Indian proverbs

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Proverbs from all Indian speaking parts of the world.

Quotes[edit]

  • सौ सोनार की, एक लोहार की (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Sau sunar ki ek luhar ki.
    • A single blow of a blacksmith is equal to a hundred blows of a goldsmith.
    • Meaning: Generally used to demonstrate the power of a strong person to a weak one.
    • Source: John Christian (1891). Behar proverbs. K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & co., limited. p. 131. 
  • வெளுத்ததெல்லாம் பாலல்ல / மின்னுவதெல்லாம் பொன்னல்ல (Tamil)
    • Transliteration: Veluthathellam Paal alla.
    • All the things that are white are not milk.
    • English Equivalent: All that which is white is not milk.
    • (Alternate): All that glitters is not gold
    • Kannada Equivalent: "bellage irodella halalla" (ಬೆಳ್ಳಗೆ ಇರೋದೆಲ್ಲ ಹಾಲಲ್ಲ.)
  • जान है तो जहान है(Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Jaan hai to Jahan Hai.
    • (If) there's life, then there's the world.
    • English equivalent: After us, the deluge.
    • Meaning: Only if you are alive, things matter.
    • Source: Vihārilāla Mitra (1998). The Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha of Vālmīki. Parimal Publications. p. 294. 
  • जंगल में मोर नाचा किस ने देखा ? (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Jangal main mor nacha, kisne dekha?
    • Who saw a peacock dance in the woods?
    • Meaning: Even a very good thing will have to be made public, to be acclaimed by people.
    • Source: India Today Volume 25. Thomson Living Media India Ltd.. 2000. p. viii. 
  • जिस की लाठी उस की भैंस (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Jis ki lathi usi ki bhains.
    • Meaning: Whoever owns the lathi (a huge cane/stick) eventually owns the buffalo.
    • English equivalent: Might is right.
    • Source: S. W. Fallon; Sir Richard Carnac Temple; Faqir Chand (Lala.) (1998). A dictionary of Hindustani proverbs. Asian Educational Services. p. 119. ISBN 978-81-206-0663-0. 
  • जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी ॥
    • Transliteration: Jananee janmabhoomischa swargaadapi gareeyasi. (Sanskrit)
    • One's mother and homeland are greater than even heaven.
    • Source: Ramayana (when Ravana's brother Bibhisan asks Rama to take charge of Lanka after defeating Ravana, Rama says the above words, indicating his willingess to return to his own kingdom)
  • घर का भेदी लंका ढाये (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Ghar ka bhedi lanka dhayey.
    • The insider who knows all the secrets can bring down Lanka (a very prosperous city in Hindu mythology)
    • Meaning: Beware of the insider, for he can bring down the biggest setup (because of his insider knowledge).
    • Bengali equivalent: ঘরের শত্রু বিভীষণ।
    • Source: Sanjay Chadha (2004). Mantras Of Success. Ocean Books (P) Ltd.. p. 89. ISBN 978-81-88322-49-7. 
  • बंदर क्या जाने अदरक का स्वाद (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Bandar kya jaane adark ka swaad.
    • What does a monkey know of the taste of ginger?
    • Meaning: Someone who can't understand can't appreciate (or) Someone without refined tastes cannot appreciate a fine thing.
    • English equivalent: Laying pearls before swine.
    • Bengali equivalent: চাষা কি জানে কর্পূরের গুণChasa ki jane karpurer gun
    • Kannada equivalent: Kattheg enu gotthu Kasthuri parimala (A donkey would not know the scent of Kasthuri)
    • Malayalam equivalent: Nallathe ariyo nayike (Does the dog know what's good)
    • Marathi equivalent: गाढवाला गुळाची चव कायGaadhavala gulaachi chav kay (A donkey cannot appreciate the taste of jaggery)
    • Tamil equivalent: கழுதைக்குத் தெரியுமா கற்பூர வாசனை ? - Kazhudaikku theriyuma karpoora vaasanai? (What does Donkey know about the odor of Camphor?)
    • Telugu equivalent: Gadida kemi thelusu Gandapu vasana (or) Pandi kemi thelusu panneru vasana.
    • గాడిదకేం తెలుసు గంధపు వాసన? (లేదా)పందికేం తెలుసు పన్నీరు వాసన?
    • Source: Henk W. Wagenaar; S. S. Parikh; D. F. Plukker (1993). Allied Chambers transliterated Hindi-Hindi-English dictionary. Allied Publishers. p. 79. ISBN 978-81-86062-10-4. 
  • अब पछताए होत क्या जब चिड़िया चुग गई खेत (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Ab pachhtaaye hote kya, jab chidiya chug gayi khet?’’
    • What is the use of crying when the birds ate the whole farm?
    • Meaning: There is no use crying over something that has already finished/happened.
    • English equivalent: There is no use crying over spillt milk.
    • Telugu equivalent: Chethulu kalaka akulu pattukunnattu
    • Sanskrit equivalent: गोतोस्यो सोचोन नास्ति (यथा कर्मो तथा सस्ति)
    • Source: Shyam Bahadur Varma, ed (2006). Encyclopaedia of Quotations. Prabhat Prakashan. p. 96. 
  • नौ सौ चूहे खाके बिल्ली हज को चली (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Nau sau chuhe khake billi haj ko chali.
    • After eating 900 hundred rats, the cat goes to Hajj.
    • Source: (2007)"[1]". Indian Literature 51 (240-242). Retrieved on 2012-02-01.</ref>
  • आसमान से गिरे खजूर में अटके (Hindi)
    • Literal: Fell from the sky, got stuck in a date palm.
    • English equivalent: From the frying pan into the fire.
    • Meaning: While trying to avoid a a bad situation one might end up in an even worse situation.
    • Marathi equivalent: Aagitun fufaatyaat padane. आगीतून फुफाट्यात पडणे
    • Tamil equivalent: வாணலிக்குத் தப்பி அடுப்பில் விழுந்தது போல (vANalikkuth thappi aduppil vizhundhathu pOla)
    • Telugu equivalent: Anna prasanannpude avakayi annam pettaru.
    • Literal: A child is not fed with pickled rice at the time of naming ceremony.
    • Baṛāyauda (1987). Jonokākajiko oṛoh kaji raah jugutuko. Jhārakhaṇḍa Pablikesansa. p. 1. 

ಆರು ಕಾಸಿನ ಸಂಬಳ ಆದರೂ, ಅರಮನೆಯ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡು

aaru kaasina saMbaLa aadarU, aramaneya kelasa maaDu

Literal: Even if the salary is worth six penny be employed in the palace

Meaning: Always do a respectable job, although there is less monetary benefit.

ಆಲಸ್ಯಾತ್ ಅಮೃತಂ ವಿಷಂ

aalasyaat aMrutaM viShaM

Literal: By delay nectar is (=turns into) poison.

Meaning: Opportunity unavailed becomes harmful. One should not delay.

Equivalent: Idleness is the root of all evil

ಆರುವ ದೀಪಕ್ಕೆ ಕಾಂತಿ ಹೆಚ್ಚು

aaruva dIpakke kaaMti heccu

Literal: a dying out flame dazzles more

Meaning: This suggests subtly the final glow or false promise before the approaching end.

ಅಪ್ಪನ ಮಾತು, ಆನೆಯ ಬಲ

appana maatu, aaneya bala

Literal: father's approval [provides one with] the strength of an elephant [morally].

ಅಣ್ಣ ತಮ್ಮನ ಬೇರೆ ಮಾಡ ಬೇಡ

aNNa tammana bEre maaDa bEDa

Literal: don't part two brothers.

ಆರೊಗ್ಯವೇ ಭಾಗ್ಯ

aarOgyavE bhaagya

Literal: Health is wealth.

Meaning: In one’s life, health is more essential than material wealth and so it should not be neglected.

ಅಲ್ಪನಿಗೆ ಐಶ್ವರ್ಯ ಬಂದರೆ ಅರ್ಧ ರಾತ್ರೀಲಿ ಕೊಡೆ ಹಿಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ

alpanige aishwarya baMdare ardha raatrIli koDe hiDisikoMDa

Literal: if an inferior gets riches, he demands an umbrella to be held over his head at midnight

Meaning: this is indirect way of saying a person should be poised and should maintain his emotional balance, when fortune smiles on him.

Equivalent: No pride like that of a enriched begger

ಅಳಿವುದೇ ಕಾಯ ಉಳಿವುದೇ ಕೀರ್ತಿ

aLivudE kaaya uLivudE kIrti

Literal: the body dies, the fame lives.

Meaning: the acquired name and fame of a person lives longer than the self.

ಅಳಿಯ ಅಲ್ಲ ಮಗಳ ಗಂಡ

aLiya alla magaLa gaMDa

Literal: [he is] not my Son-in-law, but my daughter's husband.

Meaning: The fact does not change by saying it in a different way.

ಆಡಿದರೆ ಅರಗಿಣಿ ಕಾಡಿದರೆ ನಾಗರ ಕಾಟ

aaDidare aragiNi kaaDidare naagara kaaTa

Literal: if you act out you are a royal parrot, if annoyed, you bother like a cobra

Meaning: when things are fine you are excellent companion, the moment it goes wrong you are like a serpent

ಅಳೋ ಗಂಡ್ಸನ್ನು ನಗೋ ಹೆಂಗ್ಸನ್ನು ನಂಬಬಾರದು

aLO gaMD'sannu nagO heMg'sannu naMbabaaradu

Literal: never believe a man who is cry-prone nor a female who is smile-prone

Meaning: Do not believe a man who cries for everthing and similarly a lady who smiles things away.

ಅಯ್ಯೋ ಪಾಪ! ಅಂದ್ರೆ ಅರ್ಧ ಆಯಸ್ಸು

ayyO paapa aMdre ardha aayassu

Literal: if you pity [on somebody], [you have] half life.

Meaning: show pity on someone your lifespan will be cut short i.e., you spend half your life worrying about it.

Meaning: Don't be kind to one and everyone, some times people take you for a ride

ಆಡುವವ ಆಡಿದ್ರೆ ನೋಡುವವಗೆ ಸಿಗ್ಗು

aaDuvava aaDidre nODuvavage siggu

Literal: If an actor enacts [indecently/without inhibitions], the spectator is ashamed

Meaning: an actor may perform to the embarrassment of the spectator

ಅಂಜಿದವನ ಮೇಲೆ ಕಪ್ಪೆ ಹಾರಿದಂಗೆ

aMjidavana mEle kappe haaridaMge

Literal: It's like frog jumping on a person who is already afraid (of it).

ಅಲ್ಲದ ಕನಸು ಕಂಡರೆ ಎದ್ದು ಕುಂಡ್ರು.

allada kanasu kaMDare eddu kuMDru

Literal: if you see a negative dream, get up and sit.

Meaning: wake up to the alaraming calls

ಅಡ್ಡ ಗೋಡೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ದೀಪ ಇಟ್ಟ ಹಾಗೆ

aDDa gODeya mEle dIpa iTTa hAge

Literal: It is like placing a lamp atop a partitioning wall.

Equivalent: He is as undecided as an orphan: if he does not wash his hands, he is called dirty, if he does, he is wasting water.

Usage: This is said of people who refuse to take sides (/ take a stand). Sometimes, it is used in the negative sense to chide people who are indecisive.

ಆರು ಕೊಟ್ಟರೆ ಅತ್ತೆ ಕಡೆ, ಮೂರು ಕೊಟ್ಟರೆ ಸೊಸೆ ಕಡೆ

aaru koTTare atte kaDe, mUru koTTare sose kaDe

Literal: Give him six denominations he sides with mother-in law (backs her up), give him three denominations he sides with daughter-in-law (backs her up).

ಅಡಿಕೆಗೆ ಹೋದ ಮಾನ ಆನೆ ಕೊಟ್ಟರೂ ಬರದು

aDikege hOda maana aane koTTarU baradu

Literal: The reputation lost on a betelnut won't comeback though you donate an elephant.

Meaning: The reputation lost on trivial things cannot be regained by donating big alms.

Equivalent: A wounded reputation is seldom cured

ಅಜ್ಜಿಗೆ ಅರಿವೆಯ ಚಿಂತೆ, ಮೊಮ್ಮಗಳಿಗೆ ಕಜ್ಜಾಯದ ಚಿಂತೆ

ajjige ariveya chinte, mommagaLige kajjaayada chinte

Literal: Grandma is worried about her worn out dress; the Granddaughter worried about having a sweet dish.

Meaning: This is said of irresponsible youngsters who expect a lot from parents who struggle to make ends meet. Used to stress the importance of prioritizing.

Equivalent: Every heart has its own ache

ಅಕ್ಕಿಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಆಸೆ, ನೆ೦ಟರ ಮೇಲೆ ಪ್ರೀತಿ

akkiya mEle aase, neMTara mEle prIti

Literal: She has desire for rice(likes saving it) and has love for her relatives too.

Equivalent: you cannot have a cake and eat it too.

Equivalent: I love you well but touch not my pocket

ಅ೦ಬಲಿ ಕುಡಿಯುವವನಿಗೆ ಮೀಸೆ ಹಿಡಿಯುವವ ಒಬ್ಬ

aMbali kuDiyuvavanige mIse tikkuvanobba

Literal: For the one who drinks porridge, [there is] a person to hold moustache.

Meaning: The one who subsists on porridge, has got an attender to trim his moustache.

Usage: This is said of people who live beyond their means.

Equivalent: Nothing agrees worse than a proud mind and a begger's purse

Equivalent: Little roast great boast

ಅ೦ತೂ ಇಂತೂ ಕು೦ತಿ ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೆ ರಾಜ್ಯ ಇಲ್ಲ.

aMtU iMtu kuMti makkaLige eMtU rajyavilla

Literal: somehow Kunti's sons have got no state [to rule].

Usage: This proverb is reserved for unlucky ones who never make it however they struggle.

history: The Pandavas, sons of Kunti, spent their childhood and youth in exile. After they finally won the great battle of Mahabharata there was nothing to rule but a ghost kingdom.

ಅತ್ತೆಗೊ೦ದು ಕಾಲ; ಸೊಸೆಗೊ೦ದು ಕಾಲ

attegondu kaala; sosegondu kaala

Literal: [There is] a time for mother-in-law and a time for daughter-in-law.

Usage: The image of the mother-in-law who ruled the roost in joint families with a vengeance to make up for the indignities suffered during her daughter-in-law days is evident here.

Equivalent: Every dog has his day

ಆಸೆಯೇ ದುಃಖಕ್ಕೆ ಮೂಲ

aaseyE duHKakke mUla

Literal: greed is the rootcause of sorrow.

ಆಳ್ ಮೇಲ್ ಆಳ್ ಬಿದ್ದು ಗೋಣು ಬರಿದಾಯ್ತು

aaL mEl aaL biddu gONu baridaaytu

(= ಒಬ್ಬರು ಮತ್ತೊಬ್ಬರ ಮೇಲೆ ಹೊಣೆ ಹೊರಿಸಿ, ಹೊಣೆ ಹೊರಲು ಒಬ್ಬರು ಇಲ್ಲ) (ಆಳ್ = ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿ ; ಗೋಣು = ಕುತ್ತಿಗೆಯ ಹಿಂಭಾಗ, ಹೊರೆ ಹೊರಲು ಬಳಸುವ ಹೆಗಲಿನ ಭಾಗ)

Literal: [each] servant turn(fell) on [the other] servant and the shoulder/s [which were supposed to share owner's burden] cleared out!

Meaning: This is said referring to a group of individuals.[When occassion called for taking up the responsibility,] Each individual passed the buck to the other individual and there was none left to shoulder the responsibility.

ಅರಿಯದೆ ಮಾಡಿದ ಪಾಪ ಅರಿತಂದು ಪರಿಹಾರ

ariyade maaDida paapa aritandu parihaara

Literal: a sin did without realizing is cured when you realize it.

Meaning: a sin committed out of mistake could be rectified when you look back on it.

Equivalent: a fault confessed is half redressed

ಅಕ್ಕರೆಯಿದ್ದಲ್ಲಿ ದುಃಖವುಂಟು

akkareyiddalli duHKavunTu

Literal: where there is love, there is grief.

Meaning: love accompanies grief.

ಅಕ್ಕನ ಚಿನ್ನವಾದ್ರೂ ಅಕ್ಕಸಾಲಿ ಟೊಣೆಯದೆ(=ಕದಿಯದೆ) ಬಿಡ

akkana cinnavAdrU akkasAli ToNeyade(=kadiyade) biDa

Literal: Though the gold belogs to his own sister, a goldsmith wouldn't let it without swindling

Equivalent: I would cheat my own father at cards.

ಆಯಕಟ್ಟು ಇಲ್ಲದವನಿಗೆ ಆರುಕಟ್ಟು ವಿಭೂತಿ

aaya-kaTTu illadavanige aaru-kaTTu vibhUti

Literal: a person with no physique/vitality/propriety has six packs of holy-ash [i.e., he would resort to a consecrated ointment to ward off any harm/danger to himself]

Meaning: no fighting spirit would make a man [pseudo] religious

ಅವನು ಸಗಣಿ ತಿಂತಾನೆ, ನೀನೂ ತಿಂತೀಯಾ?

avanu sagaNi tiMtaane, nInU tiMtIyaa?

Literal: He eats dung, would you eat it too?

Meaning: Don't follow others blindly.

ಅಡಿಗೆ ಬಿದ್ದರೂ ಮೂಗು ಮೇಲೆ

aDige biddarU mUgu mEle

Literal: though he fell to the feet, his nose is above the feet [i.e., his nose is not touching the feet]

Equivalent: Though vanquished, he could still argue.


  • बूँद-बूँद से घड़ा भरता है (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Boond-boond se ghara bharta hai.
    • It takes drop by drop to fill a pitcher.
    • English equivalent: Constant dropping wears away the stone.

See also[edit]

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NOTICE: This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.


Proverbs from all Indian speaking parts of the world.

Quotes[edit]

  • सौ सोनार की, एक लोहार की (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Sau sunar ki ek lauhar ki.
    • A single blow of a blacksmith is equal to a hundred blows of a goldsmith.
    • Meaning: Generally used to demonstrate the power of a strong person to a weak one.
    • Source: John Christian (1891). Behar proverbs. K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & co., limited. p. 131. 
  • வெளுத்ததெல்லாம் பாலல்ல / மின்னுவதெல்லாம் பொன்னல்ல (Tamil)
    • Transliteration: Veluthathellam Paal alla.
    • All the things that are white are not milk.
    • English Equivalent: All that which is white is not milk.
    • (Alternate): All that glitters is not gold
    • Kannada Equivalent: "bellage irodella halalla" (ಬೆಳ್ಳಗೆ ಇರೋದೆಲ್ಲ ಹಾಲಲ್ಲ.)
  • जान है तो जहान है(Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Jaan hai to Jahan Hai.
    • (If) there's life, then there's the world.
    • English equivalent: After us, the deluge.
    • Meaning: Only if you are alive, things matter.
    • Source: Vihārilāla Mitra (1998). The Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha of Vālmīki. Parimal Publications. p. 294. 
  • जंगल में मोर नाचा किस ने देखा ? (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Jangal main mor nacha, kisne dekha?
    • Who saw a peacock dance in the woods?
    • Meaning: Even a very good thing will have to be made public, to be acclaimed by people.
    • Source: India Today Volume 25. Thomson Living Media India Ltd.. 2000. p. viii. 
  • जिस की लाठी उस की भैंस (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Jis ki lathi usi ki bhains.
    • Meaning: Whoever owns the lathi (a huge cane/stick) eventually owns the buffalo.
    • English equivalent: Might is right.
    • Source: S. W. Fallon; Sir Richard Carnac Temple; Faqir Chand (Lala.) (1998). A dictionary of Hindustani proverbs. Asian Educational Services. p. 119. ISBN 978-81-206-0663-0. 
  • जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी ॥
    • Transliteration: Jananee janmabhoomischa swargaadapi gareeyasi. (Sanskrit)
    • One's mother and homeland are greater than even heaven.
    • Source: Ramayana (when Ravana's brother Bibhisan asks Rama to take charge of Lanka after defeating Ravana, Rama says the above words, indicating his willingess to return to his own kingdom)
  • घर का भेदी लंका ढाये (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Ghar ka bhedi lanka dhayey.
    • The insider who knows all the secrets can bring down Lanka (a very prosperous city in Hindu mythology)
    • Meaning: Beware of the insider, for he can bring down the biggest setup (because of his insider knowledge).
    • Bengali equivalent: ঘরের শত্রু বিভীষণ।
  • बंदर क्या जाने अदरक का स्वाद (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Bandar kya jaane adark ka swaad.
    • What does a monkey know of the taste of ginger?
    • Meaning: Someone who can't understand can't appreciate (or) Someone without refined tastes cannot appreciate a fine thing.
    • English equivalent: Laying pearls before swine.
    • Bengali equivalent: চাষা কি জানে কর্পূরের গুণChasa ki jane karpurer gun
    • Kannada equivalent: Kattheg enu gotthu Kasthuri parimala (A donkey would not know the scent of Kasthuri)
    • Malayalam equivalent: Nallathe ariyo nayike (Does the dog know what's good)
    • Marathi equivalent: गाढवाला गुळाची चव कायGaadhavala gulaachi chav kay (A donkey cannot appreciate the taste of jaggery)
    • Tamil equivalent: கழுதைக்குத் தெரியுமா கற்பூர வாசனை ? - Kazhudaikku theriyuma karpoora vaasanai? (What does Donkey know about the odor of Camphor?)
    • Telugu equivalent: Gadida kemi thelusu Gandapu vasana (or) Pandi kemi thelusu panneru vasana.
    • గాడిదకేం తెలుసు గంధపు వాసన? (లేదా)పందికేం తెలుసు పన్నీరు వాసన?
    • Source: Henk W. Wagenaar; S. S. Parikh; D. F. Plukker (1993). Allied Chambers transliterated Hindi-Hindi-English dictionary. Allied Publishers. p. 79. ISBN 978-81-86062-10-4. 
  • अब पछताए होत क्या जब चिड़िया चुग गई खेत (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Ab pachhtaaye hote kya, jab chidiya chug gayi khet?’’
    • What is the use of crying when the birds ate the whole farm?
    • Meaning: There is no use crying over something that has already finished/happened.
    • English equivalent: There is no use crying over spillt milk.
    • Telugu equivalent: Chethulu kalaka akulu pattukunnattu
    • Sanskrit equivalent: गोतोस्यो सोचोन नास्ति (यथा कर्मो तथा सस्ति)
    • Source: Shyam Bahadur Varma, ed (2006). Encyclopaedia of Quotations. Prabhat Prakashan. p. 96. 
  • नौ सौ चूहे खाके बिल्ली हज को चली (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Nau sau chuhe khake billi haj ko chali.
    • After eating 900 hundred rats, the cat goes to Hajj.
    • Source: (2007)"[2]". Indian Literature 51 (240-242). Retrieved on 2012-02-01.</ref>
  • आसमान से गिरे खजूर में अटके (Hindi)
    • Literal: Fell from the sky, got stuck in a date palm.
    • English equivalent: From the frying pan into the fire.
    • Meaning: While trying to avoid a a bad situation one might end up in an even worse situation.
    • Marathi equivalent: Aagitun fufaatyaat padane. आगीतून फुफाट्यात पडणे
    • Tamil equivalent: வாணலிக்குத் தப்பி அடுப்பில் விழுந்தது போல (vANalikkuth thappi aduppil vizhundhathu pOla)
    • Telugu equivalent: Anna prasanannpude avakayi annam pettaru.
    • Literal: A child is not fed with pickled rice at the time of naming ceremony.
    • Baṛāyauda (1987). Jonokākajiko oṛoh kaji raah jugutuko. Jhārakhaṇḍa Pablikesansa. p. 1. 

ಆರು ಕಾಸಿನ ಸಂಬಳ ಆದರೂ, ಅರಮನೆಯ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡು

aaru kaasina saMbaLa aadarU, aramaneya kelasa maaDu

Literal: Even if the salary is worth six penny be employed in the palace

Meaning: Always do a respectable job, although there is less monetary benefit.

ಆಲಸ್ಯಾತ್ ಅಮೃತಂ ವಿಷಂ

aalasyaat aMrutaM viShaM

Literal: By delay nectar is (=turns into) poison.

Meaning: Opportunity unavailed becomes harmful. One should not delay.

Equivalent: Idleness is the root of all evil

ಆರುವ ದೀಪಕ್ಕೆ ಕಾಂತಿ ಹೆಚ್ಚು

aaruva dIpakke kaaMti heccu

Literal: a dying out flame dazzles more

Meaning: This suggests subtly the final glow or false promise before the approaching end.

ಅಪ್ಪನ ಮಾತು, ಆನೆಯ ಬಲ

appana maatu, aaneya bala

Literal: father's approval [provides one with] the strength of an elephant [morally].

ಅಣ್ಣ ತಮ್ಮನ ಬೇರೆ ಮಾಡ ಬೇಡ

aNNa tammana bEre maaDa bEDa

Literal: don't part two brothers.

ಆರೊಗ್ಯವೇ ಭಾಗ್ಯ

aarOgyavE bhaagya

Literal: Health is wealth.

Meaning: In one’s life, health is more essential than material wealth and so it should not be neglected.

ಅಲ್ಪನಿಗೆ ಐಶ್ವರ್ಯ ಬಂದರೆ ಅರ್ಧ ರಾತ್ರೀಲಿ ಕೊಡೆ ಹಿಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ

alpanige aishwarya baMdare ardha raatrIli koDe hiDisikoMDa

Literal: if an inferior gets riches, he demands an umbrella to be held over his head at midnight

Meaning: this is indirect way of saying a person should be poised and should maintain his emotional balance, when fortune smiles on him.

Equivalent: No pride like that of a enriched begger

ಅಳಿವುದೇ ಕಾಯ ಉಳಿವುದೇ ಕೀರ್ತಿ

aLivudE kaaya uLivudE kIrti

Literal: the body dies, the fame lives.

Meaning: the acquired name and fame of a person lives longer than the self.

ಅಳಿಯ ಅಲ್ಲ ಮಗಳ ಗಂಡ

aLiya alla magaLa gaMDa

Literal: [he is] not my Son-in-law, but my daughter's husband.

Meaning: The fact does not change by saying it in a different way.

ಆಡಿದರೆ ಅರಗಿಣಿ ಕಾಡಿದರೆ ನಾಗರ ಕಾಟ

aaDidare aragiNi kaaDidare naagara kaaTa

Literal: if you act out you are a royal parrot, if annoyed, you bother like a cobra

Meaning: when things are fine you are excellent companion, the moment it goes wrong you are like a serpent

ಅಳೋ ಗಂಡ್ಸನ್ನು ನಗೋ ಹೆಂಗ್ಸನ್ನು ನಂಬಬಾರದು

aLO gaMD'sannu nagO heMg'sannu naMbabaaradu

Literal: never believe a man who is cry-prone nor a female who is smile-prone

Meaning: Do not believe a man who cries for everthing and similarly a lady who smiles things away.

ಅಯ್ಯೋ ಪಾಪ! ಅಂದ್ರೆ ಅರ್ಧ ಆಯಸ್ಸು

ayyO paapa aMdre ardha aayassu

Literal: if you pity [on somebody], [you have] half life.

Meaning: show pity on someone your lifespan will be cut short i.e., you spend half your life worrying about it.

Meaning: Don't be kind to one and everyone, some times people take you for a ride

ಆಡುವವ ಆಡಿದ್ರೆ ನೋಡುವವಗೆ ಸಿಗ್ಗು

aaDuvava aaDidre nODuvavage siggu

Literal: If an actor enacts [indecently/without inhibitions], the spectator is ashamed

Meaning: an actor may perform to the embarrassment of the spectator

ಅಂಜಿದವನ ಮೇಲೆ ಕಪ್ಪೆ ಹಾರಿದಂಗೆ

aMjidavana mEle kappe haaridaMge

Literal: It's like frog jumping on a person who is already afraid (of it).

ಅಲ್ಲದ ಕನಸು ಕಂಡರೆ ಎದ್ದು ಕುಂಡ್ರು.

allada kanasu kaMDare eddu kuMDru

Literal: if you see a negative dream, get up and sit.

Meaning: wake up to the alaraming calls

ಅಡ್ಡ ಗೋಡೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ದೀಪ ಇಟ್ಟ ಹಾಗೆ

aDDa gODeya mEle dIpa iTTa hAge

Literal: It is like placing a lamp atop a partitioning wall.

Equivalent: He is as undecided as an orphan: if he does not wash his hands, he is called dirty, if he does, he is wasting water.

Usage: This is said of people who refuse to take sides (/ take a stand). Sometimes, it is used in the negative sense to chide people who are indecisive.

ಆರು ಕೊಟ್ಟರೆ ಅತ್ತೆ ಕಡೆ, ಮೂರು ಕೊಟ್ಟರೆ ಸೊಸೆ ಕಡೆ

aaru koTTare atte kaDe, mUru koTTare sose kaDe

Literal: Give him six denominations he sides with mother-in law (backs her up), give him three denominations he sides with daughter-in-law (backs her up).

ಅಡಿಕೆಗೆ ಹೋದ ಮಾನ ಆನೆ ಕೊಟ್ಟರೂ ಬರದು

aDikege hOda maana aane koTTarU baradu

Literal: The reputation lost on a betelnut won't comeback though you donate an elephant.

Meaning: The reputation lost on trivial things cannot be regained by donating big alms.

Equivalent: A wounded reputation is seldom cured

ಅಜ್ಜಿಗೆ ಅರಿವೆಯ ಚಿಂತೆ, ಮೊಮ್ಮಗಳಿಗೆ ಕಜ್ಜಾಯದ ಚಿಂತೆ

ajjige ariveya chinte, mommagaLige kajjaayada chinte

Literal: Grandma is worried about her worn out dress; the Granddaughter worried about having a sweet dish.

Meaning: This is said of irresponsible youngsters who expect a lot from parents who struggle to make ends meet. Used to stress the importance of prioritizing.

Equivalent: Every heart has its own ache

ಅಕ್ಕಿಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಆಸೆ, ನೆ೦ಟರ ಮೇಲೆ ಪ್ರೀತಿ

akkiya mEle aase, neMTara mEle prIti

Literal: She has desire for rice(likes saving it) and has love for her relatives too.

Equivalent: you cannot have a cake and eat it too.

Equivalent: I love you well but touch not my pocket

ಅ೦ಬಲಿ ಕುಡಿಯುವವನಿಗೆ ಮೀಸೆ ಹಿಡಿಯುವವ ಒಬ್ಬ

aMbali kuDiyuvavanige mIse tikkuvanobba

Literal: For the one who drinks porridge, [there is] a person to hold moustache.

Meaning: The one who subsists on porridge, has got an attender to trim his moustache.

Usage: This is said of people who live beyond their means.

Equivalent: Nothing agrees worse than a proud mind and a begger's purse

Equivalent: Little roast great boast

ಅ೦ತೂ ಇಂತೂ ಕು೦ತಿ ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೆ ರಾಜ್ಯ ಇಲ್ಲ.

aMtU iMtu kuMti makkaLige eMtU rajyavilla

Literal: somehow Kunti's sons have got no state [to rule].

Usage: This proverb is reserved for unlucky ones who never make it however they struggle.

history: The Pandavas, sons of Kunti, spent their childhood and youth in exile. After they finally won the great battle of Mahabharata there was nothing to rule but a ghost kingdom.

ಅತ್ತೆಗೊ೦ದು ಕಾಲ; ಸೊಸೆಗೊ೦ದು ಕಾಲ

attegondu kaala; sosegondu kaala

Literal: [There is] a time for mother-in-law and a time for daughter-in-law.

Usage: The image of the mother-in-law who ruled the roost in joint families with a vengeance to make up for the indignities suffered during her daughter-in-law days is evident here.

Equivalent: Every dog has his day

ಆಸೆಯೇ ದುಃಖಕ್ಕೆ ಮೂಲ

aaseyE duHKakke mUla

Literal: greed is the rootcause of sorrow.

ಆಳ್ ಮೇಲ್ ಆಳ್ ಬಿದ್ದು ಗೋಣು ಬರಿದಾಯ್ತು

aaL mEl aaL biddu gONu baridaaytu

(= ಒಬ್ಬರು ಮತ್ತೊಬ್ಬರ ಮೇಲೆ ಹೊಣೆ ಹೊರಿಸಿ, ಹೊಣೆ ಹೊರಲು ಒಬ್ಬರು ಇಲ್ಲ) (ಆಳ್ = ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿ ; ಗೋಣು = ಕುತ್ತಿಗೆಯ ಹಿಂಭಾಗ, ಹೊರೆ ಹೊರಲು ಬಳಸುವ ಹೆಗಲಿನ ಭಾಗ)

Literal: [each] servant turn(fell) on [the other] servant and the shoulder/s [which were supposed to share owner's burden] cleared out!

Meaning: This is said referring to a group of individuals.[When occassion called for taking up the responsibility,] Each individual passed the buck to the other individual and there was none left to shoulder the responsibility.

ಅರಿಯದೆ ಮಾಡಿದ ಪಾಪ ಅರಿತಂದು ಪರಿಹಾರ

ariyade maaDida paapa aritandu parihaara

Literal: a sin did without realizing is cured when you realize it.

Meaning: a sin committed out of mistake could be rectified when you look back on it.

Equivalent: a fault confessed is half redressed

ಅಕ್ಕರೆಯಿದ್ದಲ್ಲಿ ದುಃಖವುಂಟು

akkareyiddalli duHKavunTu

Literal: where there is love, there is grief.

Meaning: love accompanies grief.

ಅಕ್ಕನ ಚಿನ್ನವಾದ್ರೂ ಅಕ್ಕಸಾಲಿ ಟೊಣೆಯದೆ(=ಕದಿಯದೆ) ಬಿಡ

akkana cinnavAdrU akkasAli ToNeyade(=kadiyade) biDa

Literal: Though the gold belogs to his own sister, a goldsmith wouldn't let it without swindling

Equivalent: I would cheat my own father at cards.

ಆಯಕಟ್ಟು ಇಲ್ಲದವನಿಗೆ ಆರುಕಟ್ಟು ವಿಭೂತಿ

aaya-kaTTu illadavanige aaru-kaTTu vibhUti

Literal: a person with no physique/vitality/propriety has six packs of holy-ash [i.e., he would resort to a consecrated ointment to ward off any harm/danger to himself]

Meaning: no fighting spirit would make a man [pseudo] religious

ಅವನು ಸಗಣಿ ತಿಂತಾನೆ, ನೀನೂ ತಿಂತೀಯಾ?

avanu sagaNi tiMtaane, nInU tiMtIyaa?

Literal: He eats dung, would you eat it too?

Meaning: Don't follow others blindly.

ಅಡಿಗೆ ಬಿದ್ದರೂ ಮೂಗು ಮೇಲೆ

aDige biddarU mUgu mEle

Literal: though he fell to the feet, his nose is above the feet [i.e., his nose is not touching the feet]

Equivalent: Though vanquished, he could still argue.


  • बूँद-बूँद से घड़ा भरता है (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Boond-boond se ghara bharta hai.
    • It takes drop by drop to fill a pitcher.
    • English equivalent: Constant dropping wears away the stone.
    • Meaning: "A steady effort can achieve, little by little, a great effect, as many drops do by gradually dissolving and eroding the stone."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "71". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 349. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 

See also[edit]

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Proverbs from all Indian speaking parts of the world.

Quotes[edit]

  • सौ सोनार की, एक लोहार की (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Sau sunar ki ek lauhar ki.
    • A single blow of a blacksmith is equal to a hundred blows of a goldsmith.
    • Meaning: Generally used to demonstrate the power of a strong person to a weak one.
    • Source: John Christian (1891). Behar proverbs. K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & co., limited. p. 131. 
  • வெளுத்ததெல்லாம் பாலல்ல / மின்னுவதெல்லாம் பொன்னல்ல (Tamil)
    • Transliteration: Veluthathellam Paal alla.
    • All the things that are white are not milk.
    • English Equivalent: All that which is white is not milk.
    • (Alternate): All that glitters is not gold
    • Kannada Equivalent: "bellage irodella halalla" (ಬೆಳ್ಳಗೆ ಇರೋದೆಲ್ಲ ಹಾಲಲ್ಲ.)
  • जान है तो जहान है(Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Jaan hai to Jahan Hai.
    • (If) there's life, then there's the world.
    • English equivalent: After us, the deluge.
    • Meaning: Only if you are alive, things matter.
    • Source: Vihārilāla Mitra (1998). The Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha of Vālmīki. Parimal Publications. p. 294. 
  • जंगल में मोर नाचा किस ने देखा ? (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Jangal main mor nacha, kisne dekha?
    • Who saw a peacock dance in the woods?
    • Meaning: Even a very good thing will have to be made public, to be acclaimed by people.
    • Source: India Today Volume 25. Thomson Living Media India Ltd.. 2000. p. viii. 
  • जिस की लाठी उस की भैंस (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Jis ki lathi usi ki bhains.
    • Meaning: Whoever owns the lathi (a huge cane/stick) eventually owns the buffalo.
    • English equivalent: Might is right.
    • Source: S. W. Fallon; Sir Richard Carnac Temple; Faqir Chand (Lala.) (1998). A dictionary of Hindustani proverbs. Asian Educational Services. p. 119. ISBN 978-81-206-0663-0. 
  • जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी ॥
    • Transliteration: Jananee janmabhoomischa swargaadapi gareeyasi. (Sanskrit)
    • One's mother and homeland are greater than even heaven.
    • Source: Ramayana (when Ravana's brother Bibhisan asks Rama to take charge of Lanka after defeating Ravana, Rama says the above words, indicating his willingess to return to his own kingdom)
  • घर का भेदी लंका ढाये (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Ghar ka bhedi lanka dhayey.
    • The insider who knows all the secrets can bring down Lanka (a very prosperous city in Hindu mythology)
    • Meaning: Beware of the insider, for he can bring down the biggest setup (because of his insider knowledge).
    • Bengali equivalent: ঘরের শত্রু বিভীষণ।
  • बंदर क्या जाने अदरक का स्वाद (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Bandar kya jaane adark ka swaad.
    • What does a monkey know of the taste of ginger?
    • Meaning: Someone who can't understand can't appreciate (or) Someone without refined tastes cannot appreciate a fine thing.
    • English equivalent: Laying pearls before swine.
    • Bengali equivalent: চাষা কি জানে কর্পূরের গুণChasa ki jane karpurer gun
    • Kannada equivalent: Kattheg enu gotthu Kasthuri parimala (A donkey would not know the scent of Kasthuri)
    • Malayalam equivalent: Nallathe ariyo nayike (Does the dog know what's good)
    • Marathi equivalent: गाढवाला गुळाची चव कायGaadhavala gulaachi chav kay (A donkey cannot appreciate the taste of jaggery)
    • Tamil equivalent: கழுதைக்குத் தெரியுமா கற்பூர வாசனை ? - Kazhudaikku theriyuma karpoora vaasanai? (What does Donkey know about the odor of Camphor?)
    • Telugu equivalent: Gadida kemi thelusu Gandapu vasana (or) Pandi kemi thelusu panneru vasana.
    • గాడిదకేం తెలుసు గంధపు వాసన? (లేదా)పందికేం తెలుసు పన్నీరు వాసన?
    • Source: Henk W. Wagenaar; S. S. Parikh; D. F. Plukker (1993). Allied Chambers transliterated Hindi-Hindi-English dictionary. Allied Publishers. p. 79. ISBN 978-81-86062-10-4. 
  • अब पछताए होत क्या जब चिड़िया चुग गई खेत (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Ab pachhtaaye hote kya, jab chidiya chug gayi khet?’’
    • What is the use of crying when the birds ate the whole farm?
    • Meaning: There is no use crying over something that has already finished/happened.
    • English equivalent: There is no use crying over spillt milk.
    • Telugu equivalent: Chethulu kalaka akulu pattukunnattu
    • Sanskrit equivalent: गोतोस्यो सोचोन नास्ति (यथा कर्मो तथा सस्ति)
    • Source: Shyam Bahadur Varma, ed (2006). Encyclopaedia of Quotations. Prabhat Prakashan. p. 96. 
  • नौ सौ चूहे खाके बिल्ली हज को चली (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Nau sau chuhe khake billi haj ko chali.
    • After eating 900 hundred rats, the cat goes to Hajj.
    • Source: (2007)"[3]". Indian Literature 51 (240-242). Retrieved on 2012-02-01.</ref>
  • आसमान से गिरे खजूर में अटके (Hindi)
    • Literal: Fell from the sky, got stuck in a date palm.
    • English equivalent: From the frying pan into the fire.
    • Meaning: While trying to avoid a a bad situation one might end up in an even worse situation.
    • Marathi equivalent: Aagitun fufaatyaat padane. आगीतून फुफाट्यात पडणे
    • Tamil equivalent: வாணலிக்குத் தப்பி அடுப்பில் விழுந்தது போல (vANalikkuth thappi aduppil vizhundhathu pOla)
    • Telugu equivalent: Anna prasanannpude avakayi annam pettaru.
    • Literal: A child is not fed with pickled rice at the time of naming ceremony.
    • Baṛāyauda (1987). Jonokākajiko oṛoh kaji raah jugutuko. Jhārakhaṇḍa Pablikesansa. p. 1. 

ಆರು ಕಾಸಿನ ಸಂಬಳ ಆದರೂ, ಅರಮನೆಯ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡು

aaru kaasina saMbaLa aadarU, aramaneya kelasa maaDu

Literal: Even if the salary is worth six penny be employed in the palace

Meaning: Always do a respectable job, although there is less monetary benefit.

ಆಲಸ್ಯಾತ್ ಅಮೃತಂ ವಿಷಂ

aalasyaat aMrutaM viShaM

Literal: By delay nectar is (=turns into) poison.

Meaning: Opportunity unavailed becomes harmful. One should not delay.

Equivalent: Idleness is the root of all evil

ಆರುವ ದೀಪಕ್ಕೆ ಕಾಂತಿ ಹೆಚ್ಚು

aaruva dIpakke kaaMti heccu

Literal: a dying out flame dazzles more

Meaning: This suggests subtly the final glow or false promise before the approaching end.

ಅಪ್ಪನ ಮಾತು, ಆನೆಯ ಬಲ

appana maatu, aaneya bala

Literal: father's approval [provides one with] the strength of an elephant [morally].

ಅಣ್ಣ ತಮ್ಮನ ಬೇರೆ ಮಾಡ ಬೇಡ

aNNa tammana bEre maaDa bEDa

Literal: don't part two brothers.

ಆರೊಗ್ಯವೇ ಭಾಗ್ಯ

aarOgyavE bhaagya

Literal: Health is wealth.

Meaning: In one’s life, health is more essential than material wealth and so it should not be neglected.

ಅಲ್ಪನಿಗೆ ಐಶ್ವರ್ಯ ಬಂದರೆ ಅರ್ಧ ರಾತ್ರೀಲಿ ಕೊಡೆ ಹಿಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ

alpanige aishwarya baMdare ardha raatrIli koDe hiDisikoMDa

Literal: if an inferior gets riches, he demands an umbrella to be held over his head at midnight

Meaning: this is indirect way of saying a person should be poised and should maintain his emotional balance, when fortune smiles on him.

Equivalent: No pride like that of a enriched begger

ಅಳಿವುದೇ ಕಾಯ ಉಳಿವುದೇ ಕೀರ್ತಿ

aLivudE kaaya uLivudE kIrti

Literal: the body dies, the fame lives.

Meaning: the acquired name and fame of a person lives longer than the self.

ಅಳಿಯ ಅಲ್ಲ ಮಗಳ ಗಂಡ

aLiya alla magaLa gaMDa

Literal: [he is] not my Son-in-law, but my daughter's husband.

Meaning: The fact does not change by saying it in a different way.

ಆಡಿದರೆ ಅರಗಿಣಿ ಕಾಡಿದರೆ ನಾಗರ ಕಾಟ

aaDidare aragiNi kaaDidare naagara kaaTa

Literal: if you act out you are a royal parrot, if annoyed, you bother like a cobra

Meaning: when things are fine you are excellent companion, the moment it goes wrong you are like a serpent

ಅಳೋ ಗಂಡ್ಸನ್ನು ನಗೋ ಹೆಂಗ್ಸನ್ನು ನಂಬಬಾರದು

aLO gaMD'sannu nagO heMg'sannu naMbabaaradu

Literal: never believe a man who is cry-prone nor a female who is smile-prone

Meaning: Do not believe a man who cries for everthing and similarly a lady who smiles things away.

ಅಯ್ಯೋ ಪಾಪ! ಅಂದ್ರೆ ಅರ್ಧ ಆಯಸ್ಸು

ayyO paapa aMdre ardha aayassu

Literal: if you pity [on somebody], [you have] half life.

Meaning: show pity on someone your lifespan will be cut short i.e., you spend half your life worrying about it.

Meaning: Don't be kind to one and everyone, some times people take you for a ride

ಆಡುವವ ಆಡಿದ್ರೆ ನೋಡುವವಗೆ ಸಿಗ್ಗು

aaDuvava aaDidre nODuvavage siggu

Literal: If an actor enacts [indecently/without inhibitions], the spectator is ashamed

Meaning: an actor may perform to the embarrassment of the spectator

ಅಂಜಿದವನ ಮೇಲೆ ಕಪ್ಪೆ ಹಾರಿದಂಗೆ

aMjidavana mEle kappe haaridaMge

Literal: It's like frog jumping on a person who is already afraid (of it).

ಅಲ್ಲದ ಕನಸು ಕಂಡರೆ ಎದ್ದು ಕುಂಡ್ರು.

allada kanasu kaMDare eddu kuMDru

Literal: if you see a negative dream, get up and sit.

Meaning: wake up to the alaraming calls

ಅಡ್ಡ ಗೋಡೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ದೀಪ ಇಟ್ಟ ಹಾಗೆ

aDDa gODeya mEle dIpa iTTa hAge

Literal: It is like placing a lamp atop a partitioning wall.

Equivalent: He is as undecided as an orphan: if he does not wash his hands, he is called dirty, if he does, he is wasting water.

Usage: This is said of people who refuse to take sides (/ take a stand). Sometimes, it is used in the negative sense to chide people who are indecisive.

ಆರು ಕೊಟ್ಟರೆ ಅತ್ತೆ ಕಡೆ, ಮೂರು ಕೊಟ್ಟರೆ ಸೊಸೆ ಕಡೆ

aaru koTTare atte kaDe, mUru koTTare sose kaDe

Literal: Give him six denominations he sides with mother-in law (backs her up), give him three denominations he sides with daughter-in-law (backs her up).

ಅಡಿಕೆಗೆ ಹೋದ ಮಾನ ಆನೆ ಕೊಟ್ಟರೂ ಬರದು

aDikege hOda maana aane koTTarU baradu

Literal: The reputation lost on a betelnut won't comeback though you donate an elephant.

Meaning: The reputation lost on trivial things cannot be regained by donating big alms.

Equivalent: A wounded reputation is seldom cured

ಅಜ್ಜಿಗೆ ಅರಿವೆಯ ಚಿಂತೆ, ಮೊಮ್ಮಗಳಿಗೆ ಕಜ್ಜಾಯದ ಚಿಂತೆ

ajjige ariveya chinte, mommagaLige kajjaayada chinte

Literal: Grandma is worried about her worn out dress; the Granddaughter worried about having a sweet dish.

Meaning: This is said of irresponsible youngsters who expect a lot from parents who struggle to make ends meet. Used to stress the importance of prioritizing.

Equivalent: Every heart has its own ache

ಅಕ್ಕಿಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಆಸೆ, ನೆ೦ಟರ ಮೇಲೆ ಪ್ರೀತಿ

akkiya mEle aase, neMTara mEle prIti

Literal: She has desire for rice(likes saving it) and has love for her relatives too.

Equivalent: you cannot have a cake and eat it too.

Equivalent: I love you well but touch not my pocket

ಅ೦ಬಲಿ ಕುಡಿಯುವವನಿಗೆ ಮೀಸೆ ಹಿಡಿಯುವವ ಒಬ್ಬ

aMbali kuDiyuvavanige mIse tikkuvanobba

Literal: For the one who drinks porridge, [there is] a person to hold moustache.

Meaning: The one who subsists on porridge, has got an attender to trim his moustache.

Usage: This is said of people who live beyond their means.

Equivalent: Nothing agrees worse than a proud mind and a begger's purse

Equivalent: Little roast great boast

ಅ೦ತೂ ಇಂತೂ ಕು೦ತಿ ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೆ ರಾಜ್ಯ ಇಲ್ಲ.

aMtU iMtu kuMti makkaLige eMtU rajyavilla

Literal: somehow Kunti's sons have got no state [to rule].

Usage: This proverb is reserved for unlucky ones who never make it however they struggle.

history: The Pandavas, sons of Kunti, spent their childhood and youth in exile. After they finally won the great battle of Mahabharata there was nothing to rule but a ghost kingdom.

ಅತ್ತೆಗೊ೦ದು ಕಾಲ; ಸೊಸೆಗೊ೦ದು ಕಾಲ

attegondu kaala; sosegondu kaala

Literal: [There is] a time for mother-in-law and a time for daughter-in-law.

Usage: The image of the mother-in-law who ruled the roost in joint families with a vengeance to make up for the indignities suffered during her daughter-in-law days is evident here.

Equivalent: Every dog has his day

ಆಸೆಯೇ ದುಃಖಕ್ಕೆ ಮೂಲ

aaseyE duHKakke mUla

Literal: greed is the rootcause of sorrow.

ಆಳ್ ಮೇಲ್ ಆಳ್ ಬಿದ್ದು ಗೋಣು ಬರಿದಾಯ್ತು

aaL mEl aaL biddu gONu baridaaytu

(= ಒಬ್ಬರು ಮತ್ತೊಬ್ಬರ ಮೇಲೆ ಹೊಣೆ ಹೊರಿಸಿ, ಹೊಣೆ ಹೊರಲು ಒಬ್ಬರು ಇಲ್ಲ) (ಆಳ್ = ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿ ; ಗೋಣು = ಕುತ್ತಿಗೆಯ ಹಿಂಭಾಗ, ಹೊರೆ ಹೊರಲು ಬಳಸುವ ಹೆಗಲಿನ ಭಾಗ)

Literal: [each] servant turn(fell) on [the other] servant and the shoulder/s [which were supposed to share owner's burden] cleared out!

Meaning: This is said referring to a group of individuals.[When occassion called for taking up the responsibility,] Each individual passed the buck to the other individual and there was none left to shoulder the responsibility.

ಅರಿಯದೆ ಮಾಡಿದ ಪಾಪ ಅರಿತಂದು ಪರಿಹಾರ

ariyade maaDida paapa aritandu parihaara

Literal: a sin did without realizing is cured when you realize it.

Meaning: a sin committed out of mistake could be rectified when you look back on it.

Equivalent: a fault confessed is half redressed

ಅಕ್ಕರೆಯಿದ್ದಲ್ಲಿ ದುಃಖವುಂಟು

akkareyiddalli duHKavunTu

Literal: where there is love, there is grief.

Meaning: love accompanies grief.

ಅಕ್ಕನ ಚಿನ್ನವಾದ್ರೂ ಅಕ್ಕಸಾಲಿ ಟೊಣೆಯದೆ(=ಕದಿಯದೆ) ಬಿಡ

akkana cinnavAdrU akkasAli ToNeyade(=kadiyade) biDa

Literal: Though the gold belogs to his own sister, a goldsmith wouldn't let it without swindling

Equivalent: I would cheat my own father at cards.

ಆಯಕಟ್ಟು ಇಲ್ಲದವನಿಗೆ ಆರುಕಟ್ಟು ವಿಭೂತಿ

aaya-kaTTu illadavanige aaru-kaTTu vibhUti

Literal: a person with no physique/vitality/propriety has six packs of holy-ash [i.e., he would resort to a consecrated ointment to ward off any harm/danger to himself]

Meaning: no fighting spirit would make a man [pseudo] religious

ಅವನು ಸಗಣಿ ತಿಂತಾನೆ, ನೀನೂ ತಿಂತೀಯಾ?

avanu sagaNi tiMtaane, nInU tiMtIyaa?

Literal: He eats dung, would you eat it too?

Meaning: Don't follow others blindly.

ಅಡಿಗೆ ಬಿದ್ದರೂ ಮೂಗು ಮೇಲೆ

aDige biddarU mUgu mEle

Literal: though he fell to the feet, his nose is above the feet [i.e., his nose is not touching the feet]

Equivalent: Though vanquished, he could still argue.


  • बूँद-बूँद से घड़ा भरता है (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Boond-boond se ghara bharta hai.
    • It takes drop by drop to fill a pitcher.
    • English equivalent: Constant dropping wears away the stone.
    • Meaning: "A steady effort can achieve, little by little, a great effect, as many drops do by gradually dissolving and eroding the stone."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "71". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 349. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 

See also[edit]