Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Vietnamese Proverbs

Eating is much but accommodating is little
An nhieu, o may
Eating as in the North; clothing as in the South
An Bac, mac nam
You eat slowly, that is good for stomach; you plough deeply, that is good for fields
An ky no lau, cay sau tot lua
When having a party, go first; when walking in the water, go after
An co di truoc, loi nuoc theo sau
( = He that comes first to the hill may sit where he will = the early bird catches the worm)
One worm may damage the whole cooking soup
Con sau bo dau noi canh
Eating and sitting without labor
An khong ngoi roi
(= to be at the loose end)
Eeating nothing but saying yes
An khong noi co
( = to slander)
It depends on how much of rice you eat the sauce
Lieu com gap mam
( = cut your coat according to your cloth according to your means)
Try to seize the bowl of rice but forget the whole table of food
Tham bat bo mam
One piece of food while hungry equals a big box of food while full
Mot mieng khi doi bang mot goi khi no
The husband eats hamburger; the wife eats spring roll
Ong an cha ba an nem
The man show a pig leg, the woman show a bottle of wine
Ong gio chan gio; ba tho chai ruou [Or: Ong dua chan gio, ba tho chai ruou]
( = scratch my back and I shall scratch yours)
Eats as strongly as elephant
An khoe nhu voi
Eat as small as a cat
An nhu meo
Looks as monkey eats ginger
Nhu khi an gung
The good leaves protect the worn-out leaves
La lanh dum la rach
All chili is hot; all women are jealous
Ot nao ma ot chang cay, gai nao ma gai chang hay ghen chong
Good wine must drink together with good friend
Ruou ngon phai co ban hien
We fence (or protect) the tree that gives us fruits
An cay nao, rao cay ay
When eating chew well, think before speaking
An co nhai, noi co nghi
When eating choose the place, when playing choose your friends
An chon noi, choi chon ba.n
(= be fastidious)
Eat the plum (given as a gift) but give back a peach
An man tra dao
(= Return gift to gift)
It's better to eat salty food and speak the truth than to eat vegetarian and
tell lies
An man noi ngay hon an chay noi doi
(= Better to eat meat and speak truth than to fast and tell lies)
When you eat, it's vegetable, when you are sick, it's medicine
Com thi rau, dau thi thuoc
Pay first and then get what you have paid for
Tien trao chao muc
The student tried to steal the cooking fish
The teacher found out. The student says Oh forgive me
I just opened the fish container.
If you were a bit later, I would have taken the whole fish container.
Hoc tro an vung ca kho
Thay do bat duoc, oi a con chua
Thua thay co moi mo vung
Thay cham ti nua con bung ca noi
When you eat, check the pots and pans; When you sit, check the direction.
An trong noi, ngoi trong huong
(Discreetly check the kitchen so that you don't put your foot in your mouth like asking for another serving when there is barely enough food for all guests, bragging about your preference of seafood when the host is about to serve chicken, etc. Check the direction when you sit -- for example facing South should be reserved for the guest of honor, avoid turning your back to the host's ancestral altar, turning your back to the guest of honor or the host, sitting at better seat than your own elders, sitting at the same level as people of higher ranks in society or in the family, etc.)
A - - A -
Ac gia, ac bao As the call, so the echo
Ai lam nay chiu Who breaks, pays
An chac mac ben Comfort is better than pride
An co nhai, noi co nghi Think today and speak tomorrow
An may doi xoi gac Beggars can't be choosers
An mieng tra mieng Tit for tat
An den oan tra An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth

- B - - B -
Ba nghe ba tri, vi chi ba lap Jack of all trades is master of none
Ban be hieu nhau khi hoan nan A friend in need is a friend indeed
Banh it di, banh qui lai One good turn deserves another
Bat ca hai tay Between two stools, you fall to the ground
Ban cung sinh dao tac Necessity knows no laws
Bat di nhan phe ngon A fool may sometimes give a wise man counsel
Bung doi tai diec Hungry bellies have no ears
But chua nha khong thieng No man is a hero to his valet

- C - - C -
Ca vang bung bo A fair face may hide a foul heart
Cai net danh chet cai dep Beauty is but skin-deep
Cau nhin chin cau lanh Better a lean peace than a fat victory
Cay ngay khong so chet dung A clean hand wants no washing
Cha chung khong ai khoc Everybody's business is nobody's business
Cha me sinh con, troi sinh tinh Many a good father has but a bad son
Chin nguoi, muoi y So many men, so many minds
Cho cay gan nha, ga cay gan chuong Every dog is a lion at home
Cho cui ve rung To carry coals to Newcastle
Choi cho, cho liem mat Familiarity breeds contempt
Chua do ong nghe da de hang tong Catch the bear before you sell his skin
Chua khoi vong da cong duoi Do not halloo till you are out of the wood
Chung nao tat nay The leopard cannot change its spots
Co chi lam quan, co gan lam giau Fortune favours the brave
Co cong mai sat co ngay nen kim A mouse in time may bite in two a cable
Cai kho lo cai khon Adversity brings wisdom
Co kho moi co mieng an No sweet without sweat
Co qua co lai moi toai long nhau Scratch my back; I'll scratch yours
Co thuc moi vuc duoc dao Fine words butter no parsnips
Co tien mua tien cung duoc Money makes the mare go
Con ga tot ma ve long, rang den ve thuoc, ruou nong ve men
Fine feathers make fine birds
Con sau lam rau noi canh
One scabby sheep is enough to spoil the whole flock
Cuoi nguoi hom truoc hom sau nguoi cuoi He laughs best who laughs last

- D - - D -
Di doc tri doc Like cures like
Di hoa vi qui A bad compromise is better than a good lawsuit
Duc toc bat dat Haste makes waste
Dau xuoi duoi lot A good beginning is half the battle
Dep de pho ra, xau xa day lai It's best to wash one's soiled linen at home
Di voi but mac ao ca sa, di voi ma mac ao giay
Who keeps company with the wolf will learn to howl
Doi dau goi phai bo Hunger brings the wolf to the fold
Doi an muoi cung ngon Hunger finds no fault with cookery
Dong tay vo nen keu Many hands make light work
Dong thanh tuong ung, dong khi tuong cau Likes draws to like
Duc nuoc beo co To fish in troubled waters
Duoc dang chan, lan dang dau Give him an inch and he will take a yard
Duong di hay toi, noi doi hay cung Lies have short legs
Duong di o mieng He that has a tongue in his head may find his way anywhere
Dung boi rac len ma ngui Don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you
Dung dua voi lua Fire is a good servant but a bad master


nhtrocean said...

you look so cute. I would like to be your friend...

nhtrocean@yahoo.com....that is my email...hope to see you

thanks for your proverb

Anonymous said...

Thanks a very interesting read!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the proverbs! I have long been impressed by Vietnamese insight, and these help add substance to my impressions.