Swedish Proverbs

By | January 19, 2016

Sayings of Swedish origin

He who sleeps does not sin.

The liar will only be trusted once.

Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Do not cross the brook for water.

To lazy pigs the ground is always frozen.

The closer to the source, the clearer the water.

One cannot both eat one’s cookie and keep it.

It is easy to cut broad strips off other people’s leather.

Morning hour has gold in its mouth.

Don’t buy the pig in the bag.

New brooms sweep the best.

Rather an honest ‘no’ than an insincere ‘yes’.

Away is good but home is best.

It is darkest before dawn.

When a blind man carries the lame man, both go forward.

Old is oldest.

Butterflies forget that they were once caterpillars.

Best to learn from other people’s injury.

Forbidden road is often heavily worn.

Opportunity makes the thief.


The map and flag of SwedenOfficially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of over 9.8 million. Sweden consequently has a low population density.
The official language of Sweden is Swedish, a North Germanic language, related and very similar to Danish and Norwegian, but differing in pronunciation and orthography.
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the Nordic region. The city is spread across 14 islands on the coast in the southeast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago and the Baltic sea.
Thou ancient, Thou free“, “Du gamla, Du fria” is the national anthem of Sweden. 

Anthem Lyrics:

You old, you free, you mountainous north
You quiet, you joyful [and] fair!
I greet you, most beautiful land upon earth,
/:Your sun, your sky, your meadows green.:/

You throne upon memories of great olden days,
When honoured your name flew across the earth,
I know that you are and will remain what thou were,
/:Yes, I want to live, I want to die in the North.:/

More Swedish Proverbs:

A journey of a thousand miles always begins with a single step.

The way the devil reads the bible.

Weeds last the season.

As you shout you get will be answered.

Such father, such son.

Sin punishes itself.

Better to be a poor woman than the slave of the rich.

Don’t celebrate until you have crossed the creek.

As the master sleeps, the servant dreams.

Money cannot buy happiness.

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.

An ounce of lying saves tons of explanations.

Better listen to a broken string than never having bent a bow.

Devils have more than twelve apostles.

From children, drunkards and madmen you get to hear the truth.

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.

That day, that sorrow.

A good man manages on his own.

Warned is armed.

The smith’s horse and the shoemakers children are worst shod.

Each person is the forger of his own happiness.

Don’t think about the pig until it’s in the poke.

No one is a prophet in one’s own homeland.

To err is human; to forgive, divine.

Constant sunshine makes a desert.

As old people sing, young people tweet.

There must be some moderation.

Each thing has its time.

What starts with a needle usually ends with a silver bowl.

When the devil grows old he turns religious.

He who whispers lies.

Give a servant a proper meal and the cow will give more milk and the cat will drink less.

Self is the best farmhand.

Lend to God and the earth — they both pay good interest.

Practice gives skill.

Envy never rests.

What is unclearly said is unclearly thought.

Alone is strong.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Hunger is the best flavouring.

It is never too late.

Old love never rusts.

Better breadless than clueless.

No one is indispensable.

What you lose at the swings you take back at the merry-go-round.

What is hidden in snow is revealed at thaw.

To separate is to die a little.

Sweep first before your own door, before you sweep the doorsteps of your neighbors.

Whichever way you turn you have your end in the back.

He who waits for something good never waits too long.

Health is quietly keeping silent .

Close does not shoot any hares.

It is better to free someone guilty than to convict someone innocent.

Clothing makes the man.

Best to be without oaths.

The death of one, the bread of the other.

Don’t put stones on a burden.

It is not one person’s fault if two people quarrel.

If you say ‘A’ you have to say ‘B’.

Taste is like the buttocks, divided.

The stomach gets full before the eye.

No party without shattering.

God gives every bird his worm, but he does not throw it into the nest.

One time, no time — two times, a habit.

Burnt child shuns fire.

The later in the evening, the more beautiful the people.

Small pots have ears too.

He who lives shall see.

A place for each thing and each thing in its place

Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.

What one’s head lacks one has to have in one’s legs.

A poor craftsman blames his tools.

Poor memory is better than bad memories.

It is fairer to listen to the string that broke than to never strain a bow.

Choose your bedfellows by day.

Revenge is sweet.

Even a blind hen can find a grain.

The grass is always greener on the other side.

A rolling stone gathers no moss.

If you are among the roses, your friends will look for you among the thorns.

Laid card lies.

Hope is the last thing to leave a human being.

Ingratitude is the world’s reward.

One learns from mistakes.

Where there is modesty there is virtue.

The drunken man’s words is the sober man’s thoughts.

Insight is more valuable than gold.

The strongest among the disabled is the one who never forgets his disability.

Don’t light a fire for the crows.

A piece of bread in your pocket is better than a feather in your hat.

Much wants more.

You should not judge a dog by its fur.

Everyone knows the monkey, but the monkey knows no one.

You can’t teach old dogs to sit.

Two wrongs do not make a right.

No trees grow to the sky.

Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.

Reality surpasses the poem.

If it tastes good it is expensive.

Happiness comes happiness leaves.

He who always knows best never learns.

Who sits on your shoulders will try to climb on your head.

Even a fool when he holdeth his peace is counted wise.

A lazy thief is better than a lazy servant.

Speak with farmers like farmers speak, and with the educated in latin.

Stinginess deceives wisdom.

Politicians are like crocodiles — big jaws but no ears.

A chain is no stronger than its weakest link.

The young should be taught, the old should be honored.

You should forge while the iron is hot.

Appearances deceive.

Money does not grow on trees.

The most important thing is not to win, but to fight well.

Don’t let grass grow on your feet.

Easier said than done.

The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.

We all start out as children.

All is fair in love and war.

Advice should be viewed from behind.

The master has long arms, but they don’t reach heaven.

Empty barrels are noisiest.

Don’t sell the fur until the bear has been shot.

A peacock has too little in its head and too much in its tail.

The exception confirms the rule.

Cookie searches for a wife.

Children do as you do, not as you say.

Joy and sorrow are next door neighbors.

The more chefs, the worse the soup.

Don’t cross the stream to find water.

He laughs best who laughs last.

Money opens all gates but heaven’s.

Midsummer night is not long but it sets many cradles rocking.

Don’t set about mountains when there are pebbles.

To dare is to lose your foothold for a moment, to not dare is to lose yourself.

To speak is silver, to keep silent is gold.

One learns as long as one lives.

Easily caught, easily lost.

Where wine enters sense leaves.

As one is dressed one will be judged.

Love is blind.

Who is chasing after another must himself rest.

Honor whom should be honored.

One should not offer cinnamon rolls to baker’s children.

If the head is dumb, the body suffers.

Gold blinds many, love blinds all.

A life without love is like a year without summer.

Of what fills the heart speaks the mouth.

Better to keep quiet than to speak poorly .

You are always closest to yourself.

When distress is the greatest, help is the nearest.

When you’re speaking about the trolls, they’re standing in the entrance hall listening.

Nothing is so good that it can’t be made better.

The sun also has its spots.

It is easy to be prudent in hindsight.

You cannot ask more of an ox than a steak.

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

One swallow does not a summer make.

In the realm of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Better late than never.

Injury makes you wise.

If you buy what you don’t need, you steal from yourself.

Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things will be yours.

The walls have ears.

If a blind one leads another, they both fall together.

A friend’s slap has honest intentions, your enemies’ kisses are meant to deceive.

The eyes want more than the stomach.

Quick wealth makes the man suspicious.

Being young is a fault which improves daily.

What matter if I suffer, if only my neighbor suffers too.

Don’t sell the pelt until you’ve killed the bear.

The water you collect from the stream teaches you about its source.

One must take matters into one’s own hands.

During the evening the lazy get in a hurry.

It is to be bent in time, that which bent shall be.

Time heals all wounds.

Even the best can make mistakes.

Better loved and lost than never loved.

One should eat or one dies.

A small tuft often overturns a big load.

Death is God’s broom.

No smoke without fire..

A hearty laugh lengthens your life.

A clenched fist can neither give nor take.

Don’t let your sorrow come higher than your knees.

Easier hides a wise man his wisdom than a fool his madness.

Attack is the best defense.

A hundred tailors, a hundred millers, and a hundred weavers make three hundred thieves.

An accident rarely comes alone.

To defend a wrong, is to wrong do anew.

All good things are three.

What breaks in a moment may take years to mend.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

All aren’t gold that glimmers.

Forbidden fruit always tastes the best.

The day we fear hastens toward us, the day we long for creeps.

What you do not know does not hurt you.

He who enters the game must endure it.

In a small house God has his corner, in a large house He has to stand in the hall.

Own praise has a bad smell.

All eggs should not be put in one basket.

Even a small star shines in the darkness.

Those are wise that heed advice, but no one should heed dissuasive advice.

Rather one bird in the hand, than ten in the woods.

All roads lead to Rome.

First to the mill will first grind.

Do not wake the bear that sleeps.

Evil shall by evil be expelled.

Death is the last doctor.

Sleeping farmer gets a dreaming farmhand.

A beloved child has many names.

Each bird sings according to its own beak.

Better to dam the brook than the creek.

Better to flee than to fence poorly.

One shouldn’t buy a pig in a sack.

‘If it isn’t one thing it’s the other’ said the girl with a nosebleed.

In the desert sand is cheap.

He who builds and he who marries are never safe.

Faith can move mountains.

Don’t waste gunpowder on dead crows.

When God brings death, the devil brings heirs.

Where shall the ladle be if not in the cauldron?

It is seldom the fault of one when two argue.

You never get tired of working for yourself.

Money does not smell.

Grab the bull by its horns.

Shame on he who gives up.

He who bids for much, often loses all.

When the sea is calm, every ship has a good captain.

All methods are good except for the bad ones.

The truth comes forward in wine.

Expect nothing from friends, do what you can do yourself.

Do not pull everyone over with a comb.

A child is a certain sorrow and uncertain joy.

Wisdom has long ears and short tongue.

Love has produced some heroes but even more idiots.

Luck never gives; it only lends.

The devil visits the rich too — but he visits the poor twice.

Things never turn out the way you imagined.

Lovely flowers fade fast.

If there is room in the heart, there is room for the behind.

Thin mosquitoes bite the worse.

All fools are brothers.

As you sow, so shall you reap.

Adversity exists to be overcome.

While there is life there is hope.

A woman is the last judge of the man.

It will be like it will be.

He who digs a pit for others, often falls into it himself.

The pillow is the best adviser.

Don’t wake a sleeping bear.

Afterwards is no advice.

Comes time comes counsel.

Rome was not built in one day.

Fortune favours the bold.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Each smith has his custom.

Love me when I least deserve it, because that is when I need it the most.

Eaten bread is soon forgotten.

The apple does not fall far from the tree.

It is more blissful to give than to receive.

He who has long fingers should also have long legs.

Blood is thicker than water.

Through yourself you know others.

Dig where you stand.

Do not make a hen out of a feather.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

When it rains on the priest, it dripples on the sacristan.

It concerns you, too, when your neighbor’s wall is on fire.

Own hearth is gold worth.

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.

Honesty lasts the longest.

The miser is his own mother-in-law.

Take the custom where you come.

Slow but steady.

Pride goes before fall.

An upstanding peasant is bigger than a nobleman on his knees.

The end justifies the means.

Time passes by quickly when you are enjoying yourself.

‘Sour’ said the fox about rowanberries.

If you lose one, there are a thousand more to choose from.

The loss on the swings is won back on the merry-go-round.

A spoken word and a thrown stone cannot be called back.

Distress knows no law.

Do not weep over spilled milk.

Variety delights.

Nobody is too young to die tomorrow.

Dear child has many names.

Only Sweden has Swedish gooseberries.

Hurry slowly.

The end is good, everything is good.

Each day has enough of its own misery.

When the mouse is full, the flour tastes bitter.

You must learn to crawl before you can walk.

It is best to bite into the sour apple

Angry cats get scratched skin.

If you marry money the devil lays an egg in your storeroom.

Nothing is new under the sun.

Shortcuts are often ’longcuts’.

A soft answer calms the wrath.

A clean conscience is the best pillow.

One should not add oil to the fire.

The road to hell is lined with good resolutions.

After the rain the grass will grow; after wine, conversation.

Patience is the art of hoping.

The donkey is known by his ears, the fool by his words.

Don’t praise the day before the sun has set.

In the calmest waters swim the ugliest fish.

Let the food silence the mouth.

When it rains manna from heaven, the poor one does not have a spoon.

What doesn’t kill, hardens.

Evil gun powder doesn’t go away easily.

Treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.

If you give someone a finger he wants the whole hand.

As you make your bed, so will you sleep.

Don’t saw off the branch you’re sitting on.

It’s the thought that counts.

A man without money is like a boat without sails.

Love is like dew that falls on both nettles and lilies.

You have to correct your mouth according to your lunch pack.

In darkness all cats are grey.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

They who want to sing will always find a song.

After rain comes sunshine.

Don’t throw away the old bucket until you know whether the new one holds water.

One should not change horses in the middle of the stream.

When the cat is away, the rats dance on the table.

The nail that sticks out gets struck.

Work is half of health.

One should not bow before stupidity merely because it is old.

Small wounds and poor friends should not be despised.

Eyes that do not cry, do not see.

It’s a small world.

Self-praise stinks.

The dripping can hollow the stone.

You don’t miss the cow until the stall is empty.

He who saves, has.

Page info. : www.proverbicals.com/swedish-proverbs/
Last modified 2016 Feb 28

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