Turkish proverbs

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Proverbs from all Turkish speaking parts of the world.


  • Acele işe şeytan karışır.
    • English equivalent: Haste makes waste.
    • "Nothing works unless you would rather be doing it."
    • J. M. Barrie, as quoted in The new dictionary of thoughts: a Cyclopedia of Quotations (1930) edited by Tryon Edwards, C. N. Catrevas, Jonathan Edwards, and Ralph Emerson Browns.
    • Gölpınarlı (1977). Tasavvuf'tan deyimler ve atasözleri. p. 9. 
  • Al elmaya taş atan çok olur.
    • English equivalent: No enemies is a sign that fortune has forgotten you.
    • "Heh, heh... Thanks... You're nice. Umm... Can I ask... a question? The right thing... What is it? I wonder... If you do the right thing... Does it really make... everybody...happy? (Child wearing Gyorg's mask)"
    • Shigeru Miyamoto, Majora's Mask (2000)
    • Yurtbaşı (1993). Dictionary of Turkish Proverbs. p. 78. ISBN 9759570300. 
  • Altın kılıç her kapıyı açar.
    • English equivalent: Money opens all doors except those to heaven.
    • Yengec Ile Kizi. p. 49. ISBN 9758275747. 
  • Ateş olmayan yerden duman çıkmaz.
    • English equivalent: No smoke without fire.
    • "The more of the context of a problem that a scientist can comprehend, the greater are his chances of finding a truly adequate solution."
    • Russell L. Ackoff, The development of operations research as a science (1956)
    • Aydın, Nurhan (2007). Finansal Yönetim. p. 192. ISBN 9750601971. 


  • Babası oğluna bir bağ bağışlamış, oğul babaya bir salkım üzüm vermemiş.
    • The father donated a vineyard to his son, the son didn't give a single bunch of grapes to the father.
    • Note: Used when a person does something ungrateful and selfish to another person who made good deeds for him.
    • Sakaoğlu, Saim (2003). 101 Türk efsanesi. p. 200. ISBN 975338467X. 
  • Baban nasılsa oğlu da öyledir.
    • 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."
    • Source for meaning and proverb: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 170. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Bir vurmakla ağaç devrilmez.
    • English equivalent: A tree won't fall with a single blow.
    • "A difficult task, e. g. removing a person or 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 for proverbs and meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 252. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 


  • Çıkmayan candan umit kesilmez.
    • English equivalent: Hope springs eternal.
    • Yetiş, Kâzım (1993). Türkçenin nakısları: atasözleri, deyimler, tekerlemeler, bilmeceler (Edition 31 of Kubbealtı neşriyâtı ed.). p. 241. 


  • Dost kara günde belli olur.
    • A friend is known on black (i. e bad days).
    • English equivalent: A friend in need is a friend indeed.
    • "Pure friendship is something which men of an inferior intellect can never taste."
    • Jean de La Bruyère, The Characters or Manners of the Present Age (1688), Chapter V.
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 159. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 


  • Armut dibine düşer.
    • English equivalent: The apple does not fall far from the tree.
    • "Children observe daily and — in their behaviour — often follow the example of their parents."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 259. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 


  • Gözden uzak olan gönülden de uzak olur.
    • English equivalent: Out of sight, out of mind.
    • Arslanoğlu, Kaan (2007). Öteki Kayıp Volym 510 of İthaki Yayınları. p. 84. ISBN 9752733220. 
  • Gülü seven, dikenine katlanır.
    • English equivalent: the one who loves the rose, will also accept its spikes.
    • Steuerwald, Karl (1974). Deutsch-türkisches Wörterbuch: Almanca-Türkc̦e sözlük (2 ed.). p. 1. ISBN 3447015845. 
  • Güneşte yanmayan gölgenin kıymetini bilmez.
    • Who has never been burned in the sun won't know the value of shadow.
    • English equivalent: He knows good best who has experienced evil.
    • Millı̂ Folklor Araştırma Dairesi, Turkey. II. Milletlerarası Türk Folklor Kongresi bildirileri: cilt. Halk edebiyatı. p. 204. 


  • Havlayan köpek ısırmaz.
  • Herkes kendi yıldızının demircisi.
    • English equivalent: Every man is the smith of his own fortune.
    • "In shaping one's own fortune one should not rely on the help of others, as they are also concerned mainly about their own matters."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 388. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 


  • Isıracak köpek dişini göstermez.
    • English equivalent: The biting dog does not show it's teeth.
    • Kemal, Orhan (1976). Hanımın çiftliği: roman. p. 307. 
  • İt ürür, kervan yürür.
    • English equivalent: The dogs bark, but the caravan passes on.
    • "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers treated the false prophets in the same way."
    • From The Bible, Luke, 6:26
    • Lalesi, Kar. p. 162. 
  • İyi bașlamak yarı bitirmektir.
    • English equivalent: Well begun, is half done.
    • "Starting properly ensures the speedy completion of a process. A beginning is often blocked by one or more obstacles (potential barriers), the removal of which may ensure the smooth course of the process."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 228. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 


  • Ne ekersen onu biçersin.
    • English equivalent: What you reap, is what you sow.
    • Slaughter, Karin (2006). Büyü Gibi Volume 435 of İthaki yayınları: Edebiyat ; 351. p. 245. ISBN 9752732313. 


  • Sabır acıdır, meyvesi tatlıdır.
    • English equivalent: Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
    • Çobanoğlu, Özkul. Türk dünyası ortak atasözleri sözlüğü. p. 412. 


  • Yuvarlanan taş yosun tutmaz.
    • English equivalent: A rolling stone gathers no moss.
    • "There are a Set of People that are of such restless Temper, that before they are well settled in one Habitation, always dip into another. Such Persons fall under the Doom of this Proverb, which is design’d to fix the Volatility of their Tempers, by laying before them the ill Consequences of such fickleness."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [1]
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "14". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. p. 100. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 


  • Zorla güzellik olmaz.
    • Forced beauty won't do.
    • Beyaz Üstüne Eflatun v. 7.12. p. 340.