Talk:Egyptian proverbs

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عضــة أســد ولا نظـرة حســد

It says about the Fish and Food... Laozi said the same and is extremely commonly attributed to him. I'd doublecheck the source for the Egyptian version. "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime." Laozi

A monkey in its mother's eyes[edit]

" القرد فى عين امه غزال" literal translation: "A monkey is a gazelle in its mother’s eyes." "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" The correct proverb should be: "A monkey in its mother's eyes is a Gazzelle"

The beholder is the monkey's mother who sees her child as a beautiful gazzelle.

I have acted on the above editor's suggestion and changed "monkey" to "gazelle". Egyptian-speakers will be able to judge whether this is correct. --Antiquary 18:59, 9 October 2008 (UTC)


  • " ديل الكلب عمره ماينعدل ولو علقوا عليه قالب"
    • Alternatives:
      • ديل الكلب ما ينعدل
    • literal translation: "the tail of the dog never get straight even if you set a mold for it"
    • "one never changes"
  • "ابن الوز عوام"
    • literal translation: "A goose’s child is an excellent diver"
    • "Like father, like son"
  • " القرد فى عين امه غزال"
    • literal translation: "A monkey is a gazelle in its mother’s eyes."
    • "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"
  • " الغايب حجته معاه"
    • literal translation: "An absent person has his excuse."
    • "Don't blame someone for not being here until you hear him/her out."
  • " السلف تلف و الرد خسارة"
    • Alternatives:
      • السلف تلف
    • literal translation: "borrowing is bad, and returning money is a loss"
    • "Don't lend or loan money"

  • "Time never gets tired of Running"

-Amad (The great Egyptian poet)

Bathe her and then look at her.

  • Meaning: Look at a girl without makeup and hairdo to see if she’s really pretty.

"اصبر على الجار السو يايرحل يا تجيله مصيبه تاخده" Be patient with a bad neighbor. Maybe he’ll leave or a disaster will take him out.

  • Meaning: Take your time before getting into fights you can avoid.

داري علي شمعتك تقيد Cover your candle, it will light more.

  • Meaning: Be cautious! Don’t brag about what you have.

لبس البوصه تبقي عروسه Dress up a stick and it’ll be a beautiful wife.

  • Meaning: Don't be fooled by women’s appearances; look deeper.

ماقدرش علي الحمار اتشطر علي البردعه He who couldn't overcome the donkey took on the saddle.

  • Meaning: Said of people who don’t face their match and pick on the weak instead.

اللي بيته من الأزاز مايحدفش الناس بالطوب He whose house is made out of glass, shouldn’t throw stones at people.

  • Meaning: Think of the repercussions before taking actions; you may be more liable to get harmed.

لو حبيبك عسل ماتلحسوش كله If your friend is (like) honey, don't lick it all.

  • Meaning: Don’t abuse people’s generosity towards you.

ياواخد القرد علي ماله يروح المال و يفضل القرد علي حاله If you marry a monkey for his wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains as is.

  • Meaning: Don’t get married to people for their money; it won’t bring you happiness.

العلم فالراس مش في الكراس Knowledge is in the head, not the copybook.

  • Meaning: Thinking is more important than just getting knowledge from books.

يا خبر بفلوس بكره يبقى ببلاش News that’s for money today will be for free tomorrow.

  • Meaning: Obvious

مد لحافك علي قد رجليك Stretch your legs as far as your quilt goes.

  • Meaning: Don’t do what’s beyond your capabilities. Don’t buy what you cannot afford.

This cub is from that lion.

  • Meaning: Like father, like son.

اللي اختشو ماتو Those who had some shame are dead.

  • Meaning: People don’t have boundaries anymore.

What comes easily is lost easily. Meaning: Obvious

اسمع كلامك اصدك اشوف امورك استعجب When I hear you, I believe you. When I see what you do, I’m surprised. Meaning: You speak reason yet you do weird stuff that contradicts it.

When the Angels arrive, the devils leave. Meaning: Said when people leave upon others’ arrival.

اللي يجوز امي اقوله يا عمي The man who marries my mother, I call him uncle. Meaning: If you can't beat them, join them.

ادعي علي ابني و اكره اللى يقول آمين I curse my son and I hate who says amen. Meaning: That parents may be tough to their children but that they love them.

قدم السبت تلقى الحد Give saturday, you will find sunday Meaning: That when you have a good history of doing good things, it will come back to you. Kind of What goes around comes around.

People died and came back to life preparing for Yehia's Wedding. Meaning: Often said when people spend a great deal of time preparing for a normal or usual event.

Give me a fish, i have the day's food. Teach me how to fish and i will have everyday's food. Meaning: Instead of giving me things for granted, teach me a useful skill.

The man a bald woman got will be easily seduced by a woman with beautiful hair. Meaning: What an incompetent person can achieve can be easily achieved by a more competent one.

يا مآمنة للرجال يا مآمنة للمية فى الغربال O! sister, you believe in a man's honesty; it's like you are believing in water in a sieve. Meaning : Women cannot trust anyone.

يقتل القتيل و يمشى فى جنازته He kills the victim and walks in his funeral. Meaning : Used to describe a person who is very deceitful yet openly claims innocence.

الكدب مالوش رجلين Lying has no legs. "Truth will Out"--> " الكدب مالوش رجلين" Meaning : Eventually a liar will be exposed.

<'Elle 3ala rasoh batha ye-hasses 3aleha>

Literal translation: A person with a wound on his head keeps touching it.. Hidden meaning: A person is likely to point to his/her own weaknesses.. Applicability: When somebody's acts expose what he/she is trying to hide.

<3ala kad lehafak med regleak>

Literal translation: Stretch your legs as far as your quilt (blanket) goes.. Hidden meaning: Do not do what you cannot afford.. Applicability: When extravagancy is unaffordable.

<'Elle fat kadimoh tah>

Literal translation: Lost is the person who forgets his/her past. Hidden meaning: Remember what you were before bragging about what you became.. Applicability: Criticizing those who want to be disassociated from their roots.

<Labbes 'el bousa tebka 3arousa>

Literal translation: Dress-up a stick and you get a doll. Hidden meaning: Make up (cosmetics) can make the ugly quite pretty. Applicability: Don't be fooled by appearances..

<Kalil el-bakht yelaki el-3adm fi el-fatta>

Literal translation: The unlucky finds bones in his/her "fatta" (kind of food) Hidden meaning: A person with a little luck can expect anything happeing to

 him. Unluckiness sticks!

Applicability: Complain about one's unluckiness

<Qaliel El-bakht Yelaqi El-3adm fie El-kershah>

Literal translation: The unlucky finds bones in his/her tripe dinner! Hidden meaning: A person with a little luck can expect anything happeing to

 him. Unluckiness sticks!

Applicability: Complain about one's unluckiness

<'En kan habibak 3asal ma-telhasoush kolloh>

Literal translation: If your friend is like honey, then don't lick all of it! Hidden meaning: Do not take advantage of the sweetness of a dear friend! Applicability: Criticizing a person who abuses the generosity of a friend.

<makedroush 3al Homar kedrom 3al barda3a>

Literal transalation: They couldn't beat the donkey so they beat the saddle! Hidden meaning: Be fair. Blame the source of the problem. Applicability: Inability to see the real problem and the real evil.

<malekyoush fi 'elward 3eib kalom ya 'aHmar el-khaddein>

Literal translation: They found no wrong with roses, so they said it is red! Hidden meaning: People will disagree with you no matter how perfect you are. Applicability: When people criticize just for the sake of criticizing.

<El kalb elle beddak tegorroh 3al-said, la feeh wa la f'saidoh>

Literal translation: If you have to drag a dog to the hunt, neither he nor

 his hunting is any good.  

Hidden meaning: Someone who does unwillingly what he is supposed to do as a

 matter of course will never do it well 

Applicability: criticizing someone who has to be forced to do what he's

 supposed to do. 

<El Ghazzala el shatra teghzel be regl humar>

Translation: The skilful spinster spins with the leg of a donkey Hidden meaning: A skilful worker can do good work even with inadequate tools Applicability: Criticizing lazy/incompetent workers who blame their tools

 for the poor job they do.  

<Gebna el-aqra3 la'y wannesna, kachaf qar3etoh w'khawwafna>

Translation: We invited the bald man to keep us company; he uncovered his

 baldness and scared us.  

Hidden meaning: Criticizing those who act in a manner opposite to what had

 been expected.

Applicability: When someone behaves in such a way as to provoke a negative

 reaction where a positive one had been expected.

<Ya bani fi gher melkak, ya merabi fi gher weldak>

Literal translation: You who is building in someone else`s property, you who

 is raising someone else's kids. 

Hidden meaning: Do your actions where it should be done. Applicability: Criticizing those who do the correct things to the incorrect


<Gat elhazina tefrah ma lketlahash matrah>

Literal translation: When the sad woman started to be happy, she could not

 find a place for her. 

Hidden meaning: Sad people will always be sad. Applicability: Complain about being sad.

<In keber ebnak khaweeh>

Literal translation: When your son grows up, treat him as a brother. Hidden meaning: Do not continue trating your kids as children. Applicability: When someone treats his mature son as a kid.

<Yedi elhalak leli bela wedan>

Literal translation: The earings are given to those without ears. Hidden meaning: Some people get things while they are not qualified for them. Applicability: When someone get something that s/he cann't use.

<Ma shatamak ela man balaghak> Literal translation: That who insulted you is that who told you about the


Hidden meaning: Do not listen to people telling you about others insulting you. Applicability: When someone tells another how he was insulted by a third one.

<tammakhada al gamala wa walada fa'aran>

Literal translation: The camel went through labor only to give birth to a mouse Hidden meaning: Looks are deceiving Applicability: To express disappointment when something big is expected but

 never materializes.

<Zay kalb el-khashashni, a3war we kayyeef>

Literal translation: Like the dog of the tobacco salesman, one-eyed, and a

 nicotine addict.

Meaning: He is no good, and by hanging around the wrong company, he got worse. Usage: To criticize the follower of a charlatan.

<No'ollohom Tor, ye'oolo iHlibooh>

Literal translation: We tell them it is a bull, they say milk it Meaning: They are trying to get more than they can. Usage: To criticize those who insist on getting what is not available for


<khonfesa shafet weladha 3al Hait 'alet da 3okD mesalsel>

Literal translation: A beetle saw her children on the wall, she said they look

 like a string of pearls

Meaning: To the biased eye, the ugliest can look beautiful. Usage: To criticize people with clearly biased opinions.

<El-'erd fi 3ein 'ommoh ghazal>

Literal translation: The mother of a monkey sees him as beautiful and graceful

 as a deer

Meaning: To the biased eye, the ugliest can look beautiful. Usage: To criticize people with clearly biased opinions.

<labbes el khonfesa teb'a sett el nesa>

Literal translation: Dress-up the beatle, it becomes the Lady of the Ladies Hidden meaning : Make up (cosmetics) can make the ugly quite pretty. Applicability: Don't be fooled by appearances..

<ya wakhda el erd 3ala kotr maaloh, yerooH el maal we yefDal el erd 3ala Haloh>

Literal translation: If you "marry" a monkey for his wealth, the money goes and

 the monkey remains as is .. 

Hidden meaning: Don't get attracted by money. Applicability: Said to a girl who wants to marry anyone for only being wealthy.

<yemoot el zammar we soba3oh beyel3ab>

Literal translation: The trumpet player dies, and his finger is still playing Hidden meaning: Habits stick to the person all his life Applicability: Criticizing somebody for his bad habits

<temoot el raqqasa we westaha beyel3ab>

Literal translation: The {belly} dancer dies, and her waist is still moving Hidden meaning: Habits stick to the person all his life Applicability: Criticizing somebody for his bad habits

<geet lak ya 3abd el mo3een te3enni, laqeetak ya 3abd el mo3een 3awez ten3aan>

Literal translation: I came to you to help me, but I found that YOU need help. Hidden meaning:If you seek help from someone, he might indeed be in need of


Applicability: Ironic remark, if you seek someone's help about somethng he does

 not know.. 

<ya me'amen el regaal ya me'amen el mayya fel ghorbal>

Literal translation: Trusting men is trusting the water in a sieve Hidden meaning: A feminist proverb that makes the analogy of trusting men to

 water being kept in a sieve 

Applicability: To wives betrayed or cheated by their husbands (mainly)

<el maktoob 3al gebeen teshoofoh el 3ein>

Literal translation: What's written on the forehead (i.e., one's destiny) is

 to be seen by the eye 

Hidden meaning: One will inevitably meet one's destiny Applicability: Obvious

<el roSasah elli matSebshi tedwesh>

Literal translation: The bullet that doesn't hit makes a noise Hidden meaning: Accusations that don't stand still hurt Applicability: To comment on damage caused by a scandal (for example).

<GoHa 'awla belaHm toroh>

Literal translation: Goha (a Comic Arabic Character) has a right in his

 bull's meat. 

Hidden meaning: One better take care of his/her own business Applicability: To emphasize one's responsibilities.

<ya dakhel bein el-baSala we 'eshret-ha may noubak 'ella Sannet-ha>

Literal translation: Oh you getting in between the onion and its peel, you

 want get anything other than its bad smell.

Hidden meaning: Mind your own business Applicability: To advise somebody you gets involved in a dispute when he/she


<Elzann 3ala elwedaan amarr min el-seHr>

Literal translation: Humming in one's ear is more (effective) than magic Hidden meaning: Incessant meaningless complaints do eventually work! Applicability: Advice to avoid listening to somebody who keeps on

 pushing a foolish argument  

<'eash te3mel el-mashTa fi el-wish el-3eker>

Literal translation: What can a beautician do for a stern face?! Hidden meaning: Ugliness can't be hidden Applicability: Commenting on somebody who is over dressed/made-up, ... etc.

<'ad el-zer we ta3eb el-ser>

Literal translation: As small as a button but a big trouble maker Hidden meaning: Don't be fooled by appearances Applicability: To criticize trouble makers who do so in hiding

<gat el-Hazina tefraH ma le'tlahash maTraH>

Literal translation: A sad woman has no chance for happiness even if she tries

 to be so. 

Hidden meaning: Some people are doomed to be unhappy Applicability: When hopes/expectations are not realized.

<seketna luh daKHal be Humaru>

Literal translation: We let him in, he brought his donkey along. Hidden meaning: Sometimes one has to be careful with abusers, otherwise they

 will take advantage of you..

Applicability: When somebody doesn't stop at the limits set for him/her

<TabbaKH el-sim dawa'uh>

Literal translation: A cook tastes his own cooking, even if it's poison. Hidden meaning: One gets the results of one's own actions Applicability: To comment on somebody who suffers from his/her wrong acts

<dou' el-3aref saba3 maGHaref>

Literal translation: The knowledgeable can taste up to 7 spoonfuls! Hidden meaning: None Applicability: Praising somebody who knows a lot.

<3aKluh fi rasuh ye3raf KHalasuh>

Literal translation: He has his own brain, he can solve his own problems. Hidden meaning: Don't get into others' own business Applicability: To advise somebody not to intervene in somebody else's business

<el-3elm fi el-ras mesh fi el-kurras >

Literal translation: Education is what you know, not what's in the book. Hidden meaning: Thinking is far more important than collecting material Applicability: Criticizing those who don't use their minds

<el-3a'l zeena>

Literal translation: Having brains make a person look good. Hidden meaning: Wisdom is beautiful; foolishness is ugly! Applicability: To praise a wise man/woman

<Habibuk yebla3 lak el-zalaT we 3adowak yetmana lak el-GHalaT>

Literal translation: He who loves you sallows stones from you, while your enemy

 waits for your mistakes.

Hidden meaning: None Applicability: To comment on the weird acts of friends/enemies

<el-salaf talaf we el-rad KHosara>

Literal translation: Borrowing is bad, and paying back is a loss. Hidden meaning: None Applicability: Advice given to discourage borrowing

<geh yekaHalha 3amaha>

Literal translation: In trying to put make-up around the eye, he blinded it. Hidden meaning: Instead of fixing it, he messed it up even more! Applicability: When somebody, trying to fix a situation, causes more harm

<el-3ein ma te3lash 3ala el-Hageb>

Literal translation: The eye will never be higher than the eyebrow. Hidden meaning: One's stature doesn't change Applicability: To acknowledge one's stature on the social scale

<el-3ein baseerah we el-eid 'aseerah>

Literal translation: The eye can see but the hand is too short. Hidden meaning: The will is present but the actions are missing Applicability: When under life's pressures one cannot do the obvious!

<eb3ed Habba tezeid maHabba>

Literal translation: Go far, you'll be loved more. Hidden meaning: The far-away friend is loved more Applicability: Comment on somebody's love for a far-away friend

<'a3ma we beygur mekasaH>

Literal translation: A blind pulling a cripple. Hidden meaning: None Applicability: To criticize people whose claim to know it all when they are

 missing the basics.

<men KHarag men daruh et'al me'daruh>

Literal translation: Whoever leaves his home, loses his prestige. Hidden meaning: One's prestige is among people who know him/her Applicability: To comment on people degraded by somebody who doesn't know them

<yeddi el-Hala' lelli bela wedan we el-fustu' lelli bela sinan>

Literal translation: Gives earrings to someone with no ears, and pistachio to

 someone with no teeth.

Hidden meaning: Some people get what they can't use Applicability: To comment on somebody getting what they can't use

< el-kezb ma loosh reglein >

Literal translation: Lies have no legs. Hidden meaning: Lies will be discovered Applicability: To comment on the fate of a lier

    • نجم (2005). كلامجرايد. كتبعربية. 

< yesoom, yesoom, we yefTer 3ala basala >

Literal translation: After fasting for so long, he feasts on an onion. Hidden meaning: Applicability: Expression of disappointment at an unexpectedly weak response!

<el-manHoos manHoos walaow 3ala'u 3ala rasuh fanoos>

Literal translation: The unlucky will stay unlucky, even if they hang a

 lantern on his head. 

Hidden meaning: Luck cannot be sought Applicability: Comment on somebody's continued efforts to break his/her lack

 of lack!

<ekfi el-edrah 3ala fummaha, teTla3 el-bent le `umaha>

Literal translation: Place the pot upside down, and the girl will take after

 her mother. 

Hidden meaning: A daughter will grow to be very similar to her mom Applicability: Comment on the physical or character resemblance of mother and


<ya me'amna lel-regal ya me'amna lel-mayiah fi el-GHurbal>

Literal translation: Trusting men is like trusting that a strainer can keep


Hidden meaning: Men are not to be trusted Applicability: Advice to women whose husbands might be cheating on them!

<'ussi reish Teirek la yeloof be GHeirek>

Literal translation: Cut your bird's feather, so that it doesn't leave you for

 someone else. 

Hidden meaning: Keep an eye on your spouse! Applicability: Advice to men (women) to be possessive of his (her) spouse!

<el-'ersh el-abyad yenfa@ fi el-youm el-eswed>

Literal translation: A white piaster will be of benefit on a black day. Hidden meaning: You never know when savings might be needed Applicability: Every penny counts!

<al-Toyoor 3ala ashkaleha taka3>

Literal translation: Birds of all kinds will end up landing Hidden meaning: Don't be fooled by appearances Applicability: Same as english saying "birds of feather flock together"

<KHudoohum bel-soT la yeGHlebookum>

Literal translation: Raise your voice otherwise their arguments will beat you! Hidden meaning: When ideas fail, words (and loud voice) come in very handy. Applicability: Same as english saying "the squeeky wheel gets the oil"

<el-markeb elli feeha rayysein teGHra'>

Literal translation: A boat with two captains will sink Hidden meaning: You can't have to leaders for a group Applicability: Same as english saying "too many cooks spoil the soup"

<dari 3ala sham@tak te'eid>

Literal translation: Protect the flame of your candle and it will light more! Hidden meaning: Don't brag about your blessings otherwise you'll lose them Applicability: Same as english saying "a cake watched never rise"

<3asfoor fi el-yad aHsan men 3asharah 3ala el-shagara>

Literal translation: A bird in hand is better than ten on a tree Hidden meaning: Don't give up what you have for what is promised Applicability: Obvious!

<elli beitoh min 'ezaz, ma yeHadefsh el-nass bel Toob>

Literal translation: If you live in a glass house, don't throw stones Hidden meaning: What you do to others will be done to you Applicability: Everyone is vulnerable

<haza al-shebl men zaka al-asad>

Literal translation: This baby from this lion Hidden meaning: Kids inherit their parents stature Applicability: Words of praise for a promising kid (same as english "a chip of

 the old block")

<Ebn el wezz 3awwam> Literal translation: The goose's (maybe swan's) son is a good swimmer Hidden meaning: Like father like son (in a good sense) Applicability: When a son is as gifted as his father in a certain aspect

<be3eid 3an el-3ein, be3eid 3an el-'alb>

Literal translation: out of sight, out of mind Hidden meaning: Distance makes one forget old friendships/relationships Applicability: Obvious

<in GHab el-'ut, el3ab ya far>

Literal translation: if the cat is away, the mice will play Hidden meaning: When authority leaves chaos reigns Applicability: Obvious

<bab el-naggar mekhala3>

Literal translation: The carpenter's door is loose Hidden meaning: The expert does not apply his expertise to himself/herself Applicability: When people neglect what they can do best in their home,

 family, personal life, but do it only professionally 

<ekhTob le bentak wa matekhTobsh le ebnak>

Literal translation: Don't play matchmaker for your son but rather for your


Hidden meaning: It is not shameful for parents to talk about their daughters

 and offer them as brides to trustworthy people 

Applicability: It is customary for men to propose, so this is a saying

 advocating that marriage (betrothal) proposals could come from either party.
 Readily applied when parents find a good match for their daughter.

<ma ye3geboosh el 3agab, wala'l siyaam fi ragab>

Literally: Wonders don't please him, nor does fasting in the month of Ragab Hidden meaning: Criticism of someone who's impossible to please Applicability: Comments on someone who's "blase" or who puts down

 everything or everyone.

<El bab elli yigi menno el reeH, seddo westareeH>

Literal translation: Block the door where the wind comes from, and relax Hidden meaning: Don't dig for trouble; face your problems Applicability: An advice to prevent potential problems when someone is

 hesitating to solve a problem for good. 

<Elli yetlesse3 men el shorba yenfokh felzabadi>

Literal translation: This who burn his/her tounge when eating soup, will blow

 in the yogurt. 

Hidden meaning: The impact of bad experiences makes one weary. Applicability: When someone get very suspicious because of a bad experience.

<Egri garey elwehoosh, gher rezkak lan tehoosh>

Literal translation : Run as a beast, you will not get except your share. Hidden meaning: You get what is yours Applicability: When someone is working so hard for money.

<Elganaze hara we elmaiet kalb>

Literal translation: The funeral is hot while the dead is a dog. Hidden meaning: Trivial people can get a lot of attention. Applicability: When a lot of fuss is made about a not so worthy person.

<Delle ragel wala delle heta>

Literal translation: The shadow of a man is better than that of a wall. Hidden meaning: It is better to have a man than not to. Applicability: When a woman is about to marry a not so good man.

<ma feesh dokhan men gher nar>

Literal translation: There is no smoke without fire. Hidden meaning: Rumours are always based on something. Applicability: When someone tries to completely deny a rumour.

<al-'ra3a tatabahha bisha3r bint ukhtaha>

Literal translation: The bald person will find pride in the hair of her

 sister's daughter.

Hidden meaning: A person with a deficiency will try to make it up by

 referring to a strength, no matter how remote.

Applicability: When someone tries to change the focus on their deficiency by

 bringing up someone else's unrelated strength.

<'ei3meil il Tayeib wi 'eirmiiH il baHr>

Literal translation: Do a good deed and throw it into the sea Hidden Meaning: One should do good things without expecting a reward Applicability: Advice for somebody to the right things even if it doesn't pay

<zayy umm il3aruusa, fadya wmashbuuka>

Literal translation: Like a bride's mother, does nothing yet acts busy Hidden Meaning: Not all those who act as being over worked are actually so! Applicability: Said about someone who does nothing yet acts busy, just like a

 bride's mother on her daughter's wedding day 

<ilHaraami 'ala ra'su riish>

Literal translation: The thief has a feather on his head Hidden Meaning: One can always spot the guilty (this is in a Goha story) Applicability: Hinting about somebody's wrong doing!

<illu awwilu sharT, akru nuur>

Literal translation: Whatever begins with stipulations (clear conditions) ends

 up in the light (clear)

Hidden Meaning: Conditions clear at the outset lead to better results Applicability: Said to somebody to dictate conditions

<ilghaayib Higgitu ma3aah>

Literal translation: An absent person has his excuse Hidden Meaning: Don't jump to conclusions Applicability: Don't blame someone not present until you hear his/her side of

 the story 

<el Darb fil-mayyit Haraam>

Literal translation: Beating a dead person is a sin Hidden Meaning: Don't beat a dead horse, it's a waste of effort Applicability: It is unethical to attack someone who is unable to defend


<illei faat maat>

Literal translation: What is past is dead Hidden Meaning: Forget the past; open a new page Applicability: Obvious

<el Sabr moftaH ilfarag>

Literal translation: Patience is the key to release Hidden Meaning: Be patient Applicability: Obvious

<el 3abd fil-tafkir wel rab fil-tadbir>

Literal translation: Man thinks, God takes care of things Hidden Meaning: Man proposes, God disposes Applicability: Do what you can and leave the rest for God to take care of

<es3a ya 3abd we 'ana 'as3a ma3aak>

Literal translation: Work my slave and I'll work with you Hidden Meaning: Luck comes to those who work hard to get it Applicability: Do what you can and leave the rest for God to take care of

< el-GHawi yena'aT be Ta'eituh >

Literal translation: He who wants something will pay for it with his hat Hidden meaning: if you want something badly enough, you'll give

 your most precious possessions for it.

Applicability: Obvious

<'asma3 kalamak 'asada'ak, 'ashoof umurak 'asta3geb>

Literal translation: I believe what you say, I'm surprised at what you do. Hidden meaning: your words contradict your actions. Applicability: when someone's actions contradict his speech, i.e.

 doesn't practice what he preaches.

<'eza kan el-kalam min faDah fa el-sukoot min dahab>

Literal translation: if speech is silver, silence is gold. Hidden meaning: silence will always be of more value than talk. Applicability: when someone's speech is meaningless/damaging.

<ba3d ma shab, wadooh el-kuttab>

Literal translation: after he grew old, they sent him to school Hidden meaning: you can't teach old dogs new tricks! Applicability: when an old person starts a new fade

<el-'arayeb 3a'areb>

Literal translation: relatives are spiders. Hidden meaning: sometimes a relative's bite is worse than a spider's. Applicability: when someone is hurt by own relatives.

<el-eid el-baTallah negsah>

Literal translation: an unemployed hand is a dirty hand. Hidden meaning: work is part of being religious. Applicability: Obvious

<el-faDi ye3mel 'aDi> Literal translation: who he isn't busy acts like a judge. Hidden meaning: if someone has nothing useful to do, he'll spend

 his time/energy judging others.

Applicability: Obvious

<Khayran te3mel, Sharan telka>

Literal translation: You do good and what you get back is evil. Hidden meaning: None Applicability: When you offer someone a favor and instead of thanking you

 s/he behaves badly towards you. 

<El-felous ma3a El-tious>

Literal translation: Money goes to peacocks Hidden meaning: Some people get what they don't deserve Applicability: used by unwealthy to justify why others are richer?

<3alem fie El-metbalem yesbahh nassi>

Literal translation: Whatever you teach a stupid person, he will forget. Hidden meaning: A stupid is a stupid! Applicability: There is no hope trying to convince a stupid/stubborn


<El-3ein Sabtny wa Rab El-3arsh naganny>

Literal Translation: Those evil persons' eyes envied me, but God protected me. Hidden Meaning: Believe in God power Applicability: Obvious

<Ya Naas Ya Shaar Kefayah Qarr>

Literal Translation: Oh you bad persons, stop envying me! Hidden Meaning: None Applicability: Inscripted on the back bumper of almost all Taxis in Egypt :-)

<El-dafaa 3afa wel bard lahhaas el-qafa>

Literal Translation: Warmth is great while coldness licks the back of the neck Hidden Meaning: None Applicability: When it is cold and you want to warm-up yourself :-)

<elli malosh dahr yendereb 3ala batnoh>

Literal translation: he, withoout a back will be hit on the stomeck Hidden meaning: those without contacts in high places will suffer most. Applicability: Obvious

<fi el-ta'anni el-salama, we fi el-'agalah el-nadama>

Literal translation: safety is in caution/slowness, and regret is in haste. Hidden meaning: take your time and don't rush. Applicability: Advice to someone not to hurry up or push his/her luck

<KHeiru el-berr 3ageluhu>

Literal translation: the best good deed/charity is a quick one. Hidden meaning: if you plan on doing a good deed, do it promptly. Applicability: Obvious

<ya KHabar befloos, bukrah yeb'a bebalash>

Literal translation: the costly news of today, will be free tomorrow. Hidden meaning: the secrets of today will, in time, be common knowledge. Applicability: when someone is going out of his way to find out

 about something.

<elli yetgawwez ummi, 'a'ool luh ya 3ammi>

Literal translation: whoever marries my mother, I'll call him uncle Hidden meaning: you should make peace with people whom you're forced to

 deal with (or perhaps who will have authority over you?)

Applicability: Obvious

<etlamm el-mat3oos 3ala KHayeb el-raga>

Literal translation: the miserable got together with the hopeless. Hidden meaning: no good can come out of such a union. Applicability: To criticize two loosers who decide to join efforts!

<teegi teSeiduh yeSeidak> Literal translation: you try to trap him, he traps you instead! Hidden meaning: You'd better watch out Applicability: when you try to do something to someone, and he does it

 to you.

<fi el-wesh merayah, we fi el-'afa sellayah>

Literal translation: a mirror to your face, and a ??? behind your back. Hidden meaning: a double-faced person Applicability: to describe a person who pretends to be your friend

 then hurts you when you're not looking.

<en fatak el-meeri, etmaraGH fi turabuh>

Literal translation: If you miss the official appointment try hard to get it! Hidden meaning: always look for an employment with the governoment. Applicability: praise the security and cushiness of a governmental job (not

 anymore I guess)!

<ya baKHt men kan el-naKeeb KHalu>

Literal translation: Lucky is he who has a Sargeant for an uncle. Hidden meaning: it helps to have relatives in positions of power Applicability: to comment on somebody's connections

<KHud men el-tall, yeKHtal>

Literal translation: if you take from the hill, it'll shake. Hidden meaning: Large reserves can disappear Applicability: Usually used to describe the situation of having a sum

 of money, you spend from it, it diminishes.

al-mit3alem fil-mitbalem yisbahh naasi..wa-l-mitbakhar bil-3ud yisbah faasi

         Awwal ma shaTaH naTaH
   Lit.  As soon  as he got out, he started butting  with his horns.
   Meaning: As soon as he learned how to do something he started making

          el-Tab3 lil-qabr
   Lit. Nature is to the grave.
        People's nature doesn't change ever.
on a similar note:
         el-Gillah asbah karamellah?
   Lit. Did the sheep manure turn to caramel?
        Don't expect a bad person to suddenly turn good.        .
Two more, though I'm not sure they're proverbs or just sayings;
         Ardabbi ma hu lak
         Ma tiHdDarsh keyloh
         Tighabbar da'nak
         wa-yilzamak sheyloh

Lit. This is my measuring bucket (actually about 200 liters), not yours,

         Don't watch while I'm measuring
         you'll get dust in your beard
         and then you'll have to carry it (the ardabb)
         In other words, just mind your own business