Vietnamese Proverbs

By | May 10, 2015

Sayings of Vietnamese origin

  • Eating as in the North; clothing as in the South.
  • The rich become deaf and the mighty blind.
  • Man is the flower of the earth.
  • He that knows nothing doubts nothing.
  • Eating is much but accommodating is little.
  • The chained buffalo doesn’t enjoy grazing.
  • Young bamboo trees are easy to bend.
  • All chili is hot; all women are jealous.
  • One piece of food while hungry equals a big box of food while full.
  • Many dishes make many diseases.
  • Old foxes want no tutor.
  • Like money, like stuff.
  • Never forget benefits done you, regardless how small.
  • Eat to see the bowl, go to see the way.
  • Eating and sitting without labor.
  • Blood is much thicker than water.
  • Men made money; money never made men.
  • The dog will always attack the one with torn trousers.
  • Receive a plum, return a peach.
  • There is no ivory in the mouth of a dog.
  • When the tree falls, any child can climb it.
  • Courtesy costs nothing.
  • The bird that escapes from its cage never wants to come back.
  • Comfort is better than pride.
  • Eat as small as a cat
  • Eaten bread is soon forgotten.
  • Strong wood is worth more than painted wood.
  • Elephants are killed for their ivory, birds for their feathers.
  • Don’t spurn cold rice; hunger helps you eat even food that has gone bad.
  • Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  • When having a party, go first; when walking in the water, go after.
  • Try to seize the bowl of rice but forget the whole table of food.
  • The higher you climb, the heavier you fall.
  • When you eat, it’s vegetable, when you are sick, it’s medicine
  • Happy hours are very short.
  • A good name is better than good habits.
  • (That which) Belongs to heaven, returns to earth.
  • When the cat’s away the mouse sits on its throne.
  • When a cat steals a piece of meat, we chase it. But when a tiger takes a pig we stare wide-eyed and say nothing.
  • A day of travelling will bring a basketful of learning.
  • Cheapest is the dearest.
  • You eat slowly, that is good for stomach; you plough deeply, that is good for fields.
  • When the father has eaten too much salt in his lifetime, then his son thereafter will have a great thirst.
  • Feeding boys without teaching them: we raise asses. Feeding girls without teaching them: we raise pigs.
  • A day in prison is longer than a thousand years at large.
  • The mouth prays to Buddha, but the heart is full of evil.
  • Grasp all, lose all.
  • No rain without clouds.
  • It’s better to eat salty food and speak the truth than to eat vegetarian and tell lies.
  • The army is the poison and the people are the water in which the poison is mixed.
  • Stolen foods are the best.
  • There is one fish in the pond, and ten anglers on the bank.
  • Because the caterpillar exists, there exists also a bird to eat it.
  • Hunger finds no fault with cookery.
  • The teacher found out. The student says: Oh forgive me.
  • Looks as monkey eats ginger.
  • The hand works, the mouth chew.
  • Laughs at others today, tomorrow others will laugh at you
  • Making peace is treasured.
  • It is no disgrace to move out of the way of the elephant.
  • You cannot breathe through another man’s nose.
  • Chewing, one eats. Reflecting, one speaks.
  • I just opened the fish container.
  • The human tongue is more poisonous than a bee’s sting.
  • Better a wise man’s servant than an idiot’s master.
  • The student tried to steal the cooking fish.
  • When the pain has passed one forgets the medicine.
  • When the father’s generation eats salt, the child’s generation thirsts for water.
  • Where life is exhausted, death comes.
  • Cross the stream where it is shallowest .
  • If you want to travel fast use the old roads.
  • If you want to gather a lot of knowledge, act as if you are ignorant.
  • When eating choose the place, when playing choose your friends.
  • Words don’t match with actions.
  • When eating chew well, think before speaking.
  • There is no smoke without fire.
  • Pay first and then get what you have paid for.
  • Giving just a crumb to the hungry is worth more than giving lunch to the satisfied.
  • If you put in the work to sharpen the steel, it will eventually turn into needles.
  • If you go out a lot at night, you will probably meet ghosts.
  • Misfortunes never come singly.
  • When husband and wife live in harmony, they can dry up the ocean without a bucket.
  • When eating fruit, remember who planted the tree; when drinking clear water, remember who dug the well.
  • Silence gives consent.
  • If you won’t work, you shan’t eat.
  • Good wine must drink together with good friend.
  • The fat buffalo will attract the lean buffalo.
  • However sharp it is, the knife will never cut it’s own handle.
  • Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Victory makes you into an emperor, defeat into a rebel.
  • We fence the tree that gives us fruits.
  • Better a lean peace than a fat victory.
  • The buffalo that arrive late will have to drink muddy water and eat dried grass.
  • Venture all; see what fate brings.
  • Children are poor men’s riches.
  • Tell me where it itches if you want me to scratch you.
  • When you eat, check the pots and pans; When you sit, check the direction.
  • If near ink, you will be black, if near light, you will shine.
  • Water flows, rock erodes.
  • He wanted to cure a healthy pig and ended up with a sick one.
  • The boat follows the helm, the woman follows her husband.
  • Better to die than to live on with a bad reputation.
  • You catch fish with two hands.
  • One worm may damage the whole cooking soup.
  • Women are like raindrops: some fall on palaces, others on rice fields.
  • The husband eats hamburger; the wife eats spring roll.
  • If you want to eat pickled herring, think about the thirst you will have.
  • Though he eats alone, he calls the whole village to help launch his boat.
  • Nice words are free, so choose ones that please another’s ears.
  • The man show a pig leg, the woman show a bottle of wine
  • If you were a bit later, I would have taken the whole fish container.
  • Enter alcohol, exit words.
  • If you hold high office, the whole village will share your fame.
  • Sun is for cucumbers, rain for rice.
  • Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet.
  • The educated man precedes the farmer. But when the rice begins to run short, it’s the farmer who comes first.
  • What is good for the buffalo is good for the cow.
  • The good leaves protect the worn-out leaves.
  • It’s better to sleep on the floor in an incense shop than in a bed in a fish market.
  • It depends on how much of rice you eat the sauce.
  • You can’t kill someone’s habit.
  • People say that time goes by; time says that the people go by.
  • The crane was killed by the fishhook.
  • Life is a temporary stop, death is the journey home.

Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With an estimated 90.5 million inhabitants as of 2014, it is the world’s 13th-most-populous country, and the eighth-most-populous Asian country. The name Vietnam was first officially adopted in 1802 by Emperor Gia Long, and was adopted again in 1945 with the founding of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh. The country is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the east.Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976.

Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the native language of the Vietnamese people, as well as a first or second language for many ethnic minorities of Vietnam.

External link to Vietnam page at Wikipedia for further reading on the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The “Marching Song” (Tiến Quân Ca) is the national anthem of Vietnam.

The Lyrics of the Vietnamese anthem. (Video)

Soldiers of Vietnam, marching onward
United in determination to save the nation,
Our steps resound on the long and arduous road.
Our flag, red with the blood of victory, bears the spirit of the country.
The distant rumbling of guns mingles with our marching song.
The path to glory is built by the bodies of our foes.
Overcoming all hardships, together we build our resistance bases.
Ceaselessly for the People’s cause let us struggle,
Let us hasten to the battlefield!
Onward! All together advancing!
For one eternal Vietnam.

Soldiers of Vietnam, marching onward
The gold star afluttering
Leading our people and our land out of misery
Joining hands in our struggle to build a new life.
Rising in unison, smashing the chains and shackles to smithereens.
For too long have we swallowed our hatred.
Vow to sacrifice for a brighter life.
Ceaselessly for the People’s cause let us struggle,
Let us hasten to the battlefield!
Onward! All together advancing!
For one eternal Vietnam.

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