Kurdish Proverbs

Sayings of Kurdish origin

  • Your son can be a prince; your daughter will be a mother.
  • Work as if you were to live forever; live as if you were to die tomorrow.
  • With patience, mulberry leaves become satin.
  • With fortune on your side you can sow salt and harvest grass.
  • With a mule you have a son; with a son-in-law you only have a mule.
  • Wish well, be well.
  • Whoever speaks evil to you of others will speak evil of you to others.
  • Whoever is fond of cream should take the cow around with him.
  • Whoever digs a pit for his neighbor should dig it his own size.
  • When Madame drops her cup of tea it makes no noise.
  • When a cat wants to eat her kittens, she says they look like mice.
  • When a bald man dies the mourners give him curly hair as a present.
  • What you give away you keep.
  • What the heart thinks, the mouth speaks.
  • What is loaned goes away smiling but returns weeping.
  • Truth is Hard
  • To speak is to sow; to listen is to reap.
  • Those who know do not talk; those who talk do not know.
  • Those who do not go to war roar like lions.
  • Thorns and roses grow on the same tree.
  • The rich man’s wealth tires the poor man’s jaw.
  • The neighbor’s hen looks as big as a goose, and his wife as young as a girl.
Kurdish Proverbs

The Kurdish people, or Kurds, are an ethnic group in Western Asia, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. (Source)

They are an Iranian people and speak the Kurdish languages, which are members of the Iranian branch of Indo-European languages. The Kurds number about 30 million, the majority living in West Asia, with significant Kurdish diaspora communities in the cities of western Turkey, in Armenia, Georgia, Israel, Azerbaijan, Russia, Lebanon and, in recent decades, some European countries and the United States.

The Kurds have had partial autonomy in Iraqi Kurdistan since 1991. Nationalist movements in the other Kurdish-populated countries (Turkey, Syria, Iran) push for Kurdish regional autonomy or the creation of a sovereign.

More sayings of Kurdish origin:

  • The miser and the open-handed spend the same in long run.
  • The man is a river, the woman a lake.
  • The devil will not bother you in a house full of children.
  • The devil tempts all, but the idle man tempts the devil.
  • The devil takes a hand in what is done in haste.
  • Study not from new books but from old teachers.
  • Stretch your feet according to your blanket.
  • Stairs are climbed step by step.
  • Some will enjoy the honey, others will have to put up with the sting.
  • See with your mind; hear with your heart.
  • Search yourself, and you will find God.
  • Patience is bitter, but it bears sweet fruit.
  • Parting is such sweet sorrow.
  • Part with your head, but not with your secret.
  • Open your eyes, not your mouth.
  • Only by falling do you learn how to mount a horse.
  • One sturdy house is worth a hundred in ruins.
  • One is equally indebted to one’s teacher and to God.
  • One gives twice who gives quickly.
  • One can never repay one’s debt to one’s mother.
  • One beats one’s breast who does not beat one’s child.
  • Once a friend, always a friend.
  • Of evil grain no good seed can come.
  • Of everything else the newest; of friends, the oldest.
  • Not every cloud brings rain.
  • No one says, “My pasture is not sweet.”
  • No means, no market.
  • No matter where you go, your destiny follows you.
  • Many women, many words.
  • Many will show you the way once your cart has overturned.
  • Loneliness is a nest for the thoughts.
  • Listen a hundred times; ponder a thousand times; speak once.
  • Light wisdom, heavy burden.
  • Kurds have no friends.
  • Kind words will unlock an iron door.
  • It’s easy by mouth but , not so easy by action.
  • It’s still a goat even if It flies.
  • It is up to the people to feed the dogs; it’s up to the Cardias to feed the Turks.
  • It is more difficult to contend with oneself than with the world.
  • It is easy to say “Come” difficult to say “Go”.
  • It is easy to catch a serpent with someone else’s hand.
  • It is easier to make a camel jump a ditch than to make a fool listen to reason.
  • In the face of force, philosophy is invalid
  • In a flat country a hillock thinks itself a mountain.
  • If you wish to do a good deed, consult no one.
  • If you talk to the blacksmith you’ll get hit by sparks.
  • If you give him cloth, he’ll ask for the lining.
  • If you cannot build a town, build a heart.
  • If you are not a flower, don’t be a thorn.
  • If you are an anvil, be patient; if you are a hammer, be strong.
  • If skill could be gained by watching, every dog would become a butcher.
  • If God didn’t like beautiful women, he wouldn’t have made them.
  • If God closes one door, He opens a thousand others.
  • If brothers stand back to back and support each other, only death can defeat them .
  • Help yourself, and be helped by others.
  • He who wants pearls has to dive into the sea.
  • He who loves a woman is a nephew of the sun.
  • Habit is worse than rabies.
  • Habit becomes second nature.
  • Guests bring good luck with them.
  • God has created us brothers but has given us separate purses.
  • God finds a low branch for the bird that cannot fly.
  • God created women and women created the hearth.
  • Give nine, save ten.
  • For every wise man there is one still wiser.
  • Fear an ignorant man more than a lion.
  • Every sheep is hung by his own leg.
  • Every “bad” has its “worse”.
  • Even the highest tree has an axe waiting at its foot.
  • Empty words will not fill an empty stomach.
  • Eat and drink with your friends but do not trade with them.
  • Dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.
  • Do what your teacher says but not what he does.
  • Do not throw the arrow which will return against you.
  • Do not roll up your trousers before reaching the stream.
  • Bread for the Baker and meat for the Butcher .
  • Both the hunted and the hunter rely on God.
  • Better one day a man than ten days a woman.
  • Better a wise foe than a foolish friend.
  • Better a calf of one’s own than a jointly owned cow.
  • Beauty passes; wisdom remains.
  • At table keep short hand; in company keep a short tongue.
  • Any man with two wives becomes a porter.
  • An open door invites callers.
  • An illness comes by the pound and goes away by the ounce.
  • After dinner a Kurd kills a man or kidnaps a woman.
  • Activity breeds prosperity.
  • Ability has no school.
  • A woman is a fortress, a man her prisoner.
  • A wise man remembers his friends at all times; a fool, only when he has need of them.
  • A wise man does his own work.
  • A visitor comes with ten blessings, eats one, and leaves nine.
  • A tribulation is better than a hundred warnings.
  • A threat does not lengthen your sword.
  • A thousand friends are too few; one enemy is too many.
  • A small key opens big doors.
  • A Rock is strong in its place
  • A man is judged by his work.
  • A man is as wise as his head, not his years.
  • A knife-wound heals, but a tongue-wound festers.
  • A kind word warms a man through three winters.
  • A hungry stomach has no ears.
  • A hundred men can sit together quietly but when two dogs get together there will be a fight.
  • A heart in love with beauty never grows old.
  • A good companion shortens the longest road.
  • A girl without a mother is like a mountain with no paths; a girl without a father is like a mountain with no streams.
  • A fool dreams of wealth, a wise man, of happiness.
  • A cup of coffee commits one to forty years of friendship.

The Kurdish language refers collectively to the related dialects spoken by the Kurds. It is mainly spoken in those parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey which comprise Kurdistan. Kurdish holds official status in Iraq as a national language alongside Arabic, is recognized in Iran as a regional language, and in Armenia as a minority language.

Kurdistan is a roughly defined geo-cultural region wherein the Kurdish people form a prominent majority population, and Kurdish culture, language, and national identity have historically been based. Contemporary use of Kurdistan refers to large parts of eastern Turkey (Turkish Kurdistan), northern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan), northwestern Iran (Iranian Kurdistan) and northeastern Syria (Western Kurdistan) inhabited mainly by Kurds. Kurdistan roughly encompasses the northwestern Zagros and the eastern Taurus mountain ranges, and covers small portions of Armenia.

Iraqi Kurdistan first gained autonomous status in a 1970 agreement with the Iraqi government, and its status was re-confirmed as an autonomous entity within the federal Iraqi republic in 2005.

Ey Reqîb (Oh, enemy) is the title of The Kurdish national anthem.


Oh, enemy! The Kurdish people live on,
They have not been crushed by the weapons of any time
Let no one say Kurds are dead, they are living
They live and never shall we lower our flag

We are descendants of the red banner of the revolution
Look at our past, how bloody it is
Let no one say Kurds are dead, they are living
They live and never shall we lower our flag

The Kurdish youth rise bravely,
With their blood they colored the crown of life
Let no one say Kurds are dead, they are living
They live and never shall we lower our flag

We are the descendants of the Medes and Cyaxares
Kurdistan is our religion, our credo,
Let no one say Kurds are dead, they are living
They live and never shall we lower our flag

The Kurdish youth are ready and prepared,
To give their life as the supreme sacrifice
Let no one say Kurds are dead, they are living
They live and never shall we lower our flag

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