Catalan proverbs

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An ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains.

Proverbs from all Catalan speaking parts of the world.

A[edit]

  • A boca tancada, no hi entren mosques.
    • Literally: In a closed mouth, flies do not enter.
    • English equivalent: A closed mouth catches no flies.
    • Pons (1839). Diccionario catalan-castellano. Impr. y Libr. de Pablo Riera. p. 645. 
  • A vegades una gallina cega troba un gra.
    • Literally: sometimes a blind hen finds a grain.
    • English equivalent: Even a blind pig may occasionally pick up an acorn.
    • "An incompetent person or an unsystematic approach is bound to succeed every now and then by chance."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 8 September 2013. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 36. ISBN 0415096243. 

B[edit]

  • Barber piadòs encangrena la plaga.
    • Literally: A merciful barber-surgeon gives the wound gangrene.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 710. ISBN 0415096243. 

C[edit]

  • Cada cabell fa sa ombra.
    • Literally: Every hair makes its shadow.
    • English equivalent: There is no little enemy.
    • "It is easier to hate an enemy with much good in him than one who is all bad. We cannot hate those we despise. The Japanese had an advantage over us in that they admired us more than we admired them. They could hate us more fervently than we could hate them. The Americans are poor haters in international affairs because of their innate feeling of superiority over all foreigners. An American's hatred for a fellow American (for Hoover or Roosevelt) is far more virulent than any antipathy he can work up against foreigners. It is of interest that the backward South shows more xenophobia than the rest of the country. Should Americans begin to hate foreigners wholeheartedly, it will be an indication that they have lost confidence in their own way of life."
    • Eric Hoffer, The True Believer (1951)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 4. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Com més vell més poc cervell.
    • Literally: The older, the less brain.
    • English equivalent: Wisdom goes not always by years.
    • "Some old men, by continually praising the time of their youth, would almost persuade us that there were no fools in those days; but unluckily they are left themselves for examples."
    • Alexander Pope, Thoughts on Various Subjects, published in Swift's Miscellanies (1727).
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 39. ISBN 0415160502. 

D[edit]

  • De l'arbre dolent no esperis bon fruit.
    • Literally: Do not expect good fruit from the bad tree.
    • English equivalent: The apple does not fall far from the tree.
    • "Children observe daily and — in their behaviour — often follow the example of their parents."
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 259. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 488. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • De mica en mica s'omple la pica i de gota en gota s'omple la bota.
    • Literally: Little by little the font is filled, drop by drop the barrel is filled.
    • English equivalent: Many a mickle makes a muckle.
    • "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed."
    • William Gibson, is reported to have first said this in an interview on Fresh Air, NPR (31 August 1993)
    • Lassen (1988). Das Katalanische Sprichwort: Literarische Tradition Und Umgangssprachlicher Gebrauch. Narr. p. 105. 

E[edit]

  • El gos vell quan lladra dona consell.
    • Literally: When the old dog barks, it gives counsel.
    • English equivalent: An old dog barks not in vain.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 55. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Els peixos grossos sempre es menjaran els minuts.
    • Literally: The big fish always eat the small ones.
    • English equivalent: Men are like fish; the great ones devour the small.
    • "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. 
  • El temps és or.
    • Literally: Time is gold.
    • English equivalent: Time is money.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1008. ISBN 041509624 Invalid ISBN. 
  • El treball segons el jornal.
    • Literally: The work [is] according to the wage.
    • English equivalent: You get what you pay for.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 494. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Entrar per una orella i sortir per l'altre.
    • Literally: To go in one ear and out the other.
    • "For various reasons a good advice or a genuine warning is often disregarded or considered of no importance."
    • Source for meaning and proverb: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 179. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • És pitjor el remei que la malaltia.
    • Literally: The remedy is worse than the disease.
    • Martínez (2011). La senda dels lladres: Bandolerisme als voltants de la serra de Mostalla (1806-1839). Publicacions de la Universitat de València. p. 108. 

L[edit]

  • L'àliga no caça mosques.
    • Literally: The eagle does not hunt flies.
    • English equivalent: Eagles don't catch flies.
    • "People of high rank are considered – or consider themselves – too important to deal with trivial things or lowly folk."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 25 August 2013. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "230". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 216. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 
  • La paciència és la mare de la ciència.
    • Literally: Patience is the mother of knowledge.
    • English equivalent: An ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 415. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • La paraula bona molt val i poc costa.
    • Literally: A good word is worth much and costs little.
    • English equivalent: Politeness costs little but yields much.
    • "Everybody wants something, but they don't know how to ask for it."
    • Tony Gayon, Murder by Numbers (2002)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 70. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • L'ocasió s'ha d'agafar pels pèls.
    • Literally: Opportunity must be grabbed by the hair.
    • English equivalent: Opportunity knocks only once.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 400. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • La burla deixar-la quan més plau.
    • Literally: Leave the joke when it pleases the most.
    • English equivalent: Leave a jest when it pleases you best. or Leave them wanting more.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 863. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • La persevança tot ho alcança.
    • Literally: Perseverance achieves everything.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 127. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Les fruites i els amors, els primers són els millors.
    • Literally: [For both] Fruits and loves, the first ones are the best.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1107. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Les persones es troben, les muntanyes no.
    • Literally: People meet each other, mountains never do.
    • English equivalent: A mountain never meets a mountain, but a man meets a man.
    • Meaning: There are some things/events that are impossible, like an encounter of mountains, but there is always a chance for people to meet. or Once can always find a possibility for revenge.
    • Source for proverbs and meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 213. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Lo mentider no es cregud de las veritats.
    • English equivalent: A liar is not believed when he tells the truth.
    • von Düringsfeld, Ida; von Reinsberg-Düringsfeld, Otto (1875). "65" (in German). Sprichwörter der germanishcen und romanischen Sprachen Vergleichend. II. p. 36. 

M[edit]

  • Mal ocell el que s'embruta en son.
    • Literally: It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest.
    • English equivalent: Don't wash your dirty linen in public; don't shit where you eat.
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 466. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Molts componedros descomposen la nuvida.
    • English equivalent: A public hall is never swept.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 70. ISBN 0415160502. 

N[edit]

  • Ningú pot dir: d'aquesta aigua no en beuré.
    • Literally: Nobody can say: I will not drink from this water.
    • English equivalent: Never say never.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 634. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Ningú pot servir a dos senyors.
    • Literally: Nobody can serve two masters.
    • "One cannot serve two conflicting causes simultaneously. If this is attempted neither will be served properly."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 283. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • No diguis blat que no sigui al sac i ben lligat.
    • Literally: Don't say "wheat" until it's in the bag and well tied up.
    • English equivalent: Don't count your chickens until they've hatched.
    • Diccionari UB. Anglès-Català. Publicacions i Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona. 2008. p. 220. 
  • No hi ha gloria sense enveja.
    • Literally: There is no glory without envy.
    • English equivalent : Envy always shooteth at a high mark.
    • "Few human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast’s pleasures; no intelligent human being would consent to be a fool, no instructed person would be an ignoramus, no person of feeling and conscience would be selfish and base, even though they should be persuaded that the fool, the dunce, or the rascal is better satisfied with his lot than they are with theirs."
    • John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism, Ch. 2 (1861).
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 766. ISBN 0415096243. 

O[edit]

  • Obra començada, mig acabada.
    • Literally: Work that is begun [is] half completed.
    • English equivalent : Well begun, is half done.
    • Meaning: Starting properly ensures the speedy completion of a process. A – beginning is often blocked by one or more obstacles (potential barriers) the removal of which may ensure the smooth course of the process.
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 228. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 

R[edit]

  • Ratolí que no més coneix un forat, està atrapat.
    • Literally: A mouse that only knows one hole is caught.
    • English equivalent : It is a poor mouse that has only one hole.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 375. ISBN 0415096243. 

Q[edit]

  • Quan el gat no hi es, les rates ballen.
    • Literally: When the cat is not there, the rats dance.
    • English equivalent: When the cat is away, the mice will play.
    • Meaning: "In the absence of the person in authority those under his control will often neglect the duties/rules imposed on them."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Martin H. Manser (2007). "17". The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 8 September 2013. 
  • Qui estima el gos, estim el seu amo.
    • Literally: He who loves the dog, loves its master.
    • English equivalent : Love me, love my dog.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 953. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Qui pren l'ágila per la cua i la dóna per la palabre, pot dir queres no tè.
    • English equivalent : You might as well try to hold an eel by the tail.
    • Meaning: Don't take a man by his word.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 480. ISBN 0415096243. 

S[edit]

  • S'atrapa abans a un mentider que a un coix.
    • Literally: You'll catch a liar before you'll catch a cripple.
    • French equivalent: A lie has short legs.
    • Fabré (2011). Jo confesso. Proa. p. 166. 
  • Segons la mesura que faràs, tal mesura trobaràs.
    • Literally: According to the measure you will do, that measure you will find.
    • English equivalent : Whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt back to you.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1219. ISBN 0415096243. 

U[edit]

  • Un clau en treu un altre.
    • English equivalent: One nail drives out another.
    • "As one nail drives out another
      , So the remembrance of my former love
      Is by a newer object quite forgotten."
    • William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (1592)
    • Emanuel Strauss (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Taylor & Francis. pp. 648–. ISBN 978-0-415-10381-7. 
  • Uns alcen la caça i altres la maten.
    • Literally: Some people raise the hunt and others kill it.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1134. ISBN 0415096243. 

V[edit]

  • Val més andar sol que mal acompanyat.
    • Literally: It is better to go alone than badly accompanied.
    • English equivalent: Better be alone than in bad company.
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 572. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Val més mala avinença que bona sentencia.
    • Literally: A bad agreement is better than a good verdict.
    • 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. 

See also[edit]