Bosnian proverbs

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Proverbs from all Bosnian speaking parts of the world.


  • Latin: Bolje vrabac u ruci, nego golub na grani. - Cyrillic: Боље врабац у руци, него голуб на грани.
    • Translation: A sparrow in the 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. 
    • Kovačević (1991). Srpsko-engleski rečnik idioma, izraza i izreka. Filip Višnjić. p. 48. 


  • Latin: Gvožđe se kuje dok je vruće. - Cyrillic: Гвожђе се кује док је вруће.
    • Translation: Iron is worked when it's still hot.
    • English equivalent: Strike while the iron is hot.
    • Matković, umjetnosti, knijiževnost (1980). Forum. p. 391. 
  • Latin: Gdje ti mnogo obećavaju, malu torbu ponesi. - Cyrillic: Гдjе ти много обећавају, малу торбу понеси.
    • Translation: Where people are promising much to you, bring a small bag.
    • English equivalent: He says the moon is made of cheese.
    • Jong (2009). Strah od letenja. Alnari. pp. 399. ISBN 8677103805. 


  • Latin: Iver ne pada daleko od klade. - Cyrillic: Ивер не пада далеко од кладе.
    • Translation: A splinter doesn't land far from the trunk.
    • English equivalent: An apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
    • Meaning: "Children observe daily and — in their behaviour — often follow the example of their parents."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "X". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 259. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 140. ISBN 0415160502. 


  • Nema vatre bez dima.
    • Translation: There is no fire without smoke.
    • Meaning: Everything happens for a reason.
    • Second meaning: There is some truth to all rumours.
    • Bošković-Stulli (1983). Usmena književnost nekad i danas. Prosveta. p. 262. 
  • Latin: Nije zlato sve što sija. - Cyrillic: Није злато све што сија.
    • Translation: Not all shiny things are golden.
    • English equivalent: All that glitters is not gold.
    • Meaning: An attractive appearance may be deceptive. It may cover or hide a much less favourable content.
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 114. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Zagrebu. Centar za etnološku kartografiju, Zagrebu. Etnološki zavod (1991). Studia ethnologica. Centar. p. 153. 


  • Latin: Pas koji laje ne ujeda. - Cyrillic: Пас који лаје не уједа.
    • Translation: The dog that barks doesn't bite.
    • Meaning: Someone who threatens too much does this to frighten his enemies but in fact doesn't have enough courage to do anything about it.
    • English equivalent: Barking dogs seldom bite.
    • Benson (1993). Englesko-srpskohrvatski rečnik. Prosveta. p. 57. 
  • Прво скочи па реци хоп.
    • Transliteration: Prvo skoči pa reci hop.
    • Translation: First leap, and then say "hop"!
    • English equivalent: Walk the walk, then talk the talk.
    • Anić, Pranjković, Samardžija (1994). Rječnik hrvatskoga jezika. Novi liber. p. 947. 


  • Latin: Tko drugome jamu kopa sam u nju pada. - Cyrillic: Тко другоме јаму копа сам у њу пада.
    • Translation: Who digs a trap for others ends up in it himself.
    • Serbian Studies (1991). Serbian studies. North American Society for Serbian Studies. p. 83. 
  • Latin: Tko rano rani, dvije sreće grabi. - Cyrilic: Тко рано рани, двиjе среће граби.
    • Translation: One who gets up early is doubly lucky.
    • English equivalent: Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
    • Meaning: "A lifestyle that involves neither staying up late nor sleeping late is good for body and mind and leads to financial success."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 5 September 2013. 
    • Težak (1998). Teorija i praksa nastave hrvatskoga jezika. Školska knjiga. p. 535. ISBN 9530503261. 
  • Тко с ђаволом тикве сади, о главу му се обију.
    • Transliteration Tko s vragom tikve sadi, o glavu mu se obiju.
    • Translation: If one sows pumpkins with the devil, they will bash onto one's head.
    • English equivalent: He who sups with the devil must use a long spoon.
    • Milosavljević, Boško (1995). Serbian-English dictionary of idioms. p. 293. ISBN 978-86-379-0522-6. 


  • Latin: Vrana vrani oči ne vadi. - Cyrillic: Врана врани очи не вади.
    • Translation: A crow doesn't pick out another crow's eyes. (A thief does not steal from another thief)
    • English equivalent: Hawks will not pick out Hawk's eyes; (There is) honor among thieves.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 31. ISBN 0415160502. 


  • Уздај се усе и у своје кљусе!
    • Transliteration: Uzdaj se u se i u svoje kljuse!
    • Translation: Trust yourself and your horse!
    • Ersoy, Ahmet (2010). Modernism: The Creation of Nation-States. p. 247. ISBN 9637326618.