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Proverbs reflective of conventional wisdom in Iceland.
- Af góðu upphafi vonast góður endir.
- English equivalent: A good beginning makes a good ending.
- "No man tastes pleasures truly, who does not earn them by previous business; and few people do business well, who do nothing else."
- Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Letter, 7 August 1749, in The Letters of the Earl of Chesterfield to His Son (1774).
- Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "190". Dictionary of European Proverbs. I. Routledge. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7.
- Allir vilja herrann vera, en enginn sekkinn bera.
- Aldrei er góð vísa of oft kveðin.
- Ber er hver að baki nema sér bróður eigi.
- Translation: Bare is the back of a brotherless man.
- Meaning: Every man is defenseless unless he has a brother/friend.
- Source: Hreinsson, Viðar, ed (1997). Brennu-Njáls saga. 3. Translated by Robert Cook. Leifur Eiriksson Publishing. p. 209. ISBN 9979929308.
- Betra er einn að vera, en illan stallbróður hafa.
- Brennt barn forðast eldinn.
- Translation: A burnt child keeps away from fire.
- English equivalent: Once bitten, twice shy.
- Meaning: "Somebody who has had an unpleasant experience thereafter shrinks from the cause of that experience."
- Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 30 July 2013.
- Dal, Gunnar (2007). Einn heimur: fimm heimsmyndir. Jonas Halldorsson. p. 124. ISBN 9979651032.
- Ef ábóti teninga a sér ber, oss munkum leyft ao tefla er."
- English equivalent: The friar preached against stealing and had a goose in his sleeve.
- Emanuel Strauss (1994). "1670". Dictionary of European Proverbs. Taylor & Francis. p. 1179.
- Eftir því sem gamlir fuglar sungu, kvökuðu þeir ungu.
- Translation: As the old birds sing, so do the young ones tweet.
- English equivalent: As the old cock crows, so crows the young.
- Meaning: "Children generally follow the example of their parents, but imitate their faults more surely than their virtues."
- Norwegian equivalent: Some dei gamle sungo, so kveda dei unge.
- Emanuel Strauss (1994). "544". Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 1389. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7.
- Source for meaning of English equivalent: Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). p. 130.
- Engum flýgur sofanda steikt gæs i munn.
- Translation: There will fly no fried goose into the sleeping mans mouth.
- English equivalent: Birds fly not into our mouth ready roasted.
- Meaning: "One cannot (or should not) expect to benefit without making some effort."
- Source for meaning: (Paczolay, 1997 p. 455)
- Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 171. ISBN 0415096243.
- Guð hjálpar þeim sem hjálpa sér sjálfir.
- Translation: God helps those who help themselves.
- English equivalent: Heaven helps those who help themselves.
- "Don't you worry, don't you worry, child
See heaven's got a plan for you
Don't you worry, don't you worry now
- Swedish House Mafia, Don't You Worry Child (2012)
- Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 150. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
- Source: Laxness, Halldór (2000). Smásögur. Vaka-Helgafell. p. 131. ISBN 9979214546.
- Góð orð finna góðan samastað.
- Translation: Polite words will be well received.
- English equivalent: Politeness costs little but yields much.
- "Heh, heh... Thanks... You're nice. Umm... Can I ask... a question? Your friends... What kind of... people are they? I wonder... Do those people... think of you... as a friend?" (Said by Child wearing Odolwa's mask)
- Shigeru Miyamoto, Majora's Mask (2000)
- Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 70. ISBN 0415160502.
- Hvar sem fjandinn er þar hefur hann sína.
- English equivalent: A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will.
- "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance (1841).
- Emanuel Strauss (1994). "589". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 446. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6.
- Hver er sinnar gæfu smiður.
- Translation: Every man is the smith of his own fortune.
- English equivalent: Also, Every man is the smith of his own fortune.
- Meaning: "In shaping one's own fortune one should not rely on the help of others, as they are also concerned mainly about their own matters."
- Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 388. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
- Linur bartskeri gjörir fúin sár.
- Translation: A lenient doctor creates stinking injuries.
- English equivalent: Mild physician – putrid wounds.
- Meaning: In order to achieve a good figurative or literal cure, one must sometimes undertake stern measures.
- Emanuel Strauss (1994). "1465". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 1090. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6.
- Kemst þó hægt fari.
- Translation: You will reach your destination even though you travel slowly.
- English equivalent: We rode slow, but we ride sure.
- Source: Íslands, Landsbókasafn (1980). Árbók. Bókasafnið. p. 71. ISBN 9979911107.
- Kornbarn, drukkin maðr og dárinn segja sannleikann.
- 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). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 272. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
- Oft hafa fagrar hnetur fúinn kjarna.
- Þá mér klær, þarf ég að klóra mér.
- Translation: When I itch, I must scratch.
- English equivalent: If the shoe fits, wear it.
- "If the statement applies to you, admit it or do something about it."
- Urban Dictionary (2008)
- Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 998. ISBN 0415096243.
- Ragur maður fíflar aldrei fríða konu.
- Translation: A coward will never bed a pretty woman.
- English equivalent: Faint heart never won fair lady.
- "The reason why people, women in particular will tell men, 'be yourself'. (If you are a woman watching this I'm sure you had that feeling - 'I love it when a man is being himself.') It is because the more that you are just yourself you love yourself. Maybe what they should be saying is 'love yourself and be yourself!'
- Owen "Tyler", How To Improve Your Dating Life: Julien & Tyler's Advanced Secrets To Increasing Your Social Status! (2018)
- Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 130. ISBN 0415160502.
- Sá er fuglinn verstur, sem í sjálfs síns hreiður dritar.
- English equivalent: It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest; Don't wash your dirty linen in public.
- Meaning: "Why wantonly proclaim one's own disgrace, or expose the faults or weaknesses of one's kindred or people?"
- Source for meaning: Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). p. 109.
- Source for provers: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 466. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
- Sjaldan er ein báran stök.
- Transation: There seldom is a single wave.
- Meaning: Good luck or bad luck is often followed by more of the same.
- Source: Sigurðsson, Arngrímur (1975). Íslenzk-ensk orðabók. Leiftur. p. 731. ISBN 9979651032.
- Sjaldan fellur eplið langt frá eikini.
- 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.
- Spónasmiða börn eiga oft versta spæni.
- Translation: The spoonmaker's children have often the worst spoons.
- English equivalent: Cobblers' children are worst shod.
- Meaning: "Working hard for others one may neglect one's own needs or the needs of those closest to him."
- Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "7". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 65. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
- Sinn er siður í landi hverju.
- Translation: Each country has its own custom.
- "When laws, customs, or institutions cease to be beneficial to man, they cease to be obligatory."
- Henry Ward Beecher, Life Thoughts (1858), p. 34.
- Sven Grundtvig; Jón Sigurðsson; Pálmi Pálsson (1854). Íslenzk fornkvæði. Brødrene Berlings og S.L. Møllers bogtrykkeri. p. 103.
- "The way of the world is to make laws, but follow custom."
- Attributed to Michel de Montaigne
- Sá vinnur sitt mál, sem þráastur er.
- Árinni kennir illur ræðari.
- Translation: A bad rower blames the oar.
- English equivalent: A bad workman blames his tools.
- Source: Magnúsdóttir, Elín Bára (1993). Halldórsstefna, 12.-14. júní 1992. Stofnun Sigurðar Nordals. p. 116. ISBN 9979911107.
- Á misjöfnu þrífast börnin best