Ethiopian Proverbs

By | April 23, 2015

Sayings of Ethiopian origin

There is no cure for him who hides an illness.

If you are going to go where corn grows, take a cutting tool with you.

Eat when the food is ready; speak when the time is right.

Better an egg this year than a chicken next year.

He who knows much does not speak much.

Who cannot yet walk, cannot climb a ladder.

A fool looks for dung where the cow never grazed.

A hyena intrudes through a gap a dog opened.

A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn.

When a fool is cursed, he thinks he is being praised.

No better witnesses than your own eyes.

One does not became fat because he broke a fast.

Sitting is being crippled.

The best of mankind is a farmer; the best food is fruit.

“O, sheep if I do not eat you, you will eat me,” said the hyena.

The heart of a fool is in his mouth and the mouth of the wise man is in his heart.

A fool is thirsty in the midst of water.

The eye of the leopard is on the goat, and the eye of the goat is on the leaf.

A coward sweats in water.

The slimming of an elephant and the losses of a rich man are not noticeable.

The fool speaks, the wise man listens.

The nile has no resting place it wanderes around carrying a log.

Only the man who is not hungry says the coconut has a hard shell.

A bird hanging between two branches will get bitten on both wings.

Whether it rains or stops raining, the lentils have two eyes.

You may well have two legs but you still can’t climb two trees at the same time.

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Map of Ethiopia with Ethiopian flag

Ethiopia is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea to the north and northeast, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. With over 90 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world, as well as the second-most populated nation on the African continent. It occupies a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi).

Most people in the country speak Afro-Asiatic languages of the Cushitic or Semitic branches.

Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia. It is the largest city in Ethiopia. (An excerpt from Wikipedia)

More Ethiopian  Proverbs & Sayings

A fool at forty is a fool indeed.

A house can’t be built for the rainy season that is past.

One should punish a child the first time he comes home with a stolen egg. Otherwise, the day he returns home with a stolen ox, it will be too late.

One who tries to hide with a dog, a child, a goat, or a person with a cold, will not remain hidden.

When they fooled the chicken they threw her into a carrying basket.

One is born, one dies; the land grows.

A shameless person has no sense of shame at all.

It is better to be the cub of a live jackal than of a dead lion.

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.

Coffee and love taste best when hot.

Clothes put on while running come off while running.

A fool and water will go the way they are directed.

The same water never runs into the same river.

He who conceals his disease cannot expect to be cured.

A bleating sheep loses a bite.

One scoops with a scoop.

Mock the palm tree only when the date harvest is over.

It is foolish for someone to remain thirsty when he is in the midst of water.

Dine with a stranger but save your love for your family.

Even over cold pudding, the coward says: “It will burn my mouth.”

The cattle is as good as the pasture in which it grazes.

One who plants grapes by the road side, and one who marries a pretty woman, share the same problem.

A powerful friend becomes a powerful enemy.

When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.

An eye and a friend are quickly hurt.

Do not blame God for having created the tiger, but thank Him for not giving it wings.

Even if Christ’s death could have been prevented, Judas would still be a traitor.

A too modest man goes hungry.

When one is prepared, difficulties do not come.

A home without a woman is like a barn without cattle.

If a friend hurts you, run to your wife.

His mouth talks about Sheik Hussein but his hands are stretched up to the tree.

He who wants to barter, usually knows what is best for him.

Living is worthless for one without a home.

He who digs too deep for a fish, may come out with a snake.

Give advice; if people don’t listen, let adversity teach them.

If they speak, they are wind; if they are silent, they are gourds.

If relatives help each other, what harm can be done to them?

They snatched from me my own cry.

When the heart overflows, it comes out through the mouth.

Anticipate the good so that you may enjoy it.

The mouse is silent while laboring, but when the baby is conceived, she cries.

A mouse that wants to die goes to sniff the cat’s nose.

He who learns, teaches.

Coffee is our bread .

What has been blown away, cannot be found again.

The person who grew up without correction will find his mouth slipping instead of his foot.

The calves do not fear the horns of their mother

A fool will pair an ox with an elephant.

Do not hesitate or you will be left in between doing something, having something and being nothing.

A cow gave birth to a fire: she wanted to lick it, but it burned; she wanted to leave it, but she could not because it was her own child.

If the heart is sad, tears will flow.

The frog wanted to be as big as the elephant, and burst.

Unless you call out, who will open the door?

Oh old hyena eat me without making excuses.

Confiding a secret to an unworthy person is like carrying a grain in a bag with a hole in it.

When one sets a portion for oneself, usually it is not too small.

No one knows what the dawn will bring.

When the hyena is gone, the dog begins to bark.

To one who knows no better, a small garden is a forest.

The cow knows the cowherd but not the owner.

The son of the Nile thirsts for water.

It is easy to become a monk in one’s old age.

There is no one who became rich because he broke a holiday.

The witness of a rat is another rat.

Advise and counsel him; if he does not listen, let adversity teach him.

He who lives with an ass, sounds like an ass.

The tail and repentance go behind.

Regret, like a tail, comes at the end.

What one desires is always better than what one has.

One who runs alone cannot be outrun by another.

Don’t demand that what you write in the Nile will be read in the desert.

The little stars will always shine while the great sun is often eclipsed.

Saying that it’s for her child, she gets herself a loaf of bread.

What is inflated too much, will burst into fragments.

You travel on until you return home; you live on until you return to earth.

When the Nile knows a secret the desert will soon know it too.

Thorns prick lightly the man who walks slowly.

A silly daughter teaches her mother how to bear children.

Woman without man is like a field without seed.

Invite him as not to antagonize him, shove him off as not to let him eat.

The dog I bought, bit me; the fire I kindled burned me.

Evil gotten, evil spent.

Pride is no substitute for a dinner.

When you are pepper, I am mustard; when thou art a needle, I am a knife.

The fool is thirsty in the midst of water.

Where there is no shame, there is no honor.

What is taken for oneself is usually not a small piece.

A melancholic look is visible but not a melancholic heart.

As the wound inflames the finger, so the thought inflames the mind.

Don’t catch a leopard by the tail, but if you do, don’t let it go.

The first camel in the train holds everyone up, but it is the last which gets the beating.

Restless feet may walk into a snake pit.

When one is in love, a cliff becomes a meadow.

If you see that a town worships a calf, then cut the grass and feed it.

A good name is better than good perfume.

It is foolhardy to start a fire just to see the flames.

He who has nothing to do, scatters and gathers.

I have a cow in the sky, but cannot drink her milk.

Move your neck according to the music.

The point of the needle must pass first.

A partner in the business will not put an obstacle to it.

When there are many women, the cabbage will be spoiled.

Termites live underground.

Sharing a secret with a rogue is like carrying grain in a bag with a hole.

The sky is so close for him who sits.

It is like using a spoon to get water from the Nile.

Horns are not too heavy for the cow.

Cactus is bitter only to him who tastes it.

A good conversation is better than a good bed.

Fifty lemons are a load for one person, but for fifty persons they are perfume.

Snake at your feet – a stick at your hand!

Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak tree.

While trying to pull down something from the antique she lost what she had under her armpit.

Men fear danger, women only the sight of it.

If you offend, ask for pardon; if offended, forgive.

One who recovers from sickness, forgets about God.

A close friend can become a close enemy.

The beer is difficult to strain.

Great men have big hearts.

With man comes the quarrel.

A loose tooth will not rest until it’s pulled out.

A cat may go to a monastery, but will always remain a cat.

You think of water when the well is empty.

You cannot build a house for last year’s summer.

You are like dew even before it rains.

Invite him as not to antagonize him, shove him off as not to let him eat.

A blade won’t cut another blade; a cheat won’t cheat another cheat.

Don’t spend the evening in a house where you can’t spend the night.

Good name is better than good perfume.

The skin creaks according to the country.

The coward sweats in water.

When he looked under the saddle he lost his horse.

Because he killed his wife he took shelter with his in-laws.

The arrogant blind man picks a fight with his guide.

March Forward, Dear Mother Ethiopia is the national anthem of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Ethiopian National Anthem ( English Lyrics):

Respect for citizenship is strong in our Ethiopia;
National pride is seen, shining from one side to another.
For peace, for justice, for the freedom of peoples,
In equality and in love we stand united.
Firm of foundation, we do not dismiss humanness;
We are people who live through work.
Wonderful is the stage of tradition, mistress of a proud heritage,
Natural grace, mother of a valorous people.
We shall protect you – we have a duty;
Our Ethiopia, live! And let us be proud of you!

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