Croatian proverbs

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Proverbs from all Croatian speaking parts of the world.

B[edit]

  • Bog govori: pomozi si sam, pomoći ću ti.
    • Translation: Help yourself and God will help you.
    • English equivalent: Heaven helps those who help themselves.
    • Meaning: "When in trouble first of all every one himself should do his best to improve his condition."
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "X". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 150. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs, Volym 1. Routledge. p. 732. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Bog zatvori jedna vrata,a otvori stotinu.
    • English equivalent: God who gives the wound gives the salve.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 874. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Bolje spriječiti nego liječiti.
    • Translation: Better to prevent than to have to cure.
    • English equivalent: An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
    • Zagrebu. Centar za etnološku kartografiju, Zagrebu. Etnološki zavod (1991). Studia ethnologica. Centar. p. 153. 
  • Bolje vrabac u ruci, nego golub na grani.
    • Translation: A sparrow in your hand is better than a pigeon on the branch.
    • English equivalent: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
    • Meaning: "Something you have for certain now is of more value than something better you may get, especially if you risk losing what you have in order to get it."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 29 July 2013. 
    • András Dugonics (1820). Magyar példa beszédek és jeles mondások. Grünn Orbán. p. 23. Retrieved on 29 July 2013. 
    • Gerzić (2002). English-serbian dictionary of phrases and idioms. Istar. p. 29. 
  • Brada kaza jarca ne pako mudroznanca.
    • English equivalent: If the beard were all, the goat might preach.
    • Meaning: Mere formal signs of being an authority does not make you one.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 117. ISBN 0415160502. 

C[edit]

  • Cega nema, ne mose se ni uzeti.
    • Translation: No risk, no income.
    • English equivalent: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 238. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Čovjek snuje, Bog određuje.
    • Translation: Men wishes (dreams), but God decides.
    • English equivalent: Man proposes, but God disposes.
    • Benson (1993). Englesko-srpskohrvatski rečnik. Prosveta. p. 197. 
  • Cuvaj se macaka kaje sprieda lizu a straga udarju.
    • English equivalent: Cats hide their claws.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 638. ISBN 0415160502. 

D[edit]

  • Djeca, budale i pijani pravdu govore.
    • English equivalent: Children, fools and drunken men tell the truth.
    • Meaning: "Children and fools have no inhibition, and alcohol consumed removes the inhibition against telling the [[truth] ]that occasionally one would like to keep secret."
    • Source for proverbs and meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "X". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 272. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Dobar glas se daleko čuje, loš još dalje.
    • English equivalent: Ingratitude is the world's reward.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 55. ISBN 0415160502. 

G[edit]

  • Gdje ima dima ima i vatre.
    • Translation: Where there is smoke, there is fire too.
    • English equivalent: Where there's smoke, there's fire.
    • Meaning: "There is no effect without some cause. or It is supposed that if there is a rumour, there must be some truth behind it."
    • Source for Meaning of English equivalent: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "1". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 33. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Strauss (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 663. 
  • Gde je mnogo rechi, malo hasne.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 92. ISBN 0415160502. 

I[edit]

  • I brojene ovce vuk jede, kamo-li nebrojene.
    • English equivalent: Cats eat what hussies spare.
    • Meaning; "What a person tries to keep back through meanness is just as likely to be wasted anyway."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Pickering, David (1997). "X". Cassell Dictionary of Proverbs. Continuum International Publishing Group, Limited. p. X. ISBN 978-0-304-35020-9. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 641. ISBN 0415096243. 

J[edit]

  • Jablko od stromu d'aleko nepadá.
    • Translation: The fruit of a tree falls to its root.
    • English equivalent: The apple does not fall far from the tree.
    • Meaning: "Children observe daily and — in their behaviour — often follow the example of their parents."
    • Source for proverbs and meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 259. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Jabuka ne pada daleko od stabla.
    • English equivalent: The apple does not fall far from the tree.
    • Meaning: "Children observe daily and — in their behaviour — often follow the example of their parents."
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 488. ISBN 0415096243. 
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 259. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Jajé hoce biti pametnije od kokosi.'
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 207. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Jeda sam lutjak, deset drugi napravi.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1132. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Jedna lasta ne čini proljeće.
    • Translation: One swallow does not make a spring.
    • English equivalent: One swallow does not make a summer.
    • Meaning: "All the falfe as well as fooliih Conclufions, Afrom a particular to an univerfal Truth, fall under the Cenfure of this Proverb. It teaches, that as he that guefies at the Courfe of the Year by the Flight of one fingle Bird, is very liable to be mifiaken in his Conjeéture; fo alfo a Man cannot be denominated Rich from one fingle Piece of Money in his Pocket, nor accounted univerfally good from the Practice of one fingle Virtue, nor temperate: becaufe he is flout, nor liberal becaufe he is exactly juft: that one Day cannot render a Man completely happy in point of Time, nor one Action confummate his Glory in Point of Valour. In fhort, the Moral of it is, That the right way of Judging of Things, beyond Impofition and Fallacy, is not from Particulars, but Univerfals."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [1]
    • društvo (2006). Umjetnost riječi: časopis za nauku o knjiz̆evnosti. Mladost. 

K[edit]

  • Kakva majka, onakva i ćerka.
    • Translation: Such mother, such daughter.
    • English equivalent: Like mother, like daughter.
    • Meaning: Daughters may look and behave like their mothers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and rarely.
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 179. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Kak dobljeno, tak zgubljeno.
    • English equivalent: Easy come, easy go.
    • Meaning: "Things that are easily acquired, especially money, are just as easily loat or spent."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 7 September 2013. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 762. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Kakvo pitanje takar odgovor.
    • English equivalent: Just as one calls into the forest, so it echoes back.
    • Meaning: Do not expect friendly reply when being obnoxious.
    • Meaning: Bad language may have other causes than innate bad character.
    • English equivalent: What you give is what you get.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 139. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Koji se kamen premeće, neće se mahovinom obrasti.
    • Translation and English equivalent: A rolling stone gathers no moss.
    • Meaning: "The unsettled person does not prosper."
    • Source for proverbs and meaning:Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "14". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 100. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Kratka sprava je bolši kakor dolga pravda.
    • English equivalent: A bad compromise is better than a good lawsuit.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 68. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Krava plaća godpodarevu zabavu.
    • English equivalent: It's by the head that the cow gives the milk.
    • It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?
    • Henry David Thoreau, letter to Harrison Blake (16 November 1857).
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1039. ISBN 0415096243. 

M[edit]

  • Med ima u ustima, a cemer u srcu.
    • English equivalent: A honey tongue and a heart of gall.
    • Note: A "hypo proverb" of "Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing..."
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 108. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Mi o vuku, a vuk na vrata.
    • English equivalent: While we were talking about the wolf, he came to our doorstep.
    • Meaning: Action instead of talking.
    • English equivalent: A man of words and not of deeds, is like a garden full of weeds.
    • Latin equivalent: Acta non verba.
    • Bujas (2001). Croatian-English dictionary. Nakladni zavod Globus. p. 1606. ISBN 953167082X. 

N[edit]

  • Na oganj ulja ne ljevaj.
    • Translation: You should not add oil to the fire.
    • English equivalent: Don't add fuel to the fire.** Meaning: One should not make a bad situation even worse by an improper remark.
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 338. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Ne trči pred rudo.
    • Translation: Don't run in front of a carriage.
    • English equivalent: Don't jump the gun.
    • Matković, (1985). Forum. p. 16. 
  • Ne gledaj poklonjenom konju u zube.
    • Translation: Don't look a gift horse in the teeth.
    • English equivalent: Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
    • Meaning: Do not critize a gift.
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 54. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Kovačević (1991). Srpsko-engleski rečnik idioma, izraza i izreka. Filip Višnjić. p. 245. 
  • Nesreca brzo dodje a poleko ode.
    • English equivalent: Misfortune comes on horseback and goes away on foot.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 65. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Nesreća nikad ne dolazi sama.
    • Translation: Misfortune never comes alone.
    • English equivalent: When it rains, it pours.
    • English equivalent: Bad luck comes in threes.
    • German equivalent: Bad luck rarely comes alone. (Ein Unglück kommt selten allein.)
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 110. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Nije zlato sve što sja.
    • Translation: Gold is not everything that shines.
    • English equivalent: All that glistens is not gold.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 77. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Nova metla dobra mete.
    • English equivalent: "New brooms sweep clean."
    • Meaning: Newcomers are the most ambitious.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1103. ISBN 0415096243. 

O[edit]

  • Orah ima tvrdu ljusku.
    • English equivalent: No pain, no gain.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 680. ISBN 0415096243. 

P[edit]

  • Pas koji laje, ne grize.
    • Translation: A dog that barks does not bite.
    • English equivalent: Barking dogs seldom bite.
    • Meaning: People who make the most or the loudest threats are the least likely to take action.
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 20 June 2013. 
    • Katičić (2002). Sintaksa hrvatskoga književnog jezika. Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti. p. 409. ISBN 1. 
  • Pomozi si sam pa će ti i Bog pomoći.
    • Translation: First help yourself and then God will help you.
    • English equivalent: God helps those who help themselves.
    • umjetnosti (1968). Rad Jugoslavenske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti. Jugoslavenska akademija zanosti i umjetnosti.. p. 290. ISBN 1. 
  • Prvo skoči pa reci: "hop"!
    • Translation: First leap, then say: "jump"!
    • English equivalent: Walk the walk, then talk the talk.
    • Meaning: First do your task, then talk about it
    • Anić, Pranjković, Samardžija (1994). Rječnik hrvatskoga jezika. Novi liber. p. 947. ISBN 1. 

S[edit]

  • Skup samo kad umre, cini dobro
    • English equivalent: A covetous man does nothing that he should till he dies.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 24. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Sloga jači nesklad tlači.
    • English equivalent: United we stand, divided we fall; Union is strength.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 79. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Što možeš danas, ne ostavljaj za sutra.
    • Translation: Do not leave for tomorrow, things you can do today.
    • English equivalent: Better now than later.
    • Kovačević (1991). Srpsko-engleski rečnik idioma, izraza i izreka. Filip Višnjić. p. 47. ISBN 1. 
  • Starost – žalost.
    • English equivalent: Age and poverty are ill to bear.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 177. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Sto se siromahu da, nije nikad izgubljeno.
    • English equivalent: If you do good, good will be done to you.
    • Meaning: Good acts quiet often reward themselves.
    • English equivalent: You reap what you sow.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 160. ISBN 0415160502. 

T[edit]

  • Tiha voda brege dere.
    • Translation: Still water wears down mountains.
    • English equivalent: Still waters run deep.
    • Meaning: A person might be taciturn because his head is filled with ambitious thoughts.
    • Majer, Matia (1848). Pravila kako izobraževati ilirsko narečje i u obče slavenski jezik. Natisnil Jožef Blaznik. p. 24. 
  • Tko ne vaze, nema blaga.
    • English equivalent: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    • Meaning: It is necessary to take risks in order to achieve something.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 955. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Tko pod drugim jamu kopa, sam u nju pada.
    • Translation: He who digs a hole under someone else will fall into it himself.
    • Drvodelić (1970). Hrvatskosrpsko-engleski rječnik. Školska Knjiga. p. 227. ISBN 1. 
  • Tko si ne da dokazati, ne može mu se pomoći.
    • Translation: He who can't be advised, can also not be helped.
    • English equivalent: He that will not be counseled cannot be helped.
    • Meaning: Advice often contain a genuine warning or an effective suggestion, which is unprudent not to take into consideration.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 964. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Tko rano rani, dvije sreće grabi.
    • Translation: He who wakes up early, catches two fortunes.
    • English equivalent: The early bird catches the worm.
    • Težak (1998). Teorija i praksa nastave hrvatskoga jezika. Školska Knjiga. p. 235. ISBN 1. 
  • Tko istinu gudi, dobije gudalom po prstima.
    • English equivalent: All truths are not to be told.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 282. ISBN 0415096243. 

U[edit]

  • Uzdaj se u se i u svoje kljuse.
    • Translation: Trust yourself and your horse.
    • English equivalent: Distrust is the mother of safety.
    • Meaning: Trust no one except yourself, and don't trust yourself entirely either; Trust, but verify.
    • Hrvatska misao:. s.n.. 1903. p. 378. ISBN 1. 

V[edit]

  • Velike ribe male proždiru.
    • Translation: Big fish eat little fish.
    • English equivalent: Men are like fish; the great ones devour the small.
    • Meaning: "Small organizations or insignificant people tend to be swallowed up or destroyed by those that are greater and more powerful."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 1 July 2013. 
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 420. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Vrana vrani oci ne kopa .
    • English equivalent: Crows will not pick out Crow's eyes.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 31. ISBN 0415160502. 

Z[edit]

  • Željezo se kuje dok je vruće.
    • English equivalent and translation: Forge while the iron is hot.
    • Anić, Pranjković, Samardžija (1994). Rječnik hrvatskoga jezika. Novi liber. p. 385. ISBN 1. 
  • Zoš je miš koji ima samo jednu rupuma.
    • English equivalent: It is a poor mouse that has only one hole.
    • Meaning: It is dangerous to always depend on just one thing, because if it fails you, you will not have any alternatives.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 375. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Žuri polako.
    • Translation: Make haste slowly.
    • English equivalent: More speed, less haste.
    • Latin equivalent: Festina lente.
    • Meaning: Do your work slowly to make sure it gets thoroughly done.
    • Horvat (1988). Besa: brodski dnevnik. Mladost. p. 25. ISBN 1.