Turkish Proverbs

By | April 11, 2016

Proverbial Wisdom from Turkey

Sayings of Turkish origin

Not knowing is not shameful, not asking is.

Keep the tongue in your mouth a prisoner.

If you look for a faultless woman, you will remain a bachelor.

Sighs never fall on the ground.

A tongue has no bones but it can break.

The highway is always shorter than the unknown side roads.

Tell a lie on Saturday and you will be ashamed on Sunday.

Such father, such son.

One hour of justice is worth seventy hours of prayer.

To live in peace one must be blind, deaf, and mute.

The dog that barks much does not bite.

He, who gets up in anger, sits down with a loss.

If your beard’s on fire, others will light their pipes on it.

The sheep separated from the flock is eaten by the wolf.

A building without foundation is soon demolished.

He who controls his tongue, saves his head.

A person does not seek luck; luck seeks the person.

Listen with both ears, but speak with only one tongue.

One arrow does not bring down two birds.

Two captains sink a ship.

Silence is music to a wise man.

Who has never been burned in the sun won’t know the value of shadow.

Good actions are never lost.

You cannot get into Paradise without a guide.

To a good rider, right or left makes no difference.

Everything is worn out with usage … except for experience.

The most difficult master is the servant who became master.

A weapon is an enemy even to its owner.

Satan’s friendship reaches the prison door.

What a man is at seven is also what he is at seventy.

One eats, another watches; that’s how revolutions are born.

To listen to a lie is harder than to tell it.

There isn’t a sword that would cut off a golden hand.

The earth has ears, the wind has a voice.

To quote lies is also lying.

If a man would live in peace he should be blind, deaf, and dumb.

In the company of the blind, close your eyes.

The baker’s child goes hungry.

You harvest what you sow.

Profit is the brother of loss.

Two heads are better than one.

Measure a thousand times, cut once.

Who seeks a faultless friend remains friendless.

A heart in love with beauty never grows old.

The fly is small, but it is big enough to make one sick.

Wine that isn’t paid for is drunk twice.

What a man suffers is the punishment of his tongue.

He who gives little gives from his heart; he who gives much gives from his wealth.

What flares up fast, extinguishes soon.

Map of Turkey with Turkish Flag

Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a parliamentary republic in Eurasia, largely located in Western Asia, with the smaller portion of Eastern Thrace in Southeast Europe. Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Syria and Iraq to the south; Iran, Armenia, and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the east; Georgia to the northeast; Bulgaria to the northwest; and Greece to the west. The Black Sea is to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Aegean Sea to the west. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles (which together form the Turkish Straits) demarcate the boundary between Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia. Turkey’s location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance. [Sources of information]

The country’s official language is Turkish, a Turkic language spoken natively by approximately 85 percent of the population.

Ankara is the capital of the Republic of Turkey. With a population of 4,587,558 in the urban center (2014) and 5,150,072 in its province (2015),[1] it is Turkey’s second largest city behind Istanbul.

More proverbs and sayings of Turkish origin:

The sea never buys fish.

He that falls by himself never cries.

Never become a teacher where you yourself were a pupil.

When two jars collide, one breaks.

The gardener who loves roses is slave to a thousand thorns.

A single advantage is worth a thousand sorceries.

The sheik’s miracles are those of his own telling.

A liar’s house is on fire and no one believes him.

A hungry dog will bring a lion down.

Who has power in his hands has no need to lie; he uses violence.

A true word needs no oath.

No fat mouse in a widow’s house.

He that speaks truth must have one foot in the stirrup.

Coffee should be black as Hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.

Vinegar that costs nothing is sweeter than honey.

Man is harder than iron, stronger than stone and more fragile than a rose.

He who steals honey, licks his fingers.

Others are always interested in us, just as we are interested in them.

He who has no children has one sorrow, he who has children has a thousand sorrows.

When violence comes into the house, law and justice leave through the chimney.

Vinegar that is too sour even taints the glass it’s kept in.

Allah gave hunger to one and hunger to another.

Things that are weak will break — as men do who think they are strong.

If you weep for all the sorrows in this world, in the end you will have no eyes.

A defeated wrestler is not tired of wrestling.

A man will sacrifice his head to conquer a heart.

A woman has advice only for another woman.

I know nothing about it, I haven’t seen it; that is the best answer.

The governor must fill your jars.

Don’t speak sweet words when your deeds are of stone.

The foot of a lamp is always the least lit.

Good advice is given; good esteem is no given.

Nothing works unless you would rather be doing it.

None is so rich as that he can throw away a friend.

The dog that is going to bite does not show its teeth.

Even though you know a thousand things, ask the man who knows one.

Cocks that crow too early will quickly find themselves in the pot.

One night with an ugly woman and one day in the mountains both are like an eternity.

If the bald man knew a remedy he would rub it on his own head.

If your guest becomes a cook, your larder will soon be empty.

You don’t have to know much to read, but you do to cook.

The thief can lie, those he has stolen from cannot.

The real capital of a man is a mirror worth two cents.

The father donated a vineyard to his son, the son didn’t give a single bunch of grapes to the father.

A stupid friend is a greater plague than a wise enemy.

Abundance is from activity.

The horse can die from too much barley.

Two watermelons cannot be held under one arm.

Having two ears and one tongue, we should listen twice as much as we speak.

The luckiest dies in his cradle.

The bride who brings a golden throne will sit on it herself.

Honey is one thing, the price is another.

If you fall in a river hang on to a snake.

When God wants to please a poor man, He lets him lose his donkey and then helps him find it again.

The world is like that: one gives a melon, the other gets the stomach cramps.

One must ask about the delight of opium from one who smokes it.

Out of ten men there are nine wives.

No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back.

You can proclaim the truth also in a friendly way.

The eagle does not feed on flies.

The physician prescribes the medicine, the vulture waits for the body.

Where there are no sheep, they call the goat princess.

Cotton cannot play with fire.

Where conceit and ignorance sit, grass will not grow again.

Happiness is like crystal … when it shines the most, it soon cracks.

A man without grief is not a man.

A prudent man will read the letter from back to front.

Don’t be fooled by how clean the turban is, the soap was probably bought on credit.

One bad experience is worth more than a thousand threats.

He who asks for alms blushes once; he who refuses, twice.

Man is his own mirror.

The wise man says what he knows; the fool doesn’t know what he is saying.

Forced beauty won’t do.

The raven sees its chickens as falcons.

For those in love, Baghdad is near Istanbul.

Don’t say amen to an unacceptable prayer.

To beg of the miser is to dig a trench in the sea.

Idle men tempt the devil; the devil tempts all others.

Abundance doesn’t know contentment, but contentment is abundance.

Who burned himself with hot milk blows on ice-cream.

Gold takes no rust.

The devil tempts all other men, but idle men tempt the devil.

He who has to be hanged, will not drown.

The bear knows seven songs and they are all about honey.

The buyer of the rotten beans is the blind man.

You don’t steal a bitter eggplant.

“If’ and “when” were planted, and “nothing” grew.

When it sees money, the flute will play itself.

God made low branches for birds that cannot fly so well.

He ran away from the rain and was caught in a hailstorm.

Oh, misfortune, I forgive you when you come alone.

You cannot forge a good sword from bad iron.

When a rich man falls they say it was an accident; when a poor man falls they say that he was drunk.

No flock without dog and shepherd.

In our eyes the neighbor’s chicken is a goose.

Killing two birds with one stone.

If a stone falls on an egg, it is bad for the egg; if an egg falls onto a stone, it is still bad for the egg.

If everything that came from your tongue were to come into your hands, then every beggar would be a pasha.

Everyone admires his own character.

Do not leave to the morning the business of the evening.

A horse knows his rider by his spurs.

Judge the linen by the hem, the girl by the mother.

People who make the most or the loudest threats are the least likely to take action.

Too much sympathy with the unfortunate makes you unhappy.

Better your enemy who you recognize than a dark friend.

Your five year old son is your instructor; at ten your slave; at fifteen your equal and after that either friend or foe.

Don’t sell the fish that is still swimming in the ocean.

You don’t wash blood away with blood but with water.

Men make the earth black from green leaves.

The rose comes from the thorns that were born of roses.

Heaven was inspired by the first judge to take a bribe.

The first drink makes you a frisky gazelle, the second an impetuous zebra, the third a roaring lion, and with the fourth you become a silly donkey.

A knife wound heals; a wound caused by words does not.

Where you were born is less important than how you live.

You may lie, but not too much.

He who knows much makes many mistakes.

If a cat wants to eat her kittens, she’ll say that they look like mice.

The cheese vessel will not sail merely by words.

It matters less to a person where they are born than where they can live.

He who is only right hasn’t really anything.

Being overly careful invites misfortunes.

Cruelty is stupidity.

Sorrow is to the soul what the worm is to wood.

There are many words that are like salted jam.

Care for your horse as a friend; ride it as if it were an enemy.

The fool castrates himself in order that he could accuse his pregnant wife of adultery.

Do not search for a calf under an ox.

The fool sings a love song to his wife, the wise man will talk about his dog.

Gold that is lent goes away laughing and comes back in tears.

Death is the black camel that kneels before every door.

Before you love, learn to run through snow without leaving footprints.

One armpit cannot hold two watermelons.

Even the thinnest piece of meat will happily marry a piece of bread.

Who kisses the feet of his mother, kisses the step of Paradise.

God postpones, he does not overlook.

Too much prudishness makes the lover sick.

A friend is one soul in two bodies.

If the lady of the house breaks something it is an unfortunate accident; if the servant does, then it is a terrible disaster.

He who lives on hope, dies of starvation.

The İstiklâl Marşı is the national anthem of the Republic of Turkey.
English Lyrics
Fear not; For the crimson banner that proudly ripples in this glorious dawn, shall not fade,
Before the last fiery hearth that is ablaze within my homeland is extinguished.
For that1 is the star of my people, and it will forever shine;
It is mine; and solely belongs to my valiant nation.
Frown not, I beseech you, oh thou coy crescent!2
Smile upon my heroic nation!3 Why the anger, why the rage?4
Our blood which we shed for you shall not be worthy otherwise;
For freedom is the absolute right of my God-worshipping5 nation!

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