Arabic Language Blog

Egyptian Proverbs (6) Posted by on Sep 7, 2012 in Arabic Language, Culture, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

        Arabic proverbs الأمثال العربية  reflect the beauty of the Arabic Language and the wisdom حكمة of the Arabs العرب and their culture الثقافة . In Egypt, these proverbs are part of everyone’s daily routine. There is no one single situation موقف that would not have the perfect proverb tailored for it. Just for the sake of fun مرح , 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 ابتسامة on your face. These proverbs are in the Egyptian dialect.

الـغــايــب حـجــتــه مـعــاه   

/ El-ghaayib Higgitu ma’aah /

  • Literal Translation: An absent person has his excuse.
  • Hidden meaning: Don’t jump to conclusions.
  • Applicability: Don’t blame someone not present until you hear his/her side of the story.

الـلــى فـــات مـــات  

/ il’li faat maat /

  • Literal Translation: What is past is dead.
  • Hidden meaning: Forget the past and open a new page.
  • Applicability: To urge someone to live and let live.

 الــعــبــدُ فــى الــتــفــكـــيــر و الــرَّبُ فــى الــتــدبــيـــــر

/ El-abd fil-tafkeer wel-rabb fil-tadbeer /

  •  Literal Translation: Man thinks and Allah (God) takes care of things.
  • Hidden Meaning:  Man proposes and God disposes.
  • Applicability: Do what you can and leave the rest for God to take care of.

أســمــع كــلامــك أصــدقــك , أشــُـــوف أمــُـــورك أســتــعــجـــب    

/ Asma3 kalamak asad’d’ak, ashoof umurak asta’gib

  • Literal Translation: When I hear you, I believe you but when I see what you do, I get surprised.
  • Hidden Meaning:  Your words contradict your actions. 
  • Applicability: When someone’s actions contradict his speech, i.e. doesn’t practice what he preaches. 

 إذا كــان الــكـــلامُ مــن فــضــة , فــالــســُّــكـــُـــوت مــن ذهـــب   

/ Iza kaan el-kalam min fad’dah, f’al-sukoot min dahab /

  • Literal Translation: If speech is silver, silence is gold.
  • Hidden Meaning:  Silence will always be of more value than talk. 
  • Applicability: When someone’s speech is meaningless/harmful.

 بــعــد مــا شــاب ودوه الــكــُــتــَّـــاب

/ Ba3d ma shab, wadooh el-kuttab /

  • Literal Translation: After he grew old, they sent him to school.
  • Hidden Meaning:  You can’t teach old dogs new tricks! 
  • Applicability: When an old person starts a new fade.

 الــفــاضــى يــعــمــِــل قــاضـــى 

/ El-fadi ye3mil ‘adi /

  • Literal translation: He who isn’t busy acts like a judge.
  • Hidden meaning: If someone has nothing useful to do, he’ll spend his time/energy judging others.
  • Applicability: Criticizing a person who has nothing to do but judge others.

 فــى الــتــَّــأنــِّــى الــســَــلامة و فــى الــعــَــجــَــلــَــة الــنــَّــدامـــَــــة

/ Fil-ta’anni el-salamah, wi fil-3agalah el-nadamah /  

  • Literal translation: Safety is in caution/slowness, and regret is in haste.
  • Hidden meaning: Take your time and don’t rush.
  • Applicability: Advice to someone not to hurry up or push his/her luck.

 الــلــِّــى يــتـــجـــوز أُمـــِّــى , أقــُــولــُــه يــَــا عــَــمــِّـــى

/ Il’li yetgawiz ummi, ‘a’ool’luh ya 3ammi /

  • Literal translation: Whoever marries my mother, I’ll call him uncle.
  • Hidden meaning: you should make peace with people whom you’re forced to deal with (or perhaps who will have authority over you!).
  • Applicability: Obvious.

 يــَــا خـــَــبــَــر بــفــلـــُـــوس , بــُــكــرة يــبـــقــى بــبــلاش  

/ Ya khabar bifloos, bukrah yeba’ bi’balash /

  • Literal translation: The costly news of today, will be for free tomorrow.
  • Hidden meaning: The secrets of today will, in time, be common knowledge.
  • Applicability: When someone is going out of his way to find out about something.


Find more and more Proverbs;

Egyptian Proverbs (1)               Egyptian Proverbs (2)

Egyptian Proverbs (3)               Egyptian Proverbs (4)

Egyptian Proverbs (5)


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


Check us back soon

Peace  ســـلام /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.