Arabic Proverbs الأمْثال العَربِيّة Part One Posted by on Mar 17, 2021 in Arabic Language, proverbs

In this post, I thought we’d read, listen, and ponder نتأمّل a number of Arabic proverbs أمثال عربية. As I have mentioned in previous posts that include Arabic poetry الشِعْر العَرَبي, as an Arabic language learner, one can gain a deeper insight into the richness of the language and its culture when experiencing its literature and folklore التُّراث الشَّعبي which of course include أمثال. Arabic speakers tend to use proverbs often. Therefore, you won’t just find these sayings in written form, but as part of people’s daily conversations. If you happen to memorize a few useful short ones, you will surely sound wise حَكيم and eloquent فَصيح if you used them with other Arabic speakers.  Of course many Arabic proverbs have a familiar English equivalent, yet some do not. The following proverbs are all in Modern Standard Arabic and I have provided both the literal translations and English equivalents where possible. 

Image provided by Yasmine K.

✨Let’s first read the following sentence explaining the importance of transferring proverbs from generation to generation. 

تحرُص كُل أمة مِن الأمَم على الحِفاظ على تُراثها، حَيثُ يِتناقَل الأحفاد ما تَوَصَلَ إليه الآباء والأجداد مِن عِلم وأدَب وحِكْمة وأمثال التي يَتِم تَناقُلُها شَفَوياً مِن جيل لآخَر

Every nation is keen on preserving its heritage, for its grandchildren transfer knowledge, literature, wisdom, and proverbs that parents and grandparents have learned, and transmit them orally from one generation to the next.

🎇أمْثال عَرَبيّة🎇

.الأعمالُ خَيْرٌ مِن الأقْوال

Acts speak louder than words. 

الأعمالُ: acts/doings    الأقْوال: words

.إنَّ مَع العُسْر يُسْراً

With hardship comes ease. OR After a storm comes sunshine.

العُسْر: difficulty    يُسْر: ease

.الأُمورُ بخَواتِمها

Matters are in their endings. OR All is well that ends well. 

الأُمورُ: matters     خَواتِم: endings 

.إضْرِبْ حَديداً حامِياً

Strike while the iron is hot. 

.إنَّ الطُّيورَ على أشكالِها تَقَع

Birds of a feather flock together. 

.إذا كانَ الكَلامُ مِن فِضّةٍ فالُّسكوتُ مِن ذَهَب

If speech is silver, then silence is gold. (said to a person to be less talkative)

.الجارُ قَبْل الدَّار

The neighbor before the house. (meaning choose your neighbors before you choose your house)

.عَدُوُّ عاقِل خَيرٌ مِن صَديقٍ جاهِل

A wise enemy is better than a foolish friend.

عَدُوُّ: enemy    عاقِل: intelligent/wise

.العامِلُ السيِّىء يَلومُ أدَواتِه

A bad worker always blames his tools. 

يَلومُ: to blame    

.كُلُّ مَمْنوع مَرْغوب

All that is forbidden is desired . OR Forbidden fruit is the sweetest. 

مَمْنوع: forbidden    مَرْغوب: desired 

.كَثْرَةُ الطَّباخين تُتْلِف الطَّبخة

Too many cooks spoil the broth. 

.لا دُخانَ بِدونِ نار

There is no smoke without a fire. (meaning for every rumor, there is an origin)

.مَصائِب قَومٍ عِنْد قَومٍ فَوائدُ

Some people’s disasters are other’s benefits/advantages. OR One man’s meat is another man’s poison. 

.المالُ الحَرامُ لا يَدوم

Ill gotten wealth is not lasting. 

.إعْقِلْ وتَوكِّل

Think/be wise and rely on/trust God. OR God helps those who help themselves. 


I hope you enjoyed these proverbs and learned some new vocabulary words as well. 📖

🤓أيهما أعجبك أكثر؟

Which one did you like best?


Stay tuned for more in part two and till next week, happy Arabic learning! 🙂

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About the Author: yasmine

MarHaba! I am half Jordanian of Circassian descent and half American. I have a Master's in Second Language Teaching and I teach Arabic as a foreign language here in the US, both MSA and Levantine Arabic. I hope to help you become more familiar and interested in the Arabic language and culture.


  1. PABLO:

    a lot of thanks! please this arabic proverb is right?
    المُر سَيَمُر
    see you soon

  2. yasmine:

    MarHaban Pablo,
    Yes, المُر سَيَمُر is a proverb to mean “The bitterness will pass”. Meaning it will be alright. 🙂
    They are similar words with different meanings.
    مُرّ means “bitter”
    يَمُرّ means “to pass” and by adding a س to the beginning makes it future “will pass”.
    Shukran for mentioning another proverb! 🙂

  3. Mohammad Herzallah:

    Marhaba, Yasmine. I was thrilled to discover your site. I teach Arabic as a world language in Public high schools in San Francisco. I am also from Amman and have many friends who are Jordanian of Circassian descent they are like family to me . your material is remarkable and it is much more effective in teaching than dozens of textbooks I have seen. Would like to find ways to coordinate so my students can benefit in this effective way in the long term. many thanks for your efforts.

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