une tromperie en attire une autre. One deceit brings on another.


Un fou avise bien un sage. A wise man may learn of a fool.

Un fou fait toujours commencement. A fool is always beginning.

Un homme averti en vaut deux. A man warned is as good as two.

Un homme bien monté est toujours orgueilleux. A man well mounted is always proud.

Un homme de paille vaut une femme d’or. A man of straw is worth a woman of gold.

Un homme mort n’a ni parents ni amis. A dead man has neither relations nor friends.

Un homme, nul homme. One man, no man.

Un homme qui se noie s’attache à un brin d’herbe. A drowning man clings to a blade of grass.

Un homme riche n’est jamais laid pour une fille. A rich man is never ugly in the eyes of a girl.

Un jour en vaut deux pour qui fait chaque chose en son lieu. One day is as good as two for him who does everything in its place.

Un malheur ne vient jamais seul. Misfortunes never come single.

Un marteau d’argent rompt une porte de fer. A silver hammer breaks an iron door.

Un mauvais accommodement vaut mieux qu’un bon procès. A bad compromise is better than a good lawsuit.

Un moineau dans la main vaut mieux qu’une grue qui vole. A sparrow in the hand is better than a crane on the wing.

Un noble prince ou roy n’a jamais pille ne croix. A noble prince or king never has a coin to bless himself.

Un petit homme projette parfois une grande ombre. A little man sometimes casts a long shadow.

Un peu d’absence fait grand bien. A little absence does much good.

Un peu d’aide fait grand bien. A little help does a great deal.

Un peu de fiel gâte beaucoup de miel. A little gall spoils a great deal of honey.

Un seigneur de paille mange un vassal d’acier. A lord of straw devours a vassal of steel.

Un seul homme ne peut suffire à tout. No living man all things can.


Un sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l’admire. One fool always finds a greater fool to admire him.

Un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu l’auras. One take-this is better than two thou-shalt-haves.

Un ver se recoquille quand on marche dessus. Tread on a worm and it will turn.

Un vieux four est plus aisé à chauffer qu’un neuf. An old oven is easier to heat than a new one.


Vache de loin a lait assez. A cow from afar gives plenty of milk.

Vache ne sait ce que vaut sa queue jusqu’à ce qu’elle l’ait perdue. A cow does not know what her tail is worth until she has lost it.

Valet devant, maître derrière, en pont, en planche, en rivière. At a bridge, a plank, a river, the servant foremost, the master behind.

Vent au visage rend un homme sage. Adversity makes a man wise.

Ventre affamé n’a point d’oreilles. A hungry belly has no ears.

Ventre plein conseille bien. A full belly counsels well.

Veux-tu meilleur pain que de froment? Do you want better bread than wheaten?

Viande d’ami est bientôt prête. A friend’s meat is soon ready.

Vides chambres font femmes folles. Empty rooms make giddy housewives.

Vie de pourceau, courte et bonne. A pig’s life, short and sweet.

Vieilles amours et vieux tisons s’allument en toutes saisons. Old love and old brands kindle at all seasons.

Vieux amis et comptes nouveaux. Old friends and new reckonings.

Vieux b”oe]uf fait sillon droit. An old ox makes a straight furrow.

Vieux chien n’aboie pas en vain. An old dog does not bark for nothing.


Vilain affamé, demi enragé. A hungry clown is half mad.

Vilain enrichi ne connaît parent ni ami. A clown enriched knows neither relation nor friend.

Vilain ne sçait qu’esperon vaut. A churl knows not the worth of spurs (i. e. honour).

Ville qui parlemente est moitié rendue. The town that parleys is half surrendered.

Vin versé n’est pas avalé. Wine poured out is not wine swallowed.

Vivre au jour la journée. To live from hand to mouth.

Voix du peuple, voix de Dieu. The people’s voice, God’s voice.

Voler un voleur n’est pas voler. To rob a robber is not robbing.

Vouloir, c’est pouvoir. Will is power.

Vraie noblesse nul ne blesse. True nobility is invulnerable.




Abbiamo pur fiorini che troveremo cugini. Let us have florins and we shall find cousins.

Abbi piuttosto il piccolo per amico, che il grande per nemico. Rather have a little one for your friend, than a great one for your enemy.

Abbondanza genera fastidio. Plenty makes daintiness.

A bisogni si conoscon gli amici. Friends are known in time of need. (Friends in need are friends indeed.)

A buona derrata pensaci su. At a good bargain pause and ponder.

A buon cavaliere non manca lancia. A good cavalier never lacks a lance.

A buon cavallo non manca sella. A good horse never lacks a saddle.

A buon cavallo non occorre dirgli trotta. No need to say “trot” to a good horse.

A buon intenditor poche parole. A word to the wise is enough.

A buon vino non bisogna frasca. Good wine needs no bush.

A cader va chi troppo in alto sale. He who climbs too high is near a fall.

A can che fugge, dagli, dagli. When a dog runs away, hit him! hit him!

A can che lecchi cenere, non gli fidar farina. The dog that licks ashes is not to be trusted with flour.

A cane scottato l’acqua fredda pare calda. A scalded dog thinks cold water hot.

A cattiva vacca Dio dà corte corna. God gives a curst cow short horns.

A cattivo cane corto legame. A mischievous dog must be tied short.


A causa perduta, parole assai. Plenty of words when the cause is lost.

A caval donato, non guardar in bocca. Look not a gift horse in the mouth.

A caval donato, non si mira il pelo. Never heed the colour of a gift horse.

A cavalli tristi o buoni, sempre porta i tuoi sproni. Be the horse good or bad always wear your spurs.

A caval magro vanno le mosche. Flies flock to the lean horse.

A cavar di casa un morto, ci voglion quattro vivi. It takes four living men to carry one dead man out of a house.

Accasca in un punto quel che non accasca in cento anni. That happens in a moment which may not happen in a hundred years.

Accenna al savio e lascia far a lui. Give the wise man a hint and leave him to act.

Accordatevi, dice Arlotto, ed io farò piovere. Agree between yourselves (as to the time), quoth Arlotto, and I will make it rain.

Accosta più la camicia che il giubbone. The shirt is nearer than the doublet.

Accostati a’ buoni e sarai uno di essi. Associate with the good and you will be one of them.

A chi compra non bastan cent’occhi, e à chi vende ne basta un solo. For the buyer a hundred eyes are too few, for the seller one is enough.

A chi dici il tuo secreto, doni la tua libertà. To whom you tell your secret you surrender your freedom.

A chi fa male, mai mancano scuse. The wrong-doer never lacks excuses.

A chi fugge, ogni cosa dà impaccio. The fugitive finds everything impede him.

A chi ha testa, non manca cappello. He who has a head won’t want for a hat.

A chi la riesce bene, è tenuto per savio. He who succeeds is reputed wise.

A chi non si lascia consigliare, non si può aiutare. There is no helping him who will not be advised.

A chi parla poco, gli basta la metà del cervello. Half a brain is enough for him who says little.


A chi piace il bere, parla sempre di vino. He who likes drinking is always talking of wine.

A chi ti dà un porco, tu gli puoi ben dar una carbonata. To him who gives you a pig you may well give a rasher.

A chi ti può torre ciò che hai, dagli ciò che ti chiede. To him who can take what thou hast, give what he asks.

A chi troppo ride gli duole il cuore. He who laughs overmuch may have an aching heart.

A chi veglia tutto si rivela. To him who watches, everything reveals itself.

A chi vuole, non è cosa difficile. Nothing is difficult to a willing mind.

A chi vuole, non mancano modi. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

A chi vuol fare, non manca che fare. To him who is determined it remains only to act.

A colomba pasciuta la vescia par amara. Vetches seem bitter to the full-cropped pigeon.

A conti vecchi contese nuove. Old reckonings, new disputes.

Acqua che corre non porta veleno. Running water carries no poison.

Acqua cheta vermini mena. Still water breeds vermin.

Acqua, fumo, e mala femmina, cacciano la gente di casa. Water, smoke, and a vicious woman, drive men out of the house.

Acqua lontana non spegne fuoco vicino. Water afar does not quench a fire at hand.

Acqua passata non macina più. Water past will not turn the mill.

Acqua torbida non fa specchio. Muddy water won’t do for a mirror.

Acqua torbida non lava. Dirty water does not wash clean.

Acquista buona fama e mettiti à dormire. Get a good name and go to sleep.

A cuor vile forza non giova. Strength avails not a coward.

Adagio a’ mal passi. Go softly at bad bits of road.

Ad albero caduto accétta, accétta. To the fallen tree, hatchets! hatchets!

Ad arbor che cade ognun grida dàgli, dàgli. When a tree is falling, every one cries, down with it.


Ad arca aperta il giusto pecca. At an open chest the righteous sins.

A dono nuovo non convien grazia vecchia. Old thanks are not for new gifts.

Ad occhio infermo nuoce la luce. The light is painful to sore eyes.

Ad ogni santo la sua torcia. To every saint his torch.

Ad ogni santo vien la sua festa. Every saint has his festival.

Ad ogni uccello suo nido par bello. Every bird thinks its own nest beautiful.

Ad ogni volpe piace il pollaio. Every fox likes a henroost.

Ad ognuno par più grave la croce sua. Every one thinks his own cross the heaviest.

Ad ora ad ora vola tutto il tempo. Hour by hour time departs.

Ad un cieco mal può mostrarsi il cammino. It is not easy to show the way to a blind man.

Ad un colpo non cade à terra l’albero. The tree is not felled at one blow.

Ad un popolo pazzo, un prete spiritato. A mad parish, a mad priest.

Ad un uomo dabbene avanza la metà del cervello; ad un tristo non basta neanche tutto. For an honest man half his wits are enough; the whole is too little for a knave.

A fiume famoso non andar a pesca. Don’t go a-fishing to a famous stream.

A gatta che lecca spiedo non fidar arrosto. A cat that licks the spit is not to be trusted with roast meat.

A giovane cuor tutto è giuoco. To a young heart everything is sport.

A giovano soldato vecchio cavallo. An old horse for a young soldier.

Agli uomini ogni peccato mortale è veniale, alle donne ogni veniale è mortale. In men every mortal sin is venial, in women every venial sin is mortal.

A goccia à goccia s’incava la pietra. Drop by drop wears away the stone.

A gran ruscello passate l’ultimo. At a great river be the last to pass.


A gran salita gran discesa. The higher the rise the greater the fall.

A grassa cucina povertà è vicina. A fat kitchen is next door to poverty.

Ai mali estremi, estremi rimedi. For extreme ills extreme remedies.

A la barba de’ pazzi il barbier impara a radere. On a fool’s beard the barber learns to shave.

Albero spesso trapiantato mai di frutti è caricato. A tree often transplanted is never loaded with fruit.

Al bugiardo non si crede la verità. The liar is not believed when he speaks the truth.

Al cattivo cane tosto vien la coda. A cur’s tail grows fast.

Al confessore, medico, e avvocato, non tenere il ver celato. Hide not the truth from your confessor, your doctor, or your lawyer.

Al fin del giuoco si vede chi guadagna. At the end of the game we see who wins.

Al ladro fa paura anche un sorcio. The thief is frightened even by a mouse.

Al molino ed alla sposa, sempre manca qualche cosa. A mill and a wife are always in want of something.

Alla fama si va per varie strade. Various are the roads to fame.

All’amico mondagli il fico, all’inimico il persico. Peel a fig for your friend, a peach for your enemy.

Alla pace si può sacrificar tutto. Anything for a quiet life.

Alla pignatta che bolle non s’accostano le mosche. Flies don’t light on a boiling pot.

Alla porta chiusa il diavolo volge le spalle. The devil turns away from a closed door.

Alle belle donno le più volte toccano i brutti uomini. Handsome women generally fall to the lot of ugly men.

Alle volte più vale la feccia che il vino. Sometimes the lees are better than the wine.

Alle volte si dà un uovo per un bue. Sometimes an egg is given for an ox.

All’impossibile nessuno è tenuto. No one is bound to do impossibilities.

All’onor chi manca d’un momento, non lo ripara in anni[70] cento. A hundred years cannot repair a moment’s loss of honour.

All’opera si conosce il maestro. The workman is known by his work.

All’orsa paiono belli i suoi orsatti. The she-bear thinks her cubs pretty.

Al lume di lucerna ogni rustica par bella. By lamplight every country wench seems handsome.

Al nimico che fugge il ponte d’oro. For the flying enemy a golden bridge.

Al più potente ceda il più prudente. The most prudent yields to the strongest.

Al più triste porco vien la meglior pera. The worst pig gets the best pear.

Al primo colpo non casca l’albero. The tree does not fall at the first stroke.

Altra cosa è il dire, altra il fare. Saying is one thing, doing another.

Altri tempi altri costumi. Different times different manners.

A Lucca ti vidi, a Pisa ti conobbi. I saw you at Lucca, I knew you at Pisa.

A lunga corda tira chi la morte altrui desidera. He hauls at a long rope who expects another’s death.

Al villano, se gli porgi il dito, ei prende la mano. Give a clown your finger he’ll grasp your fist.

Ama l’amico tuo col vizio suo. Love your friend with his faults.

A mal passo l’onore. At a dangerous passage yield precedence.

Amami, poco, ma continua. Love me little and love me long.

Amante non sia che coraggio non ha. Let him not be a lover who has not courage.

Amato non sarai, se à te solo penserai. You will not be loved if you think of yourself alone.

Ambasciator non porta pena. An ambassador beareth no blame.

Amicizia de’grandi vicinanza di leoni. The friendship of the great is fraternity with lions.

Amicizia riconciliata piaga mal saldata. Reconciled friendship is a wound ill salved.

Amico da sternuti, il più che se ne cava è un Dio ti aiuta.[71] He’s a friend at sneezing-time,—the most that can be got from him is a “God bless you.”

Amico d’ognuno, amico di nessuno. Everybody’s friend, nobody’s friend.

Amico, e guardati. A friend, and look to thyself.

A molti puzza l’ambra. Many stop their noses at ambergris.

Amor dà per mercede gelosia e rotta fede. Love’s merchandise is jealousy and broken faith.

Amor è cieco ma vede da lontano. Love is blind but sees afar.

Amor è il vero prezzo con cui si compra amore. Love is the true price at which love is bought.

Amor e signoria non voglion compagnia. Love and lordship like not fellowship.

Amor non conosce travaglio. Love knows not labour.

Amor regge il suo regno senza spada. Love rules his kingdom without a sword.

Amor regge senza legge. Love rules without law.

Amor, tosse, e fumo malamente si nascondono. Love, a cough, and smoke, are hard to hide.

Amor vero non diventa mai canuto. True love never grows old.

Amor vuol fede, e fede vuol fermezza. Love demands faith, and faith firmness.

A nave rotta ogni vento è contrario. To a crazy ship every wind is contrary.

Anche delle pecore contate ne mangia il lupo. Even counted sheep are eaten by the wolf.

Anche delle volpi si pigliano. Even foxes are caught.

Anche i boschi hanno l’orecchie. Even woods have ears.

Anche il diritto ha bisogno d’aiuto. Even the just has need of help.

Anche il mar, che è si grande, si pacifica. Even the sea, great as it is, grows calm.

Anche il pazzo talvolta dice qualche parola da savio. Even the fool says a wise word sometimes.

Anche il sole passa sopra il fango, e non s’imbratta. The sun passes over filth and is not defiled.

Anche la mosca ha la sua collera. Even a fly has its anger.

Anche la rana morderebbe se avesse denti. Even a frog would bite if it had teeth.


Anch’io so menar le oche a bere quando piove. I too can lead the geese to water when it rains.

Anco gli apostoli ebbero un Giuda. Even among the apostles there was a Judas.

Anco il cane col dimenar la coda si guadagna le spese. Even the dog gets bread by wagging his tail.

Anco il cavallo si stanca, sebben ha quattro piedi. Even a horse, though he has four feet, stumbles.

Ancor le volpi vecchie rimangono al laccio. Even old foxes are caught in the snare.

Anco trà le spine nascono le rose. Among thorns grow roses.

A nessun confortator mai duole la testa. No comforter’s head ever aches.

A nessuno piace la giustizia à casa sua. No one likes justice brought home to his own door.

Anni e peccati sempre sono più che non si dice. Years and sins are always more than owned.

A penna a penna si pela l’oca. Feather by feather the goose is plucked.

Aperta ha la porta chiunque apporta. Whoever brings finds the door open for him.

Apri bocca, e fa ch’io ti conosca. Open thy mouth that I may know thee.

Arco per rallentar, piaga non sana. Unbending the bow does not heal the wound.

Arditamente batte alla porta chi buone nuove apporta. He knocks boldly at the door who brings good news.

Arte o sorte ne cava macchia. Skill or fortune will efface the spots.

A’segnali si conoscono le balle. By their marks the bales are known.

Asino che ha fame mangia d’ogni strame. A hungry ass eats any straw.

Asino che ragghia poco fieno mangia. A braying ass eats little hay.

Asino punto convien che trotti. A goaded ass must needs trot.

A’sottili cascano le brache. Cunning men’s cloaks sometimes fall.

Aspetta il porco alla quercia. Look for the hog at the oak.

Aspettare e non venire, stare in letto e non dormire, ben[73] servire e non gradire, son tre cose da morire. To expect what never comes, to lie in bed and not sleep, to serve well and not be advanced, are three things to die of.

Aspetta tempo e loco à far la tua vendetta, che la non si fa mai ben in fretta. Wait time and place to take your revenge, for it is never well done in a hurry.

Assai acqua passa per il molino, che il molinaio non se n’accorge. Much water passes by the mill that the miller perceives not.

Assai basta, e troppo guasta. Enough is enough, and too much spoils.

Assai ben balla à chi fortuna suona. He dances well to whom fortune pipes.

Assai dimanda chi ben serve e tace. Who serves well and says nothing makes claim enough.

Assai è ricco à chi non manca. He is rich enough who does not want.

Assai guadagna, chi vano sperar perde. He gains much who loses a vain hope.

Assai presto si fa quel che si fa bene. That is done soon enough which is well done.

Assai romor e poca lana, disse colui che tosava la porca. Great cry and little wool, as the man said who shaved the sow.

Assai sa, chi non sa, se tacer sa. He who knows nothing knows enough, if he knows how to be silent.

Assenza nemica di amore; quanto lontan dall’occhio, tanto dal cuore. Absence is a foe to love; out of sight out of mind.

A tal labbra, tal lattuga. Like lips, like lettuce.

A tal pozzo, tal secchio. Like well, like bucket.

A tal santo, tal offerta. Like saint, like offering.

A tavola non vi vuol vergogna. At table bashfulness is out of place.

A tela ordita Dio manda il filo. For a web begun God sends thread.

A torto si lamenta del mare, chi due volte ci vuol tornare. He ought not to complain of the sea who returns to it a second time.

Attacca il majo ad ogni uscio. He hangs the May-branch at every door. (Alluding to the Italian custom of[74] young men hanging out May-branches overnight before the door of their mistress.)

A tutti non si adatta una sola scarpa. The same shoe does not fit every foot.

A un gran bugiardo ci vuol buona memoria. A great liar has need of good memory.

Aver sentito dire è mezza bugia. To have “heard say” is half a lie.

Aver un occhio alla gatta, e l’altro alla padella. To have one eye on the cat and another on the frying-pan.

A veste logorata poca fede vien prestata. A ragged coat finds little credit.


Baldezza di signor, cappel da matto. Faith in a lord, a cap for the fool.

Bandiera vecchia, onor di capitano. An old flag is an honour to its captain.

Barba bagnata è mezza rasa. A beard well lathered is half-shaved.

Basta un matto per casa. One fool is enough in a house.

Batti il buono e’ megliora, batti il cattivo e’ peggiora. Chastise the good and he will mend, chastise the bad and he will grow worse.

Batti il ferro quando è caldo. Strike while the iron is hot.

Batti il villano, e lo avrai per amico. Beat the churl and he will be your friend.

Beata colei che di vecchio pazzo s’innamora. Happy is she who is in love with an old dotard.

Bel colpo non ammazzò mai uccello. A fine shot never killed a bird.

Bella cosa tosto è rapita. All that’s fair must fade.

Bella femmina che ride, vuol dire borsa che piange. A beautiful woman smiling, bespeaks a purse weeping.

Bella promessa lega il matto. Fair promises bind fools.

Belle parole e mele fracide. Fair words and rotten apples.

Belle parole, ma guarda la borsa. Fair words, but look to your purse.

Belle parole non pascon i gatti. Fair words won’t feed a cat.


Bellezza e follia sovente in compagnia. Beauty and folly are often companions.

Ben ama chi non oblia. He loves well who does not forget.

Benchè la bugia sia veloce, la verità l’arriva. Though a lie be swift, truth overtakes it.

Benchè la volpe corra, i polli hanno le ale. Though the fox runs, the pullets have wings.

Ben è cieco chi non vede il sole. He is very blind who cannot see the sun.

Benedetto è quel male che vien solo. Blessed is the misfortune that comes alone.

Ben faremo, ben diremo, mal va la barca senza remo. Say what we will, do what we will, the boat goes but sorrily without oars.

Ben perduto è conosciuto. A good thing lost is valued.

Berretta in mano non fece mai danno. Cap in hand never did any harm.

Bevendo vien la sete. Thirst comes from drinking.

Bevi del vino, e lascia andar l’acqua al mulino. Drink wine and let water go to the mill.

Biasimare i principi è pericolo, e il lodarli è bugia. To censure princes is perilous, and to praise them is lying.

Bisogna unger le ruote, chi vuol che il carro corra. You must grease the wheels if you would have the car run.

Bisogna voltar la vela secondo il vento. You must shift your sail with the wind.

Bocca chiusa ed occhi aperti. Mouth shut and eyes open.

Bocca unta non può dir di no. A greased mouth cannot say no.

Brutta cosa è il povero superbo e ’l ricco avaro. A proud pauper and a rich miser are contemptible beings.

Bue vecchio, solco diritto. An old ox makes a straight furrow.

Bugie hanno corte le gambe. Lies have short legs.

Buona incudine non tema martello. A good anvil does not fear the hammer.

Buon appetito non vuol salsa. A good appetite does not want sauce.

Buona quella lima che doma il ferro senza strepito. It is a good file that cuts iron without making a noise.

Buona vita non può tenere, quel che serve senz’avere. He cannot lead a good life who serves without wages.


Buon cavallo e mal cavallo vuole sproni; buona femmina e mala femmina vuol bastoni. A good horse and a bad horse need the spur; a good woman and a bad woman need the stick.

Buon cavallo non ha bisogno de’ sproni. Never spur a willing horse.

Buon pagatore dell’altrui borsa è signore. He who pays well is master of other men’s purses.

Buon pagatore non si cura di dar buon pegno. A good paymaster does not hesitate to give good security.

Buon principio è la metà dell’opra. Well begun is half done.

Buon principio fa buon fine. A good beginning makes a good ending.

Buon vino fa buon sangue. Good wine makes good blood.


Cader della padella nelle bragie. To fall out of the frying-pan into the fire.

Cade un cavallo, che ha quattro gambe. A horse falls though he has four legs.

Cadono le miglior pere in bocca a’ porci. The best pears fall into the pigs’ mouths.

Calcio di cavalla non fece mai male a poledro. The kick of a mare never hurt a colt.

Can ch’abbaia non morde. A barking cur does not bite.

Can che morde non abbaia in vano. The dog that bites does not bark in vain.

Can dell’ortolano non mangia la lattuga, e non la lascia mangiare agli altri. The gardener’s dog does not eat lettuce and will not let others eat it.

Cane abbaia, e bue pasce. The dog barks and the ox feeds.

Cane affamato non ha paura di bastone. A hungry dog does not fear the stick.

Cane di cucina non fu mai buon per la caccia. A kitchen dog never was good for the chase.

Cane vecchio non abbaia indarno. An old dog does not bark for nothing.


Can ringhioso e non forzoso, guai alla sua pelle. The dog that is quarrelsome and not strong, woe to his hide.

Can vecchio non s’avvezza a portar collare. An old dog does not grow used to the collar.

Capo grasso, cervello magro. Fat head, lean brains.

Carestia prevista non venne mai. Dearth foreseen never came.

Carica volontaria non carica. A voluntary burthen is no burthen.

Caro costa quel che con preghi si compra. That costs dear which is bought with begging.

Caro mi vendi, e giusto mi misura. Sell me dear, and measure me fair.

Casa fatta, possession disfatta. The house completed, possession defeated.

Casa il figlio quando vuoi, e la figlia quando puoi. Marry your son when you please, your daughter when you can.

Casa mia, casa mia, per piccina che tu sia, tu mi sembri una badìa. Home, dear home, small as thou art, to me thou art a palace.

Castello che dà orecchia si vuol rendere. The fortress that parleys soon surrenders.

Cattiva è quella lana che non si può tingere. Bad is the wool that cannot be died.

Cattive nuove presto corrono. Ill news travels fast.

Cattivo è quel sacco che non si può rappezzare. Bad is the sack that will not bear patching.

Cavallo che corre non ha bisogna di sproni. Spur not a willing horse.

Cavallo ingrassato tira calci. A horse grown fat kicks.

Cavallo magro non tira calci. A lean horse does not kick.

Cavallo scappato da sè si gastiga. A runaway horse punishes himself.

Cava un chiodo, e pianta un cavicchio. He takes out a nail and puts in a pin.

Cerca cinque piedi al montone. He is in search of a ram with five feet.

Che ne può la gatta se la massaia è matta? How can the cat help it if the maid be a fool?

Che sarà, sarà. What will be, will be.


Chi abbisogna, non abbia vergogna. He that wants should not be bashful.

Chi affoga, grida ancor che non sia udito. He that is drowning shouts though he be not heard.

Chi altri giudica, sè condanna. Who judges others, condemns himself.

Chi altri tribola, sè non posa. Who troubles others has no rest himself.

Chi ama, crede. Who loves, believes.

Chiama l’arbore, ama il ramo. Who loves the tree loves the branch.

Chi ama me, ama il mio cane. Love me, love my dog.

Chi ama, teme. Who loves, fears.

Chi asino è, e cervo esser si crede, al saltar del fosso sè ne avvede. He who is an ass and thinks himself a stag, finds his mistake when he comes to leap the ditch.

Chi aspettar puole, ha ciò che vuole. He who can wait obtains what he wishes.

Chiave d’oro apre ogni porta. A gold key opens every door.

Chi ben ama, ben gastiga. Who loves well chastises well.

Chi ben comincia ha la metà dell’opra. Well begun is half done.

Chi ben congettura, bene indovina. He who guesses well prophesies well.

Chi ben dona, caro vende, se villano non è chi prende. Who gives well, sells dear, if the receiver be not a churl.

Chi ben dorme, non sente le pulci. He who sleeps well does not feel the fleas.

Chi ben vive, ben predica. He preaches well who lives well.

Chi biasima, vuol comprare. He who decries, wants to buy.

Chi burla, si confessa. He that jokes, confesses.

Chi burla, vien burlato. The biter is sometimes bit.

Chi butta via oro con lo mani lo cerca co’ piedi. He who throws away money with his hands will seek it with his feet.

Chi canta, i suoi mali spaventa. He who sings drives away sorrow.

Chi cerca mal, mal trova. Harm watch, harm catch.

Chi cerca, trova, e talor quel che non vorrebbe. He that seeks, finds, and sometimes what he would rather not.


Chi colomba si fa, il falcon se la mangia. He who makes himself a dove is eaten by the hawk.

Chi compra a tempo, compra a buon mercato. He who buys betimes buys cheaply.

Chi compra ciò che pagar non può, vende ciò che non vuole. He who buys what he cannot pay for, sells what he would rather not.

Chi compra il magistrato, forza è che venda la giustizia. He that buys the office of magistrate must of necessity sell justice.

Chi compra la scopa, può anche comprar il manico. He who buys the broom can also buy the handle.

Chi compra terra, compra guerra. Who buys land buys war.

Chi con l’occhio vede, di cuor crede. Seeing is believing.

Chi contra il cielo getta pietra, in capo gli ritorna. Who throws a stone at the sky, it falls back on his head.

Chi dà del pane a’ cani d’altri, spesso viene abbaiato da suoi. He who gives bread to others’ dogs is often barked at by his own.

Chi dà, insegna a rendere. Who gives, teaches a return.

Chi dà presto, dà il doppio. He gives twice who gives in a trice.

Chi della serpa è punto, ha paura della lucertola. He who has been stung by a serpent is afraid of a lizard.

Chi dice i fatti suoi, mal tacerà quelli d’altrui. He who tells his own affairs will hardly keep secret those of others.

Chi dimanda non commanda. He who demands does not command.

Chi dinanzi mi pinge, di dietro mi tinge. Who paints me before blackens me behind.

Chi di venti non è, di trenta non sa, di quaranta non ha, mai non sarà, nè mai saprà, nè mai havra. He that at twenty is not, at thirty knows not, and at forty has not, will never be, nor ever know, nor ever have.

Chi divide il miele con l’orso ha la minor parte. Who divides honey with the bear, will be like to get the lesser share.

Chi dorme con cani si leva con pulci. Who lies down with dogs gets up with fleas.

Chi dorme non piglia pesci. He who sleeps catches no fish.


Chi due lepri caccia, l’una non piglia e l’altra lascia. He who hunts two hares does not catch the one and lets the other escape.

Chi due padroni ha da servire, ad uno ha da mentire. He who serves two masters must lie to one of them.

Chi è al coperto quando piove, è ben matto se si muove. He who is under cover when it rains is a great fool if he stirs.

Chi è causa del suo male, pianga se stesso. He who is the cause of his own misfortune may bewail it himself.

Chi è dell’arte ne può ragionare. He who is of the craft can discourse about it.

Chi è diffamato, è mezzo impiccato. He who hath an ill name is half hanged. (Give a dog an ill name, and you may as well hang him.)

Chi è imbarcato col diavolo, ha da passar in sua compagnia. He who is embarked with the devil must make the passage in his company.

Chi è in difetto, è in sospetto. He that is in fault is in suspicion.

Chi è in inferno non sà ciò che sia cielo. He who is in hell knows not what heaven is.

Chi è in peccato, crede che tutti dicano male di lui. He who is guilty believes that all men speak ill of him.

Chi è nato per la forca mai s’annegherà. He that is born to be hanged will never be drowned.

Chi è ritto può cadere. He that stands may fall.

Chi erra nelle decine, erra nelle migliaja. Who errs in the tens errs in the thousands.

Chi esce di commissione, paga del suo. He that exceeds his commission must answer for it at his own cost.

Chi fa à suo modo, non gli duole il capo. He who does as he likes has no headache.

Chi fabbrica su quel d’altri, perde la calcina e le pietre. He who builds on another’s ground loses his stone and mortar.

Chi fabbrica vicino alla strada, ha molti sindicatori. He who builds by the roadside has many surveyors.

Chi fa il conto senza l’oste, gli convien farlo due volte. He that reckons without his host must reckon again.

Chi fa la casa in piazza, o la fa troppo alta o troppo bassa.[81] He who builds a house in the market-place, builds either too high or too low.

Chi fa li fatti suoi, non s’imbratta le mani. He who doth his own business defileth not his fingers.

Chi fa quel ch’e’ può, non fa mai bene. Who does all he may never does well.

Chi fonda in sul popolo, fonda in sulla rena. Who builds on the mob builds on sand.

Chi frequenta la cucina, sente di fumo. Who frequents the kitchen smells of smoke.

Chi giura, è bugiardo. He who swears is a liar.

Chi ha buon cavallo in stalla, può andare a piedi. He who has a good horse in his stable may go on foot.

Chi ha buon vicino, ha buon mattino. He who has a good neighbour has a good morning.

Chi ha capo di cera, non vada al sole. He who has a head of wax must not walk in the sun.

Chi ha cattivo nome, è mezzo impiccato. He who has a bad name is half hanged.

Chi ha coda di paglia, ha sempre paura che gli pigli fuoco. He who has a straw tail is always in fear of its catching fire.

Chi ha compagno, ha padrone. He who has a mate has a master.

Chi ha da esser zanaiuolo, nasce col manico in mano. He who is meant to be a basket-carrier is born with the handle in his hand.

Chi ha danari da buttar via, metta gli operaj, e non vi stia. He who has money to throw away, let him employ workmen, and not stand by.

Chi ha denti, non ha pane; e chi ha pane, non ha denti. He who has teeth has no bread, and he who has bread has no teeth.

Chi ha de’ pani, ha de’ cani. He who has loaves has dogs.

Chi ha, è. Who has, is.

Chi ha il lupo per compagno, porti il cane sotto il mantello. Who makes the wolf his companion should carry a dog under his cloak.

Chi ha l’amor nel petto, ha lo sprone a’ fianchi. Who has love in his heart has spurs in his sides.

Chi ha lingua in bocca, può andar per tutto. Who has a tongue in his head can go all the world over.


Chi ha mala lingua, bisogna che abbia buone reni. He who has a bad tongue should have good loins.

Chi ha mangiato il diavolo, mangia anche le corna. He that has swallowed the devil may swallow his horns.

Chi ha passato il guado, sa quant’acqua tiene. He who has crossed the ford knows how deep it is.

Chi ha pazienza, ha i tordi grassi a un quattrin l’uno. Who has patience may get fat thrushes at a farthing apiece.

Chi ha pazienza, vede la sua vendetta. Who has patience sees his revenge.

Chi ha paura del diavolo, non fa roba. He that is afraid of the devil does not grow rich.

Chi ha paura d’ogni fronde, non vada al bosco. Who is in fear of every leaf must not go into the wood.

Chi ha poca vergogna, tutto il mondo è suo. Who hath little shame the world is all his own.

Chi ha qualche cosa, è qualche cosa. Who has something is something.

Chi ha ragion, teme; chi ha torto, spera. Who is in the right fears, who is in the wrong hopes.

Chi ha sospetto, di rado è in difetto. He who suspects is seldom at fault.

Chi ha tegoli di vetro, non tiri sassi al vicino. He who has a glass roof should not throw stones at his neighbour’s.

Chi ha terra, ha guerra. He who has land has war.

Chi ha un sol porco, facilmente l’ingrassa. He that has but one pig easily fattens it.

Chi la fa, se la dimentica, ma non chi la riceve. He who does the wrong forgets it, but not he who receives it.

Chi lingua ha, a Roma va. He who has a tongue, may go to Rome.

Chi mal comincia, peggio finisce. He who begins ill finishes worse.

Chi mal pensa, mal abbia. Evil be to him who evil thinks.

Chi mal semina, mal raccoglie. Who sows ill reaps ill.

Chi mangia peri col suo signore, non sceglie i migliori. He who eats pears with his master should not choose the best.

Chi molte cose comincia, poche ne finisce. He who begins many things finishes few.

Chi mostra i quattrini, mostra il giudizio. He that shows his money shows his judgment.


Chi muta paese, muta ventura. Who changes country changes luck.

Chi muta stato, muta fortuna. Who changes his condition changes fortune.

Chi nasce bella, nasce maritata. She who is born a beauty is born betrothed.

Chi nasce matto, non guarisce mai. Who is born a fool is never cured.

Chi nel fango casca, quanto più si dimena, più s’imbratta. When a man has fallen into the mire, the more he flounders the more he fouls himself.

Chi niente dice, mai non mente. He who says nothing never lies.

Chi niente sa, di niente dubita. He who knows nothing never doubts.

Chi non arde, non accende. Who glows not burns not.

Chi non dà fine al pensare, non dà principio al fare. Who has never done thinking never begins doing.

Chi non fallisce, non arricchisce. He that never fails never grows rich.

Chi non fa quando può, non fa quando vuole. He who does not when he can, cannot when he will.

Chi non ha cuore, abbia gambe. Who hath no courage must have legs.

Chi non ha danari in borsa, abbia miel in bocca. Who has no money in his purse must have honey in his mouth.

Chi non ha debito, non ha credito. He who is without debt is without credit.

Chi non ha figliuoli, non sa che cosa sia amore. Who has no children does not know what love is.

Chi non ha niente, non teme niente. Who has nothing fears nothing.

Chi non ha, non è. Who has not is not.

Chi non ha nulla, non è nulla. Who has nothing is nothing.

Chi non ha piaghe, se ne fa. Who has no plagues makes himself some.

Chi non ha quattrini, non abbia voglie. Who has no money must have no wishes.

Chi non ha testa, abbia gambe. Who has no head should have legs.


Chi non ha vergogna, tutto il mondo è suo. Who has no shame all the world is his own.

Chi non può batter il cavallo, batte la sella. Who cannot beat the horse let him beat the saddle.

Chi non può far la sua vendetta è debole, chi non vuole è vile. He who cannot revenge himself is weak, he who will not is contemptible.

Chi non può, sempre vuole. He who is unable is always willing.

Chi non rompe le uova, non fa la frittata. There is no making pancakes without breaking the eggs.

Chi non sa adulare, non sa conversare. Who knows not how to flatter knows not how to talk.

Chi non sa dissimulare, non sa regnare. Who knows not how to dissemble knows not how to reign.

Chi non sa orare, vada in mare a navigare. Who knows not how to pray let him go sail the sea.

Chi non s’arrischia non guadagna. He who risks nothing can gain nothing. (Nothing venture nothing have.)

Chi non stima altri che sè, è felice quanto un re. He who esteems none but himself is as happy as a king.

Chi non va, non vede; chi non prova, non crede. Who goes not, sees not; who proves not, believes not.

Chi non vede il fondo, non passi l’acqua. Don’t cross the water unless you see the bottom.

Chi non vuol affaticarsi in questo mondo, non ci nasca. He that will not strive in this world should not have come into it.

Chi non vuol piedi sul collo, non s’inchini. Who would not have feet set on his neck, let him not stoop.

Chi non vuol rassomigliarsi al lupo, non porti la sua pelle. Who does not wish to be like the wolf let him not wear its skin.

Chi non vuol servir ad un sol signore, a molti ha da servire. He who will not serve one master must needs serve many.

Chiodo con chiodo da se si cava. One nail drives out another.

Chi offende, non dimentichi. Let the injurer not forget.

Chi offende, non perdona mai. The injurer never forgives.

Chi offende, scrive nella rena; chi è offeso nel marmo. Who offends writes on sand; who is offended, on marble.


Chi paga debito, fa capitale. Who pays a debt creates capital.

Chi paga innanzi, è servito indietro. Who pays beforehand is served behindhand.

Chi parla, semina; chi tace, raccoglie. The talker sows, the listener reaps.

Chi perde, ha sempre torto. He who loses is always in fault.

Chi piglia l’anguilla per la coda, e la donna per la parola, può dir che non tiene niente. Who takes an eel by the tail and a woman at her word, may say he holds nothing.

Chi piglia leone in assenza, teme la talpa in presenza. Who takes a lion at a distance fears a mole present.

Chi pinge il fiore, non gli dà l’odore. He that paints a flower does not give it perfume.

Chi più intende, più perdona. Who knows most, forgives most.

Chi più sa, meno crede. Who knows most believes least.

Chi più sa, meno parla. Who knows most says least.

Chi pratica co’grandi, l’ultimo è a tavola, e’l primo a’strapazzi. Who dangles after the great is the last at table and the first to be cuffed.

Chi prende, si vende. Who accepts, sells himself.

Chi primo arriva al molin, primo macina. The first at the mill grinds first.

Chi raro viene, vien bene. Who comes seldom, is welcome.

Chi ride del mal d’altri, ha il suo dietro l’uscio. Who laughs at others’ ills, has his own behind the door.

Chi s’aiuta, Dio l’aiuta. God helps him who helps himself.

Chi sa la strada, può andar di trotto. He who knows the road can ride full trot.

Chi sa meglio nuotare, è il primo a sommergersi. The best swimmer is the first to drown himself.

Chi sa poco, presto lo dice. He who knows but little quickly tells it.

Chi semina spine, non vada scalzo. Who sows thorns should not go barefoot.

Chi serba, serba al gatto. Who saves, saves for the cat.

Chi serve al commune, ha cattivo padrone. He who serves the public has a sorry master.

Chi serve al commune, serve nessuno. Who serves the public, serves no one.

Chi servo si fa, servo s’aspetta. He who makes himself a servant is expected to remain a servant.


Chi si affoga, s’attaccherebbe a’ rasoj. A drowning man would catch at razors.

Chi si è scottato una volta, l’altra vi soffia su. He who has scalded himself once blows the next time.

Chi si fa fango, il porco lo calpestra. He that makes himself dirt is trod on by the swine.

Chi si fa pecorella, i lupi la mangiano. Make yourself a sheep and the wolves will eat you.

Chi si lascia mettere in spalla la capra, indi a poco è sforzato a portar la vacca. He who lets the goat be laid on his shoulders is soon after forced to carry the cow.

Chi si loda, s’imbroda. He who praises himself befouls himself.

Chi si marita in fretta, stenta adagio. Marry in haste, repent at leisure.

Chi si scusa, s’accusa. Who excuses himself accuses himself.

Chi si scusa senz’esser accusato, fa chiaro il suo peccato. Who excuses himself without being accused makes his fault manifest.

Chi soffia nella polvere, se ne empie gli occhi. He who blows upon dust fills his eyes with it.

Chi sta a vedere, ha due terzi del gioco. He who looks on has two-thirds of the game.

Chi sta bene, non si muova. Let him who is well off stay where he is.

Chi tace, acconsente. Silence gives consent.

Chi tardi arriva, mal alloggia. The late comer is ill lodged.

Chi tocca la pece, s’imbratta. He who touches pitch defiles himself.

Chi troppo abbraccia, nulla stringe. He who grasps too much holds nothing fast.

Chi tutto nega, tutto confessa. He who denies all confesses all.

Chi tutto vuole, tutto perde. All covet, all lose.

Chi un ne castiga, cento ne minaccia. He who chastises one threatens a hundred.

Chi va al mulino, s’infarina. He who goes to the mill gets befloured.

Chi va, lecca, e chi sta, secca. Who moves picks up, who stands still dries up.

Chi va piano, va sano, e chi va sano, va lontano. Who goes softly goes safely, and he that goes safely goes far.


Chi va, vuole; chi manda, non se ne cura. Who goes himself is in earnest, who sends is indifferent.

Chi vien dietro, serra l’uscio. The last comer shuts the door.

Chi vive a minuto, fà le spese a’ suoi ed agli altri. He who buys by the pennyworth keeps his own house and other men’s too.

Chi vive tra lupi, impara a urlare. He who lives among wolves learns to howl.

Chi vuol amici assai, ne pruovi pochi. Who would have many friends let him test but few.

Chi vuol ammazzar il suo cane, basta che dica ch’è arrabbiato. He who wants his dog killed has only to say he’s mad.

Chi vuol andar salvo per lo mondo, bisogna aver occhio di falcone, orecchio d’asino, viso di scimia, bocca di porcello, spalle di camello, e gambe di cervo. To go safely through the world you must have the eye of a falcon, the ear of an ass, the face of an ape, the mouth of a pig, the shoulders of a camel, and the legs of a deer.

Chi vuol arricchire in un anno, è impiccato in sei mesi. He who would be rich in a year gets hanged in six months.

Chi vuol assai, non dimandi poco. He who wants a good deal must not ask for a little.

Chi vuol con piacer mangiare, non veda cucinare. He who would relish his food must not see it cooked.

Chi vuol dar al cane, trova facilmente il bastone. He that would beat his dog can easily find a stick.

Chi vuol dell’acqua chiara, vada alla fonte. He who would have clear water should go to the fountain head.

Chi vuol esser lungo tempo vecchio, bisogna cominciar a buon’ora. He who would be long an old man must begin betimes.

Chi vuol esser mal servito tenga assai famiglia. He that would be ill served should keep plenty of servants.

Chi vuol goder la festa, digiuni la vigilia. He who would enjoy the feast should fast on the eve.

Chi vuol il lavoro mal fatto, paghi innanzi tratto. If you would have your work ill done, pay beforehand.

Chi vuol molti amici, non n’ha nessuno. He that seeks to have many friends never has any.

Chi vuol presto e ben, faccia da se. He that would have a thing done quickly and well must do it himself.


Chi vuol Quaresima corta, faccia debiti da pagar a Pasqua. Who wishes for a short Lent let him contract debts to be paid at Easter.

Chi vuol riposare, convien travagliare. He who would rest must work.

Chi vuol saldar piaga, non la maneggi. He that would heal a wound must not handle it.

Chi vuol turar la bocca a tutti, bisogna che abbia assai farina. He who would stop every man’s mouth must have a great deal of meal.

Ciascuno ha un matto nella manica. Every man has a fool in his sleeve.

Ci è chi vede male, e vorrebbe veder peggio. There are some who see ill, and would like to see worse.

Cieco è l’occhio, se l’animo è distratto. The eye is blind if the mind is absent.

Ciò che si usa, non ha scusa. That which is customary requires no excuse.

Città affamata tosto è espugnata. A starved town is soon forced to surrender.

Coda d’asino non fa crivello. An ass’s tail will not make a sieve.

Cogli la rosa, e lascia star le spine. Pluck the rose and leave the thorns.

Colle chiavi d’oro s’apre ogni porta. The golden key opens every door.

Col tempo e con la paglia, si maturan le nespole. With time and straw medlars ripen.

Col Vangelo si può diventare eretici. With the Gospel men may become heretics.

Come l’arbore è caduto, ognun vi corre colla scure a far legna. When the tree is down every one runs to it with a hatchet to cut wood.

Comincia a diventar cattivo chi si tien buono. He begins to grow bad who believes himself good.

Compra il letto d’un gran debitore. Buy the bed of a great debtor.

Con arte e con inganno si vive mezzo l’anno; con inganno e con arte si vive l’altra parte. With art and knavery we live through half the year; with knavery and art we live through the other.[89] Con la pelle del cane si sana la morditura. With the skin of the dog its bite is cured.

Con la voglia cresce la doglia. With wishing comes grieving.

Con la volpe convien volpeggiare. With the fox one must play the fox.

Conoscon gl’infelici quali siano i veri amici. The unfortunate know who are their real friends.

Con poco cervello si governa il mondo. The world is governed with little brains.

Contento io, contento il mondo. I being satisfied, the world is satisfied.

Contesa vecchia tosto si fa nuova. An old quarrel is easily renewed.

Contro amore non è consiglio. Counsel is nothing against love.

Corpo satollo non crede al digiuno. The full belly does not believe in hunger.

Corre lontano chi non torna mai. He runs far who never turns.

Corta coda non para mosche. A short tail won’t keep off flies.

Corte Romana non vuol pecora senza lana. The court of Rome likes not sheep without wool.

Corvi con corvi non si cavan gli occhi. Ravens do not peck out ravens’ eyes.

Cosa fatta capo ha. A thing done has a head. (The exultation of an ancient sculptor on his satisfactorily completing the head of his statue.)

Costa men del don quel che si compra. What is bought is cheaper than a gift.

Credenza è morta, il mal pagar l’uccise. Credit is dead, bad pay killed it.

Credi al vantatore come al mentitore. Believe a boaster as you would a liar.

Cuor forte rompe cattiva sorte. A stout heart overcomes ill fortune.



Da cattivo pagatore togliete paglia. From a bad paymaster take straw—i.e. any trifle.

Da chi mi fido, mi guardi Iddio; da chi non mi fido, mi guarderò io. From those I trust God guard me, from those I mistrust I will guard myself.

Da chi ti dona, guardati. Beware of him who makes you presents.

Dà del tuo a chi ha del suo. Give to him that has.

Dà tempo al tempo. Give time time.

Dal conto sempre manca il lupo. The wolf is always left out of the reckoning.

Dal detto al fatto vi è un gran tratto. From saying to doing is a long way.

Dall’acqua cheta, mi guardi Iddio; che dalla corrente, mi guarderò io. From still water God keep me; from running water I will keep myself.

Dalla mano alla bocca si perde la zuppa. Between the hand and the month the soup is spilt.

Dalla neve o cotta o pesta non caverai altro che acqua. From snow whether cooked or pounded you will get nothing but water.

Dalla rapa non si cava sangue. There is no getting blood from a turnip.

Dallo stesso fior l’ape cava il miele, e la vespe il fiele. From the same flower the bee extracts honey and the wasp gall.

Dall’unghia si conosce il leone. The lion is known by his claws.

Danari di poveri e arme di poltroni si veggono spesso. Poor men’s money and cowards’ weapons are often flourished.

Dannoso è il dono che toglie la libertà. Injurious is the gift that takes away freedom.

Da stagione tutto è buono. Everything is good in its season.

Date bere al prete, che il chierico ha sete. Give the priest drink, for the clerk is thirsty.

De’ grandi e de’ morti o parla bene, o taci. Of the great and of the dead either speak well or say nothing.


Dei gusti non se ne disputa. There’s no disputing about tastes.

Dell’amico bene; del nemico nè bene nè male. Speak well of your friend; of your enemy neither well nor ill.

Del can che morde, il pelo sana. A hair of the dog cures the bite.

Del cervello ognuno si pensa d’averne più che parte. Every one thinks he has more than his share of brains.

Del cuoio d’altri si fan larghe stringhe. Broad thongs may be cut from other men’s leather.

Del giudizio, ognun ne vende. Of judgment every one has a stock on hand for sale.

Dell’albero, non si giudica dalla scorza. The tree is not to be judged of by its bark.

Della sua istessa colpa amor è scusa. Love is an excuse for its own faults.

Del senno di poi è piena ogni fossa. Every ditch is full of after-wit.

Del tempo passato non vi è appello. There is no appeal from time past.

Del tutto non è savio chi non sa far il pazzo. He is not a thorough wise man who cannot play the fool on occasion.

Del vero s’adira l’uomo. It is truth that makes a man angry.

Dentro da un orecchio e fuori dall’altro. In at one ear and out at the other.

De’ peccati de’ signori fanno penitenza i poveri. Poor men do penance for rich men’s sins.

Di’ all’amico il tuo segreto, e ti terrà il piè sul collo. Tell your secret to your friend and he will set his foot on your neck.

Di buona volontà sta pieno l’inferno. Hell is full of good intentions.

Di casa la gatta il topo non esce a corpo pieno. The mouse does not leave the cat’s house with a bellyful.

Dico a te figliuola, intendilo tu nuora. I speak to you, daughter; hear it daughter-in-law.

Di cosa che non ti cale, non dir nè ben nè male. Of what does not concern you say nothing, good or bad.

Di dove meno si pensa, si leva la lepre. The hare starts from where it is least expected.


Di’ il fatto tuo, e lascia far al diavolo. Tell everybody your business and the devil will do it for you.

Di mal erba non si fà buon fieno. Bad grass does not make good hay.

Dimmi con chi vai, e ti dirò chi sei. Tell me the company you keep, and I’ll tell you what you are.

Di notte tutti i gatti sono neri. By night all cats are black.

Di novello tutto par bello. Everything new is beautiful.

Dio ci manda la carne, ma il diavolo i cuochi. God sends meat and the devil sends cooks.

Dio guarisce, e il medico è ringraziato. God heals and the doctor has the thanks.

Dio manda il freddo secondo i panni. God sends cold according to the clothes.

Dio mi guardi da chi non bee. God save me from one who does not drink.

Dio mi guardi da chi studia un libro solo. God save me from him who studies but one book.

Dio mi guardi da chi ha una faccenda sola. God save me from him who has but one occupation.

Dio non manda se non quel che si può portare. God sends nothing but what can be borne.

Di questo mondo ciascuno n’ha quanto se ne toglie. Of this world each man has as much as he takes.

Dio ti salvi da un cattivo vicino, e da un principiante di violino. God save you from a bad neighbour, and from a beginner on the fiddle.

Di padre santalotto figlio diavolotto. The father a saint the son a devil.

Di picciol uomo spesso grand’ombra. A little man often casts a long shadow.

Di rado il medico piglia medicina. The doctor seldom takes physic.

Di rado visto, presto scordato. Seldom seen soon forgotten.

Dispicca l’impiccato, e impiccherà poi te. Take down a thief from the gallows and he will hang you up.

Di tre cose il diavol si fa insalata: di lingue d’avvocati, di dita di notari, e la terza è riservata. Of three things the devil makes a salad: advocates’ tongues, notaries’ fingers, and a third that shall be nameless.


Di tutte le arti maestro è amore. Love is master of all arts.

Di uovo bianco spesso pulcin nero. Out of a white egg often comes a black chick.

Doglia di moglie morta dura fino alla porta. Grief for a dead wife lasts to the door.

Dolce vivanda vuole salsa acerba. Sweet meat requires sour sauce.

Dolor di capo non toglie la corona reale. A crown is no cure for the headache.

Domanda al mio caro se sono ladro. Ask my chum if I am a thief.

Domandar chi nacque prima, l’uovo o la gallina. Ask which was born first, the hen or the egg.

Donar si chiama pescar. Giving is fishing.

Don differito, e troppo aspettato, non è donato, ma caro venduto. A gift delayed, and long expected, is not given, but sold dear.

Donna che dona di rado è buona; donna che piglia è nell’ altrui artiglia. The woman who gives is seldom good; the woman who accepts is in the power of the giver.

Donna di finestra, uva di strada. A woman who loves to be at the window is like a bunch of grapes on the wayside.

Donna si lagna, donna si duole, donna s’ammala quando la vuole. A woman’s in pain, a woman’s in woe, a woman is ill, when she likes to be so.

Donne, asini, e noci voglion le mani atroci. Women, asses, and nuts, require strong hands.

Donne, preti, e polli non son mai satolli. Women, priests, and poultry, never have enough.

Dopo che i cavalli sono presi, serrar la stalla. To lock the stable after the horses are taken.

Dopo il radere non ci è più che tosare. After shaving there is nothing to shear.

Dopo un papa se ne fa un altro. After one pope another is made.

Dove bisognan rimedj, il sospirar non vale. Where remedies are needed, sighing avails not.

Dove ci manca la pelle di leone, convien cucirvi cuoi di volpe. Where the lion’s skin falls short, piece it out with that of the fox.


Dove è grand’amore, quivi è gran dolore. Where there is great love there is great pain.

Dove è il Papa, ivi è Roma. Where the Pope is there is Rome.

Dov’è l’amore, là è l’occhio. Where love is there the eye is.

Dove è manco cuore, quivi è più lingua. Where there is least heart there is most tongue.

Dove entra il bere, se n’esce il sapere. When the wine’s in the wit’s out.

Dove entra il vino, esce la vergogna. When wine enters modesty departs.

Dove il dente duole, la lingua v’inciampa. The tongue goes to where the tooth aches.

Dove il fiume ha più fondo, fa minor strepito. Where the river is deepest it makes least noise.

Dove la siepe è bassa, ognun vuol passare. Where the hedge is low every one will cross it.

Dove la voglia è pronta, le gambe son leggiere. When the will is prompt the legs are nimble.

Dove l’oro parla, ogni lingua tace. When gold speaks every tongue is silent.

Dove l’uscio è basso, bisogna inchinarsi. He must stoop that has a low door.

Dove non basta la pelle del leone, bisogna attaccarvi quella della volpe. Where the skin of the lion does not suffice, we must join that of the fox.

Dove non è egualità, mai perfetto amor sarà. Where there is not equality there never can be perfect love.

Dove non si crede, l’acqua rompe. The water breaks out where it is not expected.

Dove non sono i cani, la volpe è re. Where there are no dogs the fox is a king.

Dove sono molti cuochi, la minestra sarà troppo salata. Where there are too many cooks the soup will be too salty.

Dove il lupo trovò un agnello, ve ne cerca uno novello. Where the wolf found a lamb he looks for another.

Dove va la nave, può andar il brigantino. Where the ship goes the brig can go.

Due donne e un’oca fanno un mercato. Two women and a goose make a market.


Due teste son migliori che una. Two heads are better than one.

Dura più l’incudine che il martello. The anvil lasts longer than the hammer.

Duro a vecchia licenza nuova legge. Hard is a new law imposed on old licence.

Duro con duro non fece mai buon muro. Hard upon hard never made a good wall.


E ardito il gallo sopra il suo letame. The cock is bold on his own dunghill.

E bello predicare il digiuno a corpo pieno. It is easy to preach fasting with a full belly.

E bene aver degli amici per tutto. It is good to have friends everywhere.

E buon comprare quando un altro vuol vendere. It is good to buy when another wants to sell.

E buon tenere i panni a chi nuota. It is good to hold the clothes of one who is swimming.

E come l’ancora, che sta sempre nel mare e non impara mai nuotare. He is like the anchor that is always in the sea, yet does not learn to swim.

E facile far paura al toro dalla finestra. It is easy to threaten a bull from a window.

Egli ben sa dove la spina il punge. He knows well where the thorn pricks him.

Egli dà le pecore in guardia al lupo. He sets the wolf to guard the sheep.

Egli è buono a mandarlo per la morte. He would be a good one to send for death.

Egli ha bel dir bugie chi viene da lontano. He may lie safely who comes from afar.

Egli ha fatto come quel Perugino, che subito che gli fu rotto il capo, corse a casa per la celata. He has done like the Perugian who, when his head was broken, ran home for his helmet.

Egli misura gli altri con la sua canna. He measures others with his own yard.


Egli sa dove il diavolo tiene la coda. He knows where the devil carries his tail.

Egli scannerebbe una cimice per bersi il sangue. He would slaughter a bug to drink its blood.

Egli vende l’uccello in su la frasca. He sells the bird on the branch.

Egli venderebbe sino alla sua parte del sole. He would sell even his share of the sun.

Ei grida pria d’esser battuto. He cries out before he is hurt.

E la peggior ruota quella che fa più rumore. The worst wheel creaks most.

E mala cosa esser cattivo, ma è peggiore esser conosciuto. It is a bad thing to be a knave, but worse to be known for one.

E mal rubare a casa de’ ladri. It is not easy to steal in thieves’ houses.

E meglio aver oggi un uovo che domani una gallina. Better have an egg to-day than a hen to-morrow.

E meglio aver un’ape sola che un esercito di mosche. Better have one bee than a host of flies.

E meglio cader dalla finestra che dal tetto. Better to fall from the window than the roof.

E meglio dare che aver a dare. Better give than have to give.

E meglio dar la lana che la pecora. Better give the wool than the sheep.

E meglio domandar che errare. Better to ask than go astray.

E meglio esser capo di gatto che coda di leone. Better be the head of a cat than the tail of a lion.

E meglio esser capo di lucertola che coda di dracone. Better be the head of a lizard than the tail of a dragon.

E meglio esser solo che mal accompagnato. Better alone than in bad company.

E meglio esser uccel di bosco che di gabbia. Better be a bird of the wood than a bird in the cage.

E meglio il cuor felice che la borsa. A happy heart is better than a full purse.

E meglio invidia che pietà. Better be envied than pitied.

E meglio lasciare che mancare. It is better to leave than to lack.


E meglio perder la sella che il cavallo. Better lose the saddle than the horse.

E meglio piegare che rompere. Better bend than break.

E meglio sdrucciolare col piè che con la lingua. Better slip with the foot than with the tongue.

E meglio sentir cantar il rossignuolo che rodere il topo. It is better to hear the nightingale sing than the mouse gnaw.

E meglio stuzzicare un cane che una vecchia. It is better to irritate a dog than an old woman.

E meglio tardi che mai. Better late than never.

E meglio una volta che mai. Better once than never.

E meglio un magro accordo che una grassa sentenza. Better a lean agreement than a fat sentence.

E meglio un papa vivo che dieci morti. One living pope is better than ten dead.

E meglio un prossimo vicino che un lontano cugino. A near neighbour is better than a distant cousin.

E meglio un uccello in gabbia che cento fuori. A bird in the cage is worth a hundred at large.

E meglio vin torbo che acqua chiara. Thick wine is better than clear water.

E’ non mi morse mai cane ch’io non avessi del suo pelo. A dog never bit me but I had some of his hair.

E’ non si grida mai al lupo che non sia in paese. There is never a cry of “Wolf!” but the wolf is in the district.

E padron del mondo chi lo disprezza, schiavo chi lo apprezza. He is the world’s master who despises it, its slave who prizes it.

E padrone della vita altrui chi la sua sprezza. He is master of another man’s life who is indifferent to his own.

E picciola la punta della spina, ma chi sente il dolore non se ne dimentica. The point of the thorn is small, but he who has felt it does not forget it.

E ricco chi non ha debiti. He is rich who owes nothing.

Erra il prete all’altare. The priest errs at the altar.

Errore non fa pagamento. Error is no payment.

E sempre buono aver due corde al suo arco. It is always good to have two strings to your bow.


E troppo un nemico, e cento amici non bastano. One enemy is too many, and a hundred friends are too few.

E un cattivo boccone quello che affoga. It’s a bad mouthful that chokes.

E un mal giuoco dove nessun guadagna. It is a bad game where nobody wins.

E’ va più d’un asino al mercato. There goes more than one ass to market.


Fa bene, e non guardare a chi. Do good, and care not to whom.

Facilmente si trova un bastone per dar ad un cane. It is easy to find a stick to beat a dog.

Fammi indovino, e ti farò ricco. Make me a prophet and I will make you rich.

Fanciulli piccioli, dolor di testa; fanciulli grandi, dolor di cuore. Little children and headaches, great children and heartaches.

Fa quel che devi, e n’arrivi ciò che potrà. Do what you ought come what may.

Far conto dell’uovo non ancor nato. Don’t reckon your eggs before they are laid.

Far due chiodi ad un caldo. To make two nails at one heat.

Far d’una mosca un elefante. To make an elephant of a fly.

Fare e dire son due cose. Saying and doing are two things.

Farò quel che potrò, e un poco manco per potervi durare. I will do what I can, and a little less, to be able to continue at it.

Fatta la legge, trovata la malizia. No sooner is the law made than its evasion is discovered.

Fatti di miele, e ti mangeran le mosche. Make yourself honey and the flies will eat you.

Felice non è chi d’esser non sa. He is not happy who knows it not.

Femmine e galline per troppo andar si perdono. Women and hens are lost by too much gadding.

Fidati era un buon uomo, Nontifidare era meglio. Trust was a good man, Trust-not was a better.


Figlie e vetri son sempre in pericolo. Lasses and glasses are always in danger.

Finche vi è fiato vi è speranza. While there’s life there’s hope.

Fino alla morte non si sa la sorte. Until death there is no knowing what may befall.

Forte è l’aceto di vin dolce. Strong is the vinegar of sweet wine.

Fortuna, e dormi. Fortune, and go to sleep.

Fra dir e far si guastano scarpe assai. Between saying and doing many a pair of shoes is worn out.

Fra galantuomini parola è istrumento. Among men of honour a word is a bond.

Fra gli amici guardami Iddio, che fra’ nemici mi guarderò io. God keep me from my friends, from my enemies I will keep myself.

Frà Modesto non fu mai priore. Friar Modest never was a prior.

Freno indorato non megliora il cavallo. A golden bit makes none the better horse.


Gatta inguantata non prese mai topo. A muffled cat is no good mouser.

Gatto rinchiuso doventa leone. A cat pent up becomes a lion.

Gente di confini, o ladri o assassini. Borderers are either thieves or murderers.

Gettar la fune dietro la secchia. To throw the rope after the bucket.

Gettar le margherite ai porci. To cast pearls before swine.

Gli alberi grandi fanno più ombra che frutto. Large trees give more shade than fruit.

Gli errori del medico gli copre la terra. The earth covers the errors of the physician.

Gl’Italiani saggi innanzi il fatto, i Tedeschi nel fatto, i Francesi dopo il fatto. The Italians are wise before the act, the Germans in the act, the French after the act.

Gli onori mutano i costumi. Honours change manners.


Gli stornelli son magri perchè vanno in frotta. Starlings are lean because they go in flocks.

Gli uomini alla moderna, e gli asini all’antica. Men after the modern fashion, and asses after the ancient.

Gli uomini fanno la roba, e le donne la conservano. Men make wealth, and women preserve it.

Gli uomini hanno gli anni ch’e’ sentono, e le donne quelli che mostrano. Men are as old as they feel, and women as they look.

Gola d’adulatori, sepolcro aperto. The flatterer’s throat is an open sepulchre.

Granata nuova spazza ben la casa. New brooms sweep clean.

Granata nuova, tre dì buona. A new broom is good for three days.

Gran chiesa e poca divozione. A great church and little devotion.

Gran fumo, poco arrosto. Great smoke, little roast.

Grassa cucina, magro testamento. A fat kitchen, a lean testament.

Guarda che tu non lasci la coda nell’uscio. Take care you don’t let your tail be caught in the door.

Guarda innanzi che tu salti. Look before you leap.

Guardatevi dal “Se io avessi sospettato.” Beware of “Had I but known.”

Guardati da aceto di vin dolce. Beware of the vinegar of sweet wine.

Guardati da alchimista povero. Beware of a poor alchemist.

Guardati da chi non ha che perdere. Beware of one who has nothing to lose.

Guardati dall’occasione, e ti guarderà Dio da’ peccati. Keep yourself from opportunities and God will keep you from sins.

Guerra cominciata, inferno scatenato. War begun, hell unchained.


I bocconi grossi spesso strozzano. Big mouthfuls often choke.

I buoni nuotatori alfin s’affogano. Good swimmers are drowned at last.


I cani abbaiano a chi non conoscono. Dogs bark at those they don’t know.

I cenni de’ padroni sono commandamenti. Masters’ hints are commands.

I colpi non si danno a patti. Blows are not given upon conditions.

I danari del comune sono come l’acqua benedetta, ognun ne piglia. Public money is like holy water, every one helps himself to it.

I danari sono tondi, e girano. Money is round, and rolls.

I frutti proibiti sono i più dolci. Forbidden fruit is the sweetest.

I gran dolori sono muti. Great griefs are mute.

Il bugiardo deve aver buona memoria. Liars should have good memories.

Il buon marinaro si conosce al cattivo tempo. The good seaman is known in bad weather.

Il buono a qualcosa è l’asino del publico. He that is good for something is the ass of the public.

Il buono è buono, ma il miglior vince. Good is good, but better beats it.

Il buon pagatore dell’altrui borsa è signore. He who pays well is master of another’s purse.

Il buon pastore tosa, e non scortica. The good shepherd shears, not flays.

Il buon sangue giammai non può mentire. Good blood never lies.

Il campanello di camera è il peggior suono che si possa avere negli orecchi. The chamber-bell (chamber-clapper, or curtain lecture) is the worst sound one can have in his ears.

Il can battuto dal bastone, ha paura dell’ombra. The dog that has been beaten with a stick is afraid of its shadow.

Il can che vuol mordere, non abbaia. The dog that means to bite don’t bark.

Il cane scottato dall’acqua calda, ha paura della fredda. The scalded dog fears cold water.

Il cieco non dee giudicar dei colori. A blind man is no judge of colours.

Il danaro è fratello del danaro. Money is money’s brother.

Il danaro è un compendio del poter umano. Money is an epitome of human power.


Il diavolo dove non può mettere il capo vi mette la coda. Where the devil cannot put his head he puts his tail.

Il diavolo è cattivo, perchè è vecchio. The devil is bad because he is old.

Il diavolo non è cosi brutto come si dipinge. The devil is not so ugly as he is painted.

Il diavolo, quand’è vecchio, si fa romito. When the devil is old he turns hermit.

Il diavolo tenta tutti, ma l’ozioso tenta il diavolo. The devil tempts all, but the idle man tempts the devil.

Il diavolo vuol tentar Lucifero. The devil will tempt Lucifer.

Il domandar costa poco. Asking costs little.

Il fatto non si può disfare. What’s done can’t be undone.

Il fin del corsare è annegare. The end of the corsair is to drown.

Il fin loda l’opera. The end praises the work.

Il fiume non s’ingrossa d’acqua chiara. The river does not swell with clear water.

Il fuoco fa saltar le vespe fuor del vespaio. Fire drives the wasp out of its nest.

Il fuoco non s’estingue con fuoco. Fire is not quenched with fire.

Il leone ebbe bisogno del topo. The lion had need of the mouse.

Il lungo giorno nò, ma il cuor fa l’opera. It is not the long day, but the heart that does the work.

Il lupo non è sempre lupo. The wolf is not always a wolf.

Il lupo piange la pecora, poi se la mangia. The wolf bemoans the sheep, and then eats it.

Il male per libra viene, va via per once. Ill luck comes by pounds and goes away by ounces.

Il mangiare insegna a bere. Eating teaches drinking.

Il medico pietoso fa la piaga puzzolente. The tender surgeon makes the wound gangrene.

Il meglio è nemico del bene. Better is an enemy to well.

Il migliore è meno caro. The best is the cheapest.

Il mirto è sempre mirto, benchè sia tra l’ortiche. The myrtle is always a myrtle, though it be among nettles.

Il molino non macina senz’acqua. The mill does not grind without water.


Il mondo è dei flemmatici. The world belongs to the phlegmatic.

Il mondo è di chi ha pazienza. The world is for him who has patience.

Il mondo è fatto a scale, chi le scende e chi le sale. The world is like a staircase; some go up, others go down.

Il mondo sta con tre cose: fare, disfare, e dare ad intendere. The world wags on with three things: doing, undoing, and pretending.

Il mortaio sa sempre d’aglio. The mortar always smells of garlic.

Il nemico ti fa savio. Your enemy makes you wise.

Il pane degli altri è troppo salato. Others’ bread is too salt.

Il pane degli altri ha sette croste. Others’ bread has seven crusts.

Il pane mangiato è presto dimenticato. Eaten bread is soon forgotten.

Il parer proprio non ha mai torto. A man’s own opinion is never wrong.

Il pesce grande mangia il picciolo. The big fish eat the little.

Il più difficile è il metter il piè in istaffa. The difficult thing is to get foot in the stirrup.

Il più duro passo è quello della soglia. The hardest step is that over the threshold.

Il più forte ha sempre ragione. The strongest is always in the right.

Il primier colpo per due colpi vale. The first blow is as good as two.

Il riso fa buon sangue. Laughter makes good blood.

Il sacco de’ mendici non ha fondo. The beggar’s wallet has no bottom.

Il sangue del soldato fa grande il capitano. The soldier’s blood exalts the captain.

Il satollo non crede al digiuno. The well-fed man does not believe in hunger.

Il secondo pensiero è il migliore. Second thoughts are best.

Il soldato per far male è ben pagato. The soldier is well paid for doing mischief.

Il tempo buono viene una volta sola. The good time comes but once.


Il tempo è una lima sorda. Time is an inaudible file.

I lupi non si mangiano l’un l’altro. Wolves do not eat each other.

Il veleno si spegne col veleno. Poison quells poison.

I matrimonj sono, non come si fanno, ma come riescono. Marriages are not as they are made, but as they turn out.

I matti fanno le feste, ed i savj le godono. Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.

I migliori alberi sono i più battuti. The best trees are the most beaten.

I mosconi rompon le tele de’ ragni. Big flies break the spider’s web.

In bocca chiusa non cade pera. No pear falls into a shut mouth.

In bocca chiusa non c’entran mosche. No flies get into a shut mouth.

In cammino battuto erba non cresce. No grass grows on a beaten road.

In casa, Argo; di fuori, talpa. Argus at home, a mole abroad.

Indarno si tende la rete in vista degli uccelli. It is in vain to lay a net in sight of the birds.

In guaina d’oro coltello di piombo. In a golden sheath a leaden knife.

In lungo viaggio, anche una paglia pesa. On a long journey even a straw is heavy.

In picciol tempo passa ogni gran pioggia. A heavy shower is soon over.

In quella casa è poca pace ove la gallina canta, ed il gallo tace. There is little peace in that house where the hen crows and the cock is mute.

Insegnando s’impara. We learn by teaching.

In tempo di guerra ogni cavallo ha soldo. In war time there is pay for every horse.

In terra di ciechi beato chi ha un occhio. In the country of the blind blessed is he that hath one eye.

In un giorno non si fe’ Roma. Rome was not built in a day.

Invano si pesca, se l’amo non ha esca. It is vain to fish if the hook is not baited.

I paragoni son tutti odiosi. Comparisons are odious.

I pazzi crescono senza innaffiarli. Fools grow without watering.


I pazzi per lettera sono i maggiori pazzi. There is no fool like a learned fool.

I piccioli ladri s’impiccano per la gola, i grossi per la borsa. Little thieves are hanged by the neck, great ones by the purse.

I principi hanno le braccia lunghe. Princes have long arms.

I salici son deboli, e pur legano le legne più grosse. Willows are weak, yet serve to bind bigger wood.


La barba non fa il filosofo. The beard does not make the philosopher.

L’abito è una seconda natura. Custom is second nature.

L’abito non fa il monaco. The gown does not make the friar.

La bonaccia burrasca minaccia. A calm portends a storm.

La borsa degli amanti va legata con fil di ragno. Lovers’ purses are tied with cobwebs.

La botte non può dare se non del vino ch’ella ha. The cask can give no other wine than that it contains.

La botte piena non fa rumore. The full cask makes no noise.

La buona fama è come il cipresso: una volta tagliato non rinverdisce più. Good repute is like the cypress: once cut, it never puts forth leaf again.

La buona roba non fu mai cara. Good ware was never dear.

La carta non diventa rossa. Paper does not blush.

La chiave d’oro apre ogni porta. The golden key opens every door.

La coda sempre è la più cattiva da scorticare. The tail is always the hardest part to flay.

La commodità fa l’uomo ladro. Opportunity makes the thief.

La coscienza vale per mille testimonj. Conscience is as good as a thousand witnesses.

La diritta è serva della mancina. The right hand is slave to the left.

La donna all’improvviso, e l’uomo a caso pensato. Woman (decides), impromptu; man, on reflection.


La fame caccia il lupo del bosco. Hunger drives the wolf out of the wood.

La fame è il meglior intingolo. Hunger is the best sauce.

La fame muta le fave in mandole. Hunger transmutes beans into almonds.

La forca è fatta per i disgraziati. The gallows was made for the unlucky.

La fortuna aiuta i pazzi. Fortune helps fools.

La fuga del nemico abbi sospetta. Look with suspicion on the flight of an enemy.

La gatta vorrebbe mangiar pesci, ma non pescare. The cat loves fish, but is loth to wet her feet.

Lagrime di donna, fontana di malizia. Women’s tears are a fountain of craft.

La guerra fa i ladri, e la pace gl’impicca. War makes robbers, and peace hangs them.

La luna non cura dell’abbaiar de’ cani. The moon does not heed the baying of dogs.

La madre pietosa fa la figliuola tignosa. A tender-hearted mother makes a scabby daughter.

La mal erba cresce presto. Ill weeds grow apace.

L’amicizia si de’ sdruscire, non istracciare. Friendship should be unpicked, not rent.

L’amico non è conosciuto finchè non è perduto. A friend is not known till he is lost.

L’ammalato dorme quando il debitor non dorme. The sick man sleeps when the debtor cannot.

La moglie e il ronzino piglia dal vicino. For a wife and a horse go to your neighbour.

La mosca che punge la tartaruga si rompe il becco. The fly that bites the tortoise breaks its beak.

La mosca ha la sua milza. Even a fly has its spleen.

La nave non va senza il battello. The ship does not go without the boat.

La necessità torna in volontà. Necessity becomes will.

La nobiltà è una povera vivanda in tavola. High birth is a poor dish on the table.

La padella dice al paiuolo: Fatti in là, che tu mi tigni. The pan says to the pot: Keep off, or you’ll smutch me.

La parola non è mal detta, se non è mal presa. Nothing is ill said if it is not ill taken.


La paura guarda la vigna. Fear guards the vineyard.

La pelle d’asino è usa al bastone. The ass’s hide is used to the stick.

La più lunga strada è la più prossima a casa. The longest way round is the shortest way home.

La porta di dietro è quella che ruba la casa. The back door is the one that robs the house.

La prima scodella piace ad ognuno. The first dish pleases every one.

La Quaresima che par così lunga, alla tavola d’altri poco dura. Lent, which seems so long, is short at other men’s tables.

L’aquila non fa guerra ai ranocchi. The eagle does not war against frogs.

La rana non morde perchè non può. The frog does not bite because it cannot.

L’armi de’ poltroni non tagliano, nè forano. Cowards’ weapons neither cut nor pierce.

L’armi portan pace. Arms carry peace.

La roba non è di chi la fa, ma di chi la gode. Wealth is not his who makes it, but his who enjoys it.

Lascia la burla quando più piace. Drop the jest when it is most amusing.

La scusa non richiesta presuppone errore. An unasked for excuse infers transgression.

L’asino non conosce la coda, se non quando non l’ha più. The ass does not know the worth of his tail till he has lost it.

La superbia andò a cavallo, e tornò a piedi. Pride went out on horseback, and returned on foot.

La veste bianca non fa molinaro. The white coat does not make the miller.

La vita de’ medici, l’anima de’ preti, e la roba de’ legisti sono in gran pericolo. The lives of doctors, the souls of priests, and the property of lawyers, are in great danger.

La volontà è tutto. The will is everything.

La volpe consiglia le altre a tagliarsi la coda, per aver lasciata la propria al laccio. The fox advised the others to cut off their tails, because he had left his own in the trap.

La volpe dice che l’uva è agresta. The fox said the grapes were sour.


Le amicizie son a buon conto quando si comprano a sberrettate. Friendships are cheap when they can he bought by doffing the hat.

Le bestemmie fanno come le processioni: ritornano donde partirono. Curses are like processions: they return to whence they set out.

Le buone derrate vuotano la borsa. Good bargains empty the purse.

Le cattive nuove sono le prime. Bad news is the first to come.

Le cose non sono come sono, ma come si vedono. Things are not as they are, but as they are regarded.

Le disgrazie non vengon mai sole. Misfortunes never come single.

Le donne dicono sempre il vero, ma non lo dicono tutto intero. Women always speak the truth, but not the whole truth.

Le donne sanno un punto più del diavolo. Women know a point more than the devil.

Le donne si fanno rosse per non arrossire. Women rouge that they may not blush.

Le feste sono belle a casa d’altri. ’Tis good feasting in other men’s houses.

Legami mani e piei, e gettami tra’ miei. Tie me hand and foot and throw me among my own people.

Le insalate pazze, le fanno i savj. When wise men play mad pranks they do it with a vengeance.

L’elefante non sente il morso della pulce. The elephant does not feel a flea-bite.

Le leggi sono fatte pei tristi. Laws were made for rogues.

Le lucciole non sono lanterne. Glowworms are not lanterns.

Le minacce son arme del minacciato. Threats are arms for the threatened.

Le parole non pascono i gatti. Words won’t feed cats.

Le parole son femmine, e i fatti son maschi. Words are female, deeds are male.

Le piccole spese son quelle che vuotano la borsa. It is the petty expenses that empty the purse.

Le rose cascano, e le spine rimangono. The roses fall, and the thorns remain.

Le secchie si mettono a combattere col pozzo, e ne portano[109] la testa rotta. The buckets take to fighting with the well, and get their heads broken.

Le siepi non hanno occhi, ma orecchie. Hedges have no eyes, but they have ears.

Le vesti degli avvocati sono foderate dell’ostinazion dei litiganti. Lawyers’ robes are lined with the obstinacy of suitors.

L’hai tolta bella? Tuo danno. You have married a beauty? So much the worse for you.

L’indugiare è pericoloso. Delays are dangerous.

L’infermo ha libertà di dire il tutto. The sick man is free to say all.

L’Inglese italianizzato, un diavolo incarnato. The Italianised Englishman is a devil incarnate.

L’occhio del padrone ingrassa il cavallo. The eye of the master fattens the horse.

Loda il mar, e tienti alla terra. Praise the sea and keep on land.

Lontano dagli occhi, lontano dal cuore. Far from the eyes, far from the heart.

L’oro non compra tutto. Gold does not buy everything.

Lo sparagno è il primo guadagno. Savings are the first gain.

L’ospite, ed il pesce dopo tre dì rincresce. A guest and a fish stink in three days.

L’ultimo vestito ce lo fanno senza tasche. Our last garment is made without pockets.

Lunga lingua, corta mano. Long tongue, short hand.

Lupo non mangia lupo. Wolves don’t eat wolves.


Mai si fa cosa ben in fretta, che il fuggir la peste e i rumori, e pigliar pulci. Nothing is ever well done in a hurry, except flying from the plague or from quarrels, and catching fleas.

Mai si serra una porta, che non si apra un’altra. One door never shuts but another opens.

Male in vacche, e peggio in buoi. Ill in kine and worse in beeves.


Mangiando viene l’appetito. Appetite comes in eating.

Mangia tanto una rozza quanto un buon cavallo. A jade eats as much as a good horse.

Matta è quella pecora che si confessa al lupo. ’Tis a silly sheep that confesses to the wolf.

Medico, cura te stesso. Physician, heal thyself.

Meglio è aver il marito senza amore che con gelosia. It is better to have a husband without love than jealous.

Meglio è poco che niente. Better aught than nought.

Meglio tardi che mai. Better late than never.

Meglio un prossimo vicino che un lontano cugino. Better a near neighbour than a distant cousin.

Mentre l’erba cresce il cavallo muore di fame. Whilst the grass grows the steed starves.

Mettersi prima il giuppone che la camicia. To put on one’s doublet before one’s shirt. (To put the cart before the horse.)

Mille verisimili non fanno un vero. A thousand probabilities do not make one truth.

Misura tre volte, e taglia una. Measure three times and cut once.

Molti si fan scrupolo di sputare in chiesa, e poi inbrattano l’altare. Many scruple to spit in church, and afterwards defile the altar.

Molti son bravi quando l’inimico fugge. Many are brave when the enemy flies.

Molti voglion l’albero che fingon di rifiutar il frutto. Many desire the tree who pretend to refuse the fruit.

Molto fumo, e poco arrosto. Much smoke, and little roast.

Monaco vagabondo non disse mai lode del suo monastero. A vagabond monk never spoke well of his convent.

Morso di pecora non passa mai la pelle. A sheep’s bite is never more than skin deep.

Morta la bestia, morto il veleno. The beast once dead, the venom is dead.

Morto io, morto ognun, ed il porco. When I’m dead, everybody’s dead, and the pig too.

Muove la coda il cane, non per te, ma per il pane. The dog wags his tail, not for you, but for bread.

Muraglia bianca, carta di matto. A white wall is the fool’s paper.



N’ammazza più la gola che la spada. Gluttony kills more than the sword.

Natale non viene che una volta l’anno. Christmas comes but once a year.

Necessità non ha legge. Necessity has no law.

Nè donna, nè tela a lume di candela. Neither women nor linen by candlelight.

Nei piccioli sacchi sono le migliori spezie. The best spices are in small bags.

Nella coda sta il veleno. The venom is in the tail.

Nella guerra d’amor vince chi fugge. In the war of love who flies conquers.

Nella prosperità non fumano gli altari. In prosperity no altars smoke.

Nella veste più fina fa maggior danno la tarmina. The moth does most mischief to the finest garment.

Nella zuffa il debole è forte. In the fray the weak are strong.

Nessun buon avvocato piatisce mai. No good lawyer ever goes to law himself.

Nessun buon medico piglia mai medicine. No good doctor ever takes physic.

Nessun diventò mai povero per far limosina. No one ever became poor through giving alms.

Nessuno si pentì mai d’aver taciuto. No one ever repented of having held his tongue.

Nessun sente da che parte preme la scarpa, se non chi se la calza. No one perceives where the shoe pinches but he who wears it.

Niuna maraviglia dura più che tre giorni. No wonder lasts more than three days.

Non basta di saper rubare, bisogna anche saper nascondere. It is not enough to know how to steal, one must know also how to conceal.

Non bisogna fasciarsi il capo prima di romperselo. There is no need to bind up one’s head before it is broken.

Non bisogna ripescare tutte le secchie che cascano. It is[112] not necessary to fish up every bucket that falls into the well.

Non c’è amor senza gelosia. There is no love without jealousy.

Non c’è il peggior frutto di quello che non matura mai. There is no worse fruit than that which never ripens.

Non ci è fumo senza fuoco. There’s no smoke without fire.

Non ci è il più cattivo sordo di quel che non vuol udire. None so deaf as he that will not hear.

Non ci è la peggior burla che la vera. There is no worse joke than a true one.

Non credere al santo se non fa miracoli. Don’t believe in the saint unless he works miracles.

Non dar del pane al cane ogni volta che dimena la coda. Do not give the dog bread every time he wags his tail.

Non darebbe il coltello al diavolo per scannarsi. He would not give the devil a knife to cut his throat.

Non dir mal dell’anno finchè passato non sia. Speak not ill of the year until it is past.

Non è bello quel che è bello, ma quel che piace. Handsome is not what is handsome, but what pleases.

Non è buon murator chi rifiuta pietra alcuna. He is not a good mason who refuses any stone.

Non è in alcun luogo chi è per tutto. He is in no place who is everywhere.

Non entra a messa la campana, e pur ognuno ci chiama. The bell does not go to mass, and yet calls every one to it.

Non è onore all’aquila il vincer la colomba. It is no honour for an eagle to vanquish a dove.

Non è scappato chi si strascina la catena dietro. He is not free who drags his chain after him.

Non è tempo da giuocar a scacchi quando la casa brucia. It is no time to play chess when the house is on fire.

Non è tutto butiro che fa la vacca. All is not butter that comes from the cow.

Non è uomo chi non sa dir di nò. He is not a man who cannot say no.

Non si fa ber l’asino quando non ha sete. There’s no making the ass drink when he is not thirsty.


Non fu mai cacciator gatto che miagola. Never was a mewing cat a good mouser.

Non fu mai così bella scarpa che non diventasse brutta ciabatta. There never was a shoe however handsome that did not become an ugly slipper.

Non fu mai sacco sì pieno che non v’entrasse ancor un grano. A sack was never so full but it could hold another grain.

Non fu mai vista capra morta di fame. No one ever saw a goat dead of hunger.

Non giova a dire, per tal via non passerò, nè di tal acqua beverò. There is no use in saying, I will not go such a way, nor drink of such a water.

Non giudicar la nave stando in terra. Do not judge of the ship from the land.

Non gridar i pesci fritti prima d’esser presi. Don’t cry fried fish before they are caught.

Non istanno bene due galli in un cortile. Two cocks in one yard do not agree.

Non ischerzar coll’orso, se non vuoi esser morso. Don’t play with the bear if you don’t want to be bit.

Non lasciar chiodo che non si ributti. Leave no nail unclenched.

Non mi dir oliva prima che mi vedi colta. Call me not olive before you see me gathered.

Non mi punse mai scorpione che io non mi medicassi col suo olio. A scorpion never stung me but I cured myself with its grease.

Non mordere se non sai se è pietra o pane. Don’t bite till you know whether it is bread or a stone.

Non mostrar mai nè il fondo della tua borsa, nè del tuo animo. Never let the bottom of your purse or of your mind be seen.

Non ogni fiore fa buon odore. It is not every flower that smells sweet.

Non ogni giorno è festa. Every day is not a holiday.

Non ogni parola vuol risposta. Not every word requires an answer.

Non pensa il cor tutto quel che dice la bocca. The heart does not think all the mouth says.

Non pianse mai uno che non ridesse un altro. One never wept but another laughed.


Non puoi mal fare a nave rotta. You cannot damage a wrecked ship.

Non può uscir del sacco se non quel che ci è. Nothing can come out of a sack but what is in it.

Non resta mai carne in beccheria per trista ch’ella sia. No meat ever remains in the shambles however bad it may be.

Non ricordare la croce al diavolo. Don’t mention the cross to the devil.

Non ricordar il capestro in casa dell’impiccato. Never speak of a rope in the house of one who was hanged.

Non ride sempre la moglie del ladro. The thief’s wife does not always laugh.

Non scortica la lingua il parlar dolce. Smooth words do not flay the tongue.

Non si crede al santo se non fa miracoli. The saint has no believers unless he works miracles.

Non si deve far male per trarne bene. Never do evil that good may come of it.

Non si dice mai tanto una cosa che non sia qualche cosa. A thing is never much talked of but there is some truth in it.

Non si fa mantello per un’acqua sola. A cloak is not made for a single shower of rain.

Non si offende mai cane gettandogli le ossa. A dog is never offended at being pelted with bones.

Non si può ad un tempo bere e fischiare. One cannot drink and whistle at the same time.

Non si può cavar sangue dalla rapa. You cannot draw blood from a turnip.

Non si può entrare in Paradiso a dispetto de’santi. One can’t enter Paradise in spite of the saints.

Non si può far andar un molino a vento co’ mantici. There’s no turning a windmill with a pair of bellows.

Non si serra mai una porta che non se n’apra un’altra. One door never shuts but another opens.

Non si va in Paradiso in carrozza. There’s no getting to heaven in a coach.

Non si vorria esser solo in Paradiso. One would not be alone in Paradise.


Non son tutti santi quelli che vanno in chiesa. All are not saints who go to church.

Non svegliare il can che dorme. Wake not a sleeping dog.

Non ti metter in dito anello troppo stretto. Don’t put too tight a ring on your finger.

Non tuona mai che non piova. It never thunders but it rains.

Non tutte le pecore sono per il lupo. All the sheep are not for the wolf.

Non tutti dormono quelli che hanno serrati gli occhi. Not all are asleep who have their eyes shut.

Non v’è barba al mondo così ben rasa, che un altro barbier non ci trovi da radere. There is no beard so well shaven but another barber will find something more to shave from it.

Non vender la pelle dell’orso prima di pigliarlo. Don’t sell the bearskin before you have caught the bear.

Non v’è peggior burla della vera. There’s no worse joke than a true one.

Non v’è peggior ladro d’un cattivo libro. There is no worse thief than a bad book.

Non v’è rosa senza spina. No rose without a thorn.

Non v’è sì tristo cane che non meni la coda. There is no dog, be he ever so wicked, but wags his tail.

Non vi è abbastanza se niente avanza. There is never enough where nought is left.

Non vien dì che non venga sera. No day but has its evening.

Novella trista arriva presto. Ill news comes apace.

Nulla nuova, buona nuova. No news is good news.

Nuova rete non piglia uccello vecchio. Old birds are not caught with new nets.


O bene o male, tutti dobbiamo vivere. Good or bad we must all live.

Occhio che non vede, cuor che non duole. What the eye sees not the heart rues not.


Odi l’altra parte, e credi poco. Hear the other side, and believe little.

Odio ricominciato è peggio che prima. Hatred renewed is worse than at first.

Odi, vedi, e taci, se vuoi viver in pace. Hear, see, and say nothing, if you would live in peace.

Offerir molto è spezie di negare. Extravagant offers are a kind of denial.

Ogni acqua estingue il fuoco. Any water will put out fire.

Ogni acqua va al mare. All water runs to the sea.

Ogni bottega ha la sua malizia. Every shop has its trick. (There are tricks in all trades.)

Ogni cane è leone a casa sua. Every dog is a lion at home.

Ogni cosa è d’ogni anno. Everything is of every year.

Ogni cosa ha cagione. There is a cause for all things.

Ogni cosa serve a qualche cosa. Everything is good for something.

Ogni cosa si sopporta eccetto il buon tempo. Everything may be borne except good fortune.

Ogni cosa vuol principio. Everything must have a beginning.

Ogni dieci anni un uomo ha bisogno dell’altro. Every ten years one man has need of another.

Ogni dì non è festa. Every day is not a holiday.

Ogni disuguaglianza amore agguaglia. Love levels all inequalities.

Ogni dì vien sera. Every day has its night.

Ogni lucciola non è fuoco. Every glowworm is not a fire.

Ogni medaglia ha il suo rovescio. Every medal has its reverse.

Ogni monte ha la sua valle. Every hill has its valley.

Ogni nave fa acqua: quale a mezzo, quale a proda, e quale in sentina. All ships leak: some amidships, some in the bows, some in the hold.

Ogni pazzo è savio quando tace. Every fool is wise when he holds his tongue.

Ogni pazzo vuol dar consiglio. Every fool wants to give advice.

Ogni pignattaro loda la sua pignatta, e più quella che tiene rotta. Every potter praises his pot, and most of all the one that is cracked.


Ogni promessa è debito. Every promise is a debt.

Ogni rosa ha la sua spina. Every rose has its thorn.

Ogni scusa è buona pur che vaglia. Any excuse is good if it hold good.

Ogni tua guisa non sappia la tua camicia. Let not your shirt know all your thoughts.

Ogni uomo ha buona moglie e cattiva arte. Every man has a good wife and a bad trade.

Ogni vento non scuote il noce. Every wind does not shake down the nut.

Ogni vero non è buono a dire. Every truth is not good to be told.

Ogni vite vuole il suo palo. Every vine must have its stake.

Ogni volpe abbia cura della sua coda. Let every fox take care of his own tail.

Ognun biasima il suo mestiere. Every one finds fault with his own trade.

Ognun crede di aver più cervello che non ha, e meno quattrini. Every one gives himself credit for more brains than he has, and less money.

Ognuno all’arte sua, e il bue all’aratro. Every one to his own calling, and the ox to the plough.

Ognuno ama la giustizia a casa altrui: a nessun piace a casa sua. Every one likes justice in another’s house, none in his own.

Ognuno loda il proprio santo. Every one praises his own saint.

Ognuno sa dove la scarpa lo stringe. Every one knows where his shoe pinches him.

Ognuno si crede senza vizio, perchè non ha quelli degli altri. Every one thinks himself without sin because he has not those of others.

Ognun per sè, e Dio per tutti. Every one for himself and God for us all.

Ognun sa navigar per il buon tempo. Every one can navigate in fine weather.

Ognun si pari le mosche con la sua coda. Let every one keep off the flies with his own tail.

Ognun tira l’acqua al suo molino. Every one draws the water to his own mill.


Ognun va col suo sacco al molino. Every one goes with his own sack to the mill.

Ombra di signore, cappel di matto. The shadow of a lord is a cap for a fool.

Onor di bocca assai giova, e poco costa. Lip courtesy pleases much and costs little.

Oro è che oro vale. That is gold which is worth gold.

Oro non è tutto quel che risplende. All is not gold that glitters.

O sassi o pani, bisogna aver qualcosa in man pei cani. Stones or bread, one must have something in hand for the dogs.


Pagar uno della sua moneta. To pay one in his own coin.

Parente, o non parente, mal per quel che non ha niente. Kin or no kin, woe to him who has nothing.

Partoriscono i monti, e nasce un topo. The mountains are in labour, and bring forth a mouse.

Passa la festa, ed il matto resta. The feast passes and the fool remains.

Passato il fiume, è scordato il santo. The river passed the saint forgotten.

Passato il pericolo, gabbato il santo. The danger past, the saint cheated.

Passo a passo si va a Roma. Step by step one goes to Rome.

Patto chiaro, amico caro. A clear bargain, a dear friend.

Pazienza! disse il lupo all’asino. Patience! said the wolf to the ass.

Pazzo chi perde il volo per lo sbalzo. He is a fool who loses the flight for the leap.

Pazzo è chi non sa da che parte vien il vento. He is a fool who does not know from what quarter the wind blows.

Pazzo è colui che di quattro cose si vanta: di buon vino, di buon cavallo, di bella moglie, di danari assai. He is a fool who boasts of four things: that he has good wine, a good horse, a handsome wife, and plenty of money.


Pazzo è quel prete che biasima le sue reliquie. That priest is a fool who decries his relics.

Peccato celato, mezzo perdonato. A sin concealed is half forgiven.

Peccato confessato è mezzo perdonato. A sin confessed is half forgiven.

Pecora che bela perde il boccone. The sheep that bleats loses a mouthful.

Pecora mansueta da ogni agnello è tettata. A mild sheep is sucked by every lamb.

Peggio è la paura della guerra, che la guerra stessa. The fear of war is worse than war itself.

Pegno che mangia niuno lo pigli. No one should take in an eating pawn (or pledge).

Pela la gazza, e non la far strillare. Pluck the magpie, and don’t make her scream.

Pensa molto, parla poco, e scrivi meno. Think much, speak little, and write less.

Pensano gl’innamorati cho gli altri siano ciechi. Lovers think others are blind.

Per amistà conservare, muri bisogna piantare. To preserve friendship one must build walls.

Perchè vada il carro, bisogna unger le ruote. To make the cart go you must grease the wheels.

Perde le lagrime chi piange avanti al giudice. He wastes his tears who weeps before the judge.

Per dir gran mercè, la mia gatta morì. Thank you, pretty pussy, was the death of my cat.

Per diventar ricco in questo mondo, non ci vuol altro che voltar le spalle a Dio. To become rich in this world, it needs only to turn one’s back on God.

Per picciola cagione pigliasi il lupo il montone. On very small pretext the wolf seizes the sheep.

Per più strade si va a Roma. There are many roads to Rome.

Per saper troppo, perdè la sua coda la volpe. Through being too knowing the fox lost his tail.

Per tutto sono de’ tristi e de’ buoni. There are good and bad everywhere.

Per un monaco non si lascia di far l’abbate. The election of the abbot is not stopped for want of a monk.


Per un orecchio entra, per l’altro esce. In at one ear, out at the other.

Piaga antiveduta assai men duole. A wound foreseen pains the less.

Piaga per allentar d’arco non sana. Unbending the bow does not cure the wound.

Pian, barbiere, che l’acqua scotta. Softly, barber, the water scalds.

Piano, che non si levi la polvere. Softly, don’t raise a dust.

Piccola favilla accende gran fuoco. A little spark kindles a great fire.

Piccola pietra rovescia gran carro. A little stone overturns a great cart.

Piccola pioggia fa cessar gran vento. Small rain lays a great wind.

Piega l’albero quando è giovane. Bend the tree while it is young.

Pietra mossa non fa muschio. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Pigliamo prima l’orso, e poi vendiamo la pelle. Let us first catch the bear and then sell its skin.

Pigliar due colombi a una fava. To catch two pigeons with one bean.

Pigliar la lepre col carro. To catch a hare with a cart.

Pignatta rotta non cade mai da uncino. A cracked pot never fell off the hook.

Più che il martello dura l’incudine. The anvil lasts longer than the hammer.

Più lungo d’un dì senza pane. Longer than a day without bread.

Più mi tocca la camicia che la gonnella. Near is my petticoat, but nearer is my smock.

Più ombra che frutto fanno gli arberi grandi. Large trees give more shade than fruit.

Più pazzi che quei da Zago, che davan del letame al campanile perchè crescesse. Greater fools than they of Zago, who dunged the steeple to make it grow.

Più sa il matto in casa sua che, il savio in casa d’altri. The fool knows more in his own house than the sage in other men’s.


Più son i minacciati che gli uccisi. There are more threatened than slain.

Più spegne una buona parola, che un secchio d’acqua. One good word quenches more heat than a bucket of water.

Più sventurato che i cani in chiesa. More unlucky than dogs in church.

Più tosto si arriva un bugiardo, che uno zoppo. A liar is sooner caught than a cripple.

Piuttosto cappello in mano, che mano alla borsa. Rather hat in hand than hand in purse.

Piuttosto un asino che porti, che un cavallo che butti in terra. Rather an ass that carries than a horse that throws.

Più vale guadagnar in loto, che perder in oro. Better gain in mud than lose in gold.

Più vale il fumo di casa mia, che il fuoco dell’altrui. The smoke of my own house is better than another man’s fire.

Più vede un occhio del padrone che quattro del servitore. One eye of the master sees more than four eyes of his servants.

Placato il cane, il rubar è facile. It is easy robbing when the dog is quieted.

Poco fiele fa amaro molto miele. A little gall makes a great deal of honey bitter.

Poichè la casa brucia, io mi scalderò. Since the house is on fire I will warm myself at the blaze.

Porco pigro non mangia pere mature. The lazy pig does not eat ripe pears.

Povero come un topo di chiesa. As poor as a church mouse.

Povertà non ha parenti. Poverty has no kin.

Prega il villano, il mercato è disfatto. Entreat the churl and the bargain is broken off.

Preso il partito, cassato l’affanno. Once resolved, the trouble is over.

Presto e bene non si conviene. Quick and well don’t agree.

Preti, frati, monache e polli non si trovan mai satolli. Priests, friars, nuns, and chickens never have enough.

Prometter più carri che buoi. To promise more carts than oxen.


Protestare e dare del capo nel muro, lo può fare ognuno. To protest and knock one’s head against the wall is what everybody can do.

Provocar il cavallo a correr per il piano. To spur a horse on level ground.


Qual è l’amante, tal è l’amata. As is the lover so is the beloved.

Qual figlia vuoi, tal moglie piglia. As you would have a daughter so choose a wife.

Quando Dio non vuole, i santi non possono. When God will not the saints cannot.

Quando è poco pan in tavola, mettine assai nella scodella. When there is little bread at table put plenty on your plate.

Quando i furbi vanno in processione, il diavolo porta la croce. When rogues go in procession the devil carries the cross.

Quando il leone è morto, le lepri gli saltano addosso. When the lion is dead the hares jump upon his carcase.

Quando il sole ti splende, non ti dèi curar della luna. When the sun shines on thee, thou needest not care for the moon.

Quando il tuo diavol nacque, il mio andava a scuola. When your devil was born, mine was going to school.

Quando i molinari fanno romore, tu lega i sacchi. When the millers are making an uproar, do you tie up your sacks.

Quando la cosa va bene, è buono dar consiglio. It is easy to give advice when all goes well.

Quando la donna regna, il diavolo governa. When woman reigns the devil governs.

Quando la gatta non è in paese, i topi ballano. When the cat’s away the rats dance.

Quando la gatta non v’è, i sorci ballano. When the cat’s away the mice dance.

Quando la pera è matura, convien ch’ella caggia. When the pear is ripe it must fall.


Quando la volpe predica, guardatevi, galline. When the fox preaches, take care of yourselves, hens.

Quando l’incendio è nel vicinato, porta l’acqua a casa tua. When there is a fire in the neighbourhood carry water to your own house.

Quando non c’è, perde la chiesa. When there is nothing the church loses.

Quando puoi aver del bene, pigliane. Never refuse a good offer.

Quando tuona, il ladro divien uomo dabbene. When it thunders, the thief becomes honest.

Quando tutti ti dicono briaco, va a dormire. When everybody says you are drunk, go to sleep.

Quando tu vedi il lupo, non ne cercar le pedate. When you see the wolf, do not look for his track.

Quando viene la fortuna, apri le porte. When fortune comes, open your doors.

Quanto più la volpe è maladetta, tanto maggior preda fa. The more the fox is cursed, the more prey he catches.

Quanto più si frega la schiena al gatto, più leva la coda. The more you stroke the cat’s back the more she sets up her tail.

Quattrini e amicizia rompon le braccia alla giustizia. Money and friendship break the arms of justice.

Quattrino risparmiato, due volte guadagnato. A farthing saved is twice earned.

Quel che è fatto non si può disfare. What’s done can’t be undone.

Quel che fa il pazzo all’ultimo, lo fa il savio alla prima. A wise man does at first what a fool must do at last.

Quel che non ammazza, ingrassa. What does not poison, fattens.

Quel che non è stato, può essere. What has not been, may be.

Quel che non puoi aver, biasima. What you can’t have, abuse.

Quel che pare burla, ben sovente è vero. Many a true word is spoken in jest.

Quel che ripara il freddo, ripara il caldo. What keeps out the cold keeps out the heat.

Quello che costa poco, si stima meno. What costs little is little esteemed.


Quello è dolce a ricordare, che fu duro a sopportare. That is pleasant to remember which was hard to endure.


Ragazzi savj e vecchi matti non furon mai buoni a nulla. Wise lads and old fools were never good for anything.

Ragghio d’asino non arriva al cielo. The braying of an ass does not reach heaven.

Rete nuova non piglia uccello vecchio. A new net won’t catch an old bird.

Ride bene chi ride l’ultimo. He laughs well who laughs last.

Ritornan molti dalla guerra che non sanno raccontar la battaglia. Many return from the war who cannot give an account of the battle.

Romper la casa per vender il calcinaccio. To pull down the house for the sake of the mortar.

Rompe una pietra una goccia d’acqua. A drop of water breaks a stone.

Rotta la testa, si mette la celata. When his head is broken he puts on his helmet.

Rubar il porco, e darne i piedi per l’amor di Dio. To steal the pig, and give away the pettitoes for God’s sake.


Sacco pieno rizza l’orecchio. A full sack pricks up its ear.

Sacco rotto non tien miglio, il pover uom non va a consiglio. A ragged sack holds no grain, a poor man is not taken into counsel.

Sacco vuoto non sta ritto. An empty sack won’t stand upright.

Sa dove il diavolo tien la coda. He knows where the devil has his tail.

Sa meglio i fatti suoi un matto, che un savio quei degli altri. A fool knows his own business better than a wise man knows that of others.

San Francesco prima si faceva la barba per sè, poi la faceva a’ suoi frati. St. Francis shaved himself first, and then he shaved his brethren.


Sanità senza quattrini è mezza malattia. Health without money is a half-malady.

S’annegherebbe in un cucchiar d’acqua. He would drown in a spoonful of water.

Sanno più un savio ed un matto, che un savio solo. A wise man and a fool together, know more than a wise man alone.

Sa più il papa e un contadino che il papa solo. The pope and a peasant know more than the pope alone.

Savie all’impensata, alla pensata pazze son le donne. Women are wise impromptu, fools on reflection.

Savio è colui che impara a spese altrui. He is wise who learns at another’s cost.

Schiaffo minacciato non è mai ben dato. A threatened buffet is never well given.

Sciocco è chi pensa che un altro non pensi. He is a fool who thinks that another does not think.

Scoprire un altare per ricoprirne un altro. To strip one altar to cover another.

Scorticar il cane scorticato. To flay the flayed dog.

Sdegno cresce amore. Anger increases love.

Sdegno d’amante poco dura. A lover’s anger is short-lived.

Se ben ho perso l’anello, ho pur anche le dita. If I have lost the ring I still have the fingers.

Segreto confidato non è più segreto. A secret imparted is no longer a secret.

Se il giovane sapesse, se il vecchio potesse, e’ non c’è cosa che non si facesse. If the young man knew, if the old man could, there is nothing but would be done.

Se io andassi al mare, lo troverei secco. If I went to sea I should find it dry.

Se la moglie pecca, non è il marito innocente. If the wife sins the husband is not innocent.

Se la superbia fosse arte, quanti dottori avremmo. If pride were an art, how many doctors we should have.

Se ’l sol mi splende, non curo la luna. If the sun shines on me I care not for the moon.

Sempre ha torto il più debole. The weakest goes to the wall.

Sempre ne va il meglio. The best always goes first.


Se non puoi mordere, non mostrar mai i denti. If you can’t bite, don’t show your teeth.

Senza debiti, senza pensieri. Without debt without care.

Se piovesser maccheroni, che bel tempo pei ghiottoni! If it rained maccaroni, what a fine time for gluttons!

Servizio de’ grandi non è eredità. Service is not inheritance.

Se sorcio sei, non seguitar rane. If you are a mouse don’t follow frogs.

Se tacesse la gallina, non si saprebbe che ha fatto l’uovo. If the hen had not cackled we should not know she had laid an egg.

Se ti lasci metter in spalla il vitello, quindi a poco ti metteranno la vacca. If you let them put the calf on your shoulders, it will not be long before they clap on the cow.

Si arriva più presto un bugiardo che un zoppo. A liar is sooner caught than a cripple.

Si dice è mentitore. They say, is a liar.

Si dice sempre il lupo più grande che non è. The wolf is always said to be bigger than he is.

Simili con simili vanno. Like will to like.

S’io dormo, dormo a me; s’io lavoro, non so a che. If I sleep, I sleep for myself; if I work, I know not for whom.

Si può pagar l’oro troppo caro. One may buy gold too dear.

Si romperebbe il collo in un filo di paglia. He would break his neck against a straw.

Si trovano molti asini che non portano mai sacco. There are more asses than carry sacks.

Si trovano più ladri che forche. There are more thieves than gibbets.

Si vive bene all’ombra del campanile. It is good living under the shadow of the belfry.

Sorte, e dormi. Have luck, and sleep.

Sotto la bianca cenere sta la brace ardente. Under white ashes there is glowing coal.

Sotto l’istesso fuoco si purifica l’oro, e si consuma la paglia. The same fire purifies gold and consumes straw.

Spegner il fuoco con la stoppa. To put out the fire with tow.

Spesso chi crede fuggir il fumo, cade nel fuoco. They who shun the smoke often fall into the fire.


Spesso chi troppo fa, poco fa. Who does too much often does little.

Spesso d’un gran male nasce un gran bene. Out of a great evil often comes a great good.

Spesso i doni sono danni. Gifts are often losses.

Spogliar Pietro per vestir Paolo. To strip Peter to clothe Paul.

Sproni proprii e cavalli d’altri fanno corte le miglia. One’s own spurs and another’s horse make the miles short.

Suocera e nuora, tempesta e gragnuola. Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, storm and hail.

Suon di campana non caccia cornacchia. The sound of the bell does not drive away rooks.

Superbo è quel cavallo che non si vuol portar la biada. It’s a very proud horse that will not carry his oats.


Taglia la coda al cane, e’ riman cane. Cut off the dog’s tail, he remains a dog.

Tal canta che allegro non è. Some sing who are not merry.

Tal ha belli occhi che niente vi vede. One may have good eyes and see nothing.

Tal ha paura che minacciar osa. Many a one threatens and yet is afraid.

Tal lascia l’arrosto, che poi ne brama il fumo. Many a one leaves the roast who afterwards longs for the smoke of it.

Tal padrone, tal servitore. Like master like man.

Tal si burla che si confessa. Some who jest tell tales of themselves.

Tal sprezza la superbia con una maggior superbia. There are some who despise pride with a greater pride.

T’annoia il tuo vicino? Prestagli uno zecchino. Does your neighbour bore you? Lend him a sequin.

Tante teste, tanti cervelli. So many heads, so many brains.

Tanti paesi, tante usanze. So many countries, so many customs.

Tanto buono che non val niente. So good that he is good for nothing.


Tanto è morir di male quanto d’amore. It is all one whether you die of sickness or of love.

Tanto va la secchia al pozzo che vi lascia il manico. The bucket goes so often to the well that it leaves its handle there.

Tanto vale il mio nò, quanto il tuo sì. My No is as good as your Yes.

Tardi furon savj i Troiani. The Trojans were wise too late.

Tardi si vien con l’acqua quando la casa è arsa. It is too late to come with water when the house is burnt down.

Tosto si trova il bastone per dare al cane. A stick is soon found to beat a dog.

Tra asino e asino, non corron se non calci. Nothing passes between asses but kicks.

Tra corsale e corsale, non si guadagna se non barili vuoti. Corsairs against corsairs, there is nothing to win but empty barrels.

Tra due poltroni, il vantaggio è di chi prima conosce l’altro. Between two cowards, he has the advantage who first detects the other.

Traduttori, traditori. Translators, traitors.

Tra la briglia e lo sprone consiste la ragione. Reason lies between bridle and spur.

Tra ’l cuoco e il canovaio non è mai nimicizia. There is never enmity between the cook and the butler.

Trar la cavezza dietro all’asino. To throw the halter after the ass.

Tre cose cacciano l’uomo di casa: fumo, goccia, e femmina arrabbiata. Three things drive a man out of doors: smoke, dropping water, and a shrew.

Tre donne e un papero fanno un mercato. Three women and a goose make a market.

Tre fratelli, tre castelli. Three brothers, three castles.

Tre lo sanno, tutti lo sanno. Three know it, all know it.

Trista è quella casa ove le galline cantano, e ’l gallo tace. It is a sorry house where the hens crow and the cock is silent.

Tristo è quel barbiere che ha un sol pettine. He is a sorry barber who has but one comb.

Trotto d’asino poco dura. An ass’s trot does not last long.


Tua camicia non sappia il secreto. Let not your shirt know your secret.

Tutte le chiavi non pendono ad una cintura. All the keys do not hang at one girdle.

Tutte le dita non son pari. All the fingers are not alike.

Tutte le parole non voglion risposta. Not all words require an answer.

Tutte le strade conducono a Roma. All roads lead to Rome. (There are more ways to the wood than one.)

Tutte le volpi alla fine si riveggono in pellicceria. At last the foxes all meet at the furrier’s.

Tutti i gusti son gusti. All tastes are tastes. (There’s no disputing about tastes.)

Tutti i santi non fanno miracoli. All saints do not work miracles.

Tutti son bravi quando l’inimico fugge. All are brave when the enemy flies.

Tutto è bene che riesce bene. All’s well that ends well.

Tutto il cervello non è in una testa. All the brains are not in one head.

Tutto quello che crolla non cade. Not all that shakes falls.

Tutto s’accommoda eccetto l’osso del collo. Everything may be repaired except the neckbone.

Tutto sapere è niente sapere. To know everything is to know nothing.


Una aiuta a maritare l’altra. One daughter helps to marry the other.

Una bugia ne tira dieci. One lie draws ten after it.

Una campana fa a un comune. One bell serves a parish.

Una mano lava l’altra, e tutt’e due lavano il viso. One hand washes the other, and both wash the face.

Una parola tira l’altra. One word brings on another.

Una pecora rognosa ne guasta un branco. One scabby sheep spoils a flock.

Una pulce non leva il sonno. One flea does not hinder sleep.

Una rondine non fa l’estate. One swallow does not make a summer.


Una sella non s’adatta ad un dosso solo. A saddle fits more backs than one.

Una spina non fa siepe. One briar does not make a hedge.

Un avvertito ne val due. A man warned is as good as two.

Un buon boccone, e cento guai. One good morsel and a hundred vexations.

Un canestro d’uva non fa vendemmia. One basket of grapes does not make a vintage.

Un chiodo caccia l’altro. One nail drives out another.

Un coltello aguzza l’altro. One knife whets another.

Un coltello fa tener l’altro nella guaina. One knife keeps another in its sheath.

Un demonio non fa l’inferno. One devil does not make hell.

Un diavol conosce l’altro. One devil knows another.

Un diavol scaccia l’altro. One devil drives out another.

Un fior non fa ghirlanda. One flower does not make a garland.

Un male ed un frate rare volte soli. A misfortune and a friar seldom go alone.

Un matto sa più domandare che sette savj rispondere. A fool can ask more questions than seven wise men can answer.

Un nemico è troppo, e cento amici non bastano. One enemy is too much, and a hundred friends are not enough.

Uno leva la lepre, un altro la piglia. One starts the hare, another catches it.

Un pajo d’orecchie seccherebbero cento lingue. One pair of ears would exhaust a hundred tongues.

Un pazzo getta una pietra nel pozzo, e vi voglion cento savii a cavarnela. A fool throws a stone into a well, and it requires a hundred wise men to get it out again.

Un peccato confessato è mezzo perdonato. A sin confessed is half forgiven.

Un poco di vero fa creder tutta la bugia. A little truth makes the whole lie pass.

Un sorcio mette paura ad un ladro. A mouse will scare a thief.

Unto alle ruote. Grease to the wheels.

Un uomo di paglia vuole una donna d’oro. A man of straw needs a woman of gold.


Uomo amante, uomo zelante. A loving man, a jealous man.

Uomo ammogliato, uccello in gabbia. A married man is a caged bird.

Uomo lento non ha mai tempo. A slothful man never has time.

Uomo morto non fa guerra. A dead man does not make war.

Uomo ozioso è il capezzale del diavolo. An idle man is the devil’s bolster.

Uomo solitario, o bestia o angiolo. A solitary man is either a brute or an angel.

Uscito è dal fango, ed è cascato nel rio. He got out of the mud and fell into the river.


Va al mare, se ben vuoi pescare. Go to the sea if you would fish well.

Val più un asino vivo che un dottore morto. A living ass is better than a dead doctor.

Val più un’oncia di discrezione che una libra di sapere. An ounce of discretion is better than a pound of knowledge.

Vaso che va spesso al fonte, ci lascia il manico o la fronte. The pitcher that goes often to the fountain leaves there either its handle or its spout. (A pitcher that goes oft to the well is broken at last.)

Vaso vuoto suona meglio. Empty vessels make most noise.

Vedi Napoli e poi muori. See Naples and then die.

Vedon più quattr’occhi che due. Four eyes see more than two.

Vender il miele a chi ha le api. To sell the honey to one who has the bees.

Vender la pelle dell’orso innanzi che sia preso. To sell the skin of the bear before it is caught.

Vender l’uccello in su la frasca. To sell the bird in the bush.

Vendetta di cent’anni ha ancora i lattaiuoli. Revenge a hundred years old has still its milk-teeth.

Ventre digiuno non ode nessuno. A hungry belly has no ears.


Ventura aver poco senno basta. To have luck needs little wit.

Vicino alla chiesa, lontan da Dio. Near the church far from God.

Vien la fortuna a chi la procura. Fortune comes to him who strives for it.

Vino dentro, senno fuora. When the wine is in the wit is out.

Virtù di silenzio è gran scienza. The virtue of silence is a great piece of knowledge.

Vivendo s’impara. Live and learn.

Vive più il minacciato che l’impiccato. A threatened man lives longer than one that is hanged.

Vivi, e lascia vivere. Live and let live.

Voce di popolo, voce di Dio. The people’s voice, God’s voice.

Voce d’uno, voce di niuno. One voice, no voice.

Voler lasciar andare dodici danari al soldo. To be content to let twelve pennies pass for a shilling.




Abends wird der Faule fleißig. At evening the sluggard is busy.

Adam muß eine Eva haben, die er zeiht was er gethan. Adam must have an Eve, to blame for his own faults.

Adler brüten keine Tauben. Eagles do not breed doves.

Aendern und bessern sind zwei. To change and to better are two different things.

Affen bleiben Affen, wenn man sie auch in Sammet kleidet. Apes remain apes, though you clothe them in velvet.

”Alle Frachten lichten,” sagte der Schiffer, da warf er seine Frau über Bord. “All freight lightens,” said the skipper, when he threw his wife overboard.

Alle Freier sind reich, und alle Gefangenen arm. All wooers are rich, and all captives poor.

Alle wissen guten Rath, nur der nicht, der ihn nöthig ist. Everybody knows good counsel except him that has need of it.

Aller Anfang ist schwer, sprach der Dieb und zuerst stahl einen Amboß. Every beginning is hard, said the thief, when he began by stealing an anvil.

Alles wäre gut, wär kein “aber” dabei. Everything would be well were there not a “but.”

Allzuviel ist nicht genug. Too much is not enough.

Allzuviel zerreißt den Sack. Too much bursts the bag.

Als Adam henkte und Eva spann, wer war denn da der Edelmann? When Adam delved and Eve span, where was then the gentleman?

Als Christus allein war, versuchte ihn der Teufel. When Christ was alone, the devil tempted him.

Als David kam ins Alter, sang er fromme Psalter. When David grew old he sang pious psalms.

Alte Bäume lassen sich nicht biegen. Old trees are not to be bent.

Alte Kirchen haben dunkle Fenster. Old churches have dark windows.

Alte Krähen sind schwer zu fangen. Old crows are hard to catch.


Alte Leute sehen am Besten in die Ferne. Old people see best in the distance.

Alte Liebe rostet nicht. Old love does not rust.

Alte Ochsen treten hart. Old oxen tread hard.

Alte Schweine haben harte Mäuler. Old pigs have hard snouts.

Alte Vögel sind schwer zu rupfen. Old birds are hard to pluck.

Alte Wunden bluten leicht. Old wounds easily bleed.

Amt ohne Sold macht Diebe. Office without pay makes thieves.

An armer Leute Bart lernt der Junge scheeren. On poor people’s beards the young barber learns his trade.

An der Armuth will jeder den Schuh wischen. Every one likes to wipe his shoes on poverty.

Andere Städtchen, andere Mädchen. Other towns, other lasses.

Anfang heiß, Mittel lau, Ende kalt. The beginning hot, the middle lukewarm, the end cold.

Anfang und Ende reichen einander die Hände. Beginning and ending shake hands.

Armer Leute Reden gehen viel in einen Sack. Poor people’s words go many to a sackful.

Armuth ist der sechste Sinn. Poverty is the sixth sense.

Armuth ist listig, sie fängt auch einen Fuchs. Poverty is cunning; it catches even a fox.

Armuth und Hunger haben viel gelehrte Jünger. Poverty and hunger have many learned disciples.

Arzt hilf dir selbst. Physician heal thyself.

Auch der beste Gaul stolpert einmal. Even the best hack stumbles once.

Auch der Löwe muß sich vor der Mücke wehren. Even the lion must defend himself against the flies.

Auch ein Haar hat seinen Schatten. Even a hair casts its shadow.

Auf heiler Haut ist gut schlafen. It is good to sleep in a whole skin.

Aufgeschoben ist nicht aufgehoben. Forbearance is no acquittance.

Auf den Abend soll man den Tag loben. In the evening one may praise the day.

Auf einen guten Bissen gehört ein guter Trunk. To good eating belongs good drinking.

Auf Regen folget Sonnenschein. After rain comes sunshine.

Auf seinem Miste ist der Hahn ein Herr. The cock is a lord on his own dunghill.

Aus andrer Leuten Häuten ist gut Riemen schneiden. Good thongs may be cut out of other people’s hides.

Aus dem Regen unter die Traufe kommen. To get out of the rain under the spout.

Aus den Augen, aus dem Sinn. Out of sight, out of mind.


Aus des Esels Wadel wird kein Sieb. You cannot make a sieve of an ass’s tail.

Aus klattrigen Fohlen werden die schönsten Hengste. Ragged colts make the handsomest stallions.

Aus ungelegten Eiern werden spät junge Hühner. Unlaid eggs are a long time becoming chickens. (Count not your chickens before they are hatched.)


Bär und Büffel können keinen Fuchs fangen. Bear and bull catch no fox.

Bald geben ist doppelt geben. To give quickly is to give doubly.

Begonnen ist halb gewonnen. Begun is half done.

Behaupten ist nicht beweisen. Assertion is no proof.

Bei großen Herren muß man fünf gerade sein lassen. With great men one must allow five to be an even number.

Bei Nacht sind alle Katzen grau. By night all cats are grey.

Beinahe bringt keine Mücke um. Almost never killed a fly.

Beleidigst du einem Mönch, so knappen alle Kuttenzipfel bis nach Rom. Offend one monk, and the lappets of all cowls will flutter as far as Rome.

Bellende Hunde beißen nicht. Barking dogs don’t bite.

Bellet ein alter Hund, so soll man aufschauen. When an old dog barks, look out.

Besser allein, als in schlechter Gesellschaft. Better alone than in bad company.

Besser: Da läuft er, als: Da hängt er. Better, There he goes, than, There he hangs.

Besser einäugig als gar blind. Better one-eyed than stone-blind.

Besser ein Flick als ein Loch. Better a patch than a hole.

Besser ein halb Ei als eitel Schale. Better half an egg than empty shells.

Besser ein lebender Hund als ein todter Löwe. Better a living dog than a dead lion.

Besser ein lebendiges Wort als hundert todte. Better one living word than a hundred dead ones.

Besser ein magrer Vergleich als ein fetter Proceß. Better a lean agreement than a fat lawsuit.

Besser frei in der Fremde als Knecht daheim. Better free in a foreign land than a serf at home.

Besser freundlich versagen, als unwillig gewähren. Better a friendly denial than an unwilling compliance.

Besser ist besser. Better is better.


Besser was als gar nichts. Better something than nothing at all.

Besser nichts geben als geraubtes Almosen. Better give nothing than stolen alms.

Besser ohne Abendessen zu Bette gehen als mit Schulden. Better to go to bed supperless than run in debt.

Betrug ist der Krämer Wagen und Pflug. Cheating is the chapman’s cart and plough.

Betrügen ist ehrlicher als stehlen. Cheating is more honourable than stealing.

Bettelsack ist bodenlos. The beggar’s bag is bottomless.

Bezahlen wir die Musik, so wollen wir dabei auch tanzen. If we pay for the music we will take part in the dance.

Bist du Amboß, sei geduldig; bist du Hammer, schlage zu. If you are an anvil, be patient; if you are a hammer, strike hard.

Bittre Pillen vergoldet man. Bitter pills are gilded.

Bliebe der Wolf im Walde, so würd er nicht beschreien. If the wolf had stayed in the wood there would have been no hue and cry after him.

Blinder Gaul geht geradezu. A blind horse goes straightforward.

Blödes Herz buhlt keine schöne Frau. Faint heart never won fair lady.

Blut ist dicker als Wasser. Blood is thicker than water.

Böser Brunnen, da man Wasser muß eintragen. It is a bad well into which one must put water.

Böser Vögel, böses Ei. Bad bird, bad egg.

Böser Pfennig kommt immer wieder. A bad penny always comes back.

Borgen thut nur einmal wohl. Borrowing does well only once.

Böse Augen sehen nie nichts Gutes. Bad eyes never see any good.

Böse Waare muß man aufschwatzen. Bad ware must be cried up.

Bricht ein Ring, so bricht die ganze Kette. One link broken, the whole chain is broken.


Christen haben keine Nachbarn. Christians have no neighbours.


Das Amt lehrt den Mann. The office teaches the man.

Das Auge des Herrn schafft mehr als seine beiden Hände. The master’s eye does more than both his hands.

Das Auge sieht sich nimmer satt. The eye is never satiated with seeing.

Das Bessere ist ein Feind des Guten. Better is an enemy to good.


Das Beste ist was man in der Hand hat. The best is what one has in his hand.

Das Beste kauft man am Wohlfeilesten. The best is the cheapest.

Das Ei will klüger sein als die Henne. The egg will be more knowing than the hen.

Das Glück giebt Vielen zu viel, aber Keinem genug. Fortune gives many too much, but no one enough.

Das Glück hat Weiberart; liebt Jugend und wechselt gern. Fortune is like women: loves youth and is fickle.

Das Huhn legt gern ins Nest, worin schon Eier sind. The hen likes to lay in a nest where there are eggs already.

Das Leder stehlen, und die Schuhe um Gottes willen vergeben. To steal the leather, and give away the shoes for God’s sake.

Das Nächste das Liebste. The nearest the dearest.

Das Papier ist geduldig. Paper is patient.

Das Pferd, das am Besten zieht, bekömmt die meisten Schläge. The horse that draws best is the most whipped.

Das Recht hat eine wächserne Nase. Justice has a waxen nose.

Das Roß wird nicht nach dem Sattel beurtheilt. The horse is not judged of by the saddle.

Das schlechtestes Rad am Wagen knarrt am meisten. The worst wheel creaks most.

Das Werk lobt den Meister. The work praises the workman.

Dem alten Hunden ist schwer bellen lehren. It is hard to teach old dogs to bark.

Dem einen Hund ist es leid wenn der andere in die Küche geht. One dog growls to see another go into the kitchen.

Dem fliehenden Feinde baue goldene Brücken. Build golden bridges for the flying foe.

Dem Hungrigen ist: harr’, ein hart Wort. Wait, is a hard word to the hungry.

Dem Zuschauer ist keine Arbeit zu viel. To the looker-on no work is too hard.

Den Baum muß man biegen, weil er jung ist. The tree must be bent while it is young.

Den Brunnen decken, so das Kind ertrunken ist. To cover the well after the child has been drowned in it.

Den Hungrigen ist nicht gut predigen. There is no good in preaching to the hungry.

Den Kranken ärgert die Fliege an der Wand. The sick man is vexed with the flies on the wall.

Den letzten beißen die Hunde. The dogs bite the last.

Den todten Löwen kann jeder Hase an der Mähne zupfen. Every hare may pluck the dead lion’s mane.


Der Adler fängt nicht Fliegen. The eagle does not catch flies.

Der alter Fuhrmann hört gern Knallen. An old coachman loves the crack of the whip.

Der Amboß ist des Lärms gewohnt. The anvil is used to noise.

Der Amboß fürchtet den Hammer nicht. The anvil is not afraid of the hammer.

Der Bauch ist ein böser Rathgeber. The belly is a bad adviser.

Der Bauch läßt sich nichts vorlügen. There’s no putting off a lie upon the belly.

Der beste Prediger ist die Zeit. Time is the best preacher.

Der Eine fängt den Hasen, der Andere ißt ihn. One catches the hare, and another eats it.

Der Eine schlagt den Nagel ein, der Andere hängt den Hut daran. One man knocks in the nail, and another hangs his hat on it.

Der Eine schlagt auf den Busch, der Andere kriegt den Vogel. One beats the bush, and another catches the bird.

Der Esel trägt das Korn in die Mühle, und bekommt Disteln. The ass carries corn to the mill, and gets thistles.

Der Esel und sein Treiber denken nicht überein. The ass and his driver do not think alike.

Der Fisch fängt am Kopf an zu stinken. Fish begin to stink at the head.

Der Fisch will dreimal schwimmen; im Wasser, im Schmalz, und im Wein. A fish should swim thrice: in water, in sauce, and in wine.

Der Fuchs ändert den Pelz und behält den Schalk. The fox changes his skin, but keeps the rogue.

Der Geiß sammelt sich arm, die Milde giebt sich reich. Charity gives itself rich, covetousness hoards itself poor.

Der größte Schritt ist der aus der Thür. The greatest step is out of doors.

Der Hahn ist König auf seinem Miste. The cock is king on his own dunghill.

Der Hahn schließt die Augen, wann er krähet,—weil er es auswendig kann. The cock shuts his eyes when he crows, because he knows it by heart.

Der Henker ist ein scharfer Barbier. The executioner is a keen shaver.

Der Hund, der den Hasen ausspürt, ist so gut wie der ihn fängt. The dog that starts the hare is as good as the one that catches it.

Der Hund raset wider den Stein, und nicht wider den, so geworfen. The dog rages at the stone, not at him that throws it.

Der Hunger treibt dem Wolf aus dem Walde. Hunger drives the wolf out of the wood.

Der Junge kann sterben, der Alte muß sterben. The young may die, the old must die.


Der König kann nicht allweg regieren wie er will. The king cannot always rule as he wishes.

Der Krieg ist lustig den unerfahrnen. War is pleasant to those who have not tried it.

Der Krug geht so lange zum Wasser bis er zerbricht. The pitcher goes so often to the well, that it gets broken at last.

Der leere Wagen muß dem vollen ausweichen. The empty waggon must make room for the full one.

Der Letzte hat den Sack gestohlen. The last stole the sack.

Der Letzte thut die Thür zu. The last shuts the door.

Der liebe Niemand ist an allem schuld. Honest Nobody is to blame for all.

Der Mann im Monde hat das Holz gestohlen. The man in the moon stole the wood.

Der Mensch denkt’s, Gott lenkt’s. Man proposes, God disposes.

Der Mensch liebt nur einmal. Man loves but once.

Der Mönch antwortet, wie der Abt singt. The monk responds as the abbot chants.

Der Müller ist fromm, der Haare auf den Zähnen hat. That miller is honest who has hair on his teeth.

Der Narben lacht, wer Wünden nie gefühlt. He laughs at scars who never felt a wound.

Der Neutrale wird von oben begossen, von unten gesengt. Neutrals are soused from above, and singed from below.

Der Pabst frißt Bauern, säuft Edelleute, und schießt Mönche. The pope eats peasants, gulps gentlemen, and voids monks.

Der Pfaff liebt seine Heerde, doch die Lämmlein mehr als die Wedder. The priest loves his flock, but the lambs more than the wethers.

Der Schlüssel, den man braucht, wird blank. The key that is used grows bright.

Der Stärkste hat Recht. Right is with the strongest.

Der Teufel ist nie so schwarz, als man ihn mahlt. The devil is never so black as he is painted.

Der Teufel ist artig, wenn man ihm schmeichelt. The devil is civil when he is flattered.

Der Teufel gießt gern was schon naß ist. The devil likes to souse what is already wet.

Der Wald hat Ohren, das Feld hat Augen. The wood has ears, the field has eyes.

Der Weg zum Verderben ist mit guten Vorsätzen gepflastert. The road to ruin is paved with good intentions.

Der Weise hat die Ohren lang, die Zunge kurz. The wise man has long ears and a short tongue.


Der Wille giebt dem Werke den Namen. The will gives the work its name.

Der Wille ist des Werkes Seele. The will is the soul of the work.

Des Königs Spreu gilt mehr, als andere Leute Korn. The king’s chaff is better than other folk’s corn.

Des Mannes Mutter ist der Frau Teufel. The husband’s mother is the wife’s devil.

Des Menschen Angesicht ist eines Löwen. A man’s face is a lion’s.

Des Schulzen Kuh und eines Andern Kuh sind zweierlei Kühe. The bailiff’s cow and another’s cow are two different cows.

Des Volkes Stimme ist Gottes Stimme. The people’s voice is God’s voice.

Dickkopf, Dummkopf. Big head, little wit.

Die Aemter sind Gottes; die Amtleute des Teufels. Places are God’s; placemen are the devil’s.

Die ärgsten Studenten werden die frömmsten Prediger. The most disorderly students make the most pious preachers.

Die Augen glauben sich selbst, die Ohren andern Leuten. The eyes believe themselves; the ears other people.

Die Augen sind weiter dann der Bauch. The eye is bigger than the belly.

Die Armen müssen tanzen wie die Reichen Pfeiffen. The poor must dance as the rich pipe.

Die Bärenhaut soll man nicht verkaufen ehe der Bär gestochen ist. Don’t sell the bear-skin before you have killed the bear.

Die Bauern bitten nichts so sehr von Gott, als daß den Junkern die Rosse nicht Sterben, sonst würden sie die Bauern mit Sporen reiten. There is nothing for which the boors pray so much to God as that the horses of the squirearchy may not die, for otherwise they would ride the boors with spurs.

Die Besen kann man am wohlfeilsten geben, die man fertig stiehlt. Those besoms can be sold cheapest which are stolen ready made.

Die besten Freunde stehen im Beutel. The best friends are in one’s purse.

Die Beute soll man nicht vor dem Siege theilen. Do not divide the spoil till the victory is won.

Die Ehe ist Himmel und Hölle. Marriage is heaven and hell.

Die Fische haben gut leben, die trinken wann sie wollen. The fish lead a pleasant life, they drink when they like.

Die Gaben sind wie die Geber. Gifts are according to the giver.

Die gelehrte Narren sind über alle Narren. Learned fools exceed all fools.

Die gezählten Schafe frißt der Wolf auch. Even counted sheep are eaten by the wolf.


Der Katzen Scherz, der Mäuse Tod. What is sport to the cat is death to the mouse.

Die Katze möchte die Fische wohl, sie mag aber die Füße nicht naß machen. The cat loves fish, but is loth to wet her feet.

Die Kleinen reden gar so gern von dem, was die Großen thun. Little folks are fond of talking about what great folks do.

Die Kühe, die am meisten brüllen, geben am wenigsten Milch. The cows that low most give the least milk.

Die Kuh leckt kein fremdes Kalb. The cow licks no strange calf.

Die Kuh milcht durchs Maul. The cow gives milk through her mouth.

Die Schlüssel hängen nicht alle an einem Gürtel. All the keys do not hang at one girdle.

Die Schönheit ist ein guter Empfehlungsbrief. Beauty is a good letter of introduction.

Die Schönste putzt das Licht. The handsomest snuffs the candle.

Die Schulden sind der nächste Erbe. The debts go to the next heir.

Die Sonnenuhr zählt nur die heitern Stunden. The sun-dial counts only the bright hours.

Die Sonne wirds bringen an den Tag, was unterm Schnee verborgen lag. The sun will bring to light what lay under the snow.

Die süßesten Trauben hängen am höchsten. The sweetest grapes hang highest.

Die Wände haben Ohren. Walls have ears.

Die Welt will Nachteulen haben, sich zu verwundern. The world likes to have night-owls, that it may have matter for wonder.

”Die Worte sind gut,” sprach jener Wolf, “aber ich komm ins Dorf nicht.” “Your words are fair,” said the wolf, “but I will not come into the village.”

Doktor Luthers Schuhe sind nicht allen Dorfpriestern gerecht. Doctor Luther’s shoes do not fit every parish priest.

Draußen hat man hundert Augen, daheim keine. Abroad one has a hundred eyes, at home not one.

Drei Frauen, drei Gänse, und drei Frösche, machen einen Jahrmarkt. Three women, three geese, and three frogs, make a fair.

Dreimal umgezogen ist einmal abgebrannt. Three removes are as bad as a fire.

Dreizehn Nonnen, vierzehn Kinder! Thirteen nuns, fourteen children!

Ducaten werden beschnitten, Pfennige nicht. Ducats are clipped, pence are not.


Edel ist, der edel thut. Noble is, that noble does.

Edel macht das Gemüth, nicht das Geblüt. ’Tis the mind ennobles, not the blood.


Ehrlich währt am längsten. Honesty lasts longest. (Honesty is the best policy.)

Eifersucht ist eine Leidenschaft, die mit Eifer sucht, was Leiden schaft. Jealousy is a pain which eagerly seeks what causes pain.

Eigenliebe macht die Augen trübe. Self-love is bad, and makes the eyes sad.

Eigenlob stinkt, Freundes Lob hinkt, Fremd Lob ist wahr und dauert wohl ein Jahr. Self-praise stinks, friends praise hinks, the stranger’s is sincere, and may last for a year.

”Ei ist Ei,” sagte der Küster, aber er nahm das Gans Ei. “An egg is an egg,” said the beadle, but he took the goose-egg.

Eile mit Weile. Hasten at leisure.

Eilte die Hündin nicht, so würfe sie nicht blinde Junge. If the bitch were not in such haste, she would not litter blind puppies.

Ein Advokat und ein Wagenrad wollen geschmiert sein. A lawyer and a cart-wheel must be greased.

Ein alter Fuchs läuft nicht zum zweiten Mal in’s Garn. An old fox does not run twice into the snare.

Ein Blinder schluckt manche Fliege mit herunter. A blind man swallows many a fly.

Ein bös Auge verdirbt das andere. One bad eye spoils the other.

Ein Brand allein brennt nicht lange. One log does not burn long by itself.

Ein Dieb stiehlt sich selten reich. A thief seldom grows rich by thieving.

Ein Dienst ist des andern Werth. One good turn deserves another.

Ein Ding ist nicht bös, wenn man es gut versteht. A thing is not bad if well understood.

Ein Doktor und ein Bauer wissen mehr als ein Doktor allein. A doctor and a boor know more than a doctor alone.

Eine Biene ist so gut als eine Handvoll Fliegen. One bee is as good as a handful of flies.

Eine Blume macht keinen Kranz. One flower makes no garland.

Einen Nackten kann man nicht ausziehen. There is no stripping a naked man.

Einer kann reden und Sieben können singen. One can speak and seven can sing.

Ein ersparter Pfennig ist zweimal verdient. A penny saved is two-pence got.

Ein Esel schimpft den andern “Lang-ohr.” One ass nicknames another “Longears.”

Ein faules Ei verdirbt den ganzen Brei. One rotten egg spoils the whole pudding.

Ein Feind ist zu viel, und hundert Freunde sind zu wenig. One foe is too many, and a hundred friends are too few.


Ein Frauenhaar zieht mehr als ein Glockenseil. One hair of a woman draws more than a bell-rope.

Ein guter Name ist ein reiches Erbtheil. A good name is a rich inheritance.

Ein guter Weg um, ist nicht krumm. The farthest way about is the nearest way home.

Ein gutes Mahl ist Henkenswerth. A good meal is worth hanging for.

Eine Hälfte der Welt verlacht die andere. One half the world laughs at the other half.

Eine Handvoll Gewalt ist besser als ein Sackvoll Recht. A handful of might is better than a sack full of right.

Eine Hand wäscht die andere. One hand washes the other.

Ein Heute ist besser als zehn Morgen. One to-day is better than ten to-morrows.

Ein hungriger Magen hat keine Ohren. A hungry belly has no ears.

Ein jeder ist Kaiser in seinem Lande. Every one is emperor on his own ground.

Eine Katze hat neun Leben, wie die Zwiebel sieben Häute. A cat has nine lives, as the onion seven skins.

Eine Krähe hackt der anderen die Augen nicht aus. One crow does not peck another’s eye out.

Eine Krähe macht keinen Winter. One crow does not make a winter.

Eine Nadel in’s Heu suchen. To look for a needle in a bottle of hay.

Einen Mohren kann man nicht weiß waschen. One cannot wash a blackamoor white.

Eine Nothlüge schadet nichts. A necessary lie is harmless.

Ein Sack voll Flöhe ist leichter zu hüten wie ein Weib. A sack full of fleas is easier to watch than a woman.

Ein schlechter Schmidt, der den Rauch nicht vertragen kann. He is a bad smith who cannot bear smoke.

Ein schlechter Schütz, der keine Ausrede findet. He is a bad shot who cannot find an excuse.

Ein schlechtes Pferd, das sein Futter nicht verdient. It is a bad horse that does not earn his fodder.

Eine Schwalbe macht keinen Frühling. One swallow does not make a spring.

Eines Mannes Rede ist keine Rede, man muß sie hören beide. One man’s story is no story; hear both sides. (One story is good till another is told.)

Eine Stunde Schlaf vor Mitternacht, ist besser als zweie darnach. One hour’s sleep before midnight is better than two after it.

Eine Unze Mutterwitz ist besser als ein Pfund Schulwitz. An ounce of mother-wit is worth a pound of school-wit.

Ein Keil treibt den andern. One wedge drives another.


Ein Krämer, der nicht Mausdreck für Pfeffer aufschwatzen kann, hat sein Handwerk nicht gelernt. A huckster who cannot pass off mouseturd for pepper, has not learned his trade.

Ein leerer Sack steht nicht aufrecht. An empty sack will not stand upright.

Ein Loth Märzenstaub ist einen Ducaten werth. A load of March dust is worth a ducat.

Ein magerer Vergleich ist besser denn ein fetter Proceß. A lean compromise is better than a fat lawsuit. (Agree, for the law is costly.)

Einmal in der Leute Mund, kommt man übel wieder heraus. Once in people’s mouths, ’tis hard to get well out of them.

Einmal, Keinmal. Once upon a time, no time.

Ein Mann, ein Wort; ein Wort, ein Mann. A man, a word; a word, a man.

Ein Mensch ist des andern Teufel. One man is another’s devil.

Ein Messer wetzt das andere. One knife whets another.

Ein Mühlstein wird nicht moosig. A millstone gathers no moss.

Ein Nagel erhällt ein Eisen, das Eisen ein Roß, das Roß den Mann, der Mann eine Burg und die Burg das ganze Land. A nail secures the horse-shoe, the shoe the horse, the horse the man, the man the castle, and the castle the whole land.

Ein Narr kann mehr fragen, als sieben Weise antworten. One fool may ask more questions than seven wise men can answer.

Ein Narr lobt den andern. One fool praises another.

Ein: “Nimm hin” ist besser, als zehn: “Helf Gott!” One “take this” is better than ten “God help you!”

Ein Pfennig mit Recht, ist besser denn tausend mit Unrecht. A single penny fairly got, is worth a thousand that are not.

Ein Quentlein Klugheit ist besser denn ein Pfund Weisheit. A dram of discretion is worth a pound of wisdom.

Ein Schuh ist nicht Jedem gerecht. One shoe will not fit every foot.

Ein Schwert hält das andere in der Scheide. One sword keeps another in the sheath.

Ein Sperling in der Hand ist besser denn eine Taube auf dem Dache. A sparrow in the hand is better than a pigeon on the roof.

Ein Weib verschweigt nur, was sie nicht weiß. A woman keeps secret only what she does not know.

Ein wenig zu spät ist viel zu spät. A little too late is much too late.

Einer Frau und einem Glas drohet jede Stunde was. A woman and a glass are ever in danger.

Eines Narren Bolzen ist bald verschossen. A fool’s bolts is soon shot.

Ein Trunk auf Salat schadet dem Doctor einen Ducat; ein Trunk auf ein Ei schadet ihm zwei. Drink upon salad costs the doctor a ducat; drink upon eggs costs him two.


Ein Vater ernährt eher zehn Kinder, denn zehn Kinder einen Vater. A father maintains ten children better than ten children one father.

Ein Vogel in der Schüssel ist besser als hundert in der Luft. One bird in the dish is better than a hundred in the air.

Ein Weib mit vielfältigem Rock hat einfältigen Kopf. A woman strong in flounces is weak in the head.

Ein Zaun dazwischen mag die Liebe erfrischen. A fence between makes love more keen.

Ein Zaun währt drei Jahre, ein Hund überwährt drei Zäune, ein Pferd drei Hunde, ein Mensch drei Pferde. A fence lasts three years, a dog lasts three fences, a horse three dogs, and a man three horses.

Ende gut, alles gut. All’s well that ends well.

Er geht herum, wie die Katze um den heißen Brei. He goes about it like a cat round hot milk.

Er geht so gern als der Dieb an den Galgen. He goes as willingly as a thief to the gallows.

Er hat Bohnen in den Ohren. He has beans in his ears. (Who so deaf as he that will not hear.)

Er hat die Henne für das Ei gegeben. He has given the hen for the egg.

Er ist ein armer Fuchs, der nur ein Loch hat. It is a poor fox that has but one hole.

Er muß ein scharf Gesicht haben, der eine Jungfrau kennen woll. He must have keen eyes that would know a maid at sight.

Er stecht seine Nase in Alles. He sticks his nose in everything. (He has his finger in every pie.)

Erfahrung ist die beste Lehrmeisterin. Experience is the best teacher.

Ersparter Pfennig ist so gut wie der erworbene. A penny saved is a penny gained.

Erst besinn’s, dann beginn’s. Look before you leap.

Erst wieg’s, dann wag’s. First weigh, then venture.

Erziehst du dir einen Raben, so wird er dir die Augen ausgraben. Bring up a raven and he will peck out your eyes.

Es fällt keine Eiche vom ersten Streiche. Never fell oak at the very first stroke.

Es findet jeder seinen Meister. Every one has his master.

Es flog ein Gänschen über den Rhein, es kam ein Gigack wieder heim. A gosling flew over the Rhine, and came home a goose.

Es geschieht nichts Neues unter der Sonne. There’s nothing new under the sun.

Es giebt mehr alte Weintrinker als alte Aerzte. There are more old tipplers than old doctors.


Es giebt nur zwei gute Weiber auf der Welt: die Eine ist gestorben, die Andere nicht zu finden. There are only two good women in the world; the one is dead, the other not to be found.

Es hilft keine Krone für das Hauptweh. A crown is no cure for the headache.

Es ist besser das Kind weine, denn der Vater. It is better the child should cry than the father.

Es ist besser mit ’nem ganzen Narren handeln, denn mit ’nem halben. It is better to deal with a whole fool than half a fool.

Es ist ein böser Vogel, der in sein Nest hofirt. It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest.

Es ist ein schlechter Arbeitsmann, der nicht vom Handwerk reden kann. He is a bad workman who cannot talk of work.

Es ist ein weises Kind das seinen Vater kennt. It is a wise child that knows its own father.

Es ist geschrieben: “Was nicht dein ist, das laß liegen.” ’Tis written, “What’s not your own, that let alone.”

Es ist kein Gesetz es hat ein Loch, wer’s finden kann. There is no law but has a hole in it, for those who can find it out.

Es ist kein Heiliger so klein, er will seine eigene Kerze haben. There is no saint so petty but claims his own candle.

Es ist kein Kinderspiel, wenn ein altes Weib tanzt. It is no child’s play when an old woman dances.

Es ist leichter einen Scheffel voll Flöhe hüten als ein Weib. It is easier to guard against a bushel of fleas than a woman.

Es ist leichter zwei Herde bauen, als auf einem immer Feuer haben. It is easier to build two hearths than always to keep fire on one.

Es ist nicht Alles Gold, was glänzt. All is not gold that glitters.

Es ist nicht gut der Poet im Dorfe zu sein. It is not good to be the poet of a village.

Es ist nicht noth daß die Pfaffen heirathen, so lange die Bauern Weiber haben. There is no occasion for priests to marry, while peasants have wives.

Es ist nöthiger den Mund zu bewahren, denn die Kiste. It is more necessary to guard the mouth than the chest.

Es ist schwer stehlen, wo der Wirth selbst ein Dieb ist. It is hard to steal where the host himself is a thief.

Es ist zu viel von einer Katze begehrt, daß sie bei der Milch sitze, und nicht davon schlecke. It is too much to expect of a cat that she should sit by the milk and not lap it.

Es kommen eben so viel Kalbshäute zu Markt als Kuhhäute. There come just as many calf-skins as cow-skins to market.

Es kommt allzeit Pharao, der Joseph nicht kennt. There is always a Pharaoh who does not know Joseph.


Es müssen starke Beine sein, die glückliche Tage ertragen können. They must be strong legs that can support prosperous days.

Es nimmt kein Weib einen alten Mann um Gottes willen. No woman marries an old man for God’s sake.

Es reitet ein jeder sein Steckenpferd. Every man rides his own hobby.

Es schlafen nicht alle, welche die Augen zu haben. All are not asleep who have their eyes shut.

Es schlägt nicht immer ein wenn’s donnert. A bolt does not always fall when it thunders. (There are more threatened than struck.)

Es sind nicht alle frei, die ihrer Kette spotten. All are not free who mock their chains.

Es sind nicht alle Jäger, die das Horn gut blasen. All are not hunters that blow the horn.

Es sind nicht alle Köche, die lange Messer tragen. All are not cooks who carry long knives.

Es sind so gute Katzen, die die Mäuse verjagen, als die sie fangen. The cats that drive away mice are as good as those that catch them.

Es steckt nicht im Spiegel, was man im Spiegel sieht. That is not in the looking-glass which is seen in the looking-glass.

Es trinken tausend sich den Tod, ehe einer stirbt vor Durstes Noth. Thousands drink themselves to death before one dies of thirst.

Es verdirbt viel Witz in eines Armen Mannes Beutel. Much wit is lost in a poor man’s purse.

Es weht nicht allezeit derselbe Wind. The wind does not always blow from the same quarter.

Es weiß Niemand besser wo der Schuh drückt als der ihn trägt. No one knows better where the shoe pinches than he who wears it.

Es will dem Diebe kein Baum gefallen, daran er hänge. The thief cannot find any tree that suits him for a gallows.

Es will keiner der Katze die Schellen anhängen. No one likes to bell the cat.

Es wird kein blöder Hund fett. A bashful dog never fattens.

Es wird keine Hochzeit vollbracht, es wird eine andere dabei erdacht. One marriage is never celebrated but another grows out of it.

Esel singen schlecht, weil sie zu hoch anstimmen. Asses sing badly, because they pitch their voices too high.

Essen und Trinken muß seyn und wären alle Bäume Galgen. We must eat and drink though every tree were a gallows.

Etwas ist besser als gar nichts. Better aught than nought.



Faulheit ist der Schlüssel zur Armuth. Sloth is the key to poverty.

Fette Hühner legen wenig Eier. Fat hens lay few eggs.

Fette Küche, magere Erbschaft. A fat kitchen makes a lean will.

Feuer im Herzen bringt Rauch in den Kopf. Fire in the heart sends smoke into the head.

Feuer und Wasser sind gute Diener, aber schlimme Herren. Fire and water are good servants, but bad masters.

Fleiß ist des Glückes Vater. Industry is the parent of fortune.

Fliege nicht eher, als bis dir die Federn gewachsen sind. Don’t fly till your wings are feathered.

Frauen und Jungfrauen soll man loben, es sei wahr oder erlogen. Women and maidens must be praised, whether truly or falsely.

Freie um die Wittwe, dieweil sie noch trauert. Woo the widow whilst she is in weeds.

Freier Mann, freies Gut. Free man, free goods. (So: Free ships, free goods.—American.)

Fremdes Pferd und eigene Sporen haben bald den Wind verloren. Another man’s horse and your own spurs outrun the wind.

Freud’ und Leid sind nahe Nachbarn. Joy and sorrow are next-door neighbours. (Joy and sorrow are to-day and to-morrow.)

Frisch gewagt ist halb gewonnen. Boldly ventured is half won.

Fromm, klug, weis und mild, gehört in des Adels Schild. Piety, prudence, wit, and civility, are the elements of true nobility.

Fromme Leute wohnen weit auseinander. Good people live far asunder.

Früh auf und spät nieder, bringt verlorenes Gut wieder. Early to rise and late to bed, lifts again the debtor’s head.

Früh zu Bett und früh wieder auf, macht gesund und reich in Kauf. Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Frühe Hochzeit, lange Liebe. Early marriage, long love.

Fünf Finger fassen mehr als zwei Gabeln. Five fingers hold more than two forks.

Für Gerechte giebt es keine Gesetze. For the upright there are no laws.

Fürsten-Gunst, Aprillenwetter, Frauenlieb und Rosenblätter, Würfelspiel und Kartenglück, ändern sich all’ Augenblick. Royal favour, April weather, woman’s love, rose-leaves, dice, and card-luck, change every moment.

Fürsten haben lange Hände und viele Ohren. Princes have long hands and many ears.



Gäb es keine Narren, so gäb es keine Weisen. Were there no fools, there would be no wise men.

Gebet dem Kaiser was des Kaisers ist, und Gott was Gottes ist. Give unto the king what is the king’s, and unto God what is God’s.

Gebranntes Kind fürchtet das Feuer. A burnt child dreads the fire.

Gebrauchter Pflug blinkt, stehend Wasser stinkt. A used plough shines, standing water stinks.

Gedanken sind zollfrei, aber nicht Höllenfrei. Thoughts are toll-free, but not hell-free.

Gefährte munter kürzet die Meilen. Cheerful company shortens the miles.

”Gehe hin, werd ein Krämer, ein Schalk,” sagt der Henker zu seinem Knecht. “Away with you, be a pedlar, a knave,” says the hangman to his man.

Geld genommen, um Freiheit gekommen. Money taken, freedom forsaken.

Geld im Beutel vertreibt die Schwermuth. Money in the purse dispels melancholy.

Geld ist der Mann. Money makes the man.

Gelegenheit macht den Dieb. Opportunity makes the thief.

Gelehrte Narren sind über alle Narren. Learned fools are the greatest fools.

Gelehrten, ist gut predigen. A word is enough to the wise.

Gemalte Blumen riechen nicht. Painted flowers are scentless.

Gemein Geplärr ist nie ganz leer. Common fame is seldom to blame.

Gemiethet Roß und eigene Sporen machen kurze Meilen. A hired horse and one’s own spurs make short miles.

Gemsen steigen hoch und werden doch gefangen. The chamois climbs high and yet is caught.

Genug ist über einen Sack voll. Enough is better than a sackful.

Geredt ist geredt, man kann es mit keinem Schwamme abwischen. What is said is said, and no sponge can wipe it out.

Geschenke halten die Freundschaft warm. Presents keep friendship warm.

Geschenktem Gaul sieht man nicht in’s Maul. Look not a gift horse in the mouth.

Geschrei macht den Wolf größer als er ist. Report makes the wolf bigger than he is.

Getaufter Jude, beschnittener Christ. A baptised Jew is a circumcised Christian.

Gewarnter Mann ist halb gerettet. A man warned is half saved.


Gewohnheit ist ein’ andere Natur. Custom is second nature.

Gieb nie das Fell, wo du mit der Wolle zahlen kannst. Never give the skin when you can pay with the wool.

Giebt es Krieg, so macht der Teufel die Hölle weiter. In time of war the devil makes more room in hell.

Glaub’ ist besser als bares Geld. Credit is better than ready money.

”Gleich und Gleich gesellt sich gern,” sprach her Teufel zum Köhler. “Like will to like,” as the devil said to the coal-burner.

Gleiches Blut, gleiches Gut und gleiche Jahre, machen die besten Heirathspaare. Like blood, like means, and like age, make the happiest marriage.

Glück und Unglück sind zwei Eimer im Galgenbrunnen. Fortune and misfortune are two buckets in a well.

Glück und Weiber haben die Narren lieb. Fortune and women are partial to fools.

”Glück zu! Gott ehre das Handwerk!” sprach der Schinder zum Richter. “Success to you! God speed the craft!” as the hangman said to the judge.

Glücklich ist, wer vergißt, was nicht mehr zu ändern ist. He is lucky who forgets what cannot be mended.

Glücklich über die Bruk, verlacht man San Nepomuck. Safe over the bridge, one laughs at St. Nepomuck.

Gold liegt tief im Berge, aber Koth am Wege. Gold lies deep in the mountain, dirt on the highway.

Golden Gebiß macht’s Pferd nicht besser. A golden bit makes none the better horse.

Goldener Hammer bricht eisernes Thor. A golden hammer breaks an iron gate. (Gold goes in at any gate.)

Gott hilft dem Stärksten. God helps the strongest.

Gott ist überall, außer wo er seinen Statthalter hat. God is everywhere, except where he has his delegate.

Gott macht gesund, und der Doktor kriegt das Geld. God cures the sick, and the doctor gets the money.

Gottes Freund, der Pfaffen Feind. God’s friend, the priest’s foe.

Gottes Mühle geht langsam, aber sie mahlt fein. God’s mill goes slowly, but it grinds well.

Groß sein thut’s nicht allein, sonst holte die Kuh den Hasen ein. Greatness alone is not enough, or the cow would outrun the hare.

Große Bäume geben mehr Schatten als Früchte. Great trees give more shade than fruit.

Große Diebe hängen die kleinen. Great thieves hang little thieves.

Große Fische fängt man in großen Wassern. Great fish are caught in great waters.

Große Herren dürfen mit Heiligen scherzen. Great men may jest with saints.


Große Kirchen, kleine Heiligen. Big churches, little saints.

Große Schwätzer sind gemeiniglich Lügner. Great talkers are commonly liars.

Große Worte und Federn gehen viel auf ein Pfund. Of big words and feathers many go to the pound.

Großer Herren Bitte ist Befehl. Great men’s requests are commands.

Großer Herren Leute lassen sich was bedünken. Great men’s servants don’t think little of themselves.

Großer Prahler, schlechter Zahler. Great say-masters, bad pay-masters.

Grüne Weihnacht, weiße Ostern. Green Christmas, a white Easter.

Gut Gewissen ist ein sanftes Ruhekissen. A good conscience is a soft pillow.

Gut macht Uebermuth, Armuth macht Demuth. Riches cause arrogance; poverty, meekness.

Güte bricht einem kein Bein. Kindness breaks no bones.

Gute Käufe leeren den Beutel. Good bargains empty the purse.

Guter Anfang ist die halbe Arbeit. Well begun is half done.

Guter Rath kommt nie zu spät. Good counsel never comes too late.

Guter Rath kommt über Nacht. Good counsel comes over night.

Guter Wein bedarf keines Kranzes. Good wine needs no bush.

Guter Wein ist der Alten Milch. Good wine is milk for the aged.

Guter Wein verdirbt den Beutel, und Schlechter den Magen. Good wine ruins the purse, and bad the stomach.

Guter Wein verkauft sich selbst. Good wine sells itself.

Gutschmecke macht Bettelsäcke. A lordly taste makes a beggar’s purse.


”Hab’ ich” ist ein besserer Vogel als “Hätt’ ich.” “I have” is a better bird than “If I had.”

”Habe gehabt” ist ein armer Mann. “I have had” is a poor man.

Haben ist Haben, komm es woher es wolle. Having is having, come whence it may.

Halbes Haus, halbe Hölle. Half a house is half a hell.

Halt’s mit ben Nachbarn, geh’ es dir wohl oder übel. Keep well with your neighbours, whether right or wrong.

Hans kommt durch seine Dummheit fort. Jack gets on by his stupidity.

Hänschen, lerne nicht zu viel, du mußt sonst viel thun. Don’t learn too much, Jack, else you must do a great deal.

”Hätte ich gewußt” ist ein armer Mann. “Had I known” is a poor man.

Hart gegen hart nimmer gut ward. Hard against hard never was good.


Hast du Geld, so setz dich nieder; hast du keines, so scheer dich wieder. If you’ve money, take a seat; if you’ve none, take to your feet.

”Hast du kein Geld, so werd ein Amtmann!” sagte jener Hofnarr zu seinem Fürsten. “If you have no money, turn placeman!” as the court fool said to his sovereign.

Hast du nicht Pfeile im Köcher, so misch dich nicht unter die Schützen. If you have no arrows in your quiver, go not with archers.

Hast du’s nicht mit Scheffeln, so hast’s doch wohl mit Löffeln. If you can’t get it in bushels, take it in spoonfuls.

Hastiger Mann war nie Verräther. The hasty man was never a traitor.

Hat die Henne ein Ei gelegt, so gacket sie. When the hen has laid an egg she cackles.

Hehler ist so gut wie Stehler. The concealer is as bad as the thief.

Heirathen in Eile, bereut man mit Weile. Marry in haste, repent at leisure.

Heirathen in’s Blut thut selten gut. Marrying in the blood is never good.

Heirathen ist leicht, Haushalten ist schwer. Marrying is easy, but housekeeping is hard.

Heller, steh auf, laß den Gulden niedersitzen. Stand up, farthing, let the florin sit down. (Stand up, cent, let the dollar sit down.)

Henke nicht alles auf einen Nagel. Do not hang all on one nail.

Herodes und Pilatus sind gute Freund’! Herod and Pilate are good friends!

Heut’ im Putz, morgen im Schmutz. To-day in finery, to-morrow in filth.

Heute für Geld, morgen umsonst. To-day for money, to-morrow for nothing.

Heute Kaufmann, morgen Bettelmann. Merchant to-day, beggar to-morrow.

Heute muß dem Morgen nichts borgen. To-day must borrow nothing of to-morrow.

Heute roth, morgen todt. To-day red, to-morrow dead.

Hilf dir selbst, so hilft dir Gott. God helps those who help themselves.

Hin ist hin, da leihet kein Jude mehr darauf. Gone is gone; no Jew will lend upon it.

Hinterm Kreuz versteckt sich der Teufel. The devil lurks behind the cross.

Hochmuth kommt zu Fall. Pride will have a fall.

Hohe Häuser sind gemeinlich unter dem Dache leer. High houses are mostly empty in the upper story.


Hörensagen ist halb gelogen. Hearsay is half lies.

Hunde, die viel bellen, beißen nicht. Dogs that bark much don’t bite.

Hundert Jahre Unrecht macht keine Stunde Recht. A hundred years of wrong do not make an hour of right.

Hundert Jahren Kummer bezahlen keinen Heller Schulden. A hundred years of regret pay not a farthing of debt.

Hunger ist der beste Koch. Hunger is the best cook.

Hungrige Fliegen stechen übel. Hungry flies sting sore.

Hurtig zur Anbiß, hurtig zur Arbeit. Quick at meat, quick at work.

Husaren beten um Krieg, und der Doktor um das Fieber. Hussars pray for war, and the doctor for fever.

Hut in der Hand, geht durch’s ganze Land. Hat in hand goes through the land.


Ich brauche keine Hummeln in meinem Bienenkorbe. I want no drones in my bee-hive. (So Shakspeare, “Drones hive not with me.”—Shylock.)

Ich habe den Hund lieber zum Freund als zum Feind. I would rather have a dog my friend than enemy.

Ich möchte wissen wie der hieß, so nie vom Weib sich narren ließ. Who’s the man that was never fooled by a woman.

Ich sehe so tief in einen Mühlstein, als ein Anderer. I can see as far into a mill-stone as another man.

Ich will den Gaul gewinnen, oder den Sattel verlieren. I will win the horse, or lose the saddle.

”Ich will keinen Hund beißen, denn ich muß meine Zähne für den Wolf sparen,” sagt der Schafhund. “I will not bite any dog,” says the shepherd’s dog, “for I must save my teeth for the wolf.”

Im Becher ersaufen mehr als im Meer. More are drowned in the bowl than in the sea.

Im Hause der Gehenkten soll man nicht vom Stricke reden. Never speak of a rope in the house of one who was hanged.

Im Scherz klopft man an, und im Ernst wird aufgemacht. We knock in jest, and it is opened in earnest.

Im Spaß gesagt, im Ernst gemeint. Said in sport, meant in earnest.

Im Spiegel sieht man die Gestalt, im Wein das Herz. In the looking-glass we see our form, in wine the heart.

Immer etwas Neues, selten etwas Gutes. Always something new, seldom something good.


Immer nur ein Haar und der Mann wird kahl. Ever one hair, only one, and the man is bald at last.

In alten Häusern, viele Mäuse; in alten Pelzen, viele Läuse. In old houses many mice, in old furs many lice.

In armer Leute Mund verdirbt viel Weisheit. Much wisdom is lost in poor men’s mouths.

In der einen Hand Brot, in der anderen einen Stein. Bread in one hand, a stone in the other.

In der Mühle ist das Beste, daß die Säcke nicht reden können. The best of the mill is that the sacks can’t speak.

In die Hölle kommt man mit größerer Mühe, als in den Himmel. It is harder work getting to hell than to heaven.

In jedem Pfäfflein steckt ein Päbstlein. Every priestling conceals a popeling.

Indessen das Gras wächst, verhungert der Gaul. Whilst the grass grows the steed starves.

Irren ist menschlich. To err is human (to forgive, divine).

Irrender Hirt, irrende Schaafe. Straying shepherd, straying sheep.

Irrthum ist kein Betrug. Erring is not cheating. (A mistake is no fraud.)

Ist der Mensch geboren so fängt er an zu sterben. As soon as man is born he begins to die.

Ist die Wirthin schön, ist auch der Wein schön. If the landlady is fair, the wine is fair.


Jacobs Stimme, Esaus Hände. Jacob’s voice, Esau’s hands.

Je älter der Geck, je schlimmer. The older a fool, the worse he is. (There is no fool like an old fool.)

Je älter, je kälter; je kärger, je ärger. The older, the colder; the more avaricious, the more vicious.

Je ärger der Mahner, je schlimmer der Zahler. The worse the dun, the worse the paymaster.

Je fetter der Floh, je magerer der Hund. The fatter the flea, the leaner the dog.

Je früher reif, je früher faul. Soon ripe, soon rotten.

Je gröter Hast, je minder Spood. (Hamburg.) The more haste, the less speed.

Je höher der Affe steigt, je mehr er den Hintern zeigt. The higher the ape climbs, the more he shows his rump.

Je höher die Glocke hängt, je heller sie klingt. The higher the bell is hung, the shriller it sounds.


Je mehr der Brunnen gebraucht wird, desto mehr giebt er Wasser. The more the well is used, the more water it yields.

Je mehr Gesetze, je weniger Recht. The more law, the less justice.

Je mehr man den Dreck rüttelt, je mehr stinkt er. The more you stir the mire, the more it stinks.

Je näher dem Bein, je süßer das Fleisch. The nearer the bone, the sweeter the flesh.

Je näher der Herberge, je länger der Weg. The nearer the inn, the longer the road.

Je näher der Kirche, je weiter von Gott. The nearer the church, the farther from God.

Je schöner die Wirthin, je schwerer die Zeche. The fairer the hostess, the heavier the reckoning.

Je später der Abend, je schöner die Leute. The later the evening, the fairer the company.

Je voller das Faß, je gelinder der Klang. The fuller the cask, the duller it’s sound.

Je weniger Worte, je besser Gebet. The fewer the words, the better the prayer.

Jedem das Seine ist nicht zu viel. To every one his own is not too much.

Jedem dünket sein’ Eul’ ein Falk. Every one thinks his owl a falcon.

Jedem was, ist gut Theilung. Something to every one is good division.

Jeder Arbeiter ist seines Lohnes werth. Every labourer is worthy of his hire.

Jeder fege vor seiner Thür. Let every one sweep before his own door.

Jeder für sich, Gott für Alle. Every man for himself, and God for us all.

Jeder gilt so viel als er hat. Every one counts for as much as he has.

Jeder hält sein Kupfer für Gold. Every man thinks his own copper gold.

Jeder ist seiner Worte bester Ausleger. Every man is the best interpreter of his own words.

Jeder ist seines Glückes Schmidt. Everybody is the architect of his own fortune.

Jeder ist sich selbst der Nächste. Every man is dearest to himself.

Jeder meint sein Kukuk singe besser denn des andern Nachtigall. Every one thinks his own cuckoo sings better than another’s nightingale.

Jeder meint, was er im Sinne hat, das läuten alle Glocken. Every one thinks that all the bells echo his own thoughts.

Jeder muß der Natur seine Schuld bezahlen. Every one must pay his debt to nature.


Jeder muß ein Paar Narrenschuhen zerreißen, zerreißt er nicht mehr. Everybody must wear out one pair of fool’s shoes, if he wear no more.

Jeder Mutter Kind ist schön. Every mother’s child is handsome.

Jeder weiß es am Besten, wo ihn der Schuh drückt. Everybody knows best where his own shoe pinches. (Also Scotch.)

Jedermann sagt es, Niemand weiß es. Everybody says it, nobody knows it.

Jedermanns Freund, Jedermanns Narr. Everybody’s friend, everybody’s fool.

Jedermanns Gesell ist Niemands Freund. Everybody’s companion is nobody’s friend.

Jedes Weib will lieber schön als fromm Sein. Every woman would rather be handsome than good.

Jucken und Borgen thut wohl—aber nicht lang. Scratching and borrowing do well enough, but not for long.

Jung Weib ist altem Mann, das Postpferd zum Grabe. A young wife is an old man’s post-horse to the grave.

Junger Schlemmer, alter Bettler. A glutton young, a beggar old.

Junger Spieler, alter Bettler. Young gambler, old beggar.

Juristen sind böse Christen. Lawyers are bad Christians.


Käs’ ist Morgens Gold, Mittags Silber, Abends Blei. Cheese is gold in the morning, silver at noon, and lead at night.

Käs’] und Brot macht die Wangen roth. Cheese and bread make the cheeks red.

Kalte Hand, warmes Herz. Cold hand, a warm heart.

Kartenspiel ist des Teufels Gebetbuch. A pack of cards is the devil’s prayer-book.

Kauf bedarf hundert Augen, Verkauf hat an einem genug. Buyers want a hundred eyes, sellers only one.

Kauf ist Kauf. A bargain is a bargain.

Kaufe deines Nachbars Rind, und freie deines Nachbars Kind. Buy your neigbour’s ox, and woo your neighbour’s daughter.

Kaufen ist wohlfeiler als Bitten. Buying is cheaper than asking.

Kein Aff’, er schwört, er habe die schönsten Kinder. No ape but swears he has the handsomest children.

Kein Baum fällt auf den ersten Schlag. No tree falls at the first stroke.

Kein Ding ist so schlecht, daß es nicht zu etwas nützen sollte. There is nothing so bad but may be of some use.


Kein Gefängniß schön, und keine Braut häßlich. Never seemed prison fair, or mistress foul.

Kein Haus ohne Maus, keine Scheuer ohne Korn, keine Rose ohne Dorn. No house without a mouse, no barn without corn, no rose without a thorn.

Kein Kreuzer, kein Schweizer. No money, no Swiss.

Kein Panzer hilft wider den Galgen. No armour is proof against the gallows.

Kein Rauch ohne Feuer. No smoke without fire.

Keiner ist so klug, daß er nicht ein wenig Narrheit übrig hätte. Nobody so wise but has a little folly to spare.

Keiner kann Nichts, und Keiner kann Alles. No one can do nothing, and no one can do everything.

Keines Mannes Herr, keines Herrn Mann. No man’s master, no master’s man.

Kinder und Narren sagen die Wahrheit. Children and fools speak the truth.

Kleine Diebe henkt man, vor großen zieht man den Hut ab. We hang little thieves, and take off our hats to great ones.

Kleine Feinde und kleine Wunden sind nicht zu verachten. Little enemies and little wounds are not to be despised.

Kleine Fische machen die Hechte groß. Little fishes make the pike big.

Kleine Häfen laufen bald über. Little pots soon run over.

Kleine Heilige thun auch Zeichen. Small saints too work miracles.

Kleiner Profit und oft, ist besser wie großer und selten. Small profits and often, are better than large profits and seldom.

Kluge Hühner legen auch in die Nesseln. Knowing hens lay even in nettles.

Kluge Männer suchen wirthliche Frauen. Prudent men choose frugal wives.

Könnte man jedes Ding zweimal machen, so stünd es besser in allen Sachen. Could everything be done twice, everything would be done better.

Krankes Fleisch, krankes Geist. Sickly body, sickly mind.

Kraue mich, so krau’ ich dich. Claw me, and I’ll claw thee.

Krummes Holz brennt eben so gut als gerades. Crooked wood burns quite as well as straight.

Küsters Kuh darf auf dem Kirchhof grasen. The beadle’s cow may graze in the churchyard.

Kunst hält bei einem Fest, wenn alles ihn verläßt. Art holds fast when all else is lost.

Kurze Haare sind bald gebürstet. Short hair is soon brushed.

Kurze Rechnung, lange Freundschaft. Short reckoning makes long friends.



Lade nicht alles in Ein Schiff. Do not ship all in one bottom.

Ländlich, sittlich. So many countries, so many customs.

Lang geborgt ist nicht geschenkt. Long borrowed is not given.

Lange fasten ist nicht Brotsparen. Long fasting is no economy of food.

Lange ist nicht ewig. Long is not for ever.

Langsam und gut. Slow and sure.

Laß deine Rechte nicht wissen, was deine Linke thut. Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth.

Laß den Gast ziehen ehe das Gewitter ausbricht. Let the guest go before the storm bursts.

Laß die Leute reden und die Hunde bellen. Let people talk and dogs bark.

Läßt man den Teufel in die Kirche, so will er auf den Altar. Let the devil get into the church, and he will mount the altar.

Lasset die Todten ruhen. Let the dead rest.

Leben und leben lassen. Live and let live.

Leere Tonnen geben großen Schall. Empty casks make the most sound.

Leichenpredigt, Lügenpredigt. Funeral sermon, lying sermon.

Leichte Bürden werden ferne schwer. Light burdens carried far become heavy.

Leichte Magen, schwerer Sinn. A light belly, heavy heart.

Licht ist Licht, wenn’s gleich der Blinde nicht sieht. Light is light, though the blind man see it not.

Lieb ohne Gegenliebist wie eine Frage ohne Antwort. Love without return is like a question without an answer.

Liebe deinen Nachbar, reiß aber den Zaun nicht ein. Love your neighbour, but don’t pull down the fence.

Liebe, Diebe und Furchtsamkeit, machen Gespenster. Love, thieves, and fear, make ghosts.

Liebe fängt bei sich selber an. Love begins at home.

Liebe, Feuer, Huften, Krätze, Gicht, lassen sich verbergen nicht. Love, fire, couch, the itch, and gout are not to be concealed.

Liebe kann viel, Geld kann Alles. Love can do much, money can do all.

Lieb wächst durch Kieb. Love grows with obstacles. (A wall between increases love.)

Liebe weiß verborgene Wege. Love knows hidden paths.


Lieben und Husten lassen sich nicht verbergen. Love and a cough cannot be hid.

Lieben und Singen läßt sich nicht zwingen. Loving and singing are not to be forced.

Lieber biegen als brechen. Better bend than break.

Lieber Neid denn Mitleid. Better envy than pity.

Liebeszorn ist neuer Liebeszunder. Love’s anger is fuel to love.

Ließe der Wolf sein Laufen, das Volk ließe sein Rufen. If the wolf would cease his running, the people would cease their shouting.

List gegen List. Trick against trick.

List geht über Gewalt. Cunning surpasses strength.

Loben ist nicht lieben. Praising is not loving.

Lösche das Feuer bei Zeiten, ehe es zum Dache hinausschlägt. Put out the fire betimes, ere it reach the roof.

Lösche das Licht aus, so sind alle Weiber gleich. Put the light out, and all women are alike.

Lüge ist die erste Staffel zum Galgen. Lying is the first step to the gallows.

Lügen haben kurze Beine. Lies have short legs.

Lügen zerschmelzen wie Schnee. Lies melt like snow.

Lügner muß ein gutes Gedächtniß haben. Liars should have good memories.


Mach dich nicht zu hoch, die Thür ist niedrig. Don’t carry your head too high, the door is low.

Mädchen sagen Nein und thun es doch. Maidens say no, and mean yes. (Maids say nay, and take.)

Man darf nur sterben um gelobt zu werden. One has only to die to be praised.

Man disputirt mehr über die Schaal, als über den Kern. There is more disputing about the shell than the kernel.

Man giebt dem Hunde nicht so oft Brot, als er mit dem Schwanze wedelt. The dog does not get bread every time he wags his tail.

Man kann durch eine Wand sehen, wenn ein Loch darin ist. One may see through a wall, if there’s a hole in it.

Man kann Gold zu theuer kaufen. One may buy gold too dear.

Man küßt das Kind wegen der Mutter und die Mutter wegen des Kindes. One kisses the child for the mother’s sake, and the mother for the child’s sake.

Man murmelt so lange von einem Dinge, bis es geschieht. Long-talked-of (or looked-for) comes at last.


Man muß das Eisen schmieden wann es warm ist. Strike while the iron is hot.

Man muß die Katze nicht im Sacke kaufen. Don’t buy a cat in a bag.

Man muß entweder ein König oder ein Narr geboren werden. One should be born either a king or a fool.

Man muß Heu machen, weil die Sonne scheint. Make hay while the sun shines.

Man muß mit den Pferden pflügen, die man hat. One must plough with the horses one has.

Man muß mit Pfaffen nicht anfangen oder sie todtschlagen. Either fight not with priests or beat them to death.

Man muß sein Licht nicht unter Scheffel stellen. Hide not your light under a bushel.

Man muß sich strecken nach der Decken. Stretch your legs according to your coverlet.

Man muß unreines Wasser nicht eher weggießen bis man reines hat. Don’t throw away your dirty water till you have got clean.

Man schlägt auf der Sack und meint den Müller. We beat the sack and mean the miller.

Man soll die Beute nicht vor dem Siege theilen. Don’t divide the spoil before the victory is won.

Man soll die Zeche nicht ohne den Wirth machen. Don’t reckon without your host.

Man soll nicht aus der Schule schwatzen. Tell no tales out of school.

Man soll nicht mehr Teufel rufen als man bannen kann. Raise no more devils than you can lay.

Man spart am Zapfen und läßt’s am Spundloch auslaufen. To save at the spiggot, and let it run out at the bung-hole. (Also Scotch.)

Man spricht, an vielerlei Leuten ist Mangel auf Erden: an Pfaffen, sonst dürfte einer nicht sechs bis sieben Pründen; an Adelichen, sonst wollte nicht jeder Bauer ein Junker sein; an Huren, sonst würden das Handwerk Eheweiber und Nonnen nicht treiben; an Juden, sonst würden Christen nicht wuchern. Folks say there is a lack of four sorts of people on earth: of priests, else one would not have six or seven benefices; of gentlemen, else every boor would not want to be a squire; of whores, else married women and nuns would not carry on the trade; of Jews, else Christians would not practise usury. (Trench quotes this as the longest Proverb known.)

Man verändert sich oft und bessert sich selten. People often change and seldom for the better.

Mann kann nicht länger Frieden halten, als der Nachbar will. One cannot keep peace longer than his neighbour will let him.

Mann muß kaufen wenn es Markt ist. Buy when it is market time.


Mann ohne Weib, ist Haupt ohne Leib; Weib ohne Mann, ist Leib ohne Haupt daran. Man without woman, is head without body; woman without man, is body without head.

Man muß sammeln wenn die Ernte da ist. One must glean at harvest time.

Man thut geschwind was lange gereut. We do in haste what we repent at leisure. (Marry in haste, and repent at leisure.)

Man weiß wohl was man hat, aber nicht was man bekommt. We know what we have, but not what we shall get.

Manche gute Kuh hat ein übel Kalb. Many a good cow has a bad calf.

Mancher droht und zittert vor Furcht. Many a one threatens, while he quakes for fear.

Mancher flieht einen Bach, und fällt in den Rhein. Many shun the brook, and fall into the river.

Mancher geht nach Wolle aus und kommt geschoren selbst nach Haus. Many go out for wool, and come home shorn.

Mancher hat was Gutes im Sinne, dem was Schlechtes in den Weg kommt. Many have good intentions, but something comes across them.

Mancher hütet sich vor dem Schwert und kommt an den Galgen. Many shun the sword, and come to the gallows.

Mancher nimmt mit Scheffeln und giebt mit Löffeln. Many take by the bushel, and give with the spoon.

Mancher sieht mit einem Auge mehr als ein Anderer mit zweien. Many see more with one eye than others with two.

Mancher sucht einen Pfennig, und verbrennt dabei ein Pfund. Penny wise, and pound foolish.

Maulesel treiben viel Parlaren daß ihre Voreltern Pferde waren. Mules make a great fuss about their ancestors having been horses.

Meines Freundes Feind ist oft mein bester Freund. My friend’s enemy is often my best friend.

Mißrechnung ist keine Zahlung. Misreckoning is no payment.

”Mit allem Pläsir,” sagt der Bauer, wenn er muß. “With great pleasure,” says the boor, when he must.

Mit beiden Beinen im Stock oder mit Einem, ist gleich viel. Both legs in the stocks or only one, ’tis all the same.

Mit dem Pfeiflein gewonnen, mit dem Trommlein verthan. Got with the fife, spent with the drum.

Mit der Mutter soll beginnen, wer die Tochter will gewinnen. Who the daughter would win, with mamma must begin.

Mit einem Handwerk kommt man weiter als mit tausend Gulden. A good trade will carry farther than a thousand florins.


Mit einem Tropfen Honig fängt man mehr Fliegen als mit einem Oxhoft Essig. A drop of honey catches more flies than a hogshead of vinegar.

Mit Geduld und Zeit wird’s Maulbeerblatt zum Atlas-Kleid. With patience and time the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.

Mit gleicher Münze zahlen. Pay in like coin.

Mit großen Herren ist nicht gut Kirschen essen, sie werfen Einem die Stein’ und Stiel’ ins Angesicht. They who eat cherries with the great, are like to have the stones and stalks flung in their face.

Mit Hunden fängt man Hasen, mit Lob die Narren und mit Geld die Frauen. Hares are caught with hounds, fools with praise, and women with gold.

Mit leerer Hand ist schwer Vögel fangen. It is hard to catch birds with an empty hand.

Mit Schweigen verräth sich Niemand. No one betrays himself by silence.

Mit Worten richtet man mehr aus als mit Händen. More is done with words than with hands.

Mittelweg ein sichrer Steg. The middle path is the safe path.

Mönch ins Kloster, Fisch ins Wasser, Dieb an’n Galgen. A monk in his cloister, a fish in the water, a thief on the gallows.

Mönche, Mäuse, Ratten, Maden, scheiden selten ohne zuschaden]. Monks, mice, rats, and vermin, seldom sunder without harming.

Morgenstunde hat Gold im Munde. The morning hour has gold in its mouth.

Müde Ochsen treten hart. Tired oxen tread hard.

Müller, Schneider und Weber, werden nicht gehenkt, das Handwerk gienge sonst aus. Millers, tailors, and weavers are not hanged, or the trade would soon be extinct.

Müller und Bäcker stehlen nicht, man bringt’s ihnen. Millers and bakers do not steal, people bring to them.

Müllers Henn’ und Wittwers Magd hat selten über Noth geklagt. The miller’s hen and widower’s maid, of want need never be afraid.

Mund und Herz sind eine ganze Spanne von einander. Mouth and heart are wide apart.

Muß ist eine harte Nuß. Must is a hard nut.

Müßiggang ist aller Laster Anfang. Idleness is the root of all evil.

Müßiggang ist des Teufels Ruhebank. An idle brain is the devil’s workshop.

Mutter, ich muß einen Mann ha’n, oder ich zünd’s Haus an. Mother, I must have a husband, or I shall set fire to the house.

Muttertreu wird täglich neu. Mother’s truth keeps constant youth.



Nach dem Essen sollst du stehen, oder tausend Schritte gehen. After dinner stand a while, or walk nearly half a mile.

Nach Regen kommt Sonnenschein. After rain comes sunshine.

Nach Weihnachten kommt Fasten. After Christmas comes Lent.

Nachbar über den Zaun, Nachbar wieder herüber. Neighbour once over the hedge, neighbour over it again.

Nachgeben stillt allen Krieg. Yielding stays war.

Nachher ist jeder klug. Every one is wise after the event.

Narren bauen Häuser, der Kluge kauft sie. Fools build houses, wise men buy them.

Narren Bolzen ist bald verschossen. A fool’s bolt is soon shot.

Narren soll man nicht auf Eier setzen. Fools must not be set on eggs.

Narren wachsen unbegossen”P2:old/typo: unbegießen? P3:unbegossen]. Fools grow without being watered.

Natur begiert wenig, Wahn viel. Nature requires little, fancy much.

Natur und Liebe lassen sich nicht bergen. Nature and love cannot be hid.

Natur zieht stärker denn sieben Ochsen. Nature draws stronger than seven oxen.

Neben dem Fluß einen Brunnen bohren. To sink a well by the river side.

Neid neidet sich selbst. Envy envies itself.

Neue Besen kehren gut. New brooms sweep clean.

Neue Kirchen und neue Wirthshäuser stehen selten leer. New churches and new taverns are seldom empty.

Neue Liedlein singt man gern. New songs are eagerly sung.

Neuem Gesetze folgt neuer Betrug. New laws, new roguery.

Neuer Arzt, neuer Kirchhof. New doctor, new churchyard.

Neukommen, willkommen. New come, welcome.

Neutrale wollen auf Eiern gehen und keines zertreten. Neutrals think to tread on eggs and break none.

Nicht alle Blumen taugen zum Sträußchen. Not all flowers are fit for nosegays.

Nicht alle Kugeln treffen. Not every ball hits.

Nicht alle sind Diebe, die der Hund anbellt. All are not thieves whom the dog barks at.

Nicht jeder Glühwurm ist Feuer. Every glow-worm is not fire. (Every light is not the sun.)

Nicht jedes Land hat alles zur Hand. Not every land has all at hand.

Nicht zu wenig, nicht zu viel. Not too little, not too much.


Nichts braucht keine Schlupfwinkel. Nought needs no hiding-place.

Nichts ist gut für die Augen, aber nicht für den Magen. Nought is good for the eyes, but not for the stomach.

Nichts ist so neu, als was längst vergessen ist. Nothing is so new as what has long been forgotten.

Nichts kühner als der Müller Hemd, das jeden Morgen einen Dieb beim Kragen nimmt. Nothing bolder than the miller’s shirt, that every morning collars a thief.

Nichts mit Hast als Flöhe fangen. Nothing should be done in a hurry except catching fleas.

Nichts sieht einem gescheidten Mann ähnlicher als ein Narr der das Maul hält. Nothing looks more like a man of sense than a fool who holds his tongue.

Nichts thun lehrt Uebel thun. Doing nothing teaches doing ill.

Nichts vertrocknet balder als Thränen. Nothing dries sooner than tears.

Nichts wiegt leichter als ein Versprechen. Nothing weighs lighter than a promise.

Niemand hat sich über’s Meer zu beklagen, der zum zweiten Male Schiffbruch litt. No one can complain of the sea who twice suffers shipwreck.

Niemand ist klug genug sich zu rathen. No one is wise enough to advise himself.

Niemand kann zugleich blasen und schlucken. No one can blow and swallow at the same time.

Niemand kann zweien Herren dienen. No man can serve two masters.

Niemand sieht seine eigene Fehler. No one sees his own faults.

Nimm die Welt wie sie ist, nicht wie sie seyn sollte. Take the world as it is, not as it ought to be.

Nimmer Geld, nimmer Gesell. No penny, no paternoster.

Noth bricht Eisen. Necessity breaks iron.

Noth kennt kein Gebot. Necessity has no law.

Noth lehrt auch den Lahmen tanzen. Necessity teaches even the lame to dance.

Noth lehrt Künste. Necessity teaches arts.

Noth sucht Brod wo es sich findet. Necessity seeks bread where it is to be found.

Noth vereinigt Herzen. Necessity unites hearts.

Nüchtern gedacht, voll gesagt. Thought when sober, said when drunk.

Nur Einer kann Kaiser sein. Only one can be emperor.

Nürenberger Witz und künstliche Hand finden Wege durch alle Land. Nurenberg wit and a skilful hand, will find their way through every land.



”O was müßen wir der Kirche Gottes halber leiden!” rief der Abt, als ihm das gebratene Huhn die Finger versengt. “O what we must suffer for the sake of God’s church!” said the abbot, when the roast fowl burned his fingers.

Ochs, wart’ des Grases. Ox, keep to your grass.

Offene Hand macht offene Hand. Open hand makes open hand.

Oft schießen trifft das Ziel. Often shooting hits the mark.

Ohne Eifersucht keine Liebe. No jealousy, no love.

Ohne Mehl und Wasser ist übel backen. It is bad baking without flour and water.

Ohne Wissen, ohne Sünde. Without knowledge, without sin.

Ost und West, daheim das Best. East or west, home is best.


Pfaffen lachen junge Weiber auch gern an. Priests even smile pleasantly on young women.

Pfaffen und Weiber vergessen nie. Priests and women never forget.

Pfaffen segnen sich zuerst. Priests bless themselves first.

Pfaffen sollen nicht aus der Beichte schwatzen. Priests should not prate out of the confessional.

Pfaffen zahlen einander keine Zehnten. Priests pay each other no tithes.

Pfaffenknechte essen mit Schweiß, von Arbeit werden sie nicht heiß. Priestly knaves sweat hard at their meat, but never at work get into a heat.

Pfau, schau deine Beine. Peacock, look at your legs.

Pfennig ist Pfennigs Bruder. Penny is penny’s brother.

Pflanze oft versetzt, gedeihet nicht. Plants oft removed never thrive.

Pflaumen kann man nicht zu Aepfeln machen. There’s no making apples of plums.

Pillen muß man schlingen, nicht kauen. Pills must be bolted, not chewed.


Rache bleibt nicht ungerochen. Revenge remains not unrevenged.

Rache ist neues Unrecht. Revenge is new wrong.


Rache macht ein kleines Recht zu großem Unrecht. Revenge converts a little right into a great wrong.

Rappelige Räder laufen am längsten. Crazy wheels run longest.

”Rast ich, so rost ich,” sagt der Schlüssel. “If I rest, I rust,” says the key.

Rath soll vor der That gehen. Advice should precede the act.

Rathe Niemand ungebeten. Never give advice unasked.

Rathen ist leichter denn helfen. Advising is easier than helping.

Rathen ist nicht zwingen. Advice is not compulsion.

Rathen ist oft besser denn fechten. Advising is often better than fighting.

Raubvögel singen nicht. Birds of prey do not sing.

Rechten und borgen macht Kummer und Sorgen. Disputing and borrowing cause grief and sorrowing.

Rede, daß ich dich sehe. Speak, that I may see thee.

Rede wenig, rede wahr. Zehre wenig, zahl baar. Speak little, speak truth. Spend little, pay cash.

Reden ist leichter als thun, und versprechen leichter als halten. Talking is easier than doing, and promising than performing.

Reden ist Silber, Schweigen ist Gold. Talking is silver, silence is gold.

Reden kommt von Natur, Schweigen vom Verstande. Speaking comes by nature, silence by understanding.

Reich ist genug, wer sich genügen läßt. He is rich enough who is contented.

Reiche Leute sind überall daheim. Rich people are everywhere at home.

Reiche Spieler und alte Trompeter sind selten. Rich gamblers and old trumpeters are rare.

Reichen giebt man, Armen nimmt man. We give to the rich, and take from the poor.

Reiner Mund und treue Hand, gehen durch das ganze Land. A clean mouth and honest hand, will take a man through any land.

Reu, des Herzens Arznei. Repentance is the heart’s medicine.

Richter sollen zwei gleiche Ohren haben. Judges should have two ears, both alike.

Rom ward nicht in einem Tage gebaut. Rome was not built in a day.

Rosen kann nicht jedermann pflücken. Not every one may pluck roses.

Rosen und Jungfern sind bald verblättert. Roses and maidens soon lose their bloom.

”Roth ist die Farbe der Liebe,” sagte der Buhler zu seinem fuchsfarbenen Schatz. “Red is Love’s colour,” said the wooer to his foxy charmer.

Rücke nicht, wenn du wohl sitzest. Don’t budge, if you sit at ease.


Rufe nicht “Juch!” bis du über den Graben bist. Don’t cry “Hurra!” till you are over the ditch.

Ruh kommt aus Unruh, und wieder Unruh aus Ruh. Rest comes from unrest, and unrest from rest.


Sänger, Buhler und Poeten, lügen viel. Singers, lovers, and poets, are privileged liars.

Sag eine Lüge, so hörst du die Wahrheit. Tell a lie, and you’ll hear the truth.

Sage nicht Alles, was du weißt; glaube nicht Alles, was du hörst; thue nicht Alles, was du kanst. Tell not all you know; believe not all you hear; do not all you are able.

Sagen und Thun ist zweierlei. Saying and doing are two things.

Salz und Brot macht die Wangen roth. Salt and bread make the cheeks red.

Sammt und Seide löschen das Feuer in der Küche aus. Silk and velvet put out the kitchen fire.

Samson war ein starker Mann, aber er konnte nicht zahlen ehe er Geld hatte. Samson was a strong man, but he could not pay money before he had it.

Sanct Martin war ein milder man, trank gerne Cerevisiam; und hat er kein Pecuniam, so ließ er seine Tunicam. Saint Martin was an easy man, he loved to drink Cerevisiam; and when he’d no Pecuniam, he left in pledge his Tunicam.

Schälke muß man mit Schälken fangen. Set a thief to catch a thief.

Schäme dich deines Handwerks nicht. Be not ashamed of your craft.

Schein betrügt. Appearances are deceitful.

Scherze nicht mit Ernst. Jest not in earnest. (Motto of the Margrave of Brandenburg.)

Schick dich in die Zeit. Suit yourself to the times.

Schlachte nicht mehr als du wohl kannst salzen. Slaughter no more than you can well salt.

Schlafende Hunde soll man nicht wecken. Wake not a sleeping dog.

Schlecht gefahren ist besser als stolz zu Fuß. Better badly mounted than proud on foot.

Schlechtes Geld kommt immer wieder. Bad money always comes back.

Schlimmer Anfang bringt wohl gutes Ende. A bad beginning may make a good ending.

Schloß und Schlüssel macht man nicht für treue Finger. Locks and keys are not made for honest fingers.


Schmeichler sind Katzen die vorne lecken und hinten kratzen. Flatterers are cats that lick before and scratch behind.

Schnell genug, wär’s gut genug. Quick enough, if but good enough.

Schnell Glück, schnell Unfall. Speedy rise, speedy fall. (Sudden glory soon goes out.)

Schön ist, was schön thut. Handsome is that handsome does.

Schöne Aepfel sind auch wohl sauer. Handsome apples are sometimes sour.

Schöne Blumen stehen nicht lange am Wege. Fair flowers do not remain long by the wayside.

Schöne Worte füllen den Sack nicht. Fair words don’t fill the pocket.

Schöne Worte gemacht, ist halb verkauft. Words fine and bold, are goods half sold.

Schöne Worte machen den Kohl nicht fett. Fair words don’t butter the cabbage.

Schönen Tag soll man loben, wann es Nacht ist. Praise a fine day at night.

Schrei nicht Juchhe! bis du über den Zaun bist. Don’t cry hurra! till you are over the hedge (till you are out of the wood).

Schreibe dem Teufel auf ein Horn: “guter Engel!” und manche glaubens. Write on one of the devil’s horns, “Good angel,” and many will believe it.

Schuster bleib bei deinem Leisten. Shoemaker stick to your last.

Schwarze Kühe geben auch weiße Milch. Black cows give white milk.

Schweig, ober rede etwas, das besser ist denn Schweigen. Be silent, or say something better than silence.

Schweigen und Denken kann Niemand kränken. Silence and reflection cause no dejection.

Schweigender Hund beißt am ersten. The silent dog is the first to bite.

Schweißwasser giebt guten Mörtel. Sweat makes good mortar.

Sei Hur ober Dieb, hast du Geld so bist du lieb. Whore or thief, young or old, welcome so you’ve got the gold.

Seine Hühner legen Eier die zwei Dotter haben. His hens lay eggs with two yolks.

Selbst gethan, ist bald gethan. Self-done, is soon done. (Never trust to another what you should do yourself.)

Selbst ist der Mann. Self is the man.

Selten kommt Besser nach. A better seldom comes after.

Senf nach der Tafel. After meat comes mustard.

Setzt einen Frosch auf goldenen Stuhl, er hüpft doch wieder in den Pfuhl. Though you seat the frog on a golden stool, he’ll soon jump off again into the pool.


Sey, was du seyn willst. Be the thing you would be called. (Be as you would seem to be.)

Sicherheit ist des Unglücks erste Ursache. Security is the first cause of misfortune.

Sicherheit ist nirgends sicher. Security is nowhere safe.

Sie hat ihn lieb—auf der Seite wo die Tasche hängt. She is fond of him—on the side where the pocket hangs.

Sie streiten um ein Ei, und lassen die Henne fliegen. They wrangle about an egg, and let the hens fly away.

Siedet der Topf, so blühet die Freundschaft. While the pot boils, friendship blooms.

Siegen kommt nicht vom Liegen. Victory is not gained by idleness.

Siehe erst auf dich, dann richte mich. First look at home, then censure me.

Sieht doch wohl die Katze den Kaiser an. A cat may look at a king.

Sieht man’s, so spiel ich; sieht man’s nicht, so stiehl ich. If I am seen, I am joking; if I am not seen, I steal.

So geht es in der Welt: der Eine hat den Beutel, der Andere hat das Geld. So it goes in the world: one has the purse, the other has the gold.

So mancher Mensch, so manche Sitte. So many countries, so many customs.

Sobald Gesetze ersonnen, wird Betrug begonnen. As fast as laws are devised, their evasion is contrived.

Sohnesweib haßt Mannesmutter. Daughter-in-law hates mother-in-law.

Soldaten muß man wohl zahlen und wohl henken. Soldiers must be well paid, and well hanged.

Soll die Ampel brennen, so muß man Oel zugießen. If you would have the lamp burn, you must pour oil into it.

Soll ich ersaufen, so muß es in saubern Wasser seyn. If I am to be drowned, it shall be in clean water.

Sollten alle Ehebrecher graue Röcke tragen, so würde das Tuch theuer. Were all adulterers to wear grey coats, the cloth would be dear.

Sommersaat und Weiberrath geräth alle sieben Jahre einmal. Summer sown corn and women’s advice turn out well once in every seven years.

Sorgen macht graue Haare und Alter ohne Jahre. Care brings on grey hairs, and age without years.

Sparen ist größere Kunst als erwerben. Saving is a greater art than gaining.

Spät Obst liegt lange. Late fruit keeps well.

Spitzig’ Kinn, böser Sinn. There’s cunning in a pointed chin.

Stetes tropfen höhlt den Stein. Constant dropping wears the stone.


Starke Leute haben starke Krankheit. Strong folks have strong maladies.

Starker Leute Spiel ist kranker Leute Todt. The strong man’s sport is the sickly man’s death.

Steckenpferde sind theuerer als arabische Hengste. Hobby horses are dearer than Arabians.

Stehend’ Wasser wird stinkend. Stagnant water grows stinking.

Stelle und Stunde machen einen Dieb. Time and place make the thief.

Stille Wasser sind tief. Still waters run deep.

Strecke dich nach der Decke. Stretch yourself according to your coverlid. (Cut your coat according to your cloth.)

Stumme Hunde und stille Wasser sind gefährlich. Dumb dogs and still water are dangerous.

Süßer Gesang hat manchen betrogen. Sweet song has betrayed many.

Süßer Wein giebt sauern Essig. Sweet wine makes sour vinegar.


Tadeln ist leicht, besser machen ist schwer. It is easier to blame than do better.

Tadeln kann ein jeder Bauer, besser machen wird ihm sauer. Every clown can find fault, though it would puzzle him to do better.

Tapfer angegriffen ist halb gefochten. A bold onset is half the battle.

Tauben Ohren ist bös prediger. It is bad preaching to deaf ears.

Tausch ist kein Raub. Exchange is no robbery.

Teufel muß man mit Teufeln austreiben. Devils must be driven out with devils.

Theure Arznei hilft immer, wenn nicht dem Kranken doch dem Apotheker. Dear physic always does good, if not to the patient, at least to the apothecary.

Theurer Honig, den man aus Dornen muß lecken. It is dear honey that must be licked off thorns.

Thue was du thuest. Do what thou doest. (Age quod agis.)

Todte Hunde beißen nicht. Dead dogs don’t bite.

Töchter sind leicht zu erziehen, aber schwer zu verheirathen. Daughters are easy to rear, but hard to marry.

Trage Jeder seinen Sack zur Mühle. Let every man carry his own sack to the mill.

Trau-wohl hat die Kuh gestohlen. Good faith stole the cow.

Trau-wohl, reit’ das Pferd hinweg. Trust well rides away with the horse.


Traue, aber nicht zu viel. Trust, but not too much.

Traue keinem, du habest denn einen Scheffel Salz mit ihm gegessen. Trust no one till you have eaten a bushel of salt with him.

Traue, schaue Wem! Trust, beware whom!

Träume sind Schäume. Dreams are froth.

Treue ist ein seltener Gast, halt ihn fest, wo du ihn hast. Good faith is a seldom guest, when you have him, hold him fast.

Trinkt eine Gans, so trinken sie alle. When one goose drinks, all drink.

Tritt der Kummer in’s Haus, fliegt die Liebe zum Fenster hinaus. When misfortune comes in at the door, love flies out of the window.

Trunken klug, nüchtern närrisch. The wise drunkard is a sober fool.

Trunkener Mund redet aus Herzens Grund. The drunken mouth reveals the heart’s secrets.

Tugend leidet oft Noth, aber nicht den Tod. Virtue never dies.

Tugend überwindet Gewalt. Virtue subdues power.

Tugend wächst im Unglück. Virtue flourishes in misfortune.


Uebel Botschaft kommt immer zu früh. Bad tidings always come too soon.

Uebel gewonnen, übel zerronnen. Ill got, ill spent.

Uebel Henne, die in Nachbars Häuser legt. It is a bad hen that lays in neighbours’ houses.

Ueberfluß bringt Ueberdruß. Satiety causes disgust. (Abundance begets indifference.)

Uebung bringt Kunst. Practice makes perfect.

Uebung macht den Meister. Practice makes the master.

Um des Kindes willen küsset man die Amme. One kisses the nurse for the sake of the child.

Umkehren ist besser als irre gehen. It is better to turn back than go astray.

Undank ist der Welt Lohn. Ingratitude is the world’s reward.

Undank macht wohlthun krank. Ingratitude sickens benevolence.

Ungebetener Dienst hat keinen Dank. Services unrequired go unrequited.

Ungeladener Gast ist eine Last. The unbidden guest is ever a pest.

Ungelegte Eier sind ungewisse Hühnlein. Unlaid eggs are uncertain chickens.

Ungerechter Frieden ist besser als gerechter Krieg. Better an unjust peace than a just war. (Better a lean peace than a fat victory.)


Ungerechter Pfennig verzehrt gerechten Thaler. The unrighteous penny consumes the righteous dollar.

Unglück, Holz und Haar, wachsen alle Tage. Misfortune, wood, and hair, grow throughout the year.

Unkraut vergeht nicht. Weeds never die.

Unmäßigkeit ist der Aerzte Säugamme. Intemperance is the doctor’s wet-nurse.

Unrecht Gut thut nicht gut. Ill-gotten goods seldom prosper.

Unsers Nachbaren Kinder sind allweg die bösesten. Our neighbour’s children are always the worst.

Unter den Blinden ist der Einäugige König. The one-eyed is a king among the blind.

Unter zwei Uebeln muß man das kleinste wählen. Of two evils choose the least.

Unverhofft kommt oft. Unlooked-for often comes.

Unzeitige Wahrheit ist einer Lüge gleich. Truth ill-timed is as bad as a lie. (Truth should not always be revealed.)


Verbotenes Obst ist süß. Forbidden fruit is sweet.

Vergeben ist nicht vergessen. Forgiven is not forgotten.

Vergieb und vergesse. Forgive and forget.

Verheißen macht Schuld. A promise is a debt.

Verletzen ist leicht, heilen schwer. ’Tis easier to hurt than heal.

Verliebte Köchin versalzt die Speisen. A lovelorn cook oversalts the porridge.

Verrath ist angenehm, Verräther verhaßt. The treason is loved, the traitor hated.

Verraths kann sich Niemand erwehren. No one can guard against treachery.

Verschlossener Mund und offene Augen haben Niemand was geschadet. A close mouth and open eyes never did any one harm.

Verschoben ist nicht aufgehoben. Deferred is not annulled. (Forbearance is no acquittance.)

Versengte Katzen leben lange. Singed cats live long.

Versprechen füllt den Magen nicht. Promises don’t fill the belly.

Versprechen ist Eins und halten ein Anderes. Promising is one thing, performing another.

Verstand kommt nicht vor den Jahren. Reason does not come before years.


Vertrauen weckt Vertrauen. Confidence begets confidence.

Verzagt’ Herz freit nimmer ein schön’ Weib. Faint heart never won fair lady.

Verzagte Hunde bellen am meisten. Timid dogs bark most.

Verzeih dir nichts und Andern viel. Forgive thyself nothing and others much.

Viel Geld, viele Freunde. Much money, many friends. (Where money, there friends.)

”Viel Geschrei und wenig Wolle,” sagte der Narr und schor ein Schwein. “Great cry and little wool,” said the fool, when he sheared a pig.

Viel verthun und wenig erwerben ist der Weg um zu verderben. To spend much and gain little is the sure road to ruin.

Viele Erben machen schmale Theile. Many heirs make small portions.

Viele Freunde und wenige Nothhelfer. Many friends, and few helpers in need.

Viele Hände machen bald ein Ende. Many hands make quick work.

Viele Handwerke, Betteln das Beste. Many trades, begging the best.

Viele Hunde sind des Hasen Tod. Many hounds are the death of the hare.

Viele Köche verderben den Brei. Many cooks spoil the broth.

Viele können Einem helfen. Many can help one.

Viele Köpfe, viele Sinne. So many men, so many minds.

Viele Prediger sind, die selbst nicht hören. There are many preachers who don’t hear themselves.

Viele Säcke sind des Esels Tod. Too many sacks are the death of the ass.

Viele Streiche fällen die Eiche. The repeated stroke will fell the oak.

Vier Augen sehen mehr als zwei. Four eyes see more than two.

Von der Hand zum Munde, verschüttet mancher die Suppe. Between the hand and the lip the soup may be spilt.

Von einem Funken kommt ein großes Feuer. A little spark kindles a great fire.

Von einem Streiche fällt keine Eiche. A single stroke don’t fell the oak.

Von fern lügt man gern. They who come from afar are prone to lie.

”Von Herzen gern!” sagt der Bauer, wenn er muß. “With all my heart!” says the boor, when he must.

Von kleinem Grase wächst ein großes Thier. Out of a little grass comes a great ass.

Von Worten zu Werken ein weiter Weg. Between wording and working is a long road.

Vögel von gleichen Federn fliegen gern beisammen. Birds of a feather flock together.


Volkes Stimme, Gottes Stimme. The people’s voice, God’s voice.

Volle Fässer klingen nicht. Full vessels give the least sound.

Vor lachenden Wirthinn und weinenden Pfaffen hüte dich. Beware of laughing hosts and weeping priests.

Vor Liebe frißt der Wolf das Schaf. For love the wolf eats the sheep.

Vorrath nimmer schadet. Store is no sore.

Vorrede spart Nachrede. Fore-talk spares after-talk.

Vorsicht schadet nicht. Safe bind, safe find.


Wächst die Ehre spannenlang, wächst die Thorheit ellenlang. Where honour grows a span, folly grows an ell.

Wahn erheischt viel, Noth bedarf wenig. Fancy requires much, necessity but little.

Während das Gras wächst, ist der Hengst todt. While the grass grows, the steed starves.

Wahrheit findet keine Herberge. Truth finds no asylum.

Wahrheit giebt kurzen Bescheid, Lüge macht viel Redens. Truth gives a short answer, lies go round about.

Wahrheit ist der Zeit Tochter. Truth is the daughter of time.

Wahrheit kriecht in keine Mäuselöcher. Truth creeps not into comers.

Wahrheit thut der Zunge weh. Truth makes the tongue smart.

Wahrheit wird wohl gedrückt, aber nicht erstickt. Truth may be suppressed, but not strangled.

Wahrmanns Haus steht am längsten. Trueman’s house stands the longest.

Wald hat Ohren, Feld hat Augen. Woods have ears, fields have eyes.

Wallfahrer kommen selten heiliger nach Hause. Pilgrims seldom come home saints.

Wälzender Stein wird nicht mooßig. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Wär’ ich ein Hutmacher worden, so kämen die Leut’ ohne Kopf zur Welt. Were I a hatter, men would come into the world without heads.

Wäre Holzhauen ein Orden, wären nicht so viele Mönche geworden. If wood-hewing were an order, there would be fewer monks.

Wären wir alle gescheidt, so gält’ ein Narr hundert Thaler. If every one were wise, a fool would be the prize.

Wärme dich weil das Feuer brennt. Make hay while the sun shines.

Was bald reif, hält nicht steif. What ripens fast does not last.

Was das Auge nicht sieht, bekümmert das Herz nicht. What the eye sees not, the heart rues not.


Was dem Einen recht ist, ist dem Andern billig. What is right for the one is reasonable for the other.

Was den Raben gehört, ertrinkt nicht. What belongs to the ravens is never drowned.

Was der Eine nicht backt, das brauet der Andere. What one does not bake, another brews.

Was der Löwe nicht kann, das kann der Fuchs. What the lion cannot, the fox can.

Was der Pfau am Kopfe zu wenig hat, hat er am Schwanze zu viel. What the peacock has too little on his head, he has too much on his tail.

Was die Augen sehen, glaubt das Herz. What the eyes see, the heart believes.

Was die Fürsten geigen, müssen die Unterthanen tanzen. As princes fiddle, subjects must dance.

Was dir zu hoch ist, daß laß fliegen. What is too high, that let fly.

Was drei wissen, erfahren bald dreißig. What three know will soon be known to thirty.

Was du dem Freunde leihest, das mahnt der Feind. What you lend to a friend, an enemy sues for.

Was du thun willst, thue bald. What you do, do quickly.

Was Gott zusammenfügt, das soll der Mensch nicht scheiden. What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

Was Hänschen nicht lernt, lernt Hans nimmer. What Master Jacky does not learn, Mr. John never knows.

Was hilft laufen, wenn man nicht auf dem rechten Weg ist? What is the use of running, when we are not on the right road?

Was hilft’s, daß die Kuh viel Milch giebt, wenn sie den Eimer umstößt. Of what use is it that the cow gives plenty of milk, if she upsets the pail.

Was! ich sollt einen Hund füttern und selbst bellen? What! keep a dog and bark myself?

Was Jeder thun soll, thut Keiner. Everybody’s business is nobody’s business.

Was keine Sünde, ist keine Schande. What is no sin, is no shame.

Was kümmert’s den Mond, wenn ihn die Hunde anbellen? What does the moon care if the dogs bay at her?

Was man nicht am Heu hat, hat man am Stroh. What we want in hay we make up in straw.

Was man nicht im Kopfe hat, muß man in den Leinen haben. Who falls short in the head, must be long in the heels.

Was man nicht kann meiden, muß man willig leiden. What can’t be cured, must be endured.

Was Menschenhände machen, können Menschenhände verderben. What man has made, man can destroy.


Was nicht nimmt Christus, das nimmt Fiscus. What is not taken by the Church is taken by the Exchequer.

Was nichts nützet ist geschenkt zu theuer. What’s of no use is too dear at a gift.

Was Pfaffen beißen und Wölfe, ist schwer zu heilen. The bites of priests and wolves are hard to heal.

Was schadet des Hundes bellen, der nicht beißt? What signifies the barking of a dog that don’t bite?

Was schadet ein gut’ Wort? Braucht man’s doch nicht zu kaufen. What harm is there in a good word? It costs nothing.

Was selten kommt, kommt wohl scharf. What comes seldom, comes sharp.

Was soll der Honig in Esels Maule? What’s the use of putting honey in an ass’s mouth.

Was von Herzen kommt, das geht zu Herzen. What comes from the heart, goes to the heart.

Was wehe thut, das lehrt. What smarts, teaches.

Wasser in’s Meer tragen. To carry water to the sea.

Wasser ist das stärkste Getränk, es treibt Mühlen. Water is the strongest drink; it drives mills.

Weiber findet man nimmer ohne Rede. Women are never at a loss for words.

Weiber, Glück und Gold, sind allen Narren hold. Women, fortune, and gold, favour fools.

Weiber hüten ist vergebliche Arbeit. Watching women is labour in vain.

Weiber-Schönheit, das Echo im Wald; und Regenbogen vergehen bald. Woman’s beauty, the forest echo, and rainbows, soon pass away.

Weiber sind unrichtige Uhren. Women are watches that keep bad time.

Weiber sind veränderlich wie Aprilwetter. Women are as fickle as April weather.

Weiberrache hat keine Grenzen. A woman’s vengeance knows no bounds.

Wein auf Bier rath ich dir, Bier auf Wein das laß sein. Wine upon beer is very good cheer; beer upon wine consider with fear.

Wein und Weiber machen alle Welt zu Narren. Wine and women make fools of everybody.

Weise sein ist nicht allzeit gut. It is not always good to be wise.

Weiser Mann, starker Mann. A wise man, a strong man.

Weinende Braut, lachende Frau. The weeping bride makes a laughing wife.

Weit vom Streite macht alte Kriegsleute. Away from the battle all are soldiers. (Of war all can tattle, away from the battle.)


Wem das Glück pfeifet, der tanzet wohl. He dances well to whom fortune pipes.

Wem das Glück wohl will, dem will niemand übel. Whom fortune favours, the world favours.

Wem es allezeit zu früh dünkt, der kommt gewiß zu spät. He who always thinks it is too soon, is sure to come too late.

Wem Gott ein Amt giebt, dem giebt er auch Verstand. Where God bestows an office, he provides brains to fill it.

Wem’s juckt, der kratze sich. Let him that itches, scratch himself.

Wem man giebt, der schreibt’s in den Sand; wem man nimmt, der schreibt’s in Stahl und Eisen. What you give, is written in sand; what you take, with an iron hand.

Wem nicht zu rathen ist, dem ist auch nicht zu helfen. He who won’t be advised, can’t be helped.

Wem wohl ist, der schweige. Let him who is well off hold his tongue.

Wen Viele fürchten, der muß Viele fürchten. He who is feared by many, fears many.

Wenig und oft macht zuletzt viel. Little and often makes a heap in time.

Wenig unternehmen giebt viel Frieden. Small undertakings give great comfort.

Weniger Rath und viele Hände. Less advice and more hands.

Wenn alte Gäul’ in Gang kommen, sind sie kaum zu halten. When old horses get warm, they are not easily held in.

Wenn das Glück anpocht, soll man ihm aufthun. When fortune knocks, open the door.

Wenn das Schiff gut geht, will jeder Schiffherr sein. In a calm sea, every man is a pilot.

Wenn das Wort heraus ist, gehört’s einem Andern. When the word is out, it belongs to another.

Wenn der Diener reich wird und der Herr arm, so taugen sie beide nichts. If the servant grows rich and the master poor, they are both good for nothing.

Wenn der Fuchs Gänse fangen will, wedelt er mit dem Schwanze. When the fox wants to catch geese, he wags his tail.

Wenn der Fuchs predigt, so nimm die Gänse in Acht. When the fox preaches, look to the geese.

Wenn der Fürst einen Apfel will, so nehmen seine Diener den ganzen Baum. If the prince wants an apple, his servants take the tree.

Wenn der Gast am liebsten ist, soll er wandern. When the guest is in most favour, he will do well to quit.

Wenn der Hund wacht, mag der Hirte schlafen. When the dog is awake, the shepherd may sleep.


Wenn der Sack voll ist, reckt er die Ohren. When the sack is full, it pricks up its ears.

Wenn der Scherz am besten ist, soll man aufhören. When the jest is at its best, ’twill be well to let it rest.

Wenn die Armuth zur Thür eingeht, so fliegt die Liebe zum Fenster hinaus. When poverty comes in at the door, love flies out at the window.

Wenn die Birne reif ist, fällt sie ab. When the pear is ripe, it falls.

Wenn die Herren vom Rathhause kommen, so sind sie klüger, als da sie hinaufgingen. When the lords come out of the council-house, they are wiser than when they went in.

Wenn die Hirten sich zanken, hat der Wolf gewonnen Spiel. When shepherds quarrel, the wolf has a winning game.

Wenn die Katze außer dem Hause ist, tanzen die Mäuse. When the cat’s away the mice will play.

Wenn die Kuh den Schwanz verloren hat, merkt sie es erst, wozu er gut gewesen ist. It is not till the cow has lost her tail, that she discovers its value.

Wenn die Narren kein Brot äßen, wäre das Korn wohlfeil. If fools were to eat no bread, corn would be cheap.

Wenn die Noth am größten, ist die Hilf’ am nächsten. When need is greatest, help is nearest.

Wenn ein Bettler auf’s Pferd kömmt, so kann ihm kein Teufel mehr voreilen. Set a beggar on horseback, and he’ll outride the devil.

Wenn ein Blinder den andern führt, fallen sie beide in den Graben. When blind leads blind, both fall into the ditch.

Wenn eine Hölle ist, so steht Rom darauf. If there be a hell, Rome is built over it.

Wenn Gott ein Land strafen will, nimmt er den Herren die Weisheit. When God means to punish a nation, he deprives the rulers of wisdom.

Wenn Gott sagt: Heute, sagt der Teufel: Morgen. When God says To-day, the devil says To-morrow.

Wenn man dem Volk die Ziegel doppelt, so kommt Moses. When the tale of bricks is doubled, then comes Moses.

Wenn man den Wolf nennt, so kömmt er gerennt. Talk of the devil, and his imp appears.

Wenn man reich ist, fängt man an zu sparen. When a man is rich, he begins to save.

Wenn mancher Mann wüßt’, wer mancher Mann wär, dann mancher Mann manchem man, erzeigte mehr Ehr’. If some men knew who some men were, then some would pay the more honour there.

Wenn’s Kalb gestohlen ist, bessert der Bauer den Stall. When the calf is stolen, the peasant mends the stall.


Wenn’s Maaß voll ist, läuft es über. When the measure is full, it runs over.

Wer A sagt, muß auch B sagen. He that says A, must also say B.

Wer Allen dient, macht sich Keinem verbindlich. Who makes friends of all, keeps none.

Wer allerlei Holz auflieset, hat bald einen Arm voll. He that picks up all sorts of wood, soon gets an armful.

Wer Alles haben will, bekommt am Ende nichts. He who grasps at all, holds nothing fast.

Wer allzeit säuft, und allzeit schlemmt, behält zuletzt kein ganzes Hemd. He who is always drinking and stuffing, will in time become a ragamuffin.

Wer am Boden liegt, über den läuft Jedermann. He who lies on the ground must expect to be trodden on.

Wer an dem Wege bauet, der hat viele Meister. He who builds by the road-side has many masters.

Wer Andere anschwärzt, ist darum nicht weiß. Who blackens others, does not whiten himself.

Wer Andere jagt, muß selber laufen. He that hunts others, must run himself.

Wer Andern eine Grube gräbt, fällt selbst hinein. He who digs a pit for others falls into it himself.

Wer Arbeit liebt und sparsam zehrt, der sich in aller Welt ernährt. Who loves his work and knows to spare, may live and flourish anywhere.

Wer auf halbem Wege umkehrt, irrt nur zur Hälfte. He who stops half way is only half in error.

Wer aus Liebe heirathet, hat gute Nächte und üble Tage. He that marries for love has good nights, but sorry days.

Wer austheilen will, muß auch einnehmen. He who gives, must take (meaning a joke).

Wer bald gibt, der doppelt gibt. He who gives quickly, gives doubly.

Wer beim Wolf Gevatter stehen will, muß einen Hund unter seinem Mantel haben. He who stands godfather to a wolf should have a dog under his cloak.

Wer bringt, ist willkommen. He who brings, is welcome.

Wer da bauet an der Straßen, muß die Leute reden lassen. He who builds on the public way, must let the people have their say.

Wer da fällt, über den läuft alle Welt. When a man is down, everybody runs over him.

Wer das Kleine achtet, ist des Großen würdig. He who prizes little things, is worthy of great ones.


Wer dem Haufen folgt, hat viele Gesellen. He who follows the crowd has many companions.

Wer dem Kinde die Nase wischt, küßt der Mutter den Backen. He who wipes the child’s nose, means to kiss the mother’s cheek.

Wer dem Pöbel dient, hat ’nen schlechten Herrn. He who serves the people has a bad master.

Wer dem Spiele zusieht, kann’s am besten. He who looks on knows more of the game than he who plays.

Wer den Acker pflegt, den pflegt der Acker. Take care of your plough, and your plough will take care of you.

Wer den Armen giebt, leihet dem Herrn. He who gives to the poor, lends to the Lord.

Wer den Armen leihet, dem zahlet Gott die Zinsen. He who lends to the poor, gets his interest from God.

Wer den Credit verloren hat, der ist todt für die Welt. He that has lost his credit is dead to the world.

Wer den einen Fuß im Hurenhaus hat, hat den andern im Spital. He who has one foot in a brothel, has the other in a hospital.

Wer den Kern essen will, muß die Nuß knacken. He that wants the kernel must crack the nut.

Wer den Nagel am Hufeisen nicht achtet, verliert auch das Pferd. He who heeds not the lost shoe-nail, will soon lose the horse.

Wer den Pabst zum Vetter hat, kann bald Kardinal werden. He who has the Pope for his cousin may soon be a Cardinal.

Wer den Schalk hinter sich läßt, der hat eine gute Tagreise gethan. He who has left a rogue behind him, has made a good day’s journey.

Wer den Sieg behält, der hat Recht. He who has victory, has right.

Wer den Teufel einmal in’s Haus geladen, kann sein’ nimmermehr abkommen. He who has once invited the devil into his house, will never be rid of him.

Wer der Bösen schont, schadet den Frommen. He who spares vice, wrongs virtue.

Wer die Augen nicht aufthut, muß den Beutel aufthun. He who does not open his eyes must open his purse.

Wer die Kunst nicht übt, verlernt sie bald. Practise not your art, and ’twill soon depart.

Wer die Leiter hält, ist so schuldig wie der Dieb. He who holds the ladder is as bad as the thief.

Wer die Leiter hinauf will, muß bei der untersten Sproße anfangen. He who would climb the ladder must begin at the bottom.

Wer die Tochter will gewinnen, mit der Mutter soll beginnen. He who would the daughter win, with the mother must begin.

Wer drei Feinde hat, muß sich mit zweien vertragen. He who has three enemies must agree with two.


Wer droht, der warnt. Who threatens, warns.

Wer Ehre verdient, bekommt sie nicht; und wer sie hat, verdient sie nicht. They who deserve honour, fail of it; and they who obtain it, do not deserve it.

Wer Eier haben will, muß sich das Gackern gefallen lassen. He who will have eggs, must bear with the cackling.

Wer Eier unter den Füßen hat, muß leis’ auftreten. He who treads on eggs, must tread lightly.

Wer ein gläsern’ Dach hat, muß andere nicht mit Steinen werfen. He who has a glass roof must not throw stones at others.

Wer ein Haus kauft, hat manchen Balken und Nagel umsonst. He who buys a house gets many a plank and nail for nothing.

Wer ein Kalb stiehlt, stiehlt eine Kuh. Who steals a calf, steals a cow.

Wer einen Aal beim Schwanz und Weiber faßt bei Worten, wie feste der auch hält, hält nichts an beiden Orten. Who takes an eel by the tail or a woman by her word, grasp as he will, holds nothing fast.

Wer einen Bauer betrügen will, muß einen Bauer mitbringen. He who would cheat a peasant, must take one with him.

Wer einen Betrüger betrügt und einen Dieb bestiehlt, erlangt für 100 Jahre Ablaß. He who cheats a cheat and robs a thief, earns a dispensation for 100 years.

Wer einen Heller erbt, muß einen Thaler bezahlen. He who inherits a farthing, is expected to disburse a dollar.

Wer einen Kopf hat, bekommt leicht einen Hut. Who has a head won’t want for a hat.

Wer einen lobt in Præsentia und schimpft in Absentia, den hole die Pestilentia. He who praises in præsentia, and abuses in absentia, have with him pestilentia.

Wer einen Stein über sich wirft, dem fällt er leicht auf den Kopf. Who throws a stone above himself may have it fall on his own head. (Ecclus. xxvii. 25.)

Wer einmal stiehlt, der bleibt ein Dieb. Once a thief, always a thief.

Wer ekel ist, entbehrt manchen guten Bissen. Who is over nice, loses many a slice.

Wer empfing, der rede; wer gab, der schweige. Who receives, should thank; who gives, should be silent.

Wer Feuer bedarf, suche es in der Asche. If you want fire, look for it in the ashes.

Wer findet ehe verloren wird, der stirbt ehe er krank wird. He who finds what has not been lost, will chance to die before he is ill.

Wer fürchtet, er thue zu viel, der thut immer zu wenig. He who is afraid of doing too much, always does too little.


Wer geringe Dinge wenig acht’t, sich um geringere Mühe macht. Who heeds not little things, will be troubled about lesser ones.

Wer gern borgt, bezahlet nicht gern. He who is quick at borrowing, is slow in paying.

Wer gern borgt, lügt gern. Who readily borrows, readily lies. (Debtors are liars.)

Wer gern freien will, muß nicht lange wählen. He who fain would marry, in choice should not tarry.

Wer gewinnen will, lerne vertragen. Who would win, must learn to bear.

Wer gewinnt, spielt am besten. He plays best, who wins.

Wer gut bezahlt, kann wieder borgen. He who pays well may borrow again.

Wer gute Beine hat, hat oft schlechte Stiefeln. He that has good legs, has often bad boots.

Wer gute Nachbarn hat, bekommt ’nen guten Morgen. He who has good neighbours, gets a good morning.

Wer hängen soll, ersäuft nicht. He that is born to be hanged will never be drowned.

Wer hat, der behalt’; Liebe wird alt, Unglück kommt bald. Who has, let him thereof take heed; love wanes, misfortune comes with speed.

Wer heirathet, thut wohl, wer ledig bleibt, thut besser. He who marries does well, but who remains single does better.

Wer hoch klimmt, der fällt hart. He that climbs high, falls heavily.

Wer im Alter will jung seyn, der muß in der Jugend alt seyn. Who would be young in age, must in youth be sage.

Wer im dreißigsten Jahre nichts weiß, im vierzigsten nichts ist, im fünfzigsten nichts hat; der lernt nichts, wird nichts, und kömmt zu nichts. Who knows nothing in his thirtieth year, is nothing in his fortieth, has nothing in his fiftieth; learns nothing, is nothing, and comes to nothing.

Wer im Frühjahr nicht säet, wird im Spätjahr nicht erndten. They must hunger in frost who spring-time have lost.

Wer im Grabe liegt, dem ist wohl gebettet. He who lies in the grave, is well lodged.

Wer im Kleinen spart, kann im Großen freigebig sein. He who saves in little things, can be liberal in great ones.

Wer im Singen zu hoch anfängt, kommt nicht aus. He who pitches too high, won’t get through his song.

Wer in den Röhren sitzt, der schneidet sich Pfeiffen wie er will. He that sits among reeds, cuts pipes when he pleases.

Wer in’s Feuer bläst, dem fliegen die Funken in die Augen. He who blows in the fire will get sparks in his eyes.


Wer in einen sauern Apfel gebissen hat, dem schmeckt der süße desto besser. Who has tasted a sour apple, will have the more relish for a sweet one.

Wer in Frieden will walten, muß leiden und still halten. He who would prosper in peace, must suffer in silence.

Wer Jedermann den Mund stopfen wollte, bedürfte viel Mehl. He that would stop everybody’s mouth needs plenty of flour.

Wer kauft, was er nicht braucht, wird bald verkaufen, was er braucht. He who buys what he don’t want, will soon sell what he does want.

Wer keinen Kopf hat, braucht keinen Hut. He that has no head, needs no hat.

Wer kleine Sünden meidet, fällt nicht in große. Who avoids small sins, does not fall into great ones.

Wer kleinen Herren dienet, der ist selbst Herr mit. He who serves small masters, is himself one of them.

Wer lange wählet und mäkelt, kauft endlich gar nichts, oder schlechte Waare. Long choosing and cheapening ends in buying nothing, or bad wares.

Wer langsam reitet, soll früher satteln. Who rides slow, must saddle betimes.

Wer leicht glaubt, wird leicht betrogen. Who are ready to believe, are easy to deceive.

Wer Lieb’ erzwingt, wo keine ist, der bleibt ein Thor zu aller Frist. He who forces love where none is found, remains a fool the whole year round.

Wer meint, daß er weise sei, dem wohnt ein Esel nahe bei. He who conceits himself wise, has an ass near at hand.

Wer mich einmal betrügt, dem verzeihe es Gott; betrügt er mich wieder, verzeihe mir’s Gott. Who deceives me once, shame on him; if he deceives me twice, shame on me.

Wer mit den Wölfen ist, muß mit den Wölfen heulen. Who herds with wolves, must howl with wolves.

Wer mit der Hoffnung fährt, hat die Armuth zum Kutscher. He who travels with hope, has poverty for his coachman.

Wer mit Füchsen zu thun hat, muß den Hühnerstall zuhalten. He who has to do with foxes must look after his hen-roost.

Wer mit Hunden zu Bette geht, steht mit Flöhen wieder auf. He who goes to bed with dogs, will wake up with fleas.

Wer mit jungen Ochsen pflügt, macht krumme Furchen. He who ploughs with young oxen, makes crooked furrows.

Wer nach jedem bellenden Hunden werfen will, muß viel Steine auflesen. He that pelts every barking dog, must pick up a great many stones.


Wer neidet, der leidet. He who envies, suffers.

Wer nicht Bitteres gekostet hat, weiß nicht was süß ist. He who has not tasted bitter, knows not what sweet is.

Wer nicht empfängt, braucht nicht wieder zu geben. Who accepts nothing, has nothing to return.

Wer nicht ernähren will die Katzen, muß ernähren Mäuse und Ratzen. Who will not feed the cats, must feed the mice and rats.

Wer nicht gut helfen kann, kann sehr gut hinderlich seyn. He who cannot help, may hinder.

Wer nicht hören will, muß fühlen. He that won’t listen, must feel.

Wer nicht in den Himmel will, braucht keine Predigt. He that will not be saved needs no preacher.

Wer nicht kann fechten, gewinnt nichts im Rechten. Who cannot fight, wins nought by right.

Wer nicht kann mit dem Beutel, muß mit der Haut bezahlen. He who cannot pay with his purse, must pay with his hide.

Wer nicht liebt Wein, Weib und Gesang, der bleibt ein Narr sein Lebenlang. Who loves not women, wine, and song, remains a fool his whole life long.

Wer nicht malen kann, muß Farbe reiben. He who cannot paint must grind the colours.

Wer nicht mit mir ist, der ist wider mich. He who is not for me, is against me.

Wer nicht singen kann, mag pfeifen. Who cannot sing, may whistle.

Wer nicht vorwärts kommt, bleibt zurück. He who does not go forward, stays behind.

Wer nichts an die Angel steckt, fängt nichts. He who does not bait his hook catches nothing.

Wer nichts aus sich macht, ist nichts. He who makes himself nothing, is nothing.

Wer nichts lieber übt als Tadel, hat im Herzen keinen Adel. Who lends his lips to nought but blame, has in his heart no love of fame.

Wer nichts verspricht, braucht nichts zu halten. Who makes no promises, has none to perform.

Wer oft schießt, trifft endlich. He who shoots often, hits at last.

Wer Ohren hat zu hören, der höre. He who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Wer Pech angreift, besudelt sich. He who handles pitch, besmears himself.

Wer Recht fordert, muß auch Recht pflegen. Who demands justice, must administer justice.

Wer Recht nicht will leiden, darf über Gewalt nicht klagen. Who refuses to submit to justice, must not complain of oppression.


Wer redet was er will, muß hören was er nicht will. He who says what he likes, must hear what he does not like.

Wer regieren will, der muß hören und nicht hören, sehen und nicht sehen. He who would rule, must hear and be deaf, see and be blind.

Wer reich werden will, muß seine Seele eine Zeit lang hinter die Kiste werfen. Who would be rich, must keep his soul under cover of his cash-box.

Wer sagt, daß Wucher Sünde sey, der hat kein Geld, das glaube treu. That usury is a sin some hold, but take for granted they’ve no gold.

Wer schläft allein, der bleibt lang kalt; zwei wärmen sich einander bald. He who sleeps alone keeps long cold, two soon warm each other.

Wer schlechte Botschaft bringt, kommt früh genug. He who brings bad tidings, comes soon enough.

Wer schweigt, bejaht. Silence gives consent.

Wer sein eigener Lehrmeister sein will, hat einen Narren zum Schüler. He who is his own teacher, has a fool for his pupil.

Wer seine Schulden bezahlt, verbessert seine Umstände. He who pays his debts, betters his condition.

Wer seinen Zorn bezwingt, hat einen Feind besiegt. The greatest conqueror is he who conquers himself.

Wer sich alle Büsche besieht, kommt selten zu Holze. He that peeps into every bush will hardly get into the wood.

Wer sich auf der Achsel sitzen läßt, dem sitzt man nachher auf dem Kopfe. Who lets another sit on his shoulder, will soon have him on his head.

Wer sich das Maul verbrennt hat, bläst die Suppe. He who has once burnt his mouth, always blows his soup.

Wer sich helfen lassen will, dem ist gut zu helfen. It is easy to help him, who is willing to be helped.

Wer sich heute nicht bessert, wird morgen ärger. He who does not improve to-day will grow worse to-morrow.

Wer sich mausig macht, den fressen die Katzen. He who makes a mouse of himself, will be eaten by the cats. (This is a pun; sich mausig machen means to swagger or assume undue importance.)

Wer sich selber kitzelt, lacht wenn er will. He who tickles himself, laughs when he likes.

Wer sich selber lobt, muß üble Nachbaren haben. He who praises himself must have bad neighbours.

Wer sich selbst nichts taugt, taugt keinem Andern. He who is of no use to himself, is of no use to any one else.

Wer sich zu Honig macht, den benaschen die Fliegen. He who makes himself honey, will be eaten by the flies.


Wer sich zum Esel macht, dem will jeder seinen Sack auflegen. Make yourself an ass, and every one will lay his sack on you.

Wer sich zum Schafe macht, den fressen die Wölfe. Make yourself a sheep, and the wolves will eat you.

Wer ungebeten kommt, geht ungedankt davon. Who comes unbidden departs unthanked.

Wer Unglück soll haben, der stolpert im Grase, fällt auf den Rücken und bricht seine Nase. He who is born to misfortune stumbles as he goes, and though he fall on his back will fracture his nose.

Wer verachtet, der will kaufen. He that finds fault, wants to buy.

Wer viel anfängt, endet wenig. He who begins much, finishes little.

Wer viel schwatzt, lügt viel. He who prates much, lies much.

Wer vom Altare lebt, soll auch dem Altare dienen. He who lives by the church should serve the church.

Wer von Hoffnung lebt, der stirbt am Fasten. He who lives on hope, dies of hunger.

Wer was will gelten, der komme selten. Who would wish to be valued must make himself scarce.

Wer weiter will als sein Pferd kann, der sitze ab und gehe zu Fuß. He who would go further than his horse, must alight and go on foot.

Wer wenig spricht, hat wenig zu antworten. Who says little, has little to answer for.

Wer will wissen, wer er sei, erzürne seiner zwei oder drei. If a man would know what he is, let him anger his neighbours.

Wer wohl sitzt, der rücke nicht. Who is well seated should not budge.

Wer zu Hof sein will, muß bald oben bald unten liegen. He who would succeed at court, must lie sometimes low, sometimes high.

Wer zu viel faßt, läßt viel fallen. He who grasps too much lets much fall.

Wer zuerst kommt, mahlt zuerst. Who comes first, grinds first.

Wer zuletzt lacht, lacht am besten. He who laughs last, laughs best.

Wer zur Gewalt schweigt, verliert sein Recht. Who bows to might loses his right.

Wer zwei Hasen zugleich hetzt, fängt gar keinen. Who hunts two hares together catches neither.

Wer zwischen zwei Freunden Richter ist, verliert den einen. He who is judge between two friends, loses one of them.

Wer’s Alter nicht ehrt, ist des Alter’s nicht werth. Who honours not age, is unworthy of it.

Wer’s Glück hat, führt die Braut heim. He who has the fortune brings home the bride.


Wer’s Kleine nicht acht’t, dem wird’s Große nicht gebracht. He who takes no care of little things, will not have the care of great ones.

Wer’s links anfängt, dem geht’s links. Who begins amiss, ends amiss.

Wer’s Uebel nicht straft, ladet es ins Haus. Who does not punish evil, invites it.

Wer’s Ungewisse will nach Hause führen, kann’s Gewisse vom Wagen verlieren. Who carries doubtful people to his house, will doubtless from his carriage something lose.

Werkleute findet man leichter denn Meister. Workmen are easier found than masters. (There are more hands than heads.)

Weß’ Brot ich esse, deß’ Lied ich singe. Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.

Wessen Huldin schielt, der sagt: sie liebäugele. He whose mistress squints, says she ogles.

Wider den Strom ist schwer schwimmen. ’Tis hard to swim against the stream.

Wie das Maul, also der Salat. Like lips, like lettuce.

Wie der Acker, so die Rüben; wie der Vater, so die Büben. As the field, so the crops; as the father, so the sons.

Wie der Baum, so die Birne; wie die Frau, so die Dirne. As the tree, so the fruit; as the mistress, so the maid.

Wie der Baum, so die Frucht. As the tree, so the fruit.

Wie der Herr, so der Knecht. Like master, like man.

Wie der Meister, so das Werk. As the master, so the work.

Wie die Alten singen, so zwitschern die Jüngen. As the old birds sing, the young ones twitter.

Wie die Arbeit, so der Lohn. As the labour, so the pay. (No pains, no gains.)

Wie die Frau, so die Magd. As the mistress, so the maid. (Hackney mistress, Hackney maid.)

Wie Du mir, so ich Dir. Claw me, and I’ll claw thee.

Wie ein Ding nutzet, ist es geputzet. As a thing is used, so it brightens.

Wie einer isset, so arbeitet er. As a man eats, so he works. (Quick at meat, quick at work.)

Wie gesät, so geschnitten. As you sow, you shall reap.

Wie gewonnen, so zerronnen. As won, so spent. (Lightly come, lightly go.)

Wie leicht kommt nicht ein Haar in die Butter! How easily a hair gets into the butter!

Wie man sich bettet, so schläft man. As you make your bed, so you must lie on it.


Wie mancher liest in der Bibel, und lebt doch sehr übel. How many daily read the Word, and yet from vice are not deterred. (How many daily read the Bible, and yet pursue their course of evil.)

Wie sich einer schick’ also hat er Glück. As fortune is sought, so it is found. (Good luck, with good looking after! or, As you make your bed, so you must lie on it.)

Williges Pferd soll man nicht treiben. Spur not a willing horse.

Willst Du ’nen Juden betrügen, mußt Du ein Jude seyn. He that would cheat a Jew, must be a Jew.

Willst Du lange leben gesund? Iß, wie die Katze; trink wie der Hund! Would you live long, be healthy and fat, drink like a dog and eat like a eat.

Willst du stark sein, so überwinde dich selbst. Would you be strong, conquer yourself.

Windmühlen kann man nicht mit Blasbälgen treiben. Windmills are not driven by bellows.

Wir können nicht Alle Pabst zu Rom werben. We cannot all be Pope of Rome.

Wir wollen ihn bitten, wie man dem Esel thut; wenn er die Säck’ nicht will tragen, so schlägt man ihn genug. Entreat him in jackass fashion; if he won’t carry the sack, give him a whack.

Wissen ist leichter als thun. To know is easier than to do.

Würf’ er einen Groschen auf’s Dach, fiel’ ihm ein Thaler herunter. Were he to throw a groat on the roof, it would come down a dollar.

Wo der beste Wein wächst, trinkt man den schlechtesten. Where the best wine grows, the worst is drunk.

Wo der Fuchs sein Lager hat, da raubt er nicht. The fox does not prey near his hole.

Wo der liebe Gott eine Kirche baut, da baut der Teufel eine Kapelle. Where God builds a church, the devil builds a chapel.

Wo der Teufel nicht hin mag, da schickt er ein alt’ Weib. Where the devil can’t go himself, he sends an old woman.

Wo der Zaun am niedrigsten ist, da springt der Teufel hinüber. Where the hedge is lowest, the devil leaps over.

Wo der Zaun am niedrigsten ist, steigt man über zu aller Frist. Where the hedge is lowest, men leap over.

Wo die Frau im Hause regiert, ist der Teufel Hausknecht. Where a woman rules the house, the devil is serving-man.

Wo die Löwenhaut nicht reicht, muß man den Fuchsbalg annähen. Where the lion’s skin falls short, borrow of the fox.

Wo die Wurzel nichts taugt, ist auch der Stamm nichts werth. When the root is worthless, so is the tree.


Wo ein schöner Fleck ist, da schmeißt der Teufel ein Kloster hin oder einen Edelmann. Wherever there is a pretty spot, the devil plants a monastery or a lord.

Wo es schlimm hergeht in der Welt, da ist ein Pfaffe dabei und ein Weib. Wherever there is mischief, there is sure to be a priest and a woman in it.

Wo Freunde, da Reichthum. Where friends, there riches.

Wo Geld ist, da ist der Teufel; wo keines ist, da ist er zweimal. Where there’s money, there is the devil; but where there’s none, a greater evil.

Wo Geld redet, da gilt alle Rede nicht. Where gold chinks, arguments are of no avail. (Where gold avails, argument fails.)

Wo Geld und Gut, da ist kein Muth. With houses and gold, men are rarely bold.

Wo Gewalt Herr ist, da ist Gerechtigkeit Knecht. Where might is master, justice is servant.

Wo Gewalt recht hat, da hat Recht keine Gewalt. Where might is right, right is not might.

Wo Jedermann geht, da wächst kein Gras. Where every one goes, the grass never grows.

Wo kein Eifersucht, da ist keine Liebe. Where there’s no jealousy, there’s no love.

Wo keine Scham ist, ist auch keine Ehre. Where there’s no shame, there’s no honour.

Wo Liebe mangelt, erspähet man alle Fehler. Where there’s no love, all faults are seen.

Wo man den Esel krönt, ist Stadt und Land gehöhnt. Where’er an ass is crown’d to fame, both town and country bear the shame.

Wo nichts ist, da hat der Kaiser sein Recht verloren. Where there is nothing, the Emperor loses his right.

Wo Rauch ist, muß auch Feuer sein. No smoke without fire.

Wo Scham ist, ist Tugend. Where there is shame, there is virtue.

Wo sich zweie zanken, gewinnt der Dritte. Where two fall out, the third wins.

Wo Wasser gewesen ist, da kommt Wasser wieder. Where water has been, water will come again.

Wo weder Glauben an Himmel noch Hölle, da zieht der Teufel alle Gefälle. Who neither believes heaven or hell, the devil heartily wishes him well.

Wo Wein eingeht, geht Scham aus. Where wine goes in, modesty goes out.

Wo zu viel Arbeiter sind, da richtet man wenig aus. Where there are too many workmen, there is little work. (Too many cooks spoil the broth.)


Wo’s spukt, da liebt oder diebt sich’s. Were ghosts walk, there is loving or thieving.

Wohl angefangen, ist halb gethan. Well begun, is half done.

Wohlfeil kostet viel Geld. Bargains are costly.

Wohlgethan überlebt den Tod. Well-done outlives death.

Wohlgeschmack bringt Bettelsack. A dainty stomach beggars the purse. (Much taste, much waste.)

Worte füllen den Sack nicht. Words don’t fill the sack.

Worte sind gut, aber Hühner legen Eier. Words are good, but fowls lay eggs.

Worte sind gut, wenn Werke folgen. Words are good, when works follow.

Worte thun oft mehr als Schläge. Words often do more than blows.

Worte vom Schnee der vor’m Jahre fiel. Words of snow, which fell last year.


Zage haben kein Glück. Cowards have no luck.

Zahltag kommt alle Tag. Pay-day comes every day.

Zanken und Disputiren thut die Wahrheit verlieren. Between wrangling and disputing truth is lost.

Zartem Ohre halbes Wort. To a quick ear half a word.

Zaum und Sattel mit dem Pferde zu Schinder führen. Take a horse to the knacker, and throw in bridle and saddle.

Zehren und Gasten, leert Küche, Keller und Kasten. Spending your money with many a guest, empties the kitchen, the cellar and chest.

Zeig mir ’nen Lügner, ich zeig dir ’nen Dieb. Show me a liar, and I’ll show you a thief.

Zeit bringt alles, wer warten kann. Time brings everything, to those who can wait for it.

Zeit bringt Rosen. Time brings roses.

Zeit, Ebbe und Fluth, warten auf Niemand. Time and tide wait for no man.

Zeit gebiert Wahrheit. Time is the herald of truth.

Zeit ist der beste Rathgeber. Time is the best counsellor.

Zeit ist des Zornes Arznei. Time is anger’s medicine.

Zeit macht Heu. Time makes hay.


Zeit und Gelegenheit hat Niemand im Aermel. Time and opportunity are in no man’s sleeve.

Zeit und Stunde rennt durch den rauhsten Tag. Time and the hour run through the roughest day.

Zeit verdeckt und entdeckt alles. Time covers and discovers everything.

Zeit verräth und hängt den Dieb. Time betrays and hangs the thief.

Zeit, Wind, Frauen und Glück, verändern sich all’ Augenblick. Time, wind, women, and fortune, are ever changing.

Zielen ist nicht genug, es gilt Treffen. It is not enough to aim, you must hit.

Zins und Miethe schlafen nicht. Rent and taxes never sleep.

Zorn ohne Macht wird verlacht. Anger without power is folly. (Anger can’t stand, without a strong hand.)

Zorn thut nicht mit Rath. Anger hears no counsel.

Zornes Ausgang, der Reue Anfang. The end of wrath is the beginning of repentance.

Zu geschehenem Ding soll man das Beste reden. When a thing is done, make the best of it. (Make the best of a bad bargain.)

Zu Gottes Hülfe gehört Arbeit. God helps them that help themselves.

Zu Hof giebt man viel Händ’, aber wenig Herzen. At court there are many hands, but few hearts.

Zu Nacht sind alle Katzen grau. At night all cats are grey.

Zu Sanct-Nimmerstag. When two Sundays come together.

Zu spät ist es, am Ende zu sparen. ’Tis too late to spare when the pocket is bare.

Zum Fasse sehen, wenn der Wein im Keller fließt. When the wine runs to waste in the cellar, he mends the cask.

Zum Lernen ist Niemand zu alt. No one is too old to learn.

Zum Reiten gehört mehr denn ein Paar Stiefeln. More belongs to riding than a pair of boots.

Zusagen macht Schuld. Promises make debts.

Zu vie Demuth ist Hochmuth. Too much humility is pride.

Zu viel muß bald brechen. Too much will soon break.

Zu viel Weisheit ist Narrheit. Too much wisdom is folly.

Zwei Augen, zwei Ohren, nur ein Mund. Two eyes, two ears, only one mouth.

Zwei harte Steine mahlen nicht reine. Two hard flints never grind well.

Zwei Hunde an einem Bein, kommen selten überein. Two dogs over one bone seldom agree.


Zwei Katzen und Eine Maus, zwei Weiber in Einem Haus, zwei Hund’ an einem Bein, kommen selten überein. Two cats and one mouse, two women in one house, two dogs to one bone, will not agree long.

”Zwinge mich, so thu’ ich kein Sünde,” sprach das Mädchen. “Force me, and I shall commit no sin,” said the girl.

Zwischen Amboß und Hammer. Between the hammer and the anvil.

Zwischen eines Weibes “Ja” und “Nein” läßt sich keine Nadelspitze stecken. Between a woman’s “Yes” and “No” there is no room for the point of a needle.

Zwischen Nachbars Garten ist ein Zaun gut. Between neighbours’ gardens a hedge is not amiss.




Abad avariento por un bodigo pierde ciento. A coveteous abbot for one offering loses a hundred.

Abad de Carçuela, comistes la olla, pedis la caçuela. Abbot of Carçuela, you eat up the pot and ask for the pipkin.

Abajanse los adarves y alzanse los muladares. Walls sink and dunghills rise.

A barba de necio aprenden todos á rapar. On a fool’s beard all learn to shave.

Abiendo escalera por do bajar, buscais soga para os colgar. With a staircase before you, you look for a rope to go down by.

Abrenuncio Satanas, mala capa llevarás. Renounce the devil, and thou shalt wear a shabby cloak.

A buen compañon buena compañia. For a good companion good company.

A buey haron poco le presta el aguijon. A lazy ox is little the letter for the goad.

A buey viejo no le cates abrigo. No need to seek shelter for an old ox.

A cabo de cien años todos seremos calvos. A hundred years hence we shall all be bald.

A cada malo su dia malo. To every evil doer his evil day.

A cada necio agrada su porrada. Every fool is pleased with his bauble.

A calças cortas abugeta largas. Short hose must have long points.

A carne de lobo, diente de perro. To wolf’s flesh dog’s tooth.


A casa de tu hermano no irás cada serano. Go not every evening to your brother’s house.

A casa de tu tia, mas no cada dia. Go to your aunt’s house, but not every day.

A cavallo comedor cabedro corto. A short halter for a greedy horse.

A cavallo dado no le miren el diente. Look not a gift horse in the mouth.

A celada de bellacos, mejor es el hombre por los pies que por los manos. At an ambuscade of villains a man does better with his feet than his hands.

Achaques al viernes por no le ayunar. Friday pretexts for not fasting (meaning pleas of indisposition for not eating fish).

A chico pajarillo, chico nidillo. Little bird, little nest.

A clérigo hecho de fraile, no le fies tu comadre. Trust not your gossip to a priest who has been a friar.

A cuentas viejas, barajas nuevas. Old reckonings make new disputes.

Acuestate sin cena, y amanecerás sin deuda. Go to bed supperless and you will wake without debt.

A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando. Praying to God and hitting with the hammer.

A Dios te doy, libreta, bevida, y por hilar. God take you, pound (of flax), drunk out and not yet spun.

A dos pardales en una espiga nunca hay liga. Two sparrows on one ear of corn never agree.

Adó pensas que hay tocinos, no hay estacas. Where you think there is bacon, there are not even hooks for it.

Adó sacan y non pon, presto llegan al hondon. Always taking out and never putting in, soon reaches the bottom.

Adonde vas, mal? Adonde mas hay. Whither goest thou, misfortune? To where there is more.

Adonde yrá el buey, que no are? Whither shall the ox go where he will not have to plough?

Adó vas, duelo? Adó suelo. Whither goest thou, sorrow? Whither I am used to go.

A fuer de Aragon, buen servicio, mal galardon. According to the custom of Aragon, good service, bad guerdon.

Agora que tengo oveja y borrego, todos me dizen: En hora buena estais, Pedro. Now that I have an ewe and a lamb, every one says to me: Good morrow, Peter.


A gran salto, gran quebranto. A great leap gives a great shake.

Agua passada no muele molino. Water past will not turn the mill.

A hija casada salen nos yernos. When our daughter is married sons-in-law are plenty.

Ahorrar para la vejez, ganar un maravedi y bever tres. To save for old age, earning a maravedi and drinking three.

A idos de mi casa, y que quereis con mi muger? no hay que responder. There is no answer for Get out of my house, and What have you to do with my wife?

Alábate, cesto, que venderte quiero. Praise yourself, basket, for I want to sell you.

A la boda de Don Garcia lleva pan en la capilla. Carry bread in your hood to Don Garcia’s wedding.

A la burla, dejarla quando mas agrada. Leave the jest at its best.

A la cabeça, la comida la endereça. Eating sets the head to rights.

Al agradecido, mas de lo pedido. To the grateful man give more than he asks.

A la longa el galgo á la liebre mata. In the long run the greyhound kills the hare.

A la luna el lobo al asno espulga. The wolf picks the ass’s fleas by moonlight.

A la muger y á la picaza, lo que dirias en la plaza. To a woman and a magpie tell your secrets in the marketplace.

A la primera azadonada quiere sacar agua. He expects to find water at the first stroke of the spade.

A las barbas con dineros honra hacen los caballeros. To beards with money cavaliers pay respect.

A las burlas así ve á ellas que no se salgan de veras. Jest so that it may not turn to earnest.

Al asno muerto, la cebada al rabo. The ass dead, the barley at his tail.

A las malas lenguas, tixera. For evil tongues, scissors.

A las veces do cazar pensamos, cazados quedamos. When we think to catch we are sometimes caught.


A las veces lleva el hombre á su casa con que llore. A man may hap to bring home with him what makes him weep.

A la vulpeja dormida, no le cae nada en la boca. Nothing falls into the mouth of a sleeping fox.

Al buen pagador, no le duelen prendas. A good paymaster needs no security.

Alcança, quien no cansa. He who does not tire, achieves.

Al desdichado poco le vale ser esforzado. It little avails the unfortunate to be brave.

Alegrias, antruejo, que mañana serás ceniza. Be merry, Shrovetide, for to-morrow thou wilt be ashes.

Al enemigo, si vuelve la espalda, la puente de plata. Make a bridge of silver for the flying enemy.

Al enhornar se tuerce el pan. It is in putting it into the oven that the loaf is made crooked.

Al envidioso afilásele el gesto y crécele el ojo. The envious man’s face grows sharp and his eyes big.

Al fin se canta la Gloria. At the end the Gloria is chanted.

Al gato por ser ladron, no le eches de tu mansion. Don’t send away your cat for being a thief.

Algo va de Pedro á Pedro. There is some distance between Peter and Peter.

Algun dia mande tanto Pedro como su amo. Some day Peter will command as much as his master.

Al gusto dañado lo dulce le es amargo. To a depraved taste sweet is bitter.

Al hacer temblar, y al comer sudar. To shiver at work, and sweat at meals.

Al hijo de tu vezina quítale el mico, y cásale con tu hija. Wipe the nose of your neighbour’s son, and marry him to your daughter.

Al hombre bueno, no le busques abolengo. Ask not after a good man’s pedigree.

Al hombre osado, la fortuna le da la mano. To the bold man fortune gives her hand.

Al hombre venturero, la hija le nace primero. The lucky man has a daughter for his first-born.

Allá va la lengua, do duele la muela. The tongue goes where the tooth aches.

Allá van leyes, do quieren reyes. Laws go the way kings direct.


Al lavar saldrá la mancilla. The spot will come out in the washing.

Allá vayas, mal, adó te pongan buen cabeçal. Away with thee, sickness, to where they make a good pillow for thee.

Allegador de la ceniza y deramador de la harina. He gathers up ashes and scatters flour.

Allégate á los buenos, y serás uno dellos. Associate with the good, and you will be one of them.

Al llamado de quien le piensa viene el buey á la melena. The ox comes to the yoke at the call of his feeder.

Al loco y al toro, darles corro. Make way for a madman and a bull.

Al mas ruin puerco la mejor bellota. The worst pig gets the best acorn.

Al médico, confesor, y letrado, no le hayas engañado. Deceive not thy physician, confessor, or lawyer.

Al mozo mal mandado, ponle la mesa, y embiale al recado. If you have a loitering servant, set his dinner before him and send him on an errand.

A lo que puedes solo, no esperes á otro. Expect not at another’s hand what you can do by your own.

A los bobos se les aperece la Madre de Dios. The Mother of God appears to fools.

A los osados, ayuda la fortuna. Fortune aids the bold.

Al perro flaco, todo es pulgas. The lean dog is all fleas.

Al puerco gordo, untarle el rabo. To grease the fat pig’s tail.

Al que cueze y amasa no le hurtar hogaça. Do not steal a loaf from him that kneads and bakes.

Al que dá el capon, dale la pierna y el alon. To him who gives you a capon you may spare a leg and a wing.

Al que mal hace, nunca le falta achaque. The wrong doer is never without a pretext.

Al que tiene muger hermosa, ó castillo en frontera, ó viña en carrera, nunca le falta guerra. He who has a handsome wife, a castle on the frontier, or a vineyard on the roadside, is never without war.

Al que yerra, perdónale una vez, mas no despues. Him who errs, forgive once, but never twice.


Alquimia provada, tener renta y no gastar nada. It is approved alchemy to have an income and spend nothing.

Al raton que no tiene mas que un agujero, presto le cogen. The rat that has but one hole is soon caught.

Al toro y al aire, darles calle. Don’t stop the way of a bull or of a current of air.

Al villano dadle el pie, y tomarse ha la mano. Give a clown your foot, and he’ll take your hand.

Al yerno y al cochino, una vez el camino. To a son-in-law and a hog you need show the way but once.

Ama á quien no te ama, responde á quien no te llama, correrás carrera vana. Love one that does not love you, answer one that does not call you, and you will run a fruitless race.

A maa veziña da agulla sin liña. The bad neighbour gives a needle without thread. (Galician.)

A madrina, que eso yo me lo sabia. Hush, brideswoman, I knew all that before.

A mal ñudo mal cuño. To a hard knot a hard wedge.

A maravedi de pleyto, real de papel. A lawsuit for a maravedi consumes a real’s worth of paper.

A Mari Ardida nunca le falta mal dia, á Mari Monton Dios se lo da, y Dios se le pon. Mary Busybody never wants a bad day, and Hilary Drone has God to give and bring to her.

Amar y saber, no puede ser. To love and be wise is impossible.

Ama, soys ama mientras el niño mama, y despues no nada. Nurse, you are mistress whilst the child sucks, and after that nothing.

A mengua de carne, buenos son pollos con tocino. When you can’t get meat, chickens and bacon are good.

A mengua de pan, buenas son tortas. When you can’t get bread, oat-cakes are not amiss.

Amigo del buen tiempo mudará con el viento. A fair-weather friend changes with the wind.

Amigo de pleitos, poco dinero; amigo de médicos, poca salud; amigo de frailes, poca honra. Fond of lawsuits, little wealth; fond of doctors, little health; fond of friars, little honour.


Amigo do todos y de ninguno todo es uno. Everybody’s friend and nobody’s friend is all one.

Amigo quebrado, soldado, mas nunca sano. Friendship broken may be soldered, but never made whole.

Amigo reconciliado, enemigo doblado. A reconciled friend is a double enemy.

Amigos y mulas fallescen á as duras. Friends and mules fail in hard trials. (Galician.)

Amistad de yerno, sol de invierno. A son-in-law’s friendship is a winter’s sun.

Amor de niño, agua en cesto. A boy’s love is water in a sieve.

Amor de padre, que todo lo otro es aire. A father’s love, for all other is air.

Amores nuevos olvidan viejos. New loves drive out the old.

Amores, dolores y dineros no pueden estar secretos. Love, grief, and money cannot be kept secret.

Amor fa molt, argent fa tot. Love does much, money does all. (Catalan.)

Amor loco, yo por vos, y vos por otro. Mad love—I for you, and you for another.

A moro muerto gran lanzada. A great lance-thrust to a dead Moor.

A mucho hablar, mucho errar. Much talking, much erring.

A muertos y á idos no hay mas amigos. The dead and the absent have no friends.

A muger mala poco le aprovecha guarda. There is little use in watching a bad woman.

A mula vieja cabezadas nuevas. New trappings to an old mule.

Andando gana la hazeña, que no estándose queda. The mill gains by going, and not by standing still.

Andando y hablando, marido, á la horca. Talk as you go, husband, to the gallows.

Andar á caza con huron muerto. To go rabbit catching with a dead ferret.

Andeme yo caliente, y riase la gente. Let me go warm, and folks may laugh.

Animo vence en guerra, que no arma buena. It is courage that vanquishes in war, and not good weapons.


Ante la puerta del rezador, nunca eches tu trigo al sol. Never spread your corn to dry before the door of a saintly man.

Antes de casar, ten casas en que morar, y tierras en que labrar, y viñas en que podar. Before you marry, have a house to live in, fields to till, and vines to cut.

Antes de la hora gran denuedo; venidos al punto, venidos al miedo. Before the time great courage; when at the point, great fear.

Antes de mil años todos seremos calvos. In less than a thousand years we shall all be bald.

Antes di que digan. Say before they say. (Tell your own story first.)

Antes moral que almendro. Rather mulberry than almond. (The almond-tree is in blossom earlier than the mulberry.)

Antes que cases, mira que haces, que no es ñudo que deshaces. Before you marry, beware, for it is a knot difficult to untie.

Antes toman al mentiroso que al cojo. The liar is sooner caught than the cripple.

A olla que hierve, ninguna mosca se atreve. No flies light on a boiling pot.

A otro perro con ese hueso. Throw that bone to another dog.

A padre guardador, hijo gastador. After a thrifty father, a prodigal son.

A palabras locas orejas sordas. To mad words deaf ears.

A pan duro diente agudo. A sharp tooth for hard bread.

A pobreza no hay vergüenza. Poverty is no sin.

A poca barba, poca vergüenza. Little beard, little modesty.

Aprendiz de Portugal, no sabe cozer y quiere cortar. A Portuguese apprentice who can’t sew, yet would be cutting out.

A presurosa demanda espaciosa respuesta. To a hasty demand a leisure reply.

A puerta cerrada, el diablo se vuelve. When the devil finds the door shut, he goes away.

A puerta de cazador nunca gran muladar. There is never a great dunghill at a sportsman’s door.


A puñadas entran las buenas hadas. Good luck makes its way in by elbowing.

Aquel es tu amigo que te quita de ruido. He is your friend who gets you out of a fray.

Aquella ave es mala, que en su nido caga. It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest.

Aquella es bien casada, que no tiene suegra ni cuñada. She is well married who has neither mother-in-law nor sister-in-law.

Aquellos son ricos que tienen amigos. They are rich who have friends.

Aquel pierde venta que no tiene que venda. He loses his market who has nothing to sell.

A quien dan, no escoge. Beggars must not be choosers.

A quien dices tu puridad, á ese das tu libertad. You surrender your freedom where you deposit your secret.

A quien Dios quiere bien, la perra le pare lechones. Whom God loves, his bitch litters pigs.

A quien hace casa, ó se casa, la bolsa le quede rasa. He who builds a house, or marries, is left with a lank purse.

A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda. God helps the early riser.

A quien miedo le han, lo suyo le dan. He who is feared gets more than his own.

A quien no le basta espada y corazon, no le bastarán corazas y lanzon. For whom sword and courage are not enough, corslet and lance will not be enough.

A quien no le sobra pan, no crie can. Who has no bread to spare should not keep a dog.

A quien no mata puerco, no le dan morcilla. They who don’t kill pigs must not expect black-puddings.

A quien no tiene nada, nada le espanta. Who has nothing, fears nothing.

A quien tiene buena muger, ningun mal le puede venir, que no sea de sufrir. He who has a good wife can bear any evil.

A quien tiene mala muger, ningun bien le puede venir, que bien se puede decir. He who has a bad wife can expect no happiness that can be so called.

A quien vela, todo se le revela. To him that watches, everything is revealed.


Ara bien y hondo, cogerás pan en abondo. Plough deep and you will have plenty of corn.

Ara por enjuto ó por mojado, no besarás á tu vecino en el rabo. Plough wet or dry, and you will not have to kiss your neighbour’s breech.

Arco siempre armado, ó flojo ó quebrado. The bow that is always bent slackens or breaks.

Arde verde por seco, y pagan justos por pecadores. The green burns for the dry, and the righteous pay for sinners.

Ares, no ares, renta me pagues. Plough or not plough, you must pay your rent.

A rio revuelto, ganancia de pescadores. It is good fishing in troubled waters.

Armas y dineros buenas manos quieren. Arms and money require good hands.

Arremángose mi nuera, y trastornó en el fuego la caldera. My daughter-in-law tucked up her sleeves, and upset the kettle into the fire.

Arrieros somos, y en el camino nos encontraremos. We are both carriers, and shall meet on the road.

A salvo está el que repica. He is in safety who rings the tocsin.

Así acontescen cosas récias, como ir á la plaza y venir sin orejas. Such awkward things will happen as going into the great square and coming back without ears.

Así dijó la zorra á las uvas, no pudiendolas alcazar, que no estarvan maduras. The grapes are sour, said the fox when he could not reach them.

Así está el pages entre dos advocats como el pagel entre dos gats. A peasant between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats. (Catalan.)

Así me decis que en el monte hay lobos, y en el valle raposos. So you tell me there are wolves on the mountain, and foxes in the valley.

Asna con pollino no va derecha al molino. An ass with her colt goes not straight to the mill.

Asno con oro alcánzalo todo. The golden ass passes everywhere.

Asno de muchos, lobos le comen. The ass of many owners is food for wolves.


Asno sea quien á asno vocea. An ass let him be who brays at an ass.

Assaz puede poco, quien no amenaza á otro. He can do but little who cannot threaten another.

A su amigo el gato siempre le deja señalado. The cat always leaves her mark upon her friend.

A tí lo digo, hijuela; entiéndelo tú, mi nuera. I say it to you, daughter; hear it, daughter-in-law.

A todo hay maña, sino á la muerte. There is a remedy for everything but death.

A tu amigo dile la mentira; si te guardare poridad, dile la verdad. Tell your friend a lie; and if he keeps it secret, tell him the truth.

A tu amigo gánale un juego, y bévele luego. Win a game of your friend, and drink the money on the spot.

A tu criado no le hartes de pan, no pedirá queso. Do not stuff your servant with bread, and he won’t ask for cheese.

A tuerto ó á derecho, ayude Dios á nuestro concejo. Right or wrong, God aid our purpose.

A tuerto ó á derecho, nuestra casa hasta al techo. Right or wrong, ’tis our house up to the roof.

A tu hijo, buen nombre y oficio. To your son give a good name and a trade.

Aun no asamos, é ya empringamos. We are not yet roasting, and already we make sops in the pan.

Aun no ensillamos, é ya cavalgamos. We have not yet saddled, and are already mounted.

Aunque el decidor sea loco, el escuchador sea cuerdo. Though the speaker be a fool, let the hearer be wise.

Aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona so queda. A monkey remains a monkey, though dressed in silk.

Aunque manso tu sabueso, no le muerdas en el bezo. Though your bloodhound be gentle, don’t bite him on the lip.

Aunque me veis con este capote, otro tengo en el monte. Though you see me with this coat, I have another up the mountain.

Aunque mi suegro sea bueno, no quiero perro con concerro. Though my father-in-law is a good man, I do not like a dog with a bell.


Aunque seas prudente viejo, no desdeñes el consejo. Though you are a prudent old man, do not despise counsel.

A un traidor dos alevosos. Two false men to one traitor.

Ausencia enemiga de amor; quan lejos de ojo, tan lejos de corazon. Absence is a foe to love; away from the eyes, away from the heart.

A vaca que no come con os bois, ó come ante, ó come despois. The cow that does not eat with the oxen, either eats before or after them. (Galician.)

Ave con cuchar nunca entre en tu corral. Let no shovel-beaked bird ever enter your yard.

Ave muda no hace agüero. A mute bird makes no omen.

A volpe va por o millo e non come, mas dalle con o rabo e sacode. The fox goes through the corn and does not eat, but brushes it down with his tail. (Galician.)

Aya cebo en el palomar, que palomas ellas se vernán. Let there be food in the pigeon-house, and the pigeons will come to it.

Ayer vaquero, hoy caballero. Yesterday a cowherd, to-day a cavalier.

Ay te duele, ay te daré. Where you smart there I will hit you.

Ay ten a gallena os ollos do ten os ovos. The hen’s eyes are where her eggs are. (Galician.)

Ayudándose tres, para peso de seis. Three who help each other are as good as six.

Azotan á la gata, si no hila nuestra ama. They whip the cat, if our mistress does not spin.

Azotenme en la plaza, que no lo sepan en mi casa. Let them whip me in the market-place, provided it be not known at home.


Barba bien remojada, medio rapada. A beard well lathered is half shaved.

Barriga caliente, pie dormiente. The paunch warm, the foot sleepy.

Barro y cal encubran mucho mal. Clay and lime conceal much evil.


Bel hombre no es todo pobre. A handsome man is not quite poor.

Bendita aquella casa que no tiene corona rapada. Happy the home in which there is no shaven crown.

Bien ama quien nunca olvida. He loves well who never forgets.

Bien cuenta la madre, mejor cuenta el infante. The mother reckons well, but the child reckons better.

Bien merca á quien no dicen hombre bestia. He buys well who is not called a donkey.

Bien ó mal, casado me han. For letter for worse they have married me.

Bien perdido y conocido. A good thing lost is a good thing valued.

Bien predica quien bien vive. He preaches well who lives well.

Bien sabe el asno en cuya cara rebuzna. The ass knows well in whose face he brays.

Bien sabe el huego cuya capa quema. The fire well knows whose cloak burns.

Bien sabe el sabio que no sabe, el nescio piensa que sabe. The wise knows that he does not know; the ignoramus thinks he knows.

Bien sabe la vulpeja con quien trebeja. The fox knows well with whom he plays tricks.

Bien sé lo que digo quando pan pido. I know well what I say when I ask for bread.

Bien vengas, mal, si vienes solo. Welcome, misfortune, if you come alone.

Bocado comido no gana amigo. A morsel eaten selfishly does not gain a friend.

Boca que dice de sí, dice de no. The mouth that says yes says no.

Bofeton amagado, nunca bien dado. A buffeting threatened is never well given.

Buen abogado, mal vecino. A good lawyer, a bad neighbour.

Buena es la gallina que otro cria. Good is the fowl which another rears.

Buena fama hurto encubre. A good name covers theft.


Buen amigo es el gato, sino que rascuña. The cat is friendly, but scratches.

Buenas palabras y ruines hechos engañan sabios y locos. Good words and bad deeds deceive both wise and simple.

Buena vida arrugas tira. A good life defers wrinkles.

Buen corazon quebranta mala ventura. A good heart breaks bad fortune.

Buen jubon me tengo en Francia. I have a good jacket in France.

Bueno, bueno, bueno, mas guarde Dios mi burra de su centeno. Good, good, good, but God keep my ass out of his rye.

Buen principio, la mitad es hecho. Well begun is half done.

Buen siglo haya quien dijó bolta. Blessings on him that said, Face about.

Buey viejo, sulco derecho. An old ox makes a straight furrow.

Burla burlando vase el lobo al asno. All in the way of joke the wolf goes to the ass.

Burlaos con el asno, daros ha en la cara con el rabo. Play with an ass and he will flirt his tail in your face.

Burlaos con el loco en casa, burlará con vos en la plaza. Play with the fool at home, and he will play with you abroad.

Burlas de manos, burlas de villanos. Manual jokes are clowns’ jokes.

Buscais pan de trastrigo. You want better bread than wheaten.

Buscar cinque pies al gato. To look for five feet in a cat.


Cabra coja no quiere siesta. A lame goat will not sleep by day.

Cacarrear, y no poner huevo. To cackle and lay no egg.

Cada buhonero alaba sus agujas. Every pedlar praises his own needles.

Cada cabello hace su sombra. Every hair casts its shadow.

Cada carnero de su pie cuelga. Let every sheep hang by its[207] own foot. (Every man should support himself, and not hang upon another.)

Cada cosa en su tiempo, y nabos en Adviento. Everything in its season, and turnips in Advent.

Cada cuba huele al vino que tiene. Every cask smells of the wine it contains.

Cada gallo canta en su muladar. Every cock crows on his own dunghill.

Cada ollero su olla alaba, y mas si la trae quebrada. Every potter praises his pot, especially if cracked.

Cada qual siente el frio como anda vestido. Every one feels the cold according as he is clad.

Cada uno cuenta de la feria como le va en ella. Every one speaks of the fair as he himself finds it.

Cada uno en su casa, y Dios en la de todos. Every one in his own house, and God in all men’s.

Cada uno es hijo de sus obras. Every man is the son of his own works.

Cada uno estiende la pierna como tiene la cubierta. Every one stretches his legs according to the length of his coverlet. (Cut your coat according to your cloth.)

Cada uno estornuda como Dios le ayuda. Every one sneezes as God pleases.

Cada uno por sí, y Dios por todos. Every one for himself, and God for us all.

Cada uno quiere llevar el agua á su molino, y dejar en seco el del vecino. Every one wishes to bring water to his own mill, and leave his neighbour’s dry.

Cada uno sabe donde le aprieta el zapato. Every one knows where his shoe pinches him.

Cae en la cueva el que otro á ella lleva. He falls into the pit who leads another into it.

Caldo de tripas, bien te repicas. Tripe broth, you make much of yourself.

Caldo de zorra que está frio y quema. Fox’s broth, cold and scalding.

Callar y ojos, tomaremos la madre y los pollos. Silence and look out, we shall catch both hen and chicks.

Campana cascada, nunca sana. A cracked bell will never be sound.


Can que madre tiene en villa, nunca buena ladrilla. The dog that has its bitch in town never barks well.

Cantarillo que muchas veces va á la fuente, ó deja el asa ó la frente. The pitcher that goes often to the well leaves either its handle or its spout.

Cantar mal y porfiar. To sing out of tune and persist in it.

Capon de ocho meses para mesa de rey. A capon eight months old is fit for a king’s table.

Cara de beato, y uñas de gato. A devotee’s face, and a cat’s claws.

Caro cuesta el arrepentir. Repentance costs dear.

Casa el hijo quando quisieres, y la hija quando pudieres. Marry your son when you will, and your daughter when you can.

Casa hospidada, comida y denostada. A house filled with guests is eaten up and ill spoken of.

Casa labrada y viña plantada. A house ready built and a vineyard ready planted.

Casarás y amansarás. Marry and grow tame.

Casarme quiero, comeré cabeza de olla, y sentarme he primero. I’ll marry, and eat the prime of the pot, and sit down first.

Castiga al que no es bueno, y aborrecerte ha luego. Chastise one that is worthless, and he will presently hate you.

Castillo apercebido no es decebido. A fortress on its guard is not surprised.

Cayósele el pan en la miel. His bread fell into the honey.

Cien sastres, cien molineros, y cien texederos son trecientos ladrones. A hundred tailors, a hundred millers, and a hundred weavers, are three hundred thieves.

Cierra tu puerta, y harás tu vecina buena. Shut your door, and you will make your neighbour a good woman.

Cobra buena fama, y échate á dormir. Get a good name, and go to sleep.

Cobre gana cobre, que no huesos de hombre. Copper begets copper, and not (the labour of) men’s bones. (So money gets money.)

Coces de yegua, amores para el rocin. The mare’s kicks are caresses to the horse.

Combida á tu yerno á la gallina, que él llevará la lima. Invite[209] your son-in-law to a fowl, and he will take away the lemon.

Comer y rascar, todo es empezar. To eat and to scratch one has but to begin.

Como canta el abad, responde el sacristan. As the abbot sings the sacristan responds.

Como costal de carbonero, malo de fuera, peor de dentro. Like a collier’s sack, bad without and worse within.

Compuesta no hay muger fea. No woman is ugly when she is dressed.

Con agena mano sacar la culebra del horado. To draw the snake out of the hole with another’s hand.

Con agua pasada no muele molino. The mill does not grind with water that has passed.

Con dineros no te conocerás, sin dineros no te conocerán. With money you would not know yourself, without money nobody would know you.

Con el Rey y con la Inquisicion, chitos! About the King and the Inquisition, hush!

Con hijo de gato no se burlan los ratones. Rats do not play tricks with kittens.

Con lo que Sancho cura, Marta cae mala. What cures Sancho makes Martha sick.

Con mal está la casa donde la rueca manda al espada. It fares ill with the house where the spinning-wheel commands the sword.

Con todo el mondo guerra, y paz con Inglaterra. War with all the world, and peace with England.

Con una cautela otra se quiebra. One trick is met by another.

Con un poco de tuerto llega el hombre á su derecho. With a little wrong a man comes by his right.

Coraçon determinado no sufre ser aconsejado. A determined heart will not be counselled.

Cornudo sois, marido: muger, y quien te lo dijo? Husband, you are a cuckold: wife, who told you so?

Cortesía de boca mucho vale y poco cuesta. Lip courtesy avails much and costs little.

Cosa mala nunca muere. A bad thing never dies.

Cosa que no se venda, nadie la siembra. Nobody sows a thing that will not sell.

Costumbre buena, costumbre mala, el villano quiere que vala.[210] Be a custom good or bad, a peasant will have it continue in force.

Costumbre hace ley. Custom becomes law.

Crea el cuervo, y sacarte ha los ojos. Foster a raven and it will peck out your eyes.

Criatura de un año saca la leche del calcano. A child of a year old sucks milk from the heel.

Cuidado ageno de pelo cuelga. Another’s care hangs by a hair.

Cuidados agenos matan el asno. Other folks’ cares kill the ass.

Cuñados, y perros bermejos pocos buenos. Of brothers-in-law and red dogs few are good.


Da Dios alas á la hormiga para que se pierda mas aina. God gives wings to the ant that she may perish the sooner.

Da Dios almendras á quien no tiene muelas. God gives almonds to one who has no teeth.

Dadiva de ruin á su dueño parece. A bad man’s gift is like his master.

Dadivas quebrantan peñas. Gifts break (or dissolve) rocks.

Dame donde me asiente, que yo me haré donde me acueste. Give me a seat, and I will make myself room to lie down.

Dar en el clavo. To hit the nail on the head.

De amigo reconciliado, guarte de él como del diablo. Beware of a reconciled friend as of the devil.

De aquellos polvos vienen estos lodos. From that dust comes this mud.

Debajo del buen sayo está el hombre malo. Under a good cloak may be a bad man.

Debajo de mi manto al rey mato. Under my cloak I kill the king.

Debajo de una mala capa hay un buen bebedor. Under a bad cloak there is a good tippler.

De casa del gato no vá harto el rato. The mouse does not leave the cat’s house with a bellyful.

De cosário á cosário no se llevan sino los barriles. Corsair against corsair nothing is got but empty casks.


De cuero ageno correas largas. Large thongs of another man’s leather.

De diestro á diestro el mas presto. Between two sharpers, the sharpest.

De dineros y bondad, siempre quita la mitad. In the report, of riches and goodness always bate one half.

Dedo de espada, palma de lanza, es gran ventaja. An inch in a sword, or a palm in a lance, is a great advantage.

De do sacan y no pon, presto llegan al hondon. Taking out and not putting in soon reaches the bottom.

De gran subida gran caida. The higher the rise the greater the fall.

De haré, haré, nunca me pagué; mas vale un toma que dos te daré. I never was satisfied with “I will, I will.” One “take this” is better than two “I will give you.”

De herrero á herrero no pasa dinero. Between Smith and Smith no money passes.

De hombre que no habla, y de can que no ladra, libera nos. From a silent man, and a dog that does not bark, deliver us.

Del agua mansa me libre Dios, que de la recia me guardaré yo. From smooth water God preserve me, from rough I will preserve myself.

Del alcalde al verdugo, ved como subo. See how he has risen from a mayor to a hangman.

De la mala muger te guarda, y de la buena no fies nada. Beware of a bad woman, and put no trust in a good one.

De la mano á la boca se pierde la sopa. Between the hand and the mouth the soup is lost.

De la nieve, ni cocida, ni majada, no sacarás sino agua. From snow, whether baked or boiled, you will get nothing but water.

Del dicho al hecho hay gran trecho. Between saying and doing there is a long road.

Del mal el menor. Of evils, the least.

Del mal que hombre teme, de ese muere. Of the malady a man fears, he dies.

De lo contado come el lobo. The wolf eats of what is counted.

De los leales se hinchen los hospitales. The poor-houses are filled with the honestest people.


De luengas vias luengas mentiras. From long journeys long lies.

Del pan de mi compadre buen zatico á mi ahijado. From my gossip’s bread a large piece for my godson.

De me digan, y á mi pidan. Let them talk of me, and beg of me.

De mozo rezador, y de viejo ayunador, guarde Dios mi capa. From a praying young man, and a fasting old man, God preserve my cloak.

De noche los gatos todos son pardos. At night all cats are grey.

De padre santo, hijo diablo. The father a saint, the son a sinner.

De pequeña centella, gran hoguera. A little spark kindles a great fire.

De persona callada arriedra tu morada. From a silent person remove your dwelling.

De piel agena larga la correa. Of other men’s leather large thongs.

De potro sarnoso buen caballo hermoso. A scabby colt may make a good horse.

De puerta cerrada el diablo se torna. The devil turns away from a closed door.

De quien pone los ojos en el suelo no fies tu dinero. Trust not your money to one whose eyes are bent on the ground.

De rabo de puerco nunca buen virote. A pig’s tail will never make a good arrow.

Derecho apurado, tuerto tornado. Right overstrained turns to wrong.

De ruin á ruin, quien acomete vence. Coward against coward, the assailant conquers.

De ruin paño nunca buen sayo. There’s no making a good cloak of bad cloth.

Desaprovechado como unto de mona. As useless as monkey’s fat.

Descalabrar al alguacil, y acogerse al corregidor. To break the constable’s head, and take refuge with the sheriff.

Desde que te erré, nunca bien te quisé. Since I wronged you, I have never liked you.

Deshacer cruzes en un pajar. To undo crosses in a straw[213] loft (i.e. to part all the straws that they may not lie crosswise; to be over nice).

Despues de descalabrado untarle el casco. After breaking my head you bring plaister.

Despues del daño cada uno es sabio. Every one is wise when the mischief is done.

Despues de vendimias, cestos. After the vintage, baskets.

Despues que la casa está hecha, la deja. After the house is finished, he deserts it.

Despues que me estas castigando, ciento y veinte agujeros conté en aquel rallo. Since you have been scolding me, I have counted a hundred and twenty holes in that nutmeg grater.

Desque nací lloré, y cada dia nace porqué. When I was born I wept, and every day brings a reason why.

Desquitóse Miguel; perdió un ducado y ganó un conejo. Michael is quits; he lost a ducat and gained a rabbit.

De traidor harás leal con bien hablar. Give a traitor good words and you make him loyal.

Detras de la cruz está el diablo. The devil lurks behind the cross.

De tu muger y de tu amigo esperto, no creas sino lo que supieres cierto. Of your wife and your tried friend believe nothing but what you know for certain.

Deudas tienes, y haces mas; si no mentiste, mentiras. You have debts, and make debts still; if you’ve not lied, lie you will.

De un hombre necio á vezes buen consejo. A fool sometimes gives good counsel.

De un solo golpe no se derrueca un roble. An oak is not felled at one stroke.

Deve algo para Pascua, y hacérsete ha corta la cuaresma. Have a bill to pay at Easter, and your Lent will be short.

Di á tu amigo tu secreto, y tenerte ha el pie en el pescuezo. Tell your friend your secret, and he will set his foot on your neck.

Dicen los niños en el solejar lo que oyen á sus padres en el hogar. What children hear their parents say by the fireside they repeat in the highway.

Dijó la sarten á la caldera, Tirte allá, cul negra. Said the frying pan to the kettle, Stand off, black bottom.


Dile que es hermosa, y tornarse ha loca. Tell her she is handsome, and you will turn her head.

Dime con quien andas, diréte quien eres. Tell me what company you keep, and I will tell you who you are.

Di mentira, y sacarás verdad. Tell a lie, and you will bring out the truth.

Dinero llama dinero. Money gets money.

Dineros de avaro dos veces van al mercado. Misers’ money goes twice to market.

Dios es el que sana, y el médico lleva la plata. God cures, and the doctor takes the fee. (God healeth, and the physician hath the thanks.)

Dios me dé contienda con quien me entienda. God grant me to argue with those who understand me.

Dios me libre de hombre de un libro. God deliver me from a man of one book.

Dios os libre de hidalgo de dia, y de fraile de noche. God deliver us from a gentleman by day and a friar by night.

Dios proveerá, mas buen haz de paja se querrá. God will provide, but a good bundle of straw will not be amiss.

Dios te dé fortuna, hijo, que el saber poco te vale. God grant you fortune, my son, for knowledge avails you little.

Dísela tú una vez, que el diablo se la dirá diez. Tell it her once, and the devil will tell it her ten times.

Do entra beber, sale saber. When drink enters, wisdom departs.

Do falta dicha, por demas es diligencia. Where luck is wanting, diligence is useless.

Do fueres, harás como vieres. Wherever you are, do as you see done. (When you are at Rome, do as Rome does.)

Do fuerza viene, derecho se pierde. Where force prevails, right perishes.

Donde fuiste paje, no seas escudero. Be not an esquire where you were a page.

Donde hay gana, hay maña. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

Donde huego se hace, humo sale. Where there’s fire there’s smoke.

Donde irá el buey que no are? Where shall the ox go and not plough?

Donde menos se piensa salta la liebre. The hare starts from where she is least expected.


Donde os comieron la carne, que roan los huesos. Where they eat your meat let them pick the bones.

Donde perdiste la capa, ay la cata. Where you lost your cloak, seek it.

Donde una puerta se cierra, otra se abre. Where one door is shut another opens.

Dormireis sobre ello, y tomareis acuerdo. Sleep over it, and you will come to a resolution.

Dos amigos de una bolsa, el uno canta, el otro llora. When there are two friends to one purse, one sings, the other weeps.

Dos aves de rapiña no mantienen compaña. Two birds of prey do not keep each other company.

Do tu padre fué con tinta, no vayas tu con quilma. Where your father has been with ink, go not you with a bag (i. e. what your father has sold and assigned, think not to recover with a bag of papers. In other words, don’t go to law for it).

Do va mas hondo el rio, hace menos ruido. Where the river is deepest it makes least noise.

Duerme á quien duele, y no duerme quien algo deve. A sick man sleeps, but not a debtor.


Echar el mango tras el destral. To throw the helve after the hatchet.

Echar la pluma al aire, y ver donde cae. To throw up a feather in the air, and see where it falls.

Echar un virote tras otro. To send one arrow after another.

Echate á enfermar, verás quien te quiere bien, y quien te quiere mal. Fall sick, and you will see who is your friend and who not.

El abad de Bamba, lo que no puede comer, dalo por su alma. What the abbot of Bamba cannot eat he gives away for the good of his soul.

El agujero llama al ladron. The hole invites the thief.

El amenazador hace perder el lugar de venganza. The threatener loses the opportunity of vengeance.

El amor verdadero no sufre cosa encubierta. True love suffers no concealment.


El amor y la fe en las obras se vee. Love and faith are seen in works.

El bien suena y el mal vuela. Good news is rumoured and bad news flies.

El bobo, si es callado, por sesudo es reputado. A fool, if he holds his tongue, passes for wise.

El buen hombre goza el hurto. The honest man enjoys the theft.

El buen pagador señor es de lo ageno. A good paymaster is keeper of others’ purses.

El buen vino la venta trae consigo. Good wine sells itself.

El buey bravo en tierra agena se hace manso. The fierce ox becomes tame on strange ground.

El buey quando se cansa, firme sienta la pata. The tired ox plants his foot firmly.

El buey que me acornó, en buen lugar me echó. The ox that butted me tossed me into a good place.

El buey sin cencerro piérdese presto. The ox without a bell is soon lost.

El campo fertil no descansando, torna se esteril. The fertile field becomes sterile without rest.

El can de buena raza, si hoy no caza, mañana caza. The well-bred hound, if he does not hunt to-day will hunt to-morrow.

El caracol, por quitar de enojos, por los cuernos trocó los ojos. The snail, to be rid of annoyances, bartered its eyes for horns.

El carnero encantado que fué por lana, y volvió trasquilado. The deceived sheep that went for wool and came back shorn.

El cebo es el que engaña, que no el pescador ni la caña. It is the bait that lures, not the fisherman or the rod.

El conejo ido, el consejo venido. When the rabbit has escaped, comes advice.

El corazon no es traidor. The heart is no traitor.

El corcobado no vee su corcoba, y vee la de su compañon. The hunchback does not see his own hump, but sees his companion’s.

El cordero manso mama á su madre, y á qualquiera; el bravo ni á la suya, ni á la agena. The gentle lamb sucks any ewe as well as its mother; the surly lamb sucks neither its own nor another.


El cuerdo no ata el saber á estaca. The wise man does not hang his knowledge on a hook.

El dar es honor, y el pedir dolor. To give is honour, to lose is grief.

El dar limosna nunca mengua la bolsa. Giving alms never lessens the purse.

El deseo hace hermoso lo feo. Desire beautifies what is ugly.

El dia de ayuno vespera es de disanto. A fast day is the eve of a feast day.

El dia de calor, ese te arropa mejor. On a hot day muffle yourself the more.

El dia que no escobé entró quien, no piense. The day I did not sweep the house, there came to it one I did not expect.

El dia que no me afeyté, vino á mi casa quien no pensé. The day I did not make my toilette, there came to my house one I did not expect.

El dia que te casas, ó te matas ó te sanas. The day you marry ’tis either kill or cure.

El dinero hace lo malo bueno. Money turns bad into good.

El estiercol no es santo, mas do cae hace milagro. Dung is no saint, but where it falls it works miracles.

El golpe de la sarten, aunque no duele, tizna. A blow from a frying-pan, if it does not hurt, smuts.

El habito no hace al monge. The dress does not make the friar.

El hijo del asno dos veces rozna al dia. The son of an ass brays twice a day.

El hijo sabe que conoce á su padre. It is a wise son that knows his own father.

El hilo por lo mas delgado quiebra. The thread breaks where it is thinnest.

El hombre es el fuego, la muger la estopa; viene el diablo y sopla. Man is fire, woman is tow; the devil comes with a bellows.

El hombre necesitado cada año apedreado. The poor man has his crop destroyed by hail every year.

El hombre propone, y Dios dispone. Man proposes, and God disposes.

El huego y el amor no dicen: Vate á tu lavor. Fire and love do not say “Go to your work.”


El huesped y el pez á tres dias huele. A guest and a fish stink in three days.

El hurtar es cosa linda, si colgasen por la pretina. Stealing would be a nice thing, if thieves were hanged by the girdle.

El infierno está lleno de buenas palabras. Hell is full of good intentions.

El invierno es ido, y el verano venido, mal haya quien bien nos hizo. The winter is gone, the spring is come, a fig for those who us good have done.

El judío échase á perder con pascuas, el moro con bodas, y el cristiano con escrituras. The Jew ruins himself with passovers, the Moor with wedding feasts, and the Christian with lawsuits.

El lobo do halla un cordero, busca otro. Where the wolf gets one lamb it looks for another.

El lobo do mane daño no hace. The wolf commits no mischief at home.

El lobo hace entre semana por donde no va el Domingo á misa. The wolf does that in the course of the week which hinders him from going to mass on Sunday.

El lobo pierde los dientes, mas no los mientes. The wolf loses his teeth, but not his inclinations.

El lobo y la vulpeja ambos son de una conseja. The wolf and the fox are both in one story.

El mal de milano, las alas quebradas y el pico sano. The kite’s malady, its wings broken and its beak sound.

El mal entra á brazadas, y sale á pulgaradas. Ill luck enters by fathoms and departs by inches.

El malo siempre piensa engaño. The bad man always suspects knavery.

El mal que de tu boca sale, en tu seno se cae. The evil which issues from thy mouth falls into thy bosom.

El mal que no tiene cura es locura. Folly is the most incurable of maladies.

El marido antes con un ojo que con un hijo. A husband with one eye rather than with a son.

El mejor lance de los dados es no jugarlos. The best cast at dice is not to play.

El mejor pienso del cavallo es el ojo de su amo. The best feed of a horse is his master’s eye.


El melon y la muger malos son de conocer. A melon and a woman are hard to know.

El mentir no tiene alcabala. There is no tax upon lying.

El mentir y el compadrar ambos audan á la par. Lying and gossipping go hand in hand.

El mozo perezoso por no dar un paso da ocho. The lazy servant to save one step takes eight.

El mur que no sabe mas de un horado, presto le toma el gato. The mouse that knows but one hole is soon caught by the cat.

El oficial que no miente, sálgase de entre la gente. The official who can’t lie may as well be out of the world.

El ojo del amo engorda el caballo. The eye of the master fattens the steed.

El ojo limpiale con el codo. Wipe your eye with your elbow.

El pan comido, la compañía deshecha. The bread eaten, the company departed.

El perro del herrero duerme á las martilladas, y despierta á las dentelladas. The smith’s dog sleeps at the noise of the hammer, and wakes at the grinding of teeth.

El perro del hortelano ni come las berzas, ni las deja comer al estraño. The gardener’s dog neither eats greens nor lets any one else eat them.

El perro del hortelano, ni hambriento ni harto. The gardener’s dog, neither full nor hungry.

El perro viejo, si ladra, da consejo. When the old dog barks he gives counsel.

El pie del dueño estierco para la heredad. The master’s foot is manure for the estate.

El porfiado albardan comerá de tu pan. The busy fly is in every man’s dish.

El puerco sarnoso revuelve la pocilga. A measly hog infects the whole sty.

El que á su enemigo popa, á sus manos muere. He who trifles with his enemy dies by his hand.

El que es enemigo de la novia, como dirá bien de la boda? How shall the enemy of the bride speak well of the wedding?

El que está en el lodo querria meter á otro. He who is in the mud likes to get another into it.


El que está en la aceña muele, que no el que va y viene. He who remains in the mill grinds, not he who goes to and fro.

El que fué monacelo, y despues abad, sabe lo que hacen los mozos tras el altar. He who has been first a novice and then an abbot, knows what the boys do behind the altar.

El que ha ovejas, ha pellejas. He who has sheep has fleeces.

El que ley establece, guardarla debe. He who makes a law should keep it.

El que no duda, no sabe cosa alguna. He who doubts nothing knows nothing.

El que no tiene casa de suyo, vecino es de todo el mundo. He who has no house of his own is everywhere at home.

El que no tiene muger, cada dia la mata; mas quien la tiene, bien se la guarda. He who has no wife, is for thrashing her daily; but he that has one, takes care of her.

El que tarda, recauda. He who delays, gathers.

El que tiene tejados de vidrio, no tire piedras al de su vecino. He whose house is tiled with glass should not throw stones at his neighbour’s.

El rayo y el amor, la ropa sana y quemado el corazon. With lightning and with love, the clothes sound, the heart burned.

El rey va hasta do puede, y no hasta do quiere. The king goes as far as he can, not so far as he would.

El ruin barbero ni deja pelo ni cuero. The bad barber leaves neither hair nor skin.

El sol me luzga, que de la luna no he cura. Let the sun shine on me, for I care not for the moon.

El tocino de paraiso para el casado no arrepiso. The bacon of paradise for the married man that does not repent.

El tramposo presto engaña al codicioso. The sharper soon cheats the covetous man.

El usar saca oficial. Practice makes perfect.

El viejo en su tierra y el mozo en la agena, mienten de una manera. The old man at home, and the young abroad, lie after the same fashion.

El viejo por no poder, y el mozo por no saber, dejan las cosas perder. The old for want of ability, and the young for want of knowledge, let things be lost.

El vientre ayuno no oye á ninguno. A hungry belly listens to no one.

El vino anda sin calças. Wine wears no breeches.


El vino bueno no ha menester pregonero. Good wine needs no crier.

En arca abierta el justo peca. The righteous man sins before an open chest.

En boca cerrada no entra mosca. No fly gets into a shut mouth.

En buen dia buenas obras. The better day the better deed.

En cada tierra su uso. Every country has its custom.

En casa del ahorcado no se ha de mentar la soga. Never speak of a rope in the house of a man who was hanged.

En casa del gaitero todos son danzantes. In the bagpiper’s house they are all dancers.

En casa del herrero cuchillo de palo. In a smith’s house the knife is wooden.

En casa del moro no hables algarabía. Do not talk Arabic in the house of a Moor.

En casa de muger rica, ella manda siempre, y él nunca. In the rich woman’s house she always commands; he never.

En caza y en amores, entras quando quieres, y sales quando puedes. In hunting and in love you begin when you like and leave off when you can.

Encomendar las ovejas al lobo. To commit the sheep to the care of the wolf.

En el almoneda tien la boca queda. At an auction keep your mouth shut.

En el mejor paño cae la raza. The best cloth has uneven threads.

En el paño mas fino se ve mas la mancha. A spot shows most on the finest cloth.

En el rio do no hay pezes por demas es echar redes. It is in vain to cast nets in a river where there are no fish.

Engáñame en el precio, y no en lo que merco. Cheat me in the price and not in the goods.

En hora buena vengais, mal, si viens solo. Welcome, misfortune, if thou comest alone.

En la boda quien menos come es la novia. At the wedding-feast the least eater is the bride.

En quanto fué nuera, nunca tuve buena suegra, y en quanto fuí suegra, nunca tuve buena nuera. As long as I was a daughter-in-law I never had a good mother-in-law, and as long as I was a mother-in-law I never had a good daughter-in-law.


En salvo está el que repica. He is out of danger who rings the alarm-bell.

En tiempo helado el clavo vale un caballo. In frosty weather a nail is worth a horse.

Entienda primero, y habla postrero. Hear first, and speak afterwards.

En tierra de ciegos el tuerto es rey. The one-eyed man is a king in the country of the blind.

En tierra seca el agua salobre es buena. On dry land even brackish water is good.

Entre dos amigos un notario y dos testigos. Between two friends a notary and two witnesses.

Entre dos muelas molares nunca metas tus pulgares. Never put your thumbs between two grinders.

Entre tanto que cria, amamos el ama; pasado el provecho, luego olvidada. Whilst the nurse suckles, we love her; when she is of no further use, she is forgotten.

En voto del conde no mates al hombre. Don’t kill the man at the count’s desire.

Esa es buena que está al fuego y no se quema. She is good who is close to the fire and does not burn.

Esa es buena y honrada que es muerta y sepultada. She is good and honoured who is dead and buried.

Escrive antes que des, y recibe antes que escrivas. Let there be writing before you pay, and receipt before you write.

Escuchas al agujero, oirás de tú mal y del ageno. If you listen at a hole, you will hear ill of yourself as well as others.

Ese es mi amigo el que muele en mi molinillo. He is my friend who grinds at my mill.


Fiar de Dios sobre buena prenda. Trust in God upon good security.

For secreto, lo fumo lo descovre. Secret fire is discovered by its smoke. (Catalan.)

Fraile que pide por Dios, pide por dos. The friar who begs for God begs for two.

Frailes sobrand’ojo alerte. Where friars abound keep your eyes open.

Frailes, viver con ellos, y comer con ellos, y andar con ellos, y luego vendellos, que así hacen ellos. As for friars,[223] live with them, eat with them, and walk with them; then sell them as they do themselves.

Fuego, fuego, muchas ollas y un garbanzo en todas. Fire, fire, many pots on, and one pea in them all.


Galgo que muchas liebras levanta, ninguna mata. The greyhound that starts many hares kills none.

Gana tiene de coles quien besa al hortelano. She is fond of greens who kisses the gardener.

Gato escaldado del agua fria ha miedo. The scalded cat dreads cold water.

Gato maullador nunca buen cazador. A mewing cat is never a good mouser.

Gloria vana florece, y no grana. Vainglory blossoms, and bears no fruit.

Goza tú de tu poco, mientras busca mas el loco. Enjoy your little whilst the fool is seeking for more.

Grano no henche harnero, mas ayuda á su compañero. A grain does not fill a sieve, but it helps its fellow.

Gran sabor es comer y no escotar. It is very savoury to eat scot free.

Grano á grano hinche la gallina el papo. Grain by grain the hen fills her crop.

Guárdete Dios de hecho es. God keep you from “It is too late.”

Guayas! padre, que otra hija os nasce. Alas! father, another daughter is born to you.


Habla poco y bien, tenerte han por alquien. Talk little and well, and you will be looked upon as somebody.

Habla de la caza, y cómprala en la plaza. Talk of sporting, and buy game in the market.

Habló el buey y dijó Mu. The ox spoke and said “Moo.”

Hacer la cuenta sin la huéspeda. To reckon without the hostess.

Hágase el milagro, y hágalo el diablo. Let the miracle be wrought, though it be by the devil.

Halagar con la cola, y morder con la boca. To fawn with the tail, and bite with the mouth.


Hambre y frio entregan al hombre á su enemigo. Hunger and cold give a man up to his enemy.

Harto es ciego quien no vee por tela de cedazo. He is blind enough who cannot see through a sieve.

Harto es necio y loco, quien vacue su cuero por henchir el de otro. He is a great simpleton who starves himself to feed another.

Hay buena cuenta, y no paresca blanca. The account is correct, but not a sixpence appears.

Haz buena harina, y no toques bocina. Make good flour, and do not blow the trumpet.

Haz lo que bien digo, y no lo que mal hago. Do what I say well, and not what I do ill.

Haz lo que dice el fraile, y no lo que hace. Do what the friar says, and not what he does.

Herradura que chacotea, clavo le falta. The horseshoe that clatters wants a nail.

Hidalgo honrado antes roto que remendado. A true gentleman would rather have his clothes torn than mended.

Hijo del alcalde con todo sale. The magistrate’s son gets out of every scrape.

Hijo no tenemos, y nombre le ponemos. We have no son, and yet are giving him a name.

Hilo y aguja, media vestidura. Needle and thread are half clothing.

Hizonos Dios, y maravillámonos nos. God made us, and we admire ourselves.

Hombre apercebido vale por dos. A man forewarned is as good as two. (Forewarned is forearmed.)

Hombre harto no es comedor. A man that has had his fill is no eater.

Hombre pobre todo es trazas. A poor man is all schemes.

Hombre que no tiene cabeza no ha menester bonete. He who has no head wants no hat.

Huéspeda hermosa mal para la bolsa. A handsome hostess is bad for the purse.

Huir y correr no es todo uno. To flee and to run are not all one.

Humo y gotera, y la muger parlera, echan al hombre de su casa fuera. Smoke, a dripping roof, and a scolding wife, are enough to drive a man out of his life.


Hurtar el puerco, y dar los pies por Dios. To steal the pig, and give away the pettitoes for God’s sake.

Huyendo del toro, cayó en el arroyo. Flying from the bull he fell into the river.


Id por medio, y no careis. Take the middle of the way and thou wilt not fall.

Iglesia, ó mar, ó casa real, quien quiere medrar. The church, the sea, or the royal household, for whoever would thrive.

Ira de hermanos, ira de diablos. The wrath of brothers is the wrath of devils.

Ir á la guerra ni casar, no se ha de aconsejar. Never advise a man to go to the wars, or to marry.

Ir por lana, y volver trasquilado. To go for wool and come back shorn.


Juego de manos, juego de villanos. Manual play, clowns’ play.

Jurado ha el vano de negro no hacer blanco. The bath has sworn not to whiten the blackamoor.

Juras del que ama muger, no se han de creer. The oaths of one who loves a woman are not to be believed.

Justa razon engañar el engañador. It is fair and just to cheat the cheater.

Justicia, mas no por mi casa. Justice, but not in my own house.


La bestia que mucho anda, nunca falta quien la taña. The beast that goes well is never without some one to try his paces.

La boca y la bolsa, cerrada. The mouth and the purse, shut.

La buena vida padre y madre olvida. Prosperity forgets father and mother.

La burla dineros cuesta. Jesting costs money.

La cabra de mi vecina mas leche da que no la mia. My neighbour’s goat gives more milk than mine.


La carcel y la quaresma para los pobres es hecha. Prison and Lent were made for the poor.

La caridad bien ordenada comenza de sí propia. Charity well regulated begins at home.

La casa quemada, acudir con el agua. To fetch water after the house is burned.

La codicia rompe el saco. Covetousness bursts the bag.

La costumbre es otra naturaleza. Custom is second nature.

La coz de la yegua no hace mal al potro. The mare’s kick does not harm the colt.

La cruz en los pechos, y el diablo en los hechos. The cross on his breast, and the devil in his acts.

La cuba huele al vino que tiene. The cask smells of the wine it contains.

La cuba llena, la suegra bevida. The cask full, the mother-in-law drunk.

Ládreme el perro, y no me muerda. Let the dog bark so he don’t bite me.

La espada y la sortija, en cuya mano estan. The sword and the ring according to the hand that bears them.

La espina quando nace, la punta lleva delante. The thorn comes into the world point foremost.

La gala del nadar es saber guardar la ropa. The secret in swimming is to know how to take care of your clothes.

La gallina de mi vecina mas huevos pone que la mia. My neighbour’s hen lays more eggs than mine.

La gente pone, y Dios dispone. Man proposes, and God disposes.

La gotera dando hace señal en la piedra. The gutter by dropping wears the stone.

La hogaça no embaraça. One’s prog does not clog. (Store is no sore.)

La horca lo suyo lleva. The gallows takes its own.

La justicia de Peralvillo que ahorcado el hombre le hace la pes quisa. Peralvillo justice: hang a man first and try him afterwards.

La lengua del mal amigo mas corta que cuchillo. The tongue of a bad friend cuts more than a knife.

La lengua luenga es señal de mano corta. A long tongue betokens a short hand.

La letra con sangre entra. The letter enters with blood.


La mala llaga sana, la mala fama mata. A bad wound may be cured, bad repute kills.

La mano cuerda no hace todo lo que due la lengua. The wise hand does not all that the tongue says.

La manzana podrida perde a su compaña. The rotten apple spoils its companion.

La mas cauta es tenida por mas casta. The most cautious passes for the most chaste.

La mas ruin oveja se ensucia en la colodra. The worst ewe dungs in the milking-pail.

La moça como es criada, la estopa como es hilada. The girl as she is taught, the flax as it is wrought.

La muger compuesta á su marido quita de puerta agena. The well-dressed woman draws her husband away from another woman’s door.

La muger del ciego para quien se affeyta? For whom does the blind man’s wife adorn herself?

La muger hermosa ó loca ó presuntuosa. A handsome woman is either silly or vain.

La muger polida, la casa sucia, la puerta barrida. The woman in finery, the house in filth, but the doorway swept.

La muger quanto mas mira la cara, tanto mas destruye la casa. The more a woman admires her face, the more she ruins her house.

La muger vieja, si no serve de olla, serve de cobertera. The old wife, if she does not serve for a pot, serves for a cover.

La muger y el vidrio siempre estan en peligro. A woman and a glass are always in danger.

La muger y la salsa á la man de la lança. Your wife and the sauce at the lance hand (the right hand).

La muger y la tela, no las cates á la candela. Choose neither a woman nor linen by candlelight.

La mula y la muger por balagos hacen el mandado. A mule and a woman do what is expected of them.

La necesidad hace á la viega trotar. Need makes the old woman trot.

La occasion hace el ladron. Opportunity makes the thief.

La oveja harta, del rabo hace manta. The well-fed sheep makes a cloak of its tail.


La piedra es dura, y la gota menuda, mas cayendo de continuo, hace cavadura. The stone is hard and the drop is small, but a hole is made by the constant fall.

La pobreza no quita virtud, ni la riqueza la pone. Poverty does not destroy virtue, nor does wealth bestow it.

La primera muger escoba, y la segunda señora. The first wife is a broom, and the second a lady.

La quinta rueda al carro no hace sino embaraçar. A fifth wheel to a cart is but an encumbrance.

La sangre sin fuego hierve. Blood boils without fire.

Las llaves en la cinta, y el perro en la cocina. The keys at the girdle, the dog in the larder.

Las malas nuevas siempre son ciertas. Bad news is always true.

Las manos blancas no ofenden. White hands are no offence.

Las sopas y los amores, los primieros son mejores. Of soups and loves the first are the best.

Las tripas esten llenas, que ellas llevan á las piernas. Let the guts be full, for it is they that carry the legs.

La suegra ha de ser rogada, y olla reposada. The mother-in-law must be entreated, and the pot must be let stand.

La telaraña suelta al rato, y la mosca apana. The spider’s web lets the rat escape and catches the fly.

La tierra que el hombre sabe, esa es su madre. The land a man knows is his mother.

La traicion aplace, mas no el que la hace. The act of treachery is liked, but not he that does it.

La una mano á la otra lava, y las dos á la cara. One hand washes the other, and both the face.

La vaca harta de la cola haz brigata. The full-fed cow makes company of her tail.

Lavar la cabeça del asno perdimiento de javon. It is a loss of soap to wash the ass’s head.

La verdad, como el olio, siempre anda en somo. Truth, like oil, always comes to the surface.

La vida y el alma, mas no el alvarda. My life and soul (are at your service), but not my pack-saddle.

Lleva tu la arteza, marido, que yo llevaré el cedaço, que pesa como el diablo. Do you carry the trough, husband, and I will carry the sieve, which is as heavy as the devil.


Lo ageno siempre pia por su dueño. What is another’s always pines for its master.

Lo barato es caro. Bargains are dear.

Lo mio mio, lo de Juan mi hermano, suyo y mio. What is mine is my own; my brother Juan’s is his and mine.

Lo peor del pleito es, que de uno nacen ciento. The worst of a lawsuit is that out of one there grow a hundred.

Lo perdido vaya por amor de Dios. Let what is lost go for God’s sake.

Lo que come mi vicino no aproveche a mi tripa. What my neighbour eats does my stomach no good.

Lo que con los ojos veo, con el dedo lo adevino. What I see with my eyes I can guess with my fingers.

Lo que hace el loco á la derreria, hace el sabio á la primeria. What the fool does at last the wise man does at first.

Lo que hecho es, hecho ha de ser por esta vez. What is done, is done for this time.

Lo que la fuerça no puede, ingenio lo vince. What force cannot do ingenuity may.

Lo que la loba hace, al lobo aplace. What the she-wolf does pleases the he-wolf.

Lo que la muger quiere, Dios lo quiere. What a woman wills, God wills.

Lo que mucho se desea, no se cree aunque se vea. What is much desired is not believed when it comes.

Lo que mucho vale, de so tierra sale. What much is worth comes from the earth.

Lo que no acerta en un ano, acerta en un rato. What does not happen in a year may happen in a moment.

Lo que no lleva Christo, lleva el fisco. What Christ does not take the exchequer takes.

Lo que no quieres para ti, no lo quieras para mi. What you dislike for yourself do not like for me.

Lo que saben tres, sabe toda res. What three know, everybody knows.

Lo que se usa, no se escusa. What is in use, wants no excuse.

Lo que te dijeren al oido, no lo digas a tu marido. What is whispered in your ear tell not to your husband.

Los amenazados comen pan. Threatened men eat bread.


Los dichos en nos, los hechos en Dios. Man proposes, God disposes.

Los niños y los locos dicen la verdad. Children and fools speak the truth.

Los pies del hortolano no echan á perder la huerta. The gardener’s feet do no harm to the garden.

Los que cabras no tienen, y cabritos venden, de donde les vienen? They who don’t keep goats and yet sell kids, where do they get them?

Los yerros del medico, la tierra los cubre. The earth hides as it takes, the physician’s mistakes.


Madre, casar, casar, que carrafico me quiere llevar. Mother, marry me, marry me, or the gull will fly away with me.

Madre, que cosa es casar? Hija, hilar, parir, y llorar. Mother, what is marrying? Spinning, bearing children, and crying, daughter.

Madruga y verás, trabaja y habrás. Rise early and watch, labour and catch.

Maja los ajos, Pedro, mientra yo rallo el queso. Pound the garlic, Pedro, whilst I grate the cheese.

Mal me quieren mis comadres, porque les digo las verdades. My gossips don’t like me because I tell them truths.

Mal se cubre la cabra con el rabo. The goat can’t well cover herself with her tail.

Mal sobre mal, y piedra por cabezal. Ill-luck upon ill-luck, and a stone for a pillow.

Mañana sera otro dia. To-morrow will be another day.

Manda y descuida, no se hará cosa ninguna. Give orders and do no more, and nothing will come of it.

Manda y hazlo, y quitarte has de cuidado. Order and do it, and you will be rid of anxiety.

Manos duchas comen truchas. Skilled hands eat trouts.

Marihuela, fuiste a la boda? No, madre, mas galana estava la novia. Were you at the wedding, Molly? No, mother, but the bride was very fine.


Marido, no veas: muger, ciega seas. Husband, don’t see; wife, be blind.

Mas ablanda el dinero que palabras de caballero. Money soothes more than a gentleman’s words.

Mas apaga buena palabra que caldera de agua. A good word extinguishes more than a pailful of water.

Mas cerca está la camisa que el sayo. The shirt is nearer than the frock.

Mas cerca están mis dientes que mis parientes. My teeth are nearer than my kindred.

Mas descubre un hambriento que cien letrados. A hungry man discovers more than a hundred lawyers.

Mas hace quien quiere que quien puede. He who strives to do, does more than he who has the power.

Mas son los amenazados que los heridos. There are more threatened than hurt.

Mas tira moça que soga. A girl draws more than a rope.

Mas vale cabeza de raton que cola de leon. Better be the head of a rat than the tail of a lion. (Better rule in hell, than serve in heaven.)

Mas vale con mal asno contender que la leña acuestas traer. It is better to strive with a stubborn ass than to carry the wood on one’s back.

Mas vale el mal conocido que el bien por venir. Better suffer a known evil than change for uncertain good.

Mas vale humo de mi casa que fuego de la agena. Better is the smoke of my own house than the fire of another’s.

Mas vale mala avenencia que buena sentencia. A bad compromise is better than a successful suit.

Mas vale pajaro en mano que buitre volando. A sparrow in the hand is better than a bustard on the wing.

Mas vale puñado de natural que almozada de ciencia. A handful of motherwit is worth a bushel of learning.

Mas vale que digan, Aqui huyó, que Aqui murió. Better they should say, “There he ran away,” than “There he died.”

Mas vale que sobre, que no que falte. Better there should be too much than too little.

Mas vale regla que renta. Better is rule than rent.

Mas vale rodear que no ahogar. Better go about than be drowned.


Mas vale ruin asno que ser asno. Better have a bad ass than to be your own ass.

Mas vale salto de mata que ruego de hombres buenos. It is better to leap over the ditch than trust to the pleadings of good men.

Mas vale solo que mal acompañado. Better be alone than in bad company.

Mas vale tarde que nunca. Better late than never.

Mas vale tuerto que ciego. Better one-eyed than stone blind.

Mas vale una abeja que mil moscas. One bee is better than a thousand flies.

Mas vale un toma que dos te dare. Better one “Take this,” than two “I will give you.”

Mas vale vuelta de llave que conciencia de frayle. A turn of the key is better than the conscience of a friar.

Mas val perder que mas perder. It is better to lose than lose more. (The first loss is the best.)

Mas ven quatro ojos que dos. Four eyes see more than two.

Mataras y matarte han, y mataran á quien te matare. Kill and thou wilt be killed, and he will be killed who kills thee.

Mejor es dobrar que quebrar. Better to bend than break.

Mejor me parece tu jarro mellado que el mio sano. Your cracked jug seems better to me than my sound one.

Menea la cola el can, no por ti, sino por el pan. The dog wags his tail, not for you but for your bread.

Mete mendigo en tu pajar, y hacer se te ha heredero. Put a beggar into your barn and he will make himself your heir.

Meter aguja, y sacar reja. To put in a needle and take out a bar.

Miedo guarda viña. Fear guards the vineyard.

Mientra en mi casa me estoy, rey me soy. In my own house I am a king.

Mientra la grande se abaja, la chica barre la casa. Whilst the tall wench is stooping, the little one has swept the house.

Miguel, Miguel, no tienes abejas y vendes miel. Miguel, Miguel, you have no bees, and yet sell honey.


Mirais lo que bebo, y no la sed que tengo. You notice what I drink, and not the thirst I feel.

Mira que ates que desates. See that you tie so that you can untie.

Mostrar primero la horca que el lugar. To parade the gallows before the town.

Mucho sabe la zorra, pero mas el que la toma. The fox is knowing, but more knowing he who catches him.

Muchos besan manos que quierian ver cortadas. Many kiss hands they would fain see chopped off.

Mucho tiene que hacer quien ha de gustar a todos. He has much to do who would please everybody.

Muda el lobo los dientes y no los mientes. The wolf changes his teeth but not his disposition.

Muger, no te las cuento, mas doze morcillas hace un puerco. I don’t count them to you, wife, but a hog makes twelve puddings.

Muger, viento, y ventura, presto se muda. Women, wind, and fortune, soon change.


Nace en la huerta lo que no siembra el hortelano. In the garden more grows, than the gardener sows.

Nacenle alas a la hormiga para que se pierde mas aina. The ant gets wings that she may perish the sooner.

Nadar y nadar, y á la orilla ahogar. To swim and swim more, and be drowned on shore.

Nadie seria mesonero sino fuese por el dinero. No one would be an innkeeper but for money.

Necio es, quien piensa que otro no piensa. He is a fool who thinks that another does not think.

Necios y porfiados hacen ricos los letrados. Fools and the perverse fill the lawyers’ purse.

Ni absente sin culpa, ni presente sin disculpa. Absent, none without blame; present, none without excuse.

Ni buen frayle por amigo, ni malo por enemigo. Neither a good friar for friend, nor a bad one for enemy.


Ni con cada mal al fisico, ni con cada pleito al letrado, ni con cada sed al jarro. Go not with every ailment to the doctor, with every plea to the lawyer, or with every thirst to the can.

Ni do ni tomo, como judio en sábado. I neither give nor take, like a Jew on the Sabbath.

Ni el anzuelo, ni la caña, mas el cebo las engaña. It is not the hook or the rod, but the bait that lures.

Ni estoy al vado, ni á la puente. I am neither at the ford nor the bridge.

Ni firmes carta que no leas, ni bebas agua que no veas. Neither sign a paper without reading it, nor drink water without seeing it.

Ni hermosa que mate, ni fea que espante. Neither handsome enough to kill, nor ugly enough to frighten.

Ni judio necio, ni liebre perezosa. No Jew a fool; no hare lazy.

Ni perder derechos, ni llevar cohechos. Lose no rights, and commit no extortions.

Ni rey traidor, ni papa descomulgado. No king was ever a traitor, or pope excommunicated.

Ni sirvas á quien sirvió, ni pidas á quien pidió. Neither serve one who has been a servant, nor beg of one who has been a beggar.

No asamos, y ya empringamos. We are not roasting, and already we are basting.

No asoleges tu mijo á la puerta de tu enemigo. Do not spread your corn to dry at an enemy’s door. (Asturian.)

No ay ladron sin encubridor. There is no thief without a receiver.

No compres asno de recuero, ni te cases con hija de mesonero. Do not buy a carrier’s ass, or marry an innkeeper’s daughter.

No creais, marido, lo que veeredes, sino lo que yo os dixeré. Don’t believe what you see, husband, but only what I tell you.

No da quien quiere, sino quien tiene. Not he gives who likes, but who has.

No dé Dios tanto buen á nuestros amigos que nos desconoscan.[235] May God not so prosper our friends that they forget us.

No dice el umbral sino lo que oye al quincial. The threshold says nothing but what it hears of the hinge.

No digais mal del año hasta que sea pasado. Speak not ill of the year until it is past.

No diga la lengua por do pague la cabeza. Let not the tongue utter what the head must pay for.

No diga nadie, de esta agua no beberé. Let no one say, “Of this water I will not drink.”

No digo quien eres, que tu te lo dirás. I do not tell thee what thou art, thou wilt tell it thyself.

No entra en misa la campana, y á todos llama. The bell does not go to mass, yet calls every one to it.

No es aquella gallina buena, que come en tu casa y pone en la agena. It is a bad hen that eats at your house and lays at another’s.

No es de vero lágrimas en la muger, ni coxuear en el perro. A woman’s tears and a dog’s limping are not real.

No es en mano del piloto que dexe el viento su soplo. It is not in the pilot’s power to prevent the wind from blowing.

No es nada, sino que matan a mi marido. It is nothing, they are only thrashing my husband.

No es tan bravo el leon como le pintan. The lion is not so fierce as he is painted.

No falte cibo al palomar, que las palomas ellas se vernán. Let there be no lack of food in the pigeon-house, and the pigeons will come to it.

No falte voluntad, que no faltará lugar. Where there is no want of will, there will be no want of opportunity.

No habria palabra mala, si no fuese mal tomada. There would be no ill word if it were not ill taken.

No hace poco quien su casa quema: espanta los ratones, y escalientase á la leña. He does not a little who burns his house: he frightens the rats, and warms himself.

No hace tanto la zorra en un año como paga en un hora. The fox does not do as much mischief in a year as it pays for in an hour.

No halla agua en la mar. He cannot find water in the sea.


No hay bestia fiera que no se huelgue con su compañera. There is no beast so savage but sports with its mate.

No hay casa do no haya su calla! calla! There is no house without its hush! hush!

No hay cerradura, si es de oro la ganzua. There is no lock, if the pick is of gold.

No hay ladron sin encubridor. If there were no receiver there would be no thief.

No hay mejor bocado que el hurtado. There is no choicer morsel than that which is stolen.

No hay mejor remiendo que el del mismo paño. There is no better patch than one off the same cloth.

No hay olla tan fea que no halle su cobertera. There is no pot so ugly but finds its cover.

No hay pariente pobre. No relation is poor.

No hay peor burla que la verdadera. There is no worse joke than a true one.

No hay peor sordo que el que no quiere oir. None so deaf as he that won’t hear.

No hay placer que no enfade, y mas si cuesta de valde. There is no pleasure but palls, and the more so if it costs nothing.

No hay tal madre como la que pare. There is no mother like the mother that bore us.

No hay tal razon como la del baston. There’s no argument like that of the stick.

No hay tal testigo como buen moduelo de vino. There is no such witness as a good measure of wine.

No hiere Dios con dos manos. God does not smite with both hands.

No inventó la polvera. He did not invent gunpowder.

No juega Mosé, porque no tiene que. Moses (i. e. a Jew) does not play because he has not the means.

No lo quiero, no lo quiero, mas échadme lo en la capilla. I don’t want it, I don’t want it, but put it into my hood.

No mata la carga sino la sobrecarga. It is not the load but the overload that kills.

No me digas oliva hasta que me veas cogida. Call me not olive till you see me gathered.

No me llames bien hadada hasta que me veas enterrada. Call me not fortunate till you see me buried.


No piden todos para un santo. All do not beg for one saint.

No quiebra delgado, sino gordo y mal hilado. It is not the fine, but the coarse and ill-spun that breaks.

No se acuerda la suegra que fué nuera. The mother-in-law does not remember that she was a daughter-in-law.

No seais hornéra si teneis la cabeza de manteca. Be not a baker if your head is butter.

No se hacen las bodas de hongos á solas. The wedding feast is not made with mushrooms only.

No se hacen tortillas sin romper huevos. You can’t make pancakes without breaking eggs.

No se hizo la miel por la boca del asno. Honey was not made for the mouth of the ass.

No se pierde todo lo que está en peligro. All is not lost that is in danger.

No se queje del engaño quien por la muestra compra el paño. Let him not complain of being cheated who buys cloth by the pattern.

No serás amado si de tí solo tienes cuidado. You will not be loved if you care for none but yourself.

No se toman truchas á bragas enjutas. Trouts are not caught with dry breeches.

Nos ollos de miña sogra vejo en quando o demo a toma. I see by my mother-in-law’s eyes when the devil takes hold of her. (Galician.)

No son palabras para mi tia, que aun de las obras no se fia. Words will not do for my aunt, for she does not put faith even in deeds.

No son soldados todos los que van á la guerra. All are not soldiers who go to the wars.

No te alegres de mi duelo, que quando el mio fuere viejo el tuyo será nuevo. Do not rejoice at my grief, for when mine is old yours will be new.

No te tomes con el ollero, que del burro hace dinero. Don’t scuffle with the potter, for he makes money by the damage.

No vive mas el leal que quanto quiere el traidor. The loyal man lives no longer than the traitor pleases.

Nunca los ausentes se hallaron justos. The absent were never in the right.

Nunca mucho costó poco. Much never cost little.

Nunca pidas á quien tiene, sino á quien sabes que te quiere.[238] Never ask of him who has, but of him you know wishes you well.


Obra de comun, obra de ningun. What’s everybody’s business is nobody’s business.

Obres son amores, que no buenas razones. Deeds are love, and not fine phrases.

O demo á os suyos quiere. The devil is fond of his own. (Galician.)

Ojos hay que de lagañas se enamoran. There are eyes that fall in love with bleared ones. (Fancy surpasses beauty.)

Ojos que no ven, corazon que no quiebra. If the eyes don’t see, the heart won’t break.

Olla de muchos mal mejida y peor cocida. The stew mixed by many is ill-seasoned and worse cooked. (Too many cooks spoil the broth.)

Olla que mucho hierve, sabor pierde. The stew that boils much loses favour.

O morirá el asno, ó quien le aguija. Either the ass will die, or he that goads it.

Onza de estado, libra de oro. An ounce of state to a pound of gold.

O rico, o pinjádo. Either rich or hanged.

Oro es lo que oro vale. That is gold which is worth gold.

Oveja harta de su rabo se espanta. The full-fed sheep is frightened at its own tail.

Oveja que bala, bocado pierde. The sheep that bleats loses a mouthful.

Ovejas bobas, por do va una, van todas. Silly sheep, where one goes, all go.


Paga lo que debes, sabrás lo que tienes. If you pay what you owe, what you’re worth you’ll know.

Paga lo que debes, sanarás del mal que tienes. Pay what you owe, and be cured of your complaint.


Pagase el rey de la traicion, mas no de quien la hace. The king likes the treachery, but not the traitor.

Palabra de boca, piedra de honda. A word from the mouth, a stone from a sling.

Palabras azucaradas por mas son amargas. Sugared words generally prove bitter.

Palabra y piedra suelta no tiene vuelta. A word and a stone once launched cannot be recalled.

Palo de ciego, que sáca polvo de debajo de agua. A blind man’s stroke, which raises a dust from beneath water.

Panadera erades antes, aunque ahora traeis guantes. You used to be a baker, though now you wear gloves.

Pan ageno caro cuesta. Another’s bread costs dear.

Papel y tinta, y poca justicia. Paper and ink and little justice.

Para azotar el perro, que se come el hierro. If you want to beat a dog, say he eat your iron.

Para cada jueves no hay un par de orejas. There is not a pair of ears for every Jew.

Para el mal que hoy se acaba no es remedio el de mañana. To-morrow’s remedy will not ward off the evil of today.

Para los desdichados se hizo la horca. The gallows was made for the unlucky.

Pariente a la clara el hijo de mi hermana. My sister’s son is a kinsman beyond dispute.

Parto malo, y hija en cabo. A bad labour, and a daughter after all.

Pasa la fiesta, y el loco resta. The feast passes and the fool remains.

Paz y paciencia, y muerte con penitencia. Peace and patience, and death with penitence.

Pedir sobrado por salir con lo mediano. Ask too much to get enough.

Pedra de ygreja oro goteja. A church stone drops gold. (Galician.)

Pelean los ladrones y descubrense los hurtos. When thieves fall out the thefts come to light.

Penséme santiguar, y quebréme el ojo. I thought to cross myself, and I put out my eye.


Pensé que no tenia marido, y comime la olla. I thought I had no husband, and I eat up the stew.

Pereza, llave de pobreza. Sloth is the key of poverty.

Perro alcucero nunca buen conejero. A kitchen-dog is never a good rabbit-hunter.

Perro ladrador nunca buen mordedor. A barking dog was never a good biter.

Perro lanudo, muerto de hambre, y no creido de ninguno. A shock dog is starved and nobody believes it.

Perro que lobos mata, lobos le matan. The dog that kills wolves, is killed by wolves.

Peso y medida quitan al hombre fatiga. Weight and measure save a man toil.

Pícame Pedro, y yo me lo quiero. Peter pinches me, and I like it.

Piedra movediza nunca moho la cubija. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Piensa el ladron que todos son de sa condicion. The thief thinks that all men are like himself.

Piensan los enamorados que tienen los otros los ojos quebrados. Lovers think that others have no eyes.

Pierde el mes lo suyo, pero no el año. The month loses its own, but not the year.

Piés que son duchos de andar, no pueden quedos estar. Feet that are used to move cannot remain quiet.

Planta muchas veces traspuesta ni crece ni tredra. A tree often transplanted neither grows nor thrives.

Pobreza no es vileza, ma es ramo de picardia. Poverty is no sin, but it is a branch of roguery.

Poca barba, poca verguenza. Little beard, little modesty.

Poca hiel hace amarga mucha miel. A little gall embitters much honey.

Poco á poco se va léjos. Little by little one goes far.

Poco daño espanta, y mucho amansa. A little loss frightens, a great one tames.

Pollino que me lleve, y no caballo que me arrastre. Give me the ass that carries me in preference to the horse that throws me.

Por amor del bou, llepa lo llop el jou. For love of the ox the wolf licks the yoke. (Catalan.)


Por donde fueres, haz como vieres. Wherever you may be, do as you see done.

Por donde menos se piensa salta la liebre. The hare starts from where it is least expected.

Por donde va la mar, vayan las arenas. Where the sea goes let the sands go.

Por do quiera hay su legua de mal camino. Whatever way you take there is a league of bad road.

Por do salta la cabra, salta la que la mama. Where the goat leaps, leaps that which sucks her.

Por el alabado dejé el conocido, y vi me arrepentido. I left what I knew for what I heard praised, and repented.

Por el hilo se saca el ovillo. By the thread we unwind the skein.

Por falta de hombres buenos, á mi padre hicieron alcalde. For the want of worthy men they made my father alcade.

Porfia mata la caza. Perseverance kills the game.

Por la calle de despues se va á la casa de nunca. By the street of “By-and-by” one arrives at the house of “Never.”

Por las haldas del vicario sube el diablo al campanario. The devil gets into the belfry by the vicar’s skirts.

Por mucho madrugar, no amanece mas aina. For all one’s early rising, it dawns none the sooner.

Por mucho que corra la liebre, mas corre el galgo, pues la prende. Fast as the hare runs, the greyhound outruns her, since he catches her.

Por no gastar lo que basta, lo que era excusado se gasta. Through not spending enough, we spend too much.

Por nuevas no peneas, hacerse han viejas, y saber las has. Do not fret for news, it will grow old and you will know it.

Por oir misa, y dar cebada, nunca se perdió jornada. Nothing is lost on a journey by stopping to pray or to feed your horse.

Por ser rey, se quiebra toda ley. Every law is broken to become a king.

Por si o por no, señor marido, ponéos la capilla. Whether it be so or not, husband, put on your hood. (He had told her there was a new law that every man with horns should wear a hood.)


Por sol que haga no dexes tu capa en casa. However bright the sun may shine, leave not your cloak at home.

Por soto no vayas tras otro. In a wood don’t walk behind another.

Por temor, no pierdas honor. Do not lose honour through fear.

Por turbia que esté, no digas, de esta agua no beberé. However foul it be, never say, Of this water I will not drink.

Por un punto se pierde un zapato. For want of a nail the shoe is lost.

Por viejo que sea el barco, pasa una vez el vado. Old as is the boat it may cross the ferry once.

Por vuestra alma vayan esos pater nosters. Let those pater nosters be for your own soul. (Ironical, against swearing).

Pregonar vino, y vender vinagre. To cry up wine, and sell vinegar.

Prenda que come, ninguno la tome. Let no one take a pawn that eats.

Primero son mis dientes que mis parientes. My teeth before my relations.

Posesion, y buena razon, y lanza en puño. Possession and good right, with lance in hand.

Potros cayendo, y mozos perdiendo, van asesando. Colts by falling, and lads by losing, grow prudent.

Puerco fiado, gruñe todo el año. A pig bought on credit grunts all the year.

Puerco fresco, y vino nuevo, Christianillo al cimenterio. Fresh pork and new wine, send a Christian to the churchyard. (Kill a man before his time.)

Puerta abierta al santo tienta. An open door tempts a saint.

Puesque la casa se quema, calentémonos todos. Since the house is on fire, let us warm ourselves.

Pues tenemos hogaças, no busquemos tortas. Since we have loaves let us not look for cakes.

Puridad de dos, puridad de Dios; puridad de tres, de todos es. A secret between two is God’s secret, a secret between three is everybody’s.

Puteria ni hurto nunca se encubren mucho. Whoredom and thieving are never long concealed.



Qual el dueño tal el perro. As is the master, so is his dog.

Qual el tiempo, tal el tiento. As are the times, so are the manners.

Qual es el rey, tal es la grey. As is the king, so are his people.

Quando á tu hija le viniere su hado, no aguardes que venga su padre del mercado. When a good offer comes for your daughter, don’t wait till her father returns from market.

Quando ayunque, sufre, quando mazo, tunde. When you are an anvil, bear; when you are a hammer, strike.

Quando comieres pan reciente, no bebas de la fuente. When you eat new bread, don’t drink water.

Quando Dios amanece, para todos amanece. When God gives light he gives it for all.

Quando Dios no quiere, el santo no puede. When God will not the saint cannot.

Quando Dios quiere, con todos vientos llueve. When God pleases it rains with every wind.

Quando Dios quiere en sereno llueve. When God pleases, it rains in fair weather.

Quando el bazo crece el cuerpo enmagrece. When the spleen increases, the body diminishes.

Quando el cosario promete misas y cera, con mal anda la galera. When the corsair promises masses and candles, it goes ill with the galley.

Quando el diablo reza, engañarte quiere. When the devil says his prayers he wants to cheat you.

Quando el Español canta, ó rabia, ó no tiene blanca. When the Spaniard sings, he is either mad or has no money.

Quando el guardian juega á los naypes, qué haran los frayles? When the prior plays cards, what will the monks do?

Quando el hierro está encendido, entonces ha de ser batido. When the iron is hot, then is the time to strike.

Quando el necio es acordado, el mercado es ya pasado. When the fool has made up his mind the market is over.

Quando el rio no hace ruido, ó no lleva agua, ó va muy[244] crecido. When the river makes no noise, it is either dried up or much swollen.

Quando el viejo no puede beber la huesa le pueden hacer. When an old man cannot drink, prepare his grave.

Quando el villano está en el mulo, ni conoce á Dios, ni al mundo. Set a peasant on horseback, and he forgets both God and man.

Quando el villano está rico, no tiene pariente, ni amigo. When a peasant gets rich, he knows neither relations nor friends.

Quando en verano es invierno, y en invierno verano, nunca buen año. When the summer is winter, and the winter summer, it is a sorry year.

Quando fueres á casa, agena llama defuera. When you go to a strange house knock at the door.

Quando fueres por camino, no digas mal de tu enemigo. When you are on the road speak not ill of your enemy.

Quando la criatura dienta la muerte la tienta. When the child cuts its teeth, death is on the watch.

Quando la mala ventura se duerme, nadie la despierte. When ill-luck sleeps, let no one wake her.

Quando llueve en Agosto, llueve miel y mosto. When it rains in August, it rains honey and wine.

Quando llueve en Febrero, todo el año es tempero. When it rains in February, it will be temperate all the year.

Quando no dan los campos, no han los santos. When the fields yield not, the saints have not.

Quando os pedimos, Dueña os decimos; quando os tenemos, como queremos. When we ask a favour, we say, Madam; when we obtain it, what we please.

Quando pobre, franco; quando rico, avaro. When poor, liberal; when rich, stingy.

Quando te dieren el anillo, pon el dedillo. When they offer you a ring, hold out your finger.

Quando te dieren la vaquilla, acude con la soguilla. When they give you the calf, be ready with the halter.

Quando todos te dijeren que eres asno, rebuzna. When every one says you are an ass, bray.

Quando una puerta se cierra, ciento se abren. When one door shuts, a hundred open.

Quando un lobo come á otro, no hay que comer en el soto.[245] When one wolf eats another, there is nothing to eat in the wood.

Quando uno ne quiere, dos no barajan. Two cannot fall out if one does not choose.

Quando vieras tu casa quemar, llegate á escalentar. When thou seest thy house in flames, go warm thyself by it.

Quando zuga el abeja miel torna, y quando el araña ponzoña. When the bee sucks, it makes honey, when the spider, poison.

Quan léjos de ojo, tan léjos de corazon. Out of sight, out of mind.

Quanto sabes no dirás, quanto vés no juzgarás, si quieres vivir en paz. Tell not all you know, nor judge of all you see, if you would live in peace.

Quatro cosas sacan al hombre de tino, la muger, el tabaco, naypes y vino. Four things put a man beside himself—women, tobacco, cards, and wine.

Quebrarse un ojo para sacar à otro los dos. To lose one eye that you may deprive another of two.

Quebrasteme la cabeza, y ahora me untas el casco. You have broken my head and now you bring plaister.

Quebreme el pie, quizá por bien. I broke my leg, perhaps for my good.

Quem jugata co ferro, jugata co demo. He who plays with a sword plays with the devil. (Galician.)

Quem mal quer os seus, no querrá ben os alleus. He that is unkind to his own will not be kind to others. (Galician.)

Queso de ovejas, leche de cabras, manteca de vacas. Cheese from the ewe, milk from the goat, butter from the cow.

Qui barat, el cap se grat. He who hunts after bargains will scratch his head. (Catalan.)

Qui de tot es moll, de tot es foll. Who is tender in everything is a fool in everything. (Catalan.)

Quien abrojos siembra espinas coje. He who sows brambles reaps thorns. (As you sow, so you shall reap.)

Quien acecha por agujero, ve su duelo. He who peeps through a hole will discover his dole. (Harm watch, harm catch.)

Quien adelante no mira, atras se queda. He who does not look before lags behind.

Quien á dos señores ha de servir, al uno ha de mentir. He who has two masters to serve must lie to one of them.


Quien al cielo escupe, en la cara le cae. He who spits above himself will have it fall on his face.

Quien á los veinte no entiende, á treinta no sabe y á quarenta no tiene, ruin vejez le espera. He who at twenty understands nothing, at thirty knows nothing, and at forty has nothing, will lead a wretched old age.

Quien amaga y no da, miedo ha. He who threatens to strike, and does not, is afraid.

Quien a mano agena espera, mal yanta y peor cena. He who lives in hopes, breakfasts ill and sups worse.

Quien á muchos amos sirve á alguno ha de hacer falta. He who serves many masters must neglect some of them.

Quien anda al reves, anda al camino dos veces. He who takes the wrong road must make his journey twice over.

Quien á su enemigo popa, á sus manos muere. He who makes light of his enemy dies by his hand.

Quien á su muger no honra, á si mismo deshonra. He who does not honour his wife, dishonours himself.

Quien á su perro quiere matar, rabia le ha de levantar. He who wants to kill his dog has only to say he is mad.

Quien á treinta no asesa, no comprará dehesa. He who at thirty has no brains, will never purchase an estate.

Quien a veinte no es galan, ni á treinta tiene fuerza, ni á quarenta riqueza, ni á cincuenta esperiencia, ni será galan, ni fuerte, ni rico, ni prudente. He that is not gallant at twenty, strong at thirty, rich at forty, or experienced at fifty, will never be gallant, strong, rich, or prudent.

Quien bien ama, tarde olvida. He who loves well is slow to forget.

Quien bien ata, bien desata. He that ties well, unties well. (Safe bind, safe find.)

Quien bien bayla, de boda en boda se anda. He who dances well goes from wedding to wedding.

Quien bien quiere á Beltran, bien quiere á su can. He who loves Bertrand loves his dog. (Love me, love my dog).

Quien bien quiere á Pedro, no hace mal á su perro. He who loves Peter won’t harm his dog.

Quien bien quiere, bien obedece. He who loves well, obeys well.

Quien bien quiere, de léjos ve. A well-wisher sees from afar.


Quien bien siembra, bien coge. He who sows well, reaps well.

Quien bien te hará, ó se te muere, ó se te va. He who does good to you either dies or goes away.

Quien bueyes ha perdido, cencerros se le antojan. He who has lost his oxen is always hearing bells.

Quien busca halla. He who seeks, finds.

Quien calla, otorga. Silence gives consent.

Quien calla piedras apaña. He who is silent gains store.

Quien canta, sus males espanta. Who sings, drives away care.

Quien come la carne que roa el hueso. He who eats the meat let him pick the bone.

Quien come y condensa, dos veces pone la mesa. He who eats and puts by, has sufficient for two meals.

Quien come y dexa, dos veces pone la mesa. A penny spared is a penny saved.

Quien compra cavallo, compra cuidado. He who buys a horse buys care.

Quien compra y vende lo que gasta no siente. He who buys and sells does not feel what he spends.

Quien con el viejo burló, primero rió y después lloro. He who made fun of the old man, laughed at first and cried afterwards.

Quien con lobos anda, á aullar se enseña. He who goes with wolves learns to howl.

Quien con perros se echa, con pulgas se levanta. He who lies down with dogs gets up with fleas.

Quien con ropa agena se viste, en la calle se queda en cuerpo. Who arrays himself in other men’s garments is stripped on the highway.

Quien con tosco ha de entender, mucho seso ha menester. He who has to deal with a blockhead has need of much brains.

Quien da lo suyo ántes de su muerte, que le den con un mazo en la frente. Who gives what he has before he is dead, take a mallet and knock that fool on the head.

Quien da presto, da dos veces. He gives twice who gives in a trice.

Quien de ageno se viste, en la calle le desnudan. He who[248] dresses in others’ clothes will be undressed on the highway.

Quien del alacran está picado, la sombra le espanta. He who has been stung by the scorpion is frightened at its shadow.

Quien de locura enfermó, tarde sanó. Whoever falls sick of folly, is long in getting cured.

Quien desalaba la cosa ese la compra. He who finds fault wants to buy.

Quien desparte lleva la peor parte. He who divides gets the worst share.

Quien de todos es amigo, ó es muy pobre, ó es muy rico. He who is everybody’s friend is either very poor or very rich.

Quien dice lo que quiere, oye lo que no quiere. He who says what he likes, hears what he don’t like.

Quien dice lo suyo, mal callará lo ageno. He who tells his own secret will hardly keep another’s.

Quien dineros y pan tiene, consuegra con quien quiere. He who has both money and bread, may choose with whom his daughter to wed.

Quien echa agua en la garrafa de golpe, mas derrama que ella coje. He who pours water hastily into a bottle spills more than goes in.

Quien el aceyte mesura, las manos se unta. He who measures oil greases his hands.

Quien en la plaza á labrar se mete, muchos adestradores tiene. He who works on the highway will have many advisers.

Quien en un año quiere ser rico, al medio le ahorcan. He who wants to be rich in a year comes to the gallows in half a year.

Quien en una piedra dos veces tropieza, no es maravilla se quiebre la cabeza. No wonder if he breaks his head who stumbles twice over one stone.

Quien escucha, su mal oye. Listeners hear no good of themselves.

Quien esta en su tienda, no le achacan que se halló en la contienda. He that minds his business at home, will not be accused of taking part in the fray.

Quien estropieza y no cae, en su paso añade. He who stumbles and does not fall mends his pace.


Quién es tu enemigo? Hombre de tu oficio. Who is your enemy? A man of your own trade.

Quién es tu enemigo? El de tu oficio. Two of a trade can never agree.

Quien feo ama, hermoso le parece. She who loves an ugly man thinks him handsome.

Quien fia ó promete, en deuda se mete. He who pledges or promises runs in debt.

Quien guarda halla. He who saves, finds.

Quien guarda su poridad escusa mucho mal. He who keeps his own secret avoids much mischief.

Quien hace lo que quiere, no hace lo que debe. He who does what he likes, does not what he ought.

Quien hace por comun, hace por ningun. He who gives to the public, gives to no one.

Quien hace un cesto, hará ciento. He that makes one basket can make a hundred.

Quien ha criados, ha enemigos no escusados. He who has servants has unavoidable enemies.

Quien ha de echar el cascabel al gato? Who is to bell the cat?

Quien ha de llevar el gato al agua? Who is to carry the cat to the water?

Quien la fama ha perdido, muerto anda en la vida. He who has lost his reputation is a dead man among the living.

Quien la miel menea, siempre se le pega de ella. He that stirs honey will have some of it stick to him.

Quien la raposa ha de engañar, cumplele madrugar. He who would cheat the fox must rise early.

Quien las cosas mucho apura, no tiene vida segura. Who is always prying into other men’s affairs, leads a dangerous life.

Quien las sabe, las tañe. Let him play the instrument who knows how.

Quien la vaca del rey come flaca, gorda la paga. He who eats the king’s cow lean, pays for it fat.

Quien lazo me armó, en él cayó. He who laid a snare for me has fallen into it.

Quien lejos va a casar, ó va engañado ó va á engañar. He who goes far from home to marry, goes either to deceive or be deceived.


Quien lengua ha, á Roma va. He who has a tongue goes to Rome.

Quien lleva las obladas que taña las campanas. He who receives the offerings let him ring the bells.

Quien madre tiene en villa, siete veces se amortaza cada dia. The servant wench that has a mother in town swoons seven times a day.

Quien mala cama hace, en ella se yace. As you make your bed so you must lie in it.

Quien mal anda en mal acaba. He who begins badly, ends badly.

Quien malas hadas no halla, de las buenas se enhada. He that has no ill luck grows weary of good luck.

Quien mal casa, tarde enviuda. He who marries ill, is long in becoming widowed.

Quien mas corre, menos vuela. The more haste the less speed.

Quien mas sabe mas calla. Who knows most says least.

Quien mas tiene, mas quiere. The more one has the more one wants.

Quien ménos procura, alcanza mas bien. He who asks the fewest favours is the best received.

Quien mucho abarca, poco aprieta. He who grasps at much holds fast little.

Quien mucho duerme, poco aprende. He who sleeps much, learns little.

Quien mucho habla, en algo acierta. He who talks much is sometimes right.

Quien mucho habla, mucho yerra. Who talks much, errs much.

Quien no adoba gotera, adoba casa entera. He who does not repair his gutter has a whole house to repair.

Quien no alza un alfiler, no tiene en nada á su muger. He who does not pick up a pin cares nothing for his wife.

Quien no aprieta en vallejo, no aprieta en consejo. He who has no voice in the valley, will have none in the council.

Quien no castiga culito, no castiga culazo. He who does not whip the child does not mend the youth.

Quien no está enseñado á bragas, las costuras le hacen llagas. When a man is not used to breeches the seams gall him.


Quien no hace mas que otro, no vale mas que otro. He who does no more than another is no better than another.

Quien no miente, no viene de buena gente. He that does not lie, does not come of good blood.

Quien no parece, perece. He who does not show himself, is overlooked.

Quien no se aventura, no ha ventura. Who ventures nothing has no luck. (Nothing venture nothing have.)

Quien no te conoce te compre. Let him who does not know you buy you.

Quien no tiene mas de un sayo no puede prestarlo. He who has but one coat cannot lend it.

Quien no va á carava, no sabe nada. He who does not mix with the crowd knows nothing.

Quien ó A quien Dios no le dió hijos, el diablo le dió sobrinos. He to whom God gives no sons, the devil gives nephews.

Quien ó A quien no habla, no le oye Dios. He who does not speak, God does not hear.

Quien ó A quien pone los ojos en el suelo, no fies tu dinero. He who looks demurely trust not with your money.

Quien padre tiene alcalde, seguro va á juicio. He goes safely to trial whose father is a judge.

Quien peces quiere, mojarse tiene. He who wants to catch fish must not mind a wetting.

Quien pesca un pez, pescador es. He who catches one fish is a fisherman.

Quien poco sabe, presto lo reza. He who knows little soon tells it.

Quien presta, no cobra; y si cobra, no todo; y si todo, no tal; y si tal, enemigo mortal. Who lends recovers not; or if he recovers, recovers not all; or if all, not such; or if such, a mortal enemy.

Quien primero viene, primero muele. He who comes first grinds first.

Quien promete, en deuda se mete. He who promises incurs a debt.

Quien quando puede no quiere, quando quiere no puede. He that will not when he can, cannot when he will.

Quien quiere medrar, iglesia, ó mar, ó casa real. He who would thrive must follow the church, the sea, or the king’s service.


Quien quiere tomar, conviénele dar. He who would take must give.

Quien quiere vivir sano, la ropa de invierno traiga en verano. He that would be healthy must wear his winter clothes in summer.

Quien quisiere muger hermosa, el sabado la escoja. He that would have a beautiful wife should choose her on a Saturday.

Quien quisiere mula sin tacha, ándese á pie. He who wants a mule without fault must walk on foot.

Quien quisiere vivir sano, coma poco y cene temprano. He that would be healthy, must eat temperately, and sup early.

Quien quita la ocasion, quita el pecado. He who avoids the temptation avoids the sin.

Quien ramo pone, su vino quiere vender. He who hangs out a branch wants to sell his wine.

Quien se fia de amigo no fiel, buen testigo tiene contra el. He that trusts a faithless friend, has a good witness against him.

Quien se guarda, Dios le guarda. God helps him who helps himself.

Quien se muda, Dios le ayuda. He who reforms, God assists.

Quien siembra abrojos, no ande descalzo. He who sows brambles must not go barefoot.

Quien siempre me miente, nunca me engaña. He who always tells me a lie never cheats me.

Quien sirve al commun, sirve á ningun. He who helps everybody, helps nobody.

Quien sirve no es libre. He who serves is not free.

Quien solo come su gallo, solo ensille su caballo. He that eats his fowl alone may saddle his horse alone.

Quien su carro unta, sus bueyes ayuda. He who greases his cart-wheels helps his oxen.

Quien te cubre te descubre. That which covers thee discovers thee.

Quien te da el capon, dale la pierna y el alon. To him who gives the capon you may spare a leg and wing.

Quien te hace fiesta que no te suele hacer, ó te quiere engañar,[253] ó te ha menester. He that is more civil than usual, either wants to cozen you or has need of you.

Quien tiempo tiene y tiempo atiende, tiempo viene que se arrepiente. Who has time yet waits for time, comes to a time of repentance.

Quien tiene arte, va por toda parte. He who has a trade may travel through the world.

Quien tiene boca, no diga á otro, Sopla. Let him that has a mouth not say to another, Blow.

Quien tiene enemigos no duerma. He who has enemies, let him not sleep.

Quien tiene hijas para casar, tome vedijas para hilar. He who has daughters to marry, let him give them silk to spin.

Quien tiene quatro, y gasta cinco no ha menester bolsico. He who has got four and spends five, has no occasion for a purse.

Quien tiene tejado de vidrio, no tire piedras al de su vecino. He who has a glass roof should not throw stones at his neighbour’s.

Quien tiene una hora de espacio, no muere ahorcado. He that has an hour’s start will not be hanged.

Quien todo lo niega, todo lo confiesa. He who denies everything confesses everything.

Quien todo lo quiere, todo lo pierde. He who grasps all loses all.

Quien tras otro cabalga, no ensilla quando quiere. He who rides behind another does not saddle when he will.

Quien tuviere hijo varon, no llame á otro ladron. He who has a son grown up should not call another a thief.

Quien una vez hurta, fiel nunca. He who steals once is never trusty.

Quiéralo Dios, Matea, que este hijo nuestro sea. God grant, dear wife, that this son be ours.

Quieres buen mercado? Con el necio necesitado. Do you want to buy cheap? Buy of a needy fool.

Quieres hacer del ladron fiel? Fiate de el. If you would make a thief honest, trust him.

Quieres que te siga el can? Dale pan. If you would have the dog follow you, give him bread.

Quieres ver loba parida? Casa la hija. Do you want to see a[254] wolf with young (i. e. an insatiable plunderer)? Marry your daughter.

Qui escudella daltri espera, freda la menja. He who waits for another’s platter has a cold meal. (Catalan.)

Quitáron me el espejo por fea, y dieronlo á la ciega. They took away the mirror from me because I was ugly, and gave it to the blind woman.


Raposa que mucho tarda, caça aguarda. The fox that tarries long is on the watch for prey.

Raton que no sabe mas de un horado, presto le toma el gato. The rat that knows but one hole is soon caught by the cat.

Recebido ya el daño, atapar el horado. To stop the hole after the mischief is done.

Reniego de cuentas, con deudos y deudas. Curses on accounts with relations.

Reniego del amigo, que cubre con las alas y muerde con el pico. Avoid a friend who covers you with his wings and destroys you with his beak.

Resfriadas duelen mas las llagas. Wounds pain most when grown cool.

Rifaban los rocines del vidriero, y él mirando qual daba mejor coz al compañero. The glass-dealer’s horses fell out, and he looked on to see which kicked hardest.

Riñen las comadres y dicense las verdades. The gossips fall out and tell each other truths.

Rogar al santo hasta pasar del trance. To pray to the saint until the danger is past.

Ruego de grande fuerza es que te hace. A great man’s entreaty is a command.

Ruegos porque cante, y ruegos porque calle. Entreaties to get him to sing, and entreaties to leave off.

Ruego y derecho hacen el hecho. Entreaty and right do the deed.



Sabedlo, coles, que espinacas hay en la olla. Know, cabbages, that there is spinach in the stew.

Saberlo como su Paternoster. He knows it as well as his Lord’s Prayer.

Saca lo tuyo al mercado, y uno te dirá prieto y otro blanco. Tell your affairs in the market-place, and one will call them black and another white.

Sacar el ascua con mano agena. To take out a burning coal with another’s hand. (To make a cat’s paw of one.)

Sacar el pie del lodo. To draw the foot out of the mire.

Sacarlo de entre los cardos, sacároslo hemos de entre las manos. Pluck it from among the thistles, and we will take it off your hands.

Sacar un fuego con otro fuego. To quench fire with fire.

Sacar un pie del lodo, y meter otro. To take one foot out of the mire and put the other into it.

Sacar verdad por decir mentira. To discover truth by telling a falsehood.

Sacristan de amen. An amen clerk.

Salamon pasó por su puerta quando nació, mas no entró dentro. When he was born, Solomon passed by his door, and would not go in.

Salga pez, ó salga rana, á la capacha. Come fish, come frog, all goes into the basket. (All’s fish that comes to the net.)

Salir de un lodo y entrar en otro. To get out of one muck into another.

Salir del lodo, y caer en el arroyo. Out of the mire and into the brook. (Out of the frying-pan into the fire.)

Saltar de la sarten, y dar en las brasas. To jump out of the frying-pan and fall into the fire.

Salud y alegria belleza cria; atavio y afeito cuesta dinero y miente. Health and cheerfulness make beauty; finery and cosmetics cost money and lie.

Sal vertida, nunca bien cogida. Salt spilt is never all gathered.

Sanan cuchilladas, mas no malas palabras. Wounds from the knife are healed, but not those from the tongue.


Sanan llagas, y no malas palabras. Wounds heal, but not ill words.

Sangrarle y purgarle; si se muriere, enterrarle. Bleed him and purge him; if he dies, bury him.

Sea mi enemigo, y vaya á mi molino. Be my enemy and go to my mill.

Sease velado, y sease un palo. Let it be a husband, though it be but a log.

Seco y no de hambre mas recio es que alambre. A man that is lean, not from hunger, is harder than brass.

Señal mortal no quierer sanar. Not to wish to recover is a mortal symptom.

Ser alguno un caxon de sastre. To be like a tailor’s pattern-book.

Ser como el escudero de Guadalaxara, que de lo que dice de noche, no hay nada á la mañana. To be like the esquire of Guadalaxara, who knew nothing in the morning of what he said at night.

Ser como el puerro, tener la cabeza blanca, y lo demas verde. To be like a leek, have a grey head and the rest green.

Ser como piojo en costura. To be like a louse in a seam.

Ser como unas ortigas. To be like a bunch of nettles.

Ser el sastre del Campillo, que cosia de valde, y ponia el hilo. To be like the tailor of Campillo, who worked for nothing, and found thread.

Ser mercader mas va en el cobrar, que en el vender. To be a merchant, the art consists more in getting paid than in making sales.

Ser toda hoja sin fruto. All leaf and no fruit.

Si bien me quieres, Juan, tus obras me lo diran. If you love me, John, your acts will tell me so.

Si da el cántaro en la piedra, ó la piedra en el cántaro, mal para el cántaro. Whether the pitcher strike the stone, or the stone the pitcher, woe be to the pitcher.

Si de alguno te quieres vengar, has de callar. If you want to be revenged, hold your tongue.

Si el cielo se cae, pararle las manos. If the sky falls, hold up your hands.

Si el cielo se cae, quebrarse han las ollas. If the sky falls there will be pots broken.

Si el niño lloráre, acallelo su madre, y si no quisiere callar,[257] déxelo llorar. If the child cries let the mother hush it, and if it will not be hushed let it cry.

Siembra trigo en barrial, y pón viña en cascajal. Sow corn in clay, and plant vines in sand.

Siéntate en tu lugar, no te harán levantar. Seat yourself in your place and you will not be made to quit it.

Si esta pella á la pared no pega, á lo menos dexará señal. If this ball does not stick to the wall it will at least leave a mark.

Siete es convite, y nueve es convicio. Seven is company, and nine confusion. (Alluding to a dinner party.)

Siete hermanos en un consejo, de lo tuerto hacen derecho. Seven brothers in a council make wrong right.

Si la locura fuese dolores, en cada casa darian voces. If folly were a pain, there would be groaning in every house.

Si la piedra da en el cántaro, mal para el cántaro; y si el cántaro da en la piedra, mal para el cántaro. If the pitcher knocks against a stone, woe to the pitcher; and if the stone knocks against the pitcher, woe to the pitcher.

Si lo cena, no lo almuerza. If you eat it up at supper, you cannot have it at breakfast.

Si no va el otero á Mahoma, vaya Mahoma al otero. If the mountain will not go to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain.

Si quieres buena fama, no te dé el sol en la cama. If you would acquire fame, let not the sun shine on you in bed.

Si quieres dar de palos á tu muger, pídele al sol á beber. If you want to thrash your wife, ask her for a drink of water in the sun.

Si quieres enfermar, lavate la cabeza y vete á echar. If you want to be dead, wash your head and go to bed.

Si quieres ser bien servido, sírvete a tú mismo. If you wish to be well served, serve yourself.

Si quieres ver quanto vale un ducado, búscalo prestado. If you want to know what a ducat is worth, try to borrow one.

Sirve á señor, y sabrás que es dolor. Serve a lord and you’ll know what is grief.

Si secretos quieres saber, buscalos en el pesar ó en el placer. If you want to know secrets, seek for them in trouble or in pleasure.


Si se perdieron los anillos, aquí quedáron los dedillos. If the rings are lost, here are the fingers still.

Si soy bobo, meteme el dedo en la boca. If I am a fool, put your finger in my mouth.

Si tienes médico amigo, quitale la gorra y envialo á casa de tu enemigo. If you have a friend who is a doctor, make your bow and send him to the house of your enemy.

Si uno dos y tres te dicen que eres asno, ponte un rabo. If one, two, three say you are an ass, put on a tail.

Sobre brevas vino bebas. Drink wine upon figs.

Sobre gusto no ha disputa. There is no disputing about taste.

Sobre peras vino bebas, y sea tanto que naden ellas. After stuffing pears within, drink old wine until they swim.

Sobre un huevo pone la gallina. The hen lays upon an egg.

So el sayal, hay al. Under the sackcloth there is something hid.

Soltero, pavon; desposado, leon; casado, asno. Bachelor, a peacock; betrothed, a lion; married, an ass.

So mi manto al rey mando. Under my cloak I command the king.

Sopla, herrero, ganarás dinero. Blow, smith, and you’ll get money.

Soplar y sorber no puede junto ser. One cannot blow and swallow at the same time.

So vayna de oro cuchillo de plomo. Under a gold sheath a leaden knife.


Tan grande es el yerro como el que yerra. The fault is as great as he that commits it.

Tantas veces va el cántaro á la fuente, que dexa el asa ó la frente. The pitcher goes so often to the well, that it leaves its handle or its mouth.

Tanto es Pedro de Dios, que no le medra Dios. Peter is so godly that God does not improve his condition.

Tanto quiere el diablo á su hijo que le quiebra el ojo. The devil is so fond of his son that he put out his eye.

Tener á alguno en ascuas. To keep one upon hot coals.

Tener el pie en dos zapatos. To have the foot in two shoes.


Tener el seso en los calcañares. To have one’s brains in one’s heels.

Tener la barriga á la boca. To have the belly up to one’s mouth.

Tener pelos en el corazon. To have hairs on his heart. (Hard-hearted.)

Tirar coces contra el aguijon. To kick against the pricks.

Tirar la piedra y esconder la mano. To throw the stone and conceal the hand.

Todo camino vá á Roma. Every road leads to Rome.

Todo es nada lo de este mundo, si no se endereza al segundo. All things of this world are nothing, unless they have reference to the next.

Todo saldrá en la colada. It will all come out in the soapsuds.

Todos son buenos, y mi capa no parece. They are all honest men, but my cloak is not to be found.

Tomar la ocasion por los cabellos. To take opportunity by the forelock.

Tomar las calzas de Villadiego. To take Villadiego’s boots. (To take to your heels.)

Tonto, sin saber latin, nunca es gran tonto. A fool, unless he know Latin, is never a great fool.

Trabajar para el obispo. To work for the bishop. (Prayers, but no pay.)

Traerlo escrito en la frente. To have it written on his forehead.

Tragarse un camello, y no poder pasar un mosquito. To swallow a camel, and strain at a gnat.

Tramontana no tiene trigo, y el hombre pobre no tiene amigo. A north wind has no corn, and a poor man no friend.

Traspasa el rico las leyes, y es castigado el pobre. The rich man transgresses the law, and the poor man is punished.

Tras el vicio viene el fornicio. After one vice a greater follows.

Tras los dias viene el seso. Sense comes with age.

Tras pared ni tras seto, no digas en secreto. Do not tell your secrets behind a wall or a hedge.

Trasquilenme en la plaza, y no lo sepan en mi casa. They may whip me in the market-place, so it be not known at home.


Tres cosas matan al hombre, soles, cenas, y penas. Three things kill a man: a scorching sun, suppers, and cares.

Tres hijas y una madre, quatro diablos para el padre. Three daughters and their mother, four devils for the father.

Tripa llena, ni bien huye ni bien pelea. A full belly is neither good for flight, nor for fighting.

Tripas llevan corazon, que no corazon tripas. The bowels support the heart, and not the heart the bowels.

Triste es la casa, donde la gallina canta, y el gallo calla. It goes ill in the house where the hen sings and the cock is silent.

Tu dinero mudo, no lo descubras á ninguno. Discover not your silent money (i. e. your hoarded money) to anybody.


Una cautela con otra se quiebra. One knavery is met by another.

Una cosa piensa el vayo, y otra el que lo ensilla. The horse thinks one thing, and his rider another.

Una en el clavo y ciento en la herradura. One stroke on the nail and a hundred on the horseshoe.

Un agravio consentido, otro venido. One grievance borne, another follows.

Una golondrina no hace verano. One swallow does not make a summer.

Una mano lava la otra, y ambas la cara. One hand washes the other, and both the face.

Un amor saca otro. One love drives out another.

Un asno entre muchas monas, cocanle todas. One ass among many monkeys is grinned at by all.

Un cabello hace sombra en el suelo. A hair casts its shadow on the ground.

Un lobo no muerde á otro. One wolf does not bite another.

Un loco hace ciento. One fool makes a hundred.

Uno levanta la caza, y otro la mata. One starts the game and another bags it.

Uno ojo á la sarten y otro á la gata. One eye on the frying-pan and the other on the cat.

Unos tienen la fama, y otros cardan la lana. Some have the fame, and others card the wool.


Un puerco encenagado procura encenagar á otro. A bespattered hog tries to bespatter another.

Un ruin mientras mas lo ruegan mas se estiende. The more you court a clown the statelier he grows.

Un solo golpe no derriba á un roble. An oak is not felled at one blow.

Uso hace maestro. Practice makes perfect.


Vallestero que mal tira, presto tiene la mentira. The archer that shoots badly has a lie ready.

Van a misa los zapateros, ruegan a Dios que mueran carneros. Shoemakers go to mass and pray that sheep may die.

Vanse los gatos, y estiendense los ratos. When the cat’s away the rats will play.

Vaso malo nunca cae de mano. A crazy vessel never falls from the hand.

Vaya con Dios, que un pan me lleva. Go in God’s name, for he takes a loaf of mine.

Vende público y compra secreto. Sell publicly and buy privately.

Vender gato por liebre. To sell a cat for a hare.

Vender miel al colmenero. To sell honey to the beekeeper.

Ventura te dé Dios, hijo, que saber poco te basta. God give you luck, my son, for little wit must serve your turn.

Ver el cielo por un embudo. To see the sky through a funnel.

Ver, oir y callar. See, hear, and hold your tongue.

Verse alguno en calzas prietas. To find oneself in tight breeches. (Ill at ease—we say in tight boots.)

Viejo como la sarna. As old as the itch.

Viene ventura á quien la procura. Luck comes to those who look after it.

Viento y ventura poco dura. Wind and good luck are seldom lasting.

Vino acedo, y tocino añejo, y pan de centeno, sostienen la casa en peso. Sour wine, old bacon, and rye bread keep a house rich.

Vino que es bueno no ha menester pregonero. Good wine needs no crier.


Viuda lozana, ó casada, ó sepultada, ó emparedada. A buxom widow must be married, buried, or cloistered.

Viva quien vence. Long life to the conqueror.

Vos doña, yo doña, quien botara á porca fora. You a lady, I a lady, who is to put the sow out of doors? (Galician.)

Voz del pueblo es voz de Dios. The voice of the people is the voice of God.


Xabonar cabeza de asno, perdimiento de xabon. To lather an ass’s head is only wasting soap.


Yerba mala no le empece la helada. Ill weeds are not hurt by the frost.

Yo como tú y tú como yo, el diablo te me dió. I am like you and you like me, the devil united us.

Yo dueña y vos doncella, quien barrerá la casa? I mistress and you miss, who is to sweep the house?

Yo duro y vos duro, quien llevará lo maduro. I stubborn and you stubborn, who is to carry the load?

Yo molondron, tu molondrona, cásate conmigo, Antonia. I a lazy lout, you a lazy lout, marry me, Antonia.

Yo sé que me sé, mas de esto callar me he. I know what I know, but will say nothing about it.


Zapatero, á tu zapato. Shoemaker, stick to your last.

Zorro en zorrera el humo lo echa fuera. When a fox is in his hole, the smoke fetches him out.

Zurrar á uno la badana. To thrash one’s jacket.




A adem, a mulher, e a cabra, he má cousa sendo magra. A goose, a woman, and a goat, are bad things lean.

A agoa o dá, a agoa o leva. What water gives, water takes away.

A agoa tudo lava. Water washes everything.

A amigo naõ encubras teu segredo, que darás causa a perdelo. Conceal not your secret from your friend, or you deserve to lose him.

A apressada pergunta, vagarosa resposta. To a hasty question a leisurely answer.

Abaixaõ-se as cadeiras, levantaõ-se as tripeças. Chairs sink and stools rise.

Abaixaõ-se os muros, levantaõ-se os monturos. Walls sink and dunghills rise.

A besta comedeira pedras, na cevadeira. For a voracious beast pebbles in his feed.

A besta que muito anda, nunca falta quem tanja. The beast that goes well never wants a rider to try its paces.

A boca naõ admitte fiador. The belly does not accept bail.

A boi velho naõ cates abrigo. You need not find a shelter for an old ox.

Abraçou-se o asno com a ameixieira, e acharaõ-se parentes. The ass embraced the thistle, and they found themselves relations.

Abre tua bolsa, abrirei a minha boca. Open your purse, and I will open my mouth.

A cabra de minha visinha, mais leite dá que a minha. My neighbour’s goat gives more milk than mine.

A caõ mordido todos o mordem. All bite the bitten dog.


A carne de lobo dente de caõ. To wolf’s flesh dog’s teeth.

A casa do amigo rico irás sendo requerido, e a casa do necessitado sem ser chamado. Go to your rich friend’s house when invited; to your poor friend’s without invitation.

Accommodar o pé ao sapato, e naõ o sapato ao pé. Fit the foot to the shoe, not the shoe to the foot.

Acenai ao discreto, dai-o por feito. Give a hint to the man of sense, and consider the thing done. (A word to the wise is enough.)

Achaques ao odre, que sabe ao pez. The wine-skin has its reasons for smelling of pitch.

A chave na cinta faz a mim boa, e á minha visinha. The key at the girdle keeps me good and my neighbour too.

Achou o cego hum dinheiro. The blind man has picked up a coin.

Acompanha com os bons, e séras hum delles. Keep good company and you shall be of the number.

A dor de cabeça minha, e as vaccas nossas. The headache is mine and the cows are ours.

A espada e o annel, segundo a maõ em que estiver. The sword and the ring according to the hand that bears them.

A falta do amigo ha de se conhecer, mas naõ aborrecer. A friend’s fault should be known but not abhorred.

A gallinha aparta-lhe o ninho, e pôr-te-ha o ovo. Prepare a nest for the hen and she will lay eggs for you.

A gente pobre moeda miuda. For poor people small coin.

Agoa molle em pedra dura, tanto dá, até que fura. Soft water constantly striking the hard stone, wears it at last.

Agoa salobra na terra secca he doce. Brackish water is sweet in a drought.

A homem ventureiro a filha lhe nasce primeiro. The lucky man has a daughter for his firstborn.

Ainda nao sellamos, ja cavalgamos. We have not saddled and yet we are riding.

Ainda que a garça voe alta, o falcaõ a mata. Though the heron flies high the falcon kills it.

Ainda que somos negros, gente somos, e alma temos. Though we are negroes, we are men, and have souls.

Ainda que teu sabujo he manso, naõ o mordas no beiço. Though your mastiff be gentle, do not bite his lip.


Alcança quem naõ cança. Who faints not, achieves.

Alfaiate mal vestido, sapateiro mal calçado. The tailor ill-dressed, the shoemaker ill-shod.

Alchimia he provada, ter renda, e naõ gastar nada. It is approved alchemy to have an income and spend nothing.

A lingua longa he sinal de maõ curta. A long tongue betokens a short hand.

A má lingua, tesoura. For a bad tongue scissors.

A máo bácoro, boa lande. To the lean pig a fat acorn.

Amar, e saber naõ póde ser. To love and be wise is incompatible.

Ama-se a traiçaõ, aborrece-se o traidor. The treason approved, the traitor abhorred.

A má visinha dá a agulha sem linha. The bad neighbour gives a needle without thread.

Ameaça muitos, quem affronta hum. He threatens many who affronts one.

Amigo de bom tempo, muda-se com o vento. A fair-weather friend changes with the wind.

Amigo de todos, e de nenhum, tudo he hum. Everybody’s friend or nobody’s friend, is all one.

Amigo quebrado soldará, mas naõ sarará. Broken friendship may be soldered but can never be made sound.

Amigos e mulas fallecem a duras. Friends and mules fail us at hard passes.

A mingoa de paõ, boas saõ tortas. In default of bread, meal cakes are good.

A molher, e a gallinha por andar se perde asinha. A woman and a hen are soon lost through gadding.

A molher, e a ovelha com cedo a cortelha. Your wife and sheep early at home.

A molher, e o vidro, sempre estaõ em perigo. Women and glass are always in danger.

Amor, e senhoria, naõ quer companhia. Love and lordship like not fellowship.

Amor louco, eu por ti, e tu por outro. Mad love, I for you and you for another.

Amor naõ tem lei. Love has no law.

A mórtos, e a idos, naõ ha amigos. The dead and the absent have no friends.


A mouro morto, graõ lançada. A great thrust of a lance at a dead Moor.

A muita cautela, damno naõ causa. Much caution does no harm.

A muita cera queima a igreja. Too much wax burns the church.

A muita conversaçaõ he causa de menos preço. Too much familiarity breeds contempt.

Andando ganha a azenha, e naõ estando queda. By going gains the mill, and not by standing still.

Ande eu quente, ria-se a gente. Let me go warm and folk may laugh.

Antes a lãa se perca, que a ovelha. Rather lose the wool than the sheep.

Antes com bons a furtar, que com máos a orar. Rather go rob with good men than pray with bad.

Antes morto por ladrões, que por couce de asno. Better be killed by robbers than by the kick of an ass.

Antes que cases, vê o que fazes, porque naõ he nó que desates. Before you marry reflect, for it is a knot you cannot untie.

Ao agradecido, mais do pedido. Give a grateful man more than he asks.

Ao homem ousado a fortuna lhe dá a maõ. To the bold man Fortune holds out her hand.

Ao inimigo, que te vira a espalda, ponte de prata. Make a silver bridge for a flying enemy.

Ao invejoso emmagrece-lhe o rosto, e incha-lhe o olho. The envious man’s face grows lean and his eye swells.

Aonde hirá o boi, que naõ lavre, pois que sabe? Where shall the ox go bid he must labour, since he knows how?

Ao que faz mal, nunca lhe faltaõ achaques. He that does ill never wants for excuses.

Ao Rey pertence usar de franqueza, pois tem por certo naõ cahir em pobreza. It befits the king to be liberal, for he is sure of never falling into poverty.

Aos parvos apparecem os santos. Saints appear to fools.

A outro perro com esse osso. Throw that bone to another dog.

A paõ duro, dente agudo. A sharp tooth for hard bread.


A pedra, e a palavra naõ se recolhe depois de deitada. A word and a stone once let go cannot be recalled.

A perda, que teu visinho naõ sabe, naõ he perda na verdade. The loss which your neighbour does not know is no real loss.

A pouco paõ, tomar primeiro. Where there is little bread, cut first.

Aquella ave he má, que em seu ninho suja. It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest.

Aquella he bem casada, que naõ tem sogra, nem cunhada. She is well married who has neither mother-in-law nor sister-in-law.

Aquelle he teu amigo, que te tira do arroido. He is your friend who gets you out of a scrape.

Aquelles saõ ricos, que tem amigos. They are rich who have friends.

A quem dizes tua puridade, dás tua liberdade. Where you tell your secret you surrender your freedom.

A raposa dormida, naõ lhe cahe nada da boca. Nothing falls into the mouth of a sleeping fox.

Arrenego de grilhões, ainda que sejaõ de ouro. I hate fetters though they be of gold.

Arrenego de tigelhina de ouro, em que hei de cuspir sangue I renounce the golden basin in which I have to spit blood.

Arrenego do amigo que come o meu comigo, e o seu comsigo. I renounce the friend who eats what is mine with me, and what is his own by himself.

Arrufos de namorados saõ amores dobrados. Lovers’ quarrels are love redoubled.

As molheres, onde estaõ, sobejaõ, e onde naõ estaõ, faltaõ. Women are supernumerary when present, and missed when absent.

Asno contente vive eternamente. A contented ass enjoys a long life.

Asno de muitos, lobos o comem. The ass of many owners is eaten by wolves.

Asno máo, junto de casa corre sem páo. A dull ass near home trots without the stick.

Asno morto, cevada ao rabo. The ass dead, the corn at his tail.


Asno, que entra em deveza alhea, sahirá carregado de lenhá. The ass that trespasses on a stranger’s premises will leave them laden with wood (i. e. cudgelled).

Asno, que tem fome, cardos come. The ass that is hungry eats thistles.

As paredes tem ouvidos. Walls have ears.

Assaz caro compra, quem roga. He buys very dear who begs.

As sopas, e os amores, os primeiros saõ os melhores. Of soup and love, the first is the best.

As tripas estejaõ cheias, que ellas levaraõ as pernas. Let the guts be full, for it is they that carry the legs.

Até á morte, pé forte. Foot firm till death.

A teu amigo dize-lhe mentira, se te guarda puridade, dize-lhe verdade. Tell your friend a lie; if he keeps it secret tell him the truth.

A teu amigo ganha-lhe hum jogo, e bebe-o logo. Win a bet of your friend, and drink it on the spot.

A torto e a direito, nossa casa até ao tecto. Right or wrong, our house up to the roof.

A verdade, e o azeite andaõ de cima. Truth, and oil come to the surface.

A viuva rica, com hum olho chora, e com outro repica. A rich widow weeps with one eye and laughs with the other.

Azeite, vinho e amigo, o mais antigo. Of oil, wine, and friends, the oldest.


Bácoro fiado, bom inverno, e máo veraõ. A pig on credit makes a good winter and a bad spring.

Barba remolhada, meia rapada. A beard lathered is half shaved.

Barriga quente, pé dormente. The belly warm, the foot at rest.

Beijo-te, bóde, porque has de ser odre. I kiss thee hide, because thou art to be a wine-bag.

Bem ama, quem nunca se esquece. He loves well who never forgets.

Bem canta Martha, depois de farta. Martha sings well when she has had her fill.


Bem canta o Francez, papo molhado. The Frenchman sings well, when his throat is moistened.

Bem cheira a ganancia, donde quer que vem. Gain has a pleasant odour, come whence it will.

Bem estou com meu amigo, que come o seu paõ comigo. I am on good terms with the friend who eats his bread with me.

Bem parece o ladraõ na forca. The thief becomes the gallows well.

Bem perdido, he conhecido. A good thing is known when it is lost.

Bem sabe o asno, em cuja casa rosna. The ass well knows in whose house he brays.

Bem sabe o gato, cujas barbas lambe. The cat well knows whose beard she licks.

Bem toucada naõ ha mulher feia. No woman is ugly if she is well dressed.

Bésteiro que mal atira prestes tem a mentira. The archer that shoots badly has a lie ready.

Bezerrinha mansa todas as vaccas mamma. The gentle calf sucks all the cows.

Boa he atardança, que assegura. Good is the delay which makes sure.

Boa meza, máo testamento. Good table, bad will.

Boas palavras, e máos feitos, enganaõ sisudos, e nescios. Good words and bad acts deceive both wise and simple.

Boca de mel, coraçaõ de fel. Mouth of honey, heart of gall.

Bocado comido naõ ganha amigo. A morsel eaten gains no friend.

Boca fechada, tira-me de baralha. A shut mouth keeps me out of strife.

Boca que diz sim, diz naõ. The mouth that says “Yes,” can say “No.”

Bole com o rabo o caõ, naõ por ti, senaõ pelo paõ. The dog wags his tail for your bread, not for you.

Bolsa vasia, e casa acabada, faz o homem sisudo, mas tarde. An empty purse, and a finished house, make a man wise, but too late.

Bom amigo he o gato, senaõ que arranha. The cat is a good friend, only she scratches.


Bom coraçaõ quebranta má ventura. A stout heart breaks ill fortune.

Bom entendedor, poucas palavras. A word to the wise.

Bom principio, he ametade. Well begun is half done.

Bom saber he calar, até ser tempo de fallar. It is well to know how to be silent till it is time to speak.

Bons, e máos mantem cidade. Good and bad make up a city.

Bons costumes, e muito dinheiro, faraõ a meu filho cavalleiro. Good manners and plenty of money will make my son a gentleman.

Boy que me escornou, em boa parte me deitou. The ox that tossed me threw me into a good place.

Boy velho, rego direito. An old ox makes a straight furrow.

Brincai com o asno, dar-vos-ha na barba com o rabo. Play with an ass, and he will slap your face with his tail.


Cabra manca naõ tem sésta. The lame goat does not take a siesta.

Cacarear, e naõ pôr ovo. To cackle and lay no egg.

Cada bofarinheiro louva seus alfinetes. Every pedlar praises his needles.

Cada cabello faz sua sombra na terra. Every hair casts its shadow.

Cada carneiro por seu pé pende. Let every sheep hang by its own leg.

Cada cousa a seu tempo. Everything has its time.

Cada cuba cheira ao vinho, que tem. Every cask smells of the wine it contains.

Cada dia tres, e quatro, chegarás ao fundo do sacco. Three or four daily will bring you to the bottom of the sack.

Cada formiga tem sua ira. Every ant has its ire.

Cada hum canta como tem graça, e casa como tem ventura. Every one sings as he has the gift, and marries as he has the luck.

Cada hum colhe, segundo semea. Every one reaps as he sows.

Cada hum em sua casa he Rei. Every one is a king in his own house.


Cada hum estenda a perna até onde tem a cuberta. Every one stretches his leg according to his coverlet.

Cada hum falla como quem he. Every one speaks as he is.

Cada hum falla da festa, como lhe vai nella. Every one speaks of the feast as he finds it.

Cada hum se contente com o que Deos lhe dá. Let every one be content with what God has given him.

Cada hum trate de si, e deixe os outros. Let every man mind his own business, and leave others to theirs.

Cada hum veja o paõ, que lhe ha de abastar. Let every man look to the bread upon which he must depend.

Cada mosca faz sua sombra. Every fly has its shadow.

Cada porco tem seu S. Martinho. Every pig has its Martinmas.

Cada qual com seu igual. Every one to his equal.

Cada qual em seu officio. Every man to his trade.

Cada qual por si, e Deos por todos. Every one for himself, and God for us all.

Cada qual sabe para seu proveito. Every one is wise for his own profit.

Cada qual sente o seu mal. Every one knows where his own shoe pinches him.

Cada terra com seu uso, cada roca com seu fuso. Every land its own custom, every wheel its own spindle.

Cahir da certã na braza. Out of the frying-pan into the fire.

Cale o que deo, e falle o que recebeo. Let the giver be silent and the receiver speak.

Caminha pela estrada, acharás pousada. Follow the road and you will reach an inn.

Canta Marta depois de farta. Martha sings well when she has had her fill.

Cantaro que vai muitas vezes á fonte, ou deixa a aza, ou a fronte. The pitcher that goes often to the well leaves its handle or its spout there.

Caõ de palheiro nem come, nem deixa comer. A dog in the manger, that neither eats nor lets others eat.

Caõ que lobos mata, lobos o mataõ. The dog that kills wolves, is killed by wolves.

Caõ que muito ladra, nunca bom para a caça. The dog that barks much is never good for hunting.


Caõ que naõ ladra, guarda delle. Beware of the dog that does not bark.

Caõ que muito ladra, pouco morde. The dog that barks much, bites little.

Capaõ de oito mezes, para a meza de Reis. A capon eight months old is fit for a king’s table.

Carne magra de porco gordo. Lean meat from a fat pig.

Casar, casar, e que do governo. Marry, marry, and what about the housekeeping.

Casar, casar, soa bem, e sabe mal. Marry, marry, sounds well but tastes ill.

Casa o filho quando quizeres, e a filha quando puveres. Marry your son when you please, your daughter when you can.

Casarás, e amansarás. Marry, and grow tame.

Castiga o bom, melhorará; castiga o máo, peorará. Chastise the good man, he will grow better; chastise the bad, and he will grow worse.

Cavallo formoso de potro sarnoso. A ragged colt may make a handsome horse.

Cavallo, que voa, naõ quer espóra. A fast horse does not want the spur.

Cerra tua porta, farás tua visinha boa. Shut your door, and you will make your neighbour good.

Cesteiro que faz hum cesto, fara cento. He who makes one basket can make a hundred.

Chover no molhado. To rain upon the wet.

Cobra boa fama, e deita-te a dormir. Get a good name and go to sleep.

Com agoas passadas naõ moe o moinho. The mill does not grind with water that is past.

Coma o máo bocado, quem comeo o bom. Let him eat the tough morsel who eat the tender.

Come com elle, e guarte delle. Eat with him, and beware of him.

Come do teu, e chama-te meu. Eat of your own, and call yourself mine (i. e. Be my servant and find yourself).

Como criaste tantos filhos? Querendo mais aos mais pequeninos. How did you rear so many children? By being fondest of the little ones.


Como me tangerem, assim bailarei. As they pipe to me, I will dance.

Conta de perto, amigo de longe. Short reckonings make long friends.

Contas na maõ, e o demonio no coraçaõ. Rosary in hand, the devil at heart.

Coraçaõ determinado, naõ soffre conselho. A resolute heart endures no counsel.

Coraçaõ partido, sempre combatido. Faintheart is always in danger.

Coraçaõ sem arte, naõ cuida maldade. An innocent heart suspects no guile.

Corpo bem feito naõ ha mester capa. A well-formed figure needs no cloak.

Corvos a corvos naõ se tiraõ os olhos. Crows do not peck out crows’ eyes.

Couces de egoa, amores para rocim. The mare’s kicks are caresses to the colt.

Cuidando donde vás, te esqueces donde vens. Thinking of where you are going, you forget whence you came.

Cuidar muitas cousas, fazer huma. Think of many things, do one.

Cuidar naõ he saber. Thinking is not knowing.

Curtas tem as pernas a mentira. A lie has short legs.

Cutelo máo corta o dedo, e naõ corta o páo. A bad knife cuts one’s finger instead of the stick.


Dá Deos a roupa segundo he o frio. God gives clothes according to the cold.

Dá Deos nozes a quem naõ tem dentes. God has given nuts to one who has no teeth.

Dádivas quebrantaõ penhas. Gifts break rocks.

Dai-me dinheiro, naõ me deis conselho. Give me money, not advice.

Dai-mo pobre, dar-vo-lo-hei lisonjeiro. Show me a poor man, I will show you a flatterer.

Da ma molher te guarda, e da boa naõ fies nada. Beware of a bad woman, and put no trust in a good one.


Da maõ a boca se perde a sopa. Between the hand and the mouth the soup is lost. (Between the hand and the lip the morsel may slip.)

Darei a vida, e alma, mas naõ a albarda. My life and soul at your service, but not the pack-saddle.

Dar he honra, e pedir deshonra. To give is honour, to beg is dishonour.

Debaixo de boa palavra, ahi está o engano. Under fair words beware of fraud.

Debaixo de huma ruim capa jaz hum bom bebedor. Under a shabby cloak may be a smart drinker.

Debaixo do sahal, ha al. Under the sackcloth there is something else.

De bons propositos está o inferno cheio. Hell is paved with good intentions.

De casa do gato, naõ vai o rato farto. The rat does not leave the cat’s house with a bellyful.

De casta lhe vem ao galgo ter o rabo longo. It is the nature of the greyhound to carry a long tail.

Dedo de espada, e palmo de lança, he grã vantagem. A finger’s length in a sword, and a palm in a lance, are a great advantage.

De ferreiro a ferreiro naõ passa dinheiro. Between smith and smith no money passes.

De grande rio, grande peixe. From great rivers come great fish.

Deita-te sem cea, amanhecerás sem divida. Go to bed without supper, you will rise without debt.

Deita-te tarde, levanta-te cedo, veras teu mal, e o alheio. Go to bed late, rise early, you will see your own harm and that of others.

Deixar fazer a Deos, que he santo velho. He is an old saint, and may leave it in the hands of God.

De máo ninho naõ cries passarinho. Do not rear a bird of a bad breed.

De noite todos os gatos saõ pardos. At night all cats are grey.

Deos ajuda aos que trabalhaõ. God helps those that help themselves.

Deos consente, mas naõ sempre. God permits, but not for ever.


Deos he o que sara, e o mestre leva a prata. God heals, and the doctor gets the money.

Deos me dé contenda con quem me entenda. God grant me to dispute with those who understand me.

De pai santo, filho diabo. The father a saint, the son a devil.

Depois de rapar, naõ he que tosquiar. After shaving there’s nothing to shear.

Depois de vindimas, cavanejos. Baskets after the vintage.

De porta cerrada, o diabo se torna. From a closed door the devil turns away.

De rabo de porco, nunca bom virote. You can’t make a good shaft of a pig’s tail.

De ruim a ruim, quem acommette vence. Of two cowards, the one who attacks conquers the other.

Despreza teu inimigo, serás logo vencido. Despise your enemy and you will soon be beaten.

Dinheiro emprestaste, inimigo ganhaste. Money lent, an enemy made.

Dinheiro faz batalha, e naõ braço largo. Money wins the battle, not the long arm.

Dinheiro he a medida de todas as cousas. Money is the measure of all things.

Dize ao amigo teu segredo, e por-te-ha o pé no pescoço. Tell your friend your secret, and he will set his foot on your neck.

Dizei-lhe que he formosa, e tornar-se-ha douda. Tell her she is handsome, and you will turn her brain.

Dize-me com quem andas, dirte-hei que manhas has. Tell me with whom thou goest, and I’ll tell thee what thou doest.

Dizem os filhos ao soalheiro, o que ouvem dizer ao fumeiro. Children tell in the highway what they hear by the fireside.

Do bom, bom penhor, e do máo, nenhum penhor nem fiador. Of the good man a good pledge, and of the bad neither pledge nor surety.

Doce he a guerra, para quem naõ andou nella. War is sweet to him who does not go to it.

Do contado come o lobo. The wolf eats of what is counted.

Do fogo te guardarás, e do máo homem naõ poderás. You[276] may keep yourself safe from fire, but not from a bad man.

Do mal o menos. Of evils, choose the least.

Donde fogo naõ ha, fumo naõ se levanta. Where there’s no fire there’s no smoke.

Donde foste pagem, naõ serás escudeiro. Where you were a page, be not an esquire.

Donde tiraõ, e naõ põem, cedo chegaõ ao fundo. Taking out without putting in, soon comes to the bottom.

Donde vas, mal? Onde ha mais mal. Whither goest thou, Misfortune? To where there is more.

Dôr de mulher morta, dura até a porta. Grief for a dead wife lasts to the door.

Do soldado que naõ tem capa, guarda a tua na arca. From the soldier who has no cloak, keep your own in your chest.

Duas aves de rapina naõ se guardaõ companhia. Birds of prey do not flock together.

Duro com duro naõ faz bom muro. Hard upon hard does not make a good wall.


Egoa cançada prado acha. The tired mare goes willingly to grass.

Elle tem cabeça, pois tambem hum alfinete a tem. He has a head, and so has a pin.

Em boca cerrada, naõ entra mosca. No flies get into a shut mouth.

Em bons dias, boas obras. The better day the better deed.

Em casa do ladraõ, naõ lembrar baraço. Never mention a rope in the house of a thief.

Emprestaste, e naõ cobraste; e se cobraste, naõ tanto; e se tanto, naõ tal; e se tal, inimigo mortal. You have lent and not recovered; and if recovered, not so much; and if so much, not such; and if such, a mortal enemy.

Em quanto ha vida, ha esperança. While there is life there is hope.

Em quanto a grande se abaixa, a pequena varre a casa. Whilst the tall maid is stooping, the little one sweeps the house.


Engana-me no preço, e naõ no que mereço. Cheat me in price, and not in the goods.

Ensaboar a cabeça do asno, perda do sabão. To lather an ass’s head is a waste of soap.

Entrar por hum ouvido, e sahir pello outro. In at one ear and out at the other.

Erva má, naõ lhe empece a geada. Ill weeds are not hurt by frost.

Estar como o peixe n’agoa. To be like a fish in the water. (To live in clover.)

Este hé meu amigo, que móe no meu moinho. He is my friend who grinds at my mill.


Fallai no lobo ver-lhe-heis a pelle. Talk of the wolf and behold his skin.

Falla pouco, e bem, ter-te-haõ por alguem. Speak little and well, they will think you somebody.

Fallar, fallar, naõ enche barriga. Fine words don’t fill the belly.

Fardel de pedinte nunca he cheio. A beggar’s wallet is never full.

Faze a teu filho teu herdeiro, e naõ teu dispenseiro. Make your son your heir and not your steward.

Faze boa farinha, e naõ toques bosina. Make good flour and you need no trumpet. (So: Good wine needs no bush.)

Faze bem, naõ cates a quem. Do good and care not to whom.

Faze da noite, noite, e do dia, dia; viveras com alegria. Make the night night, and the day day, and you will live pleasantly.

Fazei-vos mel, comer-vos-haõ as moscas. Make yourself honey and the flies will eat you.

Faze mal, e espera outro tal. Do ill, and expect the like.

Fazenda herdada he menos estimada. An estate inherited is the less valued.

Fazer conta sem a hospeda. To reckon without one’s hostess.

Fazer de huma pulga hum cavalleiro armado. To make of a flea a knight cap-a-pie.


Faze-te morto, deixar-te-ha o touro. Feign death and the bull will leave you.

Feita a lei, cuidada a malicia. The law devised, its evasion contrived.

Ferro, que naõ se usa, enche-se de ferrugem. Iron that is not used soon rusts.

Fiandeira, fiai manso, que me estorvais, que estou rezando. Spinner, spin softly, you disturb me; I am praying.

Filhos casados, cuidados dobrados. Children married, cares increased.

Fome, e frio mette a pessoa com seu inimigo. Hunger and cold surrender a man to his enemy.

Fugir do fumo, e cahir no fogo. To get out of the smoke and fall into the fire.

Fugir do lodo, e cahir no arroio. To get out of the mire and fall into the river.

Fui para me benzer, e quebrei hum olho. I meant to cross myself and put out one of my eyes.

Furtar o carneiro, e dar os pés pelo amor de Deos. To steal a sheep and give away the trotters for God’s sake.


Galgo, compra-lo, e naõ cria-lo. Buy your greyhound, don’t rear him.

Galgo que muitas lebres levanta, nenhuma mata. The greyhound that starts many hares kills none.

Gallinha, que em casa fica, sempre pica. The hen that stays at home picks up the crumbs.

Gallo bom nunca foi gordo. A good cock was never fat.

Gato escaldado da agoa fria há medo. A scalded cat dreads cold water.

Graõ a graõ enche a gallinha o papo. Grain by grain the hen fills her crop.

Guai do filho, que o pai vai ao paraiso. Alas for the son whose father went to heaven.

Guardou-se da mosca, e comeo a aranha. He avoided the fly and swallowed the spider.

Guarte do homem que naõ falla, e do caõ, que naõ ladra. Beware[279] of a man that does not talk, and of a dog that does not bark.

Guerra, caça, e amores, por hum prazer cem dores. In war, hunting, and love, for one pleasure a hundred pains.


Ha males, que vem por bem. There are ills that happen for good.

Hir-se-haõ os hospedes, comeremos o pato. The guests will go away, and we will eat the pasty.

Homem apaixonado, naõ admitte conselho. An angry man heeds no counsel.

Homem apercebido, meio combatido. He who is well prepared has half won the battle.

Homem atrevido, odre de bom vinho, e vaso de vidro pouco duraõ. A rash man, a skin of good wine, and a glass vessel, do not last long.

Homem de bem, tem palavra, como Rei. An honest man’s word is as good as the king’s.

Homem de palha val mais, que mulher de ouro. A man of straw is better than a woman of gold.

Homem de teu officio, teu inimigo. The man of your own trade is your enemy.

Homem farto, naõ he comedor. A full man is no eater.

Homem morto, naõ falla. A dead man does not speak. (Dead men tell no tales.)

Homem nescio, dá ás vezes bom conselho. Fools sometimes give wise men counsel.

Homem pobre, depois de comer ha fome. A poor man is hungry after eating.

Homem põe, e Deos dispõe. Man proposes, and God disposes.

Honra ao bom, para que te honre, e ao máo, para que te naõ deshonre. Honour a good man that he may honour you, and a bad man that he may not dishonour you.

Honra e proveito naõ cabem em hum sacco. Honour and profit will not keep in one sack.

Hospeda formosa damno faz á bolsa. A handsome hostess is bad for the purse.


Huma desgraça alcança outra. One misfortune brings on another.

Hum aggravo consentido, outro vindo. One wrong submitted to, another follows.

Huma maõ lava a outra, e ambas o rosto. One hand washes the other, and both the face.

Hum doudo fará cento. One fool makes a hundred.

Hum graõ naõ enche o celleiro, mas ajuda a seu companheiro. One grain does not fill the granary, but it helps its companion.


Ira de irmaõs, ira de diabos. The wrath of brothers is the wrath of devils.


Ladre-me o caõ, naõ me morda. Let the dog bark at me, so he don’t bite me.

Lá vai a lingua, onde o dente grita. The tongue goes to the aching tooth.

Lá vaõ leis, onde querem cruzados. Laws go where dollars please.

Levantar a lebre, para que outrem medre. To start the hare for another’s profit.

Levar agoa ao mar. To carry water to the sea.

Lobo faminto naõ tem assento. A hungry wolf is not at rest.

Longe da vista, longe do coraçaõ. Out of sight, out of mind.


Madruga, e verás; trabalha, e terás. Rise early, and you will observe; labour, and you will have.

Mãi aguçosa, filha preguiçosa. A bustling mother makes a slothful daughter.

Mãi, casai-me logo, que se me arruga o rosto. Marry me forthwith, mother, for my face is growing wrinkled.


Mãi, que cousa he casar? Filha, fiar, parir, e chorar. What is marriage, mother? Daughter, it is spinning, bearing children, and weeping.

Mais abranda o dinheiro, que palavra de cavalleiro. Money soothes more than the words of a cavalier.

Mais apaga boa palavra, que caldeira de agua. A good word quenches more than a cauldron of water.

Mais asinha se toma hum mentiroso, que hum coxo. A liar is sooner caught than a cripple.

Mais barato he o comprado, que o pedido. What is bought is cheaper than a gift.

Mais descobre huma hora de jogo, que hum anno de conversaçaõ. An hour of play discovers more than a year of conversation.

Mais faz quem quer, que quem pode. He that will, does more than he that can.

Mais quero asno que me leve, que cavallo que me derrube. Better an ass that carries me than a horse that throws me.

Mais quero para meus dentes, que para meus parentes. I want more for my teeth than for my relations.

Mais val arrodear, que afogar. Better go round than be drowned.

Mais val ás vezes favor, que justiça, nem razaõ. Favour oft avails more than justice or reason.

Mais val bem de longe, que mal de perto. Better a distant good than a near evil.

Mais val boa regra, que boa renda. Good management is better than good income.

Mais val callar, que mal fallar. Better be silent than speak ill.

Mais valem amigos na praça, que dinheiro na arca. Better have friends in the market-place than money in your coffer.

Mais val ganhar no lodo, que perder no ouro. Better gain in mud than lose in gold.

Mais val guardar, que pedir. Better keep, than have to beg.

Mais val hum passaro na maõ, que dous que vaõ voando. One bird in the hand is worth two flying.

Mais val hum toma, que dous te darei. Better is one “Take this,” than two “I-will-give-you.”


Mais val merecer honra, e naõ a ter, que tendo-a, naõ a merecer. Better deserve honour and not have it, than have it and not deserve it.

Mais val perder, que mais perder. Better lose than lose more.

Mais val ruim asno, que ser asno. Better have a had ass than be your own ass.

Mais val salto de mata, que rogos de homens bons. Better is a leap over the ditch than the entreaties of good men.

Mais val só, que mal accompanhado. Better alone than in bad company.

Mais val tarde, que nunca. Better late than never.

Mais vém dous olhos, que hum. Two eyes see more than one.

Mais vém quatro olhos, que dous. Four eyes see more than two.

Mal alheio naõ cura minha dor. Another’s misfortune does not cure my pain.

Mal haja o ventre, que do paõ comido se esquece. Ill befal the belly that forgets eaten bread.

Malhar no ferro em quanto está quente. Strike while the iron is hot.

Mal me querem minhas comadres, porque lhes digo as verdades. My gossips don’t like me because I tell them truths.

Mal vai á casa, onde a roca manda à espada. It fares ill with the house when the distaff commands the sword.

Mal vai ao passarinho na maõ do menino. Ill fares the young bird in the urchin’s hand.

Manda, e descuida, naõ se fará cousa nenhuma. Give orders, and do no more, and nothing will be done.

Manda, e faze-o, tirar-te-ha cuidado. Give orders, and do it yourself, and you will be rid of anxiety.

Manda o amo ao moço, o moço ao gato, e o gato ao rabo. The master orders the man, the man orders the cat, and the cat orders her tail.

Manda o sabio com embaixada, e naõ lhe digas nada. Send a man of sense on the embassy, and you need not instruct him.

Máo he ter moço, mas peior he ter amo. It is bad to have a servant, but worse to have a master.

Matar dous passaros com huma pedra. To kill two birds with one stone.


Melhor he a gallinha da minha visinha, que a minha. Better is my neighbour’s hen than mine.

Melhor he curar goteira, que casa inteira. Better repair the gutter than the whole house.

Melhor he dar a ruins, que pedir a bons. Better have to give than have to beg.

Melhor he dobrar, que quebrar. Better bend than break.

Melhor he errar com muitos, que acertar com poucos. Better be wrong with the many than right with the few.

Melhor he hum passarinho nas maõs, que dous voando. Better a sparrow in the hand than two flying.

Melhor he o meu, que o nosso. Better mine than ours.

Melhor he palha, que nada. Better straw, than nothing.

Melhor he prevenir, que ser prevenido. Better anticipate than be anticipated.

Melhor he rosto vermelho, que coraçaõ negro. Better a red face than a black heart.

Melhor he ser torto, que cego de todo. Better be one-eyed than quite blind.

Menina e vinha, perál e favál, màos saõ de guardar. A girl, a vineyard, an orchard, and a bean-field, are hard to watch.

Mette a maõ no seio, naõ diràs do fado alheio. Lay your hand on your bosom and you will not speak ill of another.

Meu dinheiro, teu dinheiro, vamos a taverna. My money, your money, let us go to the tavern.

Miguel, Miguel, naõ tens abelhas, e vendes mel? Michael, Michael, you have no bees, and yet you sell honey!

Minha arca cerrada, minha alma sã. My chest locked, my soul safe.

Moeda falsa de noite passa. Counterfeit coin passes current at night.

Molher palreira diz de todos, e todos della. A gossiping woman talks of everybody, and everybody of her.

Molher, vento, e ventura asinha se muda. Woman, wind, and luck soon change.

Molle molle, se vai longe. Fair and softly goes far.

Morder a quem morde. Bite the biter.

Mudado o tempo, mudado o conselho. Other times, other counsels.


Mudar costume, parelha da morte. To change one’s habits smacks of death.

Muda-te, mudar-se-te-ha a fortuna. Change yourself, and fortune will change with you.

Muita palha, e pouco graõ. Much straw and little corn.

Muito fallar, pouco saber. Much chatter, little wit.

Muito folga o lobo com o couce da ovelha. The wolf is well pleased with the kick of a sheep.

Muito paõ tem Castella, mas quem o naõ tem, lazera. There is plenty of corn in Castile, but he who has none, starves.

Muito pòde o gallo no seu poleiro. Every cock is valiant on his own dunghill.

Muito prometter he sinal de pouco dar. To promise much means giving little.

Muito sabe a raposa, mas mais sabe quem a toma. The fox knows much, but more he that catcheth him.

Muitos beijaõ a maõ, que quizeraõ ver cortada. Many kiss the hand they would gladly see cut off.


Na agoa envolta pesca o pescador. The fisherman fishes in troubled water.

Na arca aberta o justo pecca. An open box tempts an honest man.

Na barba do nescio aprendem todos a rapar. On the fool’s beard all learn to shave.

Na casa chea asinha se faz a cea. Supper is soon served up in a plentiful house.

Nada duvida, quem naõ sabe. He doubts nothing who knows nothing.

Nada tem, quem se naõ contenta com o que tem. He has nothing who is not content with what he has.

Naõ bebas cousa, que naõ vejas, nem assines carta, que naõ leas. Drink nothing without seeing it, sign nothing without reading it.

Naõ deixes caminho por atalho. Don’t leave the high road for a short cut.

Naõ diga a lingoa, por onde pague a cabeça. Let not the tongue utter what the head may have to pay for.


Naõ digas, desta agoa naõ biberei, nem deste paõ comerei. Never say, of this water I will not drink, of this bread I will not eat.

Naõ digas mal do anno, até que naõ seja passado. Speak not ill of the year-until it is past.

Naõ fiar de caõ, que manqueja. Trust not a dog that limps.

Naõ fies, nem porfies, nem arrendes, viviras entre as gentes. Neither trust or contend, nor lay wagers or lend, and you’ll have peace to your end.

Naõ há dia sem tarde. There is no day without its night.

Naõ ha mulher formosa no dia da voda, senaõ a noiva. There’s no handsome woman on the wedding day, except the bride.

Naõ ha palavra mal dita, se naõ fora mal entendida. No word is ill spoken, that is not ill taken.

Naõ ha prazer, que naõ enfade, e mais se se houver debalde. There is no pleasure that does not pall, the more so if it costs nothing.

Naõ he nada, senaõ que mataõ a meu marido. It is nothing, they are only killing my husband.

Naõ he o diabo taõ feio como o pintaõ. The devil is not so ugly as he is painted.

Naõ he o mel para a boca do asno. Honey is not for the ass’s mouth.

Naõ he pobre, senaõ o que se tem por pobre. No one is poor but he who thinks himself so.

Naõ me apraz porta, que a muitas chaves faz. Beware of a door that has many keys.

Naõ me pago do amigo, que come o seu só, e o meu comigo. He is no friend that eats his own by himself, and mine with me.

Naõ quebra por delgado, senaõ por gordo e mal fiado. Threads do not break for being fine, but for being gouty and ill-spun.

Naõ sejais forneiro, se tendes a cabeça de manteiga. Don’t be a baker if your head is made of butter.

Naõ se lembra a sogra, que foi nora. The mother-in-law does not remember that she was once a daughter-in-law.

Naõ se pode viver sem amigos. There’s no living without friends.


Naõ se tomaõ trutas a bragas enxutas. There’s no catching trouts with dry breeches.

Naõ te faças pobre, a quem te naõ ha da fazer rico. Don’t make yourself poor to one who won’t make you rich.

Naõ tem nada, quem nada lhe basta. He has nothing, for whom nothing is enough.

Naõ tem que comer, assenta-se a mesa. I have nothing for dinner, sit down to table.

Nasce na horta o que naõ semea o hortelaõ. More grows in a garden than the gardener sows there.

Na terra dos cegos, o torto he rei. The one-eyed is a king in the land of the blind.

Necio he quem cuida, que outro naõ cuida. He is a fool who thinks that others do not think.

Nem barbeiro mudo, nem cantor surdo. Neither a dumb barber nor a deaf singer.

Nem com cada mal ao medico, nem com cada trampa ao letrado. Go not with every ailment to the doctor, nor with every plaint to the lawyer.

Nem com toda a fóme á arca, nem com toda a sede ao cantaro. Go not with every hunger to the cupboard, nor with every thirst to the pitcher.

Nem estopa com tiçoens, nem molher com varoens. Trust not tow with firebrands, nor a woman with men.

Nem por muito madrugar, amanhece mais asinha. It dawns none the sooner for all one’s early rising.

Nem tanto puxar, que se quebre a corda. Don’t pull hard enough to break the rope.

Nem taõ formosa que mate, nem taõ fea, que espante. Neither handsome enough to kill nor ugly enough to frighten away.

Nem todos os que vaõ à guerra, saõ soldados. All are not soldiers who go to the wars.

Nem tudo o que he verdade, se diz. Not all that is true is to be spoken.

Nem tudo o que luz he ouro. All is not gold that glitters.

Ninguem he bom juiz em causa propria. No one is a good judge in his own cause.

Ninguem se contenta com sua sórte. No one is content with his lot.

Ninguem se metta no que naõ sabe. Meddle not in what you don’t understand.


Ninguem sempre acerta. No one is always right.

Ninho feito, pega morta. The nest made, the bird dead.

No rosto de minha, filha, vejo quando, o demo toma a meu genro. I see by my daughter’s face when the devil lays hold of my son-in-law.

Nos trabalhos se vem os amigos. Friends are known in adversity.

Nunca de má arvore bom fruto. Good fruit never comes from a bad tree.

Nunca falta hum caõ, que vos ladre. There is never wanting a dog to bark at you.

Nunca foi bom amigo, quem por pouco quebron a amizade. He never was a friend who ceased to be so for a slight cause.

Nunca lobo mata outro. One wolf does not kill another.

Nunca muito custou pouco. Much never cost little.

Nunca se matou ouriço cacheiro às punhadas. Hedgehogs are not to be killed with the fist.

Nunca se queixe do engano, quem pela mostra compra o panno. He should not complain of being cheated who buys the cloth by the sample.


O amigo ha de se levar com a sua tacha. A friend is to be taken with his faults.

O amor, e a fé, nas obras se vé. Love and faith are seen in works.

O amor naõ tem lei. Love knows no law.

O bem soa, e o mal voa. Good news is rumoured, bad news flies.

O boi bravo na terra alheia se faz manso. The savage ox grows tame on strange ground.

O bom vinho naõ ha mester ramo. Good wine needs no bush.

Obra começada, meia acabada. Well begun is half done.

Obra de commum, obra de nenhum. What’s everybody’s work is nobody’s work.

Obra feita dinheiro espera. Work done expects money.

Obras saõ amores, e naõ palavras doces. Deeds are love, and not sweet words.


O buraco chama ao ladraõ. The hole invites the thief.

O caõ velho, quando ladra, dà conselho. When the old dog barks, he gives counsel.

O caro he barato, e o barato he caro. Dear is cheap, and cheap is dear.

O couce da egoa naõ faz mal ao potro. The mare’s kick does not harm the colt.

O dia de amanhã ninguem o vio. No one has seen to-morrow.

O dinheiro do avarento, duas vezes vai à feira. Misers’ money goes twice to market.

Officio alheio custa dinheiro. Another man’s trade costs money.

Officio de conselho, honra sem proveito. A seat in the council is honour without profit.

O filho de tua visinha, tira-lhe o ranho, e casa-o com tua filha. Wipe the nose of your neighbour’s son, and marry him to your daughter.

O filho do asno huma hora no dia orneja. The ass’s son brays one hour daily.

O fim coroa a obra. The end crowns the work.

O galgo, à larga, a lebre mata. In the long run, the greyhound kills the hare.

O homem he fogo, e a mulher estopa, vem o diabo, assopra. Man is fire, woman is tow, and the devil comes and blows.

O homem pobre a dobrado custo come. The poor man eats at double cost.

O hospede, e o peixe a os tres dias fede. A guest and a fish stink in three days.

O ladraõ cuida que todos taes saõ. The thief thinks that all are like himself.

O ladraõ da agulha ao ouro, e do ouro à forca. The thief proceeds from a needle to gold, and from gold to the gallows.

Olhos verdes, em poucos os veredes. You will not see many with green eyes.

O lobo perde os dentes, mas naõ o costume. The wolf loses his teeth, but not his inclination.

O mal do olho cura-se com o cotovelo. Wipe your sore eye with your elbow.


O mal, que naõ tem cura, he loucura. The malady that is most incurable is folly.

O marido antes com hum só olho, que com hum filho. Rather a husband with one eye than with one son.

O melhor penso do cavallo, he o olho de seu amo. The horse’s best allowance is his master’s eye.

O mentir naõ paga sisa. Lying pays no tax.

O moço, e o gallo hum sò anno. A servant and a cock must be kept but one year.

O moço preguiçoso, por naõ dar huma passada, da oito. The lazy servant takes eight steps to avoid one.

Onde a gallinha tem os ovos, là se lhe vaõ os olhos. The hen’s eyes turn to where she has her eggs.

Onde entra o beber, sahe o saber. When the wine is in, the wit is out.

Onde está o gallo, naõ canta a gallinha. Where the cock is the hen does not crow.

Onde fogo naõ ha, fumo naõ se levanta. Where there is no fire, no smoke rises.

Onde força naõ ha, direito se perde. Where there’s no might there’s no right.

Onde ha amigos, ha riquezas. Where friends, there riches.

Onde ha muito riso, ha pouco siso. Much laughter, little wit.

Onde irá o boi, que naõ are? Where shall the ox go, and not have to plough?

Onde naõ ha honra, naõ ha deshonra. Where there is no honour there is no dishonour.

Onde o lobo acha hum cordeiro, busca outro. Where the wolf picks up one sheep he looks for another.

Onde vai mas fundo o rio, ahi faz menos ruido. Where the river is deepest it makes least noise.

O olho do amo engorda o cavallo. The master’s eye makes the horse fat.

O parvo, se he callado, por sabio he reputado. The fool passes for wise if he is silent.

O peior porco come a melhor lande. The worst pig eats the best acorn.

O perro com raiva a seu amo morde. The mad dog bites its master.

O perro do hortelão naõ come as versas, nem a outrem as[290] deixa comer. The gardener’s dog neither eats greens nor lets any one else eat them.

O pouco faz devedor, e o muito inimigo. A little makes a debtor and much an enemy.

O que faz o doudo á derradeira, faz o sesudo à primeira. What the fool does at last the wise man does at first.

O que he duro de passar, he doce de lembrar. What was hard to bear is sweet to remember.

O que naõ pòde al ser, deves soffrer. What can’t be cured must be endured.

O rei das abelhas naõ tem aguilhaõ. The king of the bees has no sting.

O sacco do genro nunca he cheio. The son-in-law’s sack is never full.

Os dedos da maõ naõ saõ iguaes. The fingers of the same hand are not alike.

Os erros dos medicos a terra os cobre. The blunders of physicians are covered by the earth.

O sisudo naõ ata o saber á estaca. The man of sense does not hang up his knowledge.

Os mortos aos vivos abrem os olhos. The dead open the eyes of the living.

O tramposo asinha engana ao cobiçoso. The swindler readily cheats the covetous man.

Ouro he o que ouro vale. That is gold which is worth gold.

Ouve, ve, e calla, se queres viver em paz. Hear, see, and say nothing, if you would live in peace.

Ovelha farta, do rabo se espanta. The full-fed sheep is frightened at her own tail.

Ovelha, que berra, bocado perde. The sheep that bleats loses a mouthful.

O ventre em jejum naõ ouve a nenhum. A hungry belly hears nobody.


Paga o justo pelo peccador. The righteous pays for the sinner.

Paga o que deves, sararàs do mal que tens. Pay what you owe, you will get well of your malady.


Pagar na mesma moeda. To pay one in his own coin.

Palavra fóra da boca, pedra fóra da maõ. A word from the mouth, a stone from the hand. (A word and a blow.)

Palavras de santo, e cenhas de gato. Saint’s words, cat’s claws.

Palavras naõ enchem barriga. Words don’t fill the belly.

Panella que muito ferve, o sabor perde. The pot that boils too much loses its flavour.

Paõ alheio caro custa. Another’s bread costs dear.

Paõ comido, companhia desfeita. The bread eaten, the company departs.

Paz de cajado guerra he. Peace with a cudgel in hand is war.

Peccado confessado, he meio perdoado. A fault confessed is half forgiven.

Pedra movediça, naõ cria bolor. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Peleijaõ os ladrones, descobrem-se os furtos. When thieves fall out, their knaveries come to light.

Peleijaõ os touros, mal pelos ramos. When bulls fight, woe to the frogs.

Pelos Santos novos esquecem os velhos. The old saints are forgotten in the new.

Penhor que come, ninguem o tome. Beware of a pledge that eats.

Pequenas rachas accendem o fogo, e os madeiros grossos o sustentaõ. Little chips kindle the fire, and big logs sustain it.

Pequeno machado parte grande carvalho. A small hatchet fells a great oak.

Perdendo tempo, naõ se ganha dinheiro. Money is not gained by losing time.

Perro ladrador, nunca bom caçador. A barking dog was never a good hunter.

Pés costumados a andar, naõ pódem quedos estar. Feet accustomed to go cannot be still.

Pobreza nunca em amores fez bom feito. Poverty never sped well in love.

Porcos com frio, e homens com vinho, fazem grande ruido. Pigs in the cold and men in drink make a great noise.


Por falta de homens fizeraõ a meu pai juiz. For lack of men they made my father a justice.

Porfia mata a caça. Perseverance kills the game.

Pouco damno espanta, e muito amansa. A little injury dismays, and a great one stills.

Pouco fel damna muito mel. A little gall spoils much honey.

Preguiça, chave de pobreza. Sloth is the key of poverty.

Primeiro que cases, vé o que fazes. Before you marry consider what you do.

Principio querem as cousas. Everything must have a beginning.

Prometter naõ he dar, mas a nescios contentar. Promising is not giving, but serves to content fools.


Qual mais, qual menos, toda a lã he pelos. All the wool is hair, more or less.

Qual o pai, tal o filho. Like father, like son.

Qual o Rei, tal a lei; qual a lei, tal a grei. Like king, like law; like law, like people.

Quando em casa naõ está o gato, estende-se o rato. When the cat’s away the mice will play.

Quem pouco sabe, asinha o reza. He who knows little soon blabs it.

Quem quando póde naõ quer, quando quer naõ póde. Who will not when he can, can’t when he will.

Quem quer pescar, ha-se-de molhar. He who would catch fish must not mind wetting himself.

Quem quizer olho saõ, ate a maõ. He that would keep his eye sound must tie up his hand.

Quem quizer ser muito tempo velho, comece-o a ser cedo. He that would be old long must begin betimes.

Quem se cala, e pedras apanha, tempo vem que as derrama. Who holds his peace and gathers stones, will find a time to throw them.

Quem só come seu gallo, só sella seu cavallo. Who eats his fowl alone, must saddle his horse alone.

Quem te faz festa, naõ soendo fazer, ou te quer enganar, ou[293] te há mister. He who makes more of you than he is wont, either means to cheat you or wants you.

Quem tem boca, naõ diga ao outro, assopra. Let not him that has a mouth ask another to blow.

Quem tem bom ninho, tem bom amigo. He who has a good nest, finds good friends.

Quem tem quatro, e gasta cinco, naõ há mister bolsa, nem bolsinho. He who has four and spends five, has no need of a purse.

Quem tem telhado de vidro, naõ atire pedras ao do vizinho. He who has a glass roof must not throw stones at his neighbour’s.

Quem tudo lo quier, tudo lo pierde. All covet, all lose.

Que queira, que naõ queira, o asno ha de ir á feira. Will he nill he, the ass must go to the fair.

Queres conhecer tua filha, olha-lhe a companhia. Would you know your daughter? See her in company.

Queres que te siga o caõ, da-lhe paõ. If you would have the dog follow you, give him bread.

Quereis que vos sirva, bom Rey, dai-me, de que viva. Would you have me serve you, good king, give me the means of living.


Raposa dormida, naõ lhe cahe nada da boca. Nothing falls into the mouth of a sleeping fox.

Rato, que naõ sabe mais que hum buraco, asinha he tomado. The rat that knows but one hole is soon caught.

Roga ao santo, até passar o barranco. Pray to the saint until you have passed the slough.

Rogos de Rei mandados saõ. King’s entreaties are commands.

Roim seja, quem por roim se tem. Vile let him be who deems himself vile.


Sal vertido, nunca bem colhido. Spilt salt is never well collected.

Sangrai-o, purgai-o, e se morrer, enterrai-o. Bleed him, purge him, and if he dies, bury him.


Sempre o alheio suspira por seu dono. What is another’s always sighs for its master.

Senta-te no teu lugar, naõ te faraó levantar. Seat yourself in your place, and they will not make you rise.

Se queres a agoa limpa, tira-a da fonte viva. If you want clear water, draw it from the spring.

Se queres saber quanto val hum cruzado, busca-o emprestado. If you would know what a dollar is worth, try to borrow it.

Se queres ser bem servido, serve a ti mesmo. If you want to be served, serve yourself.

Se queres ser bom juiz, ouve o que cada hum diz. If you would be a good judge, hear what every one says.

Se queres ser pobre sem o sentir, mette obreiro, deita-te a dormir. If you would grow poor without perceiving it, employ workmen and go to sleep.

Se queres ter boa fama, naõ te tome o sol na cama. If you would be in good repute, let not the sun find you in bed.

Se queres viver saõ, faze-te velho ante tempo. If you would be healthy, be sage betimes.

Serve a senhor, saberàs que he dor. Serve a lord, and you will know what it is to be vexed.

Se te dà o pobre, he para que mais te tome. If a poor man gives to you, he expects more in return.

Se te fizeres mel, comer-te-haõ as moscas. Make yourself honey, and the flies will eat you.

Se tens physico teu amigo, manda-o a casa de teu inimigo. If you have a friend who is a physician, send him to your enemy’s house.


Tambem os ameaçados comem paõ. Threatened folks eat bread.

Tanta culpa tem o ladraõ como o consentidor. The accomplice is as bad as the thief.

Tanto morre o Papa, como o que naõ tem capa. Death spares neither Pope nor beggar.

Tantos morrem dos cordeiros, como dos carneiros. There die as many lambs as wethers.


Tanto val a cousa, quanto daõ por ella. The worth of a thing is what it will bring.

Taõ bom he Pedro como seu amo. Jack is as good as his master.

Tarde dar, e negar, estaõ a par. To be slow in giving and to refuse, are alike.

Tempo, e hora naõ se ata com soga. Time and the hour are not to be tied with a rope.

Tres irmaõs, tres fortalezas. Three brothers, three fortresses.


Vai-se o tempo, como o vento. Time passes like the wind.

Vender gato por lebre. To sell a cat for a hare.

Vender mel ao colmeeiro. To sell honey to one who keeps hives.

Vento, e ventura, pouco dura. Wind and fortune are not lasting.

Ventura te dé Deos, filho, que saber pouco te basta. God give you luck, my son, for little wit must serve your turn.

Vi hum homem, que vio outro homem, que vio o mar. I saw a man, who saw another man, who saw the sea.




Aan den verstandigen is een woord genoeg. A word is enough to the wise.

Aan een krank touw zal men zachkens trekken. Pull gently at a weak rope.

Aangeboden dienst is onwaard. Proffered service is little valued. (Proffered service stinks.)

Aanhoude doet verkrigen. Perseverance brings success.

Aan het werk kent men den werkman. The workman is known by his work.

Aan velen belast wordt minst gedaan. Little is done where many command.

Achter iederen berg ligt weer een dal. Behind every mountain lies a vale.

Al eer dat gij een vriend betrouwt, zoo eet met hem een mudde zout. Before you make a friend, eat a peck of salt with him.

Alle ampten zijn smeerig. All offices are greasy (i. e. open to receive what the Dutch call smear-money, a term derived from the fee paid for greasing wheels).

Alle baat helpt. Every little helps.

Alle beetjes helpen en alle vrachtjes ligten, zei de schipper en hij smeet zijne vrouw overboord. Every little helps to lighten the freight, said the captain, as he threw his wife overboard.

Alle beginselen zijn zwaar, zei de dief, en voor de eerste maal stal hij een aanbeeld. All beginnings are hard, said the thief, and began by stealing an anvil.


Alle dagen een draadje is een hemdsmouw in het jaar. Every day a thread makes a skein in the year.

Alle dagen kan men dragen uitgezondert goede dagen. Men can bear all things except good days.

Alle dingen hebben een einde behalve God. Everything has an end excepting God.

Alle dingen hebben twee handvatsels. Everything has two handles (or two sides).

Alle ding heeft een waarom. Everything has a wherefore.

Alle ding is wel: heeft de bruel geen geel haer, zij heeft een geel vel. All is well: for if the bride has not fair hair, she has a fair skin.

Alle hanen moeten een kam hebben. All cocks must have a comb.

Allemans vriend, is allemans gek. Every man’s friend, is every man’s fool.

Allengskens gaat men ook verre. Step by step one goes far.

Alle vloed heeft zijne ebbe. Every flood has its ebb.

Alle waarom heeft zijn daarom. Every why has its wherefore.

Alle wolken regenen niet. All clouds do not rain.

Als alle de waerelt ziet dat gij een verken zijt, eu moet gij niet in ’t schot? When every one sees that you are a pig, why don’t you go into the sty?

Als apen hoog willen klimmen, ziet men hun naakte billen. When apes climb high, they show their naked rumps.

Als de armoede de deur binnenkomt, vliegt de liefde het venster uit. Where poverty comes in at the door, love flies out at the window.

Als de buik zat is, is ’t harte vrolijk. When the stomach is full the heart is glad.

Als de ezel te wel is, soo gaat hij op ’t ÿs danssen. When the ass is too happy he begins dancing on the ice.

Als de herder doolt, doolen de schapen. When the shepherd strays, the sheep stray.

Als de hond onder ligt, al de wereld wil hem bijten. When the dog is down, every one is ready to bite him.

Als de kat slaapt, spelen de muizen. When the cat sleeps, the mice play.

Als de katten muizen, miaauwen ze niet. When cats are mousing they don’t mew.


Als de kat van huis is, dan hebben de muizen bruis. When the cat’s away, it is jubilee with the mice.

Als de kok met den bottelier kijft, dan hoort men waar de boter blijft. When the cook and the steward fall out we hear who stole the butter.

Als de man wel wint de vrouw wel spint. When the husband earns well the wife spins well.

Als de muggen in January danssen, wordt de boer een bedelaar. When gnats swarm in January, the peasant becomes a beggar.

Als de muggen in Maart danssen, dat doet het schaap den dood aan. When flies swarm in March, sheep come to their death.

Als de muis zat is, zo wordt het meel bitter. When the mouse has had its fill, the meal turns bitter.

Als de wijn ingaat, gaat de wijsheid uit. When the wine goes in the wit goes out.

Als de wolf oud wordt regen hem de kraaijen. When the wolf grows old the crows ride him.

Als de zak vol is, reegt hij zijn oren. When the sack is full it pricks up its ears.

Als de zotten ter markt kommen, so krijgen de kramers geld. When fools go to market, pedlars make money.

Als een muis in de meelzak gevallen is, meent zij dat zij de molenaar zelf is. When a mouse has fallen into a meal sack, he thinks he is the miller himself.

Als een oude hond blaft, zo ziet uit. When an old dog barks, look out. (When the old dog barks, he giveth counsel.)

Als één schaap over den dam is, volgen de anderen. When one sheep is over the dam, the rest follow.

Als elk voor zijn huis veegt, zoo worden alle straten schoon. Were every one to sweep before his own house, every street would be clean.

Als God een land plagen wil, dan beneemt hij den heeren hunne wijsheid. When God means to punish a nation, He deprives its rulers of wisdom.

Als God een mensch plagen wil, dan bijt hem wel een muis dood. When it is God’s will to plague a man, a mouse can bite him to death.

Als God niet wil, dan kan de heilige niet. When God will, the saint cannot.


Als had komt, zo is hebben te laat. When had comes, have is too late.

Als het God belieft, zoo regent het met alle winden. When God pleases, it rains with every wind.

Als hij lang genoeg wacht, wordt de wereld zijn eigendom. If he waits long enough the world will be his own.

Als men hem den vinger geeft, neemt hij de geheele hand. Give him your finger and he will seize your hand. (Give him an inch and he’ll take an ell.)

Als men van den duivel spreekt, dan rammelt reeds zijn gebeente. Talk of the devil and you hear his bones rattle.

Als men van den wolf spreekt, ziet men weldra zijn staart. Talk of the wolf and his tail appears.

Als niet komt tot iet, zo kent het zich zelf niet. When nought comes to aught, it does not know itself.

Als ’t geluk u tegen lacht, sta dan op de wacht. When prosperity smiles, beware of its guiles.

Als ’t hoofd ziek is, is al ziek. When the head is sick the whole body is sick.

Als ’t varken zat is, zoo stoot het de trog om. When the pig has had a bellyful it upsets the trough.

Als ’t wel gaat zo is het goet raden. When things go well it is easy to advise.

Als twee honden vechten om een been, loopt de derde er meê heen. When two dogs fight for a bone, the third runs away with it.

Als u vijand gaat te rug, maakt hem vrij een gulden brug. When thine enemy retreateth, make him a golden bridge. (For a flying enemy make a silver bridge.)

Als uws buurmans huis brandt, is ’t tijd uit te zien. When thy neighbour’s house is on fire it’s time to look about thee.

Al te goed is buurmans (of allemans) gek. All too good is every man’s fool. (He that makes himself a sheep will be eaten by the wolf.)

Arbeid verwarmt, luiheid verarmt. Labour warms, sloth harms.

Arenden brengen geene duiven voort. Eagles don’t breed doves.

Arenden vangen geene vliegen. Eagles catch no fleas.


Arme lui wijsheid gaat meest verloren. Poor folk’s wisdom goes for little.

Armoede is luiheids loon. Poverty is the reward of idleness.


Bedelaars erf ligt in alle landen. A beggar’s estate lies in all lands.

Belofte maakt schuld, en schuld maakt belofte. Promises make debts, and debts make promises.

Beloven en houden zijn twee dingen. Promising and performing are two things.

Beloven is een, en woord houden is twee. Promising is one thing, performing another.

Bemin wel and’ren, maar u zelven boven al; zijt aan den goeden goed, doch mijd uw ongeval. Love others well, but love thyself the most; give good for good, but not to thine own cost.

Beter alleen dan kwalijk verzelt. Better alone than in bad company.

Beter arm met eere, dan rijk met schande. Better poor with honour than rich with shame.

Beter arm te land, dan rijk op zee. Better poor on land than rich at sea.

Beter bedorven dan verloren land. Better a ruined than a lost land.

Beter benijd dan beklaagt. Better be envied than pitied.

Beter buik geborsten, dan goede spijs verloren. Better belly burst than good victuals spoil.

Beter de hand als den hals uit te strekken. Better stretch your hand than your neck. (Better beg than steal.)

Beter door een’ ezel gedragen, dan door een paard in ’t zand geslagen. Better be carried by an ass than thrown by a horse.

Beter een been gebroken dan de hals. Better a leg broken than the neck.

Beter een blind paard, dan een leege halter. Better a blind horse than an empty halter.

Beter een die ’t heeft gezien, dan van hooren zeggen tien. Better one eye-witness than ten hearsay witnesses.


Beter eene vogel in de hand dan tien in de lucht. Better a bird in the hand than ten in the air.

Beter een half ei dan een ledige dop. Better half an egg than an empty shell.

Beter een hond te vriend dan te vijand. Better have a dog for your friend than your enemy. (Better a dog fawn on you than bite you.)

Beter een jaar op een goed paard gereden, dan zijn gansche leven op een’ ezel. Better ride a good horse for a year, than an ass all your life.

Beter eens in den hemel dan tienmaal aan de deur. Better once in heaven than ten times at the gate.

Beter in de vogelen sang dan in ’t ijzeren klang. Better where birds sing than where irons ring.

Beter in de vogelgang, dan in der heeren klang. Better afield with the birds than hanging on lords.

Beter laat dan nooit. Better late than never.

Beter met een ouden wagen in de heide dan met een nieuw schip op zee. Better on the heath with an old cart than at sea in a new ship.

Beter nog een anker kwijt dan het geheele schip. Better lose the anchor than the whole ship.

Beter scheel dan blind. Better squinting than blind.

Beter ten halve gekeerd dan ten heele gedwaald. Better return half way than lose yourself.

Beter vrede houden dan vrede maken. Better keep peace than make peace.

Bij alle feesten dient een zotje. There is a fool at every feast.

Bij de vromen wordt men vroom. With the good we become good.

Bij de wal langs vaart men zekerst. It is safest sailing within reach of the shore.

Bij nacht zijn alle katten graauw. By night all cats are grey.

Bijt mij niet, ik heet beetje; had ik een staartje zoo was ik een leeuwtje. Bite me not, my name is little grizzle; had I a little tail I should be a little lion.

Blaffende honden bijten niet. Barking dogs don’t bite.

Blijven doet beklijven. Biding makes thriving.

Bloemen zijn geen vruchten. Blossoms are not fruits.


Boomen die men veel verplant gedijen zelden. Trees often transplanted seldom prosper.

Booze reden bederven goede zeden. Evil words corrupt good manners.

Borgen maakt zorgen. Borrowing brings care. (He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.)

Brood bij de ligt, kaas bij de wigt. Eat bread that’s light, and cheese by weight.


Centen-wijsheid en daalder domheid. Cent-wisdom and dollar-folly. (Penny wise and pound foolish.)


Daar behoort meer ten dans dan een paar dans schoenen. More belongs to dancing than a pair of dancing-shoes.

Daar gaan veel woorden in een zak. Many words go to a sackful. (Many words will not fill a bushel.)

Daar komen zo wel kalver huiden als ossen huiden te markt. There come as many calf-skins to market as ox-skins.

Daar men ’t minst verwacht, springt de haas uit de gracht. When we least expect it, the hare darts out of the ditch.

Daar niets goeds in is, gaat niets goeds uit. Where there’s no good within, no good comes out.

Daar speelt de duivel mee, zei Saam, vier azen en niet eéne troef. The devil’s in the cards, said Sam, four aces and not a single trump.

Daar ’t een mensch wee doet, daar heeft hij de hand. Where a man feels pain he lays his hand.

Daar twee kijven hebben ze beiden schuld. When two quarrel both are in the wrong.

Daar vloog nooit vogel zoo hoog, of hij moet zijn kost op de aarde zoeken. Bird never flew so high but it had to come to the ground for food.

Daar was nooit kap zoo heilig of de duivel krijgt er zijn hoofd wel in. Never was hood so holy but the devil could get his head into it.

Daar zijn meer dieven als er opgehangen worden. There are more thieves than are hanged.


Dat biertje hebt gij zelf gebrouwd, en moet het ook uit drinken. That beer’s of your own brewing, and you must drink it.

Dat gij wilt alleen weten, zeg het niemand. Tell no one what you would have known only to yourself.

Dat is bedelaars kost, zei de vrouw en zij bakte eijeren met metworst. That is beggar’s fare, said the dame, when she fried eggs with the sausages.

Dat is een man als een boek. He is a man as a book.

Dat is goed en wel, maar geld is beter. That’s all well and good, but gold is better.

Dat is hem noodig, als eenen bedelaar het goudgewigt. ’Tis as necessary to him as gold weights are to a beggar.

Dat is het ambacht van dikken Michiel: drinken, eten, en wandelen. The trade of thick-headed Michael: eating, drinking, and idling.

Dat muisje zal een staart hebben. That mouse will have a tail (i. e. The thing will have a long train of consequences).

Dat te zwaar is, laat liggen. Let lie what is too heavy to lift.

De adel der ziel is meer waardig dan de adel des geslachts. Nobility of soul is more honourable than nobility of birth.

De afwezigen krijgen altijd de schuld. The absent always bear the blame.

De armoede is de moeder van alle kunsten. Necessity is the mother of invention.

De beste mesting is des heerens oog. The best fodder is the master’s eye.

De beste mest op den akker is des meesters oog en voet. The master’s eye and foot are the best manure for the field.

De beste stuur-lieden zijn aan land. The best pilots are ashore.

De beste zaak heeft nog een goed’ advocaat noodig. The best cause requires a good pleader.

De boer zit op een’ cent als de duivel op eene ziel. The boor looks after a cent as the devil after a soul.

De boog kan niet altijd gespannen zijn. The bow must not be always bent.


De boom valt ten eersten slage niet. The tree does not fall at the first stroke.

De bosschen hebben ooren, en de velden oogen. Woods have ears and fields have eyes.

De derde man brengt de vreugd aan. The third person makes good company.

De dertiende man brengt den dood an. The thirteenth man brings death.

De deugd beloont zich zelve. Virtue is its own reward.

De dood kent geen’ almanak. Death keeps no almanack.

De druiven zijn zuur, sprak de vos, maar hij kon er niet bij. The grapes are sour, said the fox, when he could not get at them.

De duivel heeft mede onder de menschen zijne marteren. The devil has his martyrs among men.

De duivel is zoo zwart niet, als hij wel geschilderd wordt. The devil is not so black as he is painted.

De duivel zit achter het kruis. The devil sits behind the cross.

De dwaasheid heeft arends vleugelen, maar uils oogen. Folly hath eagle’s wings, but the eyes of an owl.

De een doet het uit liefde, de ander om eere, de derde om geld. One does it for love, another for honour, a third for money.

De eene dienst is den anderen waard. One good turn deserves another.

De eene hand wascht de andere, en beide het aangezigt. One hand washes the other, and both the face.

De eene kraai bijt den andere geen oogen uit. One crow does not peck out another’s eyes.

De eene spijker drijft de andere in. One nail drives in another.

De een slaat op de haag terwijl de ander vogels vangt. One beats the bush and the other catches the bird.

De eerambten veranderen de zeden. Honours change manners.

De exter kan haar huppelen niet laten. The magpie cannot leave her hopping.

De ezel en de drijver denken niet eveneens. The ass and the driver never think alike.

De ezels dragen de haver, en de paarden eten die. Asses carry the oats and horses eat them.


De gans blaast wel, maar bijt niet. The goose hisses, but does not bite.

De gebraden ganzen kommen u niet in den mond vliegen. Roast geese don’t come flying into your mouth.

De gedaante nabootsen van eenen pot met twee ooren. The counterfeit image of a pot with two ears.

De geleerdsten zijn de wijsten niet. The most learned are not the wisest.

De gelegenheid maakt den dief. Opportunity makes the thief.

De gekken vragen naar de klok, maar de wijzen weten hunnen tijd. Fools ask what’s o’clock, but wise men know their time.

De gewoonte is eene tweede natuur. Custom is second nature.

De goede betaler is meester van eens anders beurs. He who pays well is master of another’s purse.

De hennen leggen gaarne waar zij een ei zien. Hens like to lay where they see an egg.

De honig is zoet, maar de bije steekt. Honey is sweet, but the bee stings.

De jonge dwazen meenen dat d’oude razen, maar d’oude hebben meer vergeeten als de jonge dwazen weten. Young fools think that the old are dotards, but the old have forgotten more than the young fools know.

De jonge raven zijn als de oude gebeit. The young ravens are beaked like the old.

De kaars die voor gaat die licht best. The candle that goes before gives the best light.

De kap maakt de monnik niet. It is not the cowl that makes the friar.

De keel kost veel. The maw costs much.

De kleederen maken den man. Clothes make the man.

De kleine dieven hangt men, de groote laat men loopen. We hang little thieves, and let great ones escape.

De koe weet niet waar haar de staart toe dient, voor dat zij die kwijt is. The cow does not know the value of her tail till she has lost it.

De kruik gaat zo lang te water dat zij eindelyk breekt. The pitcher goes so long to the well that it breaks at last.


Dek toe den pot, daar is aal in. Cover up the pot, there’s an eel in it.

De kwade schuwt het licht, gelijk de duivel het kruis. The wicked shun the light as the devil does the cross.

De liefde begint eerst met zich zelven. Charity begins at home.

De mensch wikt, maar God beschikt. Man proposes, God disposes.

De monnik preekte dat men niet stelen mogt, en hij zelf had de gans in zijne schapperade. The monk preached against stealing, and had the goose in his larder. (The friar preached against stealing, and had a pudding in his sleeve.)

De morgenstond heeft goud in den mond. The morning hour has gold in its mouth.

De mug vliegt zoo lang om de kaars, tot dat zij zich brandt. The fly flutters about the candle till at last it gets burnt.

De muuren hebben ooren. Walls have ears.

Den behoeftige is de schaamte onnut. Bashfulness is of no use to the needy.

De nood doet een oud wijf draven. Need maketh the old wife trot.

Den rook ontvlugtende valt hij in ’t vuur. Escaping from the smoke he falls into the fire.

Den slapende wolven loopt geen schaap in den mond. No sheep runs into the mouth of a sleeping wolf.

De olie is best in het begin en de honig op het einde, maar in het midden dient de wijn. Oil is best at the beginning, honey at the end, and wine in the middle.

De oogen zijn groter dan de buik. The eyes are bigger than the belly.

De open deur roept den dief. The open door invites the thief.

De paarden achter den wagen spannen. To harness the horses behind the cart. (To put the cart before the horse.)

De pot verwijt den ketel, dat hij zwart is. The pot upbraids the kettle that it is black.

Der bedelaren hand is eene bodemlooze mand. A beggar’s hand is a bottomless basket.

De rijken vreten de armen en de duivel vreet de rijken, zoo worden allen gevreten. The rich devour the poor, and the devil devours the rich, and so both are devoured.


De rozen vallen af, maar de doornen blijven over. Roses fall, but the thorns remain.

De schoone veêren maaken den schoonen vogel. Fine feathers make fine birds.

De sikkel in eens anders koorn slaan. To hang your sickle on another man’s corn.

De stille zeug eet al den draf op. A still sow eats up all the draff.

De splinten in eens anders oog zien en de balk in zijn eigen niet. To peer out the mote in another’s eye and not the beam in your own.

De tijd brengt rozen. Time brings roses.

De tijd die voorbij is en komt niet weer. Time past never returns.

De tijd gaat, de dood komt. Time goes, death comes.

De tijd is aan God en ons. Time is God’s and ours.

De tijd wischt alles uit. Time destroys all things.

Deugd bestaat in de daad. Virtue consists in action.

De uitkomst zal het leeren. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

De vogel is geern daar hij gebroed is. Where the bird was hatched it haunts.

De vorsch huppelt weder in de poel, zat hij ook al op een gulden stoel. The frog will jump back into the pool, although it sits on a golden stool.

De vrucht valt niet ver van den stam. The fruit falls not far from the stem.

De waarheid is eene dochter van den tijd. Truth is the daughter of time.

De wereld is een schouwtooneel; elk speelt zijn rol en krijgt zijn deel. The world’s a stage; each plays his part, and takes his share. (The earliest collection in which we find this Shakspearean proverb is Winschooten’s Seeman, Leyden, 1681.)

De wereld wil bedrogen zijn. The world likes to be cheated.

De woorden zijn goed, zei de wolf, maar ik kom in ’t dorp niet. The words are fair, said the wolf, but I will not come into the village.

De zee en de visschen verzwelgen. To swallow both sea and fish.


De zee met sponsen opdroogen. To wipe up the sea with a sponge.

De ziekten komen te paard, en gaan te voet weêr heen. Sickness comes on horseback and departs on foot.

De zotten maken de feesten en de wijzen hebben de geneugten. Fools make feasts and wise men eat them.

Die aan den weg timmert, heeft veel berechts. He that buildeth upon the highway hath many advisers.

Die aan God geen woord houd, houd geen woord aan menschen. Who don’t keep faith with God won’t keep it with man.

Die bij kreupelen woont, leert hinken. He that lives with cripples learns to limp.

Die de honig wil uithalen moet het steken der bijen ondergaan. He who would gather honey must brave the sting of bees.

Die de duivel op zijn hals haalt, moet hem werk geven. He that has the devil on his neck must find him work.

Die de gemeente dient, dient eenen kwaden heer. Who serves the public serves a fickle master.

Die de kern wil hebben moet de dop kraken. He that would have the kernel must crack the shell.

Die de schande niet ontziet, komt niet tot eer. Who fears no shame comes to no honour.

Die de spraak kent, komt overal te regt. Who knows the tongues is at home everywhere.

Die de wereld wel beziet, men zag nooit schoonder niet. He that well considers the world, must own he has never seen a better.

Die een ander jaagt zit zelfs niet stil. He that chases another does not sit still himself.

Die een boer bedriegen wil, moet een’ boer medebrengen. He who would cheat a peasant must take one with him.

Die een goude poorte wil maken, breng er elken dag een nagel. He that would make a golden gate, must bring a nail to it daily.

Die een hond smijten wel vind ras een knuppel. Who wants to beat a dog, soon finds a stick.

Die een hoofd van boter heeft moet bij geen’ oven komen. He that hath a head of butter must not come near the oven.


Die een kwaad wijf heeft, diens hel begint op d’aarde. Who has a bad wife, his hell begins on earth.

Die eens steelt is altijd een dief. Once a thief always a thief.

Die eerst komt, die eerst maalt. Who comes first, grinds first.

Die eieren hebben wil, moet der hennen kakelen lijden. He that will have eggs, must bear with cackling.

Die geboren is om te hangen, behoeft geen vrees te hebben van verdrinken. He that’s born to be hanged will never be drowned.

Die goede dagen moede is, die neme een wijf. Whoso is tired of happy days, let him take a wife.

Die heden was een ridder, word morgen wel een bidder. Who to-day was a haughty knight, is to-morrow a pennyless wight.

Die heden wat spaart, morgen wat heeft. He that spares something to-day will have something to-morrow.

Die hem zelf kittelt, lacht als hij wil. He that tickles himself, may laugh when he will.

Die het geluk heeft leidt de bruid ter kerk. He that has the luck leads the bride to church.

Die het in het vuur verloren heeft, moet het in de asch zoeken. What is lost in the fire must be sought in the ashes.

Die iets vindt eer ’t verloren is, sterft eer hij ziek is. He that finds something before it is lost, will die before he is sick.

Die in een kwaad gerucht komt, is half gehangen. He that hath an ill name is half hanged.

Die jaagt met katten, en vangt maar ratten. Whoso hunteth with cats will catch nothing but rats.

Die jocken wils, moet jocken verstaan, ’t is anders beter ongedaan. He that would jest must take a jest, else to let it alone were best.

Die kaatsen wil, moet den bal verwachten. He that plays at racket must watch the ball.

Die kan lijden en verdragen, vind zijn vijand voor zijn voeten geslagen. He that can be patient finds his foe at his feet.

Die keur heeft, heeft angst. He that has a choice has trouble.


Die komt ongeroepen gaat weg ongedankt. He that comes unbidden goes unthanked.

Die kruipt en valt niet. He that creepeth falleth not.

Die laag blijft kan niet hard vallen. He that abideth low cannot fall hard.

Die maar een oog heeft bewaar dat wel. Who has but one eye must take good care of it.

Die met den duivel ingescheept is, moet met hem overvaren. He that is embarked with the devil must sail with him.

Die met gouden wapens vecht, heeft altijd het beste regt. They who fight with golden weapons are pretty sure to prove their right.

Die met honden te bed gaat, staat met vlooijen weder op. He who goes to bed with dogs will get up with fleas.

Die met wolven omgaan wil, moet mede huilen. He that lives with wolves, must howl with wolves.

Die mij geeft, die leert mij geeven. Who gives to me, teaches me to give.

Die mild is, geeft zich rijk; de gierigaard neemt zich arm. The generous man enriches himself by giving; the miser hoards himself poor.

Die niet oppast ziet zijn geld niet wassen. Who watches not catches not.

Die niet te raden is, is niet te helpen. He that will not be counselled cannot be helped.

Die op borg geeft, verliest zijn goed en zijn vriend. Who ventures to lend, loses money and friend.

Die op de zee is heeft de wind niet in zijn handen. He that is at sea has not the wind in his hands.

Diepe zwemmers, hooge klimmers ziet men zelden op bed sterven. Deep swimmers and high climbers seldom die in their beds.

Die schuld ontkent, schuld bekent. Who excuses, accuses.

Die te goed is, wordt van de boozen verongelijkt. Who is righteous overmuch is a morsel for the Old One.

Die te veel onderneemt, slaagt zelden. Who undertakes too much, succeeds but little.

Die ’t klein versmaad is ’t groot niet waard. He that despises the little is not worthy of the great.

Die van den hond gebeten is, moet van hetzelfde haar[311] daaropleggen. He that is bitten by a dog must apply some of its hair.

Die van verre komt heeft goed liegen. They who come from afar have leave to lie.

Die veel dienstboden heeft, die heeft veel dieven. Who has many servants has many thieves.

Die veel dingen te gelijk doet, doet er zelden een goed. Who undertakes many things at once seldom does anything well.

Die veel hoort, hoort veel liegen. He that hears much, hears many lies.

Die verkoopt hoeft maar een oog, die koopt hoeft er hondert. Who buys wants a hundred eyes, who sells need have but one.

Die voor de bladeren bang is, moet niet in het bosch gaan. He who is afraid of leaves must not go into the wood.

Die voor een ander borg blijft, betaalt voor hem. He who is surety for another, pays for him.

Die vuur begeert, die zoek ’t in de assche. Who wants fire, let him look for it in the ashes.

Die vuur wil hebben moet de rook lijden. He that will have fire must bear with smoke.

Die wel bemind kastijdt zijn kind. He that loves his child chastises him.

Die wil wandlen achter land, neme vrij zijn beurs ter hand. He who would travel through the land, must go with open purse in hand.

Die zich zelven honig maakt wordt van de bijen opgegeten. He who makes himself honey will be eaten by the bees.

Die zijn gat brand, moet op de blaêren zitten. He who burns his posteriors must sit on blisters.

Die zonder den waard reekent, reekent kwaalijk. Who reckons without his host must reckon again.

Die zwijgt bewilligt. Silence gives consent.

Distels en doornen steken zeer, maar kwade tongen nog veel meer. Thistles and thorns prick sore, but evil tongues prick more.

Dochters moeten wel gezien maar niet gehoord worden. Daughters may be seen but not heard.

Dochters zijn broze waren. Daughters are brittle ware.


Doe raad voor ’t kwaad, eer ’t verder gaat. Take counsel before it goes ill, lest it go worse.

Domines komen om je wijn, en officiers om je dochters. Dominies come for your wine, and officers for your daughters.

Doode honden bijten niet. Dead dogs don’t bite.

Door wind en stroom is goed stuuren. It’s good steering with wind and tide.

Dreigers vechten niet. All threateners don’t fight.

Drie vrouwen en eene gans maken eene markt. Three women and a goose make a market.

Dwalen is menschelijk. To err is human.

Dwazen zijn vrij in alle landen. Fools are free all the world over.


Een aap blijft een aap, al draagt hij een gouden ring. An ape’s an ape, though he wear a gold ring.

Een aap, een paap, en eene weegluis, zijn drie duivels in één huis. An ape, a priest, and a louse, are three devils in one house.

Een arbeider is zijn’ loon waardig. The workman is worthy of his hire.

Een bedreigd man leeft zeven jaren. A threatened man lives seven years.

Een blind man schiet somtijds wel een kraai. A blind man may sometimes shoot a crow.

Een dagelijksche gast is een groote dief in de keuken. A daily guest is a great thief in the kitchen.

Een dag verleent, wat een geheel jaar weigert. A single day grants what a whole year denies.

Een diamant van eene dochter wordt een glas van eene vrouw. A brilliant daughter makes a brittle wife.

Een die een zot trouwt om zijn kot, verliest het kot en houdt den zot. Who weds a sot to get his cot, will lose the cot and keep the sot.

Een dief maakt gelegenheid. A thief makes opportunity.

Een dwaas en zijn geld zijn haast gescheiden. A fool and his money are soon parted.


Een dwaas maakt er veel. One fool makes many.

Eene barmhartige moeder maakt eene schurftige dochter. An indulgent mother makes a sluttish daughter.

Eene bedroefde bruid maakt eene blijde vrouw. A sad bride makes a glad wife.

Een eerlijk man’s woord is zijn zegel. An honest man’s word is his bond.

Een ei is een ei zei de boer, en hij greep naar het ganzenei. An egg is an egg, said the boor, and took the goose’s egg.

Een eij geeven om een’ os te bekomen. To give an egg to get an ox.

Een eij scheeren. To shave an egg.

Een enkele bontekraai maakt geen winter. One crow does not make a winter.

Eene talie te kort is zooveel als eene el. An inch too short is as bad as an ell.

Een ezel stoot zich geen tweemaal aan een’ steen. An ass does not hit himself twice against the same stone.

Eene zwaluw maakt geen zomer. One swallow does not make a summer.

Eene zwarte hen legt witte eijeren. Black hens lay white eggs.

Een gast, gelijk de visch, stinkt den derden dag. A guest, like a fish, stinks the third day.

Een gebrand kind vreest het vuur. A burnt child dreads the fire.

Een geëdelde boer kent zijn vader niet. An ennobled peasant does not know his own father.

Een gegeeven paard moet men niet in den bek zien. Look not a gift horse in the mouth.

Een gehuurd paard en eigene sporen maken korte mijlen. A hired horse and one’s own spurs make short miles.

Een gek spreekt wel eens wijs woord. A fool may chance to say a wise thing.

Een God, ééne vrouw, maar veel vrienden. One God, one wife, but many friends.

Een goed begin is half voltooid. Well begun is half done.

Een goede naam is beter dan olij. A good name is better than oil (i. e. riches).

Een goed paard is zijn voeder waard. A good horse is worth his fodder.


Een goed vriend is beter dan zilver en goud. A good friend is better than silver and gold.

Een groot boek, een groot kwaad. A great book is a great evil.

Een haan is stout op zijn eigen erf. A cock is valiant on his own dunghill.

Een half woord is bij hem genoeg. Half a word to the wise is enough.

Een hond aan een been kent geene vrienden. A dog with a bone knows no friend.

Een hongerige buik heeft geen’ ooren. A hungry belly has no ears.

Een houdaar is beter dan twee gij zult het hebben. One Take-this is better than two You-shall-haves.

Een huis van leem, een paard van gras, een vriend van mond, ’t is al maar glas. A plaster house, a horse at grass, a friend in words, are all mere glass.

Een huis vol dochters is een kelder vol zuur bier. A house full of daughters is a cellar full of sour beer.

Een ieder is meester in zijn eigen huis. Every man is master in his own house.

Een ieder is prediker onder de galg. Every one is a preacher under the gallows.

Een jong ooi en een onde ram, daar komt jaarlijks een lam van. A young ewe and an old ram, every year bring forth a lamb.

Een kat die veel maauwt vangt weinig muizen. A cat that meweth much catcheth but few mice.

Een kat kijkt wel een’ keizer aan. A cat may look at a king.

Een kleine pot wordt haast heet. A little pot is soon hot.

Een kuijaar, een bruijaar; een buljaar, een smuljaar. A cow-year, a sad year; a bull-year, a glad year.

Een leugenaar moet een goede memorie hebben. A liar must have a good memory.

Een luiaard is des duivel’s oorkussen. An idle man is the devil’s pillow.

Eenmaal is geen gewoonte. Once is no custom.

Een mager verdrag is beter dan een vet proces. A lean compromise is better than a fat lawsuit. (Agree, agree, for the law is costly.)


Een man overboord, een eter te minder. A man overboard, a mouth the less.

Een man zonder geld is een schip zonder zeilen. A man without money is like a ship without sails.

Een muis, die maar één holletje heeft, is wel dra gevangen. The mouse that hath but one hole is soon caught.

Een once geduld is meer dan een pond verstand. An ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains.

Een ongeluk komt zelden alleen. Misfortunes never come single.

Een os en een ezel dienen niet aan een ploeg. An ox and an ass don’t yoke well to the same plough.

Een oude rat vindt ligt een gat. An old rat easily finds a hole.

Een oude rat wil niet in de val. An old rat won’t go into the trap.

Een oude vos komt niet gemakkelijk twee maal in het garen. An old fox doesn’t go twice into the trap.

Een oude wolf is veel gerucht gewend. An old wolf is used to be shouted at.

Een oud muilezel met een vergulde toom. An old mule with a golden bridle. (We say, An old ewe dressed lamb-fashion.)

Een oud voerman hoort gaarn ’t klappen van de zweep. An old coachman loves the crack of the whip.

Een paard met vier pooten struikelt wel. A horse may stumble, though he has four feet.

Één penning in den spaarpot maakt meer geraas dan als hij vol is. One penny in the pot (money-box) makes more noise than when it is full.

Een ploeg die werkt, blinkt; maar ’t stille water stinkt. A plough that worketh, shines; but still water stinks.

Een rollende steen neemt geen mos mede. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Één rotte appel in de mande, maakt al de gave fruit te schande. One rotten apple in the basket infects the whole.

Één schacht is beter in de hand dan zeven ganzen op het strand. One quill is better in the hand than seven geese upon the strand.

Een schurft hoofd ontziet de kam. A scabby head fears the comb.


Een schurftig schaap bederft de heele kudde. One scabby sheep infects the whole flock.

Een spiering uitwerpen om een kabbeljaauw te vangen. To cast in a smelt to catch a codfish.

Eens te trouwen is noodwendigheid; tweemaal is malligheid; driemaal is dolligheid. To marry once is a duty; twice a folly; thrice is madness.

Een stuiver gespaard is beter dan een gulden gewonnen. A penny spared is better than a florin gained.

Een verlopen monnik zeide nooit goed van zijn convent. A runaway monk never speaks well of his convent.

Een verloren, twee gevonden. One lost, two found.

Een vliegende kraai vangt altijd wat. A flying crow always catches something.

Één vogel in de hand is beter dan twee in de vlugt. One bird in the hand is better than two flying.

Een vos verliest wel zijne haren, maar niet zijne streken. The fox may lose his hair, but not his cunning.

Een vriend achter den rug is eene vaste brug. A friend at one’s back is a safe bridge.

Een vriend in nood, is een vriend in der daad. A friend in need is a friend indeed.

Een vriend is beter dan geld in de beurs. A friend is better than money in the purse. (Better a friend than money to spend.)

Een vrolijke weerd maakt vrolijke gasten. A merry host makes merry guests.

Een wenig te laat, veel te laat. A little too late, much too late.

Een woekeraar, een molenaar, een wisselaar, een tollenaar, zijn de vier evangelisten van Lucifer. A usurer, a miller, a banker, and a publican, are the four evangelists of Lucifer.

Een wolf hapt noch na ’t schaap als hem de ziele uit gaat. A wolf hankers after sheep even at his last gasp. (The ruling passion strong in death.)

Een wrak op strand is een baak op zee. A wreck on shore is a beacon at sea.

Een zacht antwoord stilt den toorn. A soft answer turneth away wrath.


Een zindelijk kleed is eene goede aanbeveling. A smart coat is a good letter of introduction.

Eer gij voort rijd, ziet na de lenzen. Before you mount, look to the girth.

Eer het gras gewassert is, is de hengst dood. While the grass grows the steed starves.

Eerst in de boot, keur van riemen. The first in the boat has the choice of oars.

Effene rekeningen maken goede vrienden. Short reckonings make long friends.

Effen is kwaad passen. It is hard to please every one.

Eigen haard is goud waard. One’s own hearth is worth gold. (The Scotch say: Ane’s ain hearth is goud’s worth.)

Eigenliefde maakt blind. Self-love is blind.

Elk een zie zichzelven, zoo gaat er niemandt verloren. Let every one look to himself, and no one will be lost.

Elke vogel zingt zoo als hij gebekt is. Every bird sings as it is beaked.

Elk het zijne, is niet te veel. Every man his own is not too much.

Elk huis heeft zijn kruis. Every house has its cross.

Elk is een dief in zijne nering. Every one is a thief in his own craft.

Elk moet roeien met de riemen die hij heeft. Every one must row with the oars he has.

Elk schot is geen vogel. Every shot does not bring down a bird.

Elk voor zichzelven, God voor ons allen. Every one for himself, God for us all.

Elk waant dat zijn uil een valk is. Every man thinks his own owl a falcon.

Elk zijns gelijk, ’t zij arm of rijk. Like will to like, be they poor or rich.

Eendragt maakt magt. Union is strength.

En straft of streelt u vrouwe niet, waar ’t iemand hoort of iemand ziet. Neither reprove nor flatter thy wife, where any one heareth or seeth it.

Er is hulp voor alles, behalve voor den dood. There is a remedy for all things save death.

Er is niets zoo verborgen, of het komt uit. There is nothing so secret but it transpires.


Er liep geen dolle hond zeven jaar. No mad dog runs seven years.

Erst eene raap, en dan een schaap; daarna eene koe, dan de galg toe. First a turnip, then a sheep; next a cow, and then the gallows.

Eten is een goed begin: het eene beetje brengt het andere. In eating ’tis good to begin, one morsel helps the other in.


Gebrade duijven vliegen niet door de lucht. Roast pigeons don’t fly through the air.

Geduld gaat boven geleerdheid. Patience surpasses learning.

Gedwee als een handschoen. Supple as a glove.

Gedwongen liefde vergaat haast. Forced love does not last.

Geef een’ ezel haver, hij loopt tot de distels. Give an ass oats and he runs after thistles.

Geeft hem een talie, en hij zal een el nemen. Give him an inch and he’ll take an ell.

Geen beter meesters dan armoede en nood. No better masters than poverty and want.

Geen ding met der haast dan vlooijen te vangen. Nothing in haste but catching fleas.

Geen ding zoo slecht of het vindt zijn’ meester. Nothing so bad but it finds its master.

Geene roozen zonder doornen. No roses without thorns.

Geen geluk zonder druk. There is no joy without alloy.

Geen huis of ’t heeft zijn kruis. No house without its cross.

Geen koorn zonder kaf. No corn without chaff.

Geen kroon heeft hooftzweer. A crown is no cure for the headache.

Geen oude schoenen verwerpen eer men nieuwen heeft. Don’t throw away your old shoes till you have got new ones.

Geen rijker man in alle steden, dan die met ’tzijne is te vreden. The richest man, whatever his lot, is he who’s content with what he has got.


Geen stouter belovers dan die niets te geven hebben. No greater promisers than they who have nothing to give.

Gehuurde paarden maken korte mijlen. Hired horses make short miles.

Gekoppelde schapen die verdrinken. Coupled sheep drown one another.

Geld beheert de wereld. Money rules the world.

Geld doet geweld. Money is power.

Gelegenheid maakt genegenheid. Opportunity makes desire.

Gelijk bij gelijk, Jan bij Lijs, het paar een dubbeltje. Like to like, Jack to Gill, a penny a pair.

Geluk en glas breekt even ras. Fortune and glass break soon, alas!

Gemaalde bloemen ruiken niet. Painted flowers have no odour.

Gemeen gerucht is zelden gelogen. Common fame seldom lies.

Gemeen goed, geen goed. Common goods, no goods.

Genoeg is even zoo goed als een feest. Enough is as good as a feast.

Genoeg is meer dan overvloed. Enough is better than too much.

Geweld is geen regt. Might is not right.

Gewoonte wordt eene tweede natuur. Custom is second nature.

Gierigheid is niet verzadigd voor zij den mond vol aarde heeft. Covetousness is never satisfied till its mouth is filled with earth.

Gij hebt den dans begonnen, en kunt de muziek betalen. As you began the dance you may pay the piper.

Gissen doet missen. Guessing is missing.

God betaalt alle weken niet, maar hij betaalt eens op het einde. God does not pay weekly, but pays at the end.

God beware mij voor iemand die maar één boekje gelezen heeft. God deliver me from the man of one book.

God geeft de vogelen de kost, maar zij moeten er om vliegen. God gives birds their food, but they must fly for it.

God helpt de sterkste. God helps the strongest.

Gods water over Gods akker laten loopen. Let God’s waters run over God’s acres.


God verkoopt wetenschap voor arbeid, eere voor gevaar. God sells knowledge for labour, honour for risk.

God zendt hem wel de spijzen, maar de duivel kookt ze. God sent him meat, but the devil cooked it.

Goede boom, goede vrucht. Good tree, good fruit.

Goede dingen moeten tijd hebben. Good things require time.

Goede drank verdrijft kwade gedachten. Good drink drives out bad thoughts.

Goede jagers sporen aan. Good hunters track narrowly.

Goeden dag u allen! zei de vos, en hij kwam in het ganzenhok. Good day to you all! said the fox, when he got into the goose-pen.

Goeden moed in tegenspoed. A stout heart tempers adversity.

Goede waar prijst zichzelven. Good wine praises itself.

Goede wijn behoeft geen krans. Good wine needs no bush.

Goed gezelschap maakt korte mijlen. Good company makes short miles.

Goed regt behoeft goed hulp. Good right needs good help.

Goed verloren, niet verloren; moed verloren, veel verloren; eer verloren, meer verloren; ziel verloren, al verloren. Fortune lost, nothing lost; courage lost, much lost; honour lost, more lost; soul lost, all lost.

Goed vuur maakt een snellen kok. A good fire makes a quick cook.

Gramschap is een korte dolligheid. Anger is a short madness.

Grijp de gelegentheit, wanneer ze voor u staat; als ze eens voorbij is, dan begeert gij haar te laat. The first occasion offered quickly take, lest thou repine at what thou didst forsake.

Groote begeerlijkheid, maakt eenen kleinen hoop. Great greediness to reap, helps not the money-heap.

Groote belovers, slechte betalers. Great promisers, bad paymasters.

Groote dieven hangen de kleine. Great thieves hang little thieves.

Groote narren moeten groote bellen hebben. Great fools must have great bells.

Groote visschen springen uit de ketel. Big fish spring out of the kettle.


Groote visschen eten de kleine. Big fish devour the little ones.

Groote visschen scheuren het net. Great fishes break the net.

Groot goed, groot zorg. Great wealth, great care.

Groot roemen, weinig gebraad. Great boast, little roast.

Groot-sprekers zijn geene groot-daders. Great talkers are little doers.


Haast en is geen spoed, snelle raad, zelden baat. Of hasty counsel take good heed, for haste is very rarely speed.

Haast getrouwd, lang berouwd. Marry in haste and repent at leisure.

Haastigen spoed is zelden goed. Hasty speed don’t oft succeed.

Haastigheid is de aanvang, berouw het einde des toorns. Hastiness is the beginning of wrath, and its end repentance.

Haast verkwist. Haste makes waste.

Handelt gij pek, gij krijgt een vlek. If thou touchest pitch thou shalt be defiled.

Hannibal is voor de deur. Hannibal is at the gate.

Haring in ’t land, de doctor aan kant. Herring in the land, the doctor at a stand.

Heden in figuur, morgen in het graf. To-day stately and brave, to-morrow in the grave.

Heden rood, morgen dood. To-day red, to-morrow dead.

Helpt gij een’ bedelaar te paard hij draaft niet maar hij galoppeert. Set a beggar on horseback, and he don’t trot, but gallops.

Help u zelven zoo helpt u God. Help yourself and God will help you.

Het beste goed is de beste koop. The best goods are the cheapest.

Het beste paard struikelt wel eens. The best horse stumbles sometimes.

Het blijft hem aan de vingers hangen, als der goede vrouw de aalmoes. It sticks to his fingers, like the charity-money to the matron.


Het duister en de nachten, zijn moeders van gedachten. Darkness and night are mothers of thought.

Het eene kwaad brengt het andere mede. One misfortune brings on another.

Het einde kroont het werk. The end crowns all.

Het einde van de vrolijkheid is het begin van de treurigheid. The end of mirth is the beginning of sorrow.

Het eindje is de dood. The end of all things is death.

Het end goed, alles goed. All’s well that ends well.

Het geen gij schenken kunt, zoek daar geen voordeel in; den goeden goed doen, is te reek’nen voor gewin. Give at first asking what you safely can; ’tis certain gain to help an honest man.

Het geld is de zenuw des oorlogs. Money is the sinew of war.

Het geluk is rond; den eenen maakt het koning den anderen stront. Fortune is round; it makes one a king, another a dunghill.

Het geluk staat niet stil voor iemands deur. Fortune does not stand waiting at any one’s door.

Het hangt aan een zijden draadje. It hangs upon a silken thread.

Het heeft veel meels van noode, die iedereen den mond stoppen zal. He need have plenty of meal who would stop every man’s mouth. (Scotch: He behoves to have meal enou, that sal stop ilka man’s mou’.)

Het hemd is my nader dan de rok. My shirt is nearer than my cloak.

Het herte en liegt niet. The heart does not lie.

Het hoen, dat het meest kakelt, geeft de meeste eijers niet. It is not the hen which cackles most that lays most eggs.

Het is alles niet goud wat er blinkt. All is not gold that glitters.

Het is best te vrijen, daar men de rook kan zien. ’Tis best woo where a man can see the smoke.

Het is beter hard geblazen dan de mond gebrand. It is better to blow than burn your mouth.

Het is beter te bedelen dan te stelen. Better beg than steal.

Het is de dood in de pot. Death is in the pot.


Het is den eenen bedelaar leed, dat de andere voor de deur staat. It is a grief to one beggar that another stands at the door.

Het is den eenen hond leed dat d’ander in de keuken gaat. It grieveth one dog that the other goeth into the kitchen.

Het is den moriaan geschuurd. To wash a blackamoor white.

Het is een aristocraat in folio. He is an aristocrat in folio.

Het is een arme muis die maar één hol heeft. It is a poor mouse that has but one hole.

Het is eene lange laan, die geen’ draai heeft. It’s a long lane that has no turning.

Het is een goed schutter die altijd het wit schiet. He must shoot well who always hits the mark.

Het is een goed spreker die een goed zwijger verbeterd. It is good speaking that improves good silence.

Het is een harde brok daar men aan wurgt. It is a hard morsel that chokes.

Het is een kwade wel daar men water in draagt. It is a bad well into which one must put water.

Het is een theologant als Judas een apostel. He is as good a divine as Judas was an apostle.

Het is een vette vogel die hem zelf bedruipt. ’Tis a fat bird that bastes itself.

Het is een wijs kind dat zijn vader kent. ’Tis a wise child that knows its own father.

Het is geene kunst geld te winnen, maar te bewaren. The art is not in making money, but in keeping it.

Het is geen koopman die altijd wint. He is no merchant who always gains.

Het is genoegelijk te zien regenen, als men in den drooge staat. It’s pleasant to look on the rain, when one stands dry.

Het is God, die geneest en de dokter trekt het geld. God cures, and the doctor gets the money.

Het is goed dat kwade koeijen korte horens hebben. ’Tis well that wicked cows have short horns.

Het is goed met heel vel slapen gaan. It is good to sleep in a whole skin.

Het is goed mild zijn uit eens anders beurs. It is easy to be liberal out of another man’s purse.


Het is goed snijden riemen uit eens andermans leer. It is easy to cut thongs from other men’s leather.

Het is goed spinnen van eens ander mans garen. It is good spinning from another’s yarn.

Het is goedt dansen op een ander mans vloer. It’s good dancing on another man’s floor.

Het is goed te voet gaan als men het rijden moe word. It is good to go afoot when one is tired of riding.

Het is goedt feest houden op een anders zaal. It’s good feasting in another’s hall.

Het is goed warmen by een anders vuur. It is good to warm oneself by another’s fire.

Het is goed wijsheid dat wijsheid is in ’t ende. That is good wisdom which is wisdom in the end.

Het is haast gedaan dat lange rouwt. That’s quickly done which is long repented.

Het is kwaad bij duister eene speld te vinden. It is hard to find a pin in the dark.

Het is kwaad gekken met scherp gereedschap. It’s ill jesting with edged tools.

Het is kwaad hazen met trommels vangen. It is ill catching hares with drums.

Het is kwaad kammen daar geen haar is. It’s bad combing where there is no hair.

Het is kwaad stelen waar de waard zelf een dief is. It is hard to steal where the host is a thief.

Het is niet al goud dat er blinkt. All is not gold that glitters.

Het is niet alle dag feestdag. Every day is not holiday.

Het is profeten-drank. It is prophet-drink (i. e. water).

Het is te laat den stal te sluiten als het paard gestolen is. It is too late to lock the stable door when the steed is stolen.

Het is te laat gespaard, als het vat ten einde gaat. ’Tis too late to spare when the cask is bare.

Het is te laat sta vast te zeggen, als de pijl uit den boog is. It is too late to cry “Hold hard!” when the arrow has left the bow.

Het is veel beter tweemaal gemeten, dan eens en het beste vergeten. Better twice remembered than once forgotten.


Het is zoo veel als een boon in een brouw ketel. That’s as much as a bean in a brewing copper.

Het komt ten lesten aan den dag, wat in de sneeuw verholen lag. What lay hidden under the snow cometh to light at last.

Het moet een wijze hand zijn, die een zotte kop wel scheeren zal. It needs a cunning hand to shave a fool’s head.

Het moet wel een goed meester zijn, die nimmer fouten maakt. He must indeed be a good master who never errs.

Het oog van den meester maakt de paarden vet, en dat van het vrouwtje de kamers net. The eye of the master makes the horse fat, and that of the mistress the chambers neat.

Het slechtste rad maakt het meeste geraas. The worst wheel makes most noise.

Het verdriet brengt geen duit voordeel aan. To-day’s sorrow brings nought to-morrow. (Sorrow will pay no debts.)

Het vermaak streelt de zinnen. Pleasures steal away the mind.

Het vloeit als een fontein uit een’ bezemstok. It flows like a fountain from a broomstick.

Het vossenvel aan den leeuwenhuid hechten. To piece the lion’s skin with that of the fox.

Het wapen van Brugge: een ezel in een’ leuningstoel. The arms of Bruges: an ass in an arm-chair.

Het zijn niet alle koks die lange messen dragen. All are not cooks who wear long knives.

Het zijn niet alle vrienden die eenen toelachen. All are not friends who smile on you.

Hij beoordeelt een ieder naar zich zelven. He measures others by his own standard.

Hij blijft bij zijn woord, als de zon bij de boter. He keeps his word, as the sun keeps butter.

Hij brandt de kaars aan beide einden. He burns the candle at both ends.

Hij domineert als een aal in de tobbe. He lords it (or swaggers) like an eel in a tub.


Hij gaapt als een boer op eene jaarmarkt. He gapes like a clown at a fair.

Hij heeft den bijbel wel in den mond, maar niet in het hart. He has the Bible on his lips, but not in his heart.

Hij heeft den wolf gezien. He has seen the wolf.

Hij heeft de schrift vast den bijbel van 52 bladen. He studies the Bible of fifty-two leaves (a pack of cards).

Hij heeft eene ton vol kennis, maar de bodem is er uit. He has a ton of knowledge, but the bottom is out.

Hij heeft eene wolfs-conscientie. He has a wolf-conscience.

Hij heeft een goede meening, maar eene kwade uitspraak. He means well, but has a bad way of showing it.

Hij heeft hem onder den duim. He has him under his thumb.

Hij heeft het nest-ei verloren. He has lost the nest-egg.

Hij heeft liever den beker dan den bijbel in de hand. He would rather have a bumper in hand than a Bible.

Hij huilt met de wolven, en blaat met de schapen. He howls with the wolves, and bleats with the sheep.

Hij is een extract van schurken. He is an essence of scoundrels.

Hij is geboren op Sint-Galperts nacht, drie dagen voor ’t geluk. He was born upon St. Galtpert’s night, three days before luck.

Hij is geslepen als een looden pook. He is as sharp as a leaden dagger.

Hij is te dom, om alleen bij het vuur te zitten. He is too stupid to be trusted alone by the fire.

Hij is te lui on zijn’ adem te halen. He is too idle to fetch his breath.

Hij is te vangen als een haas met een trommel. He is as easily caught as a hare with drums.

Hij is uit de hel gekropen toen de duivel sliep. He must have crept out of hell while the devil was asleep.

Hij is van de familie Jan Van Kleef; liever van de heb dan van de geef. He is of the race of Johnny Van Cleeve; who would always much rather have than give.

Hij is wel edel, die edele werken doet. He is noble who performs noble deeds.

Hij is zoo arm als Job. He is as poor as Job.


Hij is zoo paapsch als Duc d’Alfs hond; die at vleesch in de vasten. He is as good a Catholic as Duke Alva’s dog; who ate flesh in Lent.

Hij is zoo welkom als de eerste dag in de vasten. He is as welcome as the first day in Lent. (Alluding to fast-day.)

Hij is zoo wijs, dat hij drie dagen eerder op het ijs gaat, dan het vriest. He is so wise, that he goes upon the ice three days before it freezes.

Hij kan geen ei leggen, maar hij kan kakelen. He cannot lay eggs, but he can cackle.

Hij koopt den honig wel duur, die ze van de doornen moet lekken. He buys honey dear who has to lick it off thorns.

Hij krimpt als een aal. He wriggles like an eel.

Hij leeft in het land van belofte. He lives in the land of promise.

Hij legt zijne eijeren buiten zijn nest. He lays his eggs beside his nest.

Hij loopt zoo snel, of hij eijeren in zijne schoenen had. He runs as fast as if he had eggs in his shoes.

Hij moet vroeg op staan die alle man believen wil. He must rise betimes who would please everybody.

Hij moet wijd gapen, die tegen een oven gapen zal. He must gape wide who would gape against an oven.

Hij telt zijne kiekens, eer de eijers gelegd zijn. He counts his chickens before they are hatched.

Hij treedt zoo moedig als een Engelsche haan. He struts as valiantly as an English cock.

Hij verdient een’ stuiver en heeft wel voor een’ braspenning dorst. He earns a farthing and has a penn’orth of thirst.

Hij waar wijs die alle dingen te voren wist. He would be wise who knew all things beforehand.

Hij wacht lang, die naar eens anders dood wacht. He waits long that waits for another man’s death.

Hij wil vliegen eer hij vleugels heeft. He wants to fly before he has wings.

Hij zal den schel-visch in de boomen vangen. He thinks to catch shell-fish in the trees.

Hij zegt duivel en meent u. He said devil, but meant you.


Hij zou een cent in tweeën bijten. He would bite a cent in two.

Hij zwemt op zijne eigene biezen. He swims on his own bullrush.

Hoe edeler boom hoe buigzamer tak. The nobler the tree, the more pliant the twig.

Hoe grooter jurist, hoe boozer Christ. The better lawyer, the worse Christian.

Hoe hooger berg, hoe dieper dal; hoe hooger boom, hoe zwaarder val. The higher the mountain the lower the vale, the taller the tree the harder the fall.

Hoe kwader schalk, hoe beter geluk. The worse service, the better luck.

Hoe meerder dienstboden hoe slechter dienst. The more servants the worse service.

Hoe meerder haast, hoe minder spoed. The more haste, the less speed.

Hoe meer men de stront roert, hoe meer ze stinkt. The more you stir a t—d, the more it stinks.

Hoe nader het been, hoe zoeter vleesch. The nearer the bone the sweeter the flesh.

Hoe ouder men wordt, hoe meer men leert. The older one grows, the more one learns.

Hoe schurfter schaap, hoe harder geblaat. The scabbier the sheep the harder it bleats.

Hoe slimmer timmerman hoe meerder spaanders. The worse the carpenter the more the chips.

Hoe slimmer wiel, hoe meer het kraakt. The worse the wheel, the more it creaks.

Hoe verder van Rome, hoe nader bij God. The farther from Rome the nearer to God.

Honden hebben tanden in alle landen. Dogs have teeth in all countries.

Honderd bakkers, honderd molenaars, en honderd kleêrmakers zijn drie honderd dieven. A hundred bakers, a hundred millers, and a hundred tailors are three hundred thieves.

Hooge boomen geven meer schaduuw dan vruchten. High trees give more shadow than fruit.

Hooge boomen vangen veel wind. Tall trees catch much wind.


Honger drijft den wolf uit het bosch. Hunger drives the wolf out of the wood.

Honger eet door steenen muuren. Hunger eats through stone walls.

Honger is de beste saus. Hunger is the best sauce.

Hooren zeggen is half gelogen. Hearsay is half lies.


Ieder zot heeft zijn zotskap. To every fool his cap.

Iemand den zak geeven. To give one the sack.

Iemand met gelijke munt betalen. To pay one in his own coin.

Ik ben hier niet om vliegen te vangen. I am not here to catch flies.

Ik heb alles van goud en zilver, zelfs mijne koperen ketels, zei de grootspreker. All my goods are of silver and gold, even my copper kettles, says the boaster.

Ik heb een mond die geve ik te eten, die moet spreken wat ik wil. I have a mouth which I feed, it must speak what I please.

Ik mag over mijn rekening gaan, maar niet over mijn tijd. I may go over my reckoning, but not over my time.

Ik zal er mij op beslapen. I’ll sleep on it.

In den nood leert men zijne vrienden kennen. Friends are known in time of need.

In een arm mans hoofd blijft veel wijsheid versmoort. Much wisdom is smothered in a poor man’s head.

In geluk voorzigtigheid, in ongeluk geduld. In prosperity caution, in adversity patience.

In ’t deelen van ’t erf, staat de vriendschap stil. In the division of inheritance, friendship standeth still.

In het land der blinden is een-oog koning. In the land of the blind the one-eyed is a king.

In het land van belofte sterft men wel van honger. In the land of promise a man may die of hunger.

In kleine bosschen vangt men wel een’ grooten haas. In small woods may be caught large hares.

In troebel water is’t goed visschen. It is good fishing in troubled waters.


In voorspoed denkt op tegenspoed. In prosperity think of adversity.

In zijne vuist lagchen. To laugh in one’s sleeve.

Is de eene traag, de ander is graag. If one won’t another will.


Jonge katten willen muizen, jonge apen willen luizen. Young cats will mouse, young apes will louse.

Jonge lieden kunnen, maar oude lieden moeten sterven. The young may die, the old must.

Jonge lui, domme lui; oude lui, koude lui. Young folk, silly folk; old folk, cold folk.

Jong rijs is te buigen, maar geen oude boomen. Young twigs may be bent, but not old trees.


Kasteelen in de lucht bouwen. To build castles in the air.

Kleine dieven hangt men aan den hals, de groote aan de beurs. Little thieves are hanged by the neck, great thieves by the purse.

Kleine dieven hebben ijzeren, en groote, gouden ketenen. Little thieves have iron chains, and great thieves gold ones.

Kleine houwen vellen groote eiken. Little strokes fell great oaks.

Kleine potten loopen gaauw over. Little pots soon run over.

Klein gewin brengt rijkdom in. Small gains bring great wealth.

Klein vischje zoet vischje. Little fish are sweet. (All is fish that comes to the net.)

Koffij heeft twee deugden, ze is warm en nat. Coffee has two virtues, it is wet and warm.

Kom ik over den hond, zoo kom ik over den staart. Let me get over the lake, and I have no fear of the brook.

Komt de duivel in de kerk, dan wil hij op het hoogaltaar[331] zitten. When the devil gets into the church he seats himself on the altar.

Koopmans goed is ebbe en vloed. Merchants’ goods are ebb and flood.

Koopt geen kat in een zak. Don’t buy a cat in a sack. (Don’t buy a pig in a poke.)

Kostbaare dingen doet men in kleine doosjes. Precious things are mostly in small compass. (In small boxes the best spice.)

Kosters koe weidt op het kerkhof. The beadle’s cow may graze in the churchyard.

Kraauwt mij, en ik kraauw dij. Claw me, and I’ll claw thee.

Krakende wagens duuren het langst. Creaking carts last the longest.

Kwaad ei, kwaad kuiken. Bad egg, bad chick.

Kwaad gezelschap zei de dief, en hij ging tusschen den beul en eenen monnik naar de galg. ”Bad company,” said the thief, as he went to the gallows between the hangman and a monk.

Kwaad kruid wast wel. Ill weeds grow apace.

Kwade tijding komt tijds genoeg. Ill tidings come soon enough.

Kwalijk begonnen, kwalijk geslaagd. Ill begun, ill done.


Laat geen kind vuile reeden hooren, want kleine potten hebben groote ooren. Of listening children have your fears, for little pitchers have great ears.

Lang vasten is geen brood sparen. Long fasting is no bread sparing.

Langzamerhand volbouwt de vogel zijn nest. By slow degrees the bird builds his nest.

Ledige vaten brommen het meest. Empty vessels make the most sound.

Ledigheid is hongers moeder, en van diefte volle broeder. Idleness is hunger’s mother, and of theft it is full brother.


Leent uwen vriend en maant uwen vijand. Your friend lends and your enemy asks payment.

Leer van geleerden: gy moet de ongeleerden leeren, dus zal de wetenschap der dingen zich vermeeren. Learn thou of learned men, th’ unlearned of thee; for thus must knowledge propagated be.

Ligt gekomen, ligt gegaan. Lightly come, lightly gone.

Ligt gewin maakt zware beurzen. Light gains make a heavy purse.

Loon verzoet den arbeid. Reward sweetens labour.

Luiheid is de aanvang van alle ondeugd. Sloth is the beginning of vice.

Lust maakt den arbeid ligt. Love makes labour light.


Maai liever twee dagen te vroeg dan een dag te laat. Better reap two days too soon than one too late.

Magere luizen bijten het hardst. Starved lice bite the hardest.

Magere vlooijen bijten scherp. Hungry flies bite sore.

Meer geluk dan wijsheid. More luck than wit.

Meet driemaal eer gij eens snijd. Measure thrice before you cut once.

Men dempt den put als het kalf verdronken is. When the calf is drowned they cover the well.

Menigeen zoekt goede nachten, en verliest goede dagen. Many seek good nights and lose good days.

Men kan beter van eene boerin eene juffrouw maken dan van eene juffrouw eene boerin. It is easier to make a lady of a peasant-girl than a peasant-girl of a lady.

Men kan een ezel tegen zijn wil niet doen drinken. There’s no making a donkey drink against his will.

Men kan geen loopend paard beslaan. One can’t shoe a running horse.

Men kan ligt een stok vinden, als men den hond wil slaan. It is easy to find a stick to beat a dog.

Men kan van een varkensoor geene fluweelen beurs maken. There’s no making a silk purse of a sow’s ear.


Men kent een man niet eer voor dat hij komt tot eer. A man is not known till he cometh to honour.

Men komt niet lagchende in den Hemel. Men go not laughing to heaven.

Men moet alle zijne eijeren niet in ééne mand doen. Put not all your eggs into one basket.

Men moet de huid niet willen verdeelen voor dat de beer dood is. Don’t sell the bearskin before the bear is dead.

Men moet de koe wel melken, maar de spenen niet aftrekken. Milk the cow, but don’t pull off the udder.

Men moet den Keizer geven het geen des Keizers is. Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s.

Men moet leven en laten leven. Live, and let live.

Men moet de ploeg niet voor de paarden spannen. Don’t yoke the plough before the horses.

Men moet de schapen scheren, maar niet villen. Shear the sheep, but don’t flay them.

Men moet de steel de bijl niet na werpen. Don’t throw the handle after the bill.

Men moet eten, al waren alle boomen galgen. A man must eat, though every tree were a gallows.

Men moet zeilen terwijl de wind dient. Men must sail while the wind serveth.

Men moet zomwijl de duivel een kaars ontsteeken. One must sometimes hold a candle to the devil.

Men plukt de gans, zoo lang zij vederen heeft. Geese are plucked as long as they have any feathers.

Men spreekt zoo lang van een ding, totdat het komt. What is long spoken of happens at last. (Long looked for comes at last.)

Men vangt meer vliegen met een’ lepel stroop dan met een vat azijn. More flies are caught with a spoonful of syrup than with a cask of vinegar.

Men vangt geen hazen met trommels. Hares are not caught with drums.

Men vangt het paard bij den breidel, en den man bij zijn woord. Take a horse by his bridle and a man by his word.

Met al te veel kakelens, wordt de waarheid verloren. Truth is lost with too much debating.


Met arbeyd krijgt men vuur uit den steen. By labour fire is got out of a stone.

Met de levenden begraaft men de dooden. By the living we bury the dead.

Met dieven vangt men dieven. Set a thief to catch a thief.

Met hertensvrienden mijd van twisten zelfs ’t begin: want gramschap teelt maar haat; en eendragt voed de min. Forbear a quarrel with a friend to move: anger breeds hatred; concord sweetens love.

Met ledige handen is het kwaad havikken vangen. It’s hard to catch hawks with empty hands. (With emptie hands men may no haukes lure.Chaucer.)

Met leêge handen is kwaad te markt te gaan. It is bad marketing with empty pockets.

Met onwillige honden is kwaad hazen vangen. It is hard to catch hares with unwilling hounds.

Met tijd en stroo rijpen de mispelen. Time and straw make medlars ripe.

Metter tijt bijt de muis een kabel in stukken. In time a mouse will gnaw through a cable.

Met vallen leert men zeker gaan. By falling we learn to go safely.

Met veel slagens wordt de stok-visch murwer. Stock-fish are made tender by much beating.

Met vollen mond is ’t kwaad blazen. It is hard to blow with a full mouth.

Mostaard na den maaltijd. After meat comes mustard.


Naaste buur naaste bloedvriend als het kalf in de groef ligt. The nearest boor is the nearest kinsman when the calf lies in the ditch.

Na de ebbe komt de vloed, en de vrienden met het goed. After ebb comes flood, and friends with good.

Na den regen komt het mooije weêr. After rain comes fair weather.

Na eer en staat volgt nijd en haat. After honour and state follow envy and hate.


Na groote droogte komt groote regen. After great droughts come great rains.

Na het zuure komt het zoet. After the sour comes the sweet.

Na hooge vloeden diepe ebben. After high floods come low ebbs.

Na regen komt zonneschijn. After rain comes sunshine.

Neem een Brabandsch schaap, een’ Gelderschen os, een Vlaamsch kapoen, en eene Friesche koe. Choose a Brabant sheep, a Guelder ox, a Flemish capon, and a Friezeland cow.

Neemt nooit bij de hand dat u hier na mocht rouwen. Take nothing in hand that may bring repentance.

Niemand gelukkig voor zijnen dood. No man knoweth fortune till he dies.

Niemand is wijs in zijn eigen zaak. No one is wise in his own affairs.

Niemand kan langer vrede hebben dan zijn buurman wil. No one can have peace longer than his neighbour pleases.

Niemand leert als met schade of schande. No man learneth but by pain or shame.

Niemand’s lief is lelijk. Nobody’s sweetheart is ugly.

Niemand weet waar een ander de schoen wringt. No one knows where another’s shoe pinches.

Niemand zoo zeker of hij kan missen. No one so sure but he may miss.

Niet doen, leert kwaad doen. To do nothing teacheth to do evil.

Nieuwe bezems vegen schoon. New brooms sweep clean.

Nijd krijt van spijt waar eere rijd. Envy crieth of spite where honour rideth.

Nog beter is het, verloren arbeid gedaan, dan in ledigheid zich te verliezen. Better lose your labour than your time in idleness.

Nood breekt ijzer. Necessity breaks iron.

Nood breekt wet. Necessity knows no law.

Nooit ambtje zoo kleen, of het is beter dan geen. No office so humble but it is better than nothing.



Olie in het vuur werpen. To throw oil on the fire.

Om eene kleine zaak eet de wolf het schaap. On a small pretence the wolf devours the sheep.

Onder een staand zeil is goed roeijen. It is good rowing with set sail.

Ongelegde eijeren zijn onzekere kuikens. Unlaid eggs are uncertain chickens.

Ongelijke paarden trekken kwalijk. Ill-matched horses draw badly.

Onkruid vergaat nooit. Ill weeds grow apace.

Ons tijd verloopt gelijk een stroom; en naar het blad zoo valt den boom. Our time runs on like a stream; first fall the leaves and then the tree.

Onthoud dit, lieve vriend, het is een wijzen raad: ontkleed u nimmermeer eer dat gy slapen gaat. Precaution said, Good friend, this counsel keep: strip not yourself until you’re laid to sleep.

Ook hazen trekken een leeuw bij den baard als hij dood is. Even hares pull a lion by the beard when he is dead.

Oost, west, t’huis best. East or west, home is best.

Op een’ gebaanden weg groeit geen gras. Grass grows not upon the highway.

Op een’ witten Spanjaard en op een’ zwarten Engelschman moet men achtgeven. Beware of a white Spaniard and a black Englishman.

Op haastige vragen dient traag geantwoord. Hasty questions require slow answers.

Oude honden is kwaad bassen te leeren. It is hard to teach old dogs to bark.

Oude vogelen zijn niet met katten vangen. Old birds are not caught with cats.

Oude vossen zijn kwaad te vangen. Old foxes are hard to catch.

Over een haverstroo twisten. To quarrel over a straw.


Paarlen voor de varkens strooijen. To cast pearls before swine.

Praatjes vullen geen gaatjes. Fine words don’t fill the belly.



Raad voor daad. Counsel before action.

Raakt een bezeerd paard aan, en hij zal slaan. Touch a galled horse and he’ll wince.

Raders zijn geene gelders. Advisers are not givers.

Rijd voort, maar ziet om. Ride on, but look before you.

Rijke lui hebben veel vrienden. The rich have many friends.

Roep geen hei, eer gij overgekomen zijt. Don’t cry holloa! till you’re out of the bush.

Roep geen hei, voor gij over de brug zijt. Don’t cry holloa! till you’re over the bridge.

Roept geen haring eer hij in ’t net is. Don’t cry herrings till they are in the net.

Rook, stank, en kwaade wijven zijn die de mans uit de huizen drijven. Smoke, stench, and a troublesome wife are what drive men from home.

Rust maakt roest. Rest makes rusty.


Schande duurt langer dan armoede. Shame lasts longer than poverty.

Schoenmaker, blijf bij u leest. Shoemaker, stick to your last.

Schoone appelen zijn ook wel zuur. Handsome apples are sometimes sour.

Schoone woorden vullen den zak niet. Fair words won’t fill the sack.

Schoon geld kan veel vuil dekken. Fair money can cover much that’s foul.

Schoonheid is maar drek als de eerbaarheid verloren is. Beauty is but dross if honesty be lost.

Schuim is geen bier. Froth is no beer.

Slapende honden zal men niet wakker maken. Wake not a sleeping dog.

Smeed het ijzer terwijl het heet is. Strike whilst the iron is hot.

Snijd uw mantel naar uw laken. Cut your coat according to your cloth.


Spaanderen naar Noorwegen brengen. To carry fir-trees to Norway. (To carry coals to Newcastle.)

Span den boog niet al te sterk, want dan barst hij. Strain not your bow beyond its bent, lest it break.

Spillen is een kwade gewoonte, sparen is een wisse rente. Wasting is a bad habit, sparing a sure income.

Spreekt zij Engelsch? Do you speak English? (Meaning, Have you got any money? We used to say in England, Have you got any Spanish?)

Spreekwoorden zijn dochters der dagelijksche ondervinding. Proverbs are the daughters of daily experience.

Spreken is zilver, zwijgen is goud. Speaking is silver, silence is gold.

Sta maar een wijl, gij verliest een mijl. Stay a while, and lose a mile.

Steek de hand in de conscientie, en zie of ze er niet pik zwaart weder uitkomt. Put your hand in your conscience and see if it don’t come out as black as pitch.

Steek uw vinger in geen dwazens mond. Thrust not thy finger in a fool’s mouth.

Steek uw voeten niet verder dan uw bed reikt. Stretch your legs no farther than your coverlet.

Stille waters hebben diepe gronden. Still waters are deep.

Streelje den hond, hij bederft uw kleed. Caress your dog, and he’ll spoil your clothes.

Strooit geen rozen voor varkens. Strew no roses before swine.


Tegen stroom is kwaad zwemmen. It is hard to swim against the stream.

Tegen wind en stroom kan men niet opzeilen. It is ill sailing against wind and tide.

Te veel is kwaad genoeg, zij dat wat gij geniet; een schip vaart veiligst door een’ niet te sterken vliet. Rejoice in little, shun what is extreme; the ship rides safest in a little stream.

Te veel van een ding is nergens nut toe. Too much of one thing is good for nothing.

Tijd en plaats doen den dief stelen. Time and place make the thief.


Tijd gewonnen, veel gewonnen. Time gained, much gained.

Tijd is geld. Time is money.

Toen Adam spitte en Eva span, waar vond men toen den edelman? When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?

Trekt men één varken bij den staart dan schreeuwen zij allen. If you pull one pig by the tail all the rest squeak.

Tucht baart vrucht. Correction bringeth fruit.

Tusschen den hamer en het aanbeeld. Between the hammer and the anvil.

Tusschen lepel en mond, valt het sop te grond. ’Twixt the spoon and the lip, the morsel may slip.

Tusschen twee stoelen valt de aars op de aarde. Between two stools the breech cometh to the ground.

Twee appelen met éénen stok afwerpen. To bring down two apples with one stick.

Twee hanen in een huis, de kat met de muis, een oud man en een ijongwn wijf geeft eeuwig gekijf. Two cocks in one house, a cat and a mouse, an old man and young wife, are always in strife.

Twee honden aan een been komen zelden overeen. Two dogs seldom agree over one bone.

Twee vliegen met éénen klap slaan. To kill two birds with one stone.


Uit den overvloed des harten spreekt de mond. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

Uit het oog, uit het hart. Out of sight, out of mind.


Vaart gij dan oost, of vaarje west, eens eigen huis is alder best. Travel east or travel west, a man’s own house is still the best.

Van daag voor geld, en morgen voor niet. To-day for money, to-morrow for nothing.


Van de boot komt men in het schip. From the boat we get to the ship.

Van den hak op den tak springen. To make coqs-à-l’âne.

Van den nood eene deugd maken. To make a virtue of necessity.

Van den wal in de sloot vallen. To fall from the wall into the ditch. (Out of the frying-pan into the fire.)

Van de vonken brandt ’t huis. From a spark the house is burnt.

Van dreigen sterft man niet. Threats don’t kill. (Men don’t die of threats.)

Van een anders leer is goed riemen snijden. It is pleasant to cut thongs of another man’s leather.

Van een’ vlieg een’ olijfant maaken. To make an elephant of a fly. (To make a mountain of a mole-hill.)

Van ’t klein komt men tot ’t groote. From little things men go on to great.

Van kleine beginselen komt men tot groote zaken. From small beginnings come great things.

Van kleine dingen komt dikwijls groote hinder. From trivial things great contests oft arise.

Van twee kwalen moet men de ergste mijden. Of two evils choose the least.

Van vader komt eere, van moeder gemak. From the father comes honour, from the mother comfort.

Van verre gehaalt en duur gekocht, is eten voor me vrouwen. Far fetched and dear bought is meat for ladies.

Veeg eerst voor uwe eigene deur, en dan voor die uws buurmans. Sweep before your own door before you look after your neighbour’s.

Veele handen maaken ligt werk. Many hands make light work.

Veele woorden vullen geen zak. Many words don’t fill the sack. (Scoticè: Meikle crack fills nae sack.)

Veel geschreeuw maar weinig wol, zei de drommel, en hij schoor zijne varkens. Great cry and little wool, quoth the devil, when he sheared his hogs.

Veel geschreeuws, en luttel wol. Great cry and little wool.

Veel herders by de schapen, zullen maar te langer slapen. When many shepherds tend the sheep, they but so much the longer sleep.


Veel honden is der hazen dood. Many hounds are the death of the hare.

Veel hoofden, veel zinnen. Many heads, many minds.

Veel kleintjes maken een groot. Many littles make a mickle.

Veel koks verzouten de brij. Too many cooks oversalt the porridge.

Veel praats en weinig werks. Much talk little work.

Velen openen een deur om een venster te sluiten. Many open a door to shut a window.

Verdraagt het geen gij door uw eigen schuld lijdt. Bear patiently that which thou sufferest by thine own fault.

Verkoop den huid niet, voor gij den beer hebt gevangen. Don’t sell the skin till you’ve caught the bear.

Verloren eer, keert nimmermeer. Honour once lost never returns.

Verstandigen staan naar ampten en de dom-ooren krijgen ze. Wise men sue for offices, and blockheads get them.

Viel den hemel, daar en bleef geen aarden pot heel. Were the sky to fall, not an earthen pot would be left whole.

Voet voor voet gaat men ver. Step by step one goes far.

Vogels van gelijke veeren vliegen graag t’zamen. Birds of a feather flock together.

Volle flesschen en glazen maken vloekers en dwazen. Full bottles and glasses make swearers and asses.

Voor dag uit, voor nacht in. Out before day, in before night.

Voor groote kwalen sterke hulpmiddelen. For great evils strong remedies.

Voor stroom en wind is goed zeilen. It is good sailing with wind and tide.

Voorzigtigheid is de moeder der fijne bierglazen. Caution is the parent of delicate beer-glasses.

Vrienden kost is haast gereed. A friend’s dinner is soon dressed.

Vroeg gras, vroeg hooi. Soon grass, soon hay.

Vroeg of laat komt de waarheid aan den dag. Sooner or later the truth comes to light.

Vroeg rijp, vroeg rot; vroeg wijs, vroeg zot. Soon ripe, soon rotten; soon wise, soon foolish.

Vroeg vuur, vroeg asch. Soon fire, soon ashes.



Waar de bije honig uit zuigt, zuigt de spin venijn uit. Where the bee sucks honey, the spider sucks poison.

Waar de dijk (of dam) het laagst is, loopt het water ’t eerst over. Where the dike (or dam) is lowest the water first runs over.

Waar de hegge het laagste is, wil elk er over. Where the hedge is lowest every one goes over.

Waar de vlijt de deur uit gaat, komt de armoede het venster in. When industry goes out of the door, poverty comes in at the window.

Waar men vruchtboomen zet valt niet op vruchten te rekenen. He who plants fruit-trees, must not count upon the fruit.

Waar niet is, verliest de keizer zijn regt. Where there is nothing, the emperor loses his right.

Wacht u voor een’ man met twee aangezigten. Beware of the man of two faces.

Wanneer de wijn is in de man, dan is de wijsheid in de kan. When the wine is in the man, the wit is in the can.

Wanneer dieven kijven bekomen vrome lieden hare goederen. When thieves fall out, honest men come to their goods.

Wanneer een boom ter aarde zijgt, maakt ieder dat hij takken krijgt. When the tree falls every one runs to cut boughs.

Wapenen, vrouwen, en boeken, behoeven dagelijksche behandeling. Arms, women, and books should be looked at daily.

Was, vlas, en tin; voor groot geld klein gewin. Wax, flax, and tin; much out and little in.

Wat de nuchtere denkt, dat spreekt de dronkaard. What the sober man thinks, the drunkard tells.

Wat de ouden zingen, piepen de ijongen. The old ones sing, the young ones pipe. (Or, As the old cock crows, the young cock learns.)

Water in eenen korf putten. To put water into a basket. (To pour water into a sieve.)


Water in de zee brengen. To carry water to the sea.

Wat gij den armen geeft, leent gij den Heer. He who giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord.

Wat het oog niet en ziet, dat begeert het herte niet. What the eye sees not, the heart craves not.

Wat horens heeft wil steken. What has horns will gore.

Wat in ’t gebeente gegroeid is, wil uit het vleesch niet. What is bred in the bone won’t out of the flesh.

Wat niets en kost en deugd niet. What costs nothing is worth nothing.

Wat u niet brand, dat koel niet. That which burns thee not, cool not.

Wat van daag onregt is, is morgen geen regt. What is wrong to-day won’t be right to-morrow.

Weinig gezegd is haast verbeterd. The less said the sooner mended.

Weinig houts veel vruchten. Little wood, much fruit.

Weinig met eer, wat behoef je meer. With honour and store, what would you more.

Wel voorgaan doet wel volgen. Good leading makes good following.

Werelds goed is eb en vloed. Worldly good is ebb and flood.

Wie de roos wil plukken moet de doornen niet ontzien. He who would gather roses, must not fear thorns.

Wie een’ schalk wil vangen, moet achter de deur staan. He who would catch a rogue must watch behind the door.

Wie geen dorst heeft, wat doet hij bij de fontein. Who has no thirst has no business at the fountain.

Wie in zijn 23e jaar niet sterft, in zijn 24e niet verdrinkt, en in zijn 25e niet wordt verslagen, die mag wel spreken van goede dagen. He who dies not in his twenty-third year, drowns not in his twenty-fourth, and is not slain in his twenty-fifth, may boast of good days.

Wie is ’t die zonder op-spraak blijft, die voor de wereld spreekt of schrijft? Who can escape envy and blame, that speaks or writes for public fame?

Wie loopt, die wordt gejaagd. Who runs is followed.

Wie op twee hazen te gelijk jaagt, vangt geen van beide. He who hunts two hares at once, catches neither.


Wie pepers te veel heeft die pepert zijne boonen. Who has plenty of pepper may pepper his beans.

Wie tegen wind spuwt, maakt zijn baard vuil. Who spits against the wind, fouls his beard.

Wie veeltijds spiegelen, zelden spinnen. They who are often at the looking-glass seldom spin.

Wie zich onder den draf mengt, dien eten de zwijnen. He who mixes himself with the draff will be eaten by the swine.

Wie zijn buren beledigt, maakt het zich zelven daarna zuur. He who slanders his neighbour makes a rod for himself.

Wie zijn kind straft, die heeft eere van hem; wie het niet straft, die zal schande beleven. Who chastises his child will be honoured by him, who chastises him not will be shamed.

Wie zonder eten gaat te bed, dien wordt het slapen ligt belet. Who goes fasting to bed will sleep but lightly.

Wij appelen zwemmen, zei de paardenkeutel. How we apples swim! said the horse-t—d.

Wijsheid in mans, geduld in vrouwen, dat kan het huis in ruste houen. Wisdom in the man, patience in the wife, brings peace to the house, and a happy life.

Wijst mij een’ leugenaar, en ik wijs u een’ dief. Show me a liar, I’ll show you a thief.

Wil men alle dingen met goede oogen aanzien dan moet men staâg door de vingeren kijken. Who would regard all things complacently must wink at a great many.


Zaai geen geld op zee: ’t moet zinken. Sow not money on the sea, lest it sink.

Zacht gaan en verre zien. Go softly and look afar.

Zachte meesters maken stinkende wonden. Tender surgeons make foul wounds.

Zachtzens en soergens gaat verre. Soft and fair goeth far.

Zegt ons met wie dat gij verkeert, en heb ik uwen raad geleerd. Tell me the company you keep, and I’ll tell you what you are.

Zelfs lief niemands lief. Self-love nobody else’s love.


Zet u teeringe, na u neeringe. Set thy expense according to thy trade.

Zich bij den neus laten leiden. To be led by the nose.

Zij bijten niet al die haar tanden laten zien. All do not bite that show their teeth.

Zij leven te zamen als honden en katten. They agree like cats and dogs.

Zijn geld bekleed bij hem de plaats van wijsheid. His money takes the place of wisdom.

Zij steekt den bezem uit. She hangs out the broom (wants a husband).

Zij verstaan elkander als dieven op eene kermis. They understand one another like thieves in a fair.

Zij zijn niet allen gelijk die met den keizer rijden. All are not princes who ride with the emperor.

Zoo de gekken geen brood aten, het koren zogoed koop zijn. If fools ate no bread, corn would be cheap.

Zoo gewonnen, zoo geronnen. So got, so gone.

Zoo gij een gek de vingers bied, ’t is vreemd neemt hij de vuisten niet. Offer a clown your finger, and he’ll take your fist.

Zoo gij zaait zoo zult gij maaien. As you sow you shall reap.

Zoo pot, zoo deksel. Like pot, like cover.

Zoo veel hoofden, zoo veel zinnen. So many men, so many minds.

Zuinigheid is een groote rente. Economy is a great revenue.

Zulk begin, zulk einde. So begun, so done.

Zulke heer, zulke knecht. Like master, like man.

Zware beurzen en ligte harten kunnen veel verzetten. Heavy purses and light hearts can sustain much.

Zweegen de dwazen zij waren wijs. Were fools silent they would pass for wise.

Zwijgen antwoordt veel. Silence answers much.




Aaret har en vid Mund og en stor Mave. The year has a wide mouth and a big belly.

Adam fik en Hak og Eva fik en Rok, deraf er al vor Adels-Flok. Adam got a hoe, and Eve got a spinning-wheel, and thence come all our nobles.

Af Falsk og Svig vorder ingen riig. Deceit and treachery make no man rich.

Af Læp vorder Hund læderaadig. By gnawing skin a dog learns to eat leather.

Af liden Gnist kommer ofte stor Ild. A large fire often comes from a small spark.

Af Ögler komme Ögleunger. Vipers breed vipers.

Af Skade bliver man klog, men sielden rig. Damage suffered makes you knowing, but seldom rich.

Af to onde Kaar skal man vælge det bedste. Of two evils choose the least.

Alderdom er ond Reisebroder. Age is a sorry travelling companion.

Alderdom giör mangen hvidere, men ikke bedre. Age makes many a man whiter, but not better.

Aldrig er Fugl saa liden, söger jo eget Bo. A bird may be ever so small, it always seeks a nest of its own.

Aldrig er saa gammel en Kiærling, kommer der Ild i hende hun springer jo. A woman may be ever so old, if she takes fire she will jump.

Aldrig læges Saar saa vel, at Arret jo synes. A wound never heals so well that the scar cannot be seen.

Aldrig var færre Adel, end naar hver vil være det. There were never fewer nobles than when all would be so.


Alle Baader hiælpe, sagde Soen, hun greb et Myg. Every little helps, said the sow, when she snapped at a gnat.

Alle Nögle ere ei bundne ved en Kones Laar. All keys hang not at one woman’s girdle.

Alle Qvinder ere gode lutherske de prædike heller end de höre Messe. All women are good Lutherans, they would rather preach than hear mass.

Alle see hans bolde Arm, ingen seer hans slunkne Tarm. Every one sees his smart coat, no one sees his shrunken belly.

Alle ville længe leve, men Ingen vil gammel hedde. All wish to live long, but none to be called old.

Almisse tömmer ei Pung, og ei Messe Dagsfærd. Alms do not empty the purse, and a mass does not exhaust the day’s duty.

Alting har en Ende—uden Pölsen, den har to. Everything has an end—except a sausage, which has two.

Altid at spare, er altid at fattes. Always to be sparing is always to be in want.

Alt leer folsk Mand, naar Anden leer. A fool laughs when others laugh.

Alt Vand vil til Strand, og Pengene til rig Mands Haand. As water runs towards the shore, so does money towards the rich man’s hand.

Alt voxer Rakketand, mens gammel Hund bider Been. The teeth of the puppy are growing, while the old dog is gnawing bones.

Alvor og Gammen kunne bedst sammen. Earnestness and sport go well together.

Anden Tid giver andet Folk. Other times, other folk.

Arbeide har en bitter Rod, men söd Smag. Labour has a bitter root, but a sweet taste.

Arm er den Muus som kun har et Hul. It is a poor mouse that has but one hole.

Armod og Kiærlighed ere onde at dölge. Love and poverty are hard to conceal.

Arne Bande bider bedst. The curse on the hearth wounds the deepest.

Arrig Quinde og bidsk Hund vogte Huset. A cross-grained woman and a snappish dog take care of the house.


At bede og smöre sinker ei at kiöre. To bait and to grease does not retard a journey.

At bie og lide, stiller mangen en Qvide. To wait and be patient soothes many a pang.

At sige Daaren Raad, det er som at slaae Vand paa en Gaas. To give counsel to a fool is like throwing water on a goose.

At skære i fremmed Öre er ikke anderledes end i Filtehat. To cut into another man’s ear is like cutting into a felt hat.

At tie Sandhed, er at begrave Guld. To withhold truth is to bury gold.

At vide Lov og giöre Ret er tvende haande. To know the law and do the right are two things.

Ave er god naar hun kommer i Tide. Correction is good when administered in time.

Avind kommer ikke i öde Huus. Envy does not enter an empty house.

Avindsyg er sin egen Böddel. Envy is its own torturer.

Avind var aldrig god Talsmand. Envy was never a good spokesman.

Ærlig Mand er ei disværre, at en Hund göer ad ham. An honest man is not the worse because a dog barks at him.


Bag efter kommer tyndt Öl. Small beer comes the last.

Bande bider ei Öie ud, uden Næven fölger med. A curse will not strike out an eye, unless the fist goes with it.

Bange Hierte vandt aldrig fager Mö. Faint heart never won fair lady.

Barneryg vil böies i Tide. A child’s back must be bent early.

Barn skal krybe til det lærer at gaae. A child must creep until it learns to walk.

Barne Sorg varer stakket. A child’s sorrow is short-lived.

Bær Asenet en Guldsæk, det æder dog Tidsel. Though the ass may carry a sack of gold, it nevertheless feeds on thistles.

Beder Gud dig drage, han faaer dig vel Reb; beder han dig ride, han faaer dig vel Hest. If God bids thee draw, he[349] will find thee a rope; if he bids thee ride, he will find thee a horse.

Bedre Ægget i Dag end Hönen i Morgen. Rather the egg to-day than the hen to-morrow.

Bedre at Barn græder end at Moder sukker. Better the child cry, than the mother sigh.

Bedre at blæse hart end at brænde sig. Better blow hard than burn yourself.

Bedre at gaae en liden Krog end at væde sin Brog. Better make a short circuit than to wet your hose.

Bedre at komme seent til Kirke end aldrig. Better come late to church than never.

Bedre at spare paa Bredden, end paa Bunden. Better spare at the brim than at the bottom.

Bedre at være fri Fugl end fangen Konge. Better to be a free bird than a captive king.

Bedre brænder den vaade Green end den törre Steen. The wet branch burns better than the dry stone.

Bedre een Fugl i Haanden end to paa Taget. One bird in the hand is better than two on the roof.

Bedre en salt Sild over sit eget Bord, end en fersk Giedde over et fremmed. Better a salt herring on your own table, than a fresh pike on another man’s.

Bedre er aaben Fjende end Hykle-Ven. Better an open enemy than a false friend.

Bedre er at Barn græder, end gammel Mand. Better the child cry than the old man.

Bedre er at gaae fri i en grön Eng, end at være bunden til en Tornebusk. Better walk unshackled in a green meadow, than be bound to a thorn-bush.

Bedre er at lide for Sandhed, end at Lönnes for Lögn. Better suffer for truth, than prosper by falsehood.

Bedre er at stemme Bækken end Aaen. It is easier to stem the brook than the river.

Bedre er at tinge ved Busken end ved Boien. It is better to make conditions in the bush than in prison.

Bedre er at Verden veed du er en Synder end at Gud veed du er en Hykler. Better the world should know you as a sinner than God know you as a hypocrite.

Bedre er Bröd end Fuglesang. Bread is better than the song of birds.


Bedre er den Green der böier, end den der brister. Better is the branch that bends, than the branch that breaks.

Bedre er dyrt at kiöbe, end ilde at svelte. It is better to buy dearly than to hunger direly.

Bedre er een Ko med Ro end syv med Uro. Better one cow in peace than seven in trouble.

Bedre er et magert Forliig, end en fed Trætte. A meagre compromise is better than a fat lawsuit.

Bedre er et Ord for, end ti Ord efter. One word beforehand is better than ten afterwards.

Bedre er grov Traad, end bart Laar. Better coarse cloth than naked thighs.

Bedre er heelt end med Guld bödet. Better whole than patched with gold.

Bedre er Held end hundrede Mark. Luck is better than a hundred marks.

Bedre er liden Nagle for Huus end slet ingen. A small bolt to the house is better than none at all.

Bedre er selv at have, end Söster at bede. Better to have something yourself, than to beg of your sister.

Bedre er snild Tunge, end kæmt Haar. A smooth tongue is better than smooth locks.

Bedre er strax at nægte, end længe at love. Better to deny at once, than to promise long.

Bedre er svang Hest end tom Grime. Bedre er halvt Bröd end Alt mist. Bedre er lidet Boskab end tomt Huus. Better a poor horse than an empty stall. Better half a loaf than none at all. Better a little furniture than an empty house.

Bedre er tiende Ord end tarvlös Tale. Speaking silence is better than senseless speech.

Bedre er tösser maalt, end eengang og galt. Better twice measured than once wrong.

Bedre er tyndt Öl end tom Tönde. Better weak beer than an empty cask.

Bedre er Venne-Napp, end Fiende-Klap. Better a friend’s bite than an enemy’s caress.

Bedre i gammel Vogn end i nyt Skib. Better in an old carriage than in a new ship.

Bedre ingen Lov, end uden Fremgang. Better no law, than law not enforced.


Bedre lidt med Ro og Rette, end meget med Uro og Trætte. Better a little in peace and with right, than much with anxiety and strife.

Bedre noget paa Armen end alt i Tarmen. Better something on the arm than all in the stomach.

Bedre paa Træbeen at gaae, end paa Baar at bæres. Better walk on wooden legs, than be carried on a wooden bier.

Bedre sildig end aldrig. Better late than never.

Bedst brænder Ild paa egen Arne. The fire burns brightest on one’s own hearth.

Bid byder anden. One bite brings another.

Blind Due finder ogsaa stundom Hvedekorn. A blind pigeon may sometimes find a grain of wheat.

Blodet er aldrig saa tyndt, at det jo er tykkere end Vand. Let the blood be ever so thin, it is always thicker than water.

Blomster er Frugtens Fæstepenge. Flowers are the pledges of fruit.

Bondens Fied giör Ageren fed. The foot of the farmer manures the field.

Bön er dyrest Kiöb. What is got by begging is dearly bought.

Börn er fattig Mands Rigdom. Children are the riches of the poor.

Börn er vis Sorg, men uvis Glæde. Children are certain sorrow, but uncertain joy.

Brændt Barn rædes gierne Ilden, og bidt Barn Hund. A burnt child fears the fire, and a bitten child fears a dog.

Bugen vil intet borge. The belly gives no credit.


Daare lader Raad gaae ind ad det ene Öre, og ud ad det andet. Advice to a fool goes in at one ear and out at the other.

Daarligt er at frygte det man ei kan flye. It is folly to fear what one cannot avoid.

Da begynde Svanerne at synge, naar Raagerne tie. When the rooks are silent the swans begin to sing.

Da er Ild god inde, naar Hunsegel hænger ude. The fire is welcome within, when icicles hang without.


Dagen er aldrig saa hellig at jo Gryden vil syde. The day is never so holy that the pot refuses to boil.

De ere ei alle Jægere, som blæse i Horn. All are not hunters that blow the horn.

De ere ikke alle gode Stegere som bær lange Knive. All are not good cooks who carry long knives.

De flye ei Alle, som vende Ryggen. It is not all who turn their backs that flee.

De gamle Stude har de stive Horn. Old oxen have stiff horns.

De Gamle til Raad—de Unge til Daad. The aged in council—the young in action.

Deilig er Frugten som Dyden er i Træet. As the virtue in the tree, such is the fruit.

Deilighed bær Medgiften i Ansigtet. Beauty carries its dower in its face.

De lumske Sviin æde Masken, de galne löbe uden om. The still swine eat the mash, the wild ones run past it.

Den Bænk er vel prydet (som) med gode Qvinder er sat. That bench is well adorned that is filled with virtuous women.

Den Dag kommer vel, at Koen haver sin Hale behov. The day is sure to come when the cow will want her tail.

Den der er slaaet til en Skilling bliver aldrig Daler. That which is stamped a penny will never be a pound.

Den der har Glastag paa sit eget Huus, maa ikke kaste Steen paa andres. He who has a glass roof on his own house, must not throw stones at others’.

Den der ikke sparer paa Skillingen, faaer aldrig Daleren. He that does not save pennies, will never have pounds.

Den der jager to Harer af een Busk, faaer sielden nogen af dem. He who hunts two hares from one bush, is not likely to catch either.

Den der tager en Enke med tre Börn, tager fire Tyve. He who marries a widow with three children, marries four thieves.

Den der venter paa död Mands Skoe, kommer længe til at gaae barfodet. He who waits for dead men’s shoes, may have to go long barefoot.

Den der vil have Hunden hængt, siger den bider Faar. He that wants to hang a dog, says that it bites the sheep.


Den Ene jager, den Anden æder Haren. One hunts the hare, and another eats it.

Den ene Ravn hugger ikke Öinene ud paa den Anden. One raven does not peck out another’s eyes.

Den ene Stodder lider ikke at den anden har to Poser. One beggar likes not that another has two wallets.

Den er en Giek sig selv roser, og en Gal sig selv vil laste. He is a fool that praises himself, and he a madman that speaks ill of himself.

Den er god at borge Byg som eier Havre. It is safe to lend barley to him who has oats.

Den er ilde skikket til Bager, der har et Hoved af Smör. He is little suited to be a baker, whose head is made of butter.

Den er ingen nyttig, som ei er sig selv nyttig. He who is of no use to himself, is of no use to any one.

Den er ingensteds som allesteds vil være. He who would be everywhere will be nowhere.

Den er let at lokke, som efter vil hoppe. He is easy to lure, who is ready to follow.

Den er Mand, som giör Mands Gierning. He is a man, who acts like a man.

Den er næst Gud som mindst behöver. He is nearest to God who has the fewest wants.

Den er Tingen næst, som har den i Hænder. He is nearest a thing, who has it in his hands.

Den er ung nok som er sund, og rig nok som er uden Gield. He is young enough who has health, and he is rich enough who has no debts.

Den er værd det Söde som har smagt det Suure. He is worthy of sweets, who has tasted bitters.

Den Fattige fattes meget, men den Gierrige alt. The poor man wants much, the miser everything.

Den fede So veed ei hvad den sultne lider. The fat sow knows not what the hungry sow suffers.

Den förste Fugl fanger det förste Korn. The first bird gets the first grain.

Den Gaas kiækker höit, der har en god Gasse. The goose that has a good gander cackles loudly.

Den Gaas kiækker ikke mere som Hovedet er af. The goose that has lost its head no longer cackles.


Den Gamle skal man ære, den Unge skal man lære. Honour the old, teach the young.

Den giemmer til Kat, som giemmer til Nat. He who puts by for the night, puts by for the cat.

Den glæder sig meest, som selv qvæder. He that sings himself is the best pleased.

Den har svært Löb, som nödes til at löbe. He runs heavily who is forced to run.

Den Hund man skal nöde til Skovs, beder ikke mange Dyr. The dog that is forced into the woods will not hunt many deer.

Den kan snarest spilde, som har Karret i Haand. He is most likely to spill who holds the vessel in his hand.

Den Kloges Arv findes i alle Lande. A clever man’s inheritance is found in every country.

Den Korset haver signer sig selv först. He that bears the cross, blesses himself first.

Den lade Dreng og den varme Seng kunne ei vel skilles ad. A lazy boy and a warm bed are difficult to part.

Den Lade faaer ingen Lön uden Last. Blame is the lazy man’s wages.

Den leder ikke gierne bag Dören, som ei selv har staaet der. A man does not look behind the door unless he has stood there himself.

Den leer bedst som leer sidst. He who laughs last, laughs best.

Den lever ikke i al Verden, som kan flaae Huden af en Qvadsteen. He does not live in this world that can skin a grindstone.

Den Milde giver sig rig, den Gierrige tager sig fattig. The generous man grows rich in giving, the miser poor in taking.

Den Penge man sparer er saa god som den man avler. Money saved is as good as money gained.

Den Pung er tom anden Mands Penge ligge udi. That’s but an empty purse which is full of other men’s money.

Den Qværnsteen maler og, der under ligger. The millstone that lies undermost also helps to grind.

Den raader for Hesten, der rider ham. He who rides the horse is his master.


Den ræddes at komme i Sæk, som för har været i. He fears the sack who has been in it.

Den sanker god Rigdom der varer sig for Skade. He that keeps out of harm’s way will gather goodly riches.

Den sene Ko faaer det sure Græs. The laggard cow gets the sour grass.

Den sidder vel, som kan selv reise sig. He sits well who can rise without help.

Den skal ei være vaanden ad Svar, som giver andre onde Ord. He who abuses others must not be particular about the answer he gets.

Den skal endnu födes, der kan befalde alle. He is not yet born who can please everybody.

Den skal have en lang Skee, der vil söbe af Fad med Fanden. He needs a long spoon that would eat out of the same dish with the devil.

Den skal have meget Meel der vil stoppe alle Munde. He must have much meal who would stop all mouths.

Den skal have rene Fingre som en andens Næse vil snyde. He must have clean fingers who would blow another’s nose.

Den skal see ilde ud, som skal kyse Fanden. He must be ill-favoured who scares the devil.

Den skal sig selv love, der haver onde Grander. He who has bad neighbours is fain to praise himself.

Den skal staae paa et höit Bierg, der skal see sin Skiebne til Ende. He must stand high that would see the end of his own destiny.

Den skal staae tidlig op, der vil giöre alle tilpas. He had need rise betimes who would please everybody.

Den skal være en klog Vært, som vil tage Fanden i Herberge. He must be a clever host that would take the devil into his hostelry.

Den som ei vil lyde Fader, faaer vel at lyde Stivfader. He who will not obey father, will have to obey stepfather.

Den som er bidt af en Snog er bange for en Aal. He who has been bitten by a snake is afraid of an eel.

Den som Hönen föder, bör at have Ægget. He who feeds the hen ought to have the egg.

Den som kaster sig selv under Bænken, den lader de andre[356] nok ligge. He who throws himself under the bench will be left to lie there.

Den som siger hvad han vil, maa höre hvad han ikke vil. He who says what he likes, must hear what he does not like.

Den som skal æde af en Andens Haand, bliver sielden mæt. He who is fed by another’s hand seldom gets enough.

Den som vel kan tigge, kan lade sine Penge ligge. He who knows how to beg may leave his money at home.

Den som vil gienne en anden over tre Gierder, maa selv over de to. He who would drive another over three dikes must climb over two himself.

Den Steen bliver eengang vaad, som Hvermand spytter paa. The stone that everybody spits upon will be wet at last.

Den Steen der ofte flyttes, bliver ikke mossegroet. The oft moved stone gathers no moss.

Den sviges værst, som sviger sig selv. He is most cheated who cheats himself.

Den taber ei i Trætte, som tvinger sin Tunge. He loses least in a quarrel who keeps his tongue in check.

Den veed bedst hvor Skoen trykker, som har den paa. He knows best where the shoe pinches who wears it.

Den Vei er ond at kiende, som Skibet löber i Havet. It is hard to track the path the ship follows in the ocean.

Der ere tre onde Naboer: store Floder, store Herrer, og Alfarvei. There are three bad neighbours: great rivers, great lords, and great roads.

Der er haardt i Stivmoders Haand. A stepmother has a hard hand.

Der er ikke saa liden Fisk, han stunder jo til at blive en Hval. Every little fish expects to become a whale.

Der er ingen Ild som jo haver nogen Smög. There is no fire without smoke.

Der er ingen Lægedom mod Bagvadskers Bid. There is no cure against a slanderer’s bite.

Der er mange Dage i Aaret, og end flere Maaltider. There are many days in the year, and still more meals.

Der er Raad mod Alt, uden mod Döden. There is help for everything, except death.

Der gaae mange Ord i en Sæk. It takes many words to fill a sack.


Der hörer Lykke til at fange Harer med Tromme. You must have good luck to catch hares with a drum.

Der hörer mere til Dands end et Par Kork Skoe. A pair of light shoes is not all that is needed for dancing.

Der hörer Styrke til at drage om Reb med sin Overmand. You must be strong to pull a rope against a stronger.

Der hvor Forstanden slipper, tager Lykken ved. When wisdom fails, luck helps.

Der hvor Lov slipper bör Hæder at möde. Where law lacks, honour should eke it out.

Der kommer ingen Klogskab ud, hvor ingen er inde. Where there is no wit within no wit will come out.

Der kommer ofte Ild i Spotterens Huus. The scoffer’s own house is often on fire.

Der löber meget Vand i Dammen, medens Mölleren sover. Much water runs by while the miller sleeps.

Der skal ædes, vare end alle Træer Galger. People must eat, even were every tree a gallows.

Der skal en höi Muur til at holde Frygten ude. It needs a high wall to keep out fear.

Der skal være mange Muus om at bide en Kat. It takes a good many mice to kill a cat.

Dersom Hönen ikke kaglede, vidste man ikke hvad hun havde giort. If the hen did not cackle no one would know what she had been about.

Dersom Skiægget gialdt, kunde Giedebukken præke. If the beard were all, the goat might preach.

Der vil let Hu til tung Skiæbne. It needs a light spirit to bear a heavy fate.

Der vil Salt til at drysse Sandhed med, om hun ellers skal ned. Truth must be seasoned to make it palatable.

Der vil skarp Lud til skurvet Hoved. A scald head needs strong lye.

Desmere man rörer ved Skarn desværre lugter det. The more you stir filth the worse it stinks.

De sove ikke alle der snive og snarke. All who snore are not asleep.

Det Barn der faaer Stivmoder faaer ogsaa Stivfader. The child who gets a stepmother also gets a stepfather.

Det bedste Giödsel sidder under Bondens Sko. The best manure is under the farmer’s shoe.


Det bliver vel Dag om end Hanen ei galer. Daylight will come, though the cock do not crow.

Det den Ædru har i Hiertet, har den Drukne i Munden. What the sober man has in his heart, the drunken man has on his lips.

Det dig ikke brænder, behöver du ei at blæse paa. There is no need to blow what does not burn you.

Det duer ikke for Svanen, at lære Örneunger at synge. It is not for the swan to teach eaglets to sing.

Det duer til intet at gjöre Skoe til Gæs. It is of no use making shoes for geese.

Det ene Sværd holder det andet i Skeden. One sword keeps another in the scabbard.

Det er bedre at möde vred Mand end fastende. Better cross an angry man than a fasting man.

Det er bedre at see ved Ord end ved Hugg. Better be convinced by words than by blows.

Det er bedre at spörge to Gange, end at fare vild en Gang. Better ask twice than lose your way once.

Det er daarligt at drukne paa tört Land. It is folly to drown on dry land.

Det er daarligt at synge to Viser for den Döve. It is folly to sing twice to a deaf man.

Det er daarligt at tage Tornen af en Andens Fod og sætte den i sin egen. It is folly to take a thorn out of another’s foot and put it into your own.

Det er dit som ingen kan tage fra dig. You may call that your own which no one can take from you.

Det er dyrt Smör som slikkes af en Hegle. It is dearbought butter that is licked off a woolcomb.

Det er ei alt Guld som glimrer. It is not all gold that glitters.

Det er ei Alt i Mave godt (som) i Mund södt er. What is sweet in the mouth is not always good in the stomach.

Det er ei Börneværk naar Kiærling dandser. It is no child’s play when an old woman dances.

Det er ei for Koens Bedste, at hun kommer op at age. It is not for the good of the cow when she is driven in a carriage.

Det er ei hvert Slags Træ som duer til Træskoe. Not every wood will make wooden shoes.


Det er ei hvert Sviin Kragen vil ride. It is not every hog that the crow will ride.

Det er en arm Steg, som intet drypper af. It is a poor roast that gives no dripping.

Det er en dristig Muus der giör Rede i Kattens Öre. It is a bold mouse that makes her nest in the cat’s ear.

Det er en fattig Roes, man skal laane af Forfædre. Praise borrowed from ancestors is but very sorry praise.

Det er en lad Fugl, der ei gider bygge sin egen Rede. It is a lazy bird that will not build its own nest.

Det er en ond Brönd som man skal bære Vand udi. It is a bad well that needs water to be carried to it.

Det er en ond Haand, der ei vil sit Hoved værge. It is a bad hand that refuses to guard the head.

Det er en ond Hest som ikke er Havren værd. It is a poor horse that is not worth its oats.

Det er en ond Hielp, at hielpe een fra Dynen i Halmen. That is poor help that helps you from the feather-bed to the straw.

Det er en ond Skade som kommer ingen til Gavn. It is an ill turn that does no good to any one.

Det er en ond Smed der ræddes for Gnister. He is a poor Smith who is afraid of sparks.

Det er en ringe Aarsag, hvorfor Ulven æder Faaret. It needs but slight provocation to make the wolf devour the lamb.

Det er en slem Höne, der giör Æg uden Gaarde. It is a bad hen that lays her eggs away from the farm.

Det er et klogt Barn der kiender sin egen Fader. It is a wise child that knows its own father.

Det er farligt at æde Kirsebær med store Herrer, de kaste een Stenene i Hovedet. It is dangerous to eat cherries with the great, they throw the stones at your head.

Det er for sildigt at raabe Kat, naar Flæsket er ædt. It is too late to cry cat, when the bacon is eaten.

Det er for sildigt at skyde Brönden igien naar Barnet er druknet. It is too late to cover the well when the child is drowned.

Det er for sildigt at slaae Vand paa Asken, naar Huset er brændt. It is too late to throw water on the cinders when the house is burnt down.

“Det er godt at gjöre med god Rede,” sagde Fanden, han[360] redede sin Moders Haar med en Möghakke. ”It is easy to work with a good comb,” said the devil, when he combed his mother’s hair with a pitchfork.

Det er godt at laane Gud og Ageren, de give gode Renter. It is good to lend to God and to the soil—they pay good interest.

Det er godt at raade naar Lykken er med. It is easy to manage when fortune favours.

Det er godt at sove paa heelt Skind. It is good to sleep on a whole skin.

Det er godt at stange under anden Mands Blus. It is easy to poke another man’s fire.

Det er godt at svömme, naar en anden holder Hovedet op. It is easy to swim, when another holds up your head.

Det er godt at være kostfri af en andens Pung. It is easy to be generous out of another man’s purse.

Det er godt at være Præst om Paaske, Barn om Faste, Bonde om Juul, Föl om Hösten. It is good to be priest at Easter, child in Lent, peasant at Christmas, and foal in harvest-time.

Det er haard Kost at æde sine egne Ord. It is bitter fare to eat one’s own words.

Det er ikke enhver som veed at tage den rette So ved Öret. It is not every one who takes the right sow by the ear.

Det er ikke for ingenting naar Fanden lægger sig i Gröften. It is not for nothing that the devil lays himself down in the ditch.

Det er ikke godt at kiende sit Smör i en andens Kaal. It is not easy to know your butter in another man’s cabbage.

Det er ikke godt at skride paa Fandens Iis. It is not easy to walk upon the devil’s ice.

Det er ikke godt at stinge Biörn med Skiev. It is not easy to sting a bear with a straw.

Det er ikke hver Mand der kan bære Hög paa Haand. It is not every man that can carry a falcon on his hand.

Det er ikke lang Vei til Vennehuus. To a friend’s house the road is never long.

Det er ilde for Hönen, naar Ægget vil lære hende at kagle. The hen is ill off when the egg teaches her how to cackle.


Det er ingen liden Skalk der kiender en stor. He is no small knave who knows a great one.

Det er Konst at lee, naar det gaaer een selv ilde. It is a great art to laugh at your own misfortunes.

Det er let at byde Fanden til Gjæst, men ondt at faae ham af Huset. It is easy to bid the devil be your guest, but difficult to get rid of him.

Det er let at krybe i Træ naar det er fældet. It is easy to stride a tree when it is down.

Det er let at lægge Riis til, naar en anden lægger Rumpen til. It is easy to find the rod when another finds the bottom.

Det er lige nær til Himmels, i hvor man döer. The road to heaven is equally short, where’er we die.

Det er ondt at faae mange Hoveder under een Hat. It is difficult to get many heads under one hat.

Det er ondt at gabe mod en Ovns Mund. It is useless to gape against an oven.

Det er ondt at giöre Ild paa kold Arne. It is hard to make a fire on a cold hearth.

Det er ondt at lære gammel Hund at kure. It is hard to teach an old dog tricks.

Det er ondt at lokke Höge med tomme Hænder. It is hard to lure hawks with empty hands.

Det er ondt at plukke Haar af den Skaldede. It is not easy to pluck hairs from a bald pate.

Det er ondt at sidde imellem to Ilde. It is bad to be between two fires.

Det er ondt at skiule det hver Mand veed. It is difficult to hide what everybody knows.

Det er ondt at spytte Honning for den som har Munden fuld af Galde. It is difficult to spit honey out of a mouth full of gall.

Det er ondt at vogte den Höne som borte vil værpe. It is not easy to guard the hen that lays her eggs abroad.

Det er ondt Faar der ei gider baaret sit eget Fæt. It is a bad sheep that is too lazy to carry its own fleece.

Det er ondt Jern, som ikke er Staal udi. It is bad iron in which there is no steel.

Det er saa godt at ligge nögen som intet at have paa sig. It is as well to be naked as to have no covering.


Det er saa ondt at spytte Ilden ud og skiende sig, som at synke den og brænde sig. It is as bad to spit out the fire and be shamed, as it is to swallow it and be burnt.

Det er Sæd at Börn giöre Börne-Gierning. From children you must expect childish acts.

Det er strengt at trælle med tom Tarm. It is hard to labour with an empty belly.

Det er ringe Tröst for Beenbrud, at en anden har brudt Halsen. It is poor comfort for one who has broken his leg, that another has broken his neck.

Det er Tid at tage Hatten af, naar man seer Manden. It is time enough to take off your hat when you see the man.

Det förste Raad af en Qvinde er det bedste. A woman’s first counsel is the best.

Det giöres ei Behov at blæse ad den Ild som selv brænder. There is no use in blowing a fire that burns well.

Det har blæst haardt—Skarnet er flöiet op i Höisædet. It has been blowing hard—the dirt has been blown into high places.

Det hjælper ei at dölge for Ven det Uven veed. It is no use hiding from a friend what is known to an enemy.

Det höieste Bierg at komme over er Dörtærskelen. The most difficult mountain to cross is the threshold.

Det kan snart skee, som længe maa angres. That may be soon done, which brings long repentance.

“Det kommer igien,” sagde Manden, han gav sin So Flæsk. ”It will come back,” said the man, when he gave his sow pork.

Det kommer op i Tö (som) man fjæler i Snö. Thaw reveals what has been hidden by snow.

Det kommer vel der skee skal. That which must be, will be.

Det Korn vorder ilde malet, som bæres paa en ond Qværn. The corn that is taken to a bad mill, will be badly ground.

Det man adlyster kommer ikke far snart. A pleasant thing never comes too soon.

Det man æder af Gryden, faaer man ikke paa Fadet. That which has been eaten out of the pot cannot be put into the dish.

Det man lærer med Skade, husker man længe. What you learn to your cost you remember long.


Det Ord som er talt, sletter man ikke ud med en Svamp. Words once spoken cannot be wiped out with a sponge.

Det qvemmer bedre at skrabe Osten end skrælde den. It is better to scrape the cheese than to peel it.

Det Saar man ei kan hele, skal man ei rive op. If you cannot heal the wound, do not tear it open.

Det skal aarle kröge, som god Krog skal vorde. The branch must be bent early that is to make a good crook.

Det skal være en haard Vinter, om den ene Ulv æder den anden. It must be a hard winter when one wolf devours another.

Det som er taugt kan siges; det som er sagt kan ei ties. That which is unsaid, may be spoken; that which is said, cannot be unsaid.

Det sömmer ikke Spurv at gaae i Tranedands. It does not become the sparrow to mix in the dance of the cranes.

Det spörger en Blind om, hvorfor den elskes som er smuk. It is only the blind who ask why they are loved who are fair.

Det staaer ikke til Hunde, naar Hors skal döe. It does not depend upon the dog when the horse shall die.

Det stille Vand har den dybe Grund. Still water runs deep.

Det Ung nemmer, Gammel ei glemmer. What youth learns, age does not forget.

De Unge skal man lære, de Gamle skal man ære. Young people must be taught, old ones be honoured.

Det var Lyst at age, skulde man ikke vælte. It is pleasant driving when there is no danger of upsetting.

Döden blæser ei Lyd for sig. Death does not blow a trumpet.

Dören lukkes haardt i Laas for sandför Mand. A truthteller finds the doors closed against him.

Dristig Mand har Lykken i sit Fölge. A bold man has luck in his train.

Drukken Mand kan snart komme op at dandse. A drunken man may soon be made to dance.

Drukken Mands Glæde er tidt ædru Mands Sorg. The drunken man’s joy is often the sober man’s sorrow.

Du har nok af Munden og lidt af Ulden, sagde Fanden, han[364] klippede en So. Much noise and little wool, said the devil, when he was shearing the sow.

Duk dig, lad gaae over; Veiret vil have sin Villie. Stoop, and let it pass; the storm will have its way.

Dyden i Midten, sagde Fanden, han sad imellem to Procuratorer. Virtue in the middle, said the Devil, when seated between two lawyers.


Eed og Æg ere snart brudte. Eggs and oaths are easily broken.

Een er ikke ond fordi en anden er god. One man is not bad because another is good.

Een er skabt til Pengene, den Anden til Pungen. One man is born to the money, and another to the purse.

Een Fjende er for meget, og hundrede Venner ere ei nok. One enemy is too much, and a hundred friends are not enough.

Een Haand fuld af Penge, er stærkere end to Hænder fulde af Sandhed. One hand full of money is stronger than two hands full of truth.

Een imod een, og to imod Fanden. One to one, and two to the devil.

Een Nar giör flere. One fool makes many.

Een plöier, en Anden saaer, den Tredie veed ei hvo det faaer. One ploughs, another sows, who will reap no one knows.

Een Skalk skal man fange med en anden. Set a thief to catch a thief.

Een Skilling er bedre paa Land, end ti paa Havet. One penny is better on land than ten on the sea.

Een snakker tidt den anden af Bænken, og sætter sig selv op. One man often talks another off his bench, and seats himself upon it.

Een Svale giör ingen Sommer. One swallow don’t make a summer.

Eet godt Raad er bedre end en Pose fuld. One piece of good advice is better than a bag full.

Eet Haar efter andet, gjör Bonden skaldet. Hair by hair, and the head gets bald.


Eet Jomfru Haar drager stærkere end ti Par Öxen. One hair of a maiden’s head pulls harder than ten yoke of oxen.

Eet skabet Faar fordærver en heel Flok. One mangy sheep spoils a whole flock.

Efter en god Avler kommer en god Oder. After one that earns comes one that wastes.

Efter god Mad og from Hustru töver man ei for længe. For a good dinner and a gentle wife you can afford to wait.

Efter söd Klöe kommer suur Svie. After pleasant scratching comes unpleasant smarting.

Egen Arne er Guld værd. A hearth of your own is worth gold.

Egen Arne koger bedst. The pot boils best on your own hearth.

Elsk mig lidt og elsk mig længe. Love me little and love me long.

En Ambolt er ikke ræd for en god Forhammer. The anvil does not fear a good sledge-hammer.

En andens Hest og egen Svöbe, kan meget taale. Another man’s horse and your own whip can do a great deal.

En Bonde bliver Bonde, sov han end paa Silkebolster. A boor remains a boor, though he sleep on silken bolsters.

En döv Hörer giör en galen Svarer. A deaf auditor makes a crazy answerer.

En döv Sax giör en skievmundet Skrædder. Dull scissors make crooked-mouthed tailors.

End vinder folsk Mand förste Leg. A fool only wins the first game.

Ene i Raad, ene i Sorg. Alone in counsel, alone in sorrow.

En Fisk og en Gjæst lugter ilde den tredie Dag. Fish and guests smell at three days old.

En Gaas drikker saa meget som en Gasse. A goose drinks as much as a gander.

En god Dag skal man rose om Aftenen. Praise a fair day in the evening.

En grön Juul giver en fed Kirkegaard. A green Christmas makes a fat churchyard.

Enhver bær sin Fjende i egen Barm. Every man carries an enemy in his own bosom.


Enhver Dag har sin Aften. Every day has its evening.

Enhver er sin Lykkes Smed. Every man is the architect of his own fortune.

Enhver faaer at bære sin egen Sæk til Mölle. Let every man carry his own sack to the mill.

Enhver Fugl har sine Fieder behov. Every bird needs its own feathers.

Enhver Fugl synger af sit Næb. Let every bird sing its own note.

Enhver mener hans Kobber er Guld. Every man thinks his copper is gold.

Enhver Tosse mener, han er klog nok. Every fool thinks he is clever enough.

Enhver vil gjerne over Gierdet hvor det er lavest. Every one tries to cross the fence where it is lowest.

Enhver vil rage Ild ad sin Gryde. Every one rakes the fire under his own pot.

Enhver Vind er læk Skib imod. Every wind is against a leaky ship.

En liden Ild at varme sig paa, er bedre end en stor at brænde sig paa. A small fire that warms you, is better than a large one that burns you.

En Nar kan spörge meer end ti Vise kunne svare til. One fool may ask more questions than ten wise men can answer.

En ond Hest æder saa meget som en god. A bad horse eats as much as a good one.

En ond Mund skal lave sig paa en stærk Ryg. A foul mouth must be provided with a strong back.

En Skalk kan vel skiules under en Messesærk. There’s many a knave concealed under a surplice.

En Skilling er i Tide saa god som en Daler. A penny in time is as good as a dollar.

En So kan saa vel finde et Agern, som en Galt. A sow may find an acorn as well as a hog.

En Spurv har saa ondt af at bryde sit Laar, som en Friis Hest. A sparrow suffers as much when it breaks its leg as does a Flanders horse.

En villig Hielper töver ei til man beder. A willing helper does not wait until he is asked.


Er Fuglen af Haanden er den ond at faae tilbage. The bird once out of hand is hard to recover.

Et andet Aar kommer der en anden Juleaften. Another year will bring another Christmas.

Ethvert Kar maa staa paa sin egen Bund. Every tub must stand on its own bottom.

Et lidet Muln kan skiule baade Sol og Maane. A small cloud may hide both sun and moon.

Et skabet Faar fordærver den hele Hjord. One scabbed sheep will mar a whole flock.


Faaer man ei Fuglen, da faaer man vel en Fieder deraf. If you cannot get the bird, get one of its feathers.

Faa have Lykken, alle have Döden. Few have luck, all have death.

Faa Qvinder graaner for Mandens Död. Few women turn grey because their husband dies.

Faar som bræge meest, malke mindst. The sheep that bleat the most give the least milk.

Fader og Moder ere gode, end er Gud bedre. Father and mother are kind, but God is kinder.

Fagerhed uden Tugt—Rose uden Lugt. Beauty without virtue is like a rose without scent.

Fagert Ansigt faaer Lov nok, dog man selv tier stille. A fair face will get its praise, though the owner keep silent.

Fagre Börn qvæde fagre Viser. Pretty children sing pretty songs.

Fagre Ord fryde en Daare, og stundom fuldvis en Mand. Fair words please the fool, and sometimes the wise.

Fagre Ord uden Fynd naae ikke langt. Fine words without deeds go not far.

Falder Himlen ned, da briste mange Leergryder. Should the heavens fall, many pipkins will be broken.

Falskhed ligger ofte under fagert Haar. Falseness often lurks beneath fair hair.

Fattige Frænder faae liden Hæder. Poor relations have little honour.


Fattig Mand har faa Kyndinger. A poor man has few acquaintances.

Fattig Mands Hovmod varer stakket. The pride of the poor does not endure.

Fattig Mands Kæde haver mange Ulæde. A poor man’s joy has much alloy.

Fattig Mands Korn voxer altid tyndt. The poor man’s corn always grows thin.

Fattig Mand söger om Maden, den Rige om Lyst til at æde den. The poor man seeks for food, the rich man for appetite.

Far som de Fleste, saa spotte dig de Færreste. Do as others do, and few will mock you.

Flere Folk dræbes af Nadver end af Sværd. More people are slain by suppers than by the sword.

Flykket hænger ikke saa höit, at jo Hunden agter sig Benet. The flitch hangs never so high but a dog will look out for the bone.

Flyver end Fuglen over dit Hoved, saa lad den ei bygge Bo i dit Haar. Though the bird may fly over your head, let it not make its nest in your hair.

Föl bliver ikke altid Faderen liig. Every foal is not like its sire.

Folsk Vise vorder mangelunde qvædet. A silly song may be sung in many ways.

Fordi er Verden vid, at hver haver sin Id. Every man has his lot, and a wide world before him.

För een lærer at hænge er han halv död. Before a man learns to hang he is half dead.

Forgieves er at mede uden Krog, at lære uden Bog. It is vain to fish without a hook, or learn to read without a book.

For Konst skal man Mesteren ære. The master derives honour from his art.

Forliigt Venskab er som ilde lægt Saar. Reconciled friendship is like a badly healed wound.

For meget og for lidt fordærver alting. Too little and too much spoils everything.

For Vilkaar og Vedtægt maa Loven vige. To circumstances and custom the law must yield.


“Frænde er Usle værst,” sagde Ræven, han saae de röde Hunde. ”Own kin are the worst friends,” said the fox, when he saw the foxy dogs after him.

Freden föder, Krigen öder; Freden nærer, Krigen tærer. Peace feeds, war wastes; peace breeds, war consumes.

Fred og velbygget Huus kjöbes ei for dyrt. Peace and a well-built house cannot be bought too dearly.

Fred skal man dyrt kjöbe. Peace must be bought even at a high price.

Fremmed Mad smager altid bedst. Strangers’ meat is the greatest treat.

Frisk vovet er halvt vundet. A bold attempt is half success.

“Fruer har Fruenoder,” sagde Gal’ Ane, hun slæbte sin Kaabe i Rendesteenen. ”Ladies have ladies’ whims,” said crazy Ann, when she draggled her cloak in the gutter.

Fuglen flyver aldrig saa höit, han söger jo sit Föde paa Jorden. However high a bird may soar, it seeks its food on earth.

Fuldt Kar skal man varligen bære. A full vessel must be carried carefully.

“Fy dig an, saa sort du er!” sagde Gryden til Leerpotten. ”Fie upon thee, how black thou art!” said the kettle to the saucepan.

Fyrm og Faste læger mangen Sot. Abstinence and fasting cure many a complaint.


Gaaer Lykkens Vogn vel, da hænge Skam og Avind ved Hiulene. When fortune’s chariot rolls easily, envy and shame cling to the wheels.

Gaasen gaaer saa længe i Stegerset, til hun fastner ved Spedet. The goose goes so often into the kitchen, till at last she sticks to the spit.

“Gak med,” og “see til,” ere to gode Tyende i Bondens Gaard. ”I’ll go myself,” and “I’ll see to it,” are two good servants on a farm.

Galne Hunde faae revet Skind. Mad dogs get their coats torn.


Gamle Fugle fanger man ikke med Avner. Old birds are not caught with chaff.

Gamle Mærker daare ikke. Old signs do not deceive.

Gamle Sviin har haarde Tryner, gamle Stude haarde Horn. Old swine have hard snouts, old oxen hard horns.

Gammel Giek er værre end ung Daare. An old fool is worse than a young simpleton.

Gammel Green bryder naar den skal böies. The old branch breaks when it is bent.

Gammel Mands Sagn er sielden usand. An old man’s sayings are seldom untrue.

Gammel Ulv ræddes ei ved höie Raab. An old wolf is not scared by loud cries.

Gavnet er bedre end Navnet. Profit is better than fame.

Giedden bliver stor af de smaae Fisk. The pike grows big on small fry.

Giem din Mund, og giem din Ven. Keep your mouth, and keep your friend.

Gien ei af dig det, der ei löber paa dig. Drive not away what never came near you.

Giensti vorder ofte Glapsti. A short cut is often a wrong cut.

Gierrig Mands Taske bliver aldrig fuld. The miser’s bag is never full.

Gierrig Qværn maler allehaande Korn. A greedy mill grinds all kinds of corn.

Giev Mand giör sig ikke til Hund for et Beens Skyld. An honest man does not make himself a dog for the sake of a bone.

Gift din Sön naar du vil, din Datter naar du kan. Marry your son when you will, your daughter when you can.

Giör ærligen, og svar diærveligen. Act honestly, and answer boldly.

Giör saa i Dalen, at du frygter ei hvo staaer paa Valden. Act so in the valley, that you need not fear those who stand on the hill.

Giör vel imod en Skalk, og bed til Gud, han lönner dig ikke. Do good to a knave, and pray God he may not do the same to thee.

Giort Gierning staaer ikke til at vende. What is done cannot be undone.


Giver Gud ei Skiepper fulde, saa giver han Skeer fulde. If God give not bushelfuls, he gives spoonfuls.

Giv Griis naar han grynter, og Barn naar det græder, saa faaer Du fager Griis og fuult Barn. Give a pig when it grunts, and a child when it cries, and you will have a fine pig, and a bad child.

Giv Skalken et Spand, han tager vel heel Alen. Give a rogue an inch, and he will take an ell.

Glad Aftensang giör ofte sorrigfuld Ottesang. A joyous evening often leads to a sorrowful morning.

Glæde er som Koldesygen; een god Dag imellem to onde. Joy is like the ague; one good day between two bad ones.

Gode Ord læge Venne-Saar. Kind words heal friendship’s wounds.

Gode Raad rodne ikke, naar de komme törre i Huus. Good counsel will not rot, if it be got in dry.

God Konge er bedre end gammel Lov. A good king is better than an old law.

God Nabo er bedre end Broder i anden By. A good neighbour is better than a brother far off.

God Styrmand kiendes ei naar Havet er stille og Veiret til Villie. A good pilot is not known when the sea is calm and the weather fair.

Godt er at have reent Bröd i sin Pose. It is well to have clean bread in one’s wallet.

Godt er at hvile paa giort Gierning. Rest is good after the work is done.

Godt er at sidde ved Styret i stille Veir. It is easy to sit at the helm in fine weather.

Godt Haandværk har en gylden Grund. A good handicraft has a golden foundation.

Godt kommer aldrig for tidt. Good never comes too often.

Gold So var aldrig Griise god. A barren sow is never kind to pigs.

Graa Haar ere Dödens Blomster. Grey hairs are death’s blossoms.

Gud bedre Faarene naar Ulven er Dommer. God help the sheep when the wolf is judge.

Gud giver alle Mad som han giver Mund. God never sends mouths but he sends meat.

Gud giver hver Fugl sin Föde, men kaster den ei i Reden til[372] ham. God gives every bird its food, but does not throw it into the nest.

Gud giver hver saa Kuld, som Klæder. God sends men cold according to their clothes.

Gud giver smaa Folk smaa Gaver. God gives little folks small gifts.

Gud giver Villien, Nöden giver Tvang. God gives the will, necessity gives the law.

Gud kommer tilsidst, naar vi troe han er længst borte. God comes at last, when we think he is farthest off.

Guds Raadkammer har ingen Nögle. To God’s council-chamber there is no key.

Guld bliver vel Guld, om end det ligger i Skalkepung. Gold is gold, though it be in a rogue’s purse.

Guld Nögle lukker alle Döre op uden Himlens. A golden key opens every door except that of heaven.

Gunst og Gave kommer Retten til at rave. Favour and gifts disturb justice.


Haabe og vente er Giekkerente. Hope and expectation are a fool’s income.

Haabet er de Vaagendes Dröm. Hope is the dream of the waking.

Haabet er et Æg hvoraf Een faaer Blommen, en Anden Hviden, en Tredie Skallen. Hope is an egg of which one man gets the yolk, another the white, and a third the shell.

Haand skal anden toe, eller baade urene være. One hand must wash the other, or both will be dirty.

Haardt Bidsel giör ikke Hesten bedre. A hard bit does not make the horse better.

Haardt er ufödt Hest at binde ved Krybbe. It is difficult to tie an unborn horse to the manger.

Halvt at rose er halvt at skielde. Faint praise is akin to abuse.

Han ager et godt Læs i Gaard, som en god Hustru faaer. He drives a good waggonful into his farm who gets a good wife.


Han ager ikke ilde som veed at vende. He is not a bad driver who knows how to turn.

Han banker dristig paa, som bær godt Budskab. He knocks boldly at the door who brings a welcome message.

Han dandser og, som dandser nödig. A man dances all the same, though he may dance against his will.

Han drukner ikke, der hænge skal, uden Vandet gaaer over Galgen. He who was born to be hanged will not be drowned, unless the water go over the gallows.

Han er ikke bedre der fjæler, end han der stjæler. He that hides is no better than he that steals.

Han er ikke bedre der holder end den der flaaer. He that holds is no better than he that scourges.

Han er ingensteds, som er allesteds. He who is everywhere, is nowhere.

Han föler bedst hvor Skoen trykker, som har den paa. He knows best where the shoe pinches who wears it.

Hæng den unge Tyv, saa stiæler den gamle ikke. Hang the young thief, and the old one will not steal.

Han kommer ei til Skov der ræddes for hver Busk. He will never get into the wood who starts at every bush.

Han kommer og frem, der ager med Stude. Even he gets on who is drawn by oxen.

Han kom tidlig nok, der blev hængt ved Lys. He came time enough who was hung by candlelight.

Han maae have Skaden, som har sögt den. He that courts injury will obtain it.

Han raader for Sækken, der sidder paa den. He has command of the sack who is seated on it.

Han skal have Fingre af Jern, som Fanden vil flaae. He must have iron fingers who would flay the devil.

Han skal have meget Smör, som skal stoppe hver Mands Mund. He must have plenty of butter, who would stop everybody’s mouth.

Han skal see grandt til, der Sanden skal sige. He must keep a sharp look-out who would speak the truth.

Han skal skrige höit, som vil skræmme Fanden. He must cry loud who would scare the devil.

Han skal være skiær som en anden vil skielde. He must be pure who would blame another.


Han skiender, som ei kan skade. He scolds most that can hurt the least.

Han veed bedst af Vandet, som vadet har. He knows the water best who has waded through it.

Har du lært at bie, kan du blive Dronning i Sverrig. If you have learnt to wait, you may be Queen of Sweden.

Har du sagt hvad du vil, skal du höre hvad du ikke vil. He that says what he should not, will hear what he would not.

Hævd giör god Hest og ikke höre Stalde. Care, and not fine stables, make a good horse.

Havde nær ikke været saa havde Kiærlingen bidt en Ulv. Had it not been for an if, the old woman would have bitten a wolf.

Heiren straffer Vandet, fordi han ei kan svömme. The heron blames the water because he cannot swim.

Hellere seer jeg Rögen af min egen Skorsteen, end Ilden paa en andens. I would rather see smoke from my own chimney than the fire on another’s hearth.

Hemmelig Gave faaer aabenbar Lön. Secret gifts are openly rewarded.

Herrebön er Herrebud. Great men’s requests are commands.

Herrer og Narre have frit Sprog. Lords and fools speak freely.

Herre uden Land, er Fadet uden Viin. A lord without land, is like a cask without wine.

Hest skal gaae til Krybben, ikke Krybben til Hest. The horse must go to the manger, and not the manger to the horse.

Hielp dig selv da hielper dig Gud. Help yourself, and God will help you.

Hielp er god, saa nær som i Grödfadet. Help is good everywhere, except in the porridge-bowl.

Himlen er dog blaa, om end den Blinde ei seer det. The sky is not the less blue because the blind man does not see it.

Hoflevnet er ofte Helvedes Gienvei. Life at court is often a short cut to hell.

Hold dig til de Smaae, saa bide de Store dig ikke. Keep to the little ones, and the big ones will not bite you.


Hold din Næse fra andres Gryder. Keep your nose out of another’s mess.

Holder man ei Kieppen til, agter Hunden intet Bud. It is the raised stick that makes the dog obey.

Hör en Mand för du svarer; hör flere för du dömmer. Hear one man before you answer; hear several before you decide.

Hovedkulds Raad—halslös Gierning. Precipitate counsel—perilous deed.

Hovmod gaaer for Fald. Pride will have a fall.

Hvad man med Synd faaer, det med Sorg gaaer. That which comes with sin, goes with sorrow.

Hvad skal Spurve i Tranedands, deres Been ere saa korte. Sparrows should not dance with cranes, their legs are too short.

Hvem der hvidsker, han lyver. He who whispers, lies.

Hvem der ikke seer sig for, maa tage Skade for Hiemgiæld. He who does not look before him, must take misfortune for his earnings.

Hvem der saaer Penge, höster Armod. He who sows money, will reap poverty.

Hvem der skammer sig ved at spörge, skammer sig ved at lære. He who is ashamed of asking, is ashamed of learning.

Hvem der vil hænge sig, finder nok en Strikke. He who would hang himself is sure to find a rope.

Hver er sin Synd söd og sin Anger led. Every one finds sin sweet and repentance bitter.

Hver hörer helst sin egen Lov. Every man likes his own praise best.

Hver i sin Færd, som han er hjemme lært. A man conducts himself abroad as he has been taught at home.

Hver Mand siger det; ingen Mand veed det. Everybody says it; nobody knows it.

Hver Mand sin Lyst. Every man has his liking.

Hvermands Ven, hvermands Nar. Every man’s friend is every man’s fool.

Hver Ræv varer sin Bælg. Every fox looks after his own skin.

Hver skal bære sin egen Sæk til Mölle. Every man must carry his own sack to the mill.


Hvert Liv sin Lyst, hver Lyst sin Lov. Every life has its joy, every joy its law.

Hvo aarle riis, han vorder mangt viis. He who rises early will gather wisdom.

Hvo alle tiene vil, faaer Tak af Ingen. He who would serve everybody gets thanks from nobody.

Hvo avelös lever, han ærelös döer. He who lives without restraint, will die without honour.

Hvo der ei har Penge i Pungen, maa have gode Ord paa Tungen. He that has no money in his purse, should have fair words on his lips.

Hvo der ei kan faae Flæsket, faaer at nöies med Kaalen. He who can’t get bacon, must be content with cabbage.

Hvo der ei vil til Helvede, kommer ikke til Hove. He who would not go to hell, must not go to court.

Hvo der er födt til Penning, bliver aldrig Dalers Herre. He who was born to pennies, will never be master of dollars.

Hvo der er langt fra sit Hjem, er næst ved sin Skade. He who is far from home, is near to harm.

Hvo der flyer, gjör sig selv sagfældig. He who flees, proves himself guilty.

Hvo der föder en Ulv, han styrker sin Fjende. He who feeds a wolf, strengthens his enemy.

Hvo der gaaer i Dands, see til hvem han tager i Haand. When you go to dance, take heed whom you take by the hand.

Hvo der gaaer i Seng med Hunde, skal staa op med Lopper. He that lies down with dogs, will get up with fleas.

Hvo der har mange Jern i Ilden, han faaer somme brændt. He who has many irons in the fire, will let some of them burn.

Hvo der haver en hvid Hest og deilig Kone, er sjelden uden Sorg. He who has a white horse and a fair wife is seldom without trouble.

Hvo der haver Giekken i Ærmet, der vil han alt kige ud. If a man has folly in his sleeve, it will be sure to peep out.

Hvo der hugger over sig, ham falder Spaanerne i Öinene. He that cuts above himself, will get splinters in his eye.

Hvo der ikke byger vel, han bleger ikke vel. They who do not wash well, do not bleach well.


Hvo der ikke har Falk, han skal bede med Ugler. He who has no falcon, must hunt with owls.

Hvo der ikke vil kjöbe Raad for godt Kjöb, skal kjöbe Anger dyret. He who will not take cheap advice, will have to buy dear repentance.

Hvo der jager med Katte, han fanger Muus. He who hunts with cats will catch mice.

Hvo der kan sidde paa en Steen og föde sig, skal ikke flytte. He who can sit upon a stone and feed himself should not move.

Hvo der kommer paa Söen, maa enten seile eller synke. He that is once at sea, must either sail or sink.

Hvo der omgaaes med Ulv, han lærer at tude. He who herds with wolves, learns to howl.

Hvo der saaer Ærter ved Adelvei, faaer ei alle Bælge i Laden. He who sows peas on the highway does not get all the pods into his barn.

Hvo der saaer Had, skal höste Anger. He who sows hatred shall gather rue.

Hvo der selv vil gjöre sig til Giek, faaer mange til at hjælpe sig. He who would make a fool of himself will find many to help him.

Hvo der slaaer een paa Halsen, han slaaer ham ikke langt fra Hovedet. He who strikes another on the neck, does not strike far from the head.

Hvo der staaer höit, den seer man vidt. He who stands high is seen from afar.

Hvo der staaer Vedhuggeren nær, faaer en Spaan i Hovedet. He who stands near the woodcutter is likely to be hit by a splinter.

Hvo der tager Barnet ved Haanden tager Moderen ved Hjertet. He who takes the child by the hand, takes the mother by the heart.

Hvo der vil æde Kjernen, faae bryde Skallen. He who would eat the kernel, must crack the shell.

Hvo der vil binde for en andens Mund, skal först snöre for sin egen. He who would close another man’s mouth, should first tie up his own.

Hvo der vil have god Kaal, faaer at koste den. He who would have good cabbage, must pay its price.


Hvo der vil have godt af Ilden maa taale Rögen. He who would enjoy the fire must bear the smoke.

Hvo der vil have Hunden hængt, finder nok et Reb. He that wants to hang a dog, is sure to find a rope.

Hvo der vil Honning slikke, maa ikke ræddes for Bier. He who would steal honey, must not be afraid of bees.

Hvo der vil kjöbe Pölse af Hunden maa give ham Flesk igjen. He who would buy sausage of a dog must give him bacon in exchange.

Hvo der vil smage al Saad, brænder tidt sin Mund. He who tastes every man’s broth, often burns his mouth.

Hvo en anden vil række en Brand, vare sig at han ei brænder sin Haand. Let him who would reach another a brand, beware that he do not burn his own hand.

Hvo höit vil klyve, falder ofte ned. Those who climb high, often have a fall.

Hvo Kjærnen vil æde, skal Nödden bryde. He who would eat the kernel, must crack the nut.

Hvo kommer först til Mölle, faaer först malet. He who comes first to the mill is first served.

Hvo lidet forsmaaer, han bliver sjelden rig. He who despises small things seldom grows rich.

Hvo lidet saaer, lidet faaer. He who sows little, reaps little.

Hvo meget haver af Smörret, han kaster somt i Kaalen. He who has plenty of butter, may put some in his cabbage.

Hvo meget spörger, bliver meget viis. He that inquires much, learns much.

Hvor Aadselet er, forsamles Örnene. Where the carrion is, there the eagles gather.

Hvor der er Ave er Tugt; hvor der er Fred er Frugt. Where there is discipline there is virtue; where there is peace there is plenty.

Hvor der er Hierterum, er der Huusrum. When there is room in the heart, there is room in the house.

Hvo ret vil spare, skal begynde af Munden. He who would save, should begin with the mouth.

Hvor Mand ei selv kommer, der bliver ei heller hans Hoved tvættet. Where a man never goes, there his head will never be washed.


Hvor man ei kan komme over, maa man krybe under. Where you cannot climb over, you must creep under.

Hvor Mistanke gaaer ind, gaaer Kjærlighed ud. When mistrust enters, love departs.

Hvor Penge fattes og Raad, er bedst, ikke at krige. Where money and counsel are wanting, it is best not to make war.

Hvor Villie er Ret, der er Loven landflygtig. Where will is right, law is banished.

Hvor Vrede blinder, der Sandhed forsvinder. When anger blinds the eyes, truth disappears.

Hvo sig blander med Saader, ham æde Sviin. He who lies down in the wash will be eaten by swine.

Hvo sig selv kildrer, kan lee naar han lyster. He who tickles himself can laugh when he pleases.

Hvo sig selv laster, ham lover ingen Mand. He who speaks ill of himself is praised by no one.

Hvo som bygger efter hver Mands Raad, hans Huus kommer kroget at staae. He who builds according to every man’s advice will have a crooked house.

Hvo som har en god Nabo, har en god Morgen. He who has a good neighbour has a good morning.

Hvo som rædes for Ord, har ei Hierte til Gierning. He who is scared by words, has no heart for deeds.

Hvo som rörer ved Beg, han smitter sig. He that touches pitch defiles himself.

Hvo som Skalken kiender, han kiöber ham ei. He who knows a knave, makes no bid for him.

Hvo som Synden saaer skal höste Skam. He who sows iniquity shall reap shame.

Hvo som vil gjöre et stort Spring, skal gaae vel tilbage. He who would leap high must take a long run.

Hvo som vil hævne sig, skal vare sig. He who would seek revenge must be on his own guard.

Hvo som vil röre i Skarn, faaer og lugte det. If you will stir up the mire, you must bear the smell.

Hvo sorg elsker faaer altid noget at qvide. He who loves sorrow, will always find something to mourn over.

Hugg, saa falder Spaaner. Chop, and you will have splinters.

Hunden bliver ei lös, om han end bider i Lænken. The dog will not get free by biting his chain.


Hund er Hund om han er aldrig saa broget. A dog is a dog whatever his colour.

Hundrede Vogne med Sorg betale ei en Haandfuld Gield. A hundred waggonsful of sorrow will not pay a handful of debt.

Hunger er det bedste Suul. Hunger is the best sauce.

Hungrig Hund og törstig Hest passer ei om Hugg. A hungry dog and a thirsty horse take no heed of blows.

Hurtig til Hatten, og seen til Pungen, giör ingen Skade. Put your hand quickly to your hat, and slowly in your purse, and you will take no harm.

Huusbonds Öie giör en fed Hest. The eye of the master makes the horse fat.


Iæt har ingen Dyd uden det holdes. There is no virtue in a promise unless it be kept.

Idag Guld, imorgen Muld. To-day in gold, to-morrow in the mould.

Idig Gierning giör duelig Mester. Diligent work makes a skilful workman.

I Krig er bedst at binde sin Hest ved fremmed Krybbe. In war it is best to tie your horse to a strange manger.

Ilde giemmer man Pölse i Hundehuus. The dog’s kennel is not the place to keep a sausage.

Ilden skrötter ikke, hvis Kappe den svier. The fire heeds little whose cloak it burns.

Ilde strider hovedlös Hær. A headless army fights badly.

Ild Hund haver Ar i Næse. An ill-tempered dog has a scarred nose.

Ild og Halm giör snar Lue. Fire and straw soon make a flame.

Ild og Vand ere gode Tienere, men onde Herrer. Fire and water are good servants but bad masters.

Ild pröver Guld, og Nöd Vennehuld. Gold is proved in the fire, friendship in need.

Ildt er Rakke at lege med Biörnehvalp. It is bad for puppies to play with bear-cubs.


Ingen bliver greben paa det Sted, hvor han ikke kommer. No one can be caught in places he does not visit.

Ingen er mere döv end den som ikke vil höre. None so deaf as those who won’t hear.

Ingen er saa lang, han maa jo række sig, ingen saa liden han maa jo bukke sig. No man is so tall that he need never stretch, and none so small that he need never stoop.

Ingen er saa riig, han har jo sin Grande nödig. No one is rich enough to do without his neighbour.

Ingen faaer Skam, uden han selv hielper til med. Shame comes to no man unless he himself help it on the way.

Ingen falder siidt, uden han vil stige höit. No one falls low unless he attempt to climb high.

Ingen halter af Andres Skade. No man limps because another is hurt.

Ingen Helgen er saa ringe, han vil jo have sit Voxlys. Let a saint be ever so humble, he will have his wax taper.

Ingen kiender Præsten bedre end Degnen. No one knows the parson better than the clerk.

Ingen Ko kaldes broget, uden hun haver en Flek. A cow is not called dappled unless she has a spot.

Ingen kommer i Skaden, uden han selv hielper til. No one gets into trouble without his own help.

Ingen leder om en anden i Sækken, uden han selv har været der för. No man looks for another in a sack, unless he have been there himself.

Ingen skal foragte lidet Saar, fattig Frænde, eller ringe Fjende. Despise not a small wound, a poor kinsman, or a humble enemy.

Ingen Veibyrde er bedre at bære end Viisdom. Wisdom is the least burdensome travelling pack.

Intet er saa nyt, at jo för er skeet. Nothing is so new but it has happened before. (There is nothing new under the sun.)

Intet Svar er ogsaa Svar. No answer is also an answer.

I stille Vand gaae de store Fiske. In still water are the largest fish.

I tyst Vand ere Orme værst. In still water the worms are worst.



“Jeg kiender nok Karsen,” sagde Bonden, han aad Skarntyde. ”I am a judge of cresses,” said the peasant, as he was eating hemlock.

“Jeg siger det ikke for min Skyld,” sagde Ræven, “at der er god Gaasegang i Skoven.” ”It is not for my own sake,” said the fox, “that I say there is a good goose-green in the wood.”

Jo ædlere Blod, jo mindre Hovmod. The nobler the blood the less the pride.

Jo argere Skalk, jo bedre Lykke. The more knave, the better luck.

Jo flere Hyrder, jo værre Vogt. The more shepherds the less care.

Jo flere Kokke, jo værre Spad. The more cooks, the worse broth.

Jo kiærere Barn, jo skarpere Riis. The dearer the child, the sharper must be the rod.

Jo mere af Lov, jo mindre af Ret. The more by law, the less by right.

Jo mere Frygt, jo nærmere Skaden. The greater the fear, the nearer the danger.

Jorden er altid frossen for utrevne Sviin. The earth is always frozen to lazy swine.


Kald ikke paa Fanden, han kommer vel ubuden. Call not the devil, he will come fast enough unbidden.

Kappen giör hverken Præst eller Degn. It is not the surplice that makes parson or clerk.

Kast ei Bulöxe til Vor Herre, han vender det skarpe igien. Throw not thy hatchet at the Lord, He will turn the sharp edge against thee.

Kast ikke Barnet ud med Badet. Throw not the child out with the bath.

Kattens Leeg er Musens Död. What is play to the cat is death to the mouse.

Kiærligheds Væxt vil vandes med Graad, og dyrkes med[383] Umag. Love’s plant must be watered with tears, and tended with care.

Kiært Barn har mange Navne. A pet child has many names.

Kiend Ulv Paternoster, han siger dog: “Lam! Lam!” Though you teach a wolf the paternoster, he will say: “Lamb! lamb!”

Kloge Höns giör og i Nælder. Even clever hens sometimes lay their eggs among nettles.

Koen malkes, og ei Oxen; Faaret klippes, og ei Hesten. The cow is milked, not the ox; the sheep is shorn, not the horse.

Koen veed ikke af, hvad hendes Hale duer til, för hun har mistet den. The cow does not know the value of her tail till she has lost it.

Konst er Konst, om og ei Lykken er med. Art is art, even though unsuccessful.

Konst og Lære giver Bröd og Ære. Art and knowledge bring bread and honour.

Kragen er ikke des hvidere, at hun tidt toer sig. A crow is never the whiter for often washing.

Krage söger vel sin Mage. The crow will find its mate. (Like will be to like.)

Kroget Jern kan Hammeren rette. Crooked iron may be straightened with a hammer.

Krukken gaaer saa længe til Kilde, til hun faaer knæk. The pitcher goes so often to the well that it gets broken at last.

Kys er Kiærligheds bud. Kisses are the messengers of love.


Laan din Ven, og kræv din Uven. Lend to your friend, and ask payment of your enemy.

Laant Hest og egen Sporer giör korte Mile. A borrowed horse and your own spurs make short miles.

Længe at leve er længe at lide. To live long is to suffer long.

Længe lever truet Mand, om han fanger Bröd. A threatened man lives long, if he can get bread.

Lad Barn have sin Villie, da græder det ei. Let a child have its will, and it will not cry.

Lad den blive ved Aaren, som har lært at roe. Let him stay at the oar who has learnt to row.


Lad din Hustru have den stakkede Kniv, og hav selv den lange. Give your wife the short knife, and keep the long one for yourself.

Lad Hund til Honningtrug, da springer han i med baade Been. Let a dog get at a dish of honey, and he will jump in with both legs.

Lands Skik, er Lands Hæder. National customs are national honours.

Langt fra Öine snart af Sinde. Out of sight, out of mind.

Lastelig er, at flye for en levende Fjende, og at skjelde den döde. It is discreditable to fly from a living enemy, or to abuse a dead one.

Lediggang er Fandens Hovedpude. Idleness is the devil’s bolster.

Legen gaaer bedst med Jævnlige. It is best to play with equals.

Leger du med Narren i Huset, saa leger han med dig paa Gaden. If you play with the fool at home, he will play with you abroad.

Leergryde baader intet af at komme i Lag med Kobberpotte. The earthen pan gains nothing by contact with the copper pot.

Leilighed giör Tyve. Opportunity makes the thief.

Let er den Byrde som en anden bær. Another man’s burden is always light.

Liden Hvile er altid god. A short rest is always good.

Liden Tue vælter ofte stort Læs. A little stone may upset a large cart.

Liden Vinding smager vel. Small profits are sweet.

Lide og bie, lyde og lære, hjelper fattig Barn til Ære. Suffering and patience, obedience and application, help the lowly born to honour.

Lige Brödre giöre bedst Leg. Like plays best with like.

Lige Bytte giör mindst Trætte. A fair exchange brings no quarrel.

Liggende Ulv löber ikke Lam i Munde. Lambs don’t run into the mouth of the sleeping wolf.

List har liden Ære. Cunning has little honour.

Löfter og raat Klæde löbe meget ind. Promises and undressed cloth are apt to shrink.


Lögn bliver ikke træt af at gaae lange Veie. Falsehood never tires of going round about.

Lögn er Fandens Datter, og taler sin Faders Maal. Falsehood is the Devil’s daughter, and speaks her father’s tongue.

Lögn og Dravel giver ond Avel. Lies and gossip have a wretched offspring.

Lögn og Latin löbe Verden omkring. Lies and Latin go round the world.

Lögn reiser om for hun vil voxe. Falsehood travels and grows.

Lög og Rög og en ond Qvinde komme god Mands Öine til at rinde. Onions, smoke, and a shrew, make a good man’s eyes water.

Lov baner Vei til Venskab. Praise paves the way to friendship.

Loven er ærlig, Holden er besværlig. To promise is easy, to keep is troublesome.

Loven er de Vaagendes, Lykken er de Sovendes. Law helps the waking, luck may come to the sleeping.

Lovkiön og Maler kan snart giöre hvidt til sort. Lawyers and painters can soon change white to black.

Luen er ikke langt fra Rögen. The flame is not far from the smoke.

Lykken banker ofte paa, Tossen lader hende ved Dören staa. Fortune often knocks at the door, but the fool does not invite her in.

Lykken bær en Mand over Bækken, om han gider sprunget. Luck will carry a man across the brook if he is not too lazy to leap.

Lykken gaaer til Dören, spörger om Forsyn er inde. Luck taps at the door and inquires whether prudence is within.

Lykken har meget til Mange, men nok til Ingen. Luck has much for many, but enough for no one.

Lykken haver skröbeligt Ankerhold. Luck has but a slender anchorage.

Lyst og Villie giör Arbeidet ringe. Cheerfulness and goodwill make labour light.



Mager Kalv glemmer at springe. A lean calf forgets to skip.

Magten gaaer ofte for Konsten. Power often goes before talent.

Magt og Mod vil have Vid med i Fölge. Might and courage require wit in their suite.

Man angrer ofte sin Tale, men sielden sin Taushed. Speech is oft repented, silence seldom.

Man bliver ei snarere skiden end af Skarn. Meddle with dirt and some of it will stick to you.

Mand kysser ofte den Haand, han gierne saae af at være. A man often kisses the hand he would like to see cut off.

Mands Ord, Mands Ære. A man’s word is his honour.

Mands Villie, Mands Himmerige. A man’s will is his heaven.

Man er dog ei Greve, for man æder store Leve. A man is not a lord because he feeds off fine dishes.

Man faaer at bage af det Meel man har. You must contrive to bake with the flour you have.

Man faaer det for gode Ord, som man mister for onde. You may gain by fair words what may fail you by angry ones.

Man faaer ei Ko af kolös Mand. You cannot take a cow from a man who has none.

Man faaer ei meer af Ræven end Bælgen. You can have no more of the fox than his skin.

Man fanger flere Fluer med en Draabe Honning end med en Tönde Ædike. More flies are caught with a drop of honey than with a barrel of vinegar.

Man fylder för Maven paa en Skalk end Öiet. It is easier to fill a rogue’s belly than his eye.

Mange Bække smaae, giöre en stor Aa. Many little rivulets make a great river.

Mange have formeget, men Ingen har nok. Many have too much, but none have enough.


Mange Hunde ere Harens död. Many dogs are the death of the hare.

Mange kysser Barnet for Ammens Skyld. Many kiss the child for the nurse’s sake.

Mange Sandkorn kommer Skib til at synke. Many grains of sand will sink a ship.

Mangen er god Ven, men ond Grande. Many a man is a good friend but a bad neighbour.

Mangen et Faar gaaer tykuldet ud og kommer klippet hiem. Many a sheep goes out woolly and comes home shorn.

Mangen giör megen Spad paa lidet Kiöd. Much broth is sometimes made with little meat.

Mangen Ko staaer i Vang, og kiger i Fælled. Many a cow stands in the meadow and looks wistfully at the common.

Mangen qvider for den Dag han ikke bider. Many a man labours for the day he will never live to see.

Mangen saae gierne sin egen Skam paa en andens Ryg. Many a one would like to lay his own shame on another man’s back.

Mangen vil gierne rose Ret og giöre Uret. Many love to praise right and do wrong.

Man giör ei god Erkebisp af en Skalk. You cannot make a good archbishop of a rogue.

Man giör ei godt Jagthorn af en Svinehale. You cannot make a good hunting-horn of a pig’s tail.

Man gnaver noget af Been, men intet af Steen. You may get something off a bone, but nothing off a stone.

Man har ei længer Fred end Naboen vil. You cannot have peace longer than your neighbour chooses.

Man har Leiligheden i Ærmet, naar man vil. You may always find an opportunity in your sleeve, if you like.

Man hugger ikke Hovedet af fordi det er skurvet. A head is not to be cut off because it is scabby.

Man hvisker stundom een noget i Öret, og hörer det over den hele By. Many a thing whispered into one ear is heard over the whole town.

Man kan ei drage haardt med brudet Reb. You cannot pull hard with a broken rope.

Man kan ei seile hvorhen man vil, men hvor Vinden blæser. You cannot sail as you would, but as the wind blows.


Man kan ikke bære al sin Slægt paa Skuldrene. A man cannot carry all his kin on his back.

Man kan ikke drikke og pibe paa eengang. You cannot drink and whistle at the same time.

Man kan ikke klippe Faaret længer end til Skindet. You cannot shear the sheep closer than the skin.

Man kan ikke see en Anden længer end til Tænderne. No one can see into another further than his teeth.

Man kan lukke for en Tyv, men ikke for en Lögner. You may shut your doors against a thief, but not against a liar.

Man kan nöde en Hest til Vands, men ikke til at drikke. You may force a horse to the water, but you cannot make him drink.

Man kan nöde en Mand til at blunde, men ikke til at sove. You may force a man to shut his eyes, but not to sleep.

Man kan nöde en Oxe til Vands, men ikke nöde ham til at drikke. You may force an ox to the water, but you cannot make him drink.

Man kan tænde et andet Lys af sit uden Skade. You may light another’s candle at your own without loss.

Man koger saa vel i smaae Gryder som i de store. You may cook in small pots as well as in large ones.

Man lader sig hellere bide af Ulve end af Faar. One would rather be bitten by wolves than by sheep.

Man maa bære sit Kors med Taalmodighed, sagde Manden, han tog sin Kone paa Ryggen. We must bear our cross with patience, said the man when he took his wife on his back.

Man maa ikke lade Narre see halvgiort Arbeide. Never let fools see half-finished work.

Man maa tage suur Sild af onde Gieldinger. Of bad debtors you may take spoilt herrings.

Man meder og den Fisk som nödig vil. Even that fish may be caught that strives the hardest against it.

Man skal bruge den Sol som nu skinner. Make use of the sun while it shines.

Man skal ei bære Segel i Anden Mands Korn. Take not your sickle to another man’s corn.

Man skal ei bide den Hund igien som bider. Bite not the dog that bites.


Man skal ei forsmaae gamle Venner eller gamle Veie. Old friends and old ways ought not to be disdained.

Man skal ei have to Tunger i een Mund. Keep not two tongues in one mouth.

Man skal ei kaste Steen efter den Hund som ligger stille. Throw no stones at a sleeping dog.

Man skal ei skue given Hest i Munden. Look not a gift horse in the mouth.

Man skal fire den Stub, man har Ly af. Honour the tree that gives you shelter.

Man skal ikke agte Hunden efter Haarene. Do not judge the dog by his hairs.

Man skal ikke troe en springsk Hest, eller en stor Herre. naar de ryste paa Hovedet. Trust not a skittish horse, nor a great lord, when they shake their heads.

Man skal ikke svide alt det som loddent er. All hairy skins must not be singed.

Man skal længe gaae bag en Vildgaas för man hitter en Strudsfieder. You must walk a long while behind a wild goose before you find an ostrich feather.

Man skal længe gabe, för en stegt Due flyver een i Munden. A man must keep his mouth open a long while before a roast pigeon flies into it.

Man skal længe hugge paa en Elletrunte, för man faaer en Bisværm deraf. You must knock a long while against an alder-bush before you get a swarm of bees out of it.

Man skal meget lide, eller tidlig döe. We must suffer much, or die young.

Man skal og saae efter en ond Höst. We must sow even after a bad harvest.

Man skal rævse godt Barn at det ikke bliver ondt, og ondt Barn at det ikke bliver værre. Chastise a good child, that it may not grow bad, and a bad one, that it may not grow worse.

Man skal Sæd fölge, eller Land flye. Follow the customs, or fly the country.

Man skal sætte Tæring efter Næring. Live according to your means.

Man skal skiemte med sin Lige. Jest with your equals.

Man skal skue en Pige i et Trug Deig, og ikke i en Springedands.[390] You must judge a maiden at the kneading trough, and not in a dance.

Man skal smede Jernet medens det er hedt. Strike while the iron is hot.

Man skal tude med de Ulve man er iblandt. You must howl with the wolves when you are among them.

Man skal Vidien vride medens hun er ung. Bend the willow while it is young.

Man prædike aldrig saa længe for Ulv, han siger dog Lam ad Aften. You may preach ever so long to the wolf, he will nevertheless call for lamb before night.

Man tör ei ved at hænge Klokke paa Giekken, han ringer sig nok selv. There is no need to fasten a bell to a fool, he is sure to tell his own tale.

Mæt Mave roser Fasten. A full stomach praises Lent.

Medens græsset groer döer Horsemoder. While the grass is growing the mare dies.

Medens Hundene veire, löber Haren ad Skoven. While the dogs yelp, the hare flies to the wood.

Med Lov skal man Land bygge. With law must the land be built.

Med Ondt skal Ondt fordrives. Evil must be driven out by evil.

Med Ræv skal man Ræv fange. Set a fox to catch a fox.

Mellem sige og giöre er en lang Vei. Between saying and doing there is a great distance.

Mennesket spaaer, Gud raa’er. Man proposes, God disposes.

Mistanke er for Venskab Gift. Distrust is poison to friendship.

Mölleren er Aldrig saa drukken, at han glemmer at tolde. The miller is never so drunk that he forgets to take his dues.

Morgenstund har Guld i Mund. The morn hour has gold in its mouth.

Mude volder at Venskab holder. Gifts make friendship lasting.

Munden taler tidt det Halsen maa gielde. The mouth often utters that which the head must answer for.

Musen veed meget, men Katten veed mere. The mouse is knowing, but the cat more knowing.



Naar de store Klokker gaae hörer ingen de smaae. While the great bells are ringing no one hears the little ones.

Naar der regner paa Præsten saa drypper det paa Degnen. When it pours upon the parson, it drops upon the clerk.

Naar det regner Vælling, saa har Stodderen ingen Skee. When it rains porridge the beggar has no spoon.

Naar det skal være Held, kælver Tyren saa godt som Koen. If it is to be luck, the bull may as well calve as the cow.

Naar een Fod snubler er den anden nær ved Fald. When one foot stumbles, the other is near falling.

Naar Enden er god er alting godt. All’s well that ends well.

Naar Enhver faaer sit, faaer Fanden intet. When every man gets his own the devil gets nothing.

Naar Gaasen troer Ræven, saa vee hendes Hals. When the goose trusts the fox then woe to her neck.

Naar Giekken kommer til Torvs faaer Kræmmeren Penge. When fools go to market the huckster gets money.

Naar Glæden er i Stuen, er Sorgen i Forstuen. When joy is in the parlour, sorrow is in the passage.

Naar Hovedet værker da værke alle Lemmer. When the head aches all the limbs ache.

Naar hver agter sit, bliver Gierningen giort. When every one minds his own business the work is done.

Naar jeg har Penge i min Pung, da har jeg Mad i min Mund. When I have money in my purse, I have food in my mouth.

Naar Kat og Muus giör eet, har Bonden tabt. When cat and mouse agree, the farmer has no chance.

Naar Katten er borte, löbe Musene paa Bænken. When the cat’s away the mice will play.

Naar Knarren er rorlös, gaaer den for Vrag. When the helm is gone the ship will soon be wrecked.

Naar Kokken steger for Kieldersvenden, saa gielder det Herrens Vinfad. When the cook is roasting for the butler, woe to the master’s wine-cask.


Naar Krybben er tom rives Hestene. When the manger is empty the horses fight.

Naar lade Heste ville afsted, gamle Qvinder dandse, og hvide Skyer regne, da er intet Ophör. When lazy horses begin to start, old women to dance, and white clouds to rain, there is no stopping them.

Naar Legen er feirest, er han bedst at lade fare. When the game is most thriving it is time to leave off.

Naar man er i Sækken, skal man ud af Munden eller af Bunden. When a man is in a sack, he must get out at the mouth or at the bottom.

Naar man seer Ulvens Ören, er han selv ikke langt borte. When the wolf’s ears appear, his body is not far off.

Naar man selv gaaer, sparer man Budleien. He that performs his own errand saves the messenger’s hire.

Naar man vil fange Ræven, spænder man Gæs for. If you would catch a fox you must hunt with geese.

Naar Musen er mæt, er Melet bedsk. When the mouse has had enough the meal is bitter.

Naar Öllet gaaer ind, da gaaer Viddet ud. When the beer goes in the wits go out.

Naar Ræven prædiker for Gaasen, staaer hendes Hals i vove. When the fox preaches to the goose her neck is in danger.

Naar Ræven slikker sin Fod, maa Bonden agte sin Gaas. When the fox licks his paw let the farmer look after his geese.

Naar Saaret er lægt er Svien glemt. When the wound is healed the pain is forgotten.

Naar Skarn kommer til Ære, veed det ei hvad det vil være. When dirt comes to honour it knows not what to be.

Naar Stolen raver bliver der ei længe Sæde af. A rickety chair will not long serve as a seat.

Naar Strængen er stindest, da brister han snarest. When the cord is tightest it is nearest snapping.

Naar Sværdet er i Munden, skal man klappe Balgen. When the sword is in the mouth you must caress the sheath.

Naar to Uvenner blæse i et Horn gaaer det over den Tredie ud. When two enemies blow one horn, the third will have to suffer for it.

Naar Tranen gaaer i Dands med Stodhesten, faaer hun brudne[393] Been. When the crane attempts to dance with the horse she gets broken bones.

Naar Træet falder, vil alle sanke Spaaner. When the tree falls every one runs to gather sticks.

Naar Tyvene trættes, faaer Bonden sine Koster. When thieves fall out the peasant recovers his goods.

Naar Verten leer gladest, da mener han Giæstens Pung. When the host smiles most blandly he has an eye to the guest’s purse.

Naar Vognen helder, vil enhver skyde efter. When the waggon is tilting everybody gives it a shove.

Nabos Öie er avindsfuldt. A neighbour’s eye is full of jealousy.

Nær hielper mangen Mand. All but saves many a man.

Narren er andre Folk liig saa længe han tier. A fool is like other men as long as he is silent.

Nærved slaaer ingen Mand ihiel. Almost kills no man.

Nei er et godt Svar naar det kommer i Tide. No is a good answer when given in time.

Nei og ja giöre lang Trætte. No and yes cause long disputes.

Nöd bryder alle Love. Necessity knows no law.

Nöd kommer gammel Kierling til at trave. Need makes the old wife trot.

Nok er en stor Rigdom. Enough is great riches.

Nye Koste feie vel. New brooms sweep clean.

Nye Viser höres helst. New songs are liked the best.

Nykommen er altid velkommen. New comers are always welcome.

Nyt er altid kiært, Gammelt er stundom bedre. The new is always liked, though the old is often better.


Ofte bedes det igien som bort kastes. That which has been thrown away has often to be begged for again.

Ofte er Skarlagens Hierte under reven Kaabe. A royal heart is often hid under a tattered cloak.

Ofte er Ulvesind under Faareskind. Wolves are often hidden under sheep’s clothing.

Ofte finder Muus Hul, om Stuen end var fuld af Katte.[394] The mouse may find a hole, be the room ever so full of cats.

Ofte gielder Griis det gammel So gjorde. The young pig must often suffer for what the old sow did.

Ofte kommer Regn efter Solskin, og efter Muln klart Veir. Rain comes oft after sunshine, and after a dark cloud a clear sky.

Ofte sidder rigt Barn paa fattig Moders Skjöd. A rich child often sits in a poor mother’s lap.

Öientieneste er Hofmands Art. Eye-service is the courtier’s art.

Ond Afkom brouter mest af god Æt. Unworthy offspring brag the most of their worthy descent.

Onde Tunger onde Ören, de ene saa gode som de andre. Between evil tongues and evil ears, there is nothing to choose.

Onde Urter voxe mest, og forgaae senest. Ill weeds grow the fastest and last the longest.

Ond Giæst er velkommen som Salt i suur Öie. An unpleasant guest is as welcome as salt to a sore eye.

Ond Gierning har Vidne i Barmen. An evil deed has a witness in the bosom.

Ond Kone önsker Mandens Hæl til Gaarde og ikke hans Taa. A bad wife wishes her husband’s heel turned homewards, and not his toe.

Ond Qvinde er Fandens Dörnagle. An ill-tempered woman is the devil’s door-nail.

Ond Rod giver ei godt Æble. A bad tree does not yield good apples.

Ondt Barn skal man ilde vugge. A naughty child must be roughly rocked.

Ondt bliver aldrig godt för halv værre kommer. Bad is never good until worse happens.

Ondt er at gildre for gammel Ræv. It is difficult to trap an old fox.

Ondt er at sanke Ax efter gierrig Agermand. It is hard to glean after a niggardly husbandman.

Ondt er at sejle uden Vind og at slibe uden Vand. It is hard to sail without wind, and to grind without water.

Ondt er at stötte sig til ludende Væg. It is bad to lean against a falling wall.


Ondt er snart giort, men seent bodet. Evil is soon done, but slowly mended.

Ondt öder sig selv. Evil wastes itself.

Ondt Öie skal intet Godt see. An evil eye can see no good.

Opædt Bröd vil nödig betales. It is hard to pay for bread that has been eaten.

Ord binde en Mand og Hampereb Oxen. A man is bound by his word, an ox with a hempen cord.


“Peder, sagde Gaasen, “jeg ager,” der Ræven löb ad Skoven med hende. ”Peter, I am taking a ride,” said the goose, when the fox was running into the wood with her.

Penge tale meer end tolv Tingmænd. Money is more eloquent than a dozen members of parliament.

Præsten Bogen, Bonden Plogen. The priest to his book, the peasant to his plough.

Præstesæk er ond at fylde. A priest’s pocket is not easily filled.


Raad efter giort Gierning er som Regn naar Kornet er höstet. Counsel after action is like rain after harvest.

Raad efter Skaden er som Lægedom efter Döden. Advice after the mischief is like medicine after death.

Raad er ei bedre end Uraad, uden det tages i Tide. Good counsel is no better than bad counsel, if it be not taken in time.

Ræd Mand har tynd Lykke. A timid man has little chance.

Ræven gaaer ei to Gange paa eet Gilder. The fox does not go twice into the same trap.

Ravnen synes altid at hendes Unger ere de hvideste. The raven always thinks that her young ones are the whitest.

Ravn er fager, naar Raage ei er hos. The raven is fair when the rook is not by.

Red Hunden för end Haren löber. Hold your dog in readiness before you start the hare.

Reen Haand færdes tryg giennem Land. A clean hand moves freely through the land.


Retfærdig bliver aldrig braadrig. The upright never grow rich in a hurry.

Rigdom bliver vel lastet, men aldrig forkastet. Riches are often abused, but never refused.

Rigdom har Sorg, og Armod har Tryghed. Riches breed care, poverty is safe.

Rigdom og Gunst gaaer for Visdom og Kunst. Riches and favour go before wisdom and art.

Rig Hustru er Trættetynder. A rich wife is a source of quarrel.

Riig Enkes Taarer törres snart. The rich widow’s tears soon dry.

Riis er bedre end Rævesvands. A rod is better than a fox’s brush.

Ringe Mistanke kan spilde godt Rygte. A slight suspicion may destroy a good repute.

Roes Ganten saa faaer du gavn af ham. Praise a fool, and you may make him useful.

Runde Hænder gjöre mange Venner. Liberal hands make many friends.

Rust æder Jern og Avind æder sig selv. Rust consumes iron, and envy consumes itself.

Rygtet kommer för til Byes end Manden. A man’s character reaches town before his person.

Ry og Rygte fölger Mand til Dör. Fame and repute follow a man to the door.


Saa er hver hædt som han er klædt. As a man dresses so is he esteemed.

Saa flyver hver Fugl som han er fiedret. According to his pinions the bird flies.

Saa grynte Griis efter som gammel Sviin fore (för dem). Young pigs grunt as old swine grunted before them.

Saa kan man böie Bue, at den brister. The bow may be bent until it breaks.

Saa længe en Mand er unævnt er han uskiændt. A man who is not spoken of is not abused.

Saa lever Hönen af sit Skrab, som Löven af sit Rov. The hen lives by pickings, as the lion by prey.


Saa mange Hoveder saa mange Sind. So many heads, so many minds.

Sæl er den, der kan see ved anden Mands Skade. Happy he who can take warning from the mishaps of others.

Sælg ikke Bælgen för du har fanget Ræven. Don’t sell the skin till you have caught the fox.

Sammen söge Sellige, et skabbet Ög og et sandigt Dige. Like seeks like—a scabbed horse and a sandy dike.

Sandhed er en suur Kost. Truth is bitter food.

Sandhed og Daarskab sidde begge i Viinfadet. Truth and folly dwell in the wine-cask.

Sandhed skal man lære af Börn og drukne Folk. Children and drunken men speak the truth.

Sandtalende Qvinde har faae Venner. A truth-telling woman has few friends.

See Dig vel for, Fraade er ikke Öl. Beware, froth is not beer.

Seil mens Vinden blæser, Bören bier efter Ingen. Sail while the breeze blows, wind and tide wait for no man.

Selvgiort er velgiort. What you do yourself is well done.

Sielden bliver blu Hund fed. A modest dog seldom grows fat.

Sielden dandser bold Kiortel saa vel som mæt Bug. A full belly dances better than a fine coat.

Sielden er Grenen bedre end Bullen. The branch is seldom better than the stem.

Sielden kommer Sorg ene. Sorrow seldom comes alone.

Sielden skiærer man godt Korn af ond Ager. Good corn is not reaped from a bad field.

Sielden sukker glad Hierte, men tidt leer sorrigfuld Mund. A glad heart seldom sighs, but a sorrowful mouth often laughs.

Silde Bod er sielden god. Late repentance is seldom worth much.

Silketunge og Blaargarns Hierte fölges ofte ad. Silken tongue and hempen heart often go together.

Skaden kommer ei gierne ene til Huus. Misfortune seldom comes alone to the house.

Skal Lögnen troes, da maae den flikkes med Sandhed. If lies are to find credence, they must be patched with truth.

Skindtiig faaer ei söd Mælk uden der er druknet Muus i.[398] The watch-dog does not get sweet milk unless there be drowned mice in it.

Skjorten er Kroppen nærmere end Kiortelen. The shirt is nearer to the body than the coat.

Skov haver Ören, og Mark haver Öien. The forest has ears, and the field has eyes.

Slagt ei meer end du kan salte, eller du faaer sure Stege. Kill no more than you can salt, or you will have tainted meat.

Smaae Börn, smaae Sorger; store Börn, store Sorger. Little children, little sorrows; big children, great sorrows.

Smaae Helgen giöre og Jertegn. Little saints also perform miracles.

Smaae Sorger tale, de store tie. Little sorrows are loud, great ones silent.

Smedebörn rædes ei for gnister. Blacksmith’s children are not afraid of sparks.

Smiger er söd mad, hov den gider ædt. Flattery is sweet food for those who can swallow it.

Smör fordærver ingen Mad, og Lemfældighed skader ingen Sag. Butter spoils no meat, and moderation injures no cause.

Smuler ere og Bröd. Even crumbs are bread.

Snart og vel ere sielden sammen. Quick and well seldom go together.

Söde Ord fylde kun lidt i Sækken. Fair words won’t fill the sack.

Soen er helst i Söle. The sow prefers the mire.

Sög Raad hos Ligemænd, og Hielp hos Overmænd. Ask advice of your equals, help of your superiors.

Sölv og Guld er hver Mand Huld. Silver and gold are all men’s dears.

Som de Gamle siunge saa tviddre de Unge. As the old ones sing, the young ones twitter.

Som Herren er saa fölge ham Svende. As the master is, so are his men.

Som Manden, saa og hans Tale. As the man is, so is his speech.

Som man reder til, saa ligger man. As you make your bed so you must lie on it.


Sqvalder drukner for god Kones Dör. Slander expires at a good woman’s door.

Stagrende Mand skal sig ved Kiep stöde. A tottering man must lean upon a staff.

Stakkarl er Staadder værst, naar han Magt fanger. No one so hard upon the poor as the pauper who has got into power.

Stakket er Höneflu, uden Hane fluer med. The hen flies not far unless the cock flies with her.

Stakket Hör giver og lang Traad. Short flax makes long thread.

Stakket Hund, kuldet Ko, og liden Mand ere gierne hovmodige. A little dog, a cow without horns, and a short man, are generally proud.

Stakket Lyst har tidt lang anger. Short pleasure often brings long repentance.

Stærke Mands Spil er kranke Mands Död. What is play to the strong is death to the weak.

Store Drikke, og lang Morgensövn, gjöre snart fattig. Deep draughts, and long morning slumbers, soon make a man poor.

Store Herrer have lange Hænder, men de naae ikke til Himlen. Great lords have long hands, but they do not reach to heaven.

Store Herrer ville have meget, og fattigt Folk kan lidet give. Great lords will have much, and poor folk can give but little.

Store Ord giöre sielden from Gierning. Big words seldom go with good deeds.

Styr Hest med Bidsel og ond Kone med Kiep. Govern a horse with a bit, and a shrew with a stick.

Svig og Sqvalder have lang Alder. Treachery and slander are long lived.

Sygdom er hver Mands Herre. Sickness is every man’s master.

Sygdom kommer selvbuden—man har ei nödig at sende efter den. Sickness comes uninvited—no need to bespeak it.

Sygen löber til og kryber fra. Sickness comes in haste, and goes at leisure.

Syn gaaer altid for Sagn. Sight goes before hearsay.



Taalmodigheds Urt groer ikke i hver Mands Have. The herb patience does not grow in every man’s garden.

Tag Gæssene vare naar Ræven prædiker. Take care of your geese when the fox preaches.

Tag Mange til Hielp og Faa til Raad. Take help of many, advice of few.

Tag Raad af rödskjægged Mand, og gaae snart fra ham. Take advice of a red-bearded man, and be gone.

Takkelös Mand giör aldrig tækkelig Gierning. A thankless man never does a thankful deed.

Tal sagte om din Skade, og roes ikke din Lykke. Speak little of your ill luck, and boast not of your good luck.

Tanden bider ofte Tungen og dog bliver de eens. The tooth often bites the tongue, and yet they keep together.

Taus Mand troes mest. The silent man is most trusted.

Tiden bier efter ingen Mand. Time waits for no man.

Tiden er ei bunden ved Pæl, som Hest ved Krybbe. Time is not tied to a post, like a horse to the manger.

Tidt er Gift og Galde under Honningtale. Honeyed speech often conceals poison and gall.

Tidt er vanskabt Sind under fagert Skind. A fair skin often covers a crooked mind.

Tidt faaer man det Tungt paa sin Ryg, som man tog let paa sin Samvittighed. You may often feel that heavily on your back which you took lightly on your conscience.

Tidt forer man Sandheds Kaabe med Lögn. Truth’s cloak is often lined with lies.

Tidt gaaer Retten frem som Pungen veier til. Justice oft leans to the side where the purse pulls.

Tidt meder man ei did som man vil skyde. A man does not always aim at what he means to hit.

Tidt nok galer Hanen uden Seir. The cock often crows without a victory.

Tidt vil den du sætter paa din Axel, sidde paa dit Hoved. He that you seat upon your shoulder will often try to get upon your head.

Tiende Mands Ord komme ei til Tinge. A silent man’s words are not brought into court.


Til Hove ere hale Trapper. The steps at court are slippery.

Til Hove sælges megen Rög uden Ild. At court they sell a good deal of smoke without fire.

Til Nabotrætte bære flere Ild end Vand. When neighbours quarrel, lookers-on are more apt to add fuel than water.

Til Udyd behöves ingen Skolemester. Vice is learnt without a schoolmaster.

Ti Nei er bedre end een Lögn. Ten noes are better than one lie.

To ere een Mands Herre. Two are the masters of one.

To Hund og kæm Hund, dog er Hund som han förre var. Wash a dog and comb a dog, he still remains a dog.

To maae saa lyve, at den tredie hænger. Two may lie so as to hang a third.

Tom Kjelder giör galen Rede-Svend. An empty cellar makes an angry butler.

Tomme Tönder buldre mest. Empty barrels give the most sound.

Tomme Vogne buldre meest. Empty waggons make most noise.

Tordenregn og Herregunst falder altid ujevnt. Thundershowers and great men’s favour are always partial.

Tör Ved giör rask Ild. Dry wood makes a quick fire.

Trang og Nöd bryde Tro og Ed. Want and necessity break faith and oaths.

Træet bliver vel stækket för det voxer til Sky. The tree is sure to be pruned before it reaches the skies.

Tre ere onde i Huus: Rög, Regn og en ond Qvinde. Smoke, rain, and a scolding wife, are three bad things in a house.

Tre Qvinder og een Gaas gjöre et Marked. Three women and a goose make a market.

Tre Ting giöre ikke godt uden Hugg: Valnödtræet, Asenet, og en ond Qvinde. There are three things from which no good can be got without a beating: a walnut-tree, a donkey, and a shrew.

Tro alle vel, men dig selv bedst. Trust everybody, but thyself most.

Tro ei stille Vand og tiende Mand. Trust not still water nor a silent man.

Tungen slides ei af gode Ord. Kind words don’t wear out the tongue.


Tyv tænker Hvermand stiæler. A thief thinks every man steals.


Udi söd Tale ligger Falskhed i dvale. Treachery lurks in honeyed words.

Uglen mener hendes Börn ere de fagerste. The owl thinks her children the fairest.

Uglen priser ei Dagen, eller Ulven ei Hunden. The owl does not praise the light, nor the wolf the dog.

Ukrud forgaaer ikke. Weeds never die out.

Ulv tager ei Brad paa sin egen Mark. The wolf preys not in his own field.

Under hvid Aske ligger ofte gloende Kul. Under white ashes lie often glowing embers.

Under hvide Liin, skiules tidt skabet Skind. Fine linen often conceals a scabby skin.

Unge Hunde har skarpe Tænder. Young dogs have sharp teeth.

Ungt Föl og gammel Hest de drage ei tillige. A young foal and an old horse draw not well together.

Uraad kommer tidligt nok. Mischief comes soon enough.

Uvillig Gierning tiener ingen Tak. Unwilling service earns no thanks.


Vad ikke over Vand, hvor du ei seer Bund. Do not wade where you see no bottom.

Vandet löber, mens Mölleren sover. The water runs while the miller sleeps.

Vaer dig for Hunden, Skyggen bider ikke. Beware of the dog himself, his shadow does not bite.

Var Avind en Feber, var al Verden syg. If envy were a fever, all the world would be ill.

Var det giort med Skiægget, da vandt Giedebukken. If a beard were all, the goat would be the winner.

Vare Tanker Tingsvidne, da blev mangen, ærlig Mand til en Skielm. If thoughts were legal witnesses, many an honest man would be proved a rogue.


Vælsk Andagt og tydsk Faste gjelder intet. Italian devotion and German fasting have no meaning.

Var Lögn Latin, da var der mange lærde Folk. If lies were Latin, there would be many learned men.

Varp ei mere op end du kan væve. Do not put in more warp than you can weave.

Værge byder Landefred. The sword keeps the peace of the land.

Vee vorde ondt Öie. Woe be to an evil eye.

Vel begyndt er halv fuldendt. Well begun is half done.

Velgiort skal man aldrig angre. Never repent a good action.

Venlige Ord og faa ere Qvinders Pryd. Kind words and few are a woman’s ornament.

Venners Feil maa man mærke, men ei laste. A friend’s faults may be noticed, but not blamed.

Vigtig Gierning vil drives med faa Ord. Weighty work must be done with few words.

Vi sidde nu alle vel, sagde Katten han sad paa Flesket. We are all well placed, said the cat, when she was seated on the bacon.

Vognen faaer at gaa, hvor Hestene drage ham. The waggon must go whither the horses draw it.

Vor Herre kommer nok, om han end ikke kommer til Hest. The Lord will not fail to come, though he may not come on horseback.



French 1-64. Italian 65-132. German 133-192. Spanish 193-262.
Portuguese 263-295. Dutch 296-345. Danish 346-403.


A bad beginning may make a good ending, 167

A bad (or lean, or meagre) compromise is better than a good (or fat) lawsuit, 62, 97, 135, 144, 231, 314, 350

A bad heart and a good stomach, 38

A bad horse eats as much as a good one, 366

A bad knife cuts one’s finger instead of the stick, 273

A bad labour, and a daughter after all, 239

A bad man’s gift is like his master, 210

A bad penny always comes back, 136

A bad thing never dies, 209

A bad tree does not yield good apples, 394

A bad wife wishes her husband’s heel turned homewards, and not his toe, 394

A bad workman never finds a good tool, 38

A bad wound may be cured, bad repute kills, 227

A baptised Jew is a circumcised Christian, 149

A bargain is a bargain, 150

A barking cur does not bite, 76

A barking dog was never a good biter, 240see Barking dogs

A barking dog was never a good hunter, 291

A barren sow is never kind to pigs, 371

A bashful dog never fattens, 147

A beard lathered is half shaved, 74, 268

A beard well lathered is half shaved, 204

A beautiful woman smiling, bespeaks a purse weeping, 74

A beggar is never out of his road, 35

A beggar’s estate lies in all lands, 300

A beggar’s hand is a bottomless basket, 306

A beggar’s wallet is never full, 277

A bellyful is a bellyful, 59

A bespattered hog tries to bespatter another, 261

A better seldom comes after, 168

A big (long) nose never spoiled a handsome face, 27


A bird in the cage is worth a hundred at large, 97

A bird may be ever so small, it always seeks a nest of its own, 346

A black hen lays a white egg, 40

A blind hen can sometimes find her corn, 61

A blind horse goes straightforward, 136

A blind man is no judge of colours, 101

A blind man may sometimes shoot a crow, 312

A blind man swallows many a fly, 142

A blind man’s stroke, which raises a dust from beneath water, 239

A blind pigeon may sometimes find a grain of wheat, 351

A blow from a frying-pan, if it does not hurt, smuts, 217

A bold attempt is half success, 369

A bold man has luck in his train, 363

A bold onset is half the battle, 170

A bolt does not always fall when it thunders (There are more threatened than struck), 147

A boor remains a boor, though he sleep on silken bolsters, 365

A borrowed horse and your own spurs make short miles, 383

A boy’s love is water in a sieve, 199

A brain is worth little without a tongue, 61

A braying ass eats little hay, 72

A brilliant daughter makes a brittle wife, 312

Abroad one has a hundred eyes, at home not one, 141

A buffeting threatened is never well given, 205

A burnt child dreads the fire, 149, 313

A burnt child dreads the fire, and a bitten child dreads a dog, 351

A bustling mother makes a slothful daughter, 280

A buxom widow must be married, buried, or cloistered, 262

A cake and a bad custom ought to be broken, 19

A calm portends a storm, 105

A capon eight months old is fit for a king’s table, 208, 272

A cat has nine lives, as the onion seven skins, 143

A cat may look at a king, 169, 314

A cat pent up becomes a lion, 99

A cat that licks the spit is not to be trusted with roast meat, 68

A cat that meweth much catcheth but few mice, 314

A child must creep until it learns to walk, 348

A child of a year old sucks milk from the heel, 210

A child’s back must be bent early, 348

A child’s sorrow is short-lived, 348

A church stone drops gold—(Galician), 239

A churl knows not the worth of spurs (i.e. honour), 64

A clean hand moves freely through the land, 395

A clean mouth and an honest hand, will take a man through any land, 166

A clear bargain, a dear friend, 118


A clear conscience is a good pillow, 61

A clever man’s inheritance is found in every country, 354

A cloak is not made for a single shower of rain, 114

A close mouth and open eyes never did any one harm, 172

A clown enriched knows neither relation nor friend, 64

A cock is valiant on his own dunghill, 314

A colt is good for nothing if it does not break its halter, 55

A contented ass enjoys a long life, 267

A courtier should be without feeling and without honour, 61

A covetous abbot for one offering loses a hundred, 193

A covetous woman deserves a swindling gallant, 2

A cow does not know what her tail is worth until she has lost it, 63

A cow from afar gives plenty of milk, 63

A cow is not called dappled unless she has a spot, 381

A cow-year, a sad year; a bull-year, a glad year, 314

A coward often deals a mortal blow to the brave, 14

A cracked bell will never be sound, 207

A cracked pot never fell off the hook, 120

A crazy vessel never falls from the hand, 261

A crooked log makes a good fire, 9

A cross-grained woman and a snappish dog take care of the house, 347

A crow is never the whiter for often washing, 383

A crown is no cure for the headache, 93, 146, 318

A cur’s tail grows fast, 69

A curse will not strike out an eye unless the fist go with it, 348

A daily guest is a great thief in the kitchen, 312

A dainty stomach beggars the purse (Much taste, much waste), 190

A dead man does not make war, 131

A dead man does not speak (Dead men tell no tales), 279

A dead man has neither relations nor friends, 62

A deaf auditor makes a crazy answerer, 365

A deaf husband and a blind wife are always a happy couple, 38

A dealer in onions is a good judge of scallions, 38

A determined heart will not be counselled, 209

A devotee’s face and a cat’s claws, 208

A doctor and a boor know more than a doctor alone, 142

A dog in the manger, that neither eats nor lets others eat, 271

A dog is a dog whatever his colour, 380

A dog is never offended at being pelted with bones, 114

A dog may look at a bishop, 61

A dog never bit me but I had some of his hair, 97

A dog with a bone knows no friend, 314

A door must either be open or shut, 22

A dram of discretion is worth a pound of wisdom, 144

A drop of honey catches more flies than a hogshead of vinegar, 162

A drop of water breaks a stone, 124


A drowning man clings to a blade of grass, 62

A drowning man would catch at razors, 86

A drunken man may soon be made to dance, 363

A dull ass near home trots without the stick, 267

A fair exchange bring no quarrel, 384

A fair face will get its praise, though the owner keep silent, 367

A fair promise binds a fool, 8

A fair skin often covers a crooked mind, 400

A fair-weather friend changes with the wind, 198, 265

A farthing saved is twice earned, 123

A fast day is the eve of a feast day, 217

A fast horse does not want the spur, 272

A fat kitchen, a lean testament, 100

A fat kitchen is next door to poverty, 69

A fat kitchen makes a lean will, 19, 148

A father’s love, for all other is air, 199

A father maintains ten children better than ten children one father, 145

A fault confessed is half forgiven, 291

A fault denied is twice committed, 61

A fence between makes love more keen, 145

A fence lasts three years, a dog lasts three fences, a horse three dogs, and a man three horses, 145

A fifth wheel to a cart is but an incumbrance, 228

A fine cage won’t feed the bird, 28

A fine girl and a tattered gown always find something to hook them, 8

A fine shot never killed a bird, 74

A finger’s length in a sword, and a palm in a lance, are a great advantage, 274

A fish should swim three times: in water, in sauce, and in wine, 138

A flying crow always catches something, 316

A fool and his money are soon parted, 313

A fool can ask more questions than seven wise men can answer, 130

A fool, if he holds his tongue, passes for wise, 216

A fool is always beginning, 62

A fool is like other men as long as he is silent, 393

A fool knows his own business better than a wise man knows that of others, 124

A fool laughs when others laugh, 347

A fool may chance to say a wise thing, 313

A fool only wins the first game, 365

A fool sometimes gives good counsel, 213

A fool throws a stone into a well, and it requires a hundred wise men to get it out again, 130

A fool, unless he know Latin, is never a great fool, 259


A foolish judge passes a brief sentence (A fool’s bolt is soon shot), 14

A foolish woman is known by her finery, 18

A fool’s bolt is soon shot, 144, 163

A fool’s head never whitens, 58

A fortress on its guard is not surprised, 208

A foul mouth must be provided with a strong back, 366

A friend, and look to thyself, 71

A friend at one’s back is a safe bridge, 316

A friend in need is a friend indeed, 316

A friend is known in time of need, 6, 41

A friend is better than money in the purse (Better a friend than money to spend), 316

A friend is not known till he is lost, 106

A friend is to be taken with his faults, 287

A friend to my table and wine, is no good neighbour, 60

A friend’s dinner is soon dressed, 341

A friend’s fault should be known but not abhorred, 264

A friend’s faults may be noticed, but not blamed, 403

A friend’s meat is soon ready, 63

A full belly counsels well, 63

A full belly dances better than a fine coat, 397

A full belly is neither good for flight nor fighting, 260

A full belly sets a man jigging, 15

A full man is no eater, 279

A full sack pricks up its ear, 124

A full stomach praises Lent, 390

A full vessel must be carried carefully, 369

A galled horse does not want to be curried, 13

A gaunt brute bites sore, 15

A gentleman of Beauce who stays in bed till his breeches are mended, 19

A gift delayed, and long expected, is not given, but sold dear, 93

A gilt bridle for an old mule, 7

A girl, a vineyard, an orchard, and a bean-field, are hard to watch, 283

A girl draws more than a rope, 231

A girl unemployed is thinking of mischief, 18

A glad heart seldom sighs, but a sorrowful mouth often laughs, 397

A glaring sunny morning, a woman that talks Latin, and a child reared on wine, never come to a good end, 57

A glutton young, a beggar old, 156

A goaded ass must needs trot, 4, 72

A golden bit makes none the better horse, 99, 150

A golden hammer breaks an iron gate (Gold goes in at any gate), 150

A golden key opens every door, 78

A golden key opens every door save that of heaven, 372


A good advice is as good as an eye in the hand, 61

A good anvil does not fear the hammer, 75

A good appetite does not want sauce, 75

A good beast heats with eating, 9

A good beginning makes a good ending, 76

A good cause needs help, 8

A good cavalier never lacks a lance, 65

A good cock was never fat, 278

A good conscience is a soft pillow, 151

A good dog hunts by instinct, 8

A good dog never barks at fault, 27

A good dog never gets a good bone, 1

A good driver turns in a small space, 8

A good fire makes a quick cook, 320

A good fox does not eat his neighbour’s fowls, 61

A good friend is better than silver and gold, 314

A good gaper makes two gapers, 61

A good handicraft has a golden foundation, 371

A good head does not want for hats, 48

A good heart breaks bad fortune, 206

A good horse and a bad horse need the spur; a good woman and a bad woman need the stick, 76

A good horse is worth his fodder, 313

A good horse never lacks a saddle, 65

A good king is better than an old law, 371

A good lawyer, a bad neighbour, 8, 205

A good life defers wrinkles, 206

A good man is a man of goods, 9

A good meal is worth hanging for, 143

A good name covers theft, 205

A good name is a rich inheritance, 143

A good name is better than oil (i. e. riches), 313

A good neighbour is better than a brother far off, 371

A good paymaster does not hesitate to give good security, 76

A good paymaster is keeper of other men’s purses, 216

A good paymaster needs no security, 196

A good pilot is not known when the sea is calm and the weather fair, 371

A good repast ought to begin with hunger, 61

A good swimmer is not safe against drowning, 8

A good swordsman is never quarrelsome, 9

A good thing is known when it is lost, 269

A good thing lost is a good thing valued, 205

A good thing lost is valued, 75

A good trade will carry farther than a thousand florins, 161

A good word extinguishes more than a pailful of water, 231


A good word quenches more than a caldron of water, 281

A goose, a woman, and a goat, are bad things lean, 263

A goose drinks as much as a gander, 365

A gosling flew over the Rhine, and came home a goose, 145

A gossiping woman talks of everybody, and everybody of her, 283

A grain does not fill a sieve, but it helps its fellow, 223

A greased mouth cannot say no, 75

A great book is a great evil, 314

A great church and little devotion, 100

A great estate is not gotten in a few hours, 19

A great lance-thrust to a dead Moor, 199, 260

A great leap gives a great shake, 195

A great liar has need of a good memory, 74

A great man’s entreaty is a command, 254

A great talker is a great liar, 19

Agree between yourselves (as to the time), quoth Arlotto, and I will make it rain, 66

A greedy mill grinds all kinds of corn, 370

A green Christmas makes a fat churchyard, 365

A guest and a fish after three days are poison, 37

A guest and a fish stink in three days, 109, 218, 288, 313

A hair casts its shadow on the ground, 260

A hair of the dog cures the bite, 91

A handful of good life is better than seven bushels of learning, 39

A handful of might is better than a sack full of right, 143

A handful of motherwit is worth a bushel of learning, 231

A handsome hostess is bad for the purse, 8, 224, 279

A handsome woman is either silly or vain, 227

A handsome shoe often pinches the foot, 31

A handsome man is not quite poor, 205

A happy heart is better than a full purse, 96

A hard bit does not make the better horse, 372

A hawk’s marriage: the hen is the better bird, 38

A head is not to be cut off because it is scabby, 387

A headless army fights badly, 380

A hearth of your own is worth gold, 365

A heavy shower is soon over, 104

A hired horse and one’s own spurs make short miles, 149, 313

A honeyed tongue with a heart of gall, 30

A horse grown fat kicks, 77

A horse may stumble, though he have four legs, 76, 315

A house filled with guests is eaten up and ill spoken of, 208

A house full of daughters is a cellar full of sour beer, 314

A house ready built and a vineyard ready planted, 208

A house ready made and a wife to make, 37


A huckster who cannot pass off mouseturd for pepper, has not learned his trade, 144

A hundred bakers, a hundred millers, and a hundred tailors are three hundred thieves, 328

A hundred tailors, a hundred millers, and a hundred weavers are three hundred thieves, 208

A hundred waggonsful of sorrow will not pay a handful of debt, 380

A hundred years a banner, a hundred years a barrow—A very old proverb, signifying the changeful fortunes of great feudal families], 10

A hundred years cannot repair a moment’s loss of honour, 70

A hundred years hence we shall all be bald, 193

A hundred years is not much, but never is a long while, 10

A hundred years of regret pay not a farthing of debt, 10, 153

A hundred years of wrong do not make an hour of right, 153

A hungry ass eats any straw, 72

A hungry belly has no ears, 63, 131, 143, 220, 290, 314

A hungry clown is half mad, 64

A hungry dog and a thirsty horse take no heed of blows, 380

A hungry dog does not fear the stick, 13, 76

A hungry man discovers more than a hundred lawyers, 231

A hungry wolf is not at rest, 280

A husband with one eye rather than with one son, 218

A jackfish does more than a letter of recommendation, 61

A jade eats as much as a good horse, 110

A joyous evening often leads to a sorrowful morning, 371

A kick from a mare never hurt a horse, 27

A kitchen-dog is never a good rabbit-hunter, 240

A kitchen dog never was good for the chase, 76

A lame goat will not sleep by day, 206

A lame man won’t walk with one who is lamer, 60

A landmark is well placed between two brothers’ fields, 28

A large fire often comes from a small spark, 346

A lawsuit for a maravedi consumes a real’s worth of paper, 198

A lawyer and a cart-wheel must be greased, 142

A lazy boy and a warm bed are difficult to part, 354

A lazy ox is little the better for the goad, 193

A lean calf forgets to skip, 386

A lean compromise is better than a fat lawsuit (Agree, for the law is costly), 144, 314see also A bad compromise, &c.

A lean horse does not kick, 77

A liar is sooner caught than a cripple, 121, 126, 281

A liar must have a good memory, 74, 314

A lie has short legs, 273

A light belly, a heavy heart, 158

A litigious man, a liar, 20


A little absence does much good, 62

A little dinner, long expected and cold, is by no means given, but dearly sold, 45

A little dog, a cow without horns, and a short man, are generally proud, 399

A little gall spoils (or embitters) a great deal of honey, 62, 121, 240, 242

A little help does a great deal, 62

A little injury dismays, and a great one stills, 292

A little leaven leavens (sours) a great mass, 45

A little loss frightens, a great one tames, 240

A little makes a debtor and much an enemy, 290

A little man fells a great oak, 45

A little man often casts a long shadow, 92

A little man sometimes casts a long shadow, 62

A little pack serves a little pedlar, 4

A little pot is soon hot, 314

A little rain stills a great wind, 45

A little sheep always seems young, 45

A little spark kindles a great fire, 120, 173, 212

A little spark shines in the dark, 45

A little stone may upset a large cart, 120, 384

A little thing often helps, 45

A little too late, much too late, 144, 316

A little truth makes the whole lie pass, 130

A living ass is better than a dead doctor, 131

A load of March dust is worth a ducat, 144

A long tongue betokens a short hand, 226, 265

A lord of straw devours a vassal of steel, 62

A lord without land, is like a cask without wine, 374

A lordly taste makes a beggar’s purse, 151

A lovelorn cook oversalts the porridge, 172

A lover’s anger is short-lived, 125

A loving man, a jealous man, 131

A mad dog cannot live long, 13

A mad parish, a mad priest, 68

A man cannot carry all his kin on his back, 388

A man assailed is half overcome, 20

A man, a word; a word, a man, 144

A man conducts himself abroad as he has been taught at home, 375

A man dances all the same, though he may dance against his will, 373

A man does not always aim at what he means to hit, 400

A man does not look behind the door unless he has stood there himself, 354

A man forewarned is as good as two—(Forewarned is forearmed), 224see A man warned, &c.


A man is bound by his word, an ox with a hempen cord, 395

A man is not a lord because he feeds off fine dishes, 386

A man is not known till he cometh to honour, 333

A man is valued according to his own estimate of himself, 7

A man may hap to bring home with him what makes him weep, 196

A man may threaten yet be afraid, 58

A man must eat, though every tree were a gallows, 333

A man must keep his mouth open a long while before a roast pigeon flies into it, 389

A man of straw is worth a woman of gold, 62, 279

A man of straw needs a woman of gold, 130

A man often kisses the hand he would fain see cut off, 386

A man overboard, a mouth the less, 315

A man’s character reaches town before his person, 396

A man’s face is a lion’s, 140

A man’s own opinion is never wrong, 103

A man’s will is his heaven, 386

A man’s word is his honour, 386

A man takes his own wherever he finds it, 43

A man that has had his fill is no eater, 224

A man that is lean, not from hunger, is harder than brass, 256

A man travels as far in a day as a snail in a hundred years, 6

A man warned is as good as two, 62, 130, 224

A man warned is half saved, 149

A man well mounted is always proud, 62

A man who has but one eye must take good care of it, 50

A man who is not spoken of is not abused, 396

A man who wants bread is ready for anything, 15

A man who wants to drown his dog says he is mad, 54

A man without money is like a ship without sails, 315

A meagre (or lean) compromise is better than a fat lawsuit, 350

A measly hog infects the whole sty, 219

A melon and a woman are hard to know (or choose), 18, 219

A merry host makes merry guests, 316

A merry life forgets father and mother, 28

A mewing cat is never a good mouser, 223

A mild sheep is sucked by every lamb, 119

A modest dog seldom grows fat, 397

A monkey remains a monkey, though dressed in silk, 203

A Montgomery division: all on one side, nothing on the other, 44

A morsel eaten gains no friend, 269

A morsel eaten selfishly does not gain a friend, 205

A muffled cat never caught a mouse, 27, 99

A mule and a woman do what is expected of them, 227

A nail secures the horse-shoe, the shoe the horse, the horse the man, the man the castle, and the castle the whole land, 144


A naughty child must be roughly rocked, 394

A near neighbour is better than a distant cousin, 97

A necessary lie is harmless, 143

A neighbour’s eye is full of jealousy, 393

A new broom is good for three days, 100

A new net won’t catch an old bird, 124

A noble prince or king never has a coin to bless himself, 62

A north wind has no corn, and a poor man no friend, 259

A pack of cards is the devil’s prayer-book, 156

A pair of light shoes is not all that is wanted for dancing, 357

A peasant between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats—(Catalan), 202

A peg for every hole, 7

A penny in time is as good as a dollar, 366

A penny saved is a penny gained, 145

A penny saved is twopence got, 142

A penny spared is a penny saved, 247

A penny spared is better than a florin gained, 316

A pet child has many names, 381

A pig bought on credit grunts all the year, 242

A pig on credit makes a good winter and a bad spring, 268

A pig’s life, short and sweet, 63

A pig’s tail will never make a good arrow, 212

A plaster house, a horse at grass, and a friend in words, are all mere glass, 314

A pleasant companion on a journey is as good as a postchaise, 14

A pleasant thing never comes too soon, 362

A plough that worketh, shines; but still water stinks, 315

A poor man has few acquaintances, 368

A poor man is all schemes, 224

A poor man is hungry after eating, 279

A poor man’s joy has much alloy, 368

A Portuguese apprentice who can’t sew, yet would be cutting out, 200

A priest’s pocket is not easily filled, 395

A promise is a debt, 172

A proud pauper and a rich miser are contemptible beings, 75

A ragged coat finds little credit, 74

A ragged colt may make a handsome horse, 38, 272

A ragged sack holds no grain, a poor man is not taken into counsel, 124

A rash man, a skin of good wine, and a glass vessel, do not last long, 279

A reconciled friend is a twofold enemy, 199

A resolute heart endures no counsel, 273

A restive morsel needs a spur of wine, 3


A rich child often sits in a poor mother’s lap, 394

A rich man is never ugly in the eyes of a girl, 62

A rich widow weeps with one eye and laughs with the other, 268

A rich wife is a source of quarrel, 396

A rickety chair will not long serve as a seat, 392

A rod is better than a fox’s brush, 396

A rolling stone gathers no moss, 45, 120, 174, 240, 291, 315

A royal heart is often hid under a tattered cloak, 393

A runaway horse punishes himself, 77

A runaway monk never speaks well of his convent, 316

A sack full of fleas is easier to watch than a woman, 143

A sack is best tied before it is full, 42

A sack was never so full but it could hold another grain, 33, 113

A sad bride makes a glad wife, 313

A saddle fits more backs than one, 130

A scabby colt may make a good horse, 212

A scabby head fears the comb, 315

A scald head needs strong lye, 357

A scalded cat dreads cold water, 13, 278

A scalded dog thinks cold water hot, 65

A scorpion never stung me but I cured myself with its grease, 113

A seat in the council is honour without profit, 288

A secret between two is God’s secret, a secret between three is everybody’s, 242

A secret imparted is no longer a secret, 125

A servant and a cock must be kept but one year, 289

A sharp tooth for hard bread, 200, 266

A sheep’s bite is never more than skin deep, 110

A shock dog is starved and nobody believes it, 240

A short cut is often a wrong cut, 370

A short halter for a greedy horse, 194

A short mass and a long dinner, 14

A short rest is always good, 384

A short sword for a brave man, 7

A short tail won’t keep off flies, 89

A shut mouth keeps me out of strife, 269

A sick man sleeps, but not a debtor, 215

A silent man’s words are not brought into court, 400

A silly song may be sung in many ways, 368

A silver hammer breaks an iron door, 62

A sin concealed is half pardoned (meaning when care is taken to conceal the scandal), 45, 119

A sin confessed is half forgiven, 119, 130

A single day grants what a whole year denies, 312

A single penny fairly got, is worth a thousand that are not, 144

A single stroke don’t fell the oak, 173


A slight suspicion may destroy a good repute, 396

A slothful man never has time, 131

A small bolt to the house is better than none at all, 350

A small cloud may hide both sun and moon, 367

A small fire that warms you, is better than a large one that burns you, 366

A small hatchet fells a great oak, 291

A smart coat is a good letter of introduction, 317

A smooth tongue is better than smooth locks, 350

A soft answer turneth away wrath, 316

A solitary man is either a brute or an angel, 131

A son-in-law’s friendship is a winter’s sun, 199

A sow is always dreaming of bran, 59

A sow may find an acorn as well as a hog, 366

A sow prefers bran to roses, 60

A sparrow in the hand is better than a bustard on the wing, 231

A sparrow in the hand is better than a crane on the wing, 62

A sparrow in the hand is better than a pigeon on the roof, 144

A sparrow in the hand is better than a pigeon on the wing, 39

A sparrow suffers as much when it breaks its leg as does a Flanders horse, 366

A spot shows most on the finest cloth, 221

A starved town is soon forced to surrender, 88

A stepmother has a hard hand, 356

A stick is a peacemaker, 7

A stick is soon found to beat a dog, 128

A still sow eats up all the draff, 307

A stingy man is always poor, 20

A stout heart tempers adversity, 89, 270, 320

A Sunday’s child never dies of the plague, 50

A table friend is changeable, 3

A tender-hearted mother makes a scabby daughter, 38, 106

A thankless man never does a thankful deed, 400

A thief makes opportunity, 312

A thief seldom grows rich by thieving, 142

A thief thinks every man steals, 402

A thing done has a head (The exultation of an ancient sculptor on his satisfactorily completing the head of his statue), 89

A thing is never much talked of but there is some truth in it, 114

A thing is not bad if well understood, 142

A thing lost is a thing known, 13

A thing too much seen is little prized, 13

A thorn comes into the world point foremost, 33

A thousand probabilities do not make one truth, 110

A threatened buffet is never well given, 125

A threatened man lives long, if he can get bread, 383


A threatened man lives longer than one that is hanged, 132

A threatened man lives seven years, 312

A timid man has little chance, 395

A tottering man must lean upon a staff, 399

A tree often transplanted is never loaded with fruit, 69

A tree often transplanted neither grows nor thrives, 240

A true gentleman would rather have his clothes torn than mended, 224

A truth-teller finds the doors closed against him, 363

A truth-telling woman has few friends, 397

A turn of the key is better than the conscience of a friar, 232

A used plough shines, standing water stinks, 149

A usurer, a miller, a banker, and a publican, are the four evangelists of Lucifer, 316

A vagabond monk never spoke well of his convent, 110

A vicious colt may make a good horse, 38

A vicious dog must be tied short, 3