Arabic Language Blog

Egyptian Proverbs (1) أمثال مصرية Posted by on Jun 27, 2011 in Arabic Language, Culture, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

         Arabic proverbs reflect the beauty of the Arabic Language and the wisdom of the Arabs and their culture. In Egypt, these proverbs are part of everyone’s daily routine. There is not one single situation that would not have the perfect proverb tailored for it. Just for the sake of fun, I am going to share some of these famous proverbs. If you are living in Egypt, you will probably recognize them right away, but if you live outside Egypt, most likely you will have a smile on your face. These proverbs are in the Egyptian dialect.

اللي على رأسه بطحة يحسس عليها

 /Elle ala rasoh Bat’ha ye’hasses aleeha/

Literal translation:  A person with a wound on his head keeps touching it.

Hidden meaning:   A person is likely to point to his/her weakness.

 Applicability:    Said when somebody’s acts expose what he/she is trying to hide.


 لبس البوصة تبقى عروسة  

 /Labbis el bousa tebka ‘arousa/


Literal translation:  Dress up a stick and you get a doll. 

Hidden meaning:   Make up (cosmetics) can make the ugly quite pretty.

Applicability:    Don’t be fooled by appearance.


  قليل البخت يلاقى العظم فى الفتة  

 /qaleel el bakht yelaky el adm fi el-fattah/


Literal translation: The unlucky finds bones on his/her fattah.(kind of food)

Hidden meaning: A person with a little luck can expect anything happening to him. Unluckiness sticks.

 Applicability: Said when complaining about one’s unluckiness.


     إن كان حبيبك عسل متلحسوش كله  

/En kan habibak asal matelhasosh koloh/

Literal translation: If your friend is like honey, then don’t lick all of it.

Hidden meaning:  Don’t take advantage of the sweetness of a dear friend.

 Applicability:  Said when criticizing a person who abuses the generosity of a friend.


       ملقوش في الورد عيب قالوله يا أحمر الخدين

 /Mala’oush fi el ward eeb aloloh ya ahmar el khadeen/

Literal translation: They found no wrong with rose, so they said it is red.

Hidden meaning:   People will disagree with you no matter how perfect you are.

 Applicability:    Peoplesometimes criticize just for the sake of criticizing.


      جات الحزينة تفرح ملقتلهاش مطرح 

/Gat el hazeena tefrah mala’atlihash matrah/

Literal translation: When a sad woman started to be happy, she could not find a place for her.

Hidden meaning:  Sad people will always be sad.

Applicability:    Said when complaining about being sad.


        على قد لحافك مِد رجليك  

/ala qa’d lihafak mid regleek/

Literal translation: Stretch your legs as far as your quilt (blanket) goes.

Hidden meaning:  Do not do what you cannot afford.

Applicability:   Said when extravagancy is unaffordable.


       إن كبر ابنك خاويه  

/in kibir ibnak khaweeh/

Literal translation: When your son grows up, treat him as a brother.

Hidden meaning:   Do not continue treating your kids as children.

Applicability:    Said when someone treats his mature son as a kid.


        يدى الحلق للى بلا ودان  

/Yid’di el-halaq lil’li bila widan/

Literal translation: The earrings are given to those without ears.

Hidden meaning:  Some people get things while they are not qualified for them.

Applicability:     Said when someone gets something that he/she can’t use or don’t deserve.


  العلم فى الراس مش فى الكراس  

/el-‘ilm fi el-ras mesh fi el-kurras/

Literal translation: Education is what you know, not what’s in the book.

Hidden meaning:  Thinking is far more important than collecting material

Applicability:       Criticizing those who don’t use their minds


To listen to these proverbs in Egyptian Arabic, visit our Youtube Arabic Channel at 


Check us back soon

Peace  سلام  / Salam/

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About the Author: Fisal

Well, I was born near the city of Rasheed or Rosetta, Egypt. Yes, the city where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. It is a small city on the north of Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. I am a Teacher of EFL.


  1. البحر الذى لا تكدْره الدّلاء:

    الله يباريكم جميعاً إخوتي فى كل أرض وتحت كلّ سماء

  2. arif:

    i would like the possess

  3. Horace Sturdnant:

    Everything is very open with a really clear description of the challenges. It was truly informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!