Armenian proverbs

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The art of living does not consist in preserving and clinging to a particular mode of happiness. but in allowing happiness to change its form without being disappointed the change; happiness, like a child, must be allowed to grow Up.
Charles Morgan
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  • Some of the proverbs here are from Eastern Armenian and some from Western Armenian origins, while others are shared. For the pronunciation, '@' sounds like 'i' as in bird in English. 'ts' sounds like 'z' as in zwei in German. 'dz' is close to 'д' in одно in Russian. And 'tz' is close to tzai jien (or good bye) in Chinese.
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Ա ա Բ բ Գ գ Դ դ Ե ե Զ զ Է է Ը ը Թ թ Ժ ժ Ի ի Լ լ Խ խ Ծ ծ Կ կ Հ հ Ձ ձ Ղ ղ Ճ ճ Մ մ Յ յ Ն ն Շ շ Ո ո Չ չ Պ պ Ջ ջ Ռ ռ Ս ս Վ վ Տ տ Ր ր Ց ց Ւ ւ Փ փ Ք ք Օ օ Ֆ ֆ


Ա ա

  • Աղւէսը բերանը խաղողին չի հասնում, ասում է՝ խակ է:
    • Transliteration: Aghves@ beran@ khaghoghin chi hasnoom, asoom e khak e.
    • Translation: When the fox can't reach the grape, says it's unripe.
    • Meaning: When one who can't achieve something downplays it.
  • Ամենին մի աչքով է նայում:
    • Transliteration: Amenin mi achqov e nayoom.
    • Translation: S/he sees everyone with one eye.
    • Meaning: S/he sees/treats everyone equally.
  • Աշխարհը մի խոսքի է, ժամանակը ոսկի է:
    • Transliteration: Ashkharh@ mi khosqi e, zhamanak@ voski e.
    • Translation: The world agrees in one word, time is golden.
  • Աչքը ինչ տեսնար, սիրտը չի մոռնար:
    • Transliteration: Achq@ inch tesnar, sirt@ chi mornar.
    • Translation: Whatever the eye sees, the heart won't forget.
  • Առաջ մտածիր, յետոյ խոսիր:
    • Transliteration: Arach mtatzir, heto khosir.
    • Translation: First think, then speak.
  • Արևն ամպի տակ չի մնայ:
    • Transliteration: Arevn ampi tak chi mna.
    • Translation: The sun won't stay behind the cloud.
    • Meaning: The truth won't stay hidden and will come out.

Բ բ

  • Բախտը մի անգամ է այցելում:
    • Transliteration: Bakht@ mi anqam e aytseloom.
    • Translation: Fortune visits only once.
    • Meaning: Don't miss a good opportunity.

Գ գ

  • Գայլի գլխին Աւետարան են կարդում, ասում է՝ շուտ արէ՛ք, գալլէս գնաց:
    • Transliteration: Gayli glkhin Avetaran en kartoom, asoom e shoot arek, galles gnats.
    • Translation: While they read the Bible to the wolf, it says: hurry up, my flock left.
    • Meaning: After giving advice on doing good to someone, s/he still hastens to do the bad.
  • Գառը՝ գարնան, ձիւնը՝ ձմռան:
    • Transliteration: Gar@ garnan, dzyoon@ dzmran.
    • Translation: Lamb in the spring, snow in the winter.
    • Meaning: Everything has its own time. [This is also a tongue-twister]
  • Գիւղը կանգնի՝ գերան կը կոտրի:
    • Transliteration: Gyoogh@ kangni, geran k@ kotri.
    • Translation: If the village stands, it can break a trunk.
    • Meaning: Strength increases in unity.
  • Գողը գողից գողացաւ, Աստւած նայեց՝ զարմացաւ:
    • Transliteration: Gogh@ goghits goghatsav, Astvatz nayets zarmatsav.
    • Translation: The thief stole from the thief, God looked on and got astonished.
  • Գուցէ ուզեցաւ իրեն գցի հորը, դու էլ կը՞ գցես:
    • Transliteration: Gootse oozetsav iran gtsi hor@, doo el k@ gtses?
    • Translation: Maybe s/he wanted to throw herself/himself in the well, would you follow?
    • Meaning: Don't follow others blindly.

Դ դ

Ե ե

  • Երբ որ կացինը եկաւ անտառ, ծառերը ասացին... «Կոտը մերոնցից է:»
    • Transliteration: Erb vor katsin@ ekav antar, tsarer@ asatsin... <<kot@ merontsits e>>
    • Translation: When the axe came to the forest, the trees said: "The handle is one of us."
  • Եօթ անգամ չափիր, մէկ անգամ կտրիր:
    • Transliteration: Yot anqam chapir, mek anqam ktrir.
    • Translation: Measure seven times, cut once.
    • Meaning: Think thoroughly before you act.
  • Երբ որ մեծնաս այս ամեմը կը մոռնաս:
    • Transliteration: Yerp medznas ays ameneh geh mornas
    • translation: When you grow up you will forget it happened
    • Meaning: used in reference for emotional and physical pain(cuts, bumps, worry, concern e.t.c) in order to comfort the individual from that experience.

Զ զ

Է է

Ը ը

Թ թ

Ժ ժ

Ի ի

  • Ի՞նչ կապ ունի՝ Ալէքսանդրի բեղերին:
    • Transliteration: Inch kap ooni Aleksandri bekherin?
    • Translation: What is the connection with Alexander's moustache?
    • Meaning: This is mentioned after one brings up something completely off-topic in a conversation.
  • Ինչ որ ցանես, այն կը հնձես:
    • Transliteration: Inch vor tsanes, ayn k@ hndzes.
    • Translation: Whatever you sow, that's what you'll reap.
    • Meaning: You'll receive the consequence of your own actions.
  • Ինչքան լեզու իմանաս՝ այնքան մարդ էս:
    • Transliteration: Inchqan lezoo imanas, aynqan mart es.
    • Translation: You are as many a person as the languages you know.
    • Meaning: This proverb is to emphasize the importance of learning multiple languages.

Լ լ

  • Լեզուդ չլներ՝ ագռավները աչքերդ հանել էին:
    • Lezud chlner - agravner@ achqer'd hanel ein.
    • Translation: If not for your tongue, the crows would have gouged out your eyes.

Խ խ

  • Խնձորը ծառից հեռու չի ընկնում:
    • Transliteration: Khndzor@ tzarits heroo chi @nknoom.
    • Translation: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
    • Meaning: The offspring usually incline to their parents' habits.
  • Խօսքով փիլաւ չեփուիր:
    • Transliteration: khoskov pilav chepvir.
    • Translation: Rice is not cooked with only words.
    • Meaning: Nothing can be done with done only with words.

Ծ ծ

  • Ծառը ինչքան բերք տայ ու բարի, գլուխն էնքան խոնարհ կը պահի:
    • Transliteration: Tzar@ inchqan berq ta oo bari, glookh@ enqan khonarh k@ pahi.
    • Translation: However much fruit a tree gives, it humbles its head that much more.
    • Meaning: The more wisdom one acquires, the more humble s/he becomes.
  • Ծարաւ կտանի ջուրն ու հետ կը բերի:
    • Transliteration: Tzarav ktani joor@ oo het k@ beri.
    • Translation: [S/he] will take one to the water and bring him/her back thirsty.
  • Ծոյլութիւնից սև էշին ասում է՝ օրհնեայ տէր:
    • Transliteration: Tzooylootyoonits sev eshin asoom e "orhnya ter".
    • Translation: Out of laziness, s/he calls to the black donkey "bless me Lord".
    • Meaning: This proverb emphasizes the laziness of one [This is because an extremely lazy person would not raise her/his head to see who s/he is meeting, and could potentially confuse a black donkey with a priest, who wears black].

Կ կ

Հ հ

  • Հարսի վոռով փեսուն լավություն ա անում:
    • Transliteration: Harsi vorov pesun lavutyun a anum.
    • Translation: Uses the bride's ass to do a favor to the groom.
  • Հարսը պարել չի կարող, ասում է՝ գետինը ծուռ է:
    • Transliteration: Hars@ parel chi karogh, asoom e getin@ tzoor e.
    • Translation: The bride doesn't know how to dance, she says the floor is slanted.
    • Meaning: One blames her/his own incompetence on the circumstances.
  • Հաց ու պանիր, կէր ու պարիր:
    • Transliteration: Hats oo panir, ker oo parir.
    • Translation: Bread and cheese, eat and dance.
    • Meaning: Be satisfied with whatever little you may have.

Ձ ձ

  • Ձուագողը ձիագող կը դառնայ:
    • Transliteration: Dzooagogh@ dziagogh k@ darna.
    • Translation: An egg-thief will become a horse-thief.
    • Meaning: Great misdeeds start from small mistakes.

Should have...Could have...Would have.... Are all cousins of "Never did" Հաց ու պանիր, կէր ու բանիր:

Ղ ղ

Ճ ճ

  • Ճակատագրից չես փախչի:
    • Transliteration: Tjakatagritz ches pakhchi.
    • Translation: You can't escape from destiny.
  • Ճտերն աշնանն են հաշվում:
    • Transliteration: Ch'tern ashnann en hashvum.
    • Translation: Chicks ought to be counted in the fall.

Մ մ

  • Մէկ գիժ քար գցեց հորը, քառասուն խելօք չկարողացան հանել:
    • Transliteration: Mek gizh qar gtsets hor@, qarasoon kheloq chkaroghatsan hanel.
    • Translation: One idiot threw a stone in the well, forty wise people couldn't get it out.
  • Մէկ ծաղիկով գարուն չի գայ:
    • Transliteration: Mek tzaghikov garoon chi ga.
    • Translation: Spring won't come with one flower.
  • Մէկ ձեռքը ծափ չի տայ:
    • Transliteration: Mek dzerq@ tzap chi ta.
    • Translation: One hand won't clap.
    • Meaning: Some things can't be done by one person alone.
  • Մէկը տերտերին է սիրում, մէկը տերտերակնկան:
    • Transliteration: Mek@ terterin e siroom, mek@ terteraknkan.
    • Translation: One likes the priest, and one likes the priest's wife.
    • Meaning: Different people have different tastes.


    • Transliteration: Minchev Shooshan@ zartarvi, zham@ k@ lrvi.
    • Translation: The mass will be over by the time Shooshan gets ready.
    • Meaning: Someone is taking too long to get ready.

Միութիւնը՝ ոյժ է:

    • Transliteration: Miootyoon@ oozh e.
    • Translation: Unity is power.
  • Միսը ձեզի, ոսկորը ինծի:
    • Transliteration: Missuh tsezi, vosgoruh indzi.
    • Translation: The meat is yours, the bones are mine.
    • Meaning: Do anything you like to my son/daughter in order to teach him, as long as he/she is kept alive.
  • Մուկը ըսկի ինքը ծակը չի մտնում, հլը ցախավելն էլ կապել ա վոռից:
    • Transliteration: Mook@ @ski inq@ tcak@ chi mtnum, hl@ tzaqaveln el kapel a voritz.
    • Translation: Even though there's barely room enough for the mouse, it is trying to enter the hole with a besom tied to its ass.

Յ յ

Ն ն

  • Նւիրւած ձիու ատամները չեն հաշւի:
    • Transliteration: Nvirvatz dzioo atamner@ chen hashvi.
    • Translation: Don't count the teeth of a gift horse.
    • Meaning: Be grateful for your gifts.

Շ շ

  • Շան անունը տուր ու փետը վերցրու:
    • Transliteration: Shan anoon@ toor oo pet@ vertsroo.
    • Translation: Speak of the dog and pick up the stick.
    • Meaning: This proverb is used when someone shows up right when her/his name is mentioned in a conversation [picking up the stick is symbolic for being ready/expecting]. Similar to English "Speak of the devil"
  • Շունը՝ շան միս չի ուտի:
    • Transliteration: Shoon@ shan mis chi ooti.
    • Translation: Dog won't eat dog's meat....

Ո ո

  • Որտեղ հաց, այնտեղ կաց:
    • Transliteration: Vortegh hats, ayntegh kats.
    • Translation: Wherever there's bread, stay there.
  • Որտեղ պանիր, այնտեղ բանիր:
    • Transliteration: Vortegh panir, ayntegh banir.
    • Translation: Wherever there's cheese, work there.
  • Ով աշխատի՝ նա կուտի:
    • Transliteration: Ov ashkhati, na kooti.
    • Translation: Whoever works, s/he will eat.
  • Ով՝ տռի, ով՝ էթա սանատորիա:
    • Transliteration: Ov t@ri, ov eta sanatoria.
    • Translation: One farts, and another goes to a resort.
    • Meaning: Sometimes one is punished for a crime they didn't commit (or is rewarded while lacking merit).

Չ չ

  • Չկայ չարիք՝ առանց բարիք:
    • Transliteration: Chka chariq, arants bariq.
    • Translation: There is no evil without goodness..

Պ պ

Ջ ջ

Ռ ռ

Ս ս

  • Սարը սարին չի հասնի, մարդը մարդուն՝ կը հասնի:
    • Transliteration: Sar@ sarin chi hasni, mart@ martoon k@ hasni.
    • Translation: A mountain won't get to a mountain, but a human will get to a human.
    • Meaning: Don't mistreat a person thinking that there's no tomorrow and there won't be any consequences.

Վ վ

Տ տ

Ր ր

Ց ց

Ւ ւ

Փ փ

  • Փափուկ լեզւով նոյնիսկ օձը բնից դուրս կը քաշես:
    • Transliteration: Papook lezvov noonisk odz@ bnits doors k@ qashes.
    • Translation: With a soft tongue(speech) you can even pull a snake out of its nest.
    • Meaning: You speak very gently - or - try to speak gently.
  • Փողը հաշիվ ա սիրում:
    • Transliteration: Pogh@ hashiv a sirum.
    • Translation: Money likes a count.

Ք ք

  • Քեզանից Պողոս Պետրոս դուրս չի գայ:
    • Transliteration: Kezanitz Poghos Petros doors chi ga.
    • Translation: Neither Poghos nor Petros will become of you.
    • Meaning: At this rate you wont become anyone.
  • ՔեՖ անողին՝ քեֆ չի պակսիլ:
    • Transliteration: Kef anoghin kef chi paksil.
    • Translation: Joy won't lessen for the joyful (or the partier).
    • Etymology: This enters the language from a story concerning Harun al Rashid [Abbasid caliph] who went around at nights disguised as a poor person to see what's going on in his capital, Baghdad. In one of these night journeys he encountered a poor person who would always party and have fun eventhough he didn't have much. The story continues as Harun tries to make him more miserable to see whether his joy will continue, and since it does, Harun rewards him in the end.

An English language retelling of this story, as also told in Armenian by Hovhannes Toumanian as "A Gift of Gold," can be found in Virginia A. Tashjian's "Three Apples Fell from Heaven," p. 63.

Օ օ

Ֆ ֆ