Finnish proverbs

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On the last analysis, then, love is life. Love never faileth and life never faileth so long as there is love.
Henry Drummond
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A - B - D - E - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - R - S - T - V - W - Z - Ä

A

  • "Aamun torkku, illan virkku, se tapa talon hävittää."
    • Literal translation: "Asleep in the morning, Awake all evening; this is the way to lose a house."
    • Translation: "Asleep in the morning, awake in the evening; this way will destroy a house."
    • Alternate Translation: "Sleeping in and staying up late; this habit will run down your household."
    • Variation: Old Finnish hacker proverb "Illan virkku, aamun torkku", If you IRC the night, you're sleepy in the morning.
  • "Ahkeruus kovan onnen voittaa."
    • Literal translation: "Diligence beats hard luck."
    • Notes: By working hard one can get out of hard situations.
  • "Aina on oksan ottajia, kun on kuusen kantajia."
    • Literal translation: "Always exist branch grabbers, when exist fir-tree haulers."
    • Translation: "If there is someone to haul the fir-tree, there shall be no shortage of those willing to hold a branch to help."
    • Notes: This is a disparaging saying about those who are all too willing to participate in sharing credit for a major undertaking by someone else.
  • "Aina roiskuu kun rapataan." / "Rapatessa roiskuu."
    • Translation: "There will always be splatter when mortar is spread."
    • Notes: Mishaps happen when you work, it is in the nature of things.
    • English equivalent: "Shit happens" or "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs."
  • "Akka otetaan, mies annetaan."
    • Translation: "A woman is taken, a man given."
  • "Alku aina hankala, lopussa kiitos seisoo."
    • Literal translation: "The beginning is always difficult, in the end stands the thank."
    • Notes: A good result follows from efforts.
    • English equivalent: "All's well, that ends well."
  • "Antaa vahingon kiertää."
    • Literal translation: "Let the mishap circulate."
    • Translation: "Pass the misfortune on."
    • Notes: Used for example when one has been able to sell a worthless item on which one had earlier been fooled oneself into buying. A somewhat cynical sentiment, which can however be used more lightheartedly of more trivial affairs.

E

  • "Ei auta itku markkinoilla."
    • Literal translation: "Weeping does not help at the marketplace."
    • Notes: Said, when something has to be accepted, although one is not satisfied with this.
  • "Ei elämä irvistellen somene."
    • Translation: "Life will not get more beautiful by making grimaces."
  • "Ei elämästä selviä hengissä."
    • Translation: "You won't survive life."
    • Meaning: No matter how you live your life, sooner or later you are going to die anyway.
  • "Ei halu halaamalla lähde."
    • Translation: "Hugs won't remove the desire."
    • Alt. Translation: "Desire won't fade with embraces."
  • "Ei haukku haavaa tee."
    • Literal translation: "A bark does not wound."
    • Translation: "Words do not physically hurt."
    • English equivalent: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me."
  • "Eihän rahaa tarvita kuin velan maksuun."
    • Translation: "Money is only needed to pay back a debt."
  • "Ei se mikään ruusu ole mutta kukkiihan se perunakin."
    • Literal translation: "It's not a rose but potatos blooms too."
    • Notes: A phrase used for mocking ugly women ie. comparing a woman with a potato instead of a rose.
  • "Ei kannata mennä merta edemmäs kalaan.'""
    • Literal translation: "One should not go farther than the sea to fish."
    • Notes: One should only do what's necessary.
  • "Ei kastunut vettä pelkää."
    • Translation: "Someone already wet will not be afraid of water."
  • "Ei kukaan ole seppä syntyessään."
    • Literal translation: "No one is a blacksmith when they are born."
    • Translation: "No one can be an expected to be an expert at something before they have tried it."
  • "Ei leikki leivässä pidä."
    • Translation: "Games wont keep you in bread."
    • Notes: One must work to stay alive.
  • "Ei niin huonoja housuja jottei hametta vastaa."
    • Translation: "Even the worst trousers are better than a skirt."
  • "Ei niin tuulta, ei niin tyyntä, ettei lehti heiluisi."
    • Translation: "No such breeze, no such calm, that the leaf wouldn't swing."
  • "Ei nimi miestä pahenna, ellei mies nimeä."
    • Translation: "A name doesn't make a man worse, if the man doesn't make his name worse."
  • "Ei ole koiraa karvoihin katsominen"
    • Translation: "Judge not the dog by its hair."
    • English equivalent: "Don't judge a book by its cover."
  • "Ei omena kauas puusta putoa"
    • Translation: "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree"
    • Notes: Usually meaning that children are same as their parents.
  • "Ei oppi ojaan kaada."
    • Literal translation: "Education won't knock you down in the ditch."
    • Translation: "Education keeps you on the road."
  • "Ei savua ilman tulta."
    • Translation: "There's no smoke without fire."
    • Meaning: Said when something cannot be seen, but its implications can.
  • "Ei se tapojansa muuta, joka ei mieltään pahenna."
    • Translation: "One will not change his habits, if he hasn't hurt his feelings."
  • "Ei sellaista tietä, jota ei ennen ole käyty.""
    • Translation: "There is no such path, that has not been walked along before."
  • "Ei sota yhtä miestä kaipaa."
    • Translation: "War does not long for one man."
  • "Ei suuret sanat suuta halkaise"
    • Translation: "Big words won't split ones mouth."
    • English equivalent: "Actions speak louder than words."
  • "Ei tippa tapa ja ämpäriin ei huku."
    • Translation: "A drop does not kill, and you won't drown in a barrel."
    • Notes: This phrase has three quite distinct usages. It can be a questionable justification for excessive drinking in context of drunkards egging each other on, when already inebriated. The other two uses precede drinking and have to do with good manners and hospitality. When a guest has demurred an offered drink purely pro forma, to show that he does not wish to be seen as imposing on hospitality, the host will use the phrase to indicate by changing discursive mode to a humorous one, that there is no imposition, but rather a genuine amity, and it is quite polite to accept the offered drink offered in hospitality.
      The other way it can be used is when the guest genuinely does not wish to accept the drink, for instance having reasons why they do not wish to get drunk or if they generally do not have a habit of drinking. Then the host can use the phrase as leverage to oblige the guest to drink; since a drink offered in amity would be impolite to turn down.
  • "Ei todenpuhuja saa yösijaa."
    • Translation: "He who speaks the truth won't get shelter for the night."
  • "Ei tule lasta, ei paskaa."
    • Translation: "No baby, no shit."
    • Notes: Trying to do something really hard, but not making any progress.
  • "Ei työt tekemällä lopu."
    • Translation: "Work will not run out by working."
  • "Ei vahinko tule kello kaulassa"
    • Literal translation: "An accident won't arrive with a bell on its neck."
    • Translation: "Accidents happen unexpected."
  • "Ei viina juomalla lopu"
    • Translation: "Alcohol won't run out by drinking."
    • Meaning: no matter how much you drink, there will always be booze in the world. Can either be used as an encouragement that there will always be more, or to tell somebody that they have to drink everything.
  • "Ennen maa repee kuin huora häpee."
    • Literal translation: "It's more likely for the earth to rip than for a whore to feel ashamed."
  • "Esteet katoavat etevän tieltä."
    • Translation: "Barriers will disappear on the path of the skilled."
    • Notes: Alliterative.

H

  • "Happamia, sanoi kettu pihlajanmarjoista kun ei niihin yltänyt"
    • Translation: "Sour, said the fox about rowan berries, not being able to reach them"
    • Notes: Said to someone who says negative things about something he is unable to have, but he probably deep down would like to have. Cf. "Sour grapes"
  • "Haukkuva koira ei pure"
    • Translation: "A barking dog does not bite"
  • "Hedelmistään puu tunnetaan"
    • Translation: "A tree is recognized by its fruit"
  • "Helposti saatu on helposti menetetty"
    • Translation: "What is acquired easily is lost easily"
    • English equivalent: "Easy come, easy go"
  • "Herra se on herrallakin"
    • Translation: "A master has their master too."
  • "Hiki laiskan syödessä, vilu töitä tehdessä."
    • Translation: "A lazy person sweats while eating and shivers while working."
  • "Hiljaa hyvää tulee"
    • Literal translation: "Good comes slowly"
    • Translation: "Easy does it"
  • "Hukkuva tarttuu oljenkorteenkin"
    • Translation: "One who is drowning will even try to catch hold of a haystraw"
  • "Hullu paljon työtä tekee, viisas pääsee vähemmällä"
    • Translation: "A fool does a lot of work, a wise man gets off easier"
  • "Hyvä antaa vähästänsä, paha ei paljostansakaan."
    • Literal translation: "A good one gives from the little he has, a bad one not even from his plentiful"
  • "Hyvä kello kauas kuuluu"
    • Translation: "A good bell can be heard wide"
  • "Hyvällä nimiä paljon, pahalla tapoja."
    • Translation: "Good has many names, bad many customs."
  • "Hätä ei lue lakia"
    • Literal translation: "Emergency does not read the law"
    • English counterpart: "Desperate times call for desperate actions"

I

  • "Ilmaista ei ole olemassakaan."
    • Translation: "There is no such thing as free of charge."
    • English: There is no such thing as a free lunch.
  • "Ilta on aamua viisaampi."
    • Translation: "The evening is wiser than the morning."
  • "Itku pitkästä ilosta."
    • Translation: "Weeping will follow a long delight."

J

  • "Jalat lämpiminä, pää kylmänä."
    • Translation: "Feet warm, head cool."
    • Notes: This is a common maxim for outdoorsmen and soldiers in Finland. It has a double meaning. Firstly it serves as a mnemnonic on how to position oneself when sleeping around a fire or a stove. Secondly it embodies the Finnish warriors' ethos. Keep at peak readiness but don't borrow trouble.
  • "Joka kuritta kasvaa, se kunniatta kuolee."
    • Translation: "Who is raised without discipline, he will die without honor."
  • "Joka menneitä muistelee, sitä tikulla silmään"
    • Translation: "A poke in the eye for those, who dwell on the past"
  • "Joka muotoansa moittii, se Luojaansa laittaa."
    • Translation: "Who contests his form, he mocks his Creator."
    • Notes: Can apply to the use of makeup or cosmetic surgery.
  • "Joka paljon lupaa, se vähän antaa"
    • Translation: "Who promises a lot, gives a little"
  • "Joka vitsaa säästää, se lastaan vihaa."
    • Translation: "He who spares his birch rod, hates his child."
    • English equivalent: "Spare the rod, spoil the child"
    • Notes: Not to be taken literally. One has to raise a child harsh to prepare him for life.
  • "Joka väärin kuulee, se väärin vastaa."
    • Translation: "Who hears wrong, replies wrong."
  • "Jonka mesi kielessä, sen on myrkky mielessä."
    • Translation: "Who has honey on his tongue has poison in his mind."
  • "Jos työ olisi herkkua, niin herrat tekisivät sen itse."
    • Translation: "If work were a delicacy, the masters would do it themselves"
  • "Jos ei viina, terva ja sauna auta, niin tauti on kuolemaksi."
    • Translation: "If tar, liquor and sauna will not be of help the disease is fatal."
    • Notes: Meant as a somewhat rough comfort in situations where more sophisticated curatives are not available.
  • "Jota useampi kokki, sitä vetelämpi velli."
    • Translation: "The more cooks there are, the more watery the soup will be."
    • English equivalent: "Too many cooks spoil the broth."
  • "Joukossa tyhmyys tiivistyy"
    • Translation: "In a group stupidity condenses"
  • "Joka toiselle kuoppaa kaivaa, se itse siihen lankeaa"
    • Translation: "Who digs a hole for another, falls in it himself."
    • Notes: Bad things done to others will come back to you.

K

  • "Kahden kauppa on kolmannen korvapuusti"
    • Literal translation: "A good deal for two, is a clip on the ears of a third."
    • Translation: "In a trade someone always loses."
    • Inverse: Kahden korvapuusti, kolmannen kauppa
    • Translation: "When two participants quarrel, third harvests all the benefits
  • "Kasvaa se mies räkänokistakin, vaan ei tyhjän naurajista."
    • Literal translation: "A snotnose may grow up to be a man; but he who laughs without cause, never."
    • Translation: "The mocked may grow up to dignity, but the mocker will never outgrow his juvenile behaviour."
  • "Katoaa kuin pieru Saharaan."
    • Literal translation: "Disappears like a fart into Sahara."
    • Translation: "Disappears without trace."
    • Notes: When something disappears without a trace, it is said to disappear as smoothly as a fart would in the Sahara desert.
  • "Kaveria ei jätetä!"
    • Translation: "Never leave a friend behind!"
    • Notes: Finnish soldier's motto during the Winter and Continuation wars during the World War Two; soldiers tried to recover even bodies if at all possible.
  • "Kauan on köyhä kallellaan ennenkuin kaatuu."
    • Translation: "The poor will be tilted for a long time, before he falls."
  • "Kauppa se on, joka kannattaa."
    • Translation: "It is trade that is profitable."
    • Notes: Often uttered in evident pleasure at ones situation.
  • "Kelle paljon annetaan siltä paljon vaaditaan"
    • Translation: "To whom is given a lot will be asked for a lot."
  • "Kenen leipää syöt, sen lauluja laulat."
    • Translation: "Whose bread you eat, his songs you'll sing."
    • English equivalent: "He who pays the piper calls the tune."
  • "Ken kuuseen kurkottaa, se katajaan kapsahtaa."
    • Literal translation: "Who reaches for the spruce, falls down onto the juniper."
    • Translation: "If you reach for something that is far too good for you, it is not going to end well."
  • "Kerta kiellon päälle."
    • Literal translation: "One time after the denial."
    • English equivalent: "One more for the road."
    • Translation: "When something has been denied of you, you can still do it once."
    • Notes: Besides the last drink in a bar, the saying is also used when pouring a drink or serving food, and it is a hospitable custom to pour or serve just a little more after the guest has said "when", in the usually mutual understanding that the guest does not want to impose, but the host will wish to be generous.
  • "Kuin juosten kustu."
    • Literal translation: "Like pissed while running."
    • Notes: Used when something is done in a sloppy manner.
  • "Kuin kaksi marjaa."
    • Literal translation: "Like two berries."
    • English equivelant: "As like as two peas." or "Peas in a pod." or again "Birds of a feather."
  • "Kun menee sutta pakoon, tulee karhu vastaan."
    • Translation: "When escaping a wolf, one will run into a bear."
    • Notes: means that sometimes avoiding danger may lead to a worse outcome
  • "Kuolema kuittaa univelat."
    • Literal translation: "Death settles sleepdebts."
    • Translation: "Time enough to rest when dead."
  • "Kuu on nuorten miesten aurinko."
    • Translation: "The moon is the sun of young men."
  • "Kuu on torpparin aurinko."
    • Translation: "The moon is the crofter's sun."
    • Notes: The crofters tilled the landlord's fields on working days. An eager crofter would spend all his spare time to till his own.
  • "Kyllä maailma opettaa; jos ei muuta niin hitaasti kävelemään."
    • Translation: The world will surely teach one; if nothing else, than to walk slowly."
  • "Kyllä routa porsaan kotiin ajaa."
    • Translation: "The frost will drive a pig back home."
    • Notes: Used in the sense of having patience about someone, espescially ones own offspring having rebuffed one, in the faith that when the need arises, they will return to ones embrace like prodigal sons.
  • Kyllä se laiska kaikkein ahkerin on kun vain ryypyn saa
    • Translation: "The lazy is the most eager if only given a drink"
    • Notes: proper motivation is A and O of everything
  • "Kyllä siinä melua syntyy, kun kaksi hullua yhteen tulee."
    • Translation: "There will surely be some noise, when two madmen come together."
  • "Kännissä ja kihloissa on kiva olla, krapulassa ja naimisissa yhtä helvettiä."
    • Translation: "It is pleasant to be drunk and engaged, but hell to be hungover and married."

L

  • "Laita lapsi asialle, tee itse perässä"
    • Literal translation: "Send a child to do your errands, do it yourself afterwards."
    • Translation: "You can't trust that a job will be done properly unless you do it yourself"
    • Notes: Used to reprimand someone who has failed in something, usually not a child.
    • English equivalent: "Never send a boy to do a man's job."
  • "Lapsen suusta totuus kuuluu."
    • Translation: "The truth can be heard from the lips of a child."
    • English equivalent: "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings come all wise sayings."
  • "Leikki on lapsen työtä."
    • Translation: "Playing is working for a child."
  • "Loppu hyvin, kaikki hyvin"
    • Literal translation: "End well, all well"
    • English equivalent: "All's well that ends well."

M

  • "Maassa maan tavalla."
    • Translation: "In a land by its customs."
    • English equivalent: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
  • "Maasta se pienikin ponnistaa."
    • Translation: "Even the smallest will take off of the ground."
    • English equivalent: "Out of little acorns (grow mighty oaks)."
  • "Makkee on matonen nauris, tuima hiiren turmelema."
    • Translation: "A worm-infested turnip is sweet, but bitter the one that a mouse has bitten."
  • "Maltti on valttia."
    • Literal translation: "Patience is a trump."
    • English equivalent: "Patience is a virtue."
  • "Markassa on tuhannen alku."
    • Translation: "A penny is the root of a fortune."
    • English equivalent: "A penny saved is a penny earned."
  • "Melkein on metri rannasta."
    • Translation: "Almost is one metre off the shore"
    • English equivalent: "Almost is only good for horseshoes and hand grenades."
  • "menikö jauhot suuhun."
    • Translation: "Did the flour go to your mouth."
    • English equivalent: "Did the cat catch your tongue."
  • "Mies on isäntä talossa vaikka penkin alla."
    • Translation: "A man is the master of his house, even under a bench."
  • "Mikä laulaen tulee, se viheltäen menee."
    • Translation: "What comes singing, leaves whistling."
    • English: Easy come, easy go.
  • "Mikäs pahan tappais, Jumala ei huoli ja piru ei pidä kiirettä."
    • Translation: "What would kill the bad; God doesn't want them, and the devil is not in a hurry."
    • Notes: Often given as a philosophical or mildly ironic reply to a query on how one is faring.
  • "Mikään ei kuivu kyyneltä nopeammin."
    • Translation: "There's nothing that dries faster than a tear."
  • "Minkä nuorena oppii, sen vanhana taitaa."
    • Translation: "What one learns while young, one masters when old."
  • "Minä istun iloissani ja annan surun huilata."
    • Translation: "I sit here happy and let sorrow catch some breath."
  • "Moni kakku päältä kaunis, vaan on silkkoa sisältä." or "Moni kakku päältä kaunis, silkkaa silkkoa sisältä."
    • Translation: "Many cakes are beautiful on the surface, but don't have nice fillings."
  • "Myöhäistä itkeä kun on kakat housuissa."
    • Translation: "There's is no use crying when the crap is already in your pants."
    • Notes: One shouldn't feel down, if there is nothing he can do to change the situation.
    • English equivalent: "No use crying over spilt milk."

N

  • "Neuvottu mies on puoliksi autettu."
    • Translation: "A man who is given advice, is helped half the way."
  • "Niin makaa, kuin petaa."
    • Literal translation: "One sleeps like one makes his bed."
    • Translation: "Actions have consequences."
    • English equivalent: "As you sow, so shall you reap."
  • "Niin metsä vastaa kuin sinne huudetaan."
    • Literal translation: "The forest answers in the same way one shouts in it."
    • English equivalent: "The world you get is the world you give away" or "What comes around, goes around".
  • "Nuorena vitsa väännettävä."
    • Translation: "Whilst childhood the rod has to be bended."
    • Notes: Good manners or other traits have to be taught at young age.
    • English equivalent: "Bend the tree while it is young."

O

  • "Ojasta allikkoon."
    • Literal translation: "From the ditch to deep water."
    • English equivalent: "Out of the frying pan (and into the fire)." and "Go from bad to worse."
  • "Oma apu paras apu."
    • Literal translation: "Own help [is the] best help."
    • Translation: "Helping yourself is the best way to help yourself."
  • "Oma koti kullan kallis."
    • Literal translation: "Own home is worth gold."
    • English equivalent: "Home sweet home."
  • "Oma lehmä ojassa."
    • Literal translation: "(to have) their own cow in the ditch"
    • Note: An expression of suspicion or knowledge of ulteriour motives.
  • "Oma maa mansikka; muu maa mustikka."
    • Literal translation: "Other land blueberry; own land strawberry."
    • Translation: "Foreign places are nice enough, but home is sweeter."
    • English equivalent: "There's no place like home."
  • "Oma suu on lähinnä."
    • Translation: "Your own mouth is the one closest to you."
  • "On vuohellakin parta, vaan ei miehen mieltä."
    • Translation: "A goat may have a beard, but not the mind of a man."
    • Meaning: Mere formal signs of authority does not make one.
  • "On taottava silloin kun rauta on kuuma."
    • Translation: "Iron must be forged when it is hot."
    • English equivalent: "You should hammer your iron, while it is glowing hot"
  • "On virka varkaallakin."
    • Literal translation: "Even the thief has his office."
    • Translation: "Even thiefs are just doing their job."
  • "On vähäkin tyhjää parempi."
    • Translation: "Little is better than nothing."
    • English equivalent: "Beggars can't be choosers."
  • "Oppia ikä kaikki."
    • Translation: "[To] learn [through] whole life.", lifelong learning.
    • English equivalent: "Live and learn."

P

  • "Paha saa palkkansa."
    • Translation: "Evil will get its pay."
    • Notes: Doing wrong will get you problems in the end.
  • "Paistaa se päivä risukasaankin."
    • Translation: "The sun will shine even into a pile of sticks.
  • "Paljon mahtuu puheita maailmaan, tekoja sopii aina odottaa."
    • Translation: "Many speeches can be heard troughout the world, but one always has to wait for deeds."
  • "Parempi laiha sopu kuin lihava riita."
    • Translation: "Better a bony agreement than a fat disagreement."
  • "Parempi karvas totuus kuin makea valhe."
    • Translation: "Better a bitter truth than a sweet lie."
  • "Parempi pyy pivossa, kuin kymmenen oksalla."
    • Literal translation: "Better one hazel grouse in the bag, than ten on the branch."
    • English equivalent: "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
    • Proverb: A bird in the hand multilingual
  • "Parempi tuttu paha kuin tuntematon hyvä"
    • Translation: "Better a known harm than an unknown benefit"
    • English equivalent: "Better the Devil you know."
  • "Parempi päivä elettynä kuin kaksi kuoltuna."
    • Translation: "Better a day alive than two dead."
  • "Parempi virsta väärään kuin vaaksa vaaraan."
    • Literal translation: "Better a verst into the wrong [direction], than a span into danger."
    • Translation: "Better a mile of detour than an inch of a dangerous way."
  • "Parempi vähän annettu kuin paljon luvattu."
    • Translation: "Better the little that is given, than the plentiful that is promised."
  • "Pata kattilaa soimaa."
    • Literal translation: "The pot reproaching the kettle."
    • English equivalent: "The pot calling the kettle black."
  • "Pessimisti ei pety."
    • Translation: "A pessimist will not get disappointed."
  • "Pieniä on silakat joulukaloiksi."
    • Translation: "Herrings are quite small to be served at christmas dinner."
    • Notes: Observing a lack of resources.
  • "Puhtaus on puoli ruokaa."
    • Literal translation: "Cleanliness is half a meal."
    • Translation: "Keeping yourself and your food clean, you'll get more from it."
    • English equivalent: "Cleanliness is next to godliness."
  • "Puhuen asiat selkenevät."
    • Translation: "Through talking things will be solved."
  • "Puhumatta paras."
    • Translation: "Withouth talk [is the] best [way]."

R

  • "Raja se on raittiudellakin."
    • Translation: "Even abstinence has its limit."
  • "Rahalla saa ja hevosella pääsee."
    • Translation: "With money one gets, with a horse one goes."
  • "Rahasta saa vaikka kirkossa tapella."
    • Translation: "For money one might even fight in a church."
  • "Raha tulee rahan luo."
    • Translation: "Money comes to money."
    • English equivalent: "Them's that's got, gets."
  • "Rakkaalla lapsella on monta nimeä."
    • Literal translation: "A dear child has many names."
    • Notes: Something popular is known by many names (has many synonyms); or something that is fundamental/universal, will have a word for it in every language.
  • "Rakkaudesta se hevonenkin potkii."
    • Literal translation: "Even a horse will kick out of love."
    • Notes: Used, when somebody acts silly out of love.
  • "Rehellisyys maan perii."
    • Translation: "Honesty will inherit the earth."
  • "Riita repii, rauha rakentaa."
    • Translation: "An argument rips, but peace builds."
  • "Rohkea rokan syö, kaino ei saa kaaliakaan."
    • Literal translation: "A brave man eats the soup, a shy won't even get cabbage."
    • Notes: Used to motivate someone to do a certain thing.

S

  • "Saat viisaan nimen, jos et virka mitään."
    • Translation: "You will be named after a wise man, if you keep your mouth shut."
    • Notes: Wisdom is not measured by the amount of talking.
    • English equivalent: "A silent man is a wise one."
  • "Samanlaiset linnut lentävät yhdessä."
    • Translation: "The same kind of birds fly together."
    • English equivalent: "Birds of a feather fly together." or "Birds of a feather flock together."
  • "Sanasta miestä, sarvesta härkää."
    • Translation: "A man by his word, an oxe by its horn."
  • "Sattuuhan sitä paremmisakin perheissä."
    • Translation: "It can happen even in better families."
  • "Sauna on köyhän apteekki."
    • Translation: "The sauna is a poor mans pharmacy."
  • "Se ei pelaa, joka pelkää."
    • Translation: "He who is afraid does not gamble."
  • "Se härjistä puhuu, joka härjillä ajaa."
    • Translation: "The man that talks about oxes, is the man that drives oxes."
  • "Se koira älähtää, johon kalikka kalahtaa."
    • Translation: "The dog will howl, which is hit by the stick ."
    • Notes: Used, when someone reacts to accuses that were not directed against this person in particular.
    • English equivalent: "If the shoe fits, wear it." or "The lady doth protest too much."
  • "Se mies ei heiniä tee joka pilviä katsoo."
    • Translation: "The man who stares at the clouds will not cut any hay."
  • "Se mikä on ollutta, on mennyttä."
    • Translation: "What has been is gone."
    • English equivalent: "It's all water under the bridge."
  • "Sen minkä ilotta oppii, sen suruttaa unohtaa."
    • Translation: "What one learns without joy, one forgets without grief."
  • "Sen minkä taakseen jättää, edestään löytää."
    • Translation: "What you leave behind, you will find in front of you."
    • English equivalent: "What comes around, goes around."
  • "Se parhaiten nauraa joka viimeksi nauraa."
    • Translation: "He who laughs last, will have the best laugh."
  • "Seura tekee kaltaisekseen."
    • Translation: "The company makes one alike."
  • "Sitä saa mitä tilaa."
    • Translation: "One gets what one orders."
    • Notes: Compare "Niin makaa kuin petaa".
  • "Siitä puhe mistä puute."
    • Translation: "One talks about what one does not have."
  • "Silmistä sielu paistaa."
    • Translation: "The soul shines from the eyes."
  • "Silmät ovat sielun peili."
    • Translation: "The eyes are the mirror of the soul."
    • English equivalent: "The eyes are the windows to the soul."
  • "Suku on pahin."
    • Literal translation: "Family is the worst."
  • "Suu säkkiä myöten."
    • Translation: "[Adjust] the mouth in accordance with the bag."
    • English equivalent: "Don't bite more than you can chew."
  • "Suuttua saa, vaan ei vihoissaan olla."
    • Translation: "It's okay to get mad, but one shouldn't stay angry."
  • "Suu valehtelee, silmät puhuvat totta."
    • Translation: "The mouth lies, but the eyes tell the truth."
  • "Sääli on sairautta."
    • Translation: "Compassion is an illness."
  • "Sääliä saa ilmaiseksi, mutta kateus on ansaittava."
    • Translation: "Pity you get for free, but jealousy you must earn."
  • "Sää sodatkin estää."
    • Translation: "[Bad] weather prevents even wars."
  • "Söisi kattikin kaloja, vaan ei kastais kynsiänsä."
    • Translation: "A cat would eat the fish, but not be ready to wet its paws."

T

  • "Tilaisuus tekee varkaan."
    • Translation: "The opportunity makes a thief."
  • "Tie miehen sydämeen vie vatsan kautta."
    • Translation: "The way to a man's heart leads through his stomach."
  • "Tieto lisää tuskaa."
    • Translation: "Knowledge adds pain."
    • English equivalent: "Ignorance is bliss."
  • "Tieto on taidon perusta."
    • Translation: "Knowledge is the foundation of skill."
    • Notes: Alternative translation: "Knowledge is the foundation of art."
  • "Toivossa on hyvä elää."
    • Translation: "It's good to live in hope."
  • "Tyhjät tynnyrit kolisevat eniten."
    • Translation "Empty barrels clack the most [when being rolled along]."
  • "Tyhmäkin käy viisaasta, jos suunsa kiinni pitää."
    • Translation: "Even a stupid one seems wise if he keeps his mouth shut."
  • "Tyhmästä päästä kärsii koko ruumis."
    • Translation: "Of a stupid head the whole body has to suffer."
  • "Tyttö nuorena, kahvi kuumana."
    • Translation: "A girl young and a coffee hot."
  • "Tyvestä puuhun noustaan"
    • Translation: "A tree is climbed from its base."
  • "Työ tekijäänsä kiittää."
    • Literal translation: "Work thanks its doer."
    • Translation: "Work is rewarding."
  • "Työ tekijäänsä opettaa."
    • Literal translation: "Work educates the working."
    • English equivalent: "Learning by doing."

V

  • "Vahingosta viisastuu."
    • Translation: "An accident makes one wiser."
  • "Vaihtelu virkistää."
    • Translation: "Variation refreshes."
  • "Valheella on lyhyet jalat."
    • Translation: "Lies have short legs."
  • "Vastamäessä mies syntyy, jos syntyy."
    • Literal translation: "A man is born in uphill, if he's born."
    • Translation: "A man is made in times of struggle, if he conquers these."
  • "Velka on veli ottaessa, veljenpoika maksettaessa."
    • Translation: "A loan is a brother when taken, a nephew when paid back."
  • "Vesi vanhin voitehista."
    • Translation: "Water is the oldest salve."
  • "Vian ei tarvitse olla suuri, jos se on päässä."
    • Translation: "The flaw doesn't need to be big, if it is in the head."
  • "Viina on viisasten juoma."
    • Translation: "Liquor is the drink of wise men."
    • Notes: Points out, that only who can control himself should drink.
  • "Viisas tyhmä on viisaampi kuin tyhmä viisas."
    • Translation: "A wise fool is wiser than a foolish wise man."
  • "Vähiin käy ennenkuin loppuu."
    • Translation: "It gets less before it's gone."

Y

  • "Yksi mätä omena pilaa koko korin."
    • English equivalent: "One bad apple spoils the bunch."
  • "Yksi tykkää äidistä, toinen tyttärestä."
    • Translation: "One likes the mother, another one the daughter."
  • "Yksi tyhmä kysyy enemmän, kuin kymmenen viisasta ehtii vastata."
    • Translation: "One stupid person asks more than ten wise ones can spare time answering."
  • "Yrittäminen on ensimmäinen askel epäonnistumiseen."
    • Translation: "Trying is the first step towards failing."

Ä

  • Älä itke ruma lapsi, ei se itku kaunista
    • Translation: "Don't cry, ugly child, crying won't make you any more beautiful"
    • Meaning: complaining and whining won't make a hopeless situation any better
  • "Älä itke ruma lapsi, huomenna ostetaan naamari."
    • Translation: "Don't cry, ugly child, tomorrow we'll buy you a mask."
  • "Älä laita kaikkia munia samaan koriin."
    • Translation: "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."
  • "Ällös lainaa kulloinkaan suuntaan kumpaankaan."
    • Literal translation: "Never have loans, in neither direction."
    • Translation: "Never give or take a credit"
  • "Äänellänsä se variskin nauraa."
    • Translation: "With its voice even the crow laughs."