Malay proverbs

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Our affections as well as our bodies are in perpetual flux.
Jean Jacques Rousseau
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The Malay archipelago consists of several groups of different Malays, therefore proverbs will differ from place to place (Indonesian proverbs may be slightly, or variedly different from Malaysian proverbs). In the Malay language, the proverbs are known as simpulan bahasa. Here they are arranged in alphabetical order based on the first letter of the sentence:


  • Ada air, adalah ikan [1]
    • Literal translation: Where there is water, there is fish.


  • Ada aku dipandang hadap, tiada aku dipandang belakang [1]


  • Ada angin, ada pokoknya [1]
    • Literal translation: Where there is wind, there are trees.


  • Ada batang, cendawan tumbuh [1]
    • Literal translation: Where there is a branch, fungi grows.


  • Ada batang mati, adalah cendawan tumbuh [1]
    • Literal translation: Where there is dead branch, there fungi grows.


  • Ada beras, taruh dalam padi [1]


  • Ada biduk, serempu pula [1]


  • Ada bukit, ada paya [1]
    • Literal translation: Where there are hills, there are swamps.


  • Ada gula, ada semut [1]
    • Literal translation: Where there is sugar, there are ants.


  • Ada hari, ada nasi [1]
    • Literal translation: Where there is a day, there is rice.


  • Ada hujan ada panas, ada hari boleh balas [1]


  • Ada jarum, hendaklah ada benangnya [1]
    • Literal translation: Where there is needle, there is thread.


  • Ada kerak, ada nasi [1]


  • Ada laut, ada perampok [1]


  • Ada nasi di balik kerak [1]


  • Ada nyawa, ada rezeki [1]


  • Ada padang, ada belalangnya [1]
    • Literal translation: Where there is field, there are grasshoppers.


  • Ada padi, segala menjadi [1]
    • Literal translation: Where there is paddy, everything works.


  • Ada padi masak, adalah pipit [1]


  • Ada padi, semua kerja jadi; ada beras, semua kerja deras [1]


  • Ada persembahan, ada kurnia [1]


  • Ada rotan, ada duri [1]
    • Literal translation: Where there is rattan, there are thorns.


  • Ada rupa, ada harga


  • Ada seperti tampaknya apung-apung [1]


  • Air dicincang tidak akan putus


  • Air di daun keladi [1]


  • Air pun ada pasang surutnya [2]


  • Air sama air, sampah ke tepi juga [2]
    • Literal translation: Water and water, rubbish moves aside.
    • Do not get involved in a sibling or family dispute because when they get back together, one will be left out.


  • Alah bisa tegal biasa [1]


  • Alah membeli, menang memakai [2]


  • Alah sabung, menang sorak [2]
    • Literal translation: Lose at fighting, win at cheering.


  • Alang-alang menyeluk pekasam, biar sampai ke pangkal lengan
    • Literal translation: Since you happen to put your hand in a container full of pickles, might as well dip your whole arm in the container.
    • If you are going to do something, you might as well go all the way. This comes from the fact that the ripest pickles sink to the bottom, thus if a person is putting their hand in the jar, they might as well go all the way and take the best from the bottom of the jar. Compare to in for a penny, in for a pound.


  • Anjing itu, meskipun dirantai dengan rantai emas, nescaya berulang-ulang juga ia ke tempat najis [1]


  • Anjing menyalak di ekor gajah [1]
    • Literal translation: Dog barking at elephant's tail.
    • A weakling trying to challenge a person with power.


  • Anjing terpanggang ekor [1]
    • Literal translation: Dog mis-roasted his tail.


  • Api dalam sekam


  • Arang itu, jika dibasuh dengan air mawar sekalipun, tiada akan putih [1]


  • Ayam ditambat disambar elang, padi di tangan tumbuh lalang [1]


  • Babi merasa gulai [1]
    • Literal translation: Pig tasting gravy.


  • Bacang dibungkus, tentu baunya keluar juga [1]
    • Keeping a secret that is already known to others.


  • Badak makan anak [1]
    • Literal translation: Hippopotamus eat (its own) offspring.


  • Badan bersaudara; emas perak tiada bersaudara; kasih saudara sama ada, kasih bapa menokok harta yang ada, kasih ibu sama rata; kasih sahabat sama binasa [1]


  • Badan boleh dimiliki, hati tiada boleh dimiliki [1]
    • Literal translation: Body can be owned, heart cannot be owned.


  • Badan sudah dua senyawa [1]


  • Bagai air daun talas [1]


  • Bagai air mencari jenisnya [1]
    • Literal translation: Like water looking for its own kind.


  • Bagai air titik ke batu [1]
    • Literal translation: Like water dripping onto stone.


  • Bagai anak dara mabuk andam [1]


  • Bagai anak dara sudah berlaki [1]
    • Literal translation: Like a virgin already have a husband.


  • Bagai anak nangui [1]


  • Bagai anak sepat ketohoran [1]
    • Loafing and lazing at peoples' houses.


  • Bagai anjing beranak enam [1]
    • Literal translation: Like a dog gave birth to six litters.
    • Very thin (human figure).


  • Bagai anjing buruk kepala [1]


  • Bagai anjing melintang denai [1]


  • Bagai anjing tersepit di pagar [1]
    • Literal translation: Like dog stuck in fence.


  • Bagai api dengan rabuk [1]


  • Bagai ara hanyut [1]


  • Bagai aur bergantung ke tebing, bagai tebing bergantung ke aur [1]


  • Bagai aur di atas bukit [1]


  • Bagai ayam dibawa ke lampok [1]


  • Bagai ayam dimakan tungau [1]


  • Bagai ayam disambar elang [1]
    • Literal translation: Like chicken snatched by eagle.
    • Die without pain.


  • Bagai ayam kena kepala [1]
    • Unable to do anything.
    • Dumbfounded.


  • Bagai beruk kena belacan
    • Literal translation: Like a monkey who eats belacan (a Malay traditional foodstuff; chilli paste which is pungent and spicy ala chili con carne).
    • Describing a person who is in a state of panic or hyperactivity, as a monkey would be shouting and screaming after eating said food.


  • Bagai halilintar menyambut petir [3]


  • Bagai kambing takutkan hujan [1]
    • Literal translation: Like goat scared of rain.


  • Bagai kucing dengan balur [1]


  • Bagai menghitung bulu kambing [1]
    • Literal translation: Like counting goat's fur.


  • Bagai pungguk rindukan bulan [1]
    • Literal translation: Like owl misses the moon.


  • Bagaikan aur dengan tebing
    • Literal translation: Like the waves and shore.


  • Bagaikan ibu ketam mengajar anaknya berjalan betul
    • Literal translation: Like a mother crab teaching her kids to walk properly.


  • Bagaikan isi dengan kuku
    • Literal translation: Like flesh and nails (of fingers or toes).


  • Bagaikan kacang lupakan kulit
    • Literal translation: Like the peanut, who forgets its shell.
    • A person who forgets/denies his roots


  • Bagaikan mencurah air ke daun keladi
    • Literal translation: Like pouring water on yam leaves.


  • Bahasa jiwa bangsa
    • Literal translation: Language is the heart of a nation.


  • Belakang parang jika diasah lagikan tajam


  • Berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu memikul [3]


  • Berat sama dipikul, ringan sama dijinjing
    • A heavy load should be borne together as well as a light load. Compare also a trouble shared is a trouble halved.


  • Beri betis, hendak paha
    • Literal translation: When a calf is given, a thigh is requested.
    • A greedy person will always ask for more.


  • Berkerat rotan, berpatah arang


  • Berpantang maut sebelum ajal
    • Literal translation: Never to die before death.


  • Bersakit-sakit dahulu, bersenang-senang kemudian


  • Bersatu kita teguh, bercerai kita roboh
    • Literal translation: United we stand, divided we fall


  • Bertepuk sebelah tangan manakan berbunyi
    • Literal translation: Clapping with one hand won't make a sound.
    • Compare: It takes two to tango.


  • Besar bungkus tak berisi [1]


  • Biar berputih tulang, jangan berputih mata
    • Literal translation: Let the bones white, don't let the eyes white.
    • Stay and fight instead of turn and run.
    • The 'bones white' points to the color of the bone.
    • The 'eyes white' points to when the eyes turn away, the white eye part shows.


  • Biar lambat asalkan selamat


  • Biar pecah di perut, jangan pecah di mulut
    • Literal translation: Let it break in the stomach, don't let it break at the mouth.
    • No matter what happens, keep this a secret.


  • Biar ular mati, kayu tiada patah [1]


  • Biduk berlalu, kiambang bertaut [3]


  • Bulat air kerana pembentung, bulat masyarakat kerana muafakat [1]


  • Buruk muka, cermin dibelah [1]
    • Literal translation: Ugly face, mirror cut.
    • Oneself is unclever yet blame others.


  • Burung terbang dipipiskan lada [3]


  • Cacing hendak menjadi naga [1]
    • Literal translation: Worm wants to be dragon.


  • Cacing menelan naga [1]
    • Literal translation: Worm swallows dragon.


  • Cakak sudah, silat teringat [1]


  • Cakap berdegar-degar, tahi tersangkut di gelegar [3]


  • Cakap berlauk-lauk, makan dengan sambal lada [3]


  • Calak-calak ganti asah, menanti tukang belum datang [3]


  • Campak baju nampak kurap [3]


  • Campak baju nampak kurap seperti anak kacang hantu [3]


  • Campak bunga dibalas dengan campak tahi [3]


  • Cempedak menjadi nangka


  • Cubit peha kanan, peha kiri terasa sakit
    • Literal translation: Pinch right thigh, left thigh feels pain.


  • Dada manusia tidak dapat diselam [1]


  • Dagangan bersambut yang dijualnya [1]


  • Dahan pembaji batang [1]


  • Dalam berselam, dangkal berjingkat [1]


  • Dalam dua, tengah tiga [1]
    • Literal translation: Inside, two; middle, three.
    • Dishonest.


  • Dalam laut boleh diduga, dalam hati siapa tahu [1]


  • Dalam menunduk dia menyonggeng [1]


  • Dalam menyelam, cetek bertimba [1]


  • Dalam rumah membuat rumah [1]


  • Dalam sudah keajukan, dangkal sudah keseberangan [1]


  • Di mana ada gula, di situ ada semut


  • Di mana ada kemahuan, di situ ada jalan
    • Where there's a will, there's a way.


  • Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung
    • Literal translation: On which soil we stand on, that is where we carry the weight of the sky.
    • We should follow the local customs and way of life, or respect it. Also, we should be loyal to the land in whose soil we gain profit. Somewhat similar to 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do'.


  • Diam-diam ubi berisi, diam-diam besi berkarat
    • Literal translation: Casava (Manihot esculenta) grows abundant in silence, but iron corrodes in silence.
    • Explanation: Casava is a plant whose leaves and root are used mostly in Malay dishes. Unlike potatoes, casava continues to grow even when its roots are ripe for the picking, hence the proverb casava grows abundant in silence. Iron of course refers to daily tools, that are, if left inert (silence) will become rusty and useless. The gist of this is when someone goes into hiding, goes away for some time, or simply becomes silent, he could either be thinking about/doing something important, or nothing at all, and this differs from one person to the next.


  • Digantung tak bertali
    • Literal translation: Hung without a rope.
    • Refers marriage where a husband leaves the wife to fend on her own but however is still married to her.


  • Disangka panas sampai ke petang, rupa-rupanya hujan di tengah jalan
    • Literal translation: Thought it would be hot until evening, turns out it rained on the way.
    • Plan gone awry on the way.


  • Ditelan, mati emak; diluah, mati bapak [1]


  • Dua ekor gajah berjuang, seekor kancil mati tersepit di tengah [1]


  • Gabak di hulu tanda akan hujan, cewang di langit tanda akan panas [1]


  • Gadai terdorong ke Cina [1]


  • Gadai terdorong ke pajak, sehari sebulan juga [1]


  • Gading pada gajah yang sudah keluar itu bolehkah dimasukkan pula? [1]


  • Gagak bersuara murai [1]


  • Gagak dimandikan tujuh kali sehari pun, takkan putih bulunya [1]


  • Gagak lalu, punggur rebah [1]


  • Gaharu dibakar, kemenyan berbau [1]


  • Gajah berak besar, kancil pun hendak berak besar, akhirnya mati kebebangan [1]


  • Gajah bergajah-gajah, pelanduk mati tersepit [1]


  • Gajah berhati, kuman pun berhati juga [1]


  • Gajah berjuang sama gajah, pelanduk mati di tengah-tengah [1]


  • Gajah dialahkan oleh pelanduk [1]


  • Gajah dipandang seperti kuman [1]


  • Gajah ditelan ular lidi [1]


  • Gajah empat kaki lagi tersaruk [1]


  • Gajah harimau di hutan hendak diburu, pijat-pijat di bantal tak dapat dihapuskan [1]


  • Gajah hendak berak besar, kita pun hendak berak besar juga [1]


  • Gajah lalu dibeli, kusa tidak terbeli [1]


  • Gajah lalu, kumpai layu [1]


  • Gajah masuk kampung, kalau kayu tak tumbang, rumput layu juga [1]


  • Gajah mati dicatuk katak [1]


  • Gajah mati kerana gadingnya [1]


  • Gajah mati meninggalkan tulang, harimau mati meninggalkan belang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama [1]


  • Gajah mati, tulang setimbun [1]


  • Gajah seberang laut nampak, kuman depan mata tak nampak
    • Literal translation: Elephant across the seas can be seen, germs in front of the eyes is unseen.
    • The bad of others can be seen, one's bad goes unnoticed.


  • Genggam bara api, biar sampai jadi arang [1]


  • Guna-guna alu, sesudah menumbuk dicampakkan [1]


  • Gunting dalam lipatan
    • Literal translation: Scissors within the fold (of cloth).


  • Habis adat kerana kerelaan [1]


  • Habis air setelaga, arang dibasuh tak putih [1]


  • Habis akal, baru tawakal [1]


  • Habis beralur, maka beralu-alu [1]


  • Habis cupak dari pelelehan [1]


  • Habis geli oleh geletek, habis rasa oleh biasa [1]


  • Habis hulubalang, bersiak [1]


  • Habis kapak berganti beliung [1]


  • Habis kuman disembelih hendak memberi makan gajah [1]


  • Habis madu, sepah dibuang
    • Literal translation: Once the sweetness is gone, the leftover is discarded.


  • Hanya jauhari mengenal manikam
    • Literal translation: Only a jeweler recognizes a diamond.


  • Harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi


  • Harimau mati kerana belangnya [1]


  • Harimau mati meninggalkan belang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama
    • Literal translation: Tigers die leaving their stripes (of their fur), but humans die leaving their names (reputation).
    • A person dies but his deeds live on.


  • Hati kuman sama dicicah, hati gajah sama dilapah


  • Hendak seribu daya, tak hendak seribu dalih
    • Literal translation: If you want something, you'll do absolutely anything to obtain it. But if you don't want something, you'll give a thousand excuses to refrain from it.


  • Hidung tak mancung, pipi tersorong-sorong


  • Hidup segan, mati tidak mahu


  • Hujan emas di negeri orang, hujan batu di negeri sendiri, lebih baik negeri sendiri
    • Literal translation: Gold rains in foreign countries, while hailstone drops on own country, still one's own country is better.
    • Anywhere is always lesser than one's homeland, no matter how lacking it can be.


  • Ibarat ayam; tiada mengais, tiada makan [1]


  • Ibarat beban belum lepas dari bahu [1]


  • Ibarat beban sudah ke tepi [1]


  • Ibarat bunga; segar dipakai, layu dibuang [1]


  • Ibarat bunga dedap; sungguh merah, berbau tidak [3]


  • Ibarat burung; mata terlepas, badan terkurung [1]


  • Ibarat burung; mulut manis jangan dipakai [1]


  • Ibarat dakwat dengan kertas; bila boleh renggang, terlepas [1]


  • Ibarat gasing; berpaku tetap berpusing, tak berpaku merayau [1]


  • Ibarat kutu; boleh diselisik [1]


  • Ibarat negeri berubah rasam, ibarat tahun berubah musim [1]


  • Ibarat pasir; sekali air dalam, sekali berubah [1]


  • Ibarat perahu; takkan karam sebelah [1]


  • Ibarat rumput yang sudah kering; ditimpa hujan segar kembali [1]


  • Ijuk sebelembang, tali di situ, keluan di situ


  • Ikan biar dapat, serampang jangan pukah


  • Ikan dalam keroncong [1]


  • Ikan di gulai sudah melompat [1]


  • Ikan di hulu, tuba di hilir [1]


  • Ikan di kuali habis melompat [1]


  • Ikut hati mati, ikut rasa binasa


  • Ikutlah resmi padi, makin tunduk makin berisi. Janganlah ikut resmi lalang, makin tinggi makin tiada berisi [4]


  • Jangan bersultan di mata, bersyaitan di hati
    • Literal translation: Don't show sultan in the eyes but have satan at heart.
    • Don't be two-faced.


  • Jangan berumah di tepi pantai jika takut dipukul ombak
    • Literal translation: Don't bulild a house on near the beach if afraid of being hit by waves.
    • Don't do it if you are afraid of taking the risks.


  • Jangan disangka air yang tenang tiada buaya.
    • Literal translation: Do not think that placid water is without crocodiles.
    • A serene façade can hide many secrets. Compare to still waters run deep.


  • Jauh panggang dari bara


  • Jika kail panjang sejengkal, lautan dalam jangan diduga
    • Literal translation: If the hook is only nay long, don't try the deep seas.


  • Jikalau beranak, ikut kata bidan [1]
    • Literal translation: If giving birth, follow the the midwife's orders.


  • Jikalau tiada angin, masakan pokok bergoyang
    • Literal translation: If there is no wind, the tree won't shake.


  • Kain basah kering di pinggang [1]


  • Kais pagi makan pagi, kais petang makan petang


  • Kasturi mati kerana baunya [1]


  • Katak di bawah tempurung [5]
    • Literal translation: Frog under coconut shell


  • Ke mana tumpahnya kuah jika tidak ke nasi
    • Literal translation: To where does the gravy fall if not onto the rice.
    • Compare: Chip off the old block.


  • Kecil jangan disangka anak, besar jangan disangka bapak [3]
    • Literal translation: Small don't think child, big don't think father.


  • Kera di hutan disusukan, anak di rumah mati kelaparan
    • Literal translation: The ape in the forest is fed, the child at home starves to death.


  • Kura-kura di dalam perahu, pura-pura tak tahu [1]
    • Literal translation: Tortoise in the boat, pretend to not know.
    • perahu and tak tahu rhymes
    • Asking something already known.


  • Lain padang lain belalang, lain orang lain ragam
    • Literal translation: Different fields have different grasshoppers, different people have different attitudes.


  • Laksana katak diharung ular [1]


  • Lembu punya susu, sapi dapat nama
    • Literal translation: Milk belongs to the cow, but the bull cow gets the name.
    • Plagiarism in its essence; one man's sweat becomes another man's glory.


  • Luka di tangan, nampak berdarah; luka di hati, siapa tahu [1]


  • Mabuk di enggan lalu [1]
    • Attracted to a stranger.


  • Mabuk kerana beruk berayun [1]
    • Literal translation: Crazy because of swinging monkeys.
    • Crazy over a beautiful woman who he may never have.
    • Watching something worthless, i.e, porn.


  • Macam anak dara tak datang tunangnya [1]
    • Literal translation: Like a virgin whose fiancee isn't coming.
    • Always procrastinating.
    • Work is never complete.
    • Too slow.


  • Macam betung seruas [1]
    • Too honest.


  • Macam daun terup; bunyinya degah-deguh, degah-deguh jatuh ke bawah [1]
    • Like an idiot who talks too much.


  • Macam kepiting jalan [1]
    • A person who walks sideways.


  • Macam kera kelaparan [1]


  • Macam kikir besi [1]
    • Miser.


  • Macam memegang tali layang-layang [1]
    • Literal translation: Like holding a kite's string.
    • A person with authority on the lives of one or many.


  • Macam orang biduk [1]


  • Makan boleh sebarang makan, cakap jangan sebarang cakap
    • Literal translation: Eat just about anything, don't talk just about anything.
    • Watch your mouth/words.


  • Malu berkayuh, perahu hanyut; malu bertanya, sesat jalan [1]


  • Marahkan nyamuk, kelambu dibakar
    • Literal translation: Just because you are irritated by a mosquito, you burn the mosquito net.
    • Creating so much ado over so small a matter/problem.


  • Masuk kandang lembu menguak, masuk kandang kambing mengembek
    • Literal translation: Enter the cow's shed moo, enter the goats shed bleat.
    • When in a foreign land, adapt to the local culture.


  • Mati dicatuk katak


  • Mati kuang kerana bunyi [1]


  • Mati rusa kerana jejak, mati kuau kerana bunyi [1]


  • Mati rusa kerana tanduknya [1]


  • Mayat sudah di tepi kubur [1]


  • Melentur buluh biarlah dari rebungnya
    • Literal translation: To bend a bamboo, start when it's still a shoot.
    • Start cultivating good values in a very early age. An English equivalent is "Strike the iron while it's hot."


  • Melepaskan batuk di tangga
    • Literal translation: Releasing cough on the steps.
    • Performing a task without heart and soul


  • Melukut tepi gantang


  • Membujur lalu, melintang patah
    • Literal translation: If unhinder, will pass, if block will fight.


  • Menanam tebu di pinggir bibir
    • Literal translation: Planting sugarcane on the edge of the lips.


  • Mendengar guruh di langit, air di tempayan dicurahkan
    • Literal translation: Emptying water out of its tank at the sound of thunder.
    • Describing an action in which the person throws away his belongings/riches/fortunes at the first sign of a greater fortune/riches/belongings, although it is still uncertain.


  • Menyimpan embacang masak [1]


  • Musuh dalam selimut
    • Literal translation: Enemy under the blanket.


  • Nampak gabak di hulu [1]


  • Nasi sudah menjadi bubur
    • Literal translation: Rice has become porridge.
    • Once a change occurred, it is irreversible, as porridge cannot change to rice again.


  • Pantang elang dengan ayam, lambat-laun disambarnya juga [1]


  • Perigi mencari timba
    • Literal translation: A well looking for a bucket.
    • A woman looking for a man instead of a man looking for a woman.


  • Pucuk dicita, ulam mendatang


  • Rumah sudah siap, pahat masih berbunyi
    • Literal translation: The house is finished but the chisel is still making sounds.


  • Sebab nila setitik, rosak susu sebelanga
    • Literal translation: Because of a drop of blue dye, a whole pot of milk is contaminated
    • Just because of a person's fault, the whole community/group related to the person gets a bad reputation.


  • Sebab pulut santan binasa, sebab mulut badan binasa


  • Sedangkan gajah yang besar dan berkaki empat lagi tersandung [1]


  • Sediakan payung sebelum hujan
    • Prepare the umbrella before it rains. The Malay variant to scout's motto Be Prepared.


  • Sedikit-sedikit,lama-lama menjadi bukit
    • Literal translation: Bit by bit, in the end it becomes a hill.
    • To do something big, you start with something small.


  • Sejengkal menjadi sehasta [3]


  • Sekali air bah, sekali pasir berubah
    • Literal translation: When a flood hits, the surroundings change with it.
    • After a change, everything is never the same again.


  • Sekali air besar, sekali tepian beranjak [1]


  • Sekilas ikan di air, sudah tahu jantan betina
    • Literal translation: A glance at the fish in the water, already know male or female.


  • Sepantun elang dengan ayam, lambat-laun disambar juga [1]


  • Seperti air dalam kolam [1]


  • Seperti anjing dengan kucing [1]


  • Seperti anjing kepala busuk [1]


  • Seperti ayam berak kapur


  • Seperti Belanda meminta tanah
    • Literal translation: Like Dutch asking for land (note: the Dutch used to colonise Indonesia and Malacca, now a state in west Malaysia)
    • A greedy person will always ask for more.


  • Seperti beruk mendapat bunga
    • Literal translation: Like an ape getting a flower.
    • Doesn't know how to appreciate.


  • Seperti bumi dengan langit
    • Literal translation: The earth compared to the sky.
    • Different in every conceivable way.


  • Seperti cendawan tumbuh selepas hujan
    • Literal translation: Like mushrooms growing after rain.


  • Seperti garam jatuh dalam air [1]


  • Seperti layang-layang putus talinya
    • Literal translation: Like a kite whose string broke.


  • Seperti melepaskan anjing tersepit
    • Literal translation: Like freeing a trapped dog.


  • Seperti menunggu bulan jatuh ke riba
    • Literal translation: Like waiting for the moon to fall on the laps.


  • Seperti menunggu kucing bertanduk
    • Literal translation: Like waiting for a horned cat.


  • Seperti orang mengantuk disorongkan bantal
    • Literal translation: Like a sleepy person is given a pillow.


  • Seperti Si Luncai terjun dengan labunya
    • Literal translation: Like Si Luncai jumping with his pumpkin.
    • Si Luncai is a Malay folklore. Si Luncai was aboard a ship when he jumped with his pumpkin.


  • Sesal dahulu pendapatan, Sesal kemudian tiada gunanya
    • Literal translation: Being regretful early will be advantageous, being regretful later is of no use.
    • Compare: Think before you leap


  • Sesat di hujung jalan, balik ke pangkal jalan [1]


  • Setinggi-tinggi tupai melompat, akhirnya jatuh ke tanah juga.
    • Literal translation: No matter how high the squirrel jumps, it will eventually fall onto the ground.
    • Smart people do make mistakes at times.
    • Further explanation: Sometimes, setinggi-tinggi is substituted with sepandai-pandai. Although both have different meanings - tinggi means high while pandai means clever - it carries the same meaning. Most of the time, though, this particular proverb has always been associated with criminals, in a way that no matter how clever they try to avoid getting caught, they will not be able to stay that way forever.


  • Sudah jatuh, ditimpa tangga
    • Literal translation: After falling, the ladder falls upon you.
    • After one bad thing another follows.


  • Sudah terhantuk baru nak tengadah
    • Literal translation: You look up after you already hit your head.
    • An action deemed too late as the incident has already happened.


  • Tak lapuk dek hujan, tak lekang dek panas


  • Tak tahu menari, dikatakan lantai jongkang-jongket
    • Literal translation: Because of lack of talent in dancing, the floor is blamed. (i.e. uneven, bumpy etc.etc.) i.e A bad workman often blames his tools.


  • Takkan lari gunung dikejar
    • Literal translation: The mountain chased after will not run away.


  • Terlajak perahu, boleh diundur; terlajak kata, buruk padahnya [1]


  • Tong kosong berbunyi nyaring [1]


  • Tuah ayam dilihat pada taji di kaki, tuah manusia tiada siapa tahu
    • Literal translation: A chicken's luck is on the claw of its feet, a person's luck nobody knows.


  • Umpama kaca dengan permata [1]


  • Untung sabut timbul, untung batu tenggelam
    • Literal translation:A coconut husk's luck floats, a stone's luck sinks.


  • Yang menang menjadi abu, yang kalah menjadi arang
    • Literal translation: The winner becomes ashes, the loser becomes coal.
    • Worthless fight, neither sides win nor lose.


  • Yang patah tumbuh, yang hilang berganti
    • Literal translation: What is broken-off grows back (i.e., broken tree branches), what is lost is replaced.


  • Yang bulat tak datang bergolek, yang pipih tak datang melayang
    • Literal translation: Round object will not roll over, flat object will not fly over.
    • You have to make an effort to achieve something.


References


External links