Talk:Icelandic proverbs

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I guess Man likes the smell of his own farts is not an Icelandic proverb but some kind of joke. The second one - Pissing in your shoes won't keep your feet warm for long is quite funny nevertheless also somewhat suspicious. Could anyone verify this two?

I would construe that "Man likes the smell of his own farts." might refers to a general preference for one's own foulness or stench to that of others, and though I cannot say whether it is also Icelandic or not, I have heard " Pissing in your own boots won't keep your feet warm very long." or roughly that statement when I was living in Newfoundland for a year when I was eleven. ~ Kalki 16:38, 20 Jun 2004 (UTC)
"Man likes the smell of his own farts." --- This is a remake of Desiderius Erasmus' Adagia, #2302, "Suus cuique crepitus bene olet". The proverb was also used by Michel de Montaigne in somewhat distorted form: "Stercus cuique suum bene olet". -- Hrafn V. October 20, 2007.

I'm quoting from memory but I believer that "Every man likes the smell of his own farts" shows up in a list of Icelandic proverbs in Letter from Iceland by W H Auden and Louis MacNeice.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 12:07‎, 11 apr 2013 (UTC)

"Að pissa í skóinn er skammgóður vermir" is an Icelandic saying. You can find direct references to it in newspapers going back at least to the 1950s, and more oblique ones going back to the 19th Century. Here's a quotation from the 18th, 1956 edition of Icelandic newspaper Vísir: "Gengisfelling er þó skammgóður vermir, sem reynslan hefir sýnt, lík því, sem á alþýðumáli hefir verið kallað „að pissa í skóinn sinn"." My translation: "Currency devaluation is a shortlived warmth, which experience has shown is akin to that which in folk lingo has been called "to piss in one's shoe." The other saying, "sæt er lykt úr sjálfs rassi" isn't quite as well attested, but the oldest quotation in Icelandic newspapers is from the 60s, in the 10th edition of newspaper Alþýðublaðið: "Hverjum þykir sinn fugl fagur eða sæt er lykt úr sjálfs rassi." My translation: "Everyone thinks his bird pretty or sweet is the smell from one's own ass." Kattullus 15:49, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

I just noticed that the following statement is an addition that was inadvertently deleted when I reverted a previous erasure of the above comments. I do not know if this is valid or not:

  • Moomee Erko Dunst�
    • Translation: Thou shalt not eat other persons cookies. ~ Kalki 16:53, 20 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The first one is probaly a variation of the proverb: "Hverjum þykir sinn fugl fagur" Roughly translated it means that everyone find his own bird pretty. I suppose it's not impossible that some people use the other version.

The one relating to pissing in one's shoes goes like this: Það er skammgóður vermir að pissa í skóna sína.

This page needs major work, so I better get started! - Marvin

Modern spoofs included?[edit]

Some of the "proverbs" included on the site are modern day spoofs from the book "Stormur á skeri" by Sverrir Stormsker:

Margur sefur yfir sig sem vaknar ekki á réttum tíma.

Enginn er verri þótt hann sé perri.

Betra er að standa á eigin fótum en annarra.

These are not Icelandic proverbs, but jokes. Should they be presented on this page?

"Það er skammgóður vermir að pissa í skóna sína" is a legitimate proverb.

The meaning being that quick fixes usually don't hold long.

The translation "it lies in the eyes upstairs" for "það liggur í augum uppi" is far too literal and a common spoof to show how hard Icelandic can be to translate.

I wouldn't even call "það liggur í augum uppi" a proverb, more just a turn of phrase for "it's obvious".

Ok, I didn't want to start editing before running this by someone, but I think all of Sverrir Stormsker's phrases should be deleted.

Translations and interpretations need to be cleaned up as well.


Should they be included? No, not on this page. This page is for proverbs not jokes, funny sentences, or modern witticisms. Proverbs (and apothegms and adages) really should include only those things for which no know source exists. If we know who said it first, it's not a proverb but a motto, epigram, or some other type of quotation. One can certainly make a new page called something like "Humorous Quotations in Icelandic" or "Modern Icelandic Quotations", and such material would be appropriate there, but not here. Interlingua 18:47, 23 May 2008 (UTC)


Note: These quotes must be sourced before they return to the page.

  • Allir verða að halda áfram. Breyting er stöðug By N. Sekud
    • Trans: Everyone must continue. Change is constant.
    • Source is needed
  • Sæt er lykt úr sjálfs síns rassi.
    • Trans. Sweet is the smell from your own ass.
    • English Equiv: He thinks his shit doesn't stink.
    • Meaning: You think you cannot do anything wrong.
  • Ber er hver að baki nema sér bróður eigi.
    • Trans. Every man is defenseless unless he has a brother.
    • Source: Hreinsson, Viðar, ed (1997). Brennu-Njáls saga. 3. Translated by Robert Cook. Leifur Eiriksson Publishing. p. 209. ISBN 9979929308. 
  • Það er skammgóður vermir að pissa í skóna sína.
    • Trans. Pissing in your shoes won't keep your feet warm for long.
  • Blindur er bóklaus maður.
    • Trans. Blind is a man without a book.
    • English Equiv: Knowledge is power.
  • Oft hefur hin frægari kona færri hringa.
    • Trans. The more renowned woman often has fewer rings.
  • Margur verður af aurum api.
    • Trans. Money makes monkeys of men.
    • English Equiv: Money makes fools of us all.
  • Á morgun segir sá lati.
    • Trans. Tomorrow says the lazy.
  • Margur ágirnist meira en þarf.
    • Trans. Often does one desire what one does not need.
  • Oft veltir lítil þúfa, þungu hlassi.
    • Trans. It often takes little force to move great masses.
  • Enginn er verri þótt hann vökni
    • Trans. No one is worse though he gets wet
    • English Equiv: A little rain never hurt anyone
    • Meaning: It's not a big deal to get a little wet
  • Það liggur í augum uppi.
    • Trans. It lies in the open eyes.
    • Meaning: It´s obvious.
  • Kálið er ekki sopið þótt í ausuna sé komið.
    • Trans. The cabbage has not yet been sipped even though it is in the ladle
    • Meaning: Even though you have started something, you haven't finished until you are finished.