Haitian Kreyol Proverbs
Terms in this set (68)
Kote y'ap plimen kòdenn, poul pa ri.
Where they pluck turkeys, chickens do not laugh.
Mande chemen pa di pèdi pou sa.
Asking the way doesn't mean one is lost. (Asking for advice is not shameful.)
Wè sa m fè; pa fè sa m fè.
See what I do; don't do what I do. (Do as I say. not as I do. Don't follow my example.)
Sak vid pa kanpe.
An empty sack cannot stand. (Hunger makes one weak.)
Machann lèt se rizièz.
The milk vendor is a sly one. (You can't tell if she has watered down the milk.
You can't tell what she is up to.)
Ou nan ka.
You're in a case.
(You're in trouble.)
Tanbou fouye nan bwa, se lakay li vin bat.
A drum is hallowed out in the woods but comes home to be beaten.
(Any secret will eventually be made known.)
Pye chat dous men zong li move.
The cat's foot is soft but it's claws are mean. (A warning when things appear better than they are.)
Premye so pa so..
The first fall is no fall. (The first failure is not defeat; keep trying.)
Sa ki pa bon pou makout, li pa bon pou ralfo nanplis.
What's not good for the big sack, it's not good for the little sack either. (Don't give to the poor what you wouldn't want for yourself.)
Manje kwit pa gen met,
Cooked food has no owner. (Once cooked, food belongs to everyone.)
Manti met kouri jan l' kouri; laverite ap kenbe l'.
A lie may run as it may but the truth will catch it. (The truth will be known.)
Zwazo pose sou tout branch.
Birds land on all branches. (Your turn will come.)
Pawol nan vant pa pouri trip.
Words in the stomach don't rot the intestines. (Not saying something doesn't hurt you.)
Pou fe kob la fe mwa a, lave li, bwe dlo li.
In order to make the money last the month, wash it and drink its water. (Stretch the money to make it last.)
Moun ki kenbe kiye bwa se li ki konnen si li cho
The person who holds the wooden spoon is the one who knows if it's hot. (Don't question first hand knowledge.)
Se kouto sel ki konnen sa ki nan ke yanm.
Only the knife knows what is in the heart of the yam. (Difficult times reveal a person's true character.)
Ti chen gen fos devan kay met li.
A little dog is really brave in front of his master's house.
Avan chwal te gen maleng, mouch te viv.
Before horses had sores, flies lived. (Freeloaders have always existed.)
Ale pou ou, tounen pou mwen.
Going is for you, returning for me. (My turn will come.)
Se apre batay ou konte blese.
It's after the battle that you count the wounded. (Don't give up until the end.)
Nen pran kou; je kouri dlo.
The nose takes the blow; the eyes run with water. (When misfortune strikes one member of the family, the others also suffer.)
Le labouyi cho, ou manje l'a rebo.
When the pudding is hot, you eat it from the edge. (Go slowly with an angry person.)
Avan ou monte bwa, gade si ou ka desann li.
Before you climb a tree, look to see if you can climb down. (Make sure you know what you're getting into.)
Fe respe ou; m'a fe pa m'.
Show your respect; I'll show mine. (Respect must be mutual.)
Kote chwal jete ou, la ou pase sou li anko.
Where the horse throws you, there you throw your leg over it again. (Don't give up. Get right back on the horse.)
Machandiz ofri pa gen pri.
Merchandise offered has no price. (Everything is negotiable.)
Se pa ou ki di ou verite.
It is your own who tells you the truth. (Others will flatter you, but those who love you will tell you the truth.)
Tout tan tet pa koupe, ou pa di li p'ap bliye chapo.
As long as he doesn't lose his head, don't say he won't forget his hat. (Anything is still possible.)
Se le ou nan bezwen, ou konn ki moun ki zanmi ou.
It's when you are in need that you know your freinds. (A friend in need is a friend indeed.)
Bourik chaje pa kanpe.
A loaded donkey doesn't stand still. (No rest for the busy.)
Tout kod gen de bout.
Every rope has two ends. (Every dispute has two sides.)
Gason konn bouke, men pa fanm.
Men get tired, but not women. (Woman's work never ends.)
Bef pa janm bouke pote kon li.
A cow never tires of caring her horns. (You never get tired of caring for your own.)
Sepantye fouye tou, zandolit kouche ladan l'.
The woodpecker drills a hole and the lizard sleeps in it.
Arenyen gen wit pat, si l' pedi yon, sa pa anpeche l' mache.
The spider has 8 legs, if it loses one that doesn't prevent it from walking.
Met do pa grate do.
The owner of the back doesn't scratch his own back. (You always need someone to help you.)
Fok ou mache pou ou we kote lari a kwen.
You must walk to see where the street has corners. (One must live to see what life holds in store.)
Men ale, men vini fe zanmi dire.
A hand going out, a hand coming back makes a friendship last. (Helping each other makes a freindship last.)
Se le koulev mouri ou we longe li.
It's when the snake dies that you see its length. (A person's guard is not let down until after death.)
Se je pa we ke pa tounen.
What the eye doesn't see, doesn't move the heart.
Timoun se riches malere
Children are the riches of the poor.
Mwen pat manje pwa, mwen pa ka poupou pwa.
I didn't eat beans, I can't poop beans. (You can't make something out of nothing.)
Si ou renmen gren andan, ou dwe renmen po a tou.
If you like the nut, you ought to like the shell.
(Don't complain about working for something you want.)
Kay koule twonpe solèy, men li pa twonpe lapli.
A leaky roof fools then sun but it doesn't fool the rain. (One's faults will be exposed sooner or later.)
Larivyè anpeche ou janbe men li pa anpeche ou tounen.
The river prevents you from crossing but it does not prevent you from turning back. (You can always quit.)
Byen san swe pa profite.
Possessions without sweat don't profit. (People do not appreciate things they have not earned.)
Fòk ou bat tanbou a pou tande son l.
You must beat the drum to hear its sound. (You must talk to people to know what they're like.)
Sòt pa touye, men li fè ou swe.
Stupid doesn't kill you, but it makes you sweat.
(When you don't do something right the first time you will have to do it again.)
Se gou bouyon ki mete lang deyò.
It is the taste of the broth that brings out the tongue.
(Good food leads to good conversation.)
Senye, Si n'ap viv jodi a, malgre siklon, granngou, ak maladi, nou dwe di, " Mesi Senye. Nou genle la pou yon bi"
Lord, If we are alive today in spite of hurricanes, hunger and sickness, we should say, "Thank you Lord. We must be here for a purpose.
Koulèv ki konn lagè [laje?] gòj li, se li ki vale krapo.
The snake that knows the width of his throat is the one that swallows frogs. (A man who knows his abilities doesn't take on more than he can handle.)
Sa nou bay pòv se Bondye nou prete l.
What we give to the poor we lend to God. (A good deed never goes unblessed.)
Fòse moun fè sa yo pa vle fè se tankou esye plen lanmè ak wòch.
Forcing people to do what they don't want to do is like trying to fill the ocean with rocks. (You can't force people to go against their will.)
Se sou chemiz blanch yo wè tach.
It's on the white shirt that a stain is seen.
(Those of the best reputation are the most susceptible to scandal.)
Prekosyon to pa lachte
Precautions are not cowardly
le gen lanmou, gen doule
when there is love, there is pain
Sa ou pa ta renmen wè nan latrin ou, ou wè l nan lasal ou.
What you wouldn't want to see in your latrine, you see in your living room. (Family members cause the greatest hurts.)
Se tè ki bat ki bwe lapli.
It's plowed earth that drinks the rain.
(You must be prepared for opportunity.)
Sa foumi genyen, se sa l'bay pitit li.
What the ant gives her baby is what she has. (A mother gives her children what she can.)
Pito ou travay pase ou mande.
Better to work than to beg. Any work is better than having to beg.
Bitay fè ou vanse.
A stumble moves you forward.
We learn from our mistakes. A mistake is better than doing nothing.
Chen grangou pa kouche.
The hungry dog doesn't lie down.
Hunger makes one restless.
Bef plizye met mouri grangou
A cow of many masters dies of hunger
When no one is assigned responsibility, the job doesn't get done
Devan pòt tounen dèyè kay.
The front door becomes the back of the house.
Things change. Situations may become reversed.
Twòp grate kreve kwi.
Too much scrubbing wears a hole in the wooden bowl.
Too much work wears one out.
Si bèf te konn fòs yo, majoral pa ta lanse yo.
If cows knew their strength, they would not be butchered.
You are stronger than you realize. You have more power than you have been led to believe.
Pa janm mete chat veye bè.
Never put a cat to watch over the butter.
Don't ask a person to watch over something he may want.