Arabic Language Blog

Egyptian Proverbs (10) Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Arabic Language, Culture, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

   Arabic proverbs الأمــْــثــَــال الــعــَــرَبــِــيــَّـــة reflect the beauty جــَــمــَــال of the Arabic Language and the wisdom حــِــكــْــمــَــة of the Arabs and their culture. In Egypt, these proverbs are part of everyone’s daily routine. There is no one single situation مــَــوْقــِــف that would not have the perfect proverb tailored for it. Just for the sake of fun الــمــُــتــْــعــَــة , 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 إبــْــتــِــســَــامــَـــة on your face. These proverbs are in the Egyptian dialect الـلــَّــهــْــجــَـــة .

Egyptian Proverbs

اشــتــرى الــجـار قــبــل الــدار    

/ eshteri al-jar qabl ed’dar  /

  • Literal Translation: Buy the neighbor before the house.
  • Hidden Meaning: Choose your neighbors before you choose your house.
  • Applicability: Choosing a good neighbor is more important than buying a good house.

صــبــاح الــخــيــر يــا جــارى، أنــت فــى حــالــك و أنــا فــى حــالــى

/ sabah el-kheer ya jari, enta fi ha’lak wi ana fi ha’li /

  • Literal Translation: Good morning, neighbor, you mind your own business and I mine.
  • Hidden Meaning: Don’t socialize with strangers even if they are neighbors.
  • Applicability: Try to avoid people who you don’t know well or those proven hurtful.

الــلــى تــحــســبــه مــوســى يــطــلــع فــرعــون

/ elli the’seboh Mousa, yetla’ fir’oun /

  • Literal Translation: He whom you think Moses, turns out to be Pharaoh.
  • Hidden Meaning: Take care of deceiving people. Still water runs deep.
  • Applicability: This is said when harm comes from an unexpected person.

ضــربــنــى و بــكــى و ســبــقــنــى و اشــتــكــى  

/ darabni wi baka, wi sabaqni wi esh’taka /

  • Literal Translation: He hit (hurt) me and cried, and before me he hurried to complain (file a lawsuit)
  • Hidden Meaning: Take care of cunning and hypocrite people.
  • Applicability: This is said when someone hurts your and then pretends to be innocent before other people.

يــا خــبــر بــفــلــوس بــكــرة يــبــقــى بــبــلاش    

/ ya khabar beflous, bukrah yebqa be’balash /

  • Literal Translation: Today, the news worth money but tomorrow it will be free.
  • Hidden Meaning: Secrets and hidden information will have a time to be revealed.
  • Applicability: This is said as an advice when you don’t know something or the reasons behind it.

الــمــال الــســايــب يــعــلــم الــســرقــة

/ el-maal essayib, ye’allim essareqah /

  • Literal translation: Loose money teaches stealing.
  • Hidden meaning: Take good care of your property.
  • Applicability: This is said as advice or warning to people who don’t take good care of their property. It is also a satirical comment against thieves who escape punishment.

 الــرفــيــق قــبــل الــطــريــق 

/ ar’rafeek qabla at’tareeq /

  • Literal translation: The companion before the road (trip).
  • Hidden Meaning: Choose your co-travelers well before the journey.
  • Applicability: This is said as an advice to refer to the importance of choosing a good company especially while travelling.

قــالــوا الــجــمــل طــلــع الــنــخــلــة، آدى الــجــمــل و آدى الــنــخــلــة

/ qalo el-jamal tala’ ennakhlah, aadi el-jamal wi aadi ennakhlah /  

  • Literal translation:  They said the camel climbed the palm tree, so here is the camel and here is the tree.
  • Hidden Meaning: I don’t believe a word from what you are saying, so let me see the proof.
  • Applicability: This is said when you don’t believe what someone is saying especially when there are exaggerations or clear lies.

خــالـِـف ، تــُــعــْــرَف  

/ kha’lif, tu’raf /

  • Literal translation: Take a different path and you will be famous.
  • Hidden Meaning: some people just like to show off!
  • Applicability: This is said when someone comes with a weird idea of behavior.

كــل عــُــقــدة و لــهــا حــَــلّال    

/ kul oqdah wi laha hal’laal /

  • Literal translation: Every knot has a person who can unknot it.
  • Hidden Meaning: There is no problem without a solution.
  • Applicability: Do your best or just wait for the problem to be solved. .


More proverbs on our blog …. 

Egyptian Proverbs (1)               Egyptian Proverbs (2)

Egyptian Proverbs (3)               Egyptian Proverbs (4)

Egyptian Proverbs (5)               Egyptian Proverbs (6)

Egyptian Proverbs (7)              Egyptian Proverbs (8)

Egyptian Proverbs (9)             Egyptian Proverbs (10)

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Peace ســَـــلام / 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.