Proverbs from all Indian speaking parts of the world.
- सौ सोनार की, एक लोहार की (Hindi)
- Transliteration: Sau sunar ki ek lauhar ki.
- Translation: 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.
- Translation: All the things that are white are not milk.
- English Equivalent: All that 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.
- Translation: (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?
- Translation: 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)
- Translation: 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.
- Translation: 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.
- Translation: 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?’’
- Translation: 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)
- 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.
- Translation: 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.