Greek Proverbs

By | April 15, 2016

Proverbial Wisdom from Greece

Sayings of Greek origin

One witness one liar; more witnesses, all liars

Old age and poverty are wounds that can’t be healed.

Other priests came, other gospels they brought.

You learn to limp if you live with cripples.

Some love the priest and some love the priest’s wife.

For lazy people it is always party time.

The ox has one thought, the ploughman another.

Character is habit long continued.

Those who fight with silver spears are sure of their victory.

Better a sick body than an ignorant mind.

It is not summer until the crickets sing.

A wheel that turns gathers no rust.

Time is the soul of the world.

A heart that loves is always young.

If advice will not improve him, neither will the rod.

A beard signifies lice, not brains.

Do not lean on a worm-eaten staff.

The dream is realized where you do not expect it.

If the ox knew his own strength, God help us.

Keep no secrets of thyself from thyself.

A lucky person is someone who plants pebbles and harvests potatoes.

In the young, silence is better than speech.

A thousand people cannot undress a naked person.

You know who the good seamen are when the storm comes.

The heart that loves is always young.

Pity for those who have been beaten till the arrival of the judges.

You must keep quiet or say only things that improve silence.

Better a drop of wisdom than an ocean of gold.

If you cannot catch a fish, do not blame the sea.

If you seek well, you will find.

Greece map with Greek Flag

Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, from the ancient Greek name Hellas, and known since ancient times as Hellas is a country located in southeastern Europe. According to the 2011 census, Greece’s population is around 10.8 million.

Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Situated on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the northeast. [Source!]

Greece is today relatively homogeneous in linguistic terms, with a large majority of the native population using Greek as their first or only language.

Athens, is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning around 3,400 years, and the earliest human presence started somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.

More Greek proverbs and Sayings

It is not good for all our wishes to be filled; through sickness we recognize the value of health; through evil, the value of good; through hunger, the value of food; through exertion, the value of rest.

Give me today and you may keep tomorrow.

To see is one thing, to hear is another.

The second thought is the best.

In hospitality, the chief thing is the good will.

A dove has no place amongst the crows.

You are teaching an eagle to fly.

A lazy tailor finds his thread too long.

Who ceases to be a friend never was one.

An uninvited in-law finds no space to sit.

If you wish to be good, first believe that you are bad.

Men who have lost heart never yet won a trophy.

There is truth in vine.

Listen to that which is well said even if it is from the mouth of an enemy.

Painless poverty is better than embittered wealth.

Milk the cow, but do not pull off the udder.

Live today, forget the past.

God loves the burglar, but he loves the householder too.

A young man should not marry yet, an old man not at all.

An old cat likes young mice.

Someone with an unrelenting heart is his own executioner.

An eagle does not catch flies.

Old men are twice children.

The people make the town.

Curses are like chickens; they come home to roost.

Fire does not extinguish fire.

Do not compare a fly with an elephant.

Respect old age.

It is sweet for the saved man to recall labour.

People characters are revealed by their speech.

Here the hens cackle, there they lay eggs.

You cannot reason with a hungry belly; it has no ears.

We became gravediggers but nobody dies anymore.

The priest is in one place, and his robe in another.

He says one thing and does another.

The building of the village was not yet complete, and the beggars arrived!

Act quickly, think slowly.

No mill, no meal.

Sometimes you have to throw yourself into the fire to escape from the smoke.

From a broken violin do not expect fine music.

He who plunders with a little boat is a pirate; he who plunders with a fleet is a conqueror.

Sharing the figs can leave you with none at all.

A gift, though small, is welcome.

My donkey is dead; let no more grass grow.

Women are as changeable as the sea.

A fox is not caught twice in the same snare.

A priest blesses his own bread first.

Whoever feeds the wolf in the winter will be eaten by him in the spring.

The style is the man himself.

Time leads truth to light.

Mountains are used to snow.

The grumbling mother-in-law forgets that she once was a bride.

Under every stone sleeps a scorpion.

Time is the best adviser.

Listen carefully, speak seasonably.

The knee is closer than the calf.

Shove anger aside.

Never consult a doctor who has never been ill himself.

They throw stones at the walnut trees, but not at the maple.

Danger can only be overcome by more danger.

To have five drachmas in the hand is better than ten drachmas on paper.

Success has many friends.

Kindness begets kindness.

Pleasures are transient, honors are immortal.

Every country is a fatherland.

If you are truthful you will have as much gold as you want.

Where there is a sea there are pirates

Take an old man’s counsel and an experienced man’s knowledge.

Know all and you will pardon all.

You easily forget the eyes that don’t see you anymore.

It is not what they profess but what they practice that makes them good.

Many men know how to flatter, few men know how to praise.

The eyes of the hare are different from those of the owl.

Every tale can be told in a different way.

The more the mother-in-law drinks the more friendly is her greeting.

Empty barrels and insignificant people always make the most noise.

Don’t forget to distrust.

Swift gratitude is the sweetest.

He who wants to be happy must stay at home.

Better the first of its kind than the last.

No one loathes the smell of himself.

Never give a sword to a fool or power to an unjust man.

He who suffers much will know much.

To deceive a diplomat speak the truth, he has no experience with it.

Pity the man who has no nails to scratch himself.

A lazy youth, when old, a beggar.

The fox that waits until the chicken falls from the perch dies from hunger.

He who thinks the worst usually is right.

If you steal something small you are a petty thief, but if you steal millions you are a gentleman of society.

Alexander the Great was not very tall.

Many words are poverty.

Who hunts two hares will catch neither.

A truth spoken before its time is dangerous.

One hand washes the other and both wash the face.

The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small

Think with the wise, but talk with the vulgar.

If you do not have brains you follow the same route twice.

In baiting a mousetrap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse.

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

The tongue has no bones, yet it breaks bones.

A library is a repository of medicine for the mind.

He who is born in jail loves jail.

Sweet is the memory of past labor.

Other daughters-in-law came, they make other cookies.

It is useless to knock at the door of a deaf man.

The liar and the thief rejoice in their first year only.

Not to mention the truth is hiding gold.

While one man’s beard was burning, another was lighting a cigarette.

The frog wanted to be an ox and swelled up until he burst.

Remorse is worse than a beating.

The beginning is the half of every action.

A cat with gloves never catches mice.

A woman prefers a man without money to money without a man.

Love your friend with his foibles.

What is true is no more sure than the probable.

Son of a priest, grandson of the devil.

Time is a river of passing events — a rushing torrent.

Not speech, but facts, convince.

Even from a foe a man may learn wisdom.

Good accounts make good friends.

Upon touching sand may it turn to gold.

Great abilities produce great vices as well as virtues.

If all the bees made honey, there would be enough for even gypsies to eat.

When the devil grows poor he becomes a tax collector.

In business you need two Jews for one Greek, two Greeks for one Syrian and two Syrians for one Armenian.

One word spoken in anger may spoil an entire life.

Birth, ancestry, and that which you yourself have not achieved can hardly be called your own.

Greeks only agree with each other about going to the toilet.

The rest of the world does not know what newlyweds know.

An open enemy is better than a false friend.

A good bird begins chirping while in the egg.

First secure an independent income, then practice virtue.

Men’s wishes are different from what God orders.

A real scoundrel turned up and they took off their hats to him.

A miser and a liar bargain quickly.

No need to teach an eagle to fly.

Men never moan over the opportunities lost to do good, only the opportunities to be bad.

Deeds are fruits, words are only leaves.

Who wouldn’t lick his fingers when they have been dipped in honey?

Outside a sheep, inside a wolf.

One minute of patience can mean ten years of peace.

He who eats and drinks with the rich leaves the table hungry.

Observe your enemies, for they first find your faults.

As long as you have the blessing of your parents it does not matter even if you live in the mountains.

Envy accomplishes nothing.

A goat thief came along and they put him in jail.

Man is the measure of all things.

One minute of patience, ten years of peace.

Before you can score, you must have a goal.

When you go to bed with a clear head, you will not get up with a headache.

Gray hair is a sign of age, not of wisdom.

Listen to all, say little.

A jackdaw always sits near a jackdaw.

If you do not have brains you have legs.

An old enemy never becomes a friend.

By degrees the kissing so that it can be tasty.

Pity the brave man, if caught by two weaklings.

A drowning man takes hold of his own hair.

It is better to be envied than pitied.

Move your hand along with Athena .

Truth lies at the bottom of a well.

Friendships and loves are forgotten, and when they meet, they talk like strangers, like passers-by.

The old age of an eagle is better than the youth of the sparrow.

Nothing is so reckless as a blind horse.

A fat belly did not invent gun powder.

Mary was fond of dancing, so she found a fiddler for her husband.

If it were not for hope, the heart would break.

My aunt says one thing, and my ears hear another.

The best fish hook cannot catch limp cheese.

What is good to know is difficult to learn.

I hate a jovial table companion with a good memory.

Either dance well or quit the ballroom.

The thief shouts to frighten the hell out of his victim.

I am not yet dead, but they have lit my candles.

It is not possible to step twice into the same river.

Nothing will content him who is not content with a little.

The Hymn to Liberty or Hymn to Freedom is a poem  which is used as the national anthem of Greece and Cyprus.
English Lyrics
I recognize you by the fearsome sharpness,
of your sword,
I recognize you by your face
that violently defines the land(i.e. the land’s borders).
From the sacred bones,
of the Hellenes arisen,
and valiant again as you once were,
hail, o hail, Liberty!

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