Passed on from generation to generation, proverbs are almost as old as time itself. Yet many of them are just as relevant today as when they were first spoken. You can learn a lot about a country and its culture from its sayings, so to help you expand your knowledge about our world and the incredible people within it, here are some famous proverbs and their meanings from around the world.
Famous proverbs and their meanings from around the world
Famous proverbs from Africa
1. Only a fool tests the depth of a river with both feet.
Meaning: Don’t blindly jump into a situation without properly considering the consequences first.
2. Knowledge is like a garden. If it’s not cultivated, it cannot be harvested.
Meaning: Knowledge doesn’t appear out of nowhere; it needs to be acquired. If you don’t put your knowledge to good use, you won’t see any results.
3. Don’t set sail using someone else’s star.
Meaning: Be your own person and don’t copy anyone else. Just because someone else is successful doesn’t mean you’ll achieve success if you mimic them.
4. The best way to eat an elephant in your path is to cut him up into little pieces.
Meaning: The best way to solve a problem is to break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks.
Famous proverbs from India
1. Don’t delay today’s work until tomorrow.
Meaning: Don’t procrastinate. Do what is required of you each day or you’ll be forever trying to catch up. Khan’s story shows just how much you can achieve when you tackle today’s jobs today.
2. One and one sometimes makes eleven.
Meaning: Things aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes you need to look at things from a different perspective to discover the truth.
3. You do not stumble over a mountain, but you do over a stone.
Meaning: It’s better to experience a small setback while trying to achieve something great than to experience a failure while not aiming for anything.
4. Smiles that you broadcast will always come back to you.
Meaning: Treat others kindly and with respect and they’ll treat you in the same way.
Famous proverbs from Europe
1. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Meaning: Being away from someone for a long time makes you realise how much you appreciate, love and miss them.
2. Actions speak louder than words.
Meaning: What you do and how you behave is more important than what you say. There’s a life example of this proverb in Nina’s story. She doesn’t just tell her parents she loves them, she cares for them every day, too.
3. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Meaning: Everyone sees things differently. What one person sees as beautiful isn’t necessarily the same as someone else.
4. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
Meaning: Don’t be rude or unkind to someone who is helping you.
Famous proverbs from the Middle East
1. A drowning man is not troubled by rain.
Meaning: When you’ve got big problems to deal with, you realise how trivial small, everyday problems are.
2. One finger cannot life a pebble.
Meaning: You can’t do everything by yourself. Sometimes you need the help of friends, family or colleagues to complete tasks.
3. If you plant olives but do not prune the tree, your oil will be good for only donkeys.
Meaning: Relationships need to be nourished and taken care of. If you ignore family, friends and colleagues, your relationships will be worthless.
4. It is better for us that the catastrophe happens instead of waiting for it.
Meaning: Waiting for something bad to happen is often worse than the bad thing itself. When the bad event occurs, you can deal with it and overcome it. But you can’t do anything to make the waiting period better.
What famous proverbs do they have in your country? Share them below and motivate people from all around the world.