Swedish proverbs

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"Comes time comes council." Falu red houses are a common sight Sweden.
"Don't complain about lack of wind – learn to sail." The picture depicts Swedish midsummer.
"He who lives shall see." Sweden has a long history of being a sporting nation.
"In the realm of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." Drawing depicting Odin, leader of the Norse Gods.
It is best to bite into the sour apple.
"Only Sweden has Swedish gooseberries." Roundabout ornamentations are a usual sight in Sweden.
"Grab the bull by the horns." "Don't awaken a sleeping bear."

Proverbs reflective of conventional wisdom in Sweden.
A - B - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - R - S - T- U- V - Å - Ä - Ö

A[edit]

  • Akta dig för fiendegåvor.
    • English equivalent: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.
    • "Take gifts with a sigh: most men give to be paid."
    • John Boyle O'Reilly, Rules of the Road.
    • "A". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 2. 
  • Alla goda ting är tre.
    • Translation: Good things come in threes.
    • Jason Read, MeD
  • Alla känner apan, men apan känner ingen.
    • Translation: Everyone knows the monkey, but the monkey knows no one.
    • Meaning: Those that stick out are often both well-known and avoided.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 310
  • Alla sätt är bra utom de dåliga.
    • Translation: All methods are good except for the bad ones.
    • "I think it’s okay to believe in anything that makes you a better person, whether it’s real or not. You have to believe in something. Me, I choose to believe in nothing, with all my heart, and I am a better person for it."
    • Adam Marek, Grandma’s Dragon, in Robin D. Laws (ed.) The Lion and the Aardvark (2013), ISBN 978-1-908983-02-2, p. 223
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 162
  • Alla vägar bär till Rom.
    • English equivalent: All roads lead to Rome.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 284
  • Alla är vi barn i början.
    • Translation: We all start out as children.
    • English equivalent: The first pancake is always spoiled.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 364
  • Alla vill vara herrar, men ingen vill bära säcken.
    • Translation: Everyone wants to be lords, but no one wants to carry the sack.
    • English equivalent: There are too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
    • Source: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "1263". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 991. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 
  • Allt är inte guld som glimmar.
    • English equivalent: All that glitters is not gold.
    • "An attractive appearance may be deceptive. It may cover or hide a much less favourable content."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "19". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 125. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 164
  • Allt/allting/var sak har sin tid.
    • Translation: Everything has its time.
    • English equivalent: To everything there is a season.
    • Note: From the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1.
    • Source: Söderbäck (1989), p. 42
  • Alltför ödmjukt är förklädd högfärd.
    • "I've never had a humble opinion. If you've got an opinion, why be humble about it?”
    • Joan Baez, Observer (2004)
    • "A" (in Swedish). Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 3. 
  • Anfall är bästa försvar.
    • Translation: Attack is the best defense.
    • English equivalent: The best defense is a good offense.
    • "You are more likely to win if you take the initiative and make an attack rather than preparing to defend yourself."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 30 June 2013. 
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 18
  • Arbete gör sömnen ljuf ( söt . )
    • Sprovhwörter der germanischen und Romanischen sida 149 kapitel 267
  • Arga katter får rivet skinn.
    • Translation: Angry cats get scratched skin.
    • English equivalent: Quarrelsome dogs come limping home.
    • "People who are disrespectful and demeaning of others always end up getting into trouble and hurting themselves. "
    • Clifford Sawhney (1 January 2003). Book of Common and Uncommon Proverbs. Pustak Mahal. p. 131. ISBN 978-81-223-0854-9. 
    • Source: Börjesson (2008), p. 34
  • Att skiljas är att dö en smula.
    • Translation: To separate is to die a little.
    • Note: Originally a French proverb: Partir c'est mourir un peu..
    • Source: Hellquist (1986), p. 175
  • Att försvara ett fel är att fela igen.
    • Translation: To defend a wrong, is to do wrong again.
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 41
  • Att våga är att tappa fotfästet en stund, att inte våga är att förlora sig själv.
    • Translation: To dare is to lose your foothold for a moment, to not dare is to lose yourself.
    • "All is in a man's hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice, that's an axiom. It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what they fear most."
    • Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (1866)
    • ̽The only way to get rid of the fear of something is to go out and do it.."
    • Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway®: Dynamic techniques for turning Fear, Indecision and Anger into Power, Action and Love (1987)
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 179
  • Av barn, fyllon och dårar får man höra sanningen.
    • Translation: From children, drunkards and madmen you get to hear the truth.
    • 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: Ström (1981), p. 179
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "51". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 272. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Av intet blir intet.
    • English equivalent: From nothing nothing can come.
    • "As to the quantity of absolute truth in a thought: it seems to me the more comprehensive and unobjectionable a thought becomes, the more clumsy and unexciting it gets. I like half-truths of a certain kind — they are interesting and they stimulate."
    • Eric Hoffer, Notebook Entry (1950)
    • "A". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 1. 
  • Av skadan blir man vis.
    • Translation: Injury makes you wise.
    • English equivalent: Adversity is the mother of wisdom.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 156
  • Avund hindrar sin Herre mest .
    • English equivalent: Envy is its own torturer.
    • von Düringsfeld, Ida; von Reinsberg-Düringsfeld, Otto (1875). "168". Sprichwörter der germanishcen und romanischen Sprachen Vergleichend. p. 93. 
  • Avundsjukan vilar aldrig.
    • Translation: Envy never rests
    • English equivalent: Envy takes no holiday.
    • Il y a dans la jalousie plus d'amour-propre que d'amour.
      • "In jealousy there is more of self-love than love."
    • François de La Rochefoucauld, Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665–1678)
    • Source: Hellquist (1986), p. 106

B[edit]

  • Bara döda fiskar följer strömmen.
    • Translation: Only dead fish follow the stream.
    • "Why can't somebody give us a list of things that everybody thinks and nobody says, and another list of things that everybody says and nobody thinks?"
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Professor at the Breakfast Table (1859), Chapter VI
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 47
  • Barn gör som du gör, inte som du säger.
    • Translation: Children do as you do, not as you say.
    • "BEHAVIOR, n~ Conduct, as determined, not by principle, but by breeding."
    • Ambrose Pierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1906)
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 47
  • Behandla andra som du själv vill bli behandlad.
    • English equivalent: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    • Note: Based on the Bible (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31). "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets" in the King James version; "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." in the New International Version.
    • "The degree of civilization which a people has reached, no doubt, is marked by their anxiety to do as they would be done by."
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, The Common Law (1881)
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 141
  • Blod är tjockare än vatten.
    • English equivalent: Blood is thicker than water.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 298
  • Blott Sverige svenska krusbär har.
    • Translation: Only Sweden has Swedish gooseberries.
    • Note: Originally from Carl Jonas Love Almqvist.
    • Meaning: Sweden is an exceptional country, often used ironically.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 189
  • Borsta framför din egen dörr först.
    • English equivalent: Sweep your own doorstep clean.
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 153
  • Borta bra men hemma bäst.
    • Translation: Away is good but home is best.
    • English equivalents: "There is no place like home" and "east or west, home is best".
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 91
  • Bra karl reder sig själv.
    • Translation: A good man manages on his own.
    • English equivalent: Every tub must stand on its own bottom.
    • b Rooth (1968), p. 47
  • Bränt barn skyr elden.
    • Translation: Burnt child shuns the fire.
    • Note: Sometimes jokingly put as "bränt barn luktar illa" ("burnt child smells bad").
    • English equivalent: Once bitten, twice shy.
    • "Somebody who has had an unpleasant experience thereafter shrinks from the cause of that experience."
    • 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. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 351
  • Bättre brödlös än rådlös.
    • Translation: Better breadless than clueless.
    • English equivalent: Better short of pence than short of sense.
    • Source: Topelius Bokförlag (1974), p. 15
  • Bättre dåligt minne än dåliga minnen.
    • Translation: Poor memory is better than bad memories.
    • Meaning: Don't dwell on past mistakes and bad experiences.
    • Source: Holm (1975), p. 54
  • Bättre ett ärligt nej än ett falskt ja.
    • Translation: Rather an honest 'no' than an insincere 'yes'.
    • Meaning: Telling a bitter truth is usually better than lying.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 361
  • Bättre förekomma än förekommas.
    • Translation: Better to preempt, than to be preempted.
    • English equivalent: Better give the slight than take it.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 173
  • Bättre en fågel i handen än tio i skogen.
    • Translation: Better one bird in the hand than ten in the forest.
    • Meaning: Value the things you already have more than the things you might never get.
    • English equivalent: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1981), p. 138
  • Bättre ensam än i dåligt sällskap.
    • English equivalent: Better alone than in bad company.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 29
  • Bättre fly än illa fäkta.
    • English equivalent: He who fights and runs away may live to fight another day.
    • "In all the trade of war, no feat
      Is nobler than a brave retreat."
    • Samuel Butler, Hudibras, (1663-64)
    • Source: Ström (1968), p. 34
  • Bättre sent än aldrig.
    • English equivalent: Better late than never.
    • "It is better that somebody arrives or something happens later than expected or desired, than not at all."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 30 June 2013. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 363
  • Bättre stämma i bäcken än i ån.
    • Translation: Better to dam the brook than the creek.
    • English equivalent: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 361
  • Bättre tiga än illa tala.
    • Translation: Better to keep quiet than to speak poorly (of someone).
    • English equivalent: A closed mouth catches no flies.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 57
  • Bättre älskat och förlorat än att aldrig ha älskat.
    • English equivalent: Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
    • Source: Lind (2004), p. 25
  • Bäst att smida medan järnet är varmt.
    • English equivalent: Strike while the iron is hot.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 48
  • Bäst bli klok av annans skada.
    • Translation: Best to learn from other people's injury.
    • English equivalent: Wise men learn by other men's harms, fools by their own.
    • Source: Åström (1997), p. 194

D[edit]

  • Daggen faller både på lort och lilja.
    • Translation: The dew falls on both dirt and lily.
  • Delad glädje är dubbel glädje (och delad sorg är halv sorg).
    • English equivalent: Joy shared, joy doubled: sorrow shared, sorrow halved.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 251
  • Den dagen, den sorgen.
    • Translation: That day, that sorrow.
    • English equivalent: Cross your bridges when you reach them.
    • "Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present."
    • Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Meditations
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 27d
  • Den drucknes tal är den nyktres tankar.
    • Translation: The drunken man's words are the sober man's thoughts.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 136
  • Den enes död, den andres bröd.
    • Translation: The death of one, the bread of the other.
    • English equivalent: One man's meat is another man's poison.
    • "There is usually somebody who benefits from an unfavorable set of circumstances."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 28
  • Den som alltid vet bäst lär sig aldrig något.
    • Translation: He who always knows best never learns.
    • Source: Brombergs Bokförlag (2004), p. 16
  • Den som gapar efter mycket, mister ofta hela stycket.
    • Translation: He who bids for much, often loses all.
    • English equivalent: Grasp all, lose all.
    • "I messed up. So did Paulie and Sam. We wanted a better life, but in the end we were a lot worse off than most other people. You know, I think it's important to keep a balance in things. Yeah, balance, that's the right word. Because the guy who wants too much risks losing absolutely everything. Of course, the guy who wants too little from life, might not get anything at all."
    • Petr Vochozka, Mafia (2002)
    • Source: Holmqvist (1981), p. 66
  • Den som ger sig in i leken, får leken tåla.
    • Translation: He who enters the game must endure it.
    • English equivalent: He that would have eggs must endure the cackling of hens
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 255
  • Den som gräver en grop åt andra faller ofta själv däri.
    • Translation: He who digs a pit for others, often falls into it himself.
    • Note: From the Bible, the book of Proverbs 26:27, Ecclesiastes 10:8 and Psalms 7:16.
    • Note: Often shortened to “Den som gräver en grop åt andra...”
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 36
  • Den som gör sig sjelf till får blifver af vargar uppäten.
    • English equivalent: He that makes himself a sheep shall be eaten by the wolf.
    • von Düringsfeld, Ida; von Düringsfeld, Otto (1872). "70" (in German). Sprichwörter der germanischen und romanischen Sprachen. p. 39. 
  • Den som lever får se.
    • Translation: He who lives shall see.
    • "The man who acquires easily things for which he feels only a very moderate desire concludes that the attainment of desire does not bring happiness. If he is of a philosophic disposition, he concludes that human life is essentially wretched, since the man who has all he wants is still unhappy. He forgets that to be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness."
    • Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness (1930)
    • English equivalent: Only time will tell.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 38
  • Den som sover syndar icke.
    • Translation: He who sleeps does not sin.
** English equivalent: Criticism is something you can avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 298
  • Den som tiger han samtycker.
    • English equivalent: Silence gives consent
    • "There are people who eat earth and eat all the people on it like in the Bible with the locusts. Then there are people who stand around and watch them eat it. Sometimes I think it ain't right to stand and watch them do it."
    • Lillian Hellman, The Little Foxes (1939)
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 9
  • Den som viskar han ljuger.
    • Translation: He who whispers lies.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 60
  • Den som vågar han vinner.
    • Translation: He who dares wins.
  • Den som väntar på något gott, väntar aldrig för länge.
    • Translation: He who waits for something good never waits too long.
    • Notes: Sometimes jokingly changed into "den som väntar på något gott, väntar alltid för länge" ("he who waits for something good, always waits too long") or "den som väntar på något gott, blir aldrig tjock" ("he who waits for something good, never gets fat").
    • "The man who acquires easily things for which he feels only a very moderate desire concludes that the attainment of desire does not bring happiness. If he is of a philosophic disposition, he concludes that human life is essentially wretched, since the man who has all he wants is still unhappy. He forgets that to be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness."
    • Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness (1930)
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 384
  • Den spik som sticker ut blir slagen.
    • Translation: The nail that sticks out gets struck.
    • Source: Kriss (2008)
  • Det angår också dig när det brinner i grannens vägg.
    • Translation: It concerns you, too, when your neighbor's wall is on fire.
    • Note: Originally a Latin proverb: "nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet."
    • ̽English equivalentː When thy neighbour s house doth burn (is on fire) be careful (beware) of thine own.
    • "When you see a man in distress, recognize him as a fellow man."
    • Seneca, Hercules Furens
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 142
  • Det blir aldrig som man tänkt sig.
    • Translation: Things never turn out the way you imagined.
    • "Life is what happens to you, while you're busy making other plans."
    • John Lennon, From Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) off the 1980 Double Fantasy album.
    • Originally "Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans." by Allen Saunders, as quoted in the “Quotable Quotes” section of Reader's Digest, in the January 1957 issue.
    • Source: Blomberg (1995), p. 15
  • Det blir som det blir.
    • Translation: It will be like it will be.
    • English equivalent: We must take things as we find them.
    • "We should not plan and then try to make circumstances fit those plans. Instead we should make plans fit the circumstances."
    • George S. Patton, War as I Knew It (1947)
    • Source: Bremberg (1992), p. 42
  • Det dunkelt sagda är det dunkelt tänkta.
    • Translation: What is unclearly said is unclearly thought.
    • Note: This is from Esaias Tegnér's poem Epilog at "Magisterpromotionen i Lund 1820."
    • "A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. "
    • George Orwell, Politics and the English Language (1946)
    • "When he to whom one speaks does not understand, and he who speaks himself does not understand, this is Metaphysics."
    • Attributed to Voltaire.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 43
  • Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder.
  • Det gäller att smida medan järnet är varmt.
    • Translation: You should forge while the iron is hot.
    • English equivalent: Strike while the iron is hot.
    • Source: Hellquist (1986), p. 111
  • Det kommer inga stekta sparvar flygande i din mun.
    • Translation: No fried sparrows will fly into your mouth.
    • English equivalent: Birds fly not into our mouth ready roasted.
    • "One cannot (or should not) expect to benefit without making some effort."
    • Paczolay (1997, p. 455)
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 578
  • Det man inte har i huvudet får man ha i benen.
    • Translation: What one's head lacks one has to have in one's legs.
    • English equivalent: A forgetful head makes a weary pair of heels.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 289
  • Det man inte vet mår man inte dåligt av.
    • Translation: What you do not know does not hurt you.
    • Source: Åström (1997), p. 192
  • Det man förlorar på gungorna tar man igen på karusellen.
    • Translation: What you lose at the swings you take back at the merry-go-round.
    • English equivalent: What you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts.
    • "Gains and losses tend to balance one another overall."
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 550
  • Det goda är ej nytt, och det nya är ej alltid gott.
    • Svsenska Ordspråksboken (1865ä
  • Det ska böjas i tid det som krokigt ska bli.
    • Translation: It is to be bent in time, that which bent shall be.
    • English equivalent: Soon crooks the tree that good gambrel would be.
    • Meaning: Young people are the easiest to influence.
    • Source: Åström (1997), p. 100
  • Det som börjar med en knappnål slutar oftast med en silverskål.
    • Translation: What starts with a needle usually ends with a silver bowl.
    • English equivalent: He that will steal a pin will steal a better thing.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 4
  • Det som inte dödar, härdar.
    • Translation: What doesn't kill, hardens.
    • English equivalent: That which does not kill you, makes you stronger.
    • "I believe whatever doesn't kill you, simply makes you... stranger."
    • Joker, The Dark Knight (2008) screenplay by Christopher and Jonathan Nolen
    • Source: Tapper (2011), p. 516
  • Det som göms i snö kommer fram vid tö.
    • Translation: What is hidden in snow is revealed at thaw.
    • English equivalent: Ever out cometh evel sponne web.
    • Meaning: Things lied about or concealed are often eventually revealed.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 320
  • Det vattnet du hämtar ur bäcken lär dig känna källan.
    • Translation: The water you collect from the stream teaches you about its source.
    • Note: Originally a Japanese proverb.
    • Source: Åström (1997), p. 185
  • Det viktigaste är inte att vinna, utan att kämpa väl.
    • Translation: The most important thing is not to win, but to fight well.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 198
  • Det är aldrig för sent.
    • Translation: It is never too late.
    • Source: Forsberg (1972)
  • Det är bäst att bita i det sura äpplet.
    • Translation: It is best to bite into the sour apple.
    • English equivalent: Better hold with the hound, as run with the hare.
    • Ἄφοβον ὁ θεός,
      ἀνύποπτον ὁ θάνατος
      καὶ τἀγαθὸν μὲν εὔκτητον,
      τὸ δὲ δεινὸν εὐεκκαρτέρητον.
    • "Don't fear god,
      Don't worry about death;
      What is good is easy to get, and
      What is terrible is easy to endure.
      "
      • The "Tetrapharmakos" [τετραφάρμακος] (~300 B.C), or "The four-part cure" of Epicurus, from the "Herculaneum Papyrus", 1005, 4.9–14 of Philodemus, as translated in The Epicurus Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia (1994) edited by D. S. Hutchinson, p. vi
    • Pelle Holm (1980). Ett ord i rättan tid och 3529 andra ordspråk och talesätt. Bonnier. p. 151. ISBN 978-91-0-043076-4. 
  • Det är ingen ko på isen.
    • Translation: There is no cow on the ice.
    • Meaning: There is no cause for concern.
  • Det är inte ens fel när två träter.
    • Translation: It is not one person's fault if two people quarrel.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 367
  • Det är lätt att skära breda remsor av andras läder.
    • Translation: It is easy to cut broad strips off other people's leather.
    • English equivalent: Men cut large thongs of other men's leather.
    • Source for meaning: Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [1]
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 702
  • Det är lätt att vara efterklok.
    • Translation: It is easy to be prudent in hindsight.
    • English equivalent: If things were to be done twice, all would be wise.
    • "With hindsight it is easy to see what went wrong or what should have been done, but this is of no practical purpose."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Lövgren (2007), p. 144
  • Det är mänskligt att fela men gudomligt att förlåta.
    • Translation and English equivalent: To err is human; to forgive, divine.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 173
  • Det är saligare att giva än att taga.
    • Note: From the Bible, Acts 20:35.
    • Translation: It is more blissful to give than to receive.
    • Meaning: "The act of giving is more worthy, noble and spiritually satisfying than the act of receiving,"
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 294
  • Det är skillnad på folk och folk.
    • Translation: There is a difference between people and people.
  • Det är skönare lyss till den sträng som brast än att aldrig spänna en båge.
    • Translation: It is fairer to listen to the string that broke than to never strain a bow.
    • Note: Originally from Verner von Heidenstam.
    • Meaning: It is better to fail than to never have tried.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 152
  • Det är som mörkast innan gryningen.
    • English equivalent: It's always darkest before the dawn.
    • "The analogy generally holds good, that the darkest moment is just before the dawning light."
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 195. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 98
  • Det är tanken som räknas.
    • Translation: It's the thought that counts.
    • Note: Often said about (unwanted) gifts.
    • Meaning: Good intentions make up for a bad outcome.
    • Source: Hanson (2011)
  • Dra inte alla över en kam.
    • Translation: Do not pull everyone over a comb.
    • Note: The word "kam" was previously used to describe the motion made with a scythe. To "pull everyone over with a comb" refers to a stroke across wheat with the scythe, meaning that everything along the path gets cut.
    • Meaning: Do not stereotype.
    • Source: Topelius Bokförlag (1974), p. 63
  • Dra sitt strå till stacken.
    • Translation: Carry one's straw to the hill.
    • Note: In reference to anthills.
    • Meaning: To do one's share of a work at hand (usually for a good cause).
    • English equivalent: We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 90
  • Droppen kan urholka stenen.
    • Translation: The dripping can hollow the stone.
    • English equivalent: Constant dripping wears the stone.
    • "A drop hollows out the stone by falling not twice, but many times; so, too, is a person made wise by reading not two, but many books."
    • (Giordano Bruno, Il Candelaio)
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 590
  • Där vinet går in går vettet ut.
    • Translation: Where wine enters sense leaves.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 287

E[edit]

  • Efter regn kommer solsken.
    • Translation: After rain comes sunshine.
    • English equivalent: After rain comes fair weather.
    • "Here is a rule to remember in future, when anything tempts you to feel bitter: not 'This is misfortune,' but 'To bear this worthily is good fortune' ."
    • Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (180)
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 281
  • Efteråt är intet råd.
    • Translation: Afterwards is no advice.
    • English equivalent: If things were to be done twice, all would be wise.
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 62
  • Egen härd är guld värd.
    • Translation: Own hearth is gold worth
    • English equivalent: One's own hearth is gold's worth.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 140
  • Egenkär är ingen kär.
    • English equivalent: Love and ambition admit no fellowship.
    • "E". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 29. 
  • Egennytta är en bottenlös bytta.
    • "Self-interest speaks all sorts of tongues and plays all sorts of characters, even that of disinterestedness."
    • François de La Rochefoucauld, Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665–1678)
    • "E" (in Swedish). Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. Hiertas förlag. 1865. p. 29. 
  • Egennyttan vill gärna ha första dansen.
  • Eget beröm luktar illa.
    • Translation: Self-praise stinks.
    • English equivalent: Don't blow your own horn.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 67
  • Eget samvete är mer än tusende tungor.
  • En bild säger mer än tusen ord.
    • Translation: A picture says more than a thousand words.
    • English equivalent: A picture paints a thousand words.
  • En dålig hantverkare skyller på sina verktyg.
    • Translation: A poor craftsman blames his tools.
    • English equivalent: A poor workman always blames his tools.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 173
  • En fågel i handen är bättre än tio i skogen.
    • Translation: A bird in the hand is better than ten in the forest.
    • English equivalent: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
    • "AMBITION ~n. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead."
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1906)
    • Dalin, Anders Fredrik (1843). "Quérir" (in Swedish). Nytt fransyskt och svenskt lexikon: med utförlig fraseologi ... jemte ett bihang .... p. 356. 
  • En gnutta osaklighet sparar tonvis med förklaringar.
    • Translation: An ounce of lying saves tons of explanations.
    • Source: Hökby & Åberg (1990), p. 96
  • En kedja är inte starkare än dess svagaste länk.
    • Translation: A chain is no stronger than its weakest link.
    • English equivalent: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
    • "A weak part or member will affect the success or effectiveness of the whole."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 31 July 2013. 
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 597
  • En knuten näve kan varken ge eller ta.
    • Translation: A clenched fist can neither give nor take.
    • English equivalent: Better bow than break.
    • "It is better to make some confession, or pay a little deference to others, our neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and especially our superiors, rather than lose our credit or break friendship."
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 46. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1992), p. 32
  • En plats för var sak och var sak på sin plats.
    • Translation: A place for each thing and each thing in its place.
    • Source: Rydberg (1957), p. 77
  • En gång är ingen gång.
    • Translation: One time is no time.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 367
  • En gång, ingen gång — två gånger, en vana.
    • Translation: One time, no time — two times, a habit.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 41
  • En olycka kommer sällan ensam.
    • Translation: An accident rarely comes alone.
    • English equivalent: Misery loves company.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 246
  • En svala gör ingen sommar.
    • Translation: One swallow does not a summer make.
    • Note: The earliest known source for this proverb is the Nicomachean Ethics written by Aristotle.
    • "Do not feel sure or rejoice noticing a favourable sign. The appearance of a single sign of a favourable event is not yet a definite indication of its coming. It may be an unrelated, sporadic appearance."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 49. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • "All the falſe as well as fooliſh Concluſions, from a particular to an univerſal Truth, fall under the Cenſure of this Proverb. It teaches, that as he that gueſſes at the Courſe of the Year by the Flight of one ſingle Bird, is very liable to be miſtaken in his Conjecture; ſo alſo a Man cannot be denominated Rich from one ſingle Piece of Money in his Pocket, nor accounted univerſally good from the Practice of one ſingle Virtue, nor temperate becauſe he is ſtout, nor liberal becauſe he is exactly juſt: that one Day cannot render a Man completely happy in point of Time, nor one Action conſummate his Glory in Point of Valour. In ſhort, the Moral of it is, That the right way of Judging of Things, beyond Impoſition and Fallacy, is not from Particulars, but Univerſals."
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [2]
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 328
  • En vandring på tusen mil börjar alltid med ett steg.
    • Translation: A journey of a thousand miles always begins with a single step.
    • Note: Originally from Laozi.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 165
  • Ensam är stark.
    • Translation: Alone is strong.
    • Meaning: You can accomplish a lot on your own.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 41
  • Envar är sin egen lyckas smed.
    • English equivalent: Every man is the smith of his own fortune.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 243
  • Ett gott skratt förlänger livet.
    • Translation: A hearty laugh lengthens your life.
    • English equivalent: Laughter is the best medicine.
    • "No man who has once heartily and wholly laughed can be altogether irreclaimably bad."
    • Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus (1833–1834), Book I, Chapter IV
    • Source: Furuland & Furuland (1983), p. 81
  • Ett mjukt svar stillar vreden.
    • Translation: A soft answer calms the wrath.
    • Note: From the Bible, book of Proverbs 15:1.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 27
  • Ett rent samvete är bästa huvudkudden.
    • Translation: A clean conscience is the best pillow.
    • English equivalent: A good conscience is a soft pillow; a safe conscience makes a sound sleep-
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 62

F[edit]

  • Fattig mans råd får sällan något gälla.
    • Italian equivalent: Losers are always in the wrong.
    • "F". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 33. 
  • Finns det hjärterum, finns det stjärterum.
    • Translation: If there is room in the heart, there is room for the behind.
    • Meaning: Said when an effort is made to accommodate guests.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 132
  • Friskt vågat, hälften vunnet.
    • English equivalent: Faith is half the battle.
    • "The most honorable, as well as the safest course is to rely entirely upon valour."
    • Livy, Ab Urbe Condita Libri
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 364
  • Föga skämt som icke har något allvar med sig.
    • English equivalent: Many a true word is spoken in jest.
    • "Men will confess to treason, murder, arson, false teeth, or a wig. How many of them will own up to a lack of humour?"
    • Frank Moore Colby, (1926) The Colby Essays, Vol. 1., "Satire and Teeth". Reported in Robert Andrews, The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations, Columbia University Press. (1993) ISBN 0231071949. p. 431
    • "Humor tells you where the trouble is."
    • Louise Bernikow, in Alone in America: The Search for Companionship (1986), p. 113
    • "F". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 35. 
  • För en oxe bör man akta sig framtill, för en åsna baktill, och för en jesuit på båda sidor.
    • English equivalent: Take heed of an oxe before, an ass behind and a monk on all sides.
    • von Düringsfeld, Ida; von Reinsberg-Düringsfeld, Otto (1875). "198, Oohsen" (in German). Sprichwörter der germanishcen und romanischen Sprachen Vergleichend. p. 109. 
  • För lata svin är marken alltid frusen.
    • English equivalent: Idle people have the least leisure.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 147
  • Förbjuden frukt smakar alltid bäst.
    • Translation: Forbidden fruit always tastes the best.
    • English equivalent: Forbidden fruit is sweet.
    • "Things that you must not have or do are always the most desirable."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 147
  • Förbjuden väg är ofta hårt sliten.
    • Translation: Forbidden road is often heavily worn.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 375
  • Först till kvarn får först mala.
    • Translation: First to the mill will first grind.
    • English equivalent: First come, first served.
    • "Those who arrive or apply earliest are most likely to get what they want from a limited supply of things, such as tickets, discounted goods or refreshments."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 48

G[edit]

  • Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig.
    • Translation: Old love never rusts.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 76
  • Gammal är äldst.
    • Translation: Old is oldest.
    • Meaning: (Jokingly) said to imply that the older generation is superior, e.g., when an older person beats a younger one at something.
    • English equivalent: The older the fiddle the sweeter the tune.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 264
  • Genom sig själv känner man andra.
    • Translation: Through yourself you know others.
    • English equivalent: A thief thinks everyone around him is a thief.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 65
  • Genvägar är ofta senvägar.
    • Translation: Shortcuts are often “longcuts.”
    • English equivalent: He that leaves the highway to cut short, commonly goes about.
    • Meaning: What you think will be a shortcut often isn't, since you might get lost. Also used metaphorically.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 374
  • Gerningar tala högre än ord.
    • English equivalent: Actions speak louder than words.
    • "G". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 38. 
  • Gräset är alltid grönare på andra sidan (staketet).
    • Translation: The grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence).
    • English equivalent: The grass is always greener on the far side of the hill.
    • Note: Mostly used sarcastically. When you go over the fence, you will see the grass is greener from where you came from.
    • "A different place, situation, job, or lifestyle always seems more attractive or appealing than your own."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Åström (1997), p. 104
  • Gräv där du står.
    • Translation: Dig where you stand.
    • English equivalent: Bloom where you are planted.
    • Source: Lindqvist (1978)
  • Guld blindar många, kärleken blindar alla.
    • Translation: Gold blinds many, love blinds all.
    • Source: Brombergs Bokförlag (2004), p. 81
  • Gå inte över ån efter vatten.
    • Translation: Do not cross the brook for water.
    • "Choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it."
    • Misattributed to Bill Gates. Sometimes quoted with "difficult" instead of "hard".
    • A similar thought was expressed by automobile executive Clarence Bleicher in 1947 (before Bill Gates was born): "If you get a tough job, one that is hard, and you haven’t got a way to make it easy, put a lazy man on it, and after 10 days he will have an easy way to do it."[1]
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 152
  • Gör inte en höna av en fjäder.
    • Translation: Do not make a hen out of a feather.
    • English equivalent: Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.
    • Source: Åberg (2004), p. 154
  • Gör om, gör rätt.
    • Translation: Do it again; correctly this time.
    • Source: Forss, Esbjörn & Fredbäck, Viktor (2007). ”Gör om, gör rätt” (C-Uppsats). Uppsala Universitet.

H[edit]

  • Han går långt, som går sakta.
    • English equivalent: By perserverance the snail reached the arc.
    • von Düringsfield, Ida; von Düringsfield, Otto (1875). "35". Sprichwörter der germanischen und romanischen Sprachen. pp. 16-17. 
  • Har man sagt A får man säga B.
    • Translation: If one has said 'A' one has to say 'B'.
    • English equivalent: Who says "A" must say "B".
    • Note: Usually said to a person who has hinted at something but refuses to elaborate.
    • Meaning: If you say or do one thing, you must be prepared to do or say what logically follows.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 521
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
  • Hastig rikedom gör mannen misstänkt.
    • English equivalent: No one gets rich quickly if he is honest.
    • Source: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "1208". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 963. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 
  • Hellre en fågel i handen än tio i skogen.
    • Translation: Rather one bird in the hand, than ten in the woods.
    • English equivalent: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
    • 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. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 50
  • Hellre fria en skyldig än fälla en oskyldig.
    • Translation: Better to free one guilty than convict an innocent.
    • Note: Originally from Voltaire.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 360
  • Hoppet är det sista som lämnar människan.
    • Translation: Hope is the last thing to leave a human being.
    • Source: Liljeholm (1981), p. 102
  • Hungern är bästa kryddan.
    • Translation: Hunger is the best flavouring.
    • Note: From the Greece philosopher Socrates.
    • English equivalent: Hunger is the best sauce.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 133
  • Hur man än vänder sig har man ändan bak.
    • Translation: Whichever way you turn the rump is on your backside.
    • Meaning: Things seem to go wrong no matter what you do.
    • Note: Used to express frustration.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 299
  • Hustrun bör väljas med öronen, inte med ögonen.
    • English equivalent: Choose a wife rather by your ear than your eye.
    • "At every party there are two kinds of people - those who want to go home and those who don't. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other."
    • Attributed to Ann Landers
    • "When you have a girl you want to be proud of your girl because that's my girl over there - not proud of the eyecandy she is, but proud because that's my girl. And I like her for who she is, what she represents, what she is trying to do in her life. That's a good girlǃ If you don't have that kind of pride for your girl, break upǃ I'm Seriousǃ If she doesn't have that respect and pride and really admires you. You have to admire each otherǃ"
    • Zan Perrion, Enlightened Seduction: The Philosophy of Zan Perrion (2020)
    • "H". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 43. 
  • Hut går hem.
    • Translation: Barking follows you home.
    • Meaning: If you treat others in a bad way, you are likely to be treated in a bad way yourself.
    • Source: Silva (2008)
  • Huvudkudden är bästa rådgivaren.
    • English equivalent: To take counsel of one's pillow.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 205
  • Hvarhelst vår Herre har en kyrka der bygger satan ett kapell.
    • English equivalent: Where god has a church the devil will have his chapel.
    • "H". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 44. 
  • Hälsan tiger still.
    • Translation: Health is quietly keeping silent [sic!].
    • Note: From the Odal farmer written by Erik Gustaf Geijer.
    • English equivalent: Health is not valued till sickness comes.
    • Meaning: A person who is content tends to keep to himself rather than make a fuss, and is often overlooked.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 74
  • Hämnden är ljuv.
    • Translation: Revenge is sweet.
    • "Sweet is revenge—especially to women."
    • Lord Byron, Don Juan (1818)
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 257
  • Här ligger en hund begraven.
    • Translation: Here is where a dog is buried.
    • English equivalent: To smell a rat.
    • “Angel: You see, Mr. Simpson—a man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the Devil can't fool a dog!”
    • Earl Hamner, Jr., "The Hunt", The Twilight Zone, (January 26, 1962).
    • Holm (1929), p. 71
  • Högmod går före fall.
    • English equivalent: Pride goes before a fall.
    • "Knowledge is proud that he has learn'd so much;

Wisdom is humble that he knows no more."

    • William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book VI, line 96
    • Note: From the Book of Proverbs 18:12.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 24

I[edit]

  • I de blindas rike är den enögde kung.
    • Translation: In the realm of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
    • English equivalent: Among the blind, the one-eyed is king.
    • "Steve Jobs has a saying that A players hire A players; B players hire C players; and C players hire D players. It doesn't take long to get to Z players. This trickle-down effect causes bozo explosions in companies."
    • Guy Kawazaki, 12 lessons Steve Jobs taught Guy Kawasaki (2011)
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 2. 
    • Source: Topelius Bokförlag (1974), p. 12
  • I de lugnaste vattnen går de fulaste fiskarna.
    • Translation: In the calmest waters swim the ugliest fish.
    • English equivalent: An honest look covereth many faults.
    • Note: “Ugly fish” is a Swedish idiom for a suspicious or dishonest person, possibly with criminal tendencies.
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 75
  • I krig och kärlek är allt tillåtet.
    • Translation and English equivalent: All is fair in love and war.
    • Meaning: Nothing is out of bounds when it comes to love and war.
    • "Any action, however mean or unscrupolous, is permissible in certain situations."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 186
  • I mörker är alla katter grå.
    • English equivalent: All cats are grey in the dark.
    • Meaning: In the dark, physical appearance is unimportant.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 319
  • I nöden prövas vännen.
    • English equivalent: A friend in need is a friend indeed.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 156
  • I vinet kommer sanningen fram.
    • Translation: The truth comes forward in wine.
    • English equivalent: In wine there is truth.
    • Meaning: Alcohol consumed removes the inhibition against telling the truth that occasionally one would like to keep secret.
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, (1997) p. 272
  • I öknen är sanden billig.
    • Translation: In the desert sand is cheap.
    • English equivalent: Beggars can't be choosers.
    • Meaning: People with no other options must be content with what is offered.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 704
  • Ibland kan man inte se skogen på grund av alla träd.
    • English equivalent: Can't see the wood/forest for the trees.
    • Meaning: Pay too much attention to details and not understand the general situation.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 70
  • Idel solsken gör öken.
    • Translation: Constant sunshine makes a desert.
    • Meaning: You can have too much of something good.
    • English equivalent: Too much of one thing, good for nothing
    • Source: Lind (2004), p. 51
  • Inga nyheter är goda nyheter.
    • Translation: No news is good news.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 93
  • Inga träd växer till himmelen.
  • Ingen rök utan eld.
    • Translation: No smoke without fire..
    • English equivalent: Every why has its wherefore.
    • Meaning: There is an explanation for everything.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 166
  • Ingen är oumbärlig.
    • English equivalent: No one is indispensable.
    • Source: Nyberg, Berndt (1965). Skäl för kaniner (Norstedt ed.). p. 26. 
  • Ingen är profet i sitt eget land/i sin egen hemstad.
    • Translation: No one is a prophet in one's own homeland/home city.
    • English equivalent: A prophet is not recognized in his own land.
    • Note: From the Bible, Luke 4:24 and Matthew 13:57.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 275
  • Ingenting är nytt under solen.
    • Translation: Nothing is new under the sun.
    • Note: From the Bible, Ecclesiastes 1:9.
    • Meaning: Someone has always done the same thing earlier.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 354
  • Inget kalas utan kras.
    • Translation: No party without shattering.
    • English equivalent: There is no great banquet, but some fare ill.
    • Note: Usually said by the host to a guest who has just broken something.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 108
  • Inget ont som inte har något gott med sig.
    • Translation: No bad thing that doesn't bring something good.
    • English equivalent: Every cloud has a silver lining.
    • Meaning: You can derive some benefit from every bad thing that happens to you.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 123
  • Inget är så bra att det inte kan göras bättre.
    • Translation: Nothing is so good that it can't be made better.
    • English equivalent: Nothing so good but it might have been better.
    • Source: James (2008)

J[edit]

  • Ju fler kockar desto sämre soppa.
    • Translation: The more chefs, the worse the soup.
    • Note: 'Soppa' (soup) can also mean a mess, and an alternative form is "ju fler kockar desto större soppa" ("the more chefs the more soup (mess)").
    • English equivalent: Too many cooks spoil the broth.
    • "You may apply this truth to any province; for instance, the literary profession. Though each may be good in his trade or profession, they are not generally so inclined to agree together, from their different tastes and modes of accomplishment; whence the common saying, 'No enemies so great, as those of the same craft'"
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 173. 
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 73
  • Ju mera man smeker katten ju högre sätter han rumpan.
    • English equivalent: The more you stroke the cat's tail, the more he raises his back.
    • "J". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 50. 
  • Ju närmare källan, desto klarare vatten.
    • Translation: The closer to the source, the clearer the water.
    • Closest English equivalent: The sweetest flesh is near the bone.
    • Source: Hierta (1865), p. 50
  • Ju senare på kvällen, desto vackrare folk.
    • Translation: The later in the evening, the more beautiful the people.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 349

K[edit]

  • Kaka söker maka.
    • Translation: Cookie searches for a wife.
    • Note: In Swedish cookie and wife rhymes, thus indicating that those two are similar.
    • English equivalent: Like will to like.
    • "Every man loves well what is like to himself."
    • Folk-Etymology. Ardent Media. 1886. p. 216. 
    • Source: Åberg (2004), p. 155
  • Kasta inte pärlor för svin.
    • English equivalent: Don't throw pearls before swine.
    • Note: From the Bible, Matthew 7:6
    • "Don't lie, but don't tell the whole truth."
    • Baltasar Gracián, Maxim 181, The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647))
    • Source: Martling (2001), p. 85
  • Kasta inte ut barnet med badvattnet.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
    • "Don't reject something in its entirety just because parts of it are bad; other parts might be good."
    • 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. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 178
  • Kasta inte sten i glashus.
    • English equivalent: People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 29
  • Klaga inte över för lite vind - lär dig segla.
    • Translation: Don't complain about lack of wind – learn to sail.
    • "A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."
    • Francis Bacon Essays (1625)
    • "What makes a problem a problem is not that a large amount of search is required for its solution, but that a large amount would be required if a requisite level of intelligence were not applied."
    • Allen Newell and Herbert Simon, (1975) Computer Science as Empirical Inquiry: Symbols and Search. Turing Award Lecture. p. 122
    • Source: Industria. 1970. 
  • Kommer tid, kommer råd.
    • Translation: Comes time, comes counsel.
    • Meaning: For some problems, if there is no good solution at the moment, then given enough time, probably there will somehow be solutions coming up.
    • Source: Stiessel (1983), p. 32
  • Kläderna gör mannen.
    • Translation: Clothing makes the man.
    • English equivalent: The tailor makes the man.
    • "If what most men admire, they would despise,
      'Twould look as if mankind were growing wise."
    • Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richards Almanack (1735)
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 270
  • Kärlek, rök, hosta och pengar låta icke dölja sig.
    • English equivalent: Love, smoke and cough are hard to hide.
    • "K" (in Swedish). Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 53. 
  • Kärleken böriar på sigh sielff .
    • English equivalent: Charity begins at home.
    • baronin von Reinsberg-Düringsfeld, Ida (1875). "40". Sprichwörter der germanischen und romanischen Sprachen vergleichend zusammengestellt von I. von Düringsfeld und O. Freiherrn von Reinsberg-Düringsfeld. p. 22. 
  • Kärleken är blind.
    • Translation: Love is blind.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 46
  • Kärt barn har många namn.
    • Translation: A beloved child has many names.
    • Meaning: Someone or something which is popular is often referred to by many different epithets.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 178
  • Köp inte grisen i säcken.
    • Translation: Don't buy the pig in the bag.
    • English equivalent: To buy a pig in a poke.
    • Meaning: Check carefully before buying things. Do not buy things without knowing what you really pay for. (You thought you bought a pig, while in fact in the bag the unscrupulous seller might have put a stuffed cat.) Do not invest a lot before you know how much reward you can get from the investment.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 315

L[edit]

  • Lag är gjord för folkets bästa.
    • Latin equivalent: Salus populi suprema lex esto.
    • Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law. (motto of the U.S. state of Missouri).
    • "Curse on all laws but those which love has made."
    • Alexander Pope, Eloisa to Abelard (1717), line 74
    • "L". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 54. 
  • Lagt kort ligger.
    • Translation: Laid card lies.
    • English equivalent: You can't unring a bell.
    • Meaning: Said when something cannot be undone or taken back.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 87
  • Landets seder, landets heder.
    • "Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about."
    • G. K. Chesterton, in “The Ethics of Elfland,” Orthodoxy (1908), p. 85
    • "L". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 54. 
  • Lat skräddare tar en lång tråd.
    • Translation: A lazy tailor uses a long thread.
    • Meaning: Lazy people are wasteful.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 142
  • Lita inte till en annan, det du själv kan göra.
    • Translation: Don't trust for others, what you can do yourself.
    • English equivalent: For what thou canst do thyself, rely not on another.
    • Latin equivalent: Ne quid expectes amicos, quod tute agere possis.
    • Meaning: Expect nothing from friends. Do what you can do yourself.
    • Source: Strauss (1994), p. 600
  • Liten tuva stjälper ofta stort lass.
    • Translation: A small tuft often tumbles a big load.
    • English equivalentː For want of a nail, the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe, the horse was lost, for want of a horse, the messenger was lost, for want of a messenger, the battle was lost, for want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.
    • Meaning: a failure to anticipate or correct some initially small dysfunctions can lead by successively more critical stages to an egregious failure.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 132
  • Lyckan kan inte köpas för pengar.
    • Translation: Money cannot buy happiness.
    • English equivalent: Wealth rarely brings happiness.
    • "Money makes you wealthy, but friends make you rich."
    • The Instagram Account Idlehearts (2020)
    • "Always remember, money isn't everything - but also remember to make a lot of it before talking such fool nonsense."
    • Attributed to Earl Wilson
    • Source: Lönnroth (1978), p. 261
  • Lyckan kommer lyckan går.
    • Translation: Happiness comes happiness leaves.
    • English equivalent: The wheel of fortune is forever in motion.
    • "If a man's fortune does not fit him, it is like the shoe in the story; if too large it trips him up, if too small it pinches him."
    • Horace, Epistles, I. 10. 42. (14 BCE)
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 51
  • Lyckan står den djärve bi.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Fortune favours the bold.
    • I'm a 103-years old. I started and grew my own business. You want my advice? Stop looking for advice. Go out and do something and stick to it, come hell or high water. Remember, everything is a risk, getting married, having a baby, crossing the street. Now go take a risk!
    • Myron Steves, 103 Year Old Man Gives His Last Piece Of Advice! -CTE Talks Life! (2017)
    • "Pain is short, and joy is eternal."
    • Friedrich Schiller, The Maid of Orleans (1801).
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 240
  • Lägg inte alla ägg i samma korg.
    • Translation: All eggs should not be put in one basket,
    • English equivalent: Don't put all the eggs in the same basket.
    • "Spread your risks or investments so that if one enterprise fails you will not lose everything."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 18 August 2013. 
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 181
  • Lägg inte sten på börda.
    • Translation: Don't put stones on a burden.
    • English equivalent: Don't add fuel to the fire/flames.
    • Meaning: One should not make a bad situation even worse by an improper remark.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 149
  • Lärdom är mer värt än guld.
    • Translation: Insight is more valuable than gold.
    • Note: From the Bible, Book of Proverbs 16:16: or from Hávamál.
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 24
  • Lätt fånget, lätt förgånget.
    • Translation: Easily caught, easily lost.
    • English equivalent: Easy come, easy go.
    • "Unrighteous fortune seldom spares the highest worth; no one with safety can long front so frequent perils. Whom calamity oft passes by she finds at last."
    • Hercules Furens (The Madness of Hercules), l. . ,ines 325-328; (Megara).
    • Source: Ström (1968), p. 5
  • Lättare döljer en vis sin visdom än en dåre sin dårskap.
    • Translation: Easier hides a wise man his wisdom than a fool his madness.
    • Source: Holm (1975), p. 69
  • Lättare sagt än gjort.
    • Translation: Easier said than done.
    • English equivalent: Easier said than done.
    • "It is usually far easier to advice, suggest, or talk about doing something than actually to do it."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 7 September 2013. 
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 22
  • Låt inte gräset gro under fötterna.
  • Låt inte vargen vakta fåren.
    • Translation: Don't let the wolf guard the sheep.
    • English equivalent: He sets the fox to keep his geese.
    • Source: Myrdal (1968), p. 61
  • Låt maten tysta mun.
    • Translation: Let the food silence the mouth.
    • Meaning: Said when someone is being inappropriately loud at the dinner table — often to children.
    • Source: Scheffler (1997), p. 21
  • Lögn är ej långt ifrån tjuvnad.
    • "L" (in Swedish). Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 58. 
  • Lögnaren blir bara trodd en gång.
    • Translation: The liar will only be trusted once.
    • English equivalent: A liar is not believed when he tells the truth.
    • "Liars must remember the untruths they have told, to avoid contradicting themselves at some later date."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 443

M[edit]

  • Makt och mod vilja ha vett i följe.
    • English equivalent: Without justice, courage is weak.
    • Svenskt ordspråksbok (1865). "M" (in Swedish). Den svenska ordspråksboken, innehållande 3160 ordspråk. p. 59. 
  • Man bör inte hafva en hund till ovän.
    • Svenskt ordspråksbok (1865). "M" (in Swedish). Den svenska ordspråksboken, innehållande 3160 ordspråk. p. 59. 
  • Man kan tvinga hästen till vattnet men inte att dricka.
    • English equivalent: You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.
    • "M". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 61. 
  • Man måste lära sig krypa innan man kan gå.
    • Translation: You must learn to crawl before you can walk.
    • English equivalent: Learn to walk before you can run.
    • "It is necessary to learn the basics before progressing to more advanced things."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 175
  • Magen mättas förr än ögat.
    • Translation: The stomach gets full before the eye.
    • English equivalent: The eye is bigger than the belly.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 132
  • Man får ta saken i egna händer.
    • Translation: One must take matters into one's own hands.
    • Meaning: If something is bugging you, take care of the problem yourself.
    • Source: Egard (2003), p. 125
  • Man får ta seden dit man kommer.
    • Translation: Take the custom where you go (literally, "come").
    • English equivalent: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When among wolves you must howl.
    • "You should always follow the customs, rules and laws of the place where you are."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. pp. 296–. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 160
  • Man har aldrig roligare än vad man gör sig.
    • Translation: You never have more fun than what you do.
    • Meaning: How much fun you have depends on what you choose to do.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 130
  • Man hör vad man vill höra.
    • Translation: You hear what you want to hear.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 293
  • Man lär så länge man lever.
    • Translation: One learns as long as one lives.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 126
  • Man lär sig av misstagen.
    • Translation: One learns from mistakes.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 548
  • Man kan inte både äta kakan och ha kakan kvar.
    • Translation: One cannot both eat one's cookie and keep it.
    • English equivalent: You can't have your cake and eat it (too).
    • "You cannot do two mutually incompatible things at the same time." You can not have all the advantages of something without its disadvantages.
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 310. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Åström (1997), p. 190
  • Man kan inte lära gamla hundar sitta.
    • Translation: You can't teach old dogs to sit.
    • English equivalent: You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
    • "Old people are often unwilling or unable to learn new skills or adopt new methods."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 314. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 315
  • Man måste rätta munnen efter matsäcken.
    • Translation: You have to correct your mouth according to your lunch pack.
    • English equivalent: Cut your coat according to your cloth.
    • Meaning: You have to match your expenses with your revenues.
    • You have to enjoy what you have. More generally, it means you shouldn't live a life which you cannot afford.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 128
  • Man saknar inte kon förrän båset är tomt.
    • Translation: You don't miss the cow until the stall is empty.
    • English equivalent: You never miss the well till it runs dry.
    • "We tend to take some things for granted, and become aware of their value only when they are no longer available."
    • Manser, Martin H. (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 316. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 283
  • Man ska inte bjuda bagarbarn på bullar.
    • Translation: One should not offer cinnamon rolls to baker's children.
    • Meaning: Avoid doing redundant things.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 21
  • Man skall inte byta häst mitt i strömmen.
    • Translation: One should not change horses in the middle of the stream.
    • Note: When in water it is ardous to mount and dismount.
    • English equivalent: Don't change horses in midstream.
    • "It is often wise not to quit an undertaking already begun."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 18 August 2013. 
    • * Holm, Pelle (1981) [1939]. Ett ord i rättan tid och 3529 andra ordspråk och talesätt i urval av Pelle Holm. Sweden: Albert Bonniers Förlag AB. p. 28. ISBN 91-0-043076-5. 
  • Man ska inte buga för dumheten bara för att den är gammal.
    • Translation: One should not bow before stupidity merely because it is old.
    • "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly."
    • Albert Einstein, in a letter to Morris Raphael Cohen, professor emeritus of philosophy at the College of the City of New York, defending the controversial appointment of Russell to a teaching position at the City College of New York (19 March 1940)
    • Source: Nyhlén (2011)
  • Man ska inte döma hunden efter håren.
    • Translation: You should not judge a dog by its fur.
    • English equivalent: Never judge a book by its cover; Never judge by appearances.
    • "Do not make a judgment about something or somebody on the basis of outward appearance alone."
    • Manser, Martin H. (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 315
  • Man ska inte gjuta olja på elden.
    • Translation: One should not add oil to the fire.
    • English equivalent: Don't add fuel to the fire/flames.
    • "One should not make a bad situation even worse by an improper remark."
    • Paczolay (1997), p. 338
  • Man ska inte gråta över spilld mjölk.
    • Translation: Do not weep over spilled milk.
    • English equivalent: It is no use crying over spilt milk.
    • "Of this I am quite sure, that if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future."
    • Winston Churchill, Speech in the House of Commons, June 18, 1940 "War Situation"
    • Source: Åström (2004), p. 158
  • Man trampar masken så länge att han vill värja sig.
    • English equivalent: Tread on a worm and it will turn.
    • "M". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 62. 
  • Man tröttnar aldrig på att arbeta för sig själv.
    • Translation: You never get tired of working for yourself.
    • English equivalent: A man does not feel a burden of his own choosing.
    • Source: Falk (2001), p. 105
  • Man är alltid sig själv närmast.
    • Translation: You are always closest to yourself.
    • English equivalent: Skin is nearer than the skirt.
    • Meaning: When you make decisions you choose which is best for yourself rather than taking into consideration ethical or ideological convictions.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 254
  • Medan gräset gror, dör kon.
    • English equivalent: While the grass grows the steed starves.
    • Rooth (1968), p. 77
  • Medgång bör tänka på motgång.
    • "M" (in Swedish). Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. .. 1865. p. 63. 
  • Mister du en så står dig tusen åter.
    • Translation: If you lose one, there are a thousand more to choose from.
    • Meaning: Usually used concerning broken hearts. There is also a continuation for it: Väljer du en så är det tusen som gråter. (If you choose one, a thousand will cry.).
    • English equivalent: There are plenty more fish in the sea.
    • Source: Ström (2000), p. 238
  • Morgonstund har guld i mund.
    • Translation: Morning hour has gold in its mouth.
    • Note: 'Mund' is an older spelling of 'mun' ('mouth') that survives in this proverb. 'Mund' has been used since 1523 according to the Swedish Academy's dictionary.
    • "If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Make your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right."
    • William H. McRaven
    • English equivalent: An hour in the morning before breakfast, is worth two all the rest of the day.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 25
  • Mycket vill ha mer.
    • Translation: Much wants more.
    • English equivalent: Much would have more.
    • Meaning: When you have much of something, you will want even more.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 373
  • Måla inte fan på väggen.
    • English equivalent: Don't paint the devil on the wall; I cry not before i am pricked.
    • Meaning: Do not assume the worst of a situation.
    • "There is nothing so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes. What madness it is in your expecting evil before it arrives!"
    • Seneca, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 158
  • Många bäckar små, blir till en stor å.
    • English equivalent: Small streams make great rivers.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 25
  • Många hugg fälla eken.
    • English equivalent: Many strokes cut down great oaks.
    • Meaning: A difficult task, e. g. removing a person/group from a strong position, or changing established ideas cannot be done quickly. It can be achieved gradually, by small steps, a little at a time.
    • Source: Paczolay (1997), p. 252
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay (1997), p. 252
  • Många små posar fylla snart en såck.
    • English equivalent: Many a mickle makes a muckle.
    • von Düringsfield, Ida; von Düringsfield, Otto (1875). "540, Viel" (in German). X. I. p. 299. 
  • Människan spår, men gud rår.
    • 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.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 93

N[edit]

  • Nya kvastar sopar bäst.
    • Translation: New brooms sweep the best.
    • English equivalent: A new broom sweeps clean.
    • "We should never use an old tool when the extra labor in consequence costs more than a new one. Thousands wear out their lives and waste their time merely by the use of dull and unsuitable instruments."
    • "We often apply it to exchanges among servants, clerks, or any persons employed, whose service, at first, in any new place, is very good, both efficient and faithful; but very soon, when all the new circumstances have lost their novelty, and all their curiosity has ceased, they naturally fall into their former and habitual slackness."
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 38. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 260
  • Nytta med nöje förenad ger bästa trefnad.
    • "N" (in Swedish). Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 66. 
  • Någon måtta får det vara.
    • Translation: There must be some moderation.
    • Meaning: Enough's enough, there has to be a limit somewhere.
    • Source: Granlid (1975), p. 118
  • Något för något, intet för intet.
    • English equivalent: You don't get nothing for nothing.
    • "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
    • As quoted in An Enemy Called Average (1990) by John L. Mason, p. 55
    • "N". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 67. 
  • När det regnar manna från himlen har den fattige ingen sked.
    • Translation: When it rains manna from heaven, the poor one does not have a spoon.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 276
  • När det regnar på prästen, så droppar det på klockaren.
    • Translation: When it rains on the priest, it dripples on the sacristan.
    • Meaning: When someone is successful, his subordinates are a little better off as well.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 112
  • När fan blir gammal blir han religiös.
    • Translation: When the devil grows old he turns religious.
    • Meaning: People often become more religious as they get closer to death. Also used metaphorically when people change, possibly in dramatic or unexpected ways.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 78
  • När Gud kommer med döden, kommer fan med arvingarna.
    • Translation: When God brings death, the devil brings heirs.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 40
  • När man talar om trollen så står de i farstun och lyssnar.
    • Translation: When you're speaking about the trolls, they're standing in the entrance hall listening.
    • Note: Usually said when someone you were just speaking about enters the room. The expression is often shortened to just 'när man talar om trollen...' ('speaking/talking of the trolls...').
    • English equivalent: Talk of the devil and you ll see his horns.
    • Source: Åström (2004), p. 160
  • När musen är mätt, smakar mjölet beskt.
    • Translation: When the mouse is full, the flour tastes bitter.
    • English equivalent: When the mouse has had enough ( its fill ), the meal is bitter.
    • Meaning: When you finally got something, you don't appreciate it anymore.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 231
  • När nöden är som störst är hjälpen som närmast.
    • Translation: When distress is the greatest, help is the nearest.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 42
  • När katten är borta dansar råttorna på bordet.
    • Translation: When the cat is away, the rats dance on the table.
    • English equivalent: When the cat's away, the mice will play.
    • "In the absence of the person in authority those under his control will often neglect the duties/rules imposed on them."
    • 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. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 139
  • Nära skjuter ingen hare.
    • Translation: Close does not shoot any hares.
    • Meaning: Almost there, but not quite.
    • It doesn't count if you almost succeed. Even if you almost shot a hare, a miss is a miss. You don't have any hare to eat.
    • English equivalent: Close but no cigar.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 385
  • Nöden har ingen lag.
    • Translation: Distress knows no law.
    • English equivalent: Necessity has no law.
    • Meaning: It is acceptable to break rules in times of need.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 248
  • Nöden är uppfinningarnas moder.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Necessity is the mother of invention.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 255

O[edit]

  • Om en blind leder en blind, så faller de båda i gropen.
    • Translation: If a blind one leads another, they both fall together.
    • Note: From the Bible, Matthew 15:14.
    • English equivalent: If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
    • "A person ignorant or inexperienced in something cannot assist someone similar."
    • Ström (1981), p. 293
    • Paczolay (1997, p. 203)
  • Om kvällen får den late brått.
    • Translation: During the evening the lazy get in a hurry.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 72
  • Om man ger någon ett finger vill han ha hela handen.
    • Translation: If you give someone a finger he wants the whole hand.
    • English equivalent: Give him an inch and he will take a yard.
    • Il n'est pas si dangereux de faire du mal à la plupart des hommes que de leur faire trop de bien.
    • "It is less dangerous to treat most men badly than to treat them too well."
    • François de La Rochefoucauld, Reflections on Various Subjects (1665–1678) Maxim 238."
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 91
  • Omväxling förnöjer.
    • Translation: Variety delights.
    • Notes: Originally from Cicero.
    • "We gotta make a change
      It's time for us as a people to start makin' some changes
      Let's change the way we eat
      Let's change the way we live
      And let's change the way we treat each other
      You see the old way wasn't workin'
      So it's on us to do what we gotta do to survive"
    • Tupac "2Pac" Shakur, Changes (1992)
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 103
  • Onda seder göra goda lagar.
    • English equivalent: Good laws have sprung from bad customs.
    • "O" (in Swedish). Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 73. 
  • Ondt samvete fruktar alltid det värsta.
    • "O" (in Swedish). Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 73. 
  • Ont krut förgås inte så lätt.
    • Translation: Evil gun powder doesn't go away easily.
    • Note: This proverb is a folk etymological misunderstanding of the German 'unkraut vergeht nicht' ('bad weeds grow tall').
    • Meaning: Adverse things are long lived.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 132
  • Ont skall med ont fördrivas.
    • Translation: Evil shall by evil be expelled.
    • English equivalent: Fight fire with fire; Like cures like.
    • Meaning: to use the same methods as your opponents in an argument, competition etc
    • Note: Originally from unscientific medicine, earliest written form is known to be from 1623.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 259
  • Orsak nog till krig, när man måste värja sig.
    • "God seeks comrades and claims love,
      The devil seeks slaves and claims obedience."
    • Rabindranath Tagore, Fireflies (1928)
    • "O" (in Swedish). Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 73. 
  • Osvuret är bäst.
    • Translation: Best to be without oaths.
    • Meaning: Avoid making promises (to yourself as well).
    • It's best not to be over confident or promise too much/often.
    • English equivalent: Be quick to act, and slow to promise.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 191
  • Otack är världens lön.
    • English equivalent: Ingratitude is the way of the world.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 30

P[edit]

  • Pengar luktar inte.
    • Translation: Money does not smell.
    • Latin equivalent: Yet it comes from urine.
    • Notes: Originally a Latin proverb, "pecunia non olet", which might first have been said by the emperor Vespasian after he had introduced a urine tax on public toilets.
    • Meaning: Money has a value regardless of how it is earned.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 235
  • Pengar växer inte på träd.
    • Translation: Money does not grow on trees.
    • Meaning: One has to be careful about what to use one's money for.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 94
  • Pengar öppnar alla portar utom himmelens.
    • Translation: Money opens all gates but heaven's.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 232
  • Pennan har godt minne.
    • "P" (in Swedish). Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 74. 
  • Prisa inte dagen förrän solen har gått ner.
    • Translation: Don't praise the day before the sun has set.
    • Meaning: Don't celebrate until you are 100% sure there is a reason to.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 357
  • På rullande sten växer ingen mossa.
    • Translation: A rolling stone gathers no moss.
    • Meaning: "The unsettled person does not prosper."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "14". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 100. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Meaning: "There are a Set of People in the World of so unsettled and restleis a Temper, and such Admirers of Novelty, that they can never be long pleased with one way of’ living, no more than to continue long in one Habitation; but before they are well enter'd upon one Business, dip into another, and before they are well fettled in one Habitation, remove to another; so that they are always busily beginning to live, but by reason of Fickleness and Impatience, never arrive at a way of living: such Persons fall under the Doom of this Proverb, which is delign'd to fix the Volatility of their Tempers, by laying before them the ill Consequences of such Fickleness and Inconltancy."
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [3]
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 661
  • Politiker är som krokodiler, stora i käften men saknar öron.
    • Translation: Politicians are like crocodiles — big jaws but no ears.
    • Source: Falk (2005), p. 95

R[edit]

  • Rom byggdes inte på en dag.
    • Translation: Rome was not built in one day.
    • "I don't believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be."
    • Ken Venturi
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "100". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 449. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Ropa inte hej förrän du är över bäcken.
    • Translation: Don't celebrate until you have crossed the creek.
    • English equivalentː The opera ain't over till the fat lady sings-
    • Note: "Hej" is a common way to greet other people, but was used in a more celebratory sense when this proverb emerged.
    • Meaning: Don't cap a victory in advance, and don't announce something officially which you are not entirely sure of.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 132
  • Ryktet dräper mannen.
    • English equivalent: Give a dog a bad name and hang him.
    • von Düringsfield, Ida; von Düringsfield, Otto (1875). "578, Gerücht" (in German). Sprichwörter der germanischen und romanischen Sprachen. I. p. 300. 

S[edit]

  • Synden straffar sig själv.
    • Translation: Sin punishes itself.
    • English equivalent: What goes around comes around.
    • Meaning: Said when someone gets in trouble due to having acted in a bad way.
    • Source: Martling (2001)
  • Sagt ord och kastad sten kan inte tas tillbaka.
    • English equivalent: A word spoken is past recalling.
    • Meaning: You can't take back what you have said.
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 58
  • Sakta men säkert.
    • Translation: Slow but/and steady.
    • Notes: Usually said when work is progressing slowly but still heading in the right direction. The word säkert has several meanings (surely, certainly, safely, securely), p. somewhat broadening the use of the proverb, though most Swedes probably would agree that it is mainly used to express certainty about the progress of the work.
    • English equivalent: Slow and steady wins the race.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 133
  • (För) sent skall syndaren vakna.
    • Translation: (Too) late shall the sinner awaken.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 322
  • Själv är bästa dräng.
    • Translation: Self is the best farmhand.
    • English equivalent: If you want something done, do it yourself.
    • Source: Rooth (1968), p. 71
  • Skam den som ger sig.
    • Translation: Shame on he who gives up.
    • Source: Östergren (1978), p. 9
  • Skadeglädjen är den enda sanna glädjen.
    • Translation: Schadenfreude is the only true joy.
    • "Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure; Men love in haste, but they detest at leisure."
    • Lord Byron, Don Juan (1818-24), Canto XII, Stanza 6.
    • "To feel envy is human, to savour schadenfreude is devilish."
    • Arthur Schopenhauer, On Human Nature
    • "Some people talk about other people’s failures with so much pleasure that you would swear they are talking about their own successes.”
    • Attributed to Mokokoma Mokhonoana
    • Source: Åberg (1997), p. 85
  • Skenet bedrar.
    • Translation: Appearances deceive.
    • English equivalent: Never judge by appearances; Judge not a man and things at first sight.
    • "Things are not always as they seem, and you can not necessarily trust the evidence of your eyes."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 18 June 2013. 
    • Source: Bengtsson (1967), p. 100
  • Skjut inte dig själv i foten.
    • Translation: Don't shoot yourself in the foot.
    • Meaning: Don't say or do something that stupid that will cause you a lot of trouble.
    • To shoot oneself in the foot: to perform an action which is supposed to support one's own viewpoint during an argument, but which only makes it seem as one made a fool of oneself in the process, or at least, made a huge mistake
    • Source: Hans Schottmann (June 2012). Vergleichende Idiomatik des Schwedischen. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 74. ISBN 978-3-643-11733-5. 
  • Skjut inte upp till morgondagen det du kan göra idag.
    • English equivalent: Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
    • "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.'"
    • Attributed to Pablo Picasso
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 69
  • Skomakare, bliv vid din läst.
    • Translation: Cobbler, stick to your last.
    • Origin: Last (läst in Swedish) is the model for making shoes. It is from the Latin expression "Sutor, ne ultra crepidam", translated as "Shoemaker, not beyond the shoe". Its origin is set down in Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia [XXXV, 85 (Loeb IX, 323–325)] where he records that a shoemaker (sutor) had approached the painter Apelles of Kos to point out a defect in the artist's rendition of a sandal (crepida from Greek krepis), which Apelles duly corrected. Encouraged by this, the shoemaker then began to enlarge on other defects he considered present in the painting, at which point Apelles advised him that "ne supra crepidam sutor iudicaret" (a shoemaker should not judge beyond the shoe), which advice, Pliny observed, had become a proverbial saying, used to warn people to avoid passing judgement beyond their expertise.
    • "What I really lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I am to know, except in so far as a certain knowledge must precede every action. The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do: the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die for."
    • Søren Kierkegaard, Journal entry, Gilleleie (1 August 1835) Journals 1A; this is considered to be one of the earliest statements of existentialist thought.
    • Source2: http://www.nordiskamuseet.se/artiklar/skomakare-bliv-vid-din-last
  • Skrattar bäst som skrattar sist.
    • Translation: He laughs best who laughs last.
    • English equivalent: He who laughs last, laughs longest.
    • Meaning: Minor successes or failures along the way are of no significance—the person who is ultimately triumphant is the only real winner.
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • "It is not funny that anything else should fall down, only that a man should fall down … Why do we laugh? Because it is a gravely religious matter: it is the Fall of Man. Only man can be absurd: for only man can be dignified."
    • G. K. Chesterton, "Spiritualism", in All Things Considered (1908)
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 255
  • Skynda långsamt.
    • Translation: Hurry slowly.
    • ̈̇̈English equivalentː Make haste slowly.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 288
  • Skåda inte given häst i mun.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Never/don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
    • Note: From the fact that the age of a horse can be determined from its teeth. Used to tell someone to be grateful for something that has been given to them, instead of asking questions about it or finding something wrong with it.
    • English equivalent: Look not a horse in the mouth.
    • "And so with respect to gifts and donations in general, whether their value be more or less, they should be accounted tokens of kindness and received with promptness and cordiality."
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 127. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 308
  • Slutet gott, allting gott.
  • Smakar det så kostar det.
    • Translation: If it tastes good, it is expensive.
    • English equivalent: If you buy quality, you only cry once.
    • Meaning: You get what you pay for.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 296
  • Smaken är som baken, delad.
    • Translation: Taste is like the buttocks, divided.
    • English equivalent: There is no accounting for taste.
    • Meaning: Taste is subjective.
    • Source: Hellquist (1986), p. 174
  • Smedens häst och skomakarens ungar är sämst skodda.
    • Translation: The smith's horse and the shoemakers children are worst shod.
    • English equivalent: Cobblers' children are worst shod.
    • "Working hard for others one may neglect one's own needs or the needs of those closest to him."
    • 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. 
  • Små smulor är också bröd.
    • Translation: Small crumbs are bread too.
    • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Judas Maccabæus: Ström (1981), p. 106
  • Små sår och fattiga vänner ska man inte förakta.
  • 'Smäda (icke) på den döda.
    • English equivalent: Speak well of the dead.
    • von Reinsberg-Düringsfeld, Ida; von Reinsberg-Düringsfeld, Otto (1875). "465, Todten" (in German). Sprichwörter der germanischen und romanischen Sprachen. II. p. 257. 
  • Snålheten bedrar visheten.
    • Translation: Stinginess deceives wisdom.
    • English equivalent: If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 20
  • Som de gamla sjunga, så kvittra de unga.
    • Translation: As old people sing, young people tweet.
    • Meaning: Young people grow up to be like old people.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 263
  • Som fan läser bibeln.
    • Translation: The way the devil reads the bible.
    • Note: Developed from passages in the Bible in Luke 4:1-13, Matthew 4:1-11, and Psalms 91:11-12.
    • English equivalent: The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. (From Shakespeare, Merchant in Venice act 1, scene 3; Spoken by Antonio: Mark you this, Bassanio, The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.)
    • "The worst men often give the best advice.
      Our deeds are sometimes better than our thoughts."
    • Philip James Bailey, Festus (1813), scene A Village Feast. Evening, line 917. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 10-11.
    • Source: Martling (1991), p. 34
  • Som man bäddar får man ligga.
    • Translation: As you make your bed, so will you sleep (or the way you make your bed is the way you will lie).
    • English equivalent: As you make your bed, so you must lie in/on/upon it.
    • "You must put up with the unpleasant results of a foolish action or decision."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 31
  • Som man ropar (i skogen) får man svar.
    • Translation: As you shout (in the forest) you will be answered.
    • Meaning: The way you formulate a question or a statement will affect the answer you get. Also, your own behavior affects other people’s behavior towards you, e.g., you will be treated politely to the same extent that you yourself act politely.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 339
  • Som man sår får man skörda.
    • Translation and English equivalent: As you sow, so shall you reap.
    • English equivalent: What you reap is what you sow./You reap what you sow.
    • Meaning: The consequences are directly related to one's actions. If you do bad things, bad things will happen to you, and if you do good things, good things will happen to you.
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "2". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 38. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 31
  • Som man är klädd blir man hädd.
    • Translation: As one is dressed one will be judged.
    • English equivalent: Fine feathers make fine birds.
    • "If you want to be respected by others the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you."
    • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Insulted and the Injured (1861)
    • "Hädd är en gammal böjningsform av häda, som här är synonymt med ’håna’. Men ordspråket ska inte tolkas som att man blir hånad för sin klädsel. Hädd har levt ett eget liv och fått den försvagade betydelsen ’bedömd’, ’ansedd’ och ska i uttrycket tolkas neutralt: som man är klädd blir man bemött." (Source: http://www.dn.se/kultur-noje/hellre-bli-hadd-an-att-bli-hanad/.)
    • Source for meaning of English quality: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 27 September 2013. 
    • Source: Åberg (1997), p. 38
  • Somliga straffar Gud direkt.
    • Translation: Some people are punished immediately by God.
    • Meaning: Used sarcastically when something bad—and possibly unrelated—happens to someone just after they have acted in a bad way.
    • Source: Rolfer (2006)
  • Sovande bonde får drömmande dräng.
    • Translation: Sleeping farmer gets a dreaming farmhand.
    • English equivalent: A sleepy master makes his servant a lout.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 278
  • Spill inte krut på döda kråkor.
    • Translation: Don't waste gunpowder on dead crows.
    • English equivalent: Don't beat/flog a dead horse.
    • Meaning: Do not waste time or effort by trying to do something that is impossible, or to change a situation that is unalterable.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 89
  • Spotta inte i motvind.
    • Don't spit in headwind.
    • English equivalent: Strive not against the stream.
    • "One does not plan and then try to make circumstances fit those plans. One tries to make plans fit the circumstances."
    • George S. Patton, War as I Knew It (1947), p. 116.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 213
  • Stor i orden, liten på jorden.
    • Translation: Big in the words, small on the ground.
    • Notes: From the short story New Weapons written by August Strindberg.
    • English equivalent: The worst wheel makes the most noise.
    • Meaning: Said about braggarts that have little to show for themselves.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 55
  • ”Surt”, sade räven (om rönnbären).
    • Translation: “Sour,” said the fox about the rowanberries.
    • From a story about a fox that wants to eat some rowanberries that he can't reach because they're high up in a tree. A crow lands in the tree and starts eating the berries. When the crow asks the fox if he wants some, the fox replies, “No, they're sour.” The proverb can be used to state that you think someone really wants something the person claims they do not or that the person makes up an excuse for not wanting it because they cannot get it anyway.
    • English equivalent: The fox, when he cannot reach the grapes, says they are not ripe.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 332
  • Så länge det finns liv finns det hopp.
    • Translation: While there is life there is hope.
    • Meaning: No matter how grave the situation is, there is always a chance that everything will work out.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 122
  • Sådan herre, sådan dräng/slav/hund.
    • Translation: Like master like farm hand/slave/dog.
    • Note: From Trimalchios feast by Petronius.
    • English equivalent: Like master, like man.
    • "Servants and other workers tend to follow the good or bad example set by their employers."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 213
  • Sådan moder, sådan dotter.
    • Translation: Such mother, such daughter.
    • English equivalent: Like mother, like daughter.
    • Meaning: "Daughters may look and behave like their mothers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and daily."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay (1997), p. 137
  • Sådan fader, sådan son.
    • Translation: Such father, such son.
    • 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 (1997), p. 170
  • Såga inte av den gren du sitter på.
    • Translation: Don't saw off the branch you're sitting on.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 58
  • Sälj inte skinnet förrän björnen är skjuten.
    • Translation: Don't sell the fur until the bear has been shot.
    • English equivalent: Sell not the bear's skin before you have caught him; Every maybe hath a may not be.
    • "Do not plan too far ahead and do not be too optimistic. One cannot be sure of the success of a job until it is completed. Unforeseen unfavourable developments can never be excluded."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "X". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 217. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 304
  • Sök och du skall finna.
    • Translation: Seek and ye shall find.
    • Notes: From the Bible, Matthew 7:7-7:8.
    • English equivalent: The dog who trots about finds a bone.
    • Meaning: "You must make a personal effort to get what you want."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 351

T[edit]

  • Ta tjuren vid hornen.
    • Translation: Grab the bull by its horns.
    • English equivalent: Take the bull by the horns.
    • Meaning: To directly tackle a difficult problem.
    • Lundqvist, Peter (2011). Ta tjuren vid hornen: åtgärdsstrategier för säker djurhantering. Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet. pp. 23. ISBN 9186373609. 
  • Tala är silver, tiga är guld.
    • Translation: To speak is silver, to keep silent is gold.
    • English equivalent: Silence is golden. (Fuller version, less common: speech is silver; silence is golden.)
    • It is often used in circumstances where it is thought that saying nothing is preferable to speaking.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 483
  • Tala med bönder på bönders vis och med de lärde på latin.
  • Tiden går fort när man har roligt.
    • Translation: Time passes by quickly when you are enjoying yourself.
    • Source: Hagefors (1995), p. 74
  • Tiden läker alla sår.
    • Translation: Time heals all wounds.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 341
  • Tillfället gör tjuven.
    • English equivalent: Opportunity makes the thief.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 108
  • Tomma tunnor skramlar mest.
    • Translation: Empty barrels rattle most.
    • English equivalent: Empty vessels make (the) most noise/sound.
    • Meaning: It is not he who advertises for himself the most that can achieve the greatest results.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 205
  • Trägen vinner.
    • Translation: Assiduous wins.
    • English equivalent: God is with those who persevere; Persevere and never fear.
    • Meaning: Those who work strenuously reach their goals in the end.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 536
  • Tro ej din vän , förrän i ätit upp en halfspann salt tillsammans.
    • "Some people are more nice than wise."
    • William Cowper, Mutual Forbearance (Year of publication unknown)
    • "I merely point out to you that, as a matter of fact, certain persons do exist with an enormous capacity for friendship and for taking delight in other people's lives; and that such person know more of truth than if their hearts were not so big."
    • William James, Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life's Ideals (1911).
    • "T". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 89. 
  • Tron kan försätta berg.
  • Tänk efter före.
    • Translation: Think before (you act).
    • English equivalent: Look before you leap.
    • The proverb is somewhat of a word game, as the Swedish expression for reflect, 'tänk efter', literally translates to 'think after', rendering the sentence 'think after before'. "The man who thinks before he acts, is most likely to act with discretion, and have no future cause to repent of his conduct; but he who acts blindly, without any foresight, will probably suffer for his rashness."
    • Trusler, John (1790). Proverbs exemplified, and illustrated by pictures from real life. p. 115. 
    • Source: Stolpe (1987), p. 49
  • Tvungen kärlek, sminkad skönhet och vårdagssnö vara icke länge.
    • English equivalent: Forced love and self-made colors do not last.
    • "T" (in Swedish). Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 89. 
  • Två fel gör inte ett rätt.
  • Tålamod är konsten att hoppas.
    • Translation: Patience is the art of hoping.
    • Source: Topelius Bokförlag (1974), p. 86

U[edit]

  • Ulfven får nog orsak med lammet, fastän det dricker nederst i bäcken.
    • English equivalent: The wolf finds a reason for taking the lamb.
    • von Düringsfeld, Ida; von Reinsberg, Otto (1875). "682, Wolf" (in German). Sprichwörter der germanischen und romanischen Sprachen vergleichend zusammengestellt von I. von Düringsfeld und O. Freiherrn von Reinsberg-Düringsfeld. II. p. 388. 
  • Undantaget bekräftar regeln.
    • Translation: The exception confirms the rule.
    • English equivalent: The exception proves the rule.
    • "The existence of an exception to a rule shows that the rule itself exists (in general) and is applicable in other cases; often used loosely to explain away any such inconsistency."
    • Example: If you see a notice that "half price for people over (inclusive) 66 years old or under (inclusive) 14 years old", you can infer that the rule is that you have to pay, and it is full price if you are between 15 and 65, even though it is not written explicitly. The exception (half price for the elderly and minors) proves that the rule (that normally you have to pay, and it's full price) exists.
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 21 September 2013. 
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 293

V[edit]

  • Var dag har nog av sin egen plåga.
    • Translation: Each day has enough of its own misery.
    • English equivalent: Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
    • Note: From the Bible, Matthew 6:34.
    • "The best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today's work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future."
    • Dale Carnegie How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948)
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 236
  • Var fågel sjunger efter sin egen näbb.
    • Translation: Each bird sings according to its own beak.
    • English equivalent: Different strokes suit different folks.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 295
  • Var skall sleven vara om inte i grytan?
    • Translation: Where shall the ladle be if not in the cauldron?
    • English equivalent: Let him that is cold blow the coals.
    • "The greatest part of mankind employ their first years to make their last miserable."
    • Jean de La Bruyère, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 623
    • Holm, Pelle (1929). "g". Ordspråk och talesätt: med förklaringar. p. 122. ISBN 978-91-0-037771-7. 
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 315
  • Var smed har sin sed.
    • Translation: Each smith has his custom.
    • Meaning: Each household has its own customs.
    • Source: Svenska Akademin (1876), entry Smed
  • Varav hjärtat är fullt talar munnen.
    • Translation: Of what fills the heart speaks the mouth.
    • English equivalent: The tongue ever turns to the aching tooth; What the heart thinketh the tongue speaketh; Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
    • Note: From the Bible, Matthew 12:34.
    • "People cannot help thinking or talking about what is bothering them most at a particular time."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 277. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 56
  • Varje moln har en silverkant.
    • Translation: Every cloud has a silver lining.
    • Meaning: Bad situations often bring something good with them.
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 108
  • Varnad är väpnad.
    • Translation: Warned is armed.
    • Meaning: A warned person is prepared.
    • English equivalent: Warned is forearmed.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 185
  • Verkligheten överträffar dikten.
    • Translation: Reality surpasses the poem.
    • English equivalent: Fact is stranger than fiction.
  • Source: Holm (1981), p. 171
  • Viljan kan försätta berg.
    • English equivalent: Faith can move mountains.
    • "So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."
    • Christopher Reeve, Speech at the Democratic National Convention (26 August 1996).
  • Vill man vara fin får man lida pin.
  • Villig häst bör man inte sporra.
    • English equivalent: Do not spur a willing horse.
    • "V". Den svenska ordspråksboken innehållande 3160 ordspråk. 1865. p. 93. 
  • Vis är den som råd lyder, men oråd skall ingen lyda.
    • Translation: Those are wise that heed advice, but no one should heed dissuasive advice.
    • Closest English equivalent: He who cannot be advised cannot be helped.
    • "Don’t be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge. "Yes" is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes."
    • Stephen Colbert, Knox College commencement address (3 June 2006).
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 205
  • Visdomen har långa öron och kort tunga.
    • Translation: Wisdom has long ears and short tongue.
    • English equivalent: Nature gave us two ears and one mouth.
    • Source: Topelius Bokförlag (1974), p. 90
  • Väck inte den björn som sover.
    • Translation: Do not wake the bear that sleeps.
    • English equivalent: Let sleeping dogs lie.
    • "Do not cause trouble by disturbing a stable—but potentially problematic—situation."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 116
  • Vägen till helvetet är kantad med goda föresatser.
    • English equivalent: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    • Source: Åberg (2004), p. 93
  • Vännens örfil är ärligt menad, fiendens kyssar vill bedra.
    • Translation: A friend’s slap has honest intentions, your enemies’ kisses are meant to deceive.
    • English equivalent: A friend's frown is better than a foe's smile.
    • Other English equivalent: Many do kiss the hand they wish to see cut off.
    • Note: From the Book of Proverbs 27:6.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 155
  • Vägen till mannens hjärta går genom magen.
    • Translation and English equivalent: The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
    • Meaning: The best way to please a man is by feeding him well.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 281
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 354. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 26 September 2013. 
  • Väggarna har öron.
    • Translation: The walls have ears.
    • Meaning: Someone you are talking about will often overhear your conversation.
    • Source: Martinsson (1996), p. 281
  • Världen är liten.
    • Translation: The world is small.
    • English equivalent: It's a small world.
    • "It is amazing how often you meet somebody you know—or somebody who knows one of your friends or relatives, comes from your home town, or went to your school—in a distant or unexpected place; said when such a coincidence occurs."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Source: Holm (1965), p. 366

Å[edit]

  • Åsnan känns igen på öronen, den dumme på sina ord.
    • Translation: The donkey is known by his ears, the fool by his words.
    • English equivalent: The bird is known by his note, the man by his words.
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 309

Ä[edit]

  • Älska mig när jag minst av allt förtjänar det, för det är då jag behöver det som mest.
    • Translation: Love me when I least deserve it, because that is when I need it the most.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 184
  • Ändamålet helgar medlen.
    • Translation and English equivalent: The end justifies the means.
    • Note: This saying can be found in Ovid, Heroides (c. 10 BC): Exitus acta probat.
    • "Any course of action, however immoral or unscrupulous, is justifiable if it achieves a worthy objective."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 8 September 2013. 
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 400
  • Äpplet faller inte långt från trädet.
    • Translation: 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: Ström (1926), p. 337
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay (1997), p. 259
  • Är det inte det ena så är det det andra, sa flickan som blödde näsblod.
    • Translation: “If it isn’t one thing it’s the other,” said the girl with a nosebleed.
    • Meaning: There is always something to be dissatisfied with.
    • Source: Holmqvist (1991), p. 114
  • Är huvudet dumt får kroppen lida.
    • Translation: If the head is dumb, the body suffers.
    • Meaning: Said when someone hurts him or herself through a foolish act.
  • Ärlighet varar längst.
    • Translation: Honesty lasts the longest.
    • English equivalent: Honesty is the best policy.
    • "Never apologize for showing feeling, my friend. Remember that when you do so, you apologize for truth."
    • Benjamin Disraeli, Contarini Fleming : A Psychological Autobiography (1832), p. 45; sometimes paraphrased: "Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth."
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 186
  • Äras den som äras bör.
    • Translation: Honor whom should be honored.
    • English equivalent: Give credit where credit is due.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 402
  • Äta bör man annars dör man.
    • Translation: One should eat or one dies.
    • Source: Grenholm (2000), p. 403
  • Även den bäste/mästaren kan fela.
    • Translation: Even the best can make mistakes.
    • English equivalent: A good marksman may miss.
    • Source: Dalin (1850), p. 744
  • Även dåren tros vis om han tiger.
    • Translation: Even the fool is thought wise if he remains silent.
    • English equivalent: Even a fool when he holdeth his peace is counted wise.
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 43
  • Även en blind höna kan hitta ett korn.
    • Translation: Even a blind hen can find 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."
    • 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. 
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 293
  • Även små grytor har öron. or Små grytor har också öron.
    • Translation: Small pots have ears too.
    • English equivalent: Little pitchers have big ears.
    • "In old days there were angels who came and took men by the hand and led them away from the city of destruction. We see no white-winged angels now. But yet men are led away from threatening destruction: a hand is put into theirs, which leads them forth gently towards a calm and bright land, so that they look no more backward; and the hand may be a little child's."
    • George Eliot, Silas Marner (Chapter 14, 1861).
    • Source: Wallensteen (1991), p. 95
  • Även solen har sina fläckar.
    • Translation: The sun also has its spots.
    • English equivalent: Every man has his faults.
    • "Adults get... hurt feelings too."
    • Said by the character Jackson Curtis in 2012 (2009) directed by Roland Emmerich
    • Source: Ström (1981), p. 356

Ö[edit]

  • Öga för öga, tand för tand.
  • Ögonen vill ha mer än magen.
    • Translation: The eyes want more than the stomach.
    • English equivalent: The eye is bigger than the belly.
    • "Greed persuades a person to take more than he or she can manage."
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 23 September 2013. 
    • Source: Holm (1981), p. 181
  • Övning ger färdighet.
    • Translation: Practice gives skill.
    • English equivalent: Practice makes perfect.
    • Source: Bengtsson (1957), p. 121

See Also[edit]

References[edit]