Mexican proverbs

From Quotes
Can't nothing make your life work if you ain't the architect.
Terry McMillan
Jump to: navigation, search

Mexican proverbs ("refranes Mexicanos") are Spanish-language proverbs unique to Mexican idiosyncrasy and folklore. As with most of Mexican culture it is product of the blending of local and foreign culture in the Spanish Colonization.

Sourced

Unsourced

  • "A caballo dado, no le veas el colmillo"
    • Alternative:
      • "A caballo dado, no le busques el colmillo"
    • "You don't look a gift horse in the mouth"
    • Meaning, you don't inspect in detail that which was given.


  • "A donde fueres, haz lo que vieres"
    • "To where you go, do as you see"
    • Meaning, adapt yourself to the local customs.


  • "Agua que no has de beber, déjala correr"
    • "Water you are not going to drink, let it run"
    • Meaning, do not keep resources you are not going to use.


  • "Al mal paso, darle prisa"
    • "To bad steps, make them quick"
    • Meaning, if in a bad situation, get out of it quickly.


  • "Al mal tiempo, buena cara"
    • "To bad times, good face"
    • Meaning, be positive even in bad situations.


  • "Cría cuervos y te sacarán los ojos"
    • "Breed crows and they will take out your eyes"
    • "You reap what you sow"


  • "Al que madruga, Dios lo ayuda"
    • "Who wakes up early, God will help"
    • Meaning, "if you start early, things will be easier or better." Also: "The early bird catches the worm"


  • "Árbol que crece torcido jamás su tronco endereza"
    • Alternatives:
      • "Árbol que nace torcido jamás su tronco endereza"
      • "Rama que sale torcida jamás su tronco endereza"
    • "Tree which grows bent will never get straight again"
    • Meaning, that which starts wrong will never get right.


  • "Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente"
    • "Shrimp that sleeps gets carried by the tide"
    • Meaning, if you get distracted (or asleep), you will be left behind; or you snooze you lose.


  • "Cuando el río suena es que agua lleva"
    • Alternatives:
      • "Si el río suena es que agua lleva"
      • "Si el río suena es porque piedras lleva"
    • "If the river sounds it is because it is carrying water"
    • Meaning, if there are rumors, there must be some truth behind them.


  • "Donde fuego hubo cenizas quedan"
    • "Where fire was ashes remain"
    • Meaning, there is always something left of the events that happen. Usually this "refrán" is used in passional themes, where there was love, there is always some left. Or talking about an old flame.


  • "El burro trabaja doble"
    • "The donkey works twice as hard"
    • "A jackass works twice as hard"
    • Work smart, not hard (donkey is considered a stupid animal)


  • "El miedo no anda en burro"
    • "Fear does not travel by donkey"
    • Meaning, fear does not move slowly.


  • "El indio no tiene la culpa sino el que lo hace compadre"
    • "It is not the indian's fault but of the one who befriends him"
    • Be careful no to assign responsibility to someone who does not have the proper qualifications to handle it.


  • "El muerto al pozo y el vivo al gozo"
    • Alternatives:
      • "El muerto al hoyo y el vivo al pollo"
    • "To the dead internment and to the living enjoyment"
    • Meaning, literally, to stop mourning the dead and keep going with life. Mostly it is used as a metaphor to any problem.


  • "El muerto y el arrimado a los tres días apesta"
    • "Corpses and annoying guests stink by the third day"
    • Meaning, annoying guests quickly become a nuisance.


  • "El que calla otorga"
    • "Who is silent consents"


  • "El que no habla, Dios no lo oye"
    • Alternatives:
      • "El que no chilla no mama"
    • "Who does not speak, God does not hear"
    • Meaning, to be heard it is needed to speak or the squeaky wheel gets the oil.


  • "El que se fue a la villa perdió su silla"
    • "Who leaves to (or goes to) his villa lost his seat"
    • Meaning, who leaves his chair may lose it. Used when someone leaves a chair and someone else takes it or founder's keepers.


  • "En boca cerrada, no entran moscas"
    • "In a closed mouth, flies do not enter"
    • Meaning, a person who does not judge will not get judged.
    • English equivalent: "Silence is golden"


  • "En casa del herrero, azadón de palo"
    • Alternatives:
      • "En casa del herrero, cucharas de palo"
    • "In house of the blacksmith, wooden hoe"
    • Meaning, that where the resources abound, those are not used. Like a mechanic is always driving an old brocken down car.


  • "La mula no era arisca, la hicieron"
    • Alternatives:
      • "La mula no era arisca, la hicieron a palos"
    • "The mules was not easily frightened, it was made that way"
    • Meaning, that persons (or animals, in this case) can adquire certain behaviors as result of the actios of others. This "refrán" is mainly to ilustrate that an animal can become permanently frigthened by constantly abusing and hitting it, and so too can a person.


  • "Las piedras rodando se encuentran"
    • "The stones keep rolling"
    • Meaning, events are set on its way, and someday these might encounter


  • "Matrimonio y mortaja del cielo bajan"
    • "Marriage and shroud, from heaven will come"
    • Meaning, both good and bad thing come by themselves.


  • "Más vale un pájaro en mano que ver un ciento volar"
    • "A bird in hand is worth more than a hundred in flight"
    • Meaning, something certain is better than a lot of uncertain.


  • "Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo"
    • "The devil knows more for being old than for being the devil"
    • Meaning, that experience means more than a name.


  • "Nadie escarmienta en cabeza ajena"
    • Alternatives:
      • "Nadie asienta en cabeza ajena"
      • "Nadie experimenta en cabeza ajena"
    • "Nobody learns in the head of someone else"
    • Meaning, nobody learns through the experience of someone else.


  • "Nadie tropieza dos veces con la misma piedra"
    • "Nobody trips twice with the same stone"
    • Meaning, nobody should commit the same error twice.
  • "Ni tanto que queme al santo, ni tanto que no lo alumbre"
    • "No so much that it burns the saint, nor so few that it does not light him"
    • Meaning, both extremes, much and few, are not useful.


  • "No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano"
    • "No matter how early you rise the dawn comes no earlier"
    • Meaning, there are some thing that we cannot hurry or acelerate, even if we try.


  • "No todo lo que brilla es oro"
    • "Not everything that glimmers is gold"
    • Meaning, not everything that has a good appearance has good quality.


  • "No hay mal que por bien no venga"
    • "There is no bad that comes without a good"
    • Meaning, for everything bad that happens, there is also something good. Always look for the positive on things


  • "Si de tu vecino ves la barba cortar, pon la tuya a remojar"
    • "If you see your neighbor has shaved his beard, you do best start lathering yours"
    • Meaning, if you see a change occur around you, prepare yourself for the change.


  • "No le pidas peras al olmo"
    • "Do not ask pears of the elm"
    • Meaning, do not ask something of someone that can not do it.


  • "Dime con quién estás y te diré quién eres"
    • "Tell me who you are with and I will tell you who you are"
    • Meaning, you will be seen to be like the people you hang around with. Therefore, if your hanging out with a bad crowd, people are going to think that you are bad.

See also