Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old Somali Proverbs, Somali quotes, and Somali sayings, collected over the years from a variety of sources. Enjoy reading these insights and feel free to share this page on your social media to inspire others.
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Somali (Af-Soomaali) is an Afroasiatic language belonging to the Cushitic branch. It is spoken as a mother tongue by Somalis in Greater Somalia and the Somali diaspora. Somali is an official language of Somalia and Somaliland, a national language in Djibouti, and a working language in the Somali Region of Ethiopia and also in North Eastern Kenya. It is used as an adoptive language by a few neighboring ethnic minority groups and individuals. The Somali language is written officially with the Latin alphabet.
Somali Proverbs in English
A brave man dies once, a coward a thousand times. – Somali Proverb
A brave man is scared of a lion three times: first when he sees the tracks; second when he hears the first roar; and third when they are face to face. – Somali Proverb
A brother is like one’s shoulder. – Somali Proverb
A camel can tolerate a heavy load, but not a crooked rope. – Somali Proverb
A cat in her house has the teeth of a lion. – Somali Proverb
A childless old lady is obsessed with sea shells. – Somali Proverb
A coward dies before the courageous dies. – Somali Proverb
A coward is full of precaution. – Somali Proverb
A deer is an elder to its family. – Somali Proverb
A dog which refuses a bone is not alive. – Somali Proverb
A good man may be controlled by his wife, while lesser man dominates his. – Somali Proverb
A madman does not lack wisdom. – Somali Proverb
A man one year elder to you is one cunning year elder to you. – Somali Proverb
A man prolonging his age sees a camel giving birth. – Somali Proverb
A man throws stones not words. – Somali Proverb
A man who has eaten something becomes shy. – Somali Proverb
A man with a sense of humor is never at a loss for words or action. – Somali Proverb
A married couple is neither enemies nor friends. – Somali Proverb
A person stands next to a shade not next to words. – Somali Proverb
A sinking persons grabs a straw. – Somali Proverb
A Somali is worth more than all the men on earth combined. – Somali Proverb
A thief is always under suspicion. – Somali Proverb
A thousand assignations, one marriage. – Somali Proverb
An escaped lie does not reach the truth. – Somali Proverb
An old wound will not go away. – Somali Proverb
Death and justice affect all men equally Where there is negotiation, there is hope for agreement. – Somali Proverb
Do not walk into a snake pit with your eyes open. – Somali Proverb
Dogs understand each other by their barking, and men by their words. – Somali Proverb
Don’t set out on a journey using someone else’s donkey. – Somali Proverb
Either be a mountain or lean on one. – Somali Proverb
Even the brave are scared by a lion three times: first by its tracks, again by its roar, and one last time face to face. – Somali Proverb
Every camel was once upon time two years old. – Somali Proverb
He is a fool who marries an old woman without teeth. – Somali Proverb
He who does not shave you does not cut you. – Somali Proverb
He who takes responsibility becomes the target of the people. – Somali Proverb
He, who does not seize opportunity today, will be unable to seize tomorrow’s opportunity. – Somali Proverb
If people come together, they can even mend a crack in the sky. – Somali Proverb
If you want to dismantle a hedge, remove one thorn bush at a time. – Somali Proverb
Ignorance is blindness. – Somali Proverb
In the ocean, one does not need to sow water. – Somali Proverb
Lend a false ear to false words. – Somali Proverb
Let what is on this side of the bank be washed out by the flood, and what is on that side of the bank be carried away by the wind. – Somali Proverb
Men for tea, women for talk. – Somali Proverb
Oh hyena, you cannot drag away hides without making a sound. – Somali Proverb
One cannot count on riches. – Somali Proverb
One doesn’t tell a man ‘go away’ but one shows him something so he will go. – Somali Proverb
One refusing a sibling’s advice breaks his arm. – Somali Proverb
One shares food not words. – Somali Proverb
One should rise to a person who sees you sitting. – Somali Proverb
Only water in your hands can satisfy your thirst. – Somali Proverb
Poverty is slavery. – Somali Proverb
Somalis don’t say a false proverb. – Somali Proverb
Sorrow is like rice in the store; if a basketful is removed everyday, it will come to an end at last. – Somali Proverb
The best bed that a man can sleep on is peace. – Somali Proverb
The bridge is repaired only after someone falls in the water. – Somali Proverb
The child you sired hasn’t sired you. – Somali Proverb
The ear cannot hold as much water as it does news. – Somali Proverb
The fowl digs out the blade that kills it. – Somali Proverb
The most dangerous thing a man needs is woman. – Somali Proverb
The person who does not listen to an elder’s advice gets his or her leg broken. – Somali Proverb
The stronger man will rule the house. – Somali Proverb
The teeth and the tongue are close neighbors, and yet they sometimes bite each other. – Somali Proverb
There is always a better man for every good man. – Somali Proverb
These youth taught their mother to give birth. – Somali Proverb
Think before you do. – Somali Proverb
To be without a friend is to be poor indeed. – Somali Proverb
To be without knowledge is to be without light. – Somali Proverb
To try and fail is not laziness. – Somali Proverb
Water and milk do not mix. – Somali Proverb
What you see is what you believe. – Somali Proverb
When a man sleeps, it is the same person when he wakes up. – Somali Proverb
When the snake is in the house, one need not discuss the matter at length. – Somali Proverb
Where I make a living, there is my home. – Somali Proverb
Where there is breast there can be no brain. – Somali Proverb
Where there is negotiation, there is hope for agreement. – Somali Proverb
Wisdom does not come overnight. – Somali Proverb
You don’t go searching for bones in a lion’s den. – Somali Proverb
You lend a false ear to false words. – Somali Proverb
You should discuss over a dog’s hide when it concerns your interest. – Somali Proverb
Your woman should be in the house or in the grave. – Somali Proverb
Somali to English
Aabe, kan yar iga celiyoo kan weyn igu sii daa. Oh Father, save me from the small one, the big one i shall manage myself.
Said when somebody is unable to solve a small problem, but thinks he can deal with a big one, or when somebody is trying to palm of on to someone else the solution of a problem he cannot solve himself. This goes back to a story about a boy who was often beaten up by other boys of his age. One day the boy and his father encountered one of his attackers, who had a bigger fellow with him. The victim, realizing that if it came to blows he would not be able to beat the boy of his own age, but that the big fellow would scarcely want to fight with him, pronounced these works, which became a proverb.
Aadane gef lagama waayo. “To err is human.”
Aaddane eed ma waayo: Human beings are never without a fault
Aammusnaan waa oggolaansho barkeed. “Silence gives consent.”
Abaal nin gala waa la arkay, nin gudase lama arag. Those who accept a favor are many (have been seen), but those who pay back are none (have not been seen).
Abeesadii lix jir kugu qaniintaa lixdan jir bay kugu dishaa. A snake-bite received at the age of six kills you at the age of sixty (i.e. evil lingers a long time).
Abkay dooli dilow, dad nool maas u dahaa?. My father has killed a mouse, will he fail to kill a man (people)?.
Said about a coward who pretends to be brave.
Adduunyo waa hooska labadiisa gelin: The world is like a shadow: in the morning it is turned towards one direction, in the evening towards the opposite one (i.e. it is changeable).
Af daboolan waa dahab. “Speech is silver, silence is gold.”
Af daboolan waa dehab. A closed mouth is gold.
Af jooga looma adeego. Do not speak (do not serve for ) a mouth that is present (i.e. one should not speak on behalf of a person who is present).
Af macaan garan macaan baa dhaanta: A sweet (i.e. generous) hand is better than a sweet (i.e. generous with promises) mouth.
Af qoyani hadal ma daayo: A living mouth does not give up talk
Af wax cunay, xishow. Oh mouth, you have eaten something, now keep quiet (i.e. do not object to he who has fed you).
Afkeennu waysu ammaan. “Between you and me.”
Afxumo nabadna waa kaa geysaa, colaadna wax kaagama tarto: Your nasty tongue will deprive you of peace, but will not help you in enmity.
Akhri sadarrada dhexdooda. “To read between the lines.”
Allow, nimaan wax ogayn ha cadaabin. Oh Allah, do not punish a man who sins through ignorance.
Ama afeef hore lahow, ama adkeysi dambe lahow. Either refuse (to do something) at once or put up with it later.
Ama leg ahay, ama lug ahay: Catch hold of a brisket or at least a leg (because even a bad thing is better than nothing).
Ama talo keen ahow, ama talo raac ahow. Either propose something yourself or agree to what is proposed by others.
Ama waa la muuqdaa, ama waa la maqnaada. Either be visible or be absent (.i.e. either do a job well or do not set about it at all).
Ammin dumay dib uma soo laabto. “Lost time is never found again.”
Aqooni waa awood. “Knowledge is power.”
Aqoonla’aani waa iftiin la’aan. “Learning is the eye of the mind.”
Aqoonla`aani waa iftiinla’aan. The absence of knowledge is the absence of light.
Aragtida qaanuunka. “The eyes of the law.”
Aroos lagama raago, lagumana raago. One should neither be late for the wedding nor stay too long at it.
Arrini madax la qabtay leedahaye mijo la qabto ma leh. A problem can be seized (only) by its head, one cannot seize it by its tail (ankle).
Arrinxumo abaar ka daran: A wrong (bad) decision is worse than a drought.
Awr awr wado iyo nin naagi waddo midna kaama baydho: You cannot evade the camel which is driven (in your direction) by another camel, nor the man who is driven (i.e. set on you) by a woman (i.e. a woman skillfully uses a man for pursuing her ends).
Awr hal waa loo tu’in karaa, ninse naag looma tu’in karo. “Love cannot be compelled.”
Awrba awrka ka horreeya ayuu saanqaadkiisa leeyahay. A camel (in caravan) follows the tracks of the leading camel.
Ayax teg, eelna reeb. The locust flew away but it left hardship.
Baadiyi nin aan lahayn bay ag joogtaa. Lost cattle (i.e. which are looked for by their owner) find themselves at the disposal of the man who does not need it (i.e. sometimes a thing belongs not to the man who cannot do without it, but to a man who does not need them).
Baahi badan, baryo badan, iyo bukaan badanba waa laysku nacaa: Both excessive neediness, too much begging and chronic ill-health can create undo resentment in others
Baahida, dadka waad ku barataa. “A Friend in need is a friend indeed.”
Bakayle intuu bur ku jiruu bur kale daydaydaa: The hare sits under one bush but looks out for another ( to which it might run if endangered).
Ballan darro waa diin darro. “A promise is a promise.”
Ballandarro waa diindarro: Not to fulfil a promise is just the same as not believing in God.
Bannaankiisa-mare maradiisa geed ma qabsato: The cloth of the man who skirts about a clearing will not be torn by a tree (i.e. a cautious person will avoid troubles).
Baqal fardo la daaqday faras bay is mooddaa. If a mule grazes with horses it thinks that it is also a horse.
Baqtiga ma cunee fuudkiisan cabbaa. I do not eat carrion. I drink soup made of carrion. Said about a bigot
Barasho horteed hay nicin. Do no reject me until you know me well (i.e. one should not be judged by appearances).
This goes back to a tale about an ugly but brave young man who was unsuccessfully wooing a girl. She preferred a handsome but as it turned out cowardly man.
Baroorta ceesaanta ka weyn: One does not mourn so bitterly over a (lost) she-goat (there is obviously a more serious hidden reason).
Barti-yaqaan bari uma kororto: The herd of a man who knows only one place (i.e. pasture) does not grow.
Another interpretation. The herd of a man who takes care only of his own animals does not grow (because in any disaster no one would help him).
Baruur baa baruuryo qurmisa. “One scabbed sheep infects the whole flock.”
Baruur keliya ayaa baruuryo qudhmisa: One fat piece of meat spoils many other pieces.
Baryaaye waa aadane, bixiyana Eebbe weeye. “Man proposes but God disposes.”
Baryo badan iyo bukaan badanba waa laysku nacaa. Beggars and ailing people are disliked equally.
Been fakatay runi ma gaaarto: The truth will not catch up with a runaway lie.
Been sheeg, laakin been run u eg sheeg. Tell lies, but let your lies resemble the truth.
Beenaale markhaatigiisuu fogeeyaa: A liar settles his witness in a faraway place (i.e. he calls as witness someone who is not able to come.
Beeni raad ma leh. “Lies have short legs.”
Beeni raad ma leh. A lie leaves no trace (i.e. it has no weight).
Beenlow nin dhintay iyo nin dheer ayuu marqaati u qabsadaa. A liar calls as witness one who is either dead ord far away.
Beentaada hore runtaada dambe bay u daran tahay. “A liar is not believed when he speaks the truth.”
Beentaada hore runtaada danbay u baas baxdaa. Your previous lie damages your present truth.
Belaayo intay kaa maqan tahay, qayrkaa bay ku maqan tahay: If misfortune does not come to you it comes to somebody else ( somebody of your age).
Belaayo ka-hor-tag moyee ka-dabo-tag ma leh: Misfortune can be caught only from the front, it cannot be caught from behind (i.e. one can avert misfortune, but cannot control it if it has already happened).
Belaayo kaa sii jeedda layskuma soo jeediyo. If a trouble shows its back, do not force it to show its face.
Belo ama il la’ayd, ama lug la’ayd: A wicked man is lacking either one eye or one leg (which means he cannot damage the people round him in full measure).
Bidaari sibiq bay kugu gashaa. “Baldness comes up on you stealthily.”
Bidaari sibiq bay kugu gashaa. A bald spot reveals itself unexpectedly. Said about an unexpected trouble.
Bilsaddex gurigaagana way kaa kexeysaa, guri kalana kuma gaarsiiso: A young moon (a moon which was born three days ago) will take you out of your own house but it will not take you to somebody else’s (because it does not shine long).
This means, no good will come of a hasty decisions.
Biyo fadhiya biyo socdaa kiciya: Dead-water is moved by running water.
Biyo intaysan ku soo gaarin ayaa layska moosaa. Make a dam before the flows.
Biyo meel godan bay isugu tagaan. Water flows to a low place.
Biyo sacabbadaada ayaa looga dhergaa. One drinks enough water only from one’s own palms.
Booraan hadimo ha qodin, ku dhici doontaana mooye: If you dig a (deadly) hole for somebody, be careful not to fail into it yourself.
Budee inta birtu kulushahay. “Strike while the iron is hot.”
Caado la gooyey caro Allay leedahay: A broken tradition angers God.
Caano aan fiiqsi loo dhamin iyo hadal aan fiiro loo odhan feedhahaaga ayay wax yeelaan: Milk which is gulped and words which are said rashly will hurt your ribs ( in the first case they will ache from coughing, in the second from a beating).
Caano daatay dabadooda la qabtaa: When milk spills one tries to save the last drop at least (catches milk by its tail).
Caano uma kabbado. “Make no scruple about something.”
Cadowgaaga caano mac ayaa la siiyaa: An enemy should be treated to fresh milk (i.e. should be treated as a dear guest in order to lessen his vigilance).
Cagta cagta u saar. “Breathe down somebody’s neck.”
Cagtii joogsan weyda, mar bay ceeb la kulantaa. The restless foot comes across trouble (shame).
Cagweynta ayaa gabyi. “Money talks.”
Calool dheregsani calool baahan kama naxdo: A filled stomach does not sympathize with an empty one.
Calool dheregsani calool baahan kama naxdo. “A man with a full belly thinks no one is hungry.” “He that is warm thinks all so.”
Canjeelo siday u kala korreyso ayaa loo cunaa. As the pancakes are piled, so they should be eaten.
Carruuri haddii aad kuftid way kugu qososhaa: When a grown-up falls, children laugh.
Carruurnimo waa ciil laga weynaaday: Childhood is a grudge, which will be forgotten in time.
Said to a child who is eager to become adult.
Cayaar carruureed. “Child’s play.”
Ciirtaa-dhamaa ceebtaa yaqaan. He who has drunk your sour milk (i.e. whom you have reared) knows how to offend you deeply.
Cimri tegay ceeb laguma sagootiyo. An old man should not disgrace himself (one’s old age should not be seen off with disgrace.
Cimrigaagoo dheeraadaa geel dhalayuu ku tusaa. If you live long you will see how the camels are born. This is a city proverb, since the calving of camels is a normal thing for a nomad.
Cir kaa dheer, dhul kaa dheer. “Between the devil and the deep blue sea.”
Col kaa badan iyo biyo kaa badanba way ku hafiyaan. You will be drowned by two things: plenty of water and plenty of enemies.
Colaadi yaryaraysi ma leh: Enmity is never small (i.e. each enemy can bring trouble)
Colka wadhaf ma lagu deyey: What if we were to strike the enemy with a sling.
Said when someone has despaired of a problem he had tried to solve, as it seemed to him, by all thinkable means. This goes back to a tale about a tribe attacked by a strong enemy. After the attempts to repel it had failed and the people were about to surrender someone said. What if we were to strike the enemy with a sling? They tried and won .
Cunto-u-noole uun ha ahaanin, cunnadase ku noolaasho u quudo. “Live not to eat, but eat to live.”
Daacadi ma hungowdo: Honesty is not treated with empty hands (i.e. it always rewarded).
Dab aan kullaylkiisa la arag dambaskiisa lagama leexdo: Until you know how the fire burns you are not afraid of the ashes (i.e. until you know how the man is when he is angry you are not afraid of him when he is calm).
Dab munaafaq shiday mu’min baa ku gubta. A fire lit by sinful man (a hypocrite) burns a sinless man (a good Muslim).
Dabaggaalle timir gaari waayay `qadhaadhaa!´ buu yiraahdaa. “Sour grapes.”
Dad iyo duurba wax aadan filayn baa kaaga soo baxa: You should expect from people and the forest what cannot predict.
Dadku waa dalbade, deeq fidiyahana Daa’inka weeye. “Man proposes but God disposes.”
Dagaal nin aan aqoon baa ku orda: A men who doesn’t know about war is likely the one who rushes of it
Dagaal wiil baa ku dhinta ee wiil kuma dhasho: In a war sons (a son) are killed, but none are to be born.
Dal-jirka Daahsoon. “The Unknown Soldier.”
Dameerada tan ugu foosha xun ayaa ugu haraanti kulul: An ugly she-ass kicks most angrily (i.e. ugly women are most capricious).
Dameeri dhaan raacday. The camels went for water and a donkey skipped with them. Said about an excessively complaisant person.
Dameeri isku-halleyn bay hooyadeed dabada uga nuugtaa: A foal quietly suckles a she-donkey from behind (not being afraid of a kick).
Damiin faro waaweyn baa wax loogu qoraa. For a muddle-headed pupil everything should be written in capital letters (it is difficult to ram something into a numskull).
Dan iyo xarrago is weyday: One cannot think of gain and please one’s pride.
Dani xishood ma leh. Gains are shameless (i.e. in striving for gains a man loses all sense of shame).
Dantaada maqaar ey baa loogu seexdaa. In striving for gains you will sit even on a dogskin.
According to Muslim ideas a dog is a dirty animal, so after having touched one , the ‘defiled’ spot needs repeated ablutions.
Dawaco meeshay macal uga baratay ayay macaluul ugu baqtidaa. The Jackal who has got accustomed to fat brisket will die of starvation.
Dawaco tallaabadeediina ka tagtay, tii Nebigana gaari wayday: The jackal has changed its step but still does not walk like the Prophet (i.e. one cannot change oneself).
Degdegsiinyo door ma dhaliso. “More haste, less speed.”
Dhagarqabe dhulkaa u dhaqdhaqaaqa: The ground quakes under a rascal (i.e. it seems to him that he is pursued).
Dhagax qudha ku dil labo shimbirood. “Kill two birds with one stone.”
Dhagax taabasho iyo tuujin waa isugu mid: It is all the same to a stone whether you touch it or squeeze it (i.e. it does not matter).
Dhammaan wixii dhalaala dheemman maaha. “All is not gold that glitters.”
Dhar aanad lahayni dhaxan kaama cesho: Somebody else’s clothes do not warm you.
Dhar magaalo intii laga xirto waa dhowdahay, dhal magaalase intii lagu noqdo noqdo waa dheer tahay: One can quickly put on town clothes, but it takes a long time to become a townsman.
Dhegi meel dheer bay ku dhacdaa, dhagaxna meel dhow: A stone flies (falls) near, a word (an ear) far off.
Dheri ninkii ag jooga ayaa lafta kala baxa: He who sits close to a cooking pot gets a good bone.
Dheriga karka kulaylkaa ka keenay: it washeat that made the cooking pot boil (it was a certain reason that made that person angry.
Dhex iyo dhexaad. “Betwixt and between.”
Dhib la’aan dheefi ma timaaddo. “He that will eat the kernel must crack the nut.”
Dhibbaan eebo waa laga bogsadaa, dhaawaca carrabka aadanase lagama bogsado. “One heals from a spear wound, but not from a wound from the human tongue.”
Dhicisku inta birta loo soo siduu ka bakhtiyaa: A prematurely born ( camel) can die before one brings a knife (to slaughter it).
Said when the slightest delay can damage a case.
Dhubuq-dhubuq hore dhabanno-hays dambe ayay leedahay: He who makes haste at firs twill clutch at his head afterwards.
Dhulka hooyo waa lama huraan. “East or West, home is best.”
Dhurwaa kan ciya iyo kan aamusan, kan ciyaa roon: A barking hyena is better than one which keeps silent (it is less dangerous).
Dhurwaaga midka ciya iyo ka aammusa, ka ciya ayaa roon. “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.”
Diid ama ha diidin. “Willy-nilly.”
Dil waqtiga. “Kill time.”
Doofaar ficilla’aan baa loo cadaabaa. A swine is cursed only because it is a swine. Said when somebody is treated with undue contempt.
Doqon iyo *censur* nimay legdaan kama kacaan: A fool and a woman will not get off the man they have brought fown.
Doqon wixii casarkii lagu caayo ayay cishihii kugi caysaa: How you curse a fool in the afternoon so will he curse you in the evening. This usually means: One should not do anything with a fool.
Doqoneey, dabkaa ba’. Oh fool, your fire is too hit.
Said when a silly person offers his help: one cannot even ask him to kindle a fire, he will burn everything around him
Doqoni calaf ma leh. A fool has no luck
Doqoni meeshii lagu dagaalay waa ogeyd ee meel lahu heshiiyey ma ogeyn: The fool knew where they fought but not where they were reconciled.
Doqoni sokeeye ma aha: A fool is not a kinsman (i.e. one cannot rely upon).
Doqoni xadhkaha lagu xidhayo xusulladay ku sidataa: A fool brings the rope himself with which he will be bound.
Doqonnimo daawo ma leh: One cannot be cured of foolishness.
Doqonta usha agteeda ku dhufo, hadday garan weydana gogga u geli. Threaten a fool with a stick and if he misunderstands you beat him.
Dux iyo dareen la’aan. “A dry stick.”
Eebbow iga badbaadi sharka saaxiibbaday; nacabkayga aniga ayaa iska difaacaya. “God defend me from my friends; from my enemies I can defend myself.”
Eebe ma naxee waa naxariistaa. God does not have mercy (on people), but is merciful (he inflicts many ordeals, but gives people all they need).
Erayga alifka ku qalloocda al bakhra kuma tooso: If you err in the first letter of a word, it will not become better by the last letter (by the last surah of Koran).
Fadhi iyo fuud yicibeed laysku waa: One cannot sit at home (i.e. idle) and enjoy yi’ib nut soup. Somalis usually go to remote and often almost inaccessible places to gather these very nutritious nuts.
Fadhi-ku-dirir. “An armchair fighter.”
Falka iyo iswaafaji fekerka. “Practice what you preach.”
Fallaadhi gilgilasho kaagama go’do: The arrow will not fall out of your body however hard you may shake (i.e. no excuse will help you if you have been exposed).
Far kaa xumaatay filiq-filiq kaagama harto: However hard you shake (your hand) a score (bad) finger will not fall off (i.e. you cannot get rid of your shortcomings).
Far keliya fool ma dhaqdo. One finger cannot wash a face.
Faras-hadiyo foolkiisa lama feydo. “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
Fari qorrax ma qariso: A mere finger can’t obscure the sun (one can not hide the truth by deception alone
Farta iyo meesha buktaa is og. The finger knows where you ache (i.e. it always touches the sore spot).
Fiqi tolkii kama janno tago: A (Muslim) man of law will not go to paradise without his kin (because their ties are very strong).
Another interpretation: A (Muslim) man of law will not go to paradise because of his kin (whom he has favored).
Fool-ka-fool. “Face to face.”
Fulayow, guuli kuu dhowaydaa!: Oh, coward, the victory was at hand (but you let it go).
Fule xantii ma mooga: A coward knows that he is talked about.
Fuley geesi hortii buu dhintaa. “Cowards die many times before their deaths.”
Fuley habartii ma gablanto: The mother of a coward does not lose her son (does not die without sons).
Fursad munaasabad. “Await somebody’s convenience.”
Fursadda ugu horreysa. “At one’s earliest convenience.”
Gaal dil, dartiisana sii. You may kill an infidel (if he deserves it), but be just to him (i.e. be just even to your enemy).
Gaalka dil, gartiisana sii. “Give the devil his due.”
Gabar guri ha kaa gasho ama god: Only a (timely) marriage or death (a grave) can keep your daughter (from disgrace).
Gacantii qaad-qaad barata gummudkeedaa dhaqdhaqaaaqa: If the hand which used to catch (i.e. steal) is chopped off, the stump will twitch (i.e. it will also try to catch something).
Gacmo furan. “With open arms.”
Gacmo is dhaafaa gacalo ka timaaddaa: Love emerges when hands give something to each other.
Gacmo isweydaartay ayay galladi ka dhalataa. “Friendship cannot stand always on one side.”
Gacmo wadajir bay wax ku gooyaan. One can tear something only with two hands.
Gadaal-ka-gaar waa goob-dumis: He who comes late ruins the gathering (because his out-of-place judgements prevent it from reaching the already co-ordinated decisions).
Gadhba gadh baa la tusaa: A beard should be shown a beard (i.e. in a dispute an experienced man should be opposed by a man of similar experience).
Gar iyo geeri loo siman: Death and justice affect all men equally
Garaadyo laysu keenay ayay garasho ka dhalataa. “Four eyes see more than two.”
Gari Ilaah bay taqaan. Justice knows only Allah.
This goes back to a tale about Ina-Sanweyne, known to be a just man, whose wife’s brother appropriated somebody else’s she-camel. The victim asked Ina-Sanweyne to settle the dispute, and the after having examined the case he hold his relative. “Justice does not know a father-in-low and a brother-in-low, a relative blood and relative by marriage, a son and a daughter, a brother and a sister, a father and a mother, a maternal uncle and a paternal uncle, a distant relation and a close relation. Justice knows only Allah. Man, return the she-camel”.
Gari laban in kama wada qosliyo. A just sentence cannot make happy (make laugh), both sides at once.
Garo naftaada. “Know thyself.”
Geed walba in gubtaa hoos taal: Under every tree there is something which hampers its growth ( burns it). This means everyone has his own troubles.
Geel kolkii loo heeso, goroyo u hees. “Speak a different topic.”
Geel laba jir soo wada mar. All the camels were two years old (i.e. once upon a time everybody was young).
Geeljire geela waa wada jiraa, waana kala jiraa. When the camels graze together each herdsman keeps close to his own.
Geeriyi nin aanad garanayn iyo geeljiray ku roon tahay: Death is good in a man whom you do not know and in a herdsman ( who is likely to be far away).
Geeriyi nin aanad garanayn iyo geeljire ayay ku roon tahay. “Death is a commonplace only when it happens to camel-herders and to people you don’t know.”
Gees lo’aad kulaylka ayaa lagu gooyaa. “Make hay while the sun shines.”
Gees lo’aad kulaylkaa lagu gooyaa: Cut off the cow’s horn while (the knife is still hot).
Geesi Allah ma xilo: Allah does not disgrace a brave man.
Geesi hooyadiis dhaqsay u gablantaa: The mother of a brave man soon loses her son (dies without sons).
Gogol rag waa godob la’aan. “A good conscience is a soft pillow.”
Good iyo abeeso waxba isma doorshaan. “Between two evils it’s not worth choosing.”
Guri ann hooyo lahayni waa lama degaan: A home without a mother is like a desert (mother makes home trustworthy, happier and lovable; without her, it’s dark, fearful and very horrible to live in)
Guul ama geeri. “Do or die.”
Guulle haydin gargaaro! “God bless you!”
Ha dhaafin, ha dhiteen oo dib haw dhigan hawl eegga ku dhawri! “Procrastination is the thief of time.”
Habar fadhida legdin la fudud. “Easier said than done.”
Habar fadhidaa legdan la fududaa. To an old woman who is sitting down, wrestling seems to be the most simple thing. (i.e. when one takes a detached view, every job seems easy.
Had iyo jeeraale ruux toosani ma jiro. “No man is wise at all times.”
Hadal badan haan ma buuxsho: Too much talk doesn’t not fill vessel (talkativeness with no reasoning is always useless)
Hadal calool baahan ma buuxsho. “Fine words butter no parsnips.”
Hadal daan la qabto ayuu leeyahay. “A word spoken is past recalling.”
Hadal haan ma buuxsho. Many words cannot fill a pitcher.
Hadal intuu uurkaaga ku jiro ayuu ammaan yahay. A word is yours while it is in your stomach.
Hadal nin badiyey ma wada odhan, nin yareeyayna kama wada tegin: He who talked much did not tell all he wanted, and he who talked a little told more than he wanted (i.e. one should not talk much).
Hadal nin si u yiri, ninna si u qaaday. You tell one thing but he may hear another.
Hadal waa mergi hadba meel u jiidma. A word is like sinew. It stretches in every direction.
Haddaad dhimaneysid dhareerka waa layska duwaa. If you are dying, wipe off your saliva (i.e. try to die suitable.
Haddaan la kala roonaan, roob ma da’o. Unless one of the debaters gives in, it will not rain (i.e. no headway will be made in the matter.
Hadday degdegsiinyo door dhalaan, kaadsiinyana kiish lacagay dhalaan: Haste can give birth to a bit of money (a small benefit), patience to a bag of it.
Hadday fooli timaaddo, gudi qarsiimo hadhay: When a labour pains start, shame must be thrown off.
Haddii geeriyi ku deyn lahayd, gabow baan ku daayeen: If you have managed to avoid a premature death, you will not manage to avoid old age.
Haddii kale. “Or else.”
Hadduusan qadhaadh jireen, miyaa la qiri lahaa malab? “Who has never tasted bitter, knows not what is sweet.”
Hadhuub caano daata, dabada ayaa la qabtaa. “It’s no use crying over spilt milk.”
Hal aad nin ku baratay kaama luminnin. “No great loss without some small gain.”
Hal diideysaa geed ay ku xoqato wa weydo: If a she-camel does not want to do something, she finds a tree against which to rub herself.
Hal libaax arkaysaa ma godlato: When a she-camel sees a lion her milk disappears (because of fear).
Hangaraarac lug ima dhutiyo: A millipede will not limp because of one leg.
Haween la’aani waa hoy la’aan: Where there are no women, there is no home (no women means no shelter; therefore, as they are the main pillars of the society then without them there is no means of joyous life)
Hawl aan laguu dirsannin dalaq ha soo orannin. “Mind one’s own affairs.”
Hawl karnimo waa hooyada hannaanka guusha. “Diligence is the mother of success.”
Heddiisii baa gashay. “One’s time has come.”
Hilib waa nin waayay iyo nin dabada ku xirtay: One man does not have meat, another man does not know what to do with it (he sticks it to his buttocks).
Said by a hungry hyena at the sight of a monkey with ted buttocks.
Hilmaan hadal kuma jiro: A slip of the tongue does not count (does not enter speech).
Hubsiimo hal baa la siistaa. To know something for sure, one would even part with a she-camel.
Hunnu-hunnuna hadal ma aha, himbiriirsina wax arag ma aha: Whispering is not talk, screwing up one’s eyes is not a glance.
Huriweyto hooyada ikhtiraaca weeye. “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Idho jaceyl isma eegaan: Eyes in love do not dare to stare at each other (lovers’ eyes are bashful)
Iga fog fadqalallo. “Out of the woods.”
Ilaahow, Adaa Qaaddir ah. “God Almighty.”
Ilko abeeso hoos bay ka xidhiidhaan: The snake’s teeth grow from one mandible (they are bound from below). This means: Kinsmen are bound by indissoluble ties.
Ilko wadajir bay wax ku gooyaan. Teeth bite something only when they bite together.
In la waayo raagidda ayaa ka wacan. “Better late than never.”
Indhahaaga oo shan ah. “Under somebody’s nose.”
Indholaawe illaawe ayaa dhaama. “Better one-eyed than stone-blind.”
Inta aadan falin ka fiirso. “Look before you leap.”
Intaadan falin ka fiirso: Think before you do something.
Intii calooshu buki lahayd cagtu ha bukto: It is better to have an aching leg than an aching spirit (stomach, i.e. it is better to do something despite tiredness, than later to regret that it had not been done).
Isha ayaa u macallin ah. “Speaks for itself.”
Isha ka rid. “Hit the right nail on the head.”
Ishiisa-laga-arkaa ushiisa lagu tumaa: A coward (a man whose cowardice is betrayed by his eyes) is beaten with his own stock.
Iskaashato ma kufto: If people support each other they do not fall.
Ixsaanka ehelka ayuu ka unkamaa. “Charity begins at home.”
Jidka ku dhac. “Hit the road.”
Jinni ninkii keenaa bixiya. He who brought the jinnee (the trouble) must take it away.
Ka aammusnaan mu’aamaraad. “A conspiracy of silence.”
Kaadi-badane waa loo gogol badiyaa. One has to change many days for the man who is incontinent (i.e. one has to be patient with an intolerable person).
Kab iyo xaarkeed waa laysla tuuraa: A shoe is thrown out together with the shit it has trodden on.
Kabxume ma hadhee kablaawaa hadha: (on the road) the one who has no shoes falls behind, not the one whose shoes are bad (i.e. it is better to have something bad than to have nothing).
Khayr wax kaama dhimee shar u toog hay: In good times be ready for bad times (because times always change).
Khayr wax kaama dhimmee, shar u toog hay. “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”
Kol hadday wasaayad jirto, waddana waa jirtaa. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Kor muuqaal u hayn. “Keep up appearances.”
Kor waayeel waa wada indho. “Old birds are not to be caught with chaff.”
Kor waayel waa wada indho: A old man sees even with his skin (his skin consists of eyes).
Kud ka guur oo qanjo u guur. He drove the cattle from plague to glanders (i.e. went from one trouble to another).
Kula-jire, kaa-jire: He is with you but not with you (i.e. he only pretends to be your friend).
Kuma weeye kuma. “Who’s who.”
Kun iyo kow hawlood. “A thousand and one.”
Kunka koodi kownaka guurso: A thousand assignations, one marriage.
Kutiri-kuteenno ayaa kadlaynaya. “Rumors are going round.”
Kuu-shekeeye, kaa-shekeeye ha la sheekeysan. Do not trust (do not talk to) he who gossips with you about others and with others about it.
La jiifiyaana bannaan, la joojiyaana bannaan. It is level at the rod standing upright and it is level at the rod lying flat.
Said when someone appears to be using double standards.
This goes back to a tale about the chief who had to decide two cases about the damage caused to the adjacent field by somebody else’s and by his own cows. He ordered that two heaps of corn, to reach the height of a rod, be poured out for the victim. On the first occasion the rod was standing upright, but on the second occasion he ordered that the rod be lain on the ground. The chief alleged that both his decisions were just , since each time the heap of corn was level at the height of the rod.
La-yeele ma hilmaamo, laakin yeele wuu hilmaamaa: An offense is forgotten not by the offended but by the offender.
Laabi laba la’: A man’s chest cannot hold two (different) things together (i.e. it is impossible to think about two different things at the same time). According to the notions of the somalis, the chest (as well as the stomach) is the main depository of the intellect.
Laba kala bariday kala war la’: If two men spend a night far from each other, neither one of them knows how the other one is now.
Laba qaawani isma qaaddo. One naked man cannot carry another naked man (i.e. one poor man cannot help another poor man).
Labaatanjir intuu geed ka booduu talo ka boodaa: A young man of twenty makes mistakes as if he jumps over a log (i.e. as easily).
Labawajiile. “Show a false face.”
Labo daran mid dooro. “Of two evils choose the least.”
Labo oodafo iskama abaal weydo. “Claw me and I will claw thee.”
Lafo geri ayagaa laysku jebiyaa: A giraffe bone can only be broken against another giraffe bone (a difficult problem can only be solved with adequate means).
Laga barayba laga badi. One surpasses the man from whom one has learnt something.
Lama halmaamaan. “Second to none.”
Lamahuraan waa cawska jilaal. In the rainless season dry grass is (rich) fodder.
Lax dhukani abaar moog: The short-eared sheep does not hear the complaints about the drought (it forgets about the sufferings of others once it is full)
Lax walba shillalkay is dhigtaa lagu qalaa: A sheep is slaughtered on the deck on which she herself is standing (i.e. everybody gets according to his deserts).
Libaax nin aan aqoon baa lax ka rida: Only he who does not know a lion (and therefore is not afraid of him) can take a sheep from him (i.e. sometimes ignorance can be useful).
Lillaahi iyo laqdabo meel ma wada galaan. “Straight forwardness and slyness cannot enter one and the same place.”
looma tu’in karo. “Love cannot be compelled.”
Lumi waqtiga. “Lose time.”
Ma noola mana dhimannin. “Neither dead nor alive.”
Macaan midnimo ayaa leh. “Union is strength.”
Madax ka kor meel la salaaxo ma leh: Above the head there is nothing to stroke.
This means, 1) There is limit to everything. 2) Theres is no appeal against the decision of a superior.
Madax muuqda iyo mindi saawir ah midna lagama samro: A (stupid) head and a blunt knife, if they are near at hand, will always prove useful.
Manjo dhooqo midba mar baa la baxshaa: One pulls one’s feet (ankle) out of the mud one by one (i.e. one finishes one thing before beginning another.
Mar i dage Allaha dago mar labaadse ana is dagay. “Once bitten twice shy.”
Mar i dage Alle ha dago, mar labaad i dagase anaa is dagay. If somebody cheated you once he is a fool (because by the fraud he shook your faith in him), but if he cheated you twice you are a fool.
Mar maaha. “Time and again.”
Markii aan tamar hayayna talo ma ahayn, maantoon talo hayana tamar ma hayo: When I had strength I did not have brains, now I have brains but do not have strength.
Maroodiga takarta saaran ma arkee kan kale tan saaran ayuu arkaa: An elephant does not see the gadfly which is sitting on it but sees the one sitting on another elephant
Marti badan iyo baryo badanba waa laysku nacaa: Frequent guests and much begging are disliked equally.
Mas madaxaa laga dilaa. A snake must be killed by a blow to its head (i.e. an enemy must be struck down).
Matag meshaad doonayso kuguma simo: A man vomits not where he wants to but where he is forced to.
This means: Sometimes a man is not able to control his actions.
Maxay ku nuugtaa, maxayse ka nuugtaa?: Ah, what will he now suckle and with what?.
This goes back to a tale about a hyena who bit the lips off a camel calf and the udder of a she-camel, and then shed tears, pretending to be concerned with the fate of the poor calf.
Meel il laga la’yahay haddaad tagto, il baa layska ridaa. If you come to the one-eyed people’s country (place), pull out your eye.
Meel lagaa jecel yahay haddaad ka tagtid, meel lagaa neceb yahay ayaad tagtaa: If you leave the place in which you are loved, you will come to the place in which you are hated.
Meel siday u taallo ayaa loola yaallaa: As the place is, so conduct yourself in it (as the place stands so stand in it).
Meel siday u taallo ayaa loola yaallaa. “Do at Rome as the Romans do.”
Meel waa laga muuqdaa ama waa laga maqnaadaa: At your niche, either make your presence known or stay away (be active or better be absent)
Meeshaad madaxeeda tahay manjaheeda layskama dhigo: Do not be legs where you are a head (i.e. do not behave as a subordinate man).
Miro gunti ku jira kuwo geed saaran looma daadiyo. One does not throw away fruit in the pocket for the sake of fruit on the tree.
Miro gunti ku jira, kuwo geed saaran looma daadsho. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
Mukulaal mininkeeda joogta miciyo libaax bay leedahay. (Banaadir): A cat in her house has the teeth of a lion.
Mukulaal mininkeeda joogtaa miciyo libaax bay leedahay. A cat in its own house has lion’s fangs.
Mulac carruurta ciyaar bay ka tahay, isna waa kan af bax: What is play for children is death for a lizard.
Muunad cadow u ahe, waa dhalan nacab u ahe. “An enemy to beauty is a foe to nature.”
Naag la’aani waa naf la’aan: To be without a woman is to be without life (this indicates the crucial importance of a woman’s support)
Naag waa guri ama god ha kaga jirto. (or) Naag ha kaga jirto guri ama god: Your woman should be in the house or in the grave.
Naagi nin ay taqaan nin ma mooddo. A woman does not think of a man whom she knows well, as a man.
Naasnuujinta iyo naxdingelinta. “The carrot and the stick.”
Naftu orod bay kugu aammintaa. The soul tells you to run as fast as you can (i.e. to save your life with all your might).
Naga duw, Eebbow, aafaadka soconaya. “God, save us from the present disasters.”
Nimaad dhashay kuma dhalinnin. “Your offspring are not your parents.”
Nimaan dhididin ma dhergo. “No sweet without sweat.”
Nimaan shaqaysan shaah waa ka xaaraan. “He who will not work shall not eat.”
Nin aad dhashay kuma dhalin. He to whom you gave birth did not give birth to you (i.e. your child does not treat you in the same way as you treat him).
Nin aad fadhi kaga adag tahay looma sare joogsado: If you can overcome somebody when you are sitting, do not stand up.
Nin aad kabtiisa toleysid oo kafantaada tolaya: You are stitching for him sandals and he is sewing for you a shroud.
Nin aan baqin waa loo baqaa: One fears for the man who is fearless (i.e. who does not take care of himself).
Nin aan dhididini ma dhergo: He who does not perspire (i.e. does not toil) does not eat to fullness.
Nin aan dhul marini dhaayo la’: He who has not travelled in the world has no eyes.
Nin aan ku furin doonin yuu kuu rarin. He who is not going to unload your camel should not be the one to load it.
Nin aan shantaadu kaa reebin sharci kaama reebo: the law will not save you from the man you have failed to save yourself from with your fist.
Nin aan shaqaysan, shaahi waa ka xaaraan. For he does not work (even) tea is not prohibited (impure).
Nin aan warankaagu gelin warkaagu ma galo: He who is not afraid of your spear will not be frightened of your word.
Nin aan waxa jooga garani waxa soo socda ma garto: He who does not understand what is going on now will not understand what is going to happen.
Nin aanad saacaad ku baran sanad kuma baratid. The man whom you failed to know within an hour you will not know within a year.
Nin bukaa boqol u talisay. A sick man has a hundred advisers.
Nin cimrigiisa dheerada geel dhalaya ayuu arkaa. (Banaadir) A man prolonging his age sees a camel giving birth.
Nin daad qaaday xumbo cuskay. “A drowning man will catch at a straw.”
Nin daad qaaday xunbo cuskay. A man caught by a flood clings to the foam.
Nin dhintay kabahiisa ayaa dhaama. “A living dog is better than a dead lion.”
Nin dhintay kabihiisaa dhamaa. The sandals of a dead man are more valuable than he is (there is no benefit from a dead man).
Nin fadhigaaga arkaya looma sare joogsado: Don’t ask for help from a man who sees you need it (who sees you sitting, because he would already have helped you if he had wanted to).
Nin gardarran ma guuleysto: He who is not just does not succeed.
Nin geed geli jiray geed looma galo: You cannot hide behind a tree from a man who always hides behind a tree himself (i.e. you canoot outwit him in his own manner).
Nin gu’kaa weyni gu’baas kaa weyn: He who is one year older than you has lived in need one year longer.
Nin habar dhashay hal ma seegi waayo: He who was borne by a mother (i.e. every man) can’t help making mistakes (can’t help missing).
Nin ilko weyni hadduu go’ayana, inuu qoslayaa la moodaa: When a man whose teeth hare too big, for his mouth is dying, people think that he is laughing.
Nin intuu geed ka boodo ayuu talo ka boodaa: Man makes mistakes (as easily) as he jumps over a log.
Nin is faanshay waa ri’is nuugtay. He who praises himself is like a she-goat which suckles herself.
Nin is waalaba waabiyaa hela: The aggressive man ultimately encounters a more aggressive man
Nin iyo naagtii colna ma aha, nabadna ma aha. A husband and his wife live together neither at war nor at peace.
Nin kaa hadal badan dhaxalka aabbahaa ayuu kaa qadiyaa: He whose tongue is more eloquent than yours, will deprive you of your father’s inheritance.
Nin kuu digay kuma dilin. He who warned you, saved you (did not kill you).
Nin lagu seexdow, ha seexan. The man who guards the sleep of others sheep not sleep.
Nin qoyani biyo iskama dhowro: A wet man is not afraid of water.
Nin rag ah haweentii ka adag, doqonna isgaa ka adag: A good man may be controlled by his wife, while lesser man dominates his
Nin sabraa sed leh: A patient man will get his share.
Nin sigtay ma noola: If the blow missed you that does not mean that you may feel safe (because another blow can be delivered).
Nin soori kaa qaadday waa nin seefi kaa qaadday. A gluttonous man is like a a dead man (as if killed by a sword).
Nin Tuur lihi siduu u seexdo isagaa yaqaan. A hunchback knows how he should sleep (i.e. every man knows better than you what he needs.
Nin waalan hadduu qoslo, nin fayownaa qosla: When a fool laughs, even a clever man cannot refrain from laughing.
Nin walba kitaab qummane ah ayaa qoortaa ugu jira. It is written on the face (neck) of everyone that he thinks himself good.
Nin waliba wuxuu yahay ayuu ku moodaa. “Measure somebody’s corn by one’s own bushel.”
Nin wax cunay xishood: A man who has eaten something becomes shy.
Nin xil qaaday eed qaad. The man who does something is the one to scold.
Ninba ceesantii ceel keen: Everybody brings to the well a young (beautiful) she-goat (so as to give the best impression).
Ninba intuu cunuu ciidamiyaa: As a man eats, so does he work.
Ninba meesha bugta isaga ayay belbeshaa. “Every heart knows its own bitterness.”
Ninba meeshii bugtaa isagay belbeshaa: Pain burns the who has it.
Ninkaad kabo ka tolanaysid kuwiisaa la eegaa: If you are asking a man to stitch a pair of shoes for you, look at his own shoes.
Ninkii boqolka soomay oo bakhtiga ku affuray: He fasted a hundred days but broke his fast with carrion.
Ninkii qayrkii loo xirayow, soo qoyso adiguna. If somebody of your age is being shaved, wet your own hair (get ready for the same trouble).
Ninkii seexdaa sicii dibi dhal: The sleeping herdsman’s cow calves a he-calf.
This goes back to a story about two herdsmen, whose cows calved at the same time. One giving birth to a he-calf, the other to a she-calf. While the owner of the cow which had calved a she-calf was asleep, his companion substituted it for his he-calf. Somalis consider that a she-calf is better than a he-calf, since when it grows it will give milk and have calves.
Ninkii tiisa daryeela tu kale ku dara. Only he who managers his own job can help with somebody else’s.
Oodi qaadis iyo jiidis waa isla guri weyn. It makes no difference if you carry or drag a branch (to make a fence) it will get to the same yard (house).
Oodo dhacameed siday u kala sarreeyaan baa loo kala guraa: As the branches of a fence (gate) are piled up, so they should be taken down.
Oofi ereygaaga! “Keep one’s word.”
Qaanuun addeece. “Law-abiding.”
Qaanuunka qarjoogta. “The jungle law.”
Qabri qori-saarid mooye qori-ka qaadid ma leh: One should take branches to the grave (marking the burying place ), but should not take them away. This means, one should help a man in need, but should not ask him for help.
Qalad qalad ka dabagee qallooc aan la saxin buu dhalaa. ” Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Qalinka ayaa qoriga ka quwad weyn. “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
Qasad dhammaystirma waa marmarsiinyaha wasiilada. “The end justifies the means.”
Qawl nin weyn ka dhacay waa qolof geed ka dhacday. The word of a man is like a piece of a bark which has fallen from a tree (bark does not go back to its place and man does not take back his word).
Qaybshe qad ama qaaday: He who divides something gets either nothing or too much.
Qof aan dhididini ma dhego: A person who doesn’t sweat, does not get his/her fill
Qof kuu digey kuma dilin: He who warns in advance is not likely to kill you (The man who fore-warns you is like the one who saves your life; someone who gives you a verbal warning before starting any hostilities with you cannot be blamed for harming you afterwards. if one admonishes you before he/she does harm to you, is the one who must be listened with care and left alone in peace; otherwise you will share the blame with him/her if anything untoward happens).
Qof walba wixi dhibay dhaforkey kaga taala. Everyone talks about the things on his mind.
Qooq ma jabee ninkiisa jaba: It is not the madness that gets in trouble but its owner (i.e. the madman himself).
Qori iyo qiiqiisa waa laysla tuuraa: To get rid of smoke, you also throw out a fire-brand (i.e. together with a bad thing one throws out a good thing).
Qun-yar-socde qodaxi ma muddo: He who walks slowly will not step on a thorn.
Quud aan jirin qoryo u guro. There is nothing to cook yet, but he has started to gather brushwood.
Rag haween ayaa kala hor mariya: It’s the women who make some men succeed where others fail
Rag tag lama dhago ee wuxuu ku tago ayaa la tusiya: One doesn’t tell a man ‘go away’ but one shows him something so he will go.
Rag waa raggii hore, hadalna waa intuu yiri: Real men are the men of old, and real words are those they pronounced.
Rag waa shaah, dumarna waa sheeko: Men like tea, women like conversation.
Rag waxaa u liita ma toshe, ma tashade iyo ma tashiishe: The worst man is he who never sews, never consults and never economizes (There is no social value for he who can’t consult his mind, can’t manage his assets wisely or can’t help himself otherwise).
Ragna waa shaah, dumarna waa sheeko: Men for tea, women for talk.
Roonaa Rabbaa og; Only God knows what is best.
Run iyo ilkaba waa la caddeeyaa: Truth and teeth should both be polished.
Runi rag waa ka nixisaa, waxse ma yeesho: Truth can frighten a man, but it does not harm him.
Saddex baa rag ugu liita: ma-toshe, ma-tashade iyo ma-tashiishe: Of all men, three types are the worst: he who does not know how to sew (clothes for himself), he who does not know how to get (clothes) and he who does not know how to take care ( of them).
Saddex waa layku nacaa: baryo badan, bukto badan iyo baahi badan: Three types: beggars, ailing people and gluttons, are all disliked equally.
Sagaaro laba tun oo la kala qalo ma leh: The neck of a dik-dik cannot be divided in half (it is too small). The dik-dik is a miniature antilope.
Salaad walba waqtigeeda la tukadaa. Every prayer should be offered at its proper time.
Salaadi siday kuu qabataa loo tukadaa: As you are placed when caught by prayer-time, just so pray.
Samataliye sedkii waa janno: To advice good is true faith
Shimbirba shimbirkiisu la duulaa. Each bird flies only with birds (bird) of its own kind.
Shimbiri mar bay dab qaadday, markiina buulkii hooyadeed bay gubtay. Only once did a bird take up some fire and even then it burnt its mother’s nest.
Said when someone acts beyond his knowledge and competence.
Sidaad dooneyso haddaad weydo, sidaad ka badin weyso ayaa la yeela: If you fail to do what you want, do what you have to do.
Sidaan kuguu lisay iiguma hambayn: I had milked for you much milk but you have left me only a little.
According to the Somali traditions, after having been given some milk a guest must leave something for the host.
Sidee xeego loo xagtaa, ilkana u nabad galaan?: Is it possible to gnaw a hego and not break any teeth. Hego is the very hard fruit of one of the palm trees.
Sinji waa magguuraan: You will never get rid of what you were born with ( it will not roam from you)
Sir nageed lama sal gaaro: Women’s tricks are not something one is able to perceive.
Sir-ma-qabe Allaa u sahan ah. Allah Himself helps a simple man to find a good place for his camp.
Sir-ma-qabe saab baa biyo u celiya: For an honest man even a saab holds water. The saab is an openwork wicker frame for holding a water-jar.
Sirow ma hodmo: A deceiver never prospers (a cheater never succeeds)
Soomaali been ma maahmaah do: Somalis don’t say a false proverb.
Soomaalidu been waa sheegtaa, beense ma maahmaahdo. Somalis can lie, but their lie will never become a proverb.
Taladaan la ruugin waa lagu rafaadaa: An unconsidered (unchewed) decision will make you suffer.
Talo adigaa ku nool ee iyadu kuguma noola: It is you who need advice, it does not need you (therefore advice should be appreciated).
Talo isuma kaa sheegto: The right decision does not come by itself (i.e. it has to be found).
Talo walaal diide taagoogta ayuu kajabaa: One refusing a sibling’s advice breaks his arm.
Talo xumo tog baas bay kaa riddaa: Bad counsel may cause you to fall into an abyss
Timir laf baa ku jirta. There is a stone in every date (i.e.something bad in every good thing). It may also mean that there is a hidden sense in everything.
Timirtii horaba dab loo waa. There is not yet a fire for the first dates (i.e. until one job is completed, one should not start another one).
This goes back to a story about a man given some dates, and not knowing that dates are eaten uncooked decided to fry them. Before he had time to kindle the firewood he had been given another handful of dates, and pronounced these words which became a proverb.
Tuug la qabtay talo ma leh: Nothing can help a caught thief.
Tuug tuug ma xado. One thief does not steal from another thief.
Ushaada nin aad ka qaadan kartid ayaa loo dhiibtaa: Give your stick to hold only to a man from whom you can take it away again.
Waa dhalaankii dhalmada hooyadood baray: “These youth taught their mother to give birth.”
Waanu abuuris baa ka horreysay. The character of a man was formed before the arguments (and therefore no form of persuasion can change it).
Waari mayside war ha kaa haro. You will not remain (on earth) let a good memory of you remain.
Waayeel warkiisa kaftan buu ku dhammeystaa: A grown-up ma concludes his speech with a joke.
Wadajir bay gacmuhu wax ku gooyaan. “Many hands make light work.”
Wadiiqada yari waddada weyn bay kugu riddaa: A small path will take you to a big road.
War jiraaba cakaaruu iman: News hurries to a meeting place (i.e. secrets become known).
War la qabaa xiiso ma leh: What is known is not interesting.
Waraf iyo shimbiro war isuma hayaan. The sling feels no animosity towards the birds (i.e. it kills them not through animosity, but by the will of its owner).
Wax badso wax beel bay leedahay. If you want to get more, you will lose everything.
Wax is weyddiini ma xuma ee wax is weydaarsi baa xun. It is not bad to ask each other for something, but it is bad to dodge each other.
Wax la arko carrab iyo ilkaa isugu dhow, iyaguna waa is qaniinaan: Nothing is so close to teeth as a tongue and event hen teeth sometimes bite it.
Wax la qariyo qurun baa ku jira. In What one hides (from people) there is always something bad (a piece of shit).
Wax qof la toosan baa qof la tuur leh: What is straight to one man is crooked to another (i.e. what is liked by one man is disliked by another).
Wax rag kaa galay rako kaa gale: What you give a man you will not get back (it will stick with him).
Waxaad barataaba waa baaskaa: what will ruin you is what you have got accustomed.
Waxaad taqaan guurso, waxaad taqaan ha kuu dhashee: Marry a woman you are sure of and you will have no doubt of your children (i.e. you will be sure that you are their father).
Waxaan ku cuninba waa la cunaa: What does not eat you is eatable.
Weysha gowrac, dibigu ha ku quustee. To get a bull, slaughter a heifer.
Wiil is walaaba waabiyaa hela: Every rowdy will meet a man who can master him.
Wixii araggiisu ku deeqo ayaa oontiisu ku deeqdaa: What is nourishing in appearance is nourishing indeed.
Wixii uurkaaga ku jira afkaa kaa xada. Your tongue steals what hides your soul (stomach).
Xaajo nimaan ogayni indhuhuu ka ridaa: He who does not know the problem under discussion prevents its solution (knocks out its eye).
Xaydha jecli, beerka jecli: I like fat and I like liver. Said when somebody cannot choose between two things the simultaneous possession of which is not possible.
Xisaabi xil ma leh: To count (money, things) is not shameful.
Xoolo rag farana ka tirsan feerana ka sisaaban: Men’s wealth is countable by hand and remembered by heart