Portuguese Proverbs

Proverbial Wisdom from Portugal

Sayings of Portuguese origin

Meowing cats catch fewer mice.

Be sure not to owe anything to the rich, and don’t lend anything to the poor.

Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today.

Having need of makes the ugly beautiful.

To change one’s habits has a smell of death.

Not much is achieved where everyone gives the orders.

Don’t change horses in midstream.

He buys very dear who begs.

Every one to his trade.

There are many ways to leave this world but only one way to come into it.

A girl, a vineyard and a bean field are difficult to guard.

Better to be queen for an hour than a countess for life.

If you want good advice, consult an old man.

The mouth that can say “Yea,” can say “Nay.”

Do not tell all that you know, don’t believe all you hear, and don’t do all that you can.

There’s no catching trout with dry breeches.

Where there is no might, right gets lost.

No one is a good judge of his own case.

Pretend to be dead and the bull will leave you alone.

Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.

Map of Portugal with Portuguese flagPortugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country on the Iberian Peninsula, in Southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, being bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. The Portugal–Spain border is 1,214 km (754 mi) long and considered the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union. The republic also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.

Portuguese is the official language of Portugal.

Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal.

More Portuguese proverbs and sayings

Better wrong with the many than right with the few.

There’s a long way from saying to doing.

A bad neighbor will give you a needle with no thread.

A busy mother makes slothful daughters.

Better to have friends in the marketplace than money in your coffers.

Thinking is not knowing.

It is better to receive awards that you don’t deserve rather than deserve them and not receive them.

Love one another and you will be happy; it is as simple and as difficult as that.

Cobblers go to mass and pray that the cows may die

Faith has no eyes; he who asks to see has no faith.

Do not think that one enemy is insignificant, or that a thousand friends are too many.

He who has nothing is afraid of nothing.

What is bought is cheaper than a gift.

Death makes us equal in the grave but not in eternity.

The chicken that stays in the farmyard, will peck the crumbs.

No one is poor but he who thinks himself so.

It dawns no sooner for one’s early rising.

Better a red face than a black heart.

The dog wags his tail, not for you, but for your bread.

A tongue of honey, a heart of gall.

A body that is well made needs no cloak.

I renounce the friend who eats what is mine with me, and what is his own by himself.

Beware of the door with too many keys.

You have to suffer a lot or die young.

Marrying sounds well, but tastes ill.

A loss not missed by your neighbor is not a real loss.

If you have a friend who is a doctor, then send him to your enemy’s house.

Tell your friend a lie. If he keeps it secret, then tell him the truth.

Birds of prey do not flock together.

The mistress is queen, the wife is the slave.

Visits always give pleasure — if not at the arrival, then at the departure.

Do good and care not to whom.

If you would make an enemy, lend a man money, and ask for it back again.

Too many candles will burn down the church.

A busy mother makes slothful daughters.

A woman with two husbands cheats both.

No one has seen to-morrow.

The life and love we create is the life and love we live.

A contented ass enjoys a long life.

Despise your enemy and you will soon be beaten.

Children tell in the highway what they hear by the fireside.

Love is friendship set on fire.

Rosary in the hand, and the devil in the heart.

Truth should not be dressed up.

Don’t put money in your purse without checking it for holes.

The queen bee has no sting.

Charity begins at home.

Thinking of where you are going, you forget from whence you came.

Think of many things, do only one.

Hell is paved with good intentions, roofed in with lost opportunities.

He doubts nothing who knows nothing.

Better just repair the gutter than the whole house.

Truth and oil come to the surface.

There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.

Experience is the mother of wisdom.

God has given nuts to some who have no teeth.

A dog that barks much is never a good hunter.

From a closed door the devil turns away.

A rich widow weeps in one eye and laughs with the other.

An old man in love is like a flower in winter.

Love, smoke and cough are hard to hide.

Stumbling is not falling.

A good mind possesses a kingdom.

He never was a friend who ceased to be so for a slight cause.

Every peddler praises his own needles.

There is no remedy for love but to love more.

Under fair words have a care of fraud.

Beware of a man that does not talk and a dog that does not bark.

If you give orders and leave, the work won’t get done.

Change yourself, and your luck will change.

Make the night night, and the day day, and you will have a pleasant time of it.

a misfortune never comes alone.

He who serves two masters has to lie to one.

Good management is better than good income.

Women and glasses are always in danger.

Do as you may, if you can’t do as you could.

Drink nothing without seeing it, sign nothing without reading it.

Dear is cheap, and cheap is dear.

Everything has its time.

There is no rule without an exception.

One good word puts out the flames better than a bucket of water.

Every wine would like to be port wine.

Women are always better the following year.

Spinner, spin softly, you disturb me. I am praying.

Give me money, not advice.

Love has no law.

He has a head, and so has a pin.

Good is the delay that makes sure.

Keep your sickness until Friday and don’t fast.

Good men and bad make a city.

Follow the road, and you will come to an inn.

A liar should have a good memory.

Mouth from honey, heart of gall.

Love is something eternal; the aspect may change, but not the essence.

He brooks no advice whose mind is made up.

Hell’s roof is made from lost causes.

Let him who gives say nothing, and him who receives speak.

Every one sings as he has the gift, and marries as he has the luck.

Beware of silent dogs and still waters.

Don’t quit the highway for a short cut.

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.

Fit the foot to the shoe, not the shoe to the foot.

Peace with a club in hand is war.

If a poor man gives to you, he expects more in return.

What was hard to bear is sweet to remember.

Live to live and you will learn to live.

Sweet are the tears that are dried by your loved one.

The gentle calf sucks all the cows.

Beauty is a good letter of introduction.

There is a remedy for everything; it is called death.

Time, not medicine, cures the sick.

An empty purse and a new house make a man wise, but too late.

The accomplice is as bad as the thief.

Even the most beautiful sheets have small flaws.

Give a grateful man more than he asks for.

“A Portuguesa” (“The Portuguese (Song)”),is the national anthem of Portugal.


Heroes of the sea, noble people,
Brave and immortal nation,
Raise once again today,
The splendor of Portugal!
Among the haze of memory,
Oh Fatherland, one feels the voice
Of your distinguished forefathers,
That shall lead you to victory!

To arms, to arms!
Over land, over sea,
To arms, to arms!
For the Fatherland, fight!
Against the cannons, march on, march on!

Hoist the undefeated Flag,
In the lively light of your sky!
May Europe cry out to the whole Earth:
Portugal has not perished
Kiss your merry ground
The Ocean, roaring with love,
And your victorious arm
Gave new worlds to the World!

Salute the Sun that rises
Over a gleeful future;
Let the echo of an offense
Be the sign for a comeback.
Rays of this strong dawn
Are like a mother’s kisses,
That keep us, sustain us,
Against the injuries of fate.

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