Talk:Irish proverbs

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Latest comment: 14 years ago by in topic Standardised punctuation
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Is it acceptable to put the Irish version in with a translation? A lot of Irish proverbs translate roughly to common English language proverbs, but have some difference in the exact translation.

Like "Is maith an scéalaí an aimsir" (Time is a good story teller) can basically comes down to "Time will tell" or as a "the older the wiser" kind of statement, and both "Níor bhris focal maith fiacail riamh" (A good word never broke a tooth) and "Ní hé lá na báistí lá na bpáistí" (A rainy day is not a day for children) play on the similarity in the sound of the words: "focal" and "fiacal", "báistí" and "bpáistí" -- Jimregan 01:04 11 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Judging from the main page, the intention is that Wikiquote be multilingual, so yeah, go for it, I say. --Camembert
OK, done. I've omitted meanings for those whose meaning I though apparent from the translation. -- Jimregan

The quote should be in its own language and hence a translastion, but there should be different languge version of wikiquote. eg

"Is fearr an tsláinte ná na táinte."

   * Translation: "Health is better than wealth."

Standardised punctuation


I've gone through the article and standardised the punctuation. All proverbs now follow this form:

"Aithníonn ciaróg ciaróg eile." (Irish; full stop at end.)

  • Translation: "One beetle recognises another." (Quoted; space after colon; full stop within quotes at end-- within quotes as it is a full sentence quoted.)
  • Meaning: It takes one to know one. (Space after colon; full stop at end).
  • Similar: Like sees like. (As for Meaning).

I've added a few "Similars" which others may disagree with. I hope at least you think the punctuation is better being consistent. SimonTrew 19:26, 5 April 2009 (UTC)Reply

Don't have time to do it now, but I think "Meaning" is the wrong phrase to use in some cases – it should say something like "English equivalent" – for some, if you weren't already familiar with the English proverb, it hasn't really been explained to you. 13:39, 24 June 2010 (UTC)Reply



NOTE: These quotes need to be sourced before moving them back to the page.


  • "Aithníonn ciaróg ciaróg eile."
    • Translation: "One beetle recognises another."
    • Meaning: It takes one to know one; Like sees like.
  • "An rud is annamh is iontach."
    • Translation: "What is seldom is wonderful."
  • "An té is lú eolais is é is mó a labhraíonn."
    • Translation: " whoever has the least information, speaks the most."


  • "Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach."
    • Translation: "The Power fellow will have another day."
    • Meaning: "We'll live to fight another day."
  • "Bíonn grásta Dé idir an diallait agus an talamh."
    • Translation: "The grace of God is found between the saddle and the ground."
  • "Bíonn adharca fada ar na ba thar lear"
    • Translation: "Cattle in faraway lands have long horns"
    • Meaning: The grass is always greener on the other side
  • "Bíonn ciúin ciontach"
    • Translation: "The quiet are guilty"
  • "Bíonn súil le muir ach ní bhíonn súil le tír"
    • Translation: "There is hope from the sea but no hope from land"
    • Meaning: The land, here, is the grave. If someone is lost at sea, you can go on hoping, but if they are buried all hope is gone.
    • Alternative version: "Bíonn dúil le béal farraige ach cha bhíonn dúil le béal uaighe".
    • Meaning: "There is hope from the mouth of the sea, but none from the mouth of the grave"
  • "Briseann an dúchais trí shúile an chait"
    • Translation: "Breeding will break out in the eyes of a cat."
    • Meaning: The true nature of someone's character is revealed through their eyes.


  • "Cailín ag Mór agus Mór ag iarraidh déirce."
    • Translation: "Mór has a maid and yet Mór has to beg."
    • Meaning: One must keep up appearances.
  • "Cad a dhéanfadh mac a' chait ach luch a mharú?"
    • Translation: "What else would the cat's son do, except kill a mouse?"
    • Meaning: Like father - like son.
  • "Ceileann searc ainimh 's locht."
    • Translation: "Love is blind."
  • "Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde."
    • Translation: "Beware of the anger of a patient man."
    • Meaning: The longer it takes to break a man's patience, the more powerful his wrath will be.


  • "Dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean léi..."
    • Translation: "A woman told me that a woman told her..."
    • Meaning: Don't believe everything you are told. It may be just gossip.
  • "Caoire uain i bhfad..."
    • Translation: "A lamb becomes a sheep with distance..."
    • Meaning: It may start off light, but over time it will get heavier..


  • "Gaoth na scrataí Bothair"
    • Translation: "The wind of a thousand chills"
    • Meaning: An easterly wind so cold that could whip the hair off your head
  • "Goiontacht bothair mor poll abhaile dubh ."
    • Translation: "A travelers foot is at home in a pothole."
    • Meaning: A pothole that could blacken the legs off a horse.


  • "I ndiaidh a chéile a thógtar na caisleáin."
    • Translation: "It is one after another that the castles are built."
    • Meaning: Rome wasn't built in a day.
  • "Is binn béal ina thost."
    • Translation: "A silent mouth is sweet."
    • Meaning: Silence is golden.
  • "Is bé carnæ clúas cách."
    • Translation: "Everyone's hearing is a harlot."
    • Meaning: O. Ir. version of the legal rule against hearsay.
  • "Is cuma nó muc duine gan seift."
    • Translation: "A shiftless person is the same as a pig."
  • "I scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine."
    • Translation: "People live in each other's shadows."
  • "Is fearr an tsláinte ná na táinte."
    • Translation: "Health is better than wealth."
  • "Is fearr Gaeilge bhriste ná Béarla cliste."
    • Translation: "It is better to have broken Irish than clever English." - a reference to the language.
  • "Is í ding di féin a scoileann an dair."
    • Translation: "It is a wedge of itself that splits the oak."
    • Meaning: Beware of the enemy within.
  • "Is iad na muca ciúine a itheann an mhin."
    • Translation: "It's the quiet pigs that eat the grain."
    • Meaning: It's those who are quiet that you don't suspect.
    • Similar: "It's always the quiet ones."
  • "Is iomaí slí muc a mharú seachas a thachtadh le h-im."
    • Translation: "There are many ways of killing a pig other than by choking it with butter."
    • Meaning: There's more than one way to do something - usually, more simply.
    • Similar: "There are more ways to kill a cat than choking it with cream."
  • "Is leor don dreoilín a nead."
    • Translation: "The nest is enough for a wren."
    • Meaning: Home is where the heart is.
  • "Is leor nod don eolach."
    • Translation: "A hint is sufficient for the wise."
    • Similar: "A nod is as good as a wink [to a blind horse]."
  • "Is maith an scéalaí an aimsir."
    • Translation: "Time is a good story teller."
    • Meaning: Only time will tell
  • "Is maith an scáthán súil charad".
    • Translation: "A friend's eye is a good mirror."
    • Meaning: A friend will tell you how it is (the truth).
  • "Is minic a bhris béal duine a shrón."
    • Translation: "It's often a person's mouth that breaks their nose."
    • Meaning: Watch what you say—it can hurt you!
  • "Is minic an fhírinne searbh."
    • Translation: "The truth is often bitter."
  • "Is trom Cearc i bhfad."
    • Translation: "A hen is heavy over a long distance."
    • Meaning: Something apparently easy may become difficult over a long period of time.


  • "Maireann croí éadrom i bhfad."
    • Translation: "A light heart lives longest."
  • "Pós bean ón sliabh agus pósfaidh tú an sliabh."
    • Translation: "Marry a woman from the mountain and you'll marry the mountain."
    • Meaning: You cannot be in a relationship without accepting a person's friends, family, and past affiliations.
  • "Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh siad."
    • Translation: "Praise the youth and they will come."
    • Meaning: Young people learn more from compliments than criticism.
  • "Molann an obair an fear."
    • Translation: "The work praises the man."
    • Similar: Good work is its own reward.
  • "Is maith an rud é go dtéann na bóithre i gCiarraí as Ciarraí."
    • Translation:"Its a good thing that the roads in Kerry go out of Kerry."
    • Meaning: If you live in Kerry, you'll be glad there's a way out.
  • "Is maith an t-anlann an t-ocras."
    • Translation:"Hunger is the best sauce."
    • Alternative: Hunger is the best spice.
    • Meaning: If you're hungry, everything tastes good.
  • "Marbh le tae agus marbh gan é."
    • Translation:"Dead with tea and dead without it."
    • Meaning: Caught between two bad options, in a Morton's Fork.


  • "Ní bhíonn saoi gan locht"
    • Translation: "There's no wise man without fault"
    • Note:In Hiberno-English, this is rendered as "There doesn't be a wiseman without fault". The use of "does be" tries to express the present continuous tense (or present habitual tense) which exists in Irish but not to the same extent in English.
  • "Ní dhíolann dearmad fiacha."
    • Translation: "A debt is still unpaid, even if forgotten."
  • "Ní hé lá na báistí lá na bpáistí."
    • Translation: "A rainy day is not a day for children."
    • (A pun: báistí and bpáistí sound alike).
    • Meaning: There's a good and a bad season for every job.
  • "Ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scoilb."
    • Translation: "A windy day is not a day for thatching."
    • Meaning: There's a good and a bad season for every job.
  • "Ní huasal ná híseal, ach huas seal agus híos seal."
    • Translation: You are neither a highly esteemed person nor a lowly esteemed one, but up for a while and down for a while.
  • "Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin."
    • Translation: "There's no hearth like your own hearth."
    • Meaning: There's no place like home.
  • "Níl aon tóin tinn mar do thóin tinn féin."
    • Translation: "There's no sore ass like your own sore ass."
    • This is a pun reversing the syllables from the phrase before.
  • "Nuair a bhíonn an t-ól istigh, bíonn an chiall amuigh."
    • Translation: "When the drink is in, the sense is out."
    • Similar: When the wine is in, the wit is out.


  • "Ólann an cat ciúin bainne leis."
    • Translation: "The quiet cat also drinks milk."
    • Meaning: Even those whom you believe not to do things, do them regardless.


  • "Tada gan iarracht."
    • Meaning: Nothing without effort.
  • "Tús maith leath na hoibre."
    • Meaning: A good start is half the work.