Lebanese Proverbs

 

  • إبنك لا تعلمه الدهر بِعَلمه (AF 12) 

 

You do not have to teach your son; life will teach him.

– دَهْر  = course of time, epoch, lifetime

– بِعَلّمه  = Fuṣḥā يُعَلّمُه ; note that it’s not بِيعَلّمه  as you might expect. This is because of the fact that if a vowel is following the first consonant after the b (ع  in this case) the ي  is dropped. So you would get “بيتعلم” (byit‘allam – 3 is following the t) but “بِعَلّم” (bi‘allim – vowel after the ‘) without the ي . (There are, however, some dialects where people do say “bita‘allam”.)

 

  • أبوه بصل وأمه توم، ومنين بدها تجي الريحة الطيبة (AF 13)

 

His father is an onion, his mother is garlic, so where does the good fragrance come from?

– توم  (tōm) = Fuṣḥā ثوم  (tūm)

– منين (mnēn) = من وين  = Fuṣḥā من اين 

– بدها = wants to, (in this case more like “is supposed to”), from the noun ّوِد (wish, desire, love): بودها = in her desire

 

  • إترِك الشَر بيِتْرِكَك (AF 13)

 

Let trouble (lit. evil) alone, and trouble will let you alone.

– إترِك  =  Fuṣḥā آُترُك  (note the difference in vocalisation)

– شَرّ  = evil, malice

– شرير  = bad, wicked evil, malicious

– شرارة  = spark

– Urdu: شرارتي  = naughty

 

  • إتعب لسانك ولا تتعب اقدامك (AF 14)

 

Tire out your tongue, but not your feet.

(Ask and inquire before you start looking for something, it will save you plenty of walking)

– تَعَب، يتعب and تعّب، يتعّب  = to tire out, to wear out, to trouble

– تِعِب، يتعَب  = to become tired (note that intransitive verbs are often of the pattern  فِعِل

– تعْبان  = tired, exhausted; unwell, sick

– مِتعِب  = tiresome, exhausting

– تَعَب  (noun) = effort, trouble

– قَدَم ج أقدام  = foot; more common: إِجِر (which can mean leg as well)

 

  • إخفِض صوتك وقَوّي حِجّتك (AF 25)

 

Lower your voice and strengthen your argument.

– حِجّة ج حِجَج  = argument, excuse

– احتجّ  = to protest, to complain

 

  • أخوِت يحكي وعاقل يفهم (AF 26)

 

A madman is speaking and a wise man understands.

– أخْوَت ج خُوت  = crazy, insane

– خِوِت  = to go crazy

– تخوّت  = to fool around, to joke around

– تجوّت على  = to make fun of

– حكى، يحكي  = to speak

 

  • إذا الغني أكل الحيّة قالوا من حِكْمَته وإذا أكلها الفقير قالوا من جهالته (AF 30)

 

If a rich man eats a snake, people say, “This is wisdom!” If a poor man eats a snake, they say, “This is foolishness!”

– note the word order: While in Fuṣḥā the verb must precede the noun (VSO – Verb Subject Object), dialects are more flexible, in fact the usual sentence order is SVO. 

 

  • إذا كان “نعم” بتقضي حاجة كلمة “لا” بتقضي ألف حاجة (AF 33)

 

If “yes” satisfies one’s want, “no” satisfies a thousand.

(If you say “yes” to every demand or request, you shall be asked over and over again, but when you say once “no”, you close the door for good)

– قضى، يقضي  = several meanings: 1. to judge, decide, end, wind up; 2. to spend, pass; 3. to satisfy, perform (one’s duty) 3. to wipe out, exterminate (with على ); note that the form  بتقضي  is feminine because “كلمة” is implied

 

  • أضرب هالحجر في هالجوزة (AF 46)

 

Throw this stone into this walnut tree (and see how many walnuts it brings down).

– ضَرَب، يُضرُب  = to beat, to hit; to bomb, to shell

– هالحجر = Fuṣḥā هذا الحجر  (= this stone), but note: this is the stone = هدا الحجر

 

  • الإعتبار للمال مش للرْجال (AF 49)

 

Respect is given to wealth, not to men.

– مش  = Fuṣḥā ليس

– رِجَّال ج رْجَال = man (note that this is the normal way of saying “man” in colloquial, Fuṣḥā رجُل is considered very formal)

 

  • أعطِ خُبزك للخَبّاز ولو أكَل نصه (AF 50)

 

Give your dough (lit. bread) to a baker though he may eat half of it.

(Let experts or professionals do things for you, however expensive they may be. In the long run it is more advantageous.)

– نص = Fuṣḥā نصف

 

  • أعطيني عقل وحاسبني (AF 51)

 

Give me intelligence, then hold me responsible.

(Responsibility should be in proportion to intelligence)

– حاسب، يحاسب  = to hold responsible, to ask for an accounting

– حسب، يحسِب  = to calculate, to count; to reckon

– حَسَب  = depending on, according to

– حسّب، يحسِّب  = to think, consider (s.o. to be sth.)

– حساب  = calculation; account; bill

– عحسابك  = I’m at your service

– محاسب  = accountant

 

  • إعقل وتوكل (AF 52)

 

(First) use your own mind, and (then) rely upon God.

– According to a story there was a man who wanted to leave his camel for some time and wasn’t sure what to do with it. He asked the Prophet: “What shall I do with it? Shall I leave it and rely on God or shall I tie it up and rely on God?” And the Prophet responded: إعقل وتوكل  which can either mean “become reasonible / use your mind and (then) rely on God” or, “Tie up and (then) rely on God.

– عَقَل، يعقِل  = either 1. to hobble (the feet of a camel), or 2. to become reasonible, have intelligence; to understand, comprehend

– توكّل، يتوكّل  = to rely, to depend on, to trust (in God); to be responsible; to be appointed as an agent, to take on sth.

 

  • ألأعمال بالنيّات (AF 52)

 

Actions (are to be judged) by good intentions.

– نيّة، نيّات  = intent, purpose, plan

– حُسن النية  = good intention, good will

– سوء النية  = bad intention, malice

– ناوي، ناوية  = planning on, intending to

 

  • ألأعمى أعمى القلب (AF 53)

 

The (truly) blind man is he whose heart is blind.

– أَعْمى، عَمْيا ج عِمْيَان = blind

 

  • أعمى بقود أعمى، إلتنين بيوقعوا بالجُورة (AF 53)

 

When a blind man leads another blind man both will fall into the pit.

– قاد، يقود  = to lead, note that it is  بقود  and not بيقود  because a vowel follows the first radical ق 

– إلتنين  = Fuṣḥā الإثنان

– وِقِع، يُوْقَع  = to fall, Fuṣḥā وَقَع، يقَع  (note that the w is not chopped off in spoken)

– جُورة  = pit, hole

– جار، جيران  = neighbour

– مجاور  = neighboring

 

  • إلي بده يسْكَر ما بِعِدّ قداح (AF 79)

 

He who wants to get drunk does not count glasses.

(Who wants something should not shy away from the costs.)

– إلي  = Fuṣḥā الذي

– بده  = Fuṣḥā يريد

– سِكِر، يِسْكَر  = to get drunk

– سَكران  = drunk, intoxicated

– سَكّير  = drunkard, alcoholic

– عَدّ، يعِدّ  = to count; to reckon

– عَدَد ج أعداد  = number

– أعدّاد  = meter (in a taxi)

– قَدَح ج قْداح  = drinking cup, glass

 

  • إلي بخاف من مونة القط، الفار بياكل ذينيه (AF 76)

 

He who fears (the cost) of provisions for the cat, the mice shall eat up his ears.

– موُنة  = provisions

– موّن، يموّن  = to supply with provisions

– تموّن  = to store up provisions

– قِطّ، قِطَط  = tomcat (more common: بِسّ ج بْساس)

– قِطة  = female cat

– قَطّوطة  = kitten

– دَان، ج دِنَيْن  = Fuṣḥā أُذُن ج آذان

 

  • الي في قلبه على راس لسانه (AF 85)

 

That which is in his heart is at the tip of his tongue.

–  راس  = lit.: head

 

  • الي بيزْرَع الشَوْك ما بيحْصُد عِنَب (AF 94)

 

He who plants thistles does not reap grapes.

– زَرَع، يِزْرَع  = to plant; to transplant

– زِرَاعَة  = agriculture

– مَزرَعَة ج مَزَارِع  = farm

– مُزَارِع  = farmer

– شَوْك = thorn (collective noun)

– شَوْكة ج شُوَك  = (a) thorn; fork

– حَصَد، يُحصُد  = to harvest

– عِنَب  = grape (collective noun)

 

  • الي بيتْطلّع لفوق بيتعب (AF 91)

He who looks upwards gets tired.

 

– تطلّع، يتْطلّع  = to look, stare (usually with على، في، ب )

– طِلِع، يطْلع  = to leave, go out; to turn out (a certain way); to go up, rise

– طَلَّع، يْطَلِّع  = to take out, bring out

– مطالعة  = reading, studying

– اْستِطلَاع  = investigation, exploring

– فوق  (fō’)  = up, upstairs; above

–  فوقية  (fōqiye)  = haughtiness, conceitedness

– تفوّق = excellence, supremecy

 

  • الي بيضرُب حاله كف ما بقول آخ (AF 97)

 

He who slaps himself on the face should not say “Ouch!”

– حاله  = Fuṣḥā نفسه  (himself)

– شايف حاله / شايفة حالها  = conceited, proud (lit.: “seeing himself/herself”)

– لِحاله / لحالها  = alone, on his/her own

– كَفّ ج كْفُوْف  = palm (of the hand), slap

 

  • الي ما له ما بروح له (AF 119)

 

He who has not, loses not.

– له  (pronounced “lo” or “ilo”) = he has/owns

– راح، يروح  = to go

– روّح، يروّح  = to go home

 

  • إلي معه مصرية بقول شو بريدها وإلي معه مية بقول يا رب زيدها  (AF 121)

 

He who has got one penny says: “For What do I want it?” But he who has a hundred pennies says: “May God increase their number.”

– معه  = he has (with him – note: Though له  and معه  are very similar, the former usually refers to inalienable possession (like a child, a disease or something abstract), the latter usually translates into “with him” as in “he doesn’t have any money with him”)

– مِصْرِيِّة  = money, coin

– مَصَاري  = money (more common)

– شو  = Fuṣḥā ماذا

–  بريد  = Fuṣḥā أريد  (rarely used in dialects, seems to be an old saying)

 

  • إم علي بتزرَع وأبو علي بيقلَع (AF 123)

 

Imm Ali (Ali’s mother) plants, but Abu Ali (Ali’s father) plucks out.

(Said of two people who lack all sort of cooperation, or of whom one does the opposite of what the other one does.)

– إم  = Fuṣḥā آُم

– قَلَع، يِقلَع  = to remove; pluck out

 

  • إم القاتل بتنسى إم المقتول ما بتنسى (AF 123)

 

The mother of the murderer forgets, (but) the mother of the murdered never.

 

  • أمتال العوام ملح الكلام (AF 124)

 

Proverbs of the common people are like salt to speech.

– متل، امتال = Fuṣḥā  مثل، امثال

– عامّة، عوام  = the general public, the common people (both have a plural meaning)

– عامّ  = general, universal; public

– عامي  = common, vulgar

– عامية  = colloquial language

– عمومي  = public, common; civil, state

– تعميم  = generalization, universalization

– مِلِح  = salt

– مَالِح  = salty

– مليح  = good (usually pronounced منيح)

 

  • أمَر الأوجاع الحاضْرة (AF 124)

 

The bitterest pain is the present (one).

– مُرّ  = bitter (أمَر  = superlative)

– مرارة  = gallbladder

– وَجَع ج أَوجَاع  = pain, ache

–  الحاضْرة  = don’t know why the feminine form is used here, maybe it’s meant to mean “the bitterest pains are the present ones”

 

  • أن حَبّيت حِب أمير، إن سَرَقت اسرُق حرير (AF 129)

 

If you fall in love, let him be a prince; if you steal, steal silk.

– حَبّيت  (ḥabbēt) = Fuṣḥā أحْبَبْتُ ; note: 1. in ʿĀmmiyya the verb is in form I, not IV; 2. note how verbs with radicals 2 & 3 being the same are treated like final weak verbs (so ḥabbēt is of the same form as mashēt)

– أمير  = prince

– meaning in Uru: rich

 

  • إن سلّم عليك عِد أصابيعك (AF 131)

 

(He is the sort of man who) when he shakes hands with you, you need to count your fingers.

(Said of a professional thief.)

– سلّم، يسلّم  = to great (s.o. على); to send regards; to hand over; to surrender; to protect

– الله يسلمك  (allah yisalmak) = May God protect you (used as a response for formalities that include the root سلم  like سلامتك  (= get well soon)

–  إِصْبِع ج أصَابِع / أصَابِيع  = finger; toe

 

  • إن ضبطت المي بالغِرْبال بتْأمِن المرة للرجال (AF 132)

 

It is far easier for a sieve to hold water than for a woman to trust a man.

– ضَبَط، يضبُط  (ẓabat, yiẓbut/yuẓbut) = to control; to work out

– هدا ما بضبط معي  = this doesn’t work for me

– ضبطت  = note the feminine agreement because مي  is feminine

– مي  = Fuṣḥā ماء

– غِرْبال  = sieve

 

  • أنا وخيي على إبن عمي، وأنا وإبن عمي ع الغريب (AF 141)

 

My brother and I are against my cousin; my cousin and I are against a stranger.

– خي  = Fuṣḥā أخ , “brother”, also used to address friends

– ع = shortened form of على

 

  • الإنسان زينته عقله (AF 142)

 

Man’s ornament is his mind.

– زينة  (zīne) = decoration, ornament

– زين  (zēn) = good (mostly used in the Gulf and Iraq)

– زيّن، يزيّن  = to decorate

 

  • الإنسان لسانه بحقه قصير (AF 143)

Man’s tongue fails when it concerns his own praise.

 حقه  = here: himself

 

  • اُنطُر يا كْدِيش تَ يطْلع الحشيش (AF 144)

 

Wait, mule, until the grass grows.

– نَطَر، يُنْطُر  = to wait, to expect; to watch, to guard (soley ‘āmmiyya)

– كْدِيْش  = old mule (also: insult meaning “blockhead”)

– تَ  = Fuṣḥā حتى

 

  • إيد لوحدها ما بتْزَقِّف (AF 152)

 

One hand alone cannot clap.

– إيد  (īd) = Fuṣḥā يد (yadd)

– زقّف، يزقّف  = to clap, to applaud (Fuṣḥā صفّق )

 

  • بحبك بسَتِّر عيوبك، ببغضك بكَبِّر ذنوبك (AF 163)

 

I love you (so) I overlook your defects.

I hate you (so) I magnify your shortcomings.

– سَتِّر، يستّر \ سَتَر، يستُر  = to cover, to protect

– سَاتِر  = protector, guardian, epithet of God

– مَستُوْر  = respectable, modest, protected (from slander, ill-doings)

–   أنا) مِستُور الحَمْدُ لِله) = Things are good for me, thank God!      

– سِتَار  = curtain, screen (‘āmmiyya بُردَاي ج بَرَادي )

 

  • بده قط من خشب يصطاد ولا ياكل (AF 169)

 

He wants a wooden cat which hunts (mice) but does not eat.

–   اصطاد، يصطاد / صاد، يصيد / تصيّد، يتصيّد  = to hunt, to fish

– صَيْد  = hunting

– صَيَّاد  = hunter

– مَصيدة ج مَصايد  = trap, mousetrap

 

  • بَزَق بزْقة وعاد لَحَسْها (AF 174)

 

He spits and then licks it back.

(Said of somebody who promises or pledges and then changes his mind.)

– بَزَق، يُبزُق  = to spit, to spit out

– بزَاق  = saliva, spit

– عاد، يعود  = to return, go back; resume, to redo, do again

– لَحَس، يلحَس  = to lick

 

  • بِضَوِي زيته عَ العِميان (AF 180).

 

He burns his oil for blind people.

(Said of goodness done for the wrong person.)

– ضَوَى، يضوي  = to light, illuminate, give light

 

  • بطن ملان كيف تمام (AF 181)

 

Full stomach, full happiness.

– بَطِن ج بطون  = stomach, belly

– مَليَان / مِلْيَان / ملان  = full

– ملّى، يملّي  = to fill, to fill up; to drink

– ملاية  = wrap; sheed, bedsheed

– مِلي  = as long as

– تَمَلِّي  = always

– كيف  = pleasure, fun; liking; how

– كيّف، يكيّف  = to have fun, have a good time; to give pleasure

– كيّف، يكيّف  = to air-condition

– تَكييف / مُكَيِّف  = air-conditioning

– تكيّف، يتكيّف  = to adapt to, get used to

 

  • بفَصِّل للبَرْغوت قميص (AF 189)

 

He cuts a shirt for the flea.

(He is very exact)

– فصّل، يفصّل  = to cut (cloth); to detail

– تفصيل ج تفاصيل  = detail; tailoring

– فَصَل، يفْصُل  = to fire, dismiss, expel

– فَاصلِة  = comma

– فَصِل  = season; separation

– فاصَل، يفاصِل  = to bargain

– بَرغوت ج براغيت  = flea

 

  • بَفَلي البرغوت (AF 189)

 

He delouses the head of a flea.

– فَلَّى، يْفَلّي  = to delouse, search for fleas (in s.o.’s hair); search through

 

  • بَلا الناس من الناس (AF 193)

 

Man’s misfortune is caused by man.

– بَلا  = Fuṣḥā بلاء (misfortune, distress, affliction)

 

  • بنت الشرق للغرب، وبنت الغرب للشرق (AF 197)

A girl from the East (marries a man from) the west; a girl from the West (marries a man from) the East.

 

  • بالوِج خَيي وبالقفا حيِة (AF 200)

 

To (one’s) face (he is like) a brother; in one’s absence (he is) a snake.

– وِج  = Fuṣḥā وجه

– خَيي  = Fuṣḥā أخ

– قَفَا  = back, backside; buttocks, bottom

–  قِفَى، يِقْفَى  = to hide away

 

  • بْيتْخفى بِخْيال إصْبْعه (AF 206)

He hides himself in the shadow of his finger.

– تخَفّى، يتخَفّى  = to hide oneself

– خِفي، يخْفى  = to be concealed, hidden

– خيال  = shadow

 

  • بوِجين ولْسانين (AF 201)

 

(A man) of two faces and two tongues.

 

  • بوس الكلب بْتِمُه لَتْنال أَرَبَك منه (AF 201)

 

(If necessary) Kiss a dog on its mouth in order that you may get what you desire of him.

– باس، يبوس  = to kiss

– بوسة  = kiss

– تُمّ / تِمّ ج تمَام  = Fuṣḥā فم  (mouth)

 

  • بيحرُق حارة تَ يْولّع سيكارة (AF 207)

 

He burns a building to light a cigarette.

–  حَرَق، يحرُق  = to burn, set on fire

– حارة  = alley, neighborhood

– ولّع، يولّع  = to catch fire, to ignite; to set on fire, set ablaze

 

  • بيحلِب النملة (AF 208)

 

He milks the ant.

– حَلَب، يِحلِب  = to milk

– حليب  = milk

– محلبية / مهلبية  = Blancmange

 

  • بير الي بتشرب منه لا ترمي فيه حَجَر (AF 209)

 

The well from which you drink throw no stone into it.

– بير  = Fuṣḥā بئر

 

  • بيطْعَم الجوز لل ما عنده سنان (AF 212)

 

(God) sends walnuts to him who has no teeth.

سِنّ، ج سْنان  = Fuṣḥā سِنّ، ج أَسْنَاْن

– لل  = Fuṣḥā لمن

 

  • جِحا أكبر ولا أبوه؟ (AF 239)

Is Jiha older or his father?

(Said to someone who asks a stupid question)

– جِحا  = Juha (or Nasreddin in Turkish), character of Middle Eastern anecdotes and jokes. For more information see here

 

  • الجاهل بيتعلم من كيسه، والعاقل من كيس غيره (AF 237)

 

The ignorant person learns at his own expense; the wise learns at the expense of others.

 

  • جُرْح الكلام أصعب من جُرْح السهام (AF 241)

 

A wound caused by words is more painful than a wound caused by an arrow.

– سَهِم، ج سِهَام / أسهُم  = arrow

 

  • جِن تِسْعَد (AF 244)

 

Become a fool and you will be happy.

– جَنّ، يجِنّ  = to become crazy, to lose one’s mind 

– مجنون ج مجانين  = crazy person, madman; crazy, insane

– جْنُوْن  = madness

– جنّن، يجنّن  = to drive someone crazy

– جِنّ  = jinn

– سِعِد، يسعَد  = to become happy, to rejoice

– سعيد ج سعدا  = happy

– سَعادة  = happiness

 

  • جَور القِط ولا عدل الفار (AF 247)

 

The oppression of the cat rather than the justice of the mouse.

– جَوْر  = injustice, oppression, tyranny

 

  • حَدا بيشتري سمك ببحر؟ (AF 260)

 

Does anyone buy fish while it is still in the sea?

– حَدا  =  Fuṣḥā أحد 

 

  • الحيط الواطي بتركبه كل الناس (AF 281)

 

Everybody jumps over a low wall.

– حَيْطَ ج حِيْطان  = wall 

– مُحيط ج مُحيطات  = surrondings; ocean

– واطي  = low; inferior

 – وطّى، يوَطّي  = to lower sth.

 

  • الحب ستار العيوب (AF 254)

 

Love blinds itself to all shortcomings.

 

  • حِب الصدق ولو ضرّك وأُبغُض الكِذْب ولو سرّك (AF 254)

 

Love the truth though it may do you harm; hate the lie though it may please you.

– ضَرّ، يضُرّ  = to harm, to injure

– ضَرَر ج أَضرار  = damage

– مُضِرّ  = harmful

– ضَرُوْري  = necessary

– ضَرَّة  = second wife, co-wife

– بغض، يبغُض  = to hate, despise

– بُغْض  = hatred

– كِذْب  = lie

– كَذَب، يكذِب  = to lie

– كَذَّب، يْكَذِّب  = to accuse s.o. of lying; to denounce, contradict

– كَذَّاب  = liar

– سَرّ، يسُرّ  = to make happy, to gladden

– مَسرور  = happy

– سُرور  = happiness, gladness

– بِكُلّ سُرور  = happily, with pleasure

 

  • إلداخل بالسياسة متل الداخل بتَنَكة الكناسة (AF 298)

 

He who takes to politics is like someone trying to get into the garbage can.

– متل  = Fuṣḥā مثل

– تَنَكة، ج تَنكات  = tin, can

– كناسة  = garbage, rubbish

– كَنَّس، يْكَنِّس  = to sweep

– مكنسة  = broom

 

  • إلدني بْتِنْهَز ما بتُوقَع (AF 306)

 

The world may shake but it never falls.

(Meaning: no matter how many afflictions and disasters befall man, in the long run everything will be all right.)

– دِني  = Fuṣḥā دُنيا

– اْنهَزّ، يِنهَزّ  = to be shaken

– هَزّ، يْهِزّ  = to shake

 

  • الدني بلا شراب خراب (AF 306)

 

Life without drinking is naught.

– دِني  = Fuṣḥā دُنيا

– بلا  = without

– شراب  = wine; drink, beverage; juice

– شرب  = to drink

– خراب  = destruction, ruination

 

  • الدني بلاها ملاها، وأكتر بلاها من نساها (AF 306)

 

Life is full of misery, and most of its misery is caused by women.

– دني  = Fuṣḥā دُنيا

 

  • الدني حْكاك حَمير، حِك لي تَ حِك لك (AF 306)

 

Life is like donkeys rubbing against each other: scratch me and I will scratch you.

– حْكاك

– حَكّ، يْحِكّ  = to scratch، rub

– ب) اْحتَكّ، يِحتَكّ)  = to rub against; mingle with / be in contact with 

– تَ  = so that, in order to, Fuṣḥā لكي

 

  • زَلَّة الجاهل بِغَطّيها الجَهْل، وزَلَّة العالم بيضرُب فيها الطَبْل (AF 340)

 

An ignorant man’s fault is covered up by (his) ignorance, but a wise man’s fault is heralded by a drum.

– زَلّة  = slip, mistake

– زَلّة لسان  = slip of the tongue

– غطّى، يغَطّي  = to cover, to hide

– غَطَا ج غُطي  = cover, lide

– طَبِل ج طْبُوْل  = drum

– طَبَّل، يْطَبِّل  = to drum; to become weak

 

  • زينة الكلام أخْذ وعطا (AF 342)

 

The beauty of a conversation lies in giving and taking (as in “talking and listening”).

 

  • الساكت في الحق متل الناطق بالباطل (AF 343)

 

He who knows the truth but keeps silent is like him who tells lies.

– ساكت  = silent, quiet

– سَكَت، يِسْكُت  = to be quiet

– سَكِت  = silence

– سُكوت  = silence, tranquility

– سكّت، يسكّت  = to shut s.o. up

– ناطق  = speaker, spokesperson

– نَطَق، يُنطُق  = to pronounce, to utter

– نُطُق  = pronunciation

– بَاطِل  = false; vain; incompetent

– بَطَل، ج أَبطَال  = hero

– بَطَالِة  = unemployment

– بَطَّال  = bad, worthless

– بَطَّل، يْبَطِّل  = cancel, stop

 

  • السر بين اتنين بصير بين الفين (AF 349)

 

A secret shared by two is soon shared by two thousand.

 

  • سنة الخرا ٢٤ شهر (AF 354)

 

A wretched year has 24 months.

– خَرَا / خَرَى  = shit, crap

 

  • الشاب إن قال أنا جوعان صدقوه، وإن قال أنا تعبان كذّبوه (AF 360)

 

If a young man says “I am hungry”, believe him, but if he says “I am tired”, call him a liar.

 

  • الشيب ما هو عيب (AF 384)

 

To have white hair is no dishonor.

– شيب  = white hair, grey hair

– شاب، يشيب = to become white-haired, to get grey/white hair

– شايب = white haired

– شيّب، يشيّب  = to give s.o. grey/white hair

 

  • شاب ولا تاب (AF 384)

 

– تاب، يتوب  = to repent

 

  • شيطان حرك ولا ملاك جامد (AF 384)

 

Better a mischievous devil than a frozen angel.

– حَرَك، يحرُك  = to move

– حَرَكة ج حَرَكات  = movement, (in football: trick), (in linguistics: diacritic mark)

– حرّك، يحرّك  = to set in motion, stir up

– تحرّك، يتحرّك  = to move

– ملاك ج ملاكة  = angel

– جِمِد، يِجمَد  = to freeze; to become hard

– جمّد، يجمّد  = to freeze sth.

– جَمِيْد  = dried yoghurt, usually made into a sauce and eaten with mansaf 

 

  • طَبِّل لي تَ زمِّر لك (AF 406)

Beat the drum for me, and I shall blow the trumpet for you.

–  زمّر، يزمّر  = lit.: to honk

 

  • طرشا عَ الباب بْتِتْنصَّت (AF 407)

 

She is deaf, but stands by the door eavesdropping.

– أَطرَش، طَرشا ج طُرش / طُرشَان = deaf

– تنصّت  = to eavesdrop

 

  • ظن العاقل أصَح مِن يقين الجاهل (AF 417)

 

The guess of a wise man is nearer to the fact than the certainty of a fool.

– ظنّ ج ظُنون  = assumption, guess, thought

– ظَنّ، يظِنّ  = to assume, think, suspect

– يَقِين  = certainty

 

  • العاقل يعقل (AF 423)

 

(Let him who) understands understand.

– عِقِل، يعْقَل  = to become intelligent, reasonable; to gain insight, to understand

 

  • العتاب صابون القلوب (AF 424)

 

Reprimanding is soap for the hearts.

– عاتب، يعاتب، العِتاب  = to scold, to reproach

 

  • عدم الجواب جواب (AF 426)

 

No reply is a reply.

 

  • عصفورين بحجر (AF 432)

 

(To hit) two birds with one stone.

 

  • العَقْل زِينة لكل رَزِينة (AF 434)

 

Intelligence is a decoration for every serious woman.

– رَزِيْن  = grave, serious, self-possessed

 

  • عَقْل الكبير كبير (AF 434)

 

The mind of a great man is great.

 

  • عند البطون ضاعت العقول (AF 443)

 

When it concerns the stomach, the mind is lost.

– بَطِن، ج بطون  = stomach, belly; pregnancy

– باطِني  = internal

 

  • الغَرْقان ما بخاف من زَخِّة مطر (AF 456)

 

The drowned man does not fear a shower.

– غَرْقان  = drowning

– زَخّة  = downpour, sudden shower

 

  • الغَضْبان خَيَ المجنون (AF 458)

 

An angry man is a brother of the madman.

– غَضْبان  = angry

– غِضِب، يغضَب  = to be angry, furious

 

  • غَلْطَة الشاطر بألف غَلْطَة (AF 459)

 

A mistake committed by a smart person is equivalent to one thousand (other) mistakes.

– شاطر  = intelligent, smart 

– fun fact: شاطر  in Persian means “baker” (probably from the original meaning of the word “to divide” (like a baker who divides bread)

– شَطَارة  = intelligence, cleverness

 

  • غِيب عن العَيْن تِحلا (AF 461)

 

Stay out of sight and you shall be liked.

– غاب، يغيب  = to be absent

– غَايِب  = absent

– حِلِي، يحْلا  = to become sweet

– حلّى، يحَلّي  = to sweeten

– حِلْو  = sweet, good, nice, beautiful

– استَحلَى، يِستَحلي  = to find sweet

– حَلَوِيَّات  = sweets

 

  • فقير ما عليه دَيْن، غني (AF 473)

 

A poor man who is not in debt is rich.

– دَيْن ج ديون  = loan, credit, debt

– ديّن، يدَيّن  = to lend money

 – تدَيَّن، يِتدَيَّن  = to borrow

– مَديُوْن  = in debt

 

  • الفلوس بتجيب العروس (AF 475)

 

Money gets the bride.

– فلوس  = money

– أَفلَس، يِفلِس  = to go bankrupt

– جَاب، يْجِيْب  = to bring

 

  • قالوا للجُعان: تنين وتنين؟ قال: أربعة أَرْغْفِة (AF 489)

 

They asked a hungry man, “How much are 2 + 2?” He answered: “Four loaves.”

 رغِيف ج أَرغِفة  = loaf of bread

 

  • الفقر بيِعْمي القلب (AF 471)

 

Poverty blinds one’s heart.

– عَمَى، يعْمِي  = to blind

 

  • قرد موافق ولا غزال مخالف (AF 497)

 

Better an agreeable ape than a disagreeable gazelle.

– قِرد ج قرود  = monkey

– تْقَرْدَن  = to behave like a monkey

– وافَق، يوافِق  = to agree

– اْتَّفَق، يِتَّفِق  = to come to an agreement 

 غَزال ج غُزلان  = gazelle

– غَزَل، يِغزِل  = to spin

– غَازَل، يْغَازِل  = to flirt, to court

– خَالَف، يْخَالِف  = to violate, break (a law, etc); to disagree, go against

– مْخَالَفِة، ج مْخَالَفَات  = ticket, offense, infringement

– خَلْف  = behind

– خَلفِيِّة  = background

– اْختَلَف، يِختْلِف  = to differ, to disagree

 

  • القناعة غنى (AF 505)

 

Contentment is riches.

– قَنَاعَة  = conviction; contentment

– قِناع، ج أَقنعة  = mask

–  أَقنَع، يِقنِع  = to convince

– اْقتَنَع، يِقِتنِع  = to be convinced

 

  • كان ع بالي وبدالي (AF)

 

It was on my mind and suddenly appeared.

–  ع بالي  = on my mind

– بدا، يبدو  (Fuṣḥā) = to appear, become evident; to seem

 

  • كانت حمامة يا أمير وطارت (AF 509)

 

She was a dove, oh prince, and she flew away.

– حمامة = dove, pigeon (note the difference between حمّام (restroom) and حمام (doves) without the shedda

– طار، يطير  = to fly

– طيَّارة  = airplane

– مَطار ج مَطارات  = airport

– طِيّارْجي  = pilot

– طَيْر، ج طيور  = bird

 

  • كِتِر الأيادي في الحصيدة غنيمة، وعَ الطَبَق ظليمة (AF 514)

 

To have many hands at the time of harvest is of great advantage; to have many hands at table is a calamity.

 غَنيمة، ج غَنائِم  = loot, plunder

– طَبَق ج أَطباق  = tray, plate

– طابِق، ج طوابِق  = story, floor

– طَبَقَة، ج طَبَقات  = social class; layer

– تَطبيق  = application (also on the phone)

 

  • الكِذْب بِغَدي ما بِعَشي (AF 517)

 

To tell a lie might help you to have lunch, but not to have supper.

– غَدَّى، يغدّي  = to feed lunch, make lunch

– تْغَدَّى / دْغَدَّى، يِتغَدَّى / يِدغَدَّى  = to have lunch

– غَدَا = lunch

– عشّى، يعّشي  = to feed dinner, make dinner

– تْعَشَّى، يِتعَشَّى  = to have dinner

– عَشا  = dinner, supper

– عِشا = Islamic night prayer

– عَشِيِّة  = evening

 

  • كِذْب ينْفع ولا صِدْق يضُر (AF 518)

 

Better a lie which does good, than truth which does harm.

– نَفَع، ينفَع  = to benefit, be of use, work out

– مَنَافِع  = bathroom, lavatory

– ضَرّ، يضُرّ  = to harm, to injure

– ضَرَر ج أَضرار  = damage

– مُضِرّ  = harmful

– ضَرُوْري  = necessary

– ضَرَّة  = second wife, co-wife

 

  • كل شي بالأمل إلا الرِزق بالعمل (AF 526)

 

You may hope for anything, but a livelihood (only comes through labour).

أَمَل، ج آمَال = hope 

– تأمّل، يتأمّل  = to contemplate, reflect on

– رِزْق  = livelihood, wealth, daily bread

 

  • كل شي تسبيب إلا الجازة نصيب (AF 527)

 

Everything in life comes about logically except marriage. That is chance.

– جازِة  = marriage

– جيزة  = marriage

– جَوَاز  = Fuṣḥā زواج  (marriage)

– جوز ج جواز  = husband; piece

– جَوَّز، يْجَوِّز  = to marry off

– تجوّز، يتجوّز  = to marry

 

  • كِل شي دواه الصبر، لكن قِلة الصبر مالها دوا (AF 527)

 

Everything may be remedied by patience, but lack of patience has no remedy.

 

  • كل محجوب مرغوب (AF 533)

 

Everything hidden is desired.

– حَجَب، يحْجُب  (Fuṣḥā) = to veil, cover 

– مْحَجَّب  = veiled, wearing a hijab

– حِجاب ج أَحجِبة / حُجُب  = hijab, veil

– حَاجِب، ج حَوَاجِب  = eyebrow

– مَرغوب  = desired, wanted

– رَغبة  = desire, wish

 

  • كل ممنوع متبوع (AF 533)

 

Everything forbidden is run after.

– تَبَع، يِتبَع  = to follow, chase, keep track of

 

  • كَلامه عليه تَرْك (AF 539)

 

There should be a discount on what he says.

 

  • كَلب الأمير أمير (AF 542)

 

The dog of an Amir is an Amir (= prince).

 

  • كِلمة “يا ريت” ما عَمّرِت ولا بيت (AF 545)

 

The word “if” never build a house.

– عَمَّر، يعَمِّر  = to build

– عَمَارَة  = building

– مِعمَاري  = building, builder, architect

– وَلَا  = nor, not even

 

  • لا بقاتل ولا بْلِم حجار (AF 554)

 

I neither fight nor pick up stones.

(In old village fights boys and women helped pick up stones and gave them to men fighting)

–  قاتل، يقاتل = to fight, battle, combat

– وَلَا  = nor, not even

– لَمّ، يْلِمّ  = to pick, gather, collect

– اِلْتَمَّ، يَلْتِمّ = to assemble, to gather

– حَجَر، حجَار  = stone; chessman

 

  • لا بَقَر ولا مْنِغدي على سحر (AF 554)

 

(We neither have got) no cows, nor do we need to rise with the dawn.

– غِدَى، يغدي = to wake up early

– غَدْوِيِّة  = early

– سَحَر  = early morning, dawn

 

  • لا تذكر الحَبْل ببيت المشنوق (AF 558)

 

Don’t mention the word “rope” at the house of a man who died by hanging.

– ذَكَر، يذْكُر  = to mention

– ذِكرَى، ذِكرَيَات  = memory

– ذكّر، يذكّر  = to remind

– ذاكْرة  = memory (capacity of remembering)

– شَنَق، يُشنُق  = to hang

 

  • لا تْذِم ولا تشكر إلا بعد سنة وأربعة أشهر (AF 558)

 

Neither blame nor praise until a year and four months later.

– ذَمَّ، يَذُمّ  (Fuṣḥā) = to blame, criticize

– ذَمَّمَ = to rebuke

– شَكَر، يِشْكُر  = to thank

– شُكر  = gratitude

– مُتَشَكِّر  = thankful

 

  • لا تَعَب إلا تَعَب القلب (AF 560)

 

There is no weariness like that which troubles the heart.

 

  • لا تُقْعُد بين القبور ولا تِبْصَر منامات (AF 562)

 

In order not to have nightmares, do not sit among graves.

–  قَعَد، يِقْعُد  = to sit; to remain doing something

– قاعدة، ج قَوَاعِد  = rule, base

– مَقعَد، ج مَقاعِد  = seat, bench

– مُقعَد  = disabled

– تقاعَد، يِتْقاعِد  = to retire

–  قَبَر ج قبور  = grave

– قَبَر، يِقبُر  = to bury

– بَصَر، يبْصُر  = to see

– بَصَر  = vision, sight

– أَبْصَر  = who knows?; I wonder

– بَصير  = clear-sighted; epithet of God

–  منام  = dream; sleep; place to sleep

 

  • لسانه بيمدح إيده بْتِذْبَح (AF 572)

 

His tongue praises, but his hand slaughters.

– مَدَح، يِمدَح  = to praise

– مَدِح  = praise

– ذبَح، يذبَح  = to kill, to slaughter

– مَدبَحَة، ج مَدَابِح

 

  • لو بدها تْشَتّي زْلابية كانت غَيَّمِت عَجين (AF 576)

 

 

Were it going to rain doughnuts, the sky would have darkened with clouds of dough.

– بدها  = normally “she wants”; here: “to be about to”

–  زْلابية  = Jalebi (West-Asian fried dough dipped in sugar syrup, very popular in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran; for more info see here)

– شَتَّى، يشَتّي  = to rain

– أَشتى، يشتي (Palestinian) = to rain

– شِتِي / شِتِة / شِتَا  = winter; rain

– غيّم، يغيّم = to become cloudy

– غيمة ج غيوم  = cloud

– عَجِيْن = dough

– عَجَن، يعجِن  = to knead

– مَعجُوْن  = paste, cream

 

  • لو الشِرْكِة بَرَكة كانوا كِل اتنين أخدوا مرة (AF 577)

 

Had partnership been a blessing then every two men would have married one woman.

– شِرْكِة  = company, firm, corporation; here: partnership

– شريك ج شُرَكا  = partner

– شَارَك، يْشَارِك  = to participate, join

– اْشتِراك  = membership, subscription, contract (e.g. in a gym, for the phone)

– مرَة ج نسوان = Fuṣḥā 

 

  • الليل ستَار العيوب (AF 582)

 

The night conceals all defects.

 

  • ما بِحِكّ جِلدك متل ظِفْرَك (AF 586)

 

Nothing scratches your skin better than your own nail.

– حَكّ، يْحِكّ  = to scratch، rub

– جِلد ج جلود = skin, leather

– ضُفُر / ضِفِر، ج اْضَافِير  = finger

 

  • ما على المجنون حَرَج (AF 602)

 

The insane are not responsible.

– حَرَج  = oppression, difficulty; sin

– أَحرَج  = to embarrass

– محْرِج  = embarrassing

 

  • ما في جود إلا من موجود (AF 604)

 

There could be no generosity unless one had something (to be able to give).

– جود  = generosity, openhandedness

 

  • ما في طَلْعَة تَ قْبالها نَزْلِة (AF 606)

 

There is no up-hill without a downhill.

–  طَلْعَة  = climb, up-hill, ascent; going out

– طِلِع، يِطلَع  = to go up, ascend; to go out, depart; to turn out 

– قْبَال  = opposite, facing

– مُقَابِل  = in exchange, recompense

– قَابَل، يْقَابِل  = to interview, have a meeting with

 

  • مأكول مذموم (AF 613)

 

Eaten but criticized.

(People eat in his home, but he is not praised)

– ذَمَّ، يَذُمّ  (Fuṣḥā) = to blame, criticize

– ذَمَّمَ = to rebuke

 

  • مِتل الإبرِة بْتِكْسي الناس وهي عَرْيانِة (AF 617)

 

Like a needle: it clothes people while it remains naked.

– إِبرة ج أُبَر  = needle, injection

– كسى، يكسي  = to clothe, provide with clothing

– كِسْوَة  = clothing, wear; covering

– m: عَريَان f:  عَريَانِة pl: عريانين = naked

 

  • مِتل أل بِغَنّي بالطاحون (AF 619)

 

Like him who sings in a mill.

(People do not hear him, nor does he hear himself)

– طاحون  = mill

–  طَحين  = flour

– طحينة  = tahini, sesame paste

– طَحَن، يِطحَن  = to grind

 

  • مِتل البَط بِظَل عايم (AF 622)

 

Like a duck he is always floating on the surface.

 

  • متل خِبْز الوقف، فَرَح بالتِم عزا بالبَطْن (AF 627)

 

Like bread of the waqf (= Church property): happiness in the mouth, but a funeral in the stomach (it causes stomach-ache).

– تِم  = Fuṣḥā فم

 

  • متل الحكومة، ما له صاحِب (AF 626)

 

Like the government, he has no friend.

 

  • متل دَرْب الحَج، إلي بْيِسْتَهوْنه بْيِكْفُر وإلي بْيِسْتَصْعبه بْيِكْفُر (AF 628)

 

Like the pilgrim’s journey, he who says it is easy commits blasphemy, and he who says it is strenuous commits blasphemy.

– (دَرْب ج دروب(ة  = path, road

– اْستَهوَن، يِستَهوِن  = to belittle, find easy, undervalue

– هان، يهون على  = to become insignificant; to become easy for

– هَيِّن / هْوَيِّن = easy 

– أَهان، يهين  = to insult

– إِهَانِة  = insult, humiliation 

– تهاوَن، يتهَاوَن  = to treat lightly, ascribe little importance to

– كَفَر، يُكفُر  = to be an infidel, to commit blasphemy

– كَافِر، كُفَّار  = unbeliever, infidel

– استَصعَب، يستَصعِب  = to find difficult

 

  • متل السنونو، بتصلي بالفلا وبْتِخرا بالجامِع (AF 632)

 

Like swallows, they pray in the sky and shit on the mosque.

سنونو  = swallow

– صَلَّى، يْصَلّي  = to pray

– صَلا / صَلاة ج صَلَوات  = prayer

– خِري / خِري، يِخْرَا  = to shit

 

  • متل بَوْل الجمال كل ماله لَوَرا (AF 633)

 

Like a camel’s urination.

(Meaning: backward. Said of people who instead of moving forward are moving backward.)

– بَوْل  = urine

– بَوَّل، يبَوِّل  = to urinate

 

  • متل عزيمة الحمار للعُرْس، يَمّا للحطَب يَما للمَي (AF 636)

 

Like inviting a donkey to a wedding, either to carry wood or to bring water.

– عَزِيْمِة، ج عَزَايِم  = invitation; party

– عَزَم، يِعزِم  = to invite

– اْنْعَزَم، يِنْعِزِم  = to be invited

– يامَّا / يَمَّا  = either, or 

– حَطَب  = firewood

 

  • متل فوطة الحمام، كِل ساعة على وَسَط (AF 638)

 

Like a towel in a public bath, every other hour it is on somebody else’s waist.

– فُوْطَة، ج فُوَط  = towel

– or: مَنْشَفِة، ج مَناشِف  (same meaning)

– وَسَط، ج أَوسَاط  = middle, center

 

  • مِصْر مِش بعيدة ع الي بِزورها (AF 658)

 

Cairo (lit. Egypt) is not far for him who (really intends to) visit it.

 

  • مع السوق سوق ومع المغني غن (AF 661)

 

Follow the crowd and sing with the singer.

– ساق، يسوق  = to drive

– سواقة  = driving

 

  • المعنى بقلب الشاعر (AF 662)

 

The meaning is in the poet’s heart.

 

  • المِقْرِش بْيِشْرَب بجهَنَّم يَقْسما (AF 664)

 

He who has money can have ice-cream in hell.

– اِقْرَش  = to become wealthy

– قِرش ج قروش  = cent, penny, qirsh

– يَقْسما = ? 

 

  • مَكْسَب في الجِلّة ولا خسارة في المِسْك (AF 666)

 

Rather make money in trading in dung than lose money in dealing in musk (perfume).

 

  • من البرا رخام ومن الجُوا سخام (AF 671)

 

Outwardly marble, inwardly filth.

– بَرَّا / بَرَّاة  = outside (note: in an iḍāfa it is sometimes connected with a t (like a ta-marbūṭa)

– رخام  = marble

– جُوَّا / جُوَّات  = inside

– سْخَام = corruption, dirt

 

  • من تأنَّى نال ما تَمَنّى (AF 672) (Fuṣḥā)

 

He who is patient shall get what he desires.

– تَأَنَّى يَتَأَنَّى  = to act slowely, take one’s time

– اْستَنَّى، يِستَنَّى  (dialect) = to wait

– نَاْلَ، يَنُوْل  = to gift, donate, grant, award

– تناوَل، يتناوَل  = to have (a meal), to take

– تْمَنَّى، يِتمَنَّى  = to hope

– أُمنِية ج أُمنِيات / أَماني  = wish, desire

 

  • من خَلَّف ما مات (AF 676) (Fuṣḥā)

 

He who leaves children behind is not dead.

– خَلَّف، يْخَلِّف  = to bear, beget; have children (men and women)

– خَلْف  = behind

– خَلفِيّة  = background

 

  • من علَّمني حرفا صِرْت له عبداّ (AF 681) (Fuṣḥā)

 

To him who teaches me one letter I become a servant (slave).

 

  • من قبل كانت النصيحة بجَمَل، اليوم بلاش ما حدا بيشتريها (AF 683)

 

Advice once was worth a camel, now that it is free of charge no one takes it.

– بَلَاش  = free of charge

– بَلَاش  = don’t (example:  بَلَاشِ تصَيِّح = “don’t shout”)

 

  • من كِتْروا خُطّابها بارِت (AF 685)

 

(The girl) whose would-be-husbands are numerous is likely to remain single.

– بار  = to become a spinster, to be barren

 

  • الموعود خير من المبعود (AF 693)

 

Being promised is far better than being denied.

 

  • مين أدْرى بحالك؟ رَبّك وجارك (AF 695)

 

Who knows your condition best? Your God and your neighbour.

– أَدْرَى  (superlative) = most knowledgeable, knowing best

– دِري، يِدرَى  = to know

 

  • النادِر ما بْيِنْقاس عليه (AF 696)

 

The rare is something you do not take as an example.

– اِنْقاس، ينقاس  = to be measure

 – قاس، يقيس  = to measure; to try on

– مِقياس، ج مَقاييس  = measurement

– قياس، ج قياسات  = measure, measurement

 

  • الناس أجناس، وْأكتْرْهم أنْجاس (AF 697)

 

People are of different kinds, but most of them are malicious.

– جِنس، ج أَجنَاس  = kind, type, species; gender; sex, intercourse

– نَجِس، ج أَنْجاس  (Fuṣḥā) = impure, filthy

– نِجِس، ج نِجسِيْن  (‘Āmmiyya) = bad, evil, wicked, repulsive

 

  • ناس بعوموا ناس بصوموا (AF 698)

Some people fast, some enjoy affluence.

 

  • الناس عبيد الإحسان (AF 699)

People are enslaved by kindness (charity) done to them.

– عَبد (عَبِد)، عَبيد  = slave

– عَبَد، يُعبُد  = to worship

– إِحسَان = charity

 

  • نام بالغيْظ ولا تِصْبَح بالنَدَم (AF 701) (Fuṣḥā)

Rather go to bed in anger than rise from your sleep regretful.

– غَيْظ = anger, fury, wrath

– أصبح، يصبح  = to become; to wake up

 

  • النَجّار بابه مخلوع والخيّاط تَوْبه مفتوق (AF 702)

The carpenter’s door is unhinged, and the tailor’s suit is torn.

– نَجَّار  = carpenter

– نَجَّر  = to crave, engrave

– نجارة  = carpentry, woodworking

– خَلَع، يِخلَع  = to take out, remove; break down

– خيّاط  = tailor

– خَيْط، ج خِيطان / خيوط  = thread, cord

– خيّط، يخيّط  = to knit, sew

– خِياطة  = tailoring, sewing

– تَوْب، ج تْيَاب  = dress, robe, clothes

– فَتَقَ، يَفْتُق  (Fuṣḥā) = to undo the sewing

– فِتَاْق  = hernia

 

  • النَّمَل بْيِظْهَر من مطبخه جُوعان (AF 709)

Ants leave his kitchen hungry.

– ضَهَر، يِضْهَر / ظَهَر، يظْهَر  = to go out (also: to go out at night); to appear

 

  • الواحد ما بْيِتْعَلَّم إلا من كِيسه (AF 722)

One learns only at his own expense (lit.: out of his own bag).

 

  • الواطي إذا عِلِي عضّ (AF 722)

When a man of lowly origin rises high, he bites.

– واطي  = low; inferior

 – وطّى، يوَطّي  = to lower sth., turn sth. down (like music)

– علي، يعلى  = to become higher, increase in height, rise

– عالي  = high

– عَلَّى، يعَلّي  = to raise, make higher

– ضّ، يْعُضّ  = to bite

 

  • الوِج الي بْتِصابْحه لا تْقابْحه (AF 722)

You should not alienate (lit.: quarrel with) the face you have to see every morning.

– وِج  = Fuṣḥā وِجه  (face)

– تصابح، يتصابح  = from  أصبح، يصبح  “to become; to wake up”

– تقابح، تقابح  = from قبيح، ج قِباح / قَباحى / قَبْحَى  “ugly”

 

  • الوِحْدِة عبادِة (AF 724)

Solitude is (next to) worship.

 

  • يا نَصيب شِدّ وصيب (AF 746)

Oh luck, hit (me)!

– شَدّ، يْشِدّ  = to exert pressure, to tighten; to be strict

– شِدِّة  = strenght, force

– شديد  = strong, powerful

– شَدَّد، يْشَدِّد  = to be strict, get tough

– صاب، يصِيب  = to hit; to befall; to injure

– إِصابة، ج إِصابات  = injure

– مصيبة، ج مصايب  = disaster

 

  • يا ربّي لا تِجْعَلْني غَني إنساك، ولا قصير إكفُر فيك (AF 738)

Oh God, do not make me rich that I should forget you, nor poor that I should deny you.

 

  • وصْلِت لِلتّسْعَة وتِسعين تْدَحْرِج للمِية (AF 725)

Since it has reached 99, let it roll to a hundred.

– دَحرَج، يْدَحرِج  = to roll

 

  • يا بيّاع الزَيْت شو معك (AF 734)

You, who sells olive-oil, what do you have? (a foolish question)

 

Source:

AF = Anis Frayha. Modern Lebanese Proverbs; Collected at Ras Al-matn. American Uninversity of Beirut, Beirut (1953)

 

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