Norwegian Proverbs

By | March 24, 2016

Proverbial Wisdom from Norway

Sayings of Norwegian origin

The best friends are fewest.

Straight ahead is shortest, but not always easiest.

Either conform to the customs or flee the country.

To be a hero hang on for a minute longer.

The less you know, the less you forget.

Good fortune is loaned, not owned.

Where age gets in, he will never get out again.

The lame runs if he has to.

The pardon may be more severe than the penalty.

Better ten hairs on the head than one in the soup.

About Norway (An excerpt from Wikipedia)

Norway map with Norwegian Flag

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a sovereign and unitary monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula plus the island Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the Kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land. Until 1814, the Kingdom included the Faroe Islands (since 1035), Greenland (1261), and Iceland (1262). It also included Shetland and Orkney until 1468.

Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi) and a population of 5,109,059 people (2014). The country shares a long eastern border with Sweden (1,619 km or 1,006 mi long). Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, and the Skagerrak Strait to the south, with Denmark on the other side. Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea.

The North Germanic Norwegian language has two official written forms, Bokmål and Nynorsk. Both of them are recognised as official languages, and both are used in public administration, schools, churches, and media. Bokmål is the written language used by a large majority of about 80–85%. An alternative to Bokmål, Riksmål, is slightly more similar to Danish. Around 95% of the population speak Norwegian as their first or native language, although many speak dialects that may differ significantly from the written languages. All Norwegian dialects are mutually intelligible, although listeners with limited exposure to dialects other than their own may struggle to understand certain phrases and pronunciations in some other dialects.

More Norwegian Proverbs and Sayings:

If you bend the rights, they will break.

All weather is passing.

The day that is gone, you will not get one more time.

Don’t sell the hide until you’ve shot the bear.

There are at least two sides to a thing.

Even the best swimmer may sink.

The ancients were no fools.

A fair wind at our back is best.

The comparison halts.

Age does not always help against foolishness.

The best fruits hang highest.

A burnt child fears fire.

He who does no evil does a lot of good.

Patchwork is better than bare buttocks.

Everyone knows what to do with a bad wife except the one who has her.

The Billy-goat knows he has horns.

It’s hard to condemn others, being guilty yourself.

From children and drunk people we get to hear the truth.

It is better to be a free man in a small house than a slave in a big one.

From a gruff word both harm and murder may ensue.

Better whole than mended well .

Forge while the iron is hot.

When you’re not given it, you don’t have to thank anyone either.

The best remedy against getting drunk is keeping sober.

Better let ten guilty ones go free than judging an innocent man.

Everyone wants to hear praise, and nobody blame.

All don’t like the same thing; some like it cold, and some like it hot.

A blushing lie is better than the pale truth.

Getting a small part is better than a long quarrel.

Away is not to be at home.

Age is nothing to boast of; you get it for free.

Age is not like youth.

Injuries make one wise.

Too clean has no taste.

It’s better to remain with a little shame than to come home again with a great one.

Behind the clouds the sky is always blue.

All sense is not housed in one single head.

Another’s horse is always strong.

What’s good is often forgotten, what’s bad is often hidden.

Other years make other people.

Carve your good words in stone, the bad in snow.

In every woman there is a Queen. Speak to the Queen and the Queen will answer.

There is a knack to every handicraft.

The farmer himself the best, and his wife the next.

Everything is not as bad as it sounds.

Everything will lie where it is lowest.

Rather suffer for truth than get rewarded for lies.

The fair wind blows even if the sailor does not see it.

There is no wind that blows right for the sailor who doesn’t know where the harbor is.

There never was so bad a crow that it did not want a mate.

All birds cannot be hawks.

Children are pauper wealth.

The shame you cannot lift away, you had better let lie.

Better to live with certainty than in the hope.

He who leaves a good name does not die poor.

You can’t carry a better load up a hill than much knowledge.

You can give a piece of advice, but not good luck along with that.

It’s hard to talk in front of empty pews.

Better turn in the brook than in the waterfall.

The burden of someone else is always light.

All madmen are not the same.

Age comes not alone; it brings so much with it.

Men look more like their uncles on the mother’s side.

He who has a dog need not bark himself.

Shameful deeds bring on revenge.

A burning light may go out, a sailing man may drown.

A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Everything does not go as we guess.

The farmer cannot invite all.

Poor thanks is of the way of the world.

The craziest speak most truly.

A weeping suitor, a barefoot smith, a runaway horse and a stammering minister, who do you prefer?

The stomach is not content with nice words.

Gather and spare can last long.

Morning has gold in its mouth.

It is easier to learn from the damage of another.

Other times, other customs .

The best cure meets the disease before it enters the home.

Black soil produces white bread.

The coat of truth is often lined with lies.

Everyone wants to be a gentleman; nobody want to carry the sack.

There is much poverty in the world, but many to share it .

Better bend than bump.

Good love glides easily and smoothly and pays in time.

The afterthought is good, but forethought is better.

All food does not come upon one single dish.

All shoes are not sewn on the same last.

No one can help someone who will not help himself.

The baker and the smith belong to the devil.

The farmer is no goose because he is grey.

Better know rightly than hope wrongly.

Every cloud has a silver lining. There is nothing so bad in which there is not something good .

One swallow creates no summer.

Better know a little too much than too little.

Children do children’s work.

It is the law that judges, not the judge.

Things very often take a bad turn for shameless guys that are running free.

Better too full than too early empty .

It is a poor ear of grain that is without an awn on it.

The lazier a man is, the more he plans to do tomorrow.

Even though the man forgets how old he is, his age does not forget him.

Better barefooted than without jeans.

Better wind one’s way on dry land than lie in water and call.

Those who yawn at the same time, are not on bad terms.

Better little than nothing.

Better be limping than footless.

Good reckoning forms decent friendship.

Tomorrow is the day that idlers get busy.

Another’s steak is always fat.

Better be without money than without honor.

The child has to crawl till it learns to walk.

Certainty is better than hope.

Face to face eagles shall claw.

What three men know then the whole world knows.

Honor the old, teach the young.

Wise men learn at another’s expense.

In the game no one is brother to others.

From nothing comes nothing.

Both gentlemen and fools speak freely.

Fodder and care make the cattle pleasant.

Barter is for fault.

Anyone has to live on top of good customs where he is settled.

Given counsel is all the same hard to take.

Latecomers see the least.

Better a free bird than a king in captivity.

It’s too bad to want a thing and not be allowed it.

When the glacier sees the spring sun, he weeps.

Bookless man is blind .

Make deft use of what you learn to the degree you can gather.

Old age and poverty are a spiteful company .

Luck is loaned, not owned.

Bare are buttocks without breaches.

The lowest fence it the easiest to get across.

Everyone has seen his cradle, but none his grave.

The bear and bear hunter are not of the same opinion.

The best joy lasts the longest.

Better a whole ship than a broken one.

Better know for sure than just guess.

The eye wants to be where it is dear, and the hand where it hurts.

It is impossible to be the friend of everyone for long.

The farmer can sow, but not put on the ear.

A child’s grief is soon put out.

Fish bite best on a golden hook.

Better an iron dictatorship than a golden anarchy.

Not all the words that were ever uttered are worth weighing on golden scales.

Most prayers go unanswered anyway.

To gather and spare can last long.

Everything must be destroyed that is meant to be so.

Beautiful kid, Swedish dad.

The taller the house, the heavier the storm.

The eye is the first thing that is blinded.

It’s bad to be ashamed for something very well done.

The friend of all is the fool of all.

Too near is little dear.

Everything is pure to the pure.

Not everyone can become pope in Rome.

You don’t have to put out the fire when all is burnt out.

Merely book makes none wise.

The will be quiet sometime, those who are wild now.

It is the great north wind that made the Vikings.

On the road between the homes of friends, grass does not grow.

A small, but excellent party, the man said, he was drinking alone.

If you build your house as everybody counsels, it will never stand straight.

A tied dog does not jump farther than his cord.

When old age is good, youth is forgotten.

Even the best horse may stumble.

The burnt child fears the fire.

Seek the helpful counsel of experienced and successful persons that trust you.

The blemishes of another are easily seen.

Not everyone can have the bishop for his uncle.

It’s no shame to look into the warm spring sun and regret a lost limb.

Respect gives power.

Who little ventures, little gains.

Documents do not forget.

Better bend to get through the door than run one’s head against a stone wall.

Better be wise beforehand than aware afterwards.

From harm one gets wise.

Not everyone can meet one’s better.

Age changes the hair, but not always the mind.

Great fear and spanking hardly make the boy extremely wise.

Better an empty purse than wrongly got money.

Ask for advice, then use your head.

There is never a fish without a bone, and no man without faults.

There is no shame in clothing you have not cut yourself.

Age is likely to lead to something worse.

Better learn from one damage than many.

Everybody looks at others, and none on himself.

A boy’s will is the will of the wind.

The patch always has to be larger than the hole.

The old bucks have the stiffest horns.

If the man does not heed time, time does not heed the man.

The maniacs have many funny hours that the sane guy does not have.

Blind hen finds a corn too.

Rather free in a foreign place than a slave back home.

The east wind travels where it is supposed to.

Without discipline, the world would get out of order.

Who marries too hastily can regret it too constantly and wistfully.

Hid away hardly means forgotten.

Better grey than bald.

Everything serves the thief.

Everyone wants to climb the lowest fence.

A grey patch is better than a bare side.

The table catches.

Too shy gets nowhere ahead.

Beyond the mountain there are people too.

Seriousness and fun often go together.

Every family has its hanger-on.

All the fat floats together.

Everything needs its time.

The headless army can be in for a hard time.

Better turn than go astray.

Age wants honor.

Exposing yourself to danger by weapons in hand, is bad.

It’s best to search while the trail is new.

From our years we learn more than from many books.

Seemingly wild and weird counsel may be inspected, for wild-looking sayings can contain much heart-warming counsel, and useful counsel too.

Everybody’s friend is true to none.

Time has strong teeth.

The old are the eldest.

Better be unmarried than badly married.

Everything is well told that is well received.

Every little bit helps.

There is nothing so bad that it cannot be worse.

Everyone wants to turn the prettiest side forward.

Farmer thrives among farmers best.

To be away is well and good, but home is best .

From small seeds big trees grow.

Where there is no discipline, there is no honor.

Everybody wants to put the axe in the bear-skull, but nobody wants to hold the handle.

Only he who wanders, finds new paths.

Rather a bit correctly than much incorrectly.

Everyone wants to live long, but nobody wants to age.

Everyone’s friend is faithful to none.

A tied up man is sorrowful.

The best fruits of severe experiences are useful to many

Everything has an end, except the sausage.

The thief thinks everybody steals.

Too audacious is often given a beating.

Better lie uncomfortably than to cover oneself with a rag.

Better unlearned and bright than erudite and foolish.

Barter is to favor two and not just one.

Too sharp may be a burden too.

It’s best to stop while things go well.

Too much makes the sack burst.

An empty head gets the easiest sleep.

Too sensitive gets nowhere.

Everything is good for its own use.

The old are to be honored.

Child memories will last long.

If you bend the bow too much, it will break.

The straightest road is shortest, but not always easiest.

The summer moments always pass quickly.

Bad is called good when worse happens.

Norway does not have an official national anthem, but over the last 200 years, a number of anthems have been commonly regarded as de facto national anthems. At times, multiple anthems have enjoyed this status simultaneously. Today, the anthem “Ja, vi elsker dette landet” is the most recognized national anthem, but until the early 20th century, Sønner av Norge occupied this position.

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