Syrian Proverbs

If your friend is honey, don’t lick him all


The camel limped from its split lip

A bad workman blames his tools


Chose the neighbour before the house

We can live without friends, but not without neighbours


My brother and I against my cousin, My cousin and I against a stranger

Blood is thicker than water


What is past is dead

Let bygones be bygones


O departing one, leave behind good deeds!

A good deed is never lost


The rope of a lie is short

The liar is sooner caught from the cripple


Haste is the devil’s work and patience is from God the Merciful

Patience is a virtue


The son of a duck is a floater

Like father, like son


We taught them how to beg, they raced us to the gates

to beat someone at his own game


A beggar and he bargains!

Beggars cannot be choosers


In the eye of his mother, a monkey is a gazelle

All her geese are swans


With the lack of horses, we saddle the dogs!

There’s nothing suitable, so they come with a useless alternative


The eloquent cock crows from the egg

It early pricks that will be a thorn


Patience is the key to relief


He hit me and cried, he raced me to complain!

It’s all his fault, yet he pretends to be the victim


Stretch your legs according to your quilt

Cut your coat according to your cloth


A bird in the hand is better than ten on the tree

A bird in the hand is worth ten in the bush


Ask one who has experience rather than a physician

Experience without learning is better than learning without experience


He is like a deaf man at a wedding procession

A fish out of water


It is not every time that the clay pot survives

You cannot tempt providence and always triumph


He who has his hand in the water is not like him who has his hand in the fire

Attitudes are formed by circumstances


God sends almonds to those without teeth!

Good things sometimes come to those who do not deserve them


A better one in another one

Better luck next time


Every knot has someone to undo it

Every problem has a solution


Keep away from trouble and sing to it

Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you


As you went, so you came back

So what else is new!


Spend what is in your pocket, you will get more from the unknown

Spend and God will send


Let the water melons break each other!

Let them stew in their own juice


He married the monkey for its money, the money went and the monkey stayed a monkey

As you make your bed, so you must lie on it


Whoever gets between the onion and its skin will get nothing but its stink

Never get between a man and his wife


Like a snake under the hay

Like a snake in the grass


If you buy cheap meat you’ll be sorry when you come to the gravy

Beware of false economy


When the lions are away, the hyenas play

When the cat is away, the mice will play


Turn the pot upside down, the girl will still be like her mother

Like mother, like daughter

When we decided to trade coffins, people decided not to die!

Let your money be insulted but not yourself

Rather than ask favors, do the thing yourself

Having faith in men is like having faith that water will remain in a sieve

Don’t trust men!


Let it wound your heart rather than go out and cause a scandal

Keep it to yourself if you don’t want others to know


If you want to cause him confusion, give him a choice

Make things easier by defining the right way


Reference:
Primose Arnander and Ashkhain Skipwith: “The Son of a Duck is a Floater” and “Apricots Tomorrow
Siham Tergeman: “Daughter of Damascus“. English version by Andrea Rugh.

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