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Arabic proverbs about Cats! Posted by on Aug 9, 2021 in Advice, Arabic Language, Culture, Idioms, Literature, Proverbs

Welcome to a new post مرحبا بكم في مدوّنة جديدة! Yesterday was the National Cat Day يوم القطط العالمي . On this occasion, and due to that fact that I’m a big cat fan ;), I dedicate today’s blog post to talk about some popular Arabic proverbs (in Standard & Vernacular Arabic) that use cats as a way to point out certain human traits.

 

Photo by MIKHAIL VASILYEV on Unsplash

 

The four proverbs we’re going to study today interestingly comment on certain aspects of human behaviour سلوك الإنسان through focusing on some traits بعض صفات  of cats القطط .

This is achieved through>> creating an analogy التشبيه between cats and humans, i.e. talking about the traits humans and cats have in common الصفات التي يتشارك فيها الناس والقطط!

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The proverbs are:

الأمثال هي

اذكر (ازكُر) القط يجي ينط

Izkor  il-‘iT   y-iji   ynuT

 

This proverb (pronounced here in Levantine Arabic) is popular in many Arab countries and have other versions.

 

*In Egyptian Arabic, it’s pronounced as the following >>

 

افتكرنا القط جه ينط

Iftakarna  il-‘uT  gah  y-nuT

Literal meaning: Mention the cat and he will jump / we remembered the cat, it came jumping.

Intended meaning: It’s used when people mention someone (they don’t really like) and they suddenly find him around or he suddenly arrives!

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This proverb (pronounced here in Levantine Arabic) is popular in many Arab countries and have other versions.

 

متل القط بسبع رواح

Mitl   il-‘iT   B-sabʕ  irwAAH

 

*In Egyptian Arabic, it’s pronounced as the following >>

 

زي القط بسبع رواح

Zay il-‘uT   B-sabʕ-it  irwAAH

Literal meaning: Like cat with seven lives/souls.

Intended meaning: it’s used to refer to someone who has been through a lot or went through a dangerous situation but managed to cope. It’s also used to describe someone who moves quickly and fast without being harmed.

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The next proverb (pronounced here in Levantine Arabic) is popular in many Arab countries and have other versions.

القط ما بحب إلا خناقه

il-‘iT   maa   b-yhib  ‘illa   xanna’-uh

 

Literal meaning: The cat loves only the person who chokes him.

Intended meaning: It’s used to describe people who continue doing something despite knowing it’s harmful or not good to them. It also refers to that who still keeps contact with someone who causes them lots of troubles and makes them miserable!

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The last proverb we have is in standard Arabic:

الفضول قتل الهرّة/ القطة

Al-fudhool   qatal-a  al-hirra / al-qTTa

 

Literal meaning: Curiosity killed the cat.

Intended meaning:It’s used to describe the person who, out of curiosity, ends up involving himself in things he should not be involved in. As a result, he causes harm, embarrassment or inconvenience to himself (metaphor used here is getting killed!).

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I hope this post helped you to understand more Arabic proverbs and hopefully use them in your Arabic learning journey 🙂

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About the Author: Hanan

Hi, this is Hanan :) I'm an Arabic linguist. I completed my PhD in Linguistics - 2018. My PhD thesis was entitled Code-switching as an evaluative strategy: identity construction among Arabic-English bilinguals. I'm also a qualified public service translator & interpreter.


Comments:

  1. Mojdeh Pourhamzeh:

    Excellent post. Thank you for your patience and care.

    • Hanan:

      @Mojdeh Pourhamzeh Thank you, Mojdeh for passing by and for your lovely comment.
      You’re very welcome! I’m glad you found the post useful 🙂