Talk:Mexican proverbs

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"En boca cerrada, no entran moscas":

     "The mouth that's closed, flies don't enter" 
      or "Better to be seen and not heard."

"Antes que te cases, miro lo que haces":

   "Before marrying, look at what you are doing."
   or "look before you leap."

This is a common Mexican proverb. Meaning that the woman is the one that makes a house work, or to stay up.

"La casa no descansa en la tierra sino en la mujer" o "El peso de la casa no recae sobre la tierra sino sobre una mujer":

     "The house does not rest on the ground, but 
      on a woman."

95% of these "proverbs" are NOT Mexican, they from the motherland Spain, and most of the Spanish speaking countries use them, sometimes applying local variations.


"A caballo regalado, no se le mira el colmillo

  • "A caballo dado, no se le ve el colmillo"
    • Alternative:
      • "A caballo dado, no le busques el colmillo"
    • "You don't look a gift horse in the mouth"
    • Meaning, you don't inspect in detail that which was given.
    • Meaning: Don't complain about something given as a gift.

  • "A donde fueras, haz lo que vieras"
    • "Wherever you go, do as you see"
    • Meaning,Do what you see they're doing.
    • "When in Rome, do as the romans do"

  • "Agua que no has de beber, déjala correr"
    • "Water you are not going to drink, let it run"
    • Meaning, do not keep what you are not going to use. Mostly used in emotional conflict, and says to let go of ill feelings.

  • "Al mal paso, darle prisa"
    • "To bad steps, make them quick"
    • Meaning, if you have to do something that you don't like, do it fast to forget about it soon.

  • "Al mal tiempo, buena cara"
    • "To bad times, good face"
    • Meaning, be positive even in bad situations.

  • "Cría cuervos y te sacarán los ojos"
    • "Breed crows and they will take your eyes out"
    • "You reap what you sow"

  • "Al que madruga, Dios lo ayuda"
    • "Who wakes up early, God will help"
    • Meaning, "if you start early, things will be easier or better." Also: "The early bird catches the worm"

  • "Árbol que crece torcido jamás su tronco endereza"
    • Alternatives:
      • "Árbol que nace torcido jamás su tronco endereza"
      • "Rama que sale torcida jamás su tronco endereza"
    • "Tree which grows bent will never get straight again"
    • Meaning, that which starts wrong will never get right. Used also about the formation and education of children.

  • "Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente"
    • "Shrimp that sleeps gets carried by the tide"
    • Meaning, if you get distracted (or asleep), you will be left behind; or you snooze you lose.

  • "Cuando el río suena es que agua lleva"
    • Alternatives:
      • "Si el río suena es que agua lleva"
      • "Si el río suena es porque piedras lleva"
    • "If the river sounds it is because it is carrying water"
    • "If the river roars, rocks hauls"
    • Meaning, if there are rumors, there must be some truth behind them. Or, where there's smoke there's fire.

  • "Dan más donde no conocen"
    • meaning: Sometimes, you get a better service from a total stranger's business than from a friend's business.

  • "Donde hubo fuego cenizas quedan"
    • "Where there was fire, ashes remain"
    • Meaning, there is always something left of the events that happen. Usually this "refrán" is used in passional themes, where there was love, there is always some left. Or talking about an old flame.

  • "Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres"
    • "Tell me who you are with and I will tell you who you are"
    • Meaning, you will be seen to be like the people you hang around with. Therefore, if your hanging out with a bad crowd, people are going to think that you are bad.

  • "El burro trabaja doble"
    • "The donkey works twice as much"
    • "A jackass works twice as much"
    • Work smart; focus on quality and not quantity (donkey is considered a stupid animal)
    • When you do your work half-heartedly, sometimes you will need to do that work again.

  • "El miedo no anda en burro"
    • "Fear does not travel by donkey"
    • Meaning, People are not dumb, they won't do things that are clearly dangerous (because they are afraid)

  • "El indio no tiene la culpa sino el que lo hace compadre"
    • "It is not the indian's fault but of the one who teaches him"
    • Be careful no to assign responsibility to someone who does not have the proper qualifications to handle it.

  • "El muerto al pozo y el vivo al gozo"
    • Alternatives:
      • "El muerto al hoyo y el vivo al pollo"
    • "To the dead interrment and to the living enjoyment"
    • Meaning, to stop mourning the dead and keep going with life. Mostly it is used as a metaphor for continuing to enjoy life despite its problems.

  • "El muerto y el arrimado a los tres días apesta"
    • "Corpses and annoying guests stink by the third day"
    • Meaning, annoying guests can become a nuisance if they stay for long.

  • "El que calla otorga"
    • "He, who is silent consents"
    • meaning, if you don't say anything, you'll agree to what I say.

  • "El que no habla, Dios no lo oye"
    • Alternatives:
      • "El que no chilla no mama"
    • "He, who does not speak, God does not hear"
    • Meaning, to be heard it is needed to speak or the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

  • "El que se fue a la villa perdió su silla"
    • "Who leaves to (or goes to) his villa lost his seat"
    • Meaning, who leaves his chair may lose it. Used when someone leaves a chair and someone else takes it or finders keepers.

  • "En boca cerrada, no entran moscas"
    • "In a closed mouth, flies do not enter"
    • Meaning, a person who does not judge will not get judged.
    • Meaning, do not give more information than needed.
    • English equivalent: "Silence is golden" or "mum's the word"

  • "En la casa del herrero, azadón de palo"
    • Alternatives:
      • "En casa del herrero, cucharas de palo"
    • "In house of the blacksmith, wooden hoe"
    • Meaning, that where the resources abound, those are not used. "The cobbler's children have no shoes.".

  • "La mula no era arisca, la hicieron"
    • Alternatives:
      • "La mula no era arisca, la hicieron a palos"
    • "The mule was not easily frightened, it was made that way"
    • Meaning, that people (or animals, in this case) can acquire certain behaviors as result of the actions of others. This "refrán" is mainly to illustrate that an animal can become permanently frigthtened or easily lose temper by constantly abusing and hitting it, and so too can a person.

  • "Las piedras rodando se encuentran"
    • "The stones keep rolling"
    • "Even the stones meet sometimes"
    • Meaning, events are moving along.
    • Meaning: people who knows each other will probably cross ways some other time in the future.

  • "Matrimonio y mortaja del cielo bajan"
    • "Marriage and shroud, from heaven will come"
    • Meaning, both good and bad things come by themselves.

  • "Más vale un pájaro en mano que ver un ciento volar"
    • "A bird in hand is worth more than a hundred in flight"
    • Meaning, something certain is better than a lot of uncertain.

  • "Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo"
    • "The devil knows more for being old than for being the devil"
    • Meaning, that experience means more than a name.

  • "Nadie escarmienta en cabeza ajena"
    • Alternatives:
      • "Nadie asienta en cabeza ajena"
      • "Nadie experimenta en cabeza ajena"
    • "Nobody learns in the head of someone else"
    • Meaning, nobody learns through the experience of someone else. You should make your own mistakes.

  • "Nadie tropieza dos veces con la misma piedra"
    • "Nobody trips twice with the same stone"
    • Meaning, nobody should commit the same error twice.
    • Meaning: Nobody DOES commit the same error twice. The second time, it is his fault. Or, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

  • "Ni tanto que queme al santo, ni tanto que no lo alumbre"
    • "Not so much that it burns the saint, or so little that it does not shed a light on him"
    • Meaning, extremes are not useful.

  • "No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano"
    • "No matter how early you rise the dawn comes no earlier"
    • Meaning, there are some things that we cannot hurry or accelerate, even if we try.

  • "No todo lo que brilla es oro"
    • "Not everything that glimmers is gold"
    • Meaning, not everything that has a good appearance has good quality, or don't take anything for granted.

  • "No hay mal que por bien no venga"
    • "There is no bad that comes without a good"
    • Meaning, for everything bad that happens, there is also something good. Always look for the positive side of things.

  • "No le pidas peras al olmo"
    • "Do not ask pears from an elm"
    • Meaning, do not ask something from someone who can not do the job.

  • "Papelito habla"
    • "Little paper speaks"
    • Meaning, that you must have proof of what you claim. (a legal document)

  • "Si de tu vecino ves la barba cortar, pon la tuya a remojar"
    • "If you see your neighbor has shaved his beard, you should start lathering yours"
    • Meaning, if you see a change occur around you, prepare yourself for the change.

  • No way I'm returning to Mexico. I can't stand being in a place more surreal than my paintings.
    • Salvador Dalí, referring to Mexico's socio-economical contrast and cultural richness

Because anything faster than a donkey is clearly the devils work