Romanian proverbs

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Proverbs from all Romanian speaking parts of the world.

Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · See also · External links

A[edit]

  • Adevărul se spune glumind.
    • English equivalent: Many a true word is spoken in jest.
    • " Se non è vero, è molto ben trovato.
    • "If it is not true it is very well invented."
    • Giordano Bruno, De gli heroici furori (1585) [The Heroic Furies; also translated as On Heroic Frenzies], as quoted in A Book of Quotations, Proverbs and Household Words (1907) edited by Sir William Gurney Benham
    • Variant translations:
      If it is not true, it is well conceived.
      If it is not true, it is a good story.
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). p. 57. 
  • Apa linǎ este adâncă.
    • English equivalent: Still waters run deep.
    • "Slow but steady work can achieve much." or "That a man says little does not mean that he does not think profoundly."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "78". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 373. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 70. 
  • Așteaptā, murgule, să paşti iarbă verde.
    • Wait, steed, to graze on green grass.
    • English equivalent: While the grass grows, the steed starves.
    • "True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost."
    • Arthur Ashe, s quoted in Worth Repeating : More Than 5,000 Classic and Contemporary Quotes (2003) by Bob Kelly, p. 169.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 96. 

B[edit]

  • Barbă lungă şi capra are, dar minte nicicum nu are.
    • English proverbs: If the beard were all, the goat might preach.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001), "145", A Dictionary of English and Portuguese Equivalent Proverbs, p. 17, ISBN 978-1-4661-0740-3 
  • Bisogna viver e lassar viver.
    • English equivalent: Live and let live.
    • von Düringsfeld, Ida; von Reinsberg-Düringsfeld, Otto (1875). "15". Sprichwörter der germanischen und romanischen sprachen vergleichend, zusammengestellt. H. Fries. pp. 8–. 

C[edit]

  • Calul bun se vinde în grajd.(The good horse is sold even in stable)
  • Cine ascultǎ la uşa își aude faima.
    • English equivalent: Eavesdroppers hear no good of themselves.
    • "Dave: You know, that son of yours just cursed at me.
      Vicky: Wow, you actually stopped yelling at Larry long enough for him to swear at you?
      Dave: Hey, you know, when I was a kid, I never would have talked to my father that way. I did it behind his back as a sign of respect."
    • Jennifer Glickman, The War at Home (2007)
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 51. 
  • Cine vrea miezul, să spargă nuca.
  • Cum e tata, e și fiul.
    • English equivalent: Like father, like son.
    • "Sons may look and behave like their fathers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and daily."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 137. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Cine aleargă după doi iepuri, nu prinde nici unul.
    • English equivalent: You must not run after two hares at the same time.
    • "Concentrate on one thing at a time or you will achieve nothing. - Trying to do two or more things at a time, when even one on its own needs full effort, means that none of them will be accomplished properly."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "X". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. X. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 102. 
  • Cine dă îndatǎ, dă de două ori.
    • English equivalent: He gives twice, who gives in a trice.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 38. 
  • Cine nu face când poate nu face când vrea.
    • English equivalent: He that will not when he may, when he will he may have nay.
    • "Take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself, even if you do not want or need it at the time, because it may no longer be available when you do."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). p. 41. 
  • Cine sapă groapa altuia, cade singur în ea.
    • English equivalent: He who digs a pit for others, will fall in it himself.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs, Volym 1. Routledge. p. 651. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Cine se laudă singur, se ocărăște pe sine.
    • English equivalent: Don't blow your own horn.
    • Mrs Mawr, E B (2005). Analogous Proverbs In Ten Languages (reprint ed.). Kessinger Publishing. p. 71. ISBN 1417964677. 
  • Cine se scoală de dimineață, departe ajunge.
    • English equivalent: Eary to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
    • "A lifestyle that involves neither staying up late nor sleeping late is good for body and mind and leads to financial success."
    • 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. 
    • University, Vermont, bi-Yerushalayim (1986). Proverbium. Ohio State University in cooperation with the University of Vermont and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 
  • Cine tace nu se căiește.
    • English equivalent: Least said, soonest mended.
    • "In private animosities and verbal contentions, where angry passions are apt to rise, - the least said, the better in general. By multiplying words, cases often grow worse instead of better."
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. pp. 125. 
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 53. 
  • Cu cheia de aur se deschide poarta raiului.
  • Copiii, nebunii și bețivii spun adevărul.
    • English equivalent: Children, fools and drunken men tell the truth.
    • "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. 
  • Cu moartea toate diferențele dispar.
  • Cu picătura se face ploaia.
    • English equivalent: Every little helps.
    • "All contributions, however small, are of use."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 20 September 2013. 
    • Source for proverbs: Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 26. 
  • Cu râma mică, se prinde peștele cel mare.
    • English equivalent: Set a herring to catch a whale.
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations (W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue) ed.). p. 16. 
  • Cu vânturi nu se vopsesc ouăle roșii.
    • English equivalent: Fine words butter no parsnips.
    • "Mere words have no value unless they are followed by positive action."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 9 August 2013. 
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 31. 
  • Cum e mama e și fata.
    • English equivalent: Like mother, like daughter.
    • "Daughters may look and behave like their mothers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and rarely."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 179. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 

D[edit]

  • Dača vreî sâ traečsci liniseit, sâ nu veđî, sâ n'audi, şi sâ taci.
  • Dă-i, Doamne, mintea românului din urmă.
    • English equivalent: If only I knew then, what I do now.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 73. 
  • De multe ori ce este scăzut în fire, meşteşugul cum se cade plineşte.
    • English equivalent: Life imitates art.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001). "83". A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3. 
  • De nevoie n-ai ce face.
    • English equivalent: Necessity has no law.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 60. 
  • Din două rele s-alegi pe cea mai mică.
    • English equivalent: Of two evils choose the least.
    • Meaning: "If you are forced to choose between two options, both of which are undesirable, all you can do is choose the one that is less undesirable than the other."
    • {Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 3 August 2013. 
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 5. 
  • Din omul bun, bun lucru iese.
    • English equivalent: Good blood always shows itself.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001). "211". A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3. 
  • Din prisosul inimii grăieşte gura.
    • English equivalent: Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001). "6 E". A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs. pp. 7–. ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3. 
  • Drumul spre iad e pavat cu intenții bune.
    • English equivalent: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    • Republica Populară Romînă, Republica Socialistă România (1981). Viața românească: revistăa Uniunii Scriitorilor din R.P.R.. Uniunea Scriitorilor. p. 54. 

E[edit]

  • Exemplele rele strică moravurile bune.
    • Mrs Mawr, E B (2005). Analogous Proverbs In Ten Languages (reprint ed.). Kessinger Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 1417964677. 

F[edit]

  • Fă-mă, mamă, împărat, să mă mir ce m-a găsit.
    • Mrs Mawr, E B (2005). Analogous Proverbs In Ten Languages (reprint ed.). Kessinger Publishing. p. 74. ISBN 1417964677. 
  • Fă-mă, mamă, să-ți semăn.
    • Mrs Mawr, E B (2005). Analogous Proverbs In Ten Languages (reprint ed.). Kessinger Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 1417964677. 
  • Faptele grăiesc mai apăsat decât vorbele.
    • English equivalent: Actions speak loudee than words.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001). "13 E". A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3. 
  • Fiecare pasăre îşi iubeşte cuibul.
    • English equivalent: The bird loves her own nest.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001). "218". A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3. 
  • Fieșicare cu gustul său.
    • English equivalent: There is no accounting for taste.
    • Mrs Mawr, E B (2005). Analogous Proverbs In Ten Languages (reprint ed.). Kessinger Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 1417964677. 
  • Fii dupǎ cum te aratǎ chipul.
    • English equivalent: Handsome is that handsome does.
    • Mrs Mawr, E B (2005). Analogous Proverbs In Ten Languages (reprint ed.). Kessinger Publishing. p. 39. ISBN 1417964677. 
  • Fructul nu cade departe de pom.
    • 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 proverbs and 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. 

I[edit]

L[edit]

  • Lup în piele de oaie.

M[edit]

  • Mai bine puțin cu dreptate decât mult cu strâmbǎtate.
    • English equivalent: Honesty is the best policy.
    • "Being honest or telling the truth is always the wisest course of action."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 42. 
  • Mai multe muște cad în miere decât în oțet.
    • English equivalent: You can catch more flies with a drop of honey than with a barrel of vinegar.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 100. 
  • Mǎrul nu cade departe de pom.
    • 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."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 259. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Mărul putred strică şi pe cele bune.
    • English equivalent: One rotten apple will spoil the whole barrel.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001). "69 E". A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3. 
  • Mincinosul cu de-a sila face musca cât cămila.
    • English equivalent: Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations (W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue) ed.). p. 58. 
  • Mult zgomot pentru nimic.
    • English equivalent: Great cry and little wool.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001). "18". A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3. 

N[edit]

  • Nicovala n-are fricäe de ciocan.
    • English equivalent: A good anvil does not fear the hammer.
    • "We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works."
    • Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt (2002) (posthumously)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "97". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-136-78971-7. 
  • Nimeni nu știe mai bine unde strânge cizma, decât cel ce o poartǎ.
    • English equivalent: No one knows where the shoe pinches, but he who wears it.
    • Meaning: "Nobody can fully understand another person's hardship or suffering."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 289. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 4. 
  • Nu ațâța foc peste foc.
    • English equivalent: Don't add fuel to the fire.
    • "One should not make a bad situation even worse by an improper remark."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 338. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Nu barba îl face pe filozof, filozof.
    • English equivalent: It is not the beard that makes the philosopher.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001), "146", A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs, DeProverbio.com, p. 29, ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3 
  • Nu facetĭ ce fac eu, ci cea ce vĕ spun eu.
    • English equivalent: Preachers say do as I say and not as I do.
    • "It bears no reason that the world should show greater love to me, than I have showed it."
    • John Locke, Second Tract of Government (1662)
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 21. 
  • Nu da vrabia din mână pe cioara de pe gard.
    • English equivalent: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 4. 
  • Nu iese fum fără foc.
    • English equivalent: There is no smoke without fire.
    • "There is no effect without some cause. or It is supposed that if there is a rumour, there must be some truth behind it."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "1". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 33. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Bulzan. Itinerarii Traianee - Baetica Romana. Editura Mica Valahie. p. 158. ISBN 9737858522. 
  • Nu lăsa pe mâine ce poți face azi.
    • English equivalent: Don't leave for tomorrow what you can do today.
    • Salzer (2007). Lehrbuch der rumänischen Sprache. Buske Helmut Verlag GmbH. p. 191. ISBN 1 Invalid ISBN. 
  • Nu măsura pe alţii cu palma ta.
    • Translation: "Don't measure others with your own hand."
    • English equivalent: Don't measure others by your own yardstick.
    • "Do not do unto others as you would expect they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same."
    • George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists (1903)
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001). "1582 E". A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs. p. 238. ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3. 


  • Nu vinde pielea ursului din pădure.
    • English equivalent: Don't sell the skin till you have caught the bear.
    • Macrea, Lingvisticădin Bucureşti (1958). Dicţionarul limbii romîne moderne. Editura Academiei Republicii Populare Romîne. p. 961. 
  • Nu te amesteca nepoftit în vorba altora.
    • English equivalent: Give neither salt nor counsel till you are asked for it.
    • "They say never give advice because a wise man doesn't need it and a fool won't heed it."
    • David Stoess, Right Foot in the Pacific, Left Foot in the Atlantic (2000)
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 60. 

O[edit]

  • Ochii care nu se văd se uită.
    • English equivalent: Out of sight, out of mind.
    • Viata romineasca; revista literara si stiintifica. 1907. p. 438. 
  • Ochii care se văd rar se iubesc.
    • English equivalent: Abscence makes the heart grow fonder.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001). "1 E". A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3. 
  • Orbul pe orb povăţuind cad amândoi în groapă.
    • English equivalent: If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001). "525". A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs. pp. 43–44. ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3. 
  • Ori te poartă cum ți-e vorba, ori vorbește cum ți-e portul.
    • English equivalent: Walk the talk.
    • "People who give me advice... I reckon they're talking to themselves."
    • Nic Pizzolatto, said by Detective Cohle in the television show True Detective (2014).
    • Păun, Mărdărescu (1969). Elogiu folclorului românesc:. Editura pentru Literatură. p. 8. 

P[edit]

  • Pasărea după ce se cunoaşte? După cântec. Mojicul după ce se cunoaşte? După vorbă.
    • English equivalent: The bird is known by his note, the man by his words.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001). "222". A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3. 
  • Pe o ureche intră și pe alta iese.
    • In at one ear and out at the other.
    • English equivalent: Advice most needed are the least heeded.
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 179. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Puțin dai, puțin primești.
    • English equivalent: Sow thin, shear thin.
    • "Believe that you have somethikng important to contribute to the world, and that the world would be a lesser place without that contribution."
    • Jordan Peteraon, YouTube: Advice to Young Men in Their 20s | Jordan and Mikhaila Peterson (2021)
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations (W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue) ed.). p. 95. 

R[edit]

  • Rabdarea trece marea.
    • English equivalent: Patience is a virtue, and a little will not hurt you.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). "P". Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 69. 
  • Rana dacă se deschide, anevoie se-nchide.
    • English equivalent: It is not wise to open old wounds.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 45. 

S[edit]

  • Sare din lac în puț.
    • English equivalent: Out of the frying pan into the fire.
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). p. X. 
  • Sângele apă nu se face.
    • English equivalent: Blood is thicker than water.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001). "257". A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs. DeProverbio.com. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3. 
  • Scote ban din piatrǎ (seacă).
    • English equivalent: All is fish that comes to the net.
    • "Right it is to be taught even by the enemy."
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses (8 AD)
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 4. 
  • Spǎrtura până e mică, trebuie cârpitǎ.
  • Spune’mi cu cine te-nsoțești, ca sǎ-țǐ spun cine ești.

T[edit]

  • Tot ce cu mare poftă iubim, acela cu mare lesnire credem.
    • English equivalent: The wish is father to the thought.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2001). "186". A Dictionary of English and Romance Languages Equivalent Proverbs. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-4660-4673-3. 
  • Totu lucru la vrema sa.
    • English equivalent: Man proposes, God disposes.
    • "Plans are insulted destinies. I don't have plans, I only have goals."
    • Ash Chandler, Freudian Slip, Mumbai Mirror Buzz, April 2006.
    • Caroline Ward (1842). National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 29. 

V[edit]

  • Voia este în tine.
    • English equivalent: Where there is a will, there is a way.
    • "If you are sufficiently determined to achieve something, then you will find a way of doing so."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 299. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 95.