Popular Arabic Proverbs


Proverbs are a fabulous way to gain insight into the life of other cultures. Not only that, you can see how much philosophy is shared between cultures, and how common sayings in one culture manifest in others, and vice versa. Plus, this is one of the unique aspects of the ideas, customs and and social behavior of a particular society. Arabic culture in particular has a long, rich history, and it shows in their countless proverbs. Arabic proverbs and aphorisms absorbed wisdom accumulated over the centuries with the experience of dozens of generations. Check out a few beautiful Arabic quotes with English translation below:


الجار قبل الدار /eljar qabel aldar/

Translation: The neighbor comes before the home.

Meaning: Choose the neighbor before the house, because some neighbors can be a hassle to deal with.

كما تدين تدان /kama todeen todan/

Translation: As you give, you receive.

Meaning: What goes around, comes around.

الجايات أحسن من الرايحات /eljyaat ahsan men elrayhat/

Translation: What is coming is better than what is gone.

Meaning: The future is better than what’s past; used to cheer people up.

الطيور على أشكالها تقع /ektoyoor ala Ashkaleha taqa’/

Translation: Birds of a feather flock together

Meaning: Those who are the same will always be together.

العقل زينة /elaqel zeeneh/

Translation: The mind is a decoration.

Meaning: Wisdom beautifies people.

اذا تم العقل نقص الكلام /etha tamm al a’qel naqos alkalam/

Translation: The smarter you get, the less you speak.

Meaning: Same as the translation

الأفعال أبلغ من الأقوال /alaf’aal ablagh min al aqwal/

Translation: Actions speak louder than words

Meaning: Same as the translation.

باب النجار مخلع /bab elnajjaar mkhlaa’/

Translation: The carpenter’s door is always broken

Meaning: This might refer to the idea that people who make a profession or a habit of one thing might not have the time to even use that skill in their own life. They take care of everyone except for themselves.

حبل الكذب قصير /habel el ketheb qaseer/

Translation: The rope of lies is short.

Meaning: There is only so much leeway you have when you lie. Once that very short rope runs out, you’ll have to face the consequences.

القرد في عين أمه غزال / Al Erd Fi Ein Omo Ghazal/

Translation: The monkey is as beautiful as a gazelle in his mother’s eyes.

Meaning: When you love someone, you will always see them as perfect.

دخول الحمّام مش زي خروجه / Yesoom Yesoom W Yeftar Ala Bassala/

Translation: He fasts and fasts, and then he feasts on an onion.

Meaning: Used to express disappointment in something that was expected to be great.

للي يتلسع من الشوربة ينفخ في الزبادي / El Yetleseea Min El Shorba Yonfokh Fil Zabadi

Translation: He who burns his tongue from soup will blow in yogurt.

Meaning: If you had a bad experience once, you will be extra cautious next time.