The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Irish proverbs

Many Irish proverbs originated in the Irish 'Gaelic' language , but many have come into common usage among the Irish and their descendants in their translated form. In Irish, proverbs are called "seanfhocail" (literally "old words").

  • "Ní dhíolann dearmad fiacha"
    • Translation: "A debt is still unpaid, even if forgotten"
  • "Is leor don dreoilín a nead"
    • Translation: "A wren only has need for its nest"
    • Meaning: Home is where the heart is
  • "Is leor nod don eolach"
    • Translation: "A hint is sufficient for the wise"
  • "Maireann croí éadrom i bhfad"
    • Translation: "A light heart lives longest"
  • "Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde"
    • Translation: "Beware of the anger of a patient man"
  • "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.
  • "Never burn a penny candle looking for a halfpenny."
    • Meaning: Don't spend more on something than it is worth.
  • "Marry a woman from Truagh and you marry all Truagh."
    • Meaning: You cannot be in a relationship without accepting a person's friends, family, and past affiliations.
  • "Though the carpenter is bad, the splinter is good."
    • Meaning:
  • "It's hard to make a choice between two blind dogs."
    • Meaning: Both options are unsatasfactory
  • "Don't go putting wool on the sheep's back."
    • Meaning: Don't give someone something they don't need.
    • Similar: Carrying coals to Newcastle
  • "Is iomaí slí muc a mharú seachas a thachtadh le him"
    • Translation: "There's 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.
  • "Cailín ag Mór agus Mór ag iarraidh déirce"
    • Translation: "Mór has a maid and yet Mór has to beg."
    • Meaning: Anything to keep up appearances
  • "Bíonn grásta Dé idir an diallait agus an talamh"
    • Translation: "The grace of God is found between the saddle and the ground"
  • "Is maith an scéalaí an aimsir"
    • Translation: "Time is a good story teller"
    • Meaning: Either "time will tell", or "wisdom comes with age"
  • "Níor bhris focal maith fiacail riamh"
    • Translation: "A good word never broke a tooth"
    • Meaning: It doesn't hurt to pay a compliment
  • "Is minic a bhris beál duine a shrón"
    • Translation: "It's often a person's mouth broke their nose"
    • Meaning: Watch what you say--it can hurt you!
  • "Ní hé lá na báistí lá na bpáistí"
    • Translation: "A rainy day is not a day for children"
  • "Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin"
    • Translation: "There's no hearth like your own hearth"
    • Meaning: There's no place like home.
  • "Molann an obair an fear"
    • Translation: "The work praises the man"
  • "Ní bhíonn saoi gan locht"
    • Translation: "There's never a wise man without fault"
    • Note:In Hiberno-English , this is rendered as "There doesn't be a wiseman without fault".
  • "Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí"
    • Translation: "Praise the youth and it will develop"
  • "Ceileann searc ainimh 's locht"
    • Translation: "Love is blind"
  • "Aithníonn ciaróg ciaróg eile"
    • Translation: "One beetle recognises another"
    • Meaning: It takes one to know one; Like sees like; Birds of a feather flock together
  • "Nuair a bhíonn an t-ól istigh, bíonn an chiall amuigh"
    • Translation: "When the drink is in, common sense is gone"
  • "Is binn béal ina thost"
    • Meaning: Silence is golden
  • "Ní thagann ciall roimh aois"
    • Meaning: Sense does not come before age
  • "Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam"
    • Meaning: A country without a language, a country without a soul
  • "Tada gan iarracht"
    • Meaning: Nothing without effort

See also: List of proverbs.

Last updated: 10-26-2005 03:52:15