Arabic Proverbs

Proverbs from all Arabic speaking parts of the world. The Arabic language is rich with its proverbs; some are deep and wise, yet would make no sense whatsoever if they were told to foreigners.

Arabs are a population inhabiting the Arab world. They primarily live in the Arab states in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and western Indian Ocean islands, as well as in significant numbers in the Americas, Western Europe, Indonesia, Israel, Turkey and Iran.

Arabic Proverbs

A book is a garden carried in the pocket. – Arabic Proverbs

A book that remains shut, is but a block. – Arabic Proverbs

A borrowed cloak does not keep one warm. – Arabic Proverbs

A chameleon does not leave one tree until he is sure of another. – Arabic Proverbs

A change is as good as a rest. – Arabic Proverbs

A day lasts until it’s chased away but love lasts until the grave. – Arabic Proverbs

A fable is a bridge that leads to truth. – Arabic Proverbs

A fat woman is a blanket for the winter. – Arabic Proverbs

A foolish man may be known by six things: Anger without cause, speech without profit, change without progress, inquiry without object, putting trust in a stranger, and mistaking foes for friends. – Arabic Proverbs

A friend advises in his interest, not yours. – Arabic Proverbs

A friend is known when needed. – Arabic Proverbs

A good deed dies when it is spoken about. – Arabic Proverbs

A good man is one who rejoices in the well-being of others. – Arabic Proverbs

A good orator makes us see with our ears. – Arabic Proverbs

A grateful dog has more worth than an ungrateful man. – Arabic Proverbs

A hand that has been chopped off cannot steal any more. – Arabic Proverbs

A heart free from care is better than a full purse. – Arabic Proverbs

A horse of good breed is not dishonored by his saddle. – Arabic Proverbs

A horse that will not carry a saddle must have no oats. – Arabic Proverbs

A house divided cannot stand. – Arabic Proverbs

A kind speech and forgiveness is better than alms followed by injury. – Arabic Proverbs

A kind word can attract even the snake from his nest. – Arabic Proverbs

A known mistake is better than an unknown truth. – Arabic Proverbs

A lazy man will be an astrologer. – Arabic Proverbs

A learned man without work is a cloud without rain. – Arabic Proverbs

A little and a little, collected together, becomes a great deal; the heap in the barn consists of single grains, and drop and rop makes an inundation. – Arabic Proverbs

A little bird wants but a little nest. – Arabic Proverbs

A little body doth often harbour a great soul. – Arabic Proverbs

A little debt makes a debtor, a great one an enemy. – Arabic Proverbs

A little spark can kindle a great fire. – Syria Proverbs

A man cannot be a good physician if he has never been sick himself. – Arabic Proverbs

A man profits more by the sight of an idiot than by the orations of the learned. – Arabic Proverbs

A man who was always complaining was quite rightly sent to hell. A man who was always complaining was quite rightly sent to hell. “Why are you burning damp wood?” was his first comment. – Arabic Proverbs

A man’s worth depends on his two smallest organs: his heart and his tongue. – Arabic Proverbs

A mouth that praises and a hand that kills. – Arabic Proverbs

A mule can go to Mecca, but it will not come back as a pilgrim. – Arabic Proverbs

A poor man would like to have some fun, but he cannot find the right place. – Arabic Proverbs

A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is the rain. – Arabic Proverbs

A scholar’s ink is worth as much as the blood of the martyr. – Arabic Proverbs

A secret is like a dove: when it leaves my hand it takes wing. – Arabic Proverbs

A sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to our steps as we walk the tightrope of life. – Arabic Proverbs

A small house is enough room for a thousand friends. – Syria Proverbs

A small tumbledown house is better than a communal palace. – Arabic Proverbs

A sponge to wipe away the past; a rose to sweeten the present; a kiss to greet the future. – Arabic Proverbs

A thousand curses never tore a shirt. – Arabic Proverbs

A tree that affords thee shade, do not order it to be cut down. – Arabic Proverb

A wise man associating with the vicious becomes an idiot; a dog traveling with good men becomes a rational being. – Arabic Proverbs

A wise man’s day is worth a fool’s life. – Arabic Proverbs

A woman’s belly is a garden with many kinds of fruit. – Arabic Proverbs

A woman’s mosque is her home. – Arabic Proverbs

Act like you are an idiot and everyone will respect you. – Arabic Proverbs

Advice given in the midst of a crowd is loathsome. – Arabic Proverbs

After dinner, rest; after supper walk a mile. – Arabic Proverbs

After lunch, rest; after dinner take a walk. – Arabic Proverbs

All authors should prepare to encounter criticism. – Iraqi Proverbs

All earthly goods we have only on loan. – Arabic Proverbs

All kinds of fame belong partly to others. – Arabic Proverbs

All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immoveable, those that are moveable, and those that move. – Arabic Proverbs

All sunshine makes the desert. – Arabic Proverbs

Allah does not love the aggressors. – Arabic Proverbs

An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep. – Arabic Proverbs

An eloquent cock crows as soon as it comes out of the egg. – Arabic Proverbs

An imbecile can manage his own affairs better than a wise man the affairs of other people. – Arabic Proverbs

An insult is but a short garment: it reveals the one who wears it. – Arabic Proverbs

An old lion will be mocked by the dogs. – Arabic Proverbs

An unjust king is like a river without water. – Arabic Proverbs

Another man’s bread will not fill your belly. – Arabic Proverbs

Any water in the desert will do. – Arabic Proverbs

Arrogance diminishes wisdom. – Arabic Proverbs

Arrogance is a weed that grows mostly on a dunghill. – Arabic Proverbs

Ask advice of an ignorant man and he will think you are his enemy. – Arabic Proverbs

Ask for your wife’s advice and then do the opposite. – Arabic Proverbs

Ask me what are my virtues, not about the color of my skin. – Arabic Proverbs

Ask the experienced rather than the learned. – Arabic Proverbs

Ask thy purse what thou should’st buy. – Arabic Proverbs

Ask your purse what you should buy. – Arabic Proverbs

At the narrow passage there is no brother and no friend. – Arabic Proverbs

Attend funerals avoid weddings. – Arabic Proverbs

Avoid that which requires an apology. – Arabic Proverbs

Avoid the company of a liar. And if you can’t avoid him, don’t believe him. – Arabic Proverbs

Avoiding mistakes is better than apologizing after. – Arabic Proverbs

Be sure to have a controversial opinion, and men will talk about you. – Arabic Proverbs

Beauty doesn’t exist, men only dream it. – Arabic Proverbs

Beauty is power. – Arabic Proverbs

Beauty never travels in a group. – Arabic Proverbs

Believe what you see and lay aside what you hear. – Arabic Proverbs

Benefits make a man a slave. – Arabic Proverb

Better a handful of dry dates and content therewith than to own the Gate of Peacocks and be kicked in the eye by a broody camel. – Arabic Proverbs

Better a thousand enemies outside the tent than one within. – Arabic Proverbs

Better make profit out of manure than losses with musk. – Arabic Proverbs

Better to be a free dog than a caged lion. – Arabic Proverbs

Better to have bread and an onion with peace than stuffed fowl with strife. – Arabic Proverbs

Beware of one who flatters unduly; he will also censure unjustly. – Arabic Proverbs

Beware the man who lavishes too much praise on you, he will later run you down. – Arabic Proverbs

Beware: some liars tell the truth. – Arabic Proverbs

Birds align with grain, but not with the stick. – Oman Proverbs

Blind eyes see better than blind hearts. – Arabic Proverbs

Blindness of the eye is better than blindness of the heart. – Arabic Proverbs

Both the fast and the slow will meet each other on the ferry boat. – Arabic Proverbs

Bravery without intelligence is not bravery. – Arabic Proverbs

Build with silver and cover with gold. – Oman Proverbs

By his own mouth does the liar expose himself. – Arabic Proverbs

Call someone your lord and he’ll sell you in the slave market. – Arabic Proverbs

Children are buttonholes that hold their parents together. – Arabic Proverbs

Choose the neighbor before the house. – Syria Proverbs

Choose your neighbor before your house and your companion before the road. – Arabic Proverbs

Compete, don’t envy. – Arabic Proverbs

Conversation is like making love; the man is the question, the woman the answer, and the union of both will bear fruit. – Arabic Proverbs

Curses are like young chickens, And still come home to roost. – Arabic Proverbs

Dawn does not come twice to awaken a man. – Arabic Proverbs

Death is a black camel that lies down at every door. Sooner or later you must ride the camel. – Arabic Proverbs

Death is a black camel which kneels at every man’s gate. – Arabic Proverbs

Death rides a fast camel. – Arabic Proverbs

Death was afraid of him because he had the heart of a lion. – Arabic Proverbs

Diligence is a great teacher. – Arabic Proverbs

Diligence is the mother of good luck. – Arabic Proverbs

Discord between the powerful is a fortune for the poor. – Arabic Proverbs

Do not buy either the moon or the news, for in the end they will both come out. – Arabic Proverbs

Do not cut down the tree that gives you shade. – Arabic Proverbs

Do not drink poison to quench a thirst. – Palestine Proverbs

Do not ridicule the thin-bearded when you yourself have no beard. – Arabic Proverbs

Do not stand in a dangerous place trusting in miracles. – Arabic Proverbs

Do not tell a friend anything you would conceal from an enemy. – Arabic Proverbs

Do not tell secrets in front of servants. – Arabic Proverbs

Don’t celebrate someone’s departing unless you know who will succeed him. – Arabic Proverbs

Don’t pour away your water on the strength of a mirage. – Arabic Proverbs

Don’t think you are eloquent just because a fool applauds you. – Arabic Proverbs

Doubt is the key to all knowledge. – Arabic Proverbs

Dwell among people for forty days. You will either become one of them or flee them. – Arabic Proverbs

Dwell not upon thy weariness, thy strength shall be according to the measure of thy desire. – Arabic Proverbs

Eat whatever you like, but dress as others do. – Arabic Proverbs

Even the one-eyed man winks to women. – Arabic Proverbs

Every age has its book. – Arabic Proverbs

Every ambitious man is a captive and every covetous one a pauper. – Arabic Proverbs

Every day of your life is a page of your history. – Arabic Proverbs

Every dog is a great barker at the door of his own house. – Arabic Proverbs

Every future is not far away. – Arabic Proverbs

Every head has its own kind of headache. – Arabic Proverbs

Every sun has to set. – Arabic Proverbs

Every village has certain drawbacks to it. – Oman Proverbs

Everything forbidden is desirable. – Arabic Proverbs

Everything is small at the beginning and then grows; except trouble, which is big at the beginning and still grows. – Arabic Proverbs

Evil people know one another. – Arabic Proverbs

Examine what is said, not him who speaks. – Arabic Proverbs

Example is better than precept. – Arabic Proverbs

Excuses are always mixed with lies. – Arabic Proverbs

Experiences are the spectacles of intellect. – Arabic Proverbs

Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten. – Arabic Proverbs

Fate loves a rebel. – Arabic Proverbs

Fear not the man who fears God. – Arabic Proverbs

Fear the person who fears you. – Arabic Proverbs

Fire will burn itself out if it did not find anything to burn. – Arabic Proverbs

Follow the advice of the one who makes you cry, not from the one who makes you laugh. – Arabic Proverbs

Forgiveness is more satisfying than revenge. – Arabic Proverbs

Four things come not back – the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity. – Arabic Proverbs

Give a man some cloth and he’ll ask for some lining. – Arabic Proverbs

Give me wool and tomorrow you will have a sheep. – Arabic Proverbs

Go and wake up your cook. – Arabic Proverbs

God bless him who pays visits – short visits. – Arabic Proverbs

God gave the giraffe a long neck so that He would not have to bend the palm tree. – Arabic Proverbs

God grant us no neighbor with two eyes. – Arabic Proverbs

God has spared the naked man from washing his clothes with soap. – Arabic Proverbs

God sells knowledge for labor – honor for risk. – Arabic Proverbs

Good deeds banish bad ones. – Arabic Proverbs

Good qualities never cancel out the bad, just as sugar is no antidote for poison. – Arabic Proverbs

Great care is no defense against Fate. – Arabic Proverbs

Habit is the sixth sense that dominates the other five. – Arabic Proverbs

Haste is the invention of the devil. – Arabic Proverbs

Have faith in a stone and you will be healed by it. – Lebanese Proverbs

He fasted for a whole year and then broke his fast with an onion. – Arabic Proverbs

He fled from the rain and sat down under the waterspout. – Arabic Proverbs

He gets his passage for nothing and then winks at the captain’s wife. – Arabic Proverbs

He hit me, started to cry, and went straight to the judge to sue me – Arabic Proverbs

He left us and we rejoiced; then an even more unbearable person came. – Arabic Proverbs

He makes a dome out of a grain. – Arabic Proverbs

He promised me earrings, but then only pierced my ears. – Arabic Proverbs

He that counts his friend’s mistakes will be abandoned by him. – Arabic Proverbs

He that has long legs will go far. – Arabic Proverbs

He that has no money has no friends. – Arabic Proverbs

He that plants thorns must never expect to gather roses. – Arabic Proverbs

He who does not shield himself from vilification receives it. – Arabic Proverb

He who eats alone chokes alone. – Arabic Proverbs

He who foretells the future lies, even if he tells the truth. – Arabic Proverbs

He who has approved of wrongdoing is as guilty as he who has committed it. – Arabic Proverbs

He who has been bitten by a snake is scared of a rope on the ground. – Arabic Proverbs

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything. – Arabic Proverbs

He who is a slave of truth is a free man. – Arabic Proverbs

He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool. Shun him. He who knows not and knows that he knows not is a child. Teach him. He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep. Wake him. He who knows and knows that he knows is a wise man. Follow him. – Arabic Proverbs

He who lies for you will lie about you. – Arabic Proverbs

He who lives in a glass house should not throw stones. – Arabic Proverbs

He who looks up too much gets a pain in the neck. – Arabic Proverbs

He who loves thinks that the others are blind; the others think that he is crazy. – Arabic Proverbs

He who only thinks about what is in his belly is worth less than what comes out of it. – Arabic Proverbs

He who peeps at the neighbor’s window may chance to lose his eyes. – Arabic Proverbs

He who plants thorns must never expect to gather roses. – Arabic Proverbs

He who predicts the future lies, even if he tells the truth. – Arabic Proverbs

He who sees the calamity of other people finds his own calamity light. – Arabic Proverbs

He who starts a lawsuit makes a hole in the dike. – Arabic Proverbs

Arabic Proverbs

He who steals an egg will steal a camel. – Arabic Proverbs

He who uses bad incense must be careful not to burn his sleeves. – Arabic Proverbs

He who walks alone shall surely arrive first. – Arabic Proverbs

He who walks through a field of onions, will smell like an onion. – Arabic Proverbs

He who wants to sell his honor will always find a buyer. – Arabic Proverbs

He who would visit a vice, never has far to travel. – Arabic Proverbs

Heaven on earth is to be found on horseback, reading books and between a woman’s breasts. – Arabic Proverbs

Hit the iron while it’s still hot. – Palestine Proverbs

How can the person who is eating dates prohibit the eating of dates?– Arabic Proverb

I am a prince and you are a prince; who will lead the donkeys?. – Arabic Proverbs

I came to the place of my birth and cried, I came to the place of my birth and cried, “The friends of my youth, where are they?” And echo answered, “Where are they?” – Arabic Proverbs

If a dog offers to help you across the river, don’t ask if he is suffering from the mange. – Arabic Proverbs

If a man believes in a stone, that stone will serve him well. – Arabic Proverbs

If a man’s mouth were silent, then another part would speak. – Arabic Proverbs

If a poor man ate it, they would say it was because of his stupidity. – Arabic Proverbs

If a rich man ate a snake, they would say it was because of his wisdom; if a poor man ate it, they would say it was because of his stupidity. – Arabic Proverbs

If a rich man eats a snake, people call it wisdom; if a poor man does the same thing, people call it derangement. – Lebanese Proverbs

If a wife is unfaithful then the husband is partly to blame. – Arabic Proverbs

If anyone is not willing to accept your point of view, try to see his point of view. – Lebanese Proverbs

If begging should unfortunately be your lot, knock at the large gates only. – Arabic Proverbs

If I had two loaves of bread, I would sell one and buy hyacinths, for they would feed my soul. – Arabic Proverbs

If man be a river, then woman will be a bridge. – Arabic Proverbs

If man’s mouth was silent, then another part would speak. – Arabic Proverbs

If power is for sale, sell your mother to buy it. You can always buy her back again. – Arabic Proverbs

If someone says “There is a wedding ceremony in the clouds,” then the women would soon arrive with their ladders. – Arabic Proverbs

If the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow. – Arabic Proverbs

If the king says that it is night in the middle of the day, look up at the stars. – Arabic Proverbs

If the wind blows, ride it. – Arabic Proverbs

If there were no tears, our ribs would burn. – Arabic Proverbs

If we are both masters, then who shall lead the mules? – Arabic Proverbs

If you are a friend of the captain, you can wipe your hands on the sail. – Arabic Proverbs

If you are offered a bull, do not ask how much milk he will give. – Arabic Proverbs

If you buy cheap meat, you’ll smell what you have saved when it boils. – Arabic Proverbs

If you cannot take things by the head, then take them by the tail. – Arabic Proverbs

If you conduct yourself properly, then fear no one. – Iraqi Proverbs

If you count your friend’s mistakes, he will desert you. – Arabic Proverbs

If you do charity, your house will be always rich. – Arabic Proverbs           

If you don’t know where you are going, look back to where you’ve come from. – Arabic Proverbs

If you give in to a fool, he will say, “This is because they are afraid of me.” – Arabic Proverbs

If you have an opinion, you better be determined. – Arabic Proverbs

If you have given away much of your wealth, then you have given a little of your heart. – Arabic Proverbs

If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart. – Arabic Proverbs

If you have never seen evil, look closely at yourself some time. – Arabic Proverbs

If you hear that a mountain has moved, believe; but if you hear that a man has changed his character, believe it not. – Arabic Proverbs

If you stop every time a dog barks, your road will never end. – Arabic Proverbs

If you want to hit your mother-in-law, be sure to split her head. – Arabic Proverbs

If you want to kill a snake, chop off its head. – Arabic Proverbs

If you want to take revenge on a man, send him a really beautiful woman. – Arabic Proverbs

If you’re a liar, you better have a good memory. – Arabic Proverbs

If your motive is good, a farting donkey won’t harm you. – Oman Proverbs

If your neighbor visits Mecca once, watch out for him. If he makes a second visit, you had better avoid him. After the third visit you had better move to another street. – Arabic Proverbs

In every village, there is a path that leads to the mill. – Syria Proverbs

In order to really love someone you must love him as though he was going to die tomorrow. – Arabic Proverbs

In the desert of life the wise travel by caravan, while the fool prefers to travel alone. – Arabic Proverbs

In the presence of Fate, the physician becomes a fool. – Arabic Proverbs

In the small lanes there are no brothers or friends. – Arabic Proverbs

Insults must be written in sand and compliments carved in stone. – Arabic Proverbs

Insults should be written in the sand, and praises carved in stone. – Arabic Proverb

It is a sign of weakness just to let things happen. – Arabic Proverbs

It is better to cut off the head that has no pride. – Arabic Proverbs

It is better to die in revenge than to live on in shame. – Arabic Proverbs

It is easier not to commit a sin than to repent it. – Arabic Proverbs

It is good to know the truth, but it is better to speak of palm trees. – Arabic Proverbs

It is not the bullet that kills you, it is fate. – Arabic Proverbs

It makes no sense to try to forge the iron whilst it is still cold. – Arabic Proverbs

It may be a fire today – tomorrow it will be ashes. – Arabic Proverbs

It’s all fate and chance. – Arabic Proverbs

It’s better to be a free dog than a caged lion. – Arabic Proverbs

It’s better to have a thousand enemies outside of the tent than one inside the tent. – Arabic Proverbs

Judge a man by the reputation of his enemies. – Arabic Proverbs

Judge not of a ship as she lies on the stocks. – Arabic Proverbs

Keep away from trouble and sing to it. – Syria Proverbs

Keeping a secret is a commitment. – Arabic Proverbs

Kiss the hand of your enemy if you cannot chop it off: Envy has no rest. – Arabic Proverbs

Know each other as if your were brothers; negotiate deals as if you were strangers to each other. – Arabic Proverbs

Knowledge acquired as a child is more lasting than an engraving on stone. – Arabic Proverbs

Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it. – Arabic Proverbs

Lack of intelligence is the greatest poverty. – Arabic Proverbs

Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone. – Arabic Proverbs

Leading by example is better than commandments. – Arabic Proverbs

Lending nourishes bad feeling. – Arabic Proverbs

Let the sword decide only after the plan has failed. – Arabic Proverbs

Lies are accepted once, not twice. – Arabic Proverbs

Lies are the plague of speech. – Arabic Proverbs

Life, like a fire, begins in smoke and ends in ashes. – Arabic Proverbs

Light your lamp first at home and afterwards at the mosque. – Arabic Proverbs

Live near water, and ask not about sustenance. – Oman Proverbs

Live together like brothers and do business like strangers. – Arabic Proverbs

Look and keep silent, and if you are eating meat, tell the world it’s fish. – Arabic Proverbs

Love lasts as long as does the reproach. – Arabic Proverbs

Love makes a man both blind and deaf. – Arabic Proverbs

Love overlooks defects; hatred magnifies them. – Lebanese Proverbs

Love sees clearly, hate even more so, but jealousy sees the most clear, because it is equal to love plus hate. – Arabic Proverbs

Lower your voice and strengthen your argument. – Lebanese Proverbs

Lying and stealing are next door neighbors. – Arabic Proverbs

Lying is a disease, and truth is a cure. – Arabic Proverbs

Make do with bread and butter until God can bring you jam. – Arabic Proverbs

Make your bargain before beginning to plow. – Arabic Proverbs

Man is like a palm on the beach; moving with the wind of life. – Arabic Proverbs

Man was created in a hurry. – Arabic Proverbs

Mankind is made out of forgetfulness. – Arabic Proverbs

Many are the roads that do not lead to the heart. – Arabic Proverbs

Many wars have been caused by a single word. – Arabic Proverbs

Marriage is like a besieged castle; those who are on the outside wish to get in; and those who are on the inside wish to get out. – Arabic Proverbs

Meaningless laughter is a sign of ill-breeding. – Arabic Proverbs

Measure your guilt, then stretch your legs. – Arabic Proverbs

Meat and mass never hindered man. – Arabic Proverbs

Meeting death is better than escaping from it. – Arabic Proverbs

Men fear, but time fears the pyramids. – Arabic Proverbs

Men laugh with their heart, women only with their mouth. – Arabic Proverbs

Men learn little from success, but much from failure. – Arabic Proverbs

Men must sew up tears with gentleness. – Arabic Proverbs

Misfortune is easier to bear if you share it with many others. – Arabic Proverbs

Mistrust before you trust. – Arabic Proverbs

Money can build roads in the sea. – Arabic Proverbs

More than one war has been caused by a single word. – Arabic Proverbs

Most people forget everything except being ungrateful. – Arabic Proverbs

Mustaches hide the imperfections of the mouth. – Arabic Proverbs

My debtor is a worse payer even than I am. – Arabic Proverbs

My family is my strength and my weakness. – Arabic Proverbs

Never celebrate someone’s leaving, until you know who will succeed him. – Arabic Proverbs

Never give advice in a crowd. – Arabic Proverbs

Never sit in the place of a man who can say to you, Never sit in the place of a man who can say to you, “Rise.”. – Arabic Proverbs

Never speak ill of the dead. – Arabic Proverbs

Never tell your friends what your enemy may not hear. – Arabic Proverbs

Never trust a fool with a sword. – Arabic Proverbs

No crowd ever waited at the gates of patience. – Arabic Proverbs

No cure, no pay. – Arabic Proverbs

No good can come of one who has never kept a friendship. – Arabic Proverbs

No man is a good physician who has never been sick. – Arabic Proverbs

Nobody is perfect. – Palestine Proverbs

None but a mule denies his family. – Arabic Proverbs

Not to use trickery is also trickery. – Arabic Proverbs

Nothing but a handful of dust will fill the eyes of man. – Arabic Proverbs

Obedience to a woman leads to hell. – Arabic Proverbs

Older than you by a day, wiser than you by a year. – Arabic Proverbs

On the day of victory no one is tired. – Arabic Proverbs

On the first of March, the crows begin to search. – Arabic Proverbs

Once you have decided to hit someone, then hit them hard because the retribution will be the same whether you hit hard or not. – Arabic Proverbs

Once you have found your rhythm, you will then know your God. – Arabic Proverbs

One coin in the money box makes more noise than when it is full. – Arabic Proverbs

One day in perfect health is a lot. – Arabic Proverbs

One hand cannot applaud. – Arabic Proverbs

One hand for oneself and one for the ship. – Arabic Proverbs

One is not born a warrior, you become one. – Arabic Proverbs

Only a mother can understand the suffering of a son. – Arabic Proverbs

Only death itself can end our hope. – Arabic Proverbs

Only he who understands is really sad. – Arabic Proverbs

Only the tent pitched by your own hands will stand. – Arabic Proverbs

Only three things in life are certain birth, death and change. – Arabic Proverbs

Oppose your affection to find rationality. – Arabic Proverbs

Pardon is the choicest flower of victory. – Arabic Proverbs

Patience is beautiful. – Arabic Proverbs

Peace is only possible after war. – Arabic Proverbs

Play alone and you’re bound to win. – Arabic Proverbs

Proverbs are the lamp of speech. – Arabic Proverbs

Put things into their places, and they will put you into your place. – Arabic Proverbs

Rather a slip of the foot than a slip of the pen. – Arabic Proverbs

Rather the cruelty of the Turks than the justice of the Bedouins. – Arabic Proverbs

Reproaches are the soap of the heart. – Arabic Proverbs

Righteousness is half of religion. – Arabic Proverbs

Salt will never be worm-eaten. – Arabic Proverbs

Search knowledge though it be in China. – Arabic Proverbs

Seek counsel of him who makes you weep, and not of him who makes you laugh. – Arabic Proverbs

Setting the conditions before you make an agreement is better than having an argument in the middle of the work. – Yemen Proverbs

Seven days king, seven days minister, slave for the rest of your life. – Arabic Proverbs

Seven trades but no luck. – Arabic Proverbs

Shall the gosling teach the goose to swim?. – Arabic Proverbs

Shallow waters mak’ maist din. – Arabic Proverbs

Show no fear to the man who picks up a big stone. – Arabic Proverbs

Silence is a brother of delight. – Arabic Proverbs

Silence is a cure for grief. – Arabic Proverbs

Silence is the best answer to the stupid. – Arabic Proverbs

Silence is the interpreter of happiness. – Arabic Proverbs

Silence is the sign of approval. – Arabic Proverbs

Sinning is the best part of repentance. – Arabic Proverbs

Sins of omission are seldom fun. – Arabic Proverbs

Arabic Proverbs

So long as I can keep a secret it is my prisoner. If I let it slip then I am its prisoner. – Arabic Proverbs

So long as the pot is boiling, friendship will stay warm. – Arabic Proverbs

Some men build a wine cellar after only finding one grape. – Lebanese Proverbs

Sometimes even the intestine and the stomach disagree. – Arabic Proverbs

Sometimes you need to sacrifice your beard in order to save your head. – Iraqi Proverbs

Spirit is the sword and experience the sharpening stone. – Arabic Proverbs

Spurs that are too sharp make even the mule rear. – Arabic Proverbs

Start seeking knowledge from the cradle up to the grave. – Arabic Proverbs

Sunshine all the time makes a desert. – Arabic Proverbs

Take wisdom from the wise – not everyone who rides a horse is a jockey. – Arabic Proverb

Talent without skill is like a desert without an oasis. – Arabic Proverbs

The angry hammer works off his fury on the steel. – Arabic Proverbs

The ass went seeking for horns and lost his ears. – Arabic Proverbs

The awakening of a giant shakes the world. – Arabic Proverbs

The barber learns to shave on the orphan’s face. – Arabic Proverbs

The benefits you get become the debts you owe to others. – Arabic Proverbs

The best act of generosity is that which is quickly done. – Arabic Proverbs

The best gift comes from the heart. – Arabic Proverbs

The best part of repentance is a little sinning. – Arabic Proverbs

The chameleon does not leave one tree until he is sure of another. – Arabic Proverbs

The corn will bend but it still ends up in the mill. – Arabic Proverbs

The cure for bad times is patience. – Arabic Proverbs

The dawn does not come twice to awaken a man. – Arabic Proverbs

The devil tempts all men, but idle men tempt the devil. – Arabic Proverbs

The different sorts of madness are innumerable. – Arabic Proverbs

The difficult is done at once, the impossible takes a little longer. – Arabic Proverbs

The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on. – Arabic Proverbs

The doorstep weeps for forty days whenever a girl is born. – Arabic Proverbs

The dreams of a cat are full of mice. – Arabic Proverbs

The dry reed does not seek the company of fire. – Arabic Proverbs

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. – Arabic Proverbs

The English are a nation of shopkeepers. – Arabic Proverbs

The envious person is the least happy. – Arabic Proverbs

The excess of one is the shortage of another. – Arabic Proverbs

The eyes are of little use if the mind be blind. – Arabic Proverbs

The fire is winter’s fruit. – Arabic Proverbs

The first will get the credit, even if the second is better. – Arabic Proverbs

The fool has his answer on the tip of his tongue. – Arabic Proverbs

The fruit of silence is tranquility. – Arabic Proverbs

The fruit of timidity is neither gain nor loss. – Arabic Proverbs

The frying-pan says to the kettle, “Avaunt, black brows!” – Arabic Proverbs

The garlic complained to the onion, “You stink!” – Arabic Proverbs

The grave is our mother. – Arabic Proverbs

The greatest tranquility is when we desire nothing. – Arabic Proverbs

The hand of God is with the group. – Arabic Proverbs

The hasty and the tardy meet at the ferry. – Arabic Proverbs

The hasty angler loses the fish. – Arabic Proverbs

The hasty hand catches frogs for fish. – Arabic Proverbs

The house of danger is built upon the borders of safety. – Arabic Proverbs

The ideal phrase is that which is short and to the point. – Arabic Proverbs

The ink of a scholar is worth as much as the martyr’s blood. – Arabic Proverbs

The key to everything is determination. – Arabic Proverbs

The knife of the family does not cut. – Arabic Proverbs

The liar’s mother is a virgin. – Arabic Proverbs

The lion said: I am the best one to take care of my business. – Arabic Proverbs

The man with no patience waits for daylight, and when it comes he’ll be blind. – Arabic Proverbs

The men are the wool of the tribe, but the women are the ones who weave the pattern. – Arabic Proverbs

The mind is for seeing, the heart is for hearing. – Arabic Proverbs

The monkey looks into the mirror and sees a gazelle. – Arabic Proverbs

The most useful holy war is the one fought against your own passions. – Arabic Proverbs

The mother of someone who is killed can sleep; the mother of the murderer cannot. – Arabic Proverbs

The mouth of a canon is less dangerous than that of a scandalmonger. – Arabic Proverbs

The nail supports the hoof, the hoof the horse, the horse the man, the man the world. – Arabic Proverbs

The one who should be forgiven, is the one who’s able to punish. – Arabic Proverbs

The one-eyed person is a beauty in the country of the blind. – Arabic Proverbs

The person who deals in camels should make the doors high. – Syria Proverbs

The person who knew you when you were young will seldom respect you as an adult. – Lebanese Proverbs

The person who predicts the future is lying, even when he is right. – Arabic Proverbs

Arabic Proverbs

The poor always smell. – Arabic Proverbs

The rope of a lie is short. – Arabic Proverbs

The sinning is the best part of repentance. – Arabic Proverbs

The slave must be content with the joys of his master. – Arabic Proverbs

The soul of a fool is always dancing on the tip of his tongue. – Arabic Proverbs

The soul will only be at rest when it stops hoping. – Arabic Proverbs

The strength of the heart comes from the soundness of the faith. – Arabic Proverbs

The tongue of experience utters the most truth. – Arabic Proverbs

The tree of silence bears the fruits of peace. – Arabic Proverbs

The whisper of a pretty girl can be heard further off than the roar of a lion. – Arabic Proverbs

The word of the king is the king of words. – Arabic Proverbs

The words of the elderly are as sweet as honey, but if you do not listen they become as sour as bile. – Arabic Proverbs

The words of tongue should have three gate keepers. – Arabic Proverbs

The world is like carrion; those who love and eat from it are dogs. – Arabic Proverbs

The worst things in life are: To be in bed and sleep not, To want for one who comes not, To try to please and please not. – Arabic Proverbs

The wound of words is worse than the wound of swords. – Arabic Proverbs

The wound that bleedeth inwardly is the most dangerous. – Arabic Proverbs

The wrath of brothers is fierce and devilish. – Arabic Proverbs

The young goose is a good swimmer. – Arabic Proverbs

There are five ways in which to become wise: be silent, listen, remember, grow older and study. – Arabic Proverbs

There are four things Allah cannot do: lie, deny himself, die or look favorably on sin. – Arabic Proverbs

There are some words that look like salted jam. – Arabic Proverbs

There are two kinds of men: those who could be happy and are not, and those who search for happiness and find it not. – Arabic Proverbs

There has to be a first time for everything – even our most natural habits. – Arabic Proverbs

There is no fire without smoke. – Arabic Proverbs

There is no greater misfortune than your own. – Arabic Proverbs

They have sowed the seed of the word They have sowed the seed of the word “tomorrow” and it has not germinated. – Arabic Proverbs

They planted so we ate, and we plant so they would eat. – Arabic Proverbs

Think of the going out before you enter. – Arabic Proverbs

Those who argue with each other on the highway will often make up in the lane. – Arabic Proverbs

Those who foretell the future lies, even if he tells the truth. – Arabic Proverbs

Throw a lucky man into the sea, and he will come up with a fish in his mouth. – Arabic Proverb

Throw a resourceful person into a river, and he will probably come out with a fish in his hand. – Arabic Proverbs

Throw dirt enough, and some will stick. – Arabic Proverbs

Throw him into the river and he will come up with a fish in his mouth. – Arabic Proverbs

Time is like a sword. If you do not cut it, it will cut you. – Arabic Proverbs

Time is made of gold. – Arabic Proverbs

Time is the master of him who has no master. – Arabic Proverbs

To the pure, all things are pure. – Arabic Proverb

To threaten the brave with death is like promising water to a duck. – Arabic Proverbs

To you your religion and to me my religion. – Arabic Proverbs

Trees often transplanted never prosper. – Arabic Proverbs

Trust God, but tie up your camel. – Arabic Proverbs

Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel. – Arabic Proverbs

Trust makes way for treachery. – Arabic Proverbs

Two scorpions living in the same hole will get along better than two sisters in the same house. – Arabic Proverbs

Two weaklings conquered the fort. – Arabic Proverbs

Unfortunate is the man who has no fingernails to scratch his head with. – Arabic Proverbs

Unity is power. – Arabic Proverbs

Unwrapping a gift wraps up enmity. – Arabic Proverbs

Visit infrequently, and you will get closer. – Arabic Proverbs

Visit rarely, and you will be more loved. – Arabic Proverbs

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. – Arabic Proverbs

Walls are the notebooks of fools. – Arabic Proverbs

War is a disaster for winner and loser alike. – Arabic Proverbs

What is learned in youth is carved in stone. – Arabic Proverbs

What is learnt in the cradle lasts to the grave. – Arabic Proverbs

What the wolf mourns is food for the fox. – Arabic Proverbs

What wise men suppose is worth more than the certainties of fools. – Arabic Proverbs

When a door opens not to your knock, consider your reputation. – Arabic Proverbs

When a rich man wants children, he gets dollars, when a poor man wants dollars, he gets children. – Arabic Proverbs

When danger approaches, sing to it. – Arabic Proverbs

When God shuts one door, He opens another. – Arabic Proverbs

When God wishes a man well, He gives him insight into his faults. – Arabic Proverbs

When the judge’s mule dies, everyone goes to the funeral; when the judge himself dies, no one does. – Arabic Proverbs

When what you want doesn’t happen, learn to want what does. – Arabic Proverbs

When you die, your sister’s tears will dry as time goes on, your widow’s tears will end in another’s arms, but your mother will mourn you until the day she dies. – Arabic Proverbs

When you have spoken the word, it reigns over you. When it is unspoken you reign over it. – Arabic Proverbs

When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you’d like them to be. – Arabic Proverbs

When you return from a trip, bring back something for your family—even if it is only a stone. – Lebanese Proverbs

When you shoot an arrow of truth, dip its point in honey. – Arabic Proverbs

When your enemies attack, bathe in their blood. – Arabic Proverbs

Where there are poor, there are rich. But where there is justice, they are all brothers. – Arabic Proverbs

Where there is a will there is a way. Where there is no will there is an excuse. – Arabic Proverbs

Who does not choose dies of hunger. – Arabic Proverbs

Who does not go with you, go with him. – Arabic Proverbs

Whoever knew you when you were small will not respect you when you’re big. – Arabic Proverbs

Whoever lives within himself is burning with love. – Arabic Proverbs

Wisdom consists of ten parts – nine parts of silence and one part with few words. – Arabic Proverbs

Wishing does not make a poor man rich. – Arabic Proverbs

Wit is folly unless a wise man hath the keeping of it. – Arabic Proverbs

Without the companionship even paradise would be boring. – Arabic Proverbs

Words from the heart reach the heart, words from the mouth reach the ear. – Arabic Proverbs

Words of wisdom comes out of simple people mouths. – Arabic Proverbs

Wrath begins in madness and ends in repentance. – Arabic Proverbs

Write the bad things that are done to you in sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble. – Arabic Proverbs

You are like a tree, giving your shade to the outside. – Arabic Proverbs

You can always find good elements in the misfortune that strikes you. – Arabic Proverbs

You can’t clap with one hand. – Arabic Proverbs

You cannot carry two watermelons in one hand. – Arabic Proverbs

You know a man by the sweat of his brow and the strength of his word. – Arabic Proverbs

You may forget with whom you laughed, but you will never forget with whom you wept. – Arabic Proverbs

You only own that which you have earned. – Arabic Proverbs

You will discover your true friends in moments of crisis. – Iraqi Proverbs

You will get no nourishment from the flesh of a woman. – Arabic Proverbs

You won’t gain knowledge by drinking ink. – Arabic Proverbs

Your friend will swallow your mistakes, your enemy will present them on a plate. – Arabic Proverbs

Your tongue is like a horse – if you take care of it, it takes care of you; if you treat it badly, it treats you badly. – Arabic Proverbs

Youths are like waves of the sea, the elderly have strength instead of tide. – Arabic Proverbs

Arabic Proverbs

1. أباد الله خضراءهم ابذل لصديقك دمك ومالك
“Give your friends your money and your blood, but don’t justify yourself. Your enemies won’t believe it and your friends won’t need it.” This saying is about altruism, and how you should never explain why you’re doing good to anyone, because the explanation is not needed.

2. اتَّكَلْنا منه على خُصٍّ الاتحاد قوة
“Unity is power.”

3. اتق شر الحليم اذا غضب
“Beware the levelheaded person if they’re angry.” Levelheaded people are usually calm and collected, and don’t anger easily. This saying refers to the fact that if something set off a levelheaded person, you should be more worried!

4. اجتنب مصاحبة الكذاب فإن اضطررت إليه فلا تُصَدِّقْهُ
“Avoid the company of liars, but if you can’t, don’t believe them.” This one is pretty straightforward, isn’t it?

5. احذر عدوك مرة وصديقك ألف مرة فإن انقلب الصديق فهو أعلم بالمضرة
“Be wary around your enemy once, and your friend a thousand times. A double crossing friend knows more about what harms you.”

6. أحضر الناس جوابا من لم يغضب
“The best answer will come from the person who is not angry.”

7. اختر أهون الشرين
“Go with the lesser of two evils.”

8. إذا تم العقل نقص الكلام
“The smarter you are, the less you speak.”

9. إذا قصرت يدك عن المكافأة فليصل لسانك بالشكر
“If you’re unable to reward, then make sure to thank.”

10. أرسل حكيما ولا توصه
“Send a wise man; don’t advise him.”

11. أرى كل إنسان يرى عيب غيره ويعمى عن العيب الذي هو فيه
“Everyone is critical of the flaws of others, but blind to their own.”

12. أشد الفاقة عدم العقل
“Lack of intelligence is the greatest poverty.”

13. إصلاح الموجود خير من انتظار المفقود
“It’s better to fix what you have than wait to get what you don’t have.”

14. اصبر تنل
“Be patient and you’ll get what you want.”

15. الأفعال أبلغ من الأقوال
“Actions speak louder than words.”

16. أقل الناس سروراً الحسود
“An envious person is the unhappiest.”

17. الصحة تاج على رؤوس الأصحاء لا يراه إلا المرضى
“Good health is a crown worn by the healthy than only the ill can see.”

18. إن مع اليوم غدا يا مسعدة
“There’s always tomorrow.”

19. أول الشجرة بذرة
“A tree begins with a seed.”

20. أول الغضب جنون وآخره ندم
“Anger begins with madness, but ends in regret.”

21. الرأي قبل شجاعة الشجعان
“Opinion comes before the bravery of the braves.”

22. ربما أراد الأحمق نفعك فضرك
“The stupid might want to help you, but they just ended up hurting you.”

22. جزاء سنمار جزاء مُجيرِ أُمِّ عامِرٍ الجزاء من جنس العمل
“You reap what you sow.”

24. جنت على نفسها براقش الجهل شر الأصحاب
“Ignorance is the most terrible acquaintance.”

25. البياض نصف الحسن بيت الظالم خراب
“The house of a tyrant is a ruin.”

26. بيت المحسن عمار
“If you are charitable, you are rich.”

27. البعد جفاء
“Distance equals disaffection.”

28. باب النجار مخَلَّع
“The carpenter’s door is loose.” This might refer to the idea that people who make a profession or a habit of one thing might not have the time to even use that skill in their own life. They take care of everyone except for themselves.

29. بالأرض ولدتك أمك بالتأني تُدْرَكُ الفُرَصُ
“With care do you realize your opportunities.”

30. البخيل عظيم الرواق صغير الأخلاق
“The stingy have large porches and little morality.”

31. الباب الذي يأتيك بالريح سده واسترح
“Close the door that brings in the wind and relax.” This means that sometimes, rather than taking a beating, you should just shut off the source of the noise, distraction, problem – that is, if you can – and take a break.

32. التجربة العلم الكبير
“Experimentation is the greatest science.”-

33.  أول الشجرة بذرة
“A tree begins with a seed.”

34. أكرم نفسك عن كل دنيء
“Make distance between you and every dirtiness.”

35. إن غدا لناظره قريب
“Tomorrow is close if you have patience,” or, “Tomorrow is another day.”

36. أقلل طعامك تجد منامك
“Eat less to sleep more.”

37. أقسى من الحجر
“Tougher than a stone.”

38. آفة العِلْم النسيان
“Forgetting is the plague of knowledge.”

39. اعف عما أغضبك لما أرضاك أَعقَلُ الناس أَعْذَرُهُمْ للناس
“The wisest is the one who can forgive.”

40. أصنع من دود القز
“More skillful than a silk worm.”

41. إن مفاتيح الأمور العزائم
“Determination is the key to everything.”

42. إنك تضرب في حديد بارد
“You are striking cold iron.” This means you’re trying to change something that you can’t.

43. في العجلة الندامة و في التاني السلامة
“In haste there is regret, but in patience and care there is peace and safety.” This means you shouldn’t rush things, because if you rush something you’ll end up doing a poor job and regretting the results. If you take your time, you’re ensuring a good end result and can feel peace in knowing that.

44. الأيام دول
“Days are like countries.” This means that a country might be great today, but not tomorrow. This applies to people as well.

45. إياك وصاحب السوء فإنه يحسن منظره ويقبح أثره إياك وما يعتذر منه
“Avoid things that will require an apology.” This means if you want to do something that you know you’ll have to apologize for, you should probably just not do it!

46. كأن الحاسد إنما خلق ليغتاظ
“The envious were created just to be infuriated.” This means that there’s no end result to envy other than fury. If you’re feeling envious, you’re only leading yourself down a path to anger.

47. لا تأكل خبزك على مائدة غيرك
“Do not eat your bread on somebody else’s table.” This means that you shouldn’t benefit off of someone else’s expense; as in, you shouldn’t dirty someone else’s table if you’re just going to be eating your bread.

48. لا بد دون الشهد من إبر النحل لا بد للمصدور من أن ينفث لا تؤجل عمل اليوم إلى الغد
“Do not delay today’s work for tomorrow.” Don’t procrastinate!

49. الضامن غارم الضحك بلا سبب من قلة الأدب
“Laughing without a reason is rude.”

50. سماعك بالْمُعَيْدِيِّ خير من أن تراه سمك في ماء
“Like a fish in water.” Another way to say that someone is a natural.

51. الثروة تأتي كالسلحفاة وتذهب كالغزال
“Wealth comes like a turtle, and runs away like a gazelle.” This means it can take ages for you to find wealth, but spending it all is far too easy – it can disappear before you know it!

52. تجوع الحرة ولا تأكل بثدييها التخطيط نصف المعيشة
“Planning is half of living.”

53. التدبير يثمر اليسير والتبذير يبدد الكثير ترك الذنب أيسر من الاعتذار
“It’s better to avoid mistakes altogether than do something that you should apologize for after.”

54. تجري الرياح بما لا تشتهي السفن
“Winds blow counter to what the ship wants.” You don’t always get everything your way.

55. التجارب ليست لها نهاية والمرء منها في زيادة
“There is always something to learn from experimentation.”

56. تعاشروا كالإخوان وتعاملوا كالأغراب
“Get together like brothers, but work together like strangers.”

57. حبل الكذب قصير
“The rope of lies is short.” There is only so much leeway you have when you lie. Once that very short rope runs out, you’ll have to face the consequences.

58. جولة الباطل ساعة وجولة الحق إلى قيام الساعة
“Falseness lasts an hour, the truth lasts until the end of time.”

59. التكرار يعلّم الحمار
Repetition teaches the donkey.” Practice makes perfect.

60. القرد في عين أمه غزال
The monkey is as beautiful as a gazelle in his mother’s eyes.” When you love someone, you will always see them perfect.

61. للي يتلسع من الشوربة ينفخ في الزبادي
He who burns his tongue from soup will blow in yogurt.” If you had a bad experience once, you will be extra cautious next time.

62. لبس البوصة، تبقى عروسة
Dressing up a stick turns it into a doll.” Anyone can look good with the right clothes.

63. ابن الوزّ عوّام
The son of a goose is a swimmer.” Like father, like son.

64. نقول طور يقولو احلبوه
We say it’s a bull, they say milk it.” When you talk to someone who can’t understand you and can’t see your logic.

65. دخول الحمّام مش زي خروجه
Entering a bathroom isn’t like leaving it.” It’s not easy getting out of tricky situations.

66. حاجة تحرق الدم
” Something that burns the blood.” Used to express something that is really frustrating or someone who is being very difficult.

67. اذا كان حبيبك عسل، ماتلحسوش كله
If your lover is honey, don’t lick it all.
Don’t take advantage of someone who loves you or someone who is being nice to you.

68. ديل الكلب عمره مايتعدل
The dog’s tail will never be straight.” A leopard doesn’t change its spots.

69. العقل زينة
The mind is decoration.” Your mind is what makes you beautiful.

70. الكذب ملوش رجلين
Lying has no legs.” The truth always comes out.

71. يصوم يصوم و يفطر على بصلة
He fasts and fasts and then feasts on an onion.” Used to express disappointment in something that was expected to be great.

72. تموت الراقصة ووسطها بيلعب
The dancer dies and her waist is still moving.” Old habits never die or some people will never change

73. مافيش حلاوة من غير نار
There is no sweetness without fire.” Nothing good comes easy.

74. الباب اليجيلك منو الريح سدو وستريح
Close the door that brings the wind and relax.” Block whatever is causing you stress in your life and don’t deal with it.

75. وشك نحس
Your face is jinx.” When someone brings bad fortune to you every time you see them. 

76. التكرار يعلّم الحمار
“Repetition teaches the donkey.” Practice makes perfect.

77. القرد في عين أمه غزال
“The monkey is a gazelle in its mother’s eyes.” Mothers always see the best in their children. Mother knows best

78. دخول الحمام مش زي خروجه
“Going into the bathroom is not like leaving it.” Getting into tricky situations is easier than getting out of them.

79. علمناهم الشحاته سبقونا على البواب
“We taught them how to beg, they beat us to the doors.” When the student becomes the master.

80. تیتي تیتي زي ما رحتي جیتي
“Ti ti ti ti, you came just as you left.” You wasted your time.

81. في الهوا سوا
“We are in the wind together.” We’re all in the same boat.

82. اللي استحوا ماتوا
“Those who are shy are dead.”  No morals.

83. في الوجه مراية وفي القفا صرماية
“Mirror in the face, a shoe in the back.” Double-faced.

84. على قد بساطك مد رجليك
“You can only lay your feet within the length of your carpet.” Live within your capabilities.

85. اعمل منيح وارميه فى البحر
“Do good and throw in the sea.” Do good without expecting anything in return.

86. الف دقدق ولا سلام عليك 
“A thousand raps at the door, but no salute or invitation from within.”
This is said of a person’s fruitless endeavours to become intimate with another.

87. الف قفا ولا قفاي 
“(Let them strike or slap) a thousand necks, but not mine.”
Among the Arabs it is usual to strike the neck (US) and not the ears. A blow on the neck is considered a much greater affront than a slap on the face. Not only the neck, but a blow struck upon the neck, is expressed in the Egyptian dialect by qafan. Thus ” I struck him a blow on his neck” (ضربته قفا Darabtuhu qafan) is exactly equivalent in its meaning to the English phrase, ” I boxed his ears.”

88. الف كركي في الجو ما تعوض عصفور في الكف 
“A thousand cranes in the air are not worth one sparrow in the fist.”
The crane (كركيkurkii) is a bird common in the Delta, particularly about the Lake of Menzaleh.كف (kaff) properly signifies the “hand” or “palm” of the hand, but in Egypt is generally used for the ” fist.”

80. اذا كان القمر معك لا تبالي بالنجوم 
“If the moon be with thee, thou needest not to care about the stars.” 

90. اذا كان معك نحس لا تسيبه يجيك انحس منه 
“If a worthless fellow be with thee do not let him go, or else one worse will come to thee.”
The general meaning is, that we should bear present ills rather than, by endeavouring to remove tاem, expose ourselves to greater. This saying is often quoted with respect to servants, whose dishonesty and insolence are subjects of universal complaint throughout Egypt. The word يسيب (yasiib) in common acceptation signifies “to leave a thing, to let it go out of one’s hands.” The wordنحس (naHs) is used in Egypt to express a low, disorderly, unprincipled character—a base, worthless fellow.

91. اذا كانت العمايم تشتكي الفسة ايش يكون حال اللأابسة 
“If the turbans complain of a slight wind, what must be the state of the inner drawers?”
This proverb is quoted when the citizens of Cairo murmur at oppression, the peasants having much greater reason for being discontented.الفسة (al-fasa) flatus, ايش (eesh) in the Egyptian dialect used forأي شيء(ay shai’), أابسة (albasa) plural of لباس(libaas), drawers worn under the great trowsers.

92. اذا كان زوجي راضي ايش فضول القاضي 
“If my husband consent, why should the Qadi’s [judge] interference be necessary?”
This means in general that when two parties who have contended agree to be reconciled, the arbitration of a third person is not requisite. But the saying more particularly alludes to divorces, which in many cases are determined by the Qadi.فضول (faDuul) in the Egyptian dialect, signifies—the meddling, officious interference of a third person.

93. اذا نسيت الحمد تصلي بايش 
“If thou forgettest to say “Praise be to God,” in what other words wilt thou pray?”
This is addressed to persons who neglect the principal object or part of their business, and execute only that which is the least important. الحمد (al-Hamdu) means the expression الحمد لله(al-Hamdu li-lah), which commences the Fateha, or first chapter of the Koran, and should be recited in every prayer.بايش (bi-eesh) in the Egyptian dialect forباي شيء (bi ay shaii’). The Egyptians always put this after the verb in interrogations, asتصلي بايش(taSalli bi-eesh) —whilst the Syrians invariably place it before, and sayتصلي بايش .

94. اذا كرهك جارك غير باب دارك 
“If thy neighbour dislike thee, change the gate of thy house.”
The intimacy with neighbours is much greater in the East than in Europe; and the repose of a family often depends upon the harmony subsisting between it and those who occupy the adjoining house.

95. اذا حلق جارك بل انت 
“If thy neighbour shaves (somebody), do thou soak (the head of the person whom he shaves).”
Always endeavour to act agreeably to the wishes of thy neighbour. يبل (yabull) to wet, meaning here to wet the head with a lather of soap before the application of a razor.

96. اذا اراد ربنا هلاك نملة انبت لها اجنحة
“If God proposes the destruction of an ant he allows wings to grow upon her.”
The sudden elevation of persons to stations above their means or capacities, may often cause their ruin.

97. اذا رايت اعور عبر اقلب حجر
“If thou seest a one-eyed person pass by, turn up a stone.”
The people of Cairo turn up a stone or break a water-jar behind the back of any person whom they dislike, just on his leaving them, hoping thereby to prevent his return; this is a kind of incantation. The term one-eyed here expresses a person disagree­able on any account. The Arabs regard a one-eyed man as of bad omen, and nobody wishes to meet him.

98. اذا رايت حيط مايل هرول من تحتها
“If thou seest a wall inclining, run from under it.”
Fly from him whose power is tottering, or whom dangers threaten. In the Egyptian dialect حيط is used forحائط.

99. اذا كثرت الالوان اعرف انها من بيوت الجيوان
If the dishes increase in number, it becomes known that they are from the houses of neighbours.”
In the East, neighbours frequently supply the wants of their friend’s kitchen on occasion of family feasts. This saying implies that when a person makes too expensive an entertainment, it is evident that he has borrowed from others. لون (lawn) in the plural means not only ” a colour,” but, among the Egyptians, a dish of dressed victuals.

100. اذا كترت النواتية غرقت الركب
“If the sailors become too numerous, the ship sinks.” كترت instead ofكثرتTheثis seldom pronounced in Egypt.

101. اذا حبتك حية اطوّق بها
“If a serpent love thee, wear him as a necklace.”
If dangerous people show affection towards thee, court their friendship by the most polite attention.

102. اذا انكسر الجمل حمّل حمل حمار
“If thy camel break down, put on an ass-load.”
Suit thy business to thy circumstances.

103. اذا بُليت بالشحاتة دق الابواب الكبار 
If mendacity [begging] should unfortunately be thy lot, knock at the large gates only.“
Ask assistance from those only who have the power of helping thee.

104. اذا كان البصل يُهلّل له فالسكر ايش نقول له
If an onion causes his loud rejoicings, what then shall we say to sugar?”
Said of people who bestow admiration upon trifling objects.

105. خبّ قرشك الأبيض ليومك الأسود
“Hide your white money for your black day.”
Save the bulk of your money – silver coins – for hard days, like the English expression to save money for a rainy day.

106.  الساقية الجارية ولا النهر المقطوع
“The flowing brook rather than the dry river.” – Lebanese proverb
A small but constant source of income is better than a large yet unreliable one.

107. أخفد صوتك وقوّي حجتك
“Lower your voice and strengthen your argument.” – Lebanese proverb
Your arguments are stronger if you don’t shout. It is similar to President Roosevelt’s saying “walk softly, and carry a big stick.”

108. مثل الاربعة بنص الجمعة 
“Like Wednesday in the middle of the week.” – Syrian proverb
Refers to someone who sits around when there is work to be done . I think it’s similar to the English idiom “like a bump on a log”. 

109. اللی بیشرب البحر ما بغض الساقية
“He who has drunk the sea does not choke on a brook. – Syrian proverb
Someone who has done a big thing will not fear a small thing.

110. ناس بيأكلوا جاج ناس بيقعوا بالسياج
“Some people eat chicken; others fall into the hedge ( while chasing chickens).” – Syrian proverb
Some people get the benefits; while others do all the work.

Arabic Proverbs

Egyptian Arabic Proverbs

1. اعمل منيح وارميه فى البحر
“Do good and throw in the sea.” Do good without expecting anything in return.

2. القرد في عين أمه غزال
“The monkey is a gazelle in the eyes of his mother.” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

3. أدعي على ولدي وأكره من يقول أمين
“I curse my own child but I hate whoever says ‘amen’.”
This proverb describes the feeling that I have the right to criticize someone close to me, but I will rush to that person’s defense if an outsider makes the same criticism.

4. آخرة المعروف الضرب بالكفوف
“The end result of a good deed is a slap with the palms.” No good deed goes unpunished.

5. اللي ايده في المية مش زي اللي ايده في النار
“The one whose hand is in fire is not like the one whose hand is in water.” Easier said than done.

6. لما اتفرّقت العقول كل واحد عجبه عقله، ولما اتفرّقت الأرزاق ماحدش عجبه رزقه
“Literal translation:When brains were passed out, everyone was pleased with his brains; but when fortunes were given out, no one was satisfied with his fortune.” People may be dissatisfied with their lot in life but nevertheless still believe that their way of thinking is the best.

7. اللي يتلسع من الشوربة ينفخ في الزبادي
“Whoever gets burned by soup, blows on yogurt.” Once bitten, twice shy.

8. إمشي في الجنازة، ولا تمشي في جوازة
“Walk in a funeral procession, not in a marriage.” Don’t play match-maker, i.e. don’t try to arrange a marriage because you will get blamed if it doesn’t work out.

9. الدنيا زي الغازية، ترقص لكل واحد شوية
“The world is like a belly-dancer: it dances a little while for everyone.” Every dog has its day.

10. اللي على راسه بطحة يحسّس عليها
“Whoever has a head-wound keeps feeling it.” A guilty person will give himself away. An (uncommon)  ‘The tongue ever turns to the aching tooth’.

11. أقول له تور يقول إحلبه
“I say to him, ‘It’s a bull’ and he responds ‘Milk it’.” This saying refers to a situation where someone goes on repeating the same argument over and over again, even though he has been contradicted repeatedly.

12. لولا اختلاف النظر، لبارت السلع
“Were it not for differences of opinion, goods would go unsold.” Different perspectives is what gives things value. Variety is the spice of life.

13. إذا كان حبيبك عسل ما تلحسوش كله
“Even if friend is honey, don’t lick them all up.” Don’t abuse the kindness of a friend.

14. كلّه عند العرب صابون
“For the Bedouin, it’s all soap.” People without taste can’t discern the quality of different things.

15. اللي ما يعرفش، يقول عدس
“He who doesn’t know, says ‘lentils’.” Those who don’t know the true story will just say anything as an explanation.

16. بعد ما شاب ودّوه الكتّاب
“After his hair went gray, they took him to school.” You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

17. صاحب بالين كدّاب وصاحب تلاتة منافق
“A person of two minds is a liar, and a person of three minds is a hypocrite.” A person who tries to do two things at once is fooling himself, and a person who tries to do three things at once is even more self-deceived. The closest English equivalent would be “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

18. الجنة بدون ناس ما تنداس
“A paradise without people is not worth stepping foot in.”

19. الحكي مش متل الشوفة
“Speaking is not like seeing.” A picture is worth a thousand words.

20. اللي بدو يلعب مع القط بدو يلقى خراميشه
“Whoever plays with a cat will find his claws.” If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned.

21. ابنك هو وزغير ربّيه وهو وكبير خاويه
“Discipline your son when he’s young, and be his friend when he grows up.”

22. احترنا يا قرعة من وين بدنا نبوسك
“Oh bald man, we’re confused about where to kiss you.” This proverb is applied to someone who’s hard to please, sort of like saying “There’s no pleasing you” in English. The strange assumption at the heart of this expression is that a bald person has more potentially kissable spots on his head, so there is no one obvious place to plant a kiss.

23. الإسكافي حافي والحايك عريان
“The shoemaker is barefoot and the weaver is naked.” People tend to neglect the things closest to them. Or alternatively, they fail to apply the advice and expertise they have for others to their own life. An English equivalent is “The shoemaker’s children always go barefoot.”

24. طب الجرة ع تمّا بتطلع البنت لإمّا
“Flip the jar on its mouth, and the daughter comes out like her mother.” Like mother, like daughter. The Egyptian version of this proverb goes: اقلب القدرة على فمها تطلع البنت لإمها

25. ما تقول فول ليصير بالمكيول
“Don’t says “beans” until they are on the measuring scale.” Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.

26. التلم الأعوج من التور الكبير
“The crooked furrow is caused by the big bull.” A fish rots from the head down.

27. الدم ما بيصير مي
“Blood does not become water.” Blood is thicker than water.

28. اللي بياكل العصي مش متل اللي بيعدّها
“Receiving (blows from) a stick is not the same as counting them.” Easier said than done.

29. كل ديك ع مزبلته صيّاح
“Every rooster crows on its own dunghill.” Everyone feels confident on their home turf.

30. الحركة بركة
“Movement is a blessing.” Action is better than inaction. In order to get things done, you need to act.

31. الديك بيموت وعينو بالمزبلة
“The rooster dies with his eye still on the dunghill.” Similar to the English proverb “A leopard can’t change its spots,” this proverb conveys the idea that no one can change their fundamental nature. It’s used especially in reference to negative qualities and behaviors.

32. البحصة بتسند خابية
“A pebble can support a barrel.” Even a small effort can go a long way.

  • Any wise enemy is better than an ignorant friend.
    • Quoted in Carol Bardenstein, Translation and Transformation in Modern Arabic Literature:The Indigenous Assertions of Muḥammad ‘Uthmān Jalāl, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005, p. 66.
  • The food of the lion (causes) indigestion to the wolf.
    • As quoted in Arabic Proverbs: Or, The Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians by John Lewis Burckhardt and William Ouseley (1830).
  • The remedy may be worse than the disease.
    • English equivalent: The remedy is often worse than the disease; Burn not your house to rid it of the mouse.
    • “Action taken to put something right is often more unpleasant or damaging than the original problem.”
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Atmaram Sadashiv, G. Jayakar (1900). Omani proverbs (Reimpresa ed.). Oleander Press. p. 69. ISBN 0906672120.
  • He with no ears gets the earrings !
    • Quoted in Bardenstein (2005), p. 66[specific citation needed]
  • When suitors came asking for her hand, she played hard-to-get, when they all left her, she regretted it.
    • Quoted in Bardenstein (2005), p. 66[specific citation needed]
  • حبل الكذب قصير
    • Translation: The rope of lying is short.
    • English equivalent: A lie has short legs.
    • “And, after all, what is a lie? ‘Tis but
      The truth in masquerade.”
    • Lord Byron, Don Juan (1818-24), Canto XI, Stanza 37
    • Katibah, Habib Ibrahim (1940). The new spirit in Arab lands. Published privately by the author. p. 121.
  • كل ساقط له لاقط
    • Translation: Every faller has a catcher.
    • “Nowhere in the Quran does it say punish homosexuals. And historians have also never found any case of the Prophet Muhammad dealing with homosexuality.”
    • Daayiee Abdullah, as quoted in First Gay ‘Imam’ in USA Says ‘Quran Doesn’t Call for Punishment of Homosexuals’ (22 May 2015), Morocco World News
    • حسن, دين، محمد علي (2011). الامثال الشعبية. دار المحجة البيضاء للطباعة والنشر والتوزيع،.
  • لا يفل الحديد إلا الحديد
    • Translation: Only iron strikes iron.
    • English equivalent: Fight fire with fire.
    • “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.”
    • Assata Shakur, Assata: In Her Own Words (1998)
    • al-Kitäb. 1946.
  • الوقت كالسيف إن لم تقطعه قطعك
    • Translation: Time is like a sword; if you don’t cut it it’ll cut you.
    • “The problem with the future is that it keeps turning into the present”
    • Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes (1985)
    • Manṣūr, ʻAbd al-Fattāḥ (1987). Mudhakkirāt kāìn maḥmūm.

Arabic Proverbs

Bedouin Proverbs

I give thee flight without wings. – Bedouin Proverbs

The lightly burdened shall be saved. – Bedouin Proverb

Truth may walk through the world unarmed. – Bedouin Proverb

He who shares my bread and salt is not my enemy. – Bedouin Proverb

The broth is cooking, and now we have to act as one. – Bedouin Proverb

As the camel falls to its knees, more knives are drawn. – Bedouin Proverbs

At the narrow passage, there is no brother and no friend. – Bedouin Proverbs

Knowledge is light – and all who contribute bring light to our world. – Bedouin Proverb

Keep women far away from song, because it is a summons to adultery. – Bedouin Proverb

When the shooting starts climb on your camel and head for the mountaintops. – Bedouin Proverb

My treasures do not chink or glitter. They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night. – Bedouin Proverb

My father rode a camel, I shall ride a pick-up and my son will drive a Cadillac; however my grandson will drive a donkey. – Bedouin Proverbs

When you sleep in a house your thoughts are as high as the ceiling, when you sleep outside they are as high as the stars. – Bedouin Proverbs

I against my brother, I and my brother against our cousin, I, my brother and our cousin against the neighbors, All of us against the foreigner. – Bedouin Proverb

  • الطول طول نخلة والعقل عقل سخلة
    • Translation: [He has] The length of a palm tree but the brain of a goat.
    • فوزية, دريع، (2008). الرجل الحيوان. منشورات الجمل،.
  • إلى كثروا الرعيان ضاعت الغنم
    • If the herders are a lot the sheep will get lost.
    • English equivalent: Too many cooks spoiled the broth.
    • “There may not be that natural connection and unity so essential to any production of merit.”
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order …. Munroe and Company. p. 173.
  • اللي مايعرف الصقر يشويه
    • Translation: He who doesn’t know the falcon roasts it
    • “No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be an enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.”
    • Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors “The Chance for Peace” (16 April 1953)
    • Nawfal, Yūsuf Ḥasan (1981). محمد عبد الحليم عبد الله: حياته وأدبه. عمادة شؤون المكتبات، جامعة الرياض،.
  • لا تقول بـُر ليـن توكيــه
    • Translation: Don’t say its wheat until you harvest it
    • English equivalent: Sell not the bear’s skin before you have caught him.
    • Meaning: “Do not plan too far ahead and do not be too optimistic. One cannot be sure of the success of a job until it is completed. Unforeseen unfavourable developments can never be excluded.”
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). “X”. European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 217. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
    • Riches have disclosed in thy ccharacter the bad qualities fformerly hhidden by thy poverty.
      • “You get freedom by letting your eenemy know that you’ll do anything to get your freedom; then you’ll get it. It’s the only way you’ll get it.”
    • Malcolm X, Advice to the Youth of Mississippi (1964)
    • Ouseley (1830). Arabic Proverbs: Or, The Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians. J. Murray. p. 163.

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