Jamaican Proverbs

By | August 20, 2015

Sayings of Jamaican origin

The soldiers’ blood, the general’s reputation.

If a flea had money, it would buy its own dog.

Sleep has no master.

You will often see a high collar above an empty stomach.

Not everything that is good to eat is good to talk about.

Words in mouth, no load upon head.

I came here to drink milk; I didn’t come to count cows.

Fire is at a mouse’s tail, he thinks it’s cool breeze.

Too much hurry, and get there tomorrow; take time, get there today.

A cock’s mouth causes its death

Empty pots will never boil over.

A little axe can cut down a big tree.

You can’t take the milk back from the coffee.

Every hoe has their thicket of bushes.

When the affected lady is doing well she eats her peas with a pin.

If you follow a fool, you’re a fool yourself.

Going to bed without dinner is better than waking up in debt.

Behind the dog it is “dog,” in front of it, it’s “mister dog”.

If you want to know who your friends are, lie by the roadside and pretend to be drunk.

Scratch an old woman’s back and she will let you taste her pepper pot.

Eat with the devil but give him a long spoon.

You cannot tie up a dog with a chain of sausages.

Not everything you hear is good for conversation.

The pig asked his Mother why her mouth was so long; Mother said, ‘Don’t worry child, you are growing, you will see’.

Virtue never goes far without the company of idleness.

One by one cocoa can full a basket

Cows do not indulge in horseplay.

Words die and men keep on living.

The tune you are playing is not the one I am dancing to.

Keep your secret in your own gourd.

If speech is worth a shilling, silence is worth a pound

Trouble doesn’t give signs like the rain.

When you point your finger at someone, look where the other fingers point.

If “How are you?” cost a cent, few would hear it.

Marriage has teeth and it bites hard.

Pay the doctor, praise the Lord.

Keep both eyes open before you are married and afterwards close only one.

Chicken is merry, a hawk is nearby.

A ghost knows whom to frighten

When your own funeral is approaching, you don’t pick and choose your grave diggers.

Learn to crawl before you walk

The nearer the bone, the sweeter the meat.

The crab says he does not trust any shadow after dark

No call alligator long mouth till you pass him.

A good conscience is better than a big wage.

What tastes good to a goat will later upset his stomach.

Those who really want something cannot get it, those who are always getting things do not want it.

When you buy beef, you buy bones; when you buy land, you buy rocks.

Save money and money will save you.

See and blind, hear and deaf.

Bushes have ears, walls have eyes.

You do not know how the parson got his gown

When a dog has money, he buys cheese.

Because the parrot makes a noise, they say that he is the only one that ate the banana

Tired feet always say that the path is long.

The spider and the fly can’t make a deal.

When you go to a donkey’s house, don’t talk about ears.

Give a man my horse; he wants a saddle as well.

I didn’t come here to hear that a horse is dead and a cow is fat.

Every little makes something.

Every dog knows his dinnertime.

The black man steals just half of very little, but the white man steals the whole sugar plantation.

A man with trousers that are too short should wear long suspenders.

The hungry fowl wakes early.

What the goat does, the kid follows.

The umbrella was made for rainy days, the white man uses it for the sun.

Time is longer than a rope.

Meat that the cat brings in never gets to your plate.

If you see everybody running take your time.

A lawyer looks at you with one eye, but he looks at your pocket with two.

You can stop a bird from flying over you, but you can’t stop it building a nest.

Barking saves biting.

An old debt is better than an old grudge.

I was not born when my mother was gone to the market.

Sleepy turtles never catch up with the sunrise.

Make a friend when you don’t need one.

Today can’t catch tomorrow.

If chickens were judges, cockroaches would be sentenced.

You can say anything to a man with a full stomach.

Clothes cover up character.

That which you do not know is older than you.

You shake a man’s hand, you don’t shake his heart.

To see me and come live with me are two different things.

When a cocoa is ripe it will burst

I threw my corn but I didn’t call any fowl.

Those who can’t dance blame it on the music.

Beautiful woman, beautiful trouble.

If you don’t take it, you don’t have it.

Before a dog goes without his supper, he will eat cockroaches

Prayer only from the mouth is no prayer.

A little pepper burns a big man’s mouth.

You can’t have two faces under one hat.

I am old but I am not cold.

Jamaica Map with Jamaican Flag

Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea, comprising the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles. The island, 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola, the island containing the nation-states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Jamaica is the fifth-largest island country in the Caribbean.

The island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Named Santiago, it remained a possession of Spain until 1655, Later Great Britain conquered the island and renamed it Jamaica. Under British rule, Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, its plantation economy highly dependent on slaves imported from Africa, and later, on Chinese and Indian indentured labor. Full emancipation was granted to all slaves in 1838, with the country achieving independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962.

With 2.8 million people, Jamaica is the third most populous Anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada, and the fourth most populous country in the Caribbean.

The official language of Jamaica is English. Jamaicans primarily speak an English-African Creole language known as Jamaican Patois, which has become known widely through the spread of Reggae music.

Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica, located on the southeastern coast of the island.

“Jamaica, Land We Love” is the official national anthem of Jamaica.

Lyrics: 

Eternal Father bless our land
Guard us with Thy mighty hand
Keep us free from evil powers
Be our light through countless hours
To our leaders, Great Defender,
Grant true wisdom from above
Justice, truth be ours forever
Jamaica, land we love
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica, land we love.
Teach us true respect for all
Stir response to duty’s call
Strengthen us the weak to cherish
Give us vision lest we perish
Knowledge send us, Heavenly Father,
Grant true wisdom from above
Justice, truth be ours forever
Jamaica, land we love
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica, land we love.

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