Serbian proverbs

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The idea is in my head to put it down is nothing.
Milton Avery
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Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars.

Б

  • Cyrillic: Бог високо, a Русија далеко. - Latin: Bog visoko, a Rusija daleko.
    • Translation: God is high above, and Russia is far away. (Meaning that help is far and unlikely.)
  • Cyrillic: Бог је прво себи браду створио. - Latin: Bog je prvo sebi bradu stvorio.
    • Translation: God created the beard on himself first. (Meaning that everybody looks after himself first.)
  • Cyrillic: Боље врабац у руци, него голуб на грани. - Latin: Bolje vrabac u ruci, nego golub na grani.
    • Translation: A sparrow in the hand is better than a pigeon on the branch. (A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.)

В

  • Cyrillic: Врана врани очи не вади. - Latin: Vrana vrani oči ne vadi.
    • Translation: A crow doesn't pick out another crow's eyes. (A thief does not steal from another thief)

Г

  • Cyrillic: Гвожђе се кује док је вруће. - Latin: Gvožđe se kuje dok je vruće.
    • Translation: Iron is worked when it's still hot. (Strike while the iron is hot.)
  • Cyrillic: Где je много бабица, килава cу деца. - Latin: Gde je mnogo babica, kilava su deca.
    • Translation: Where there are many midwives, children will be feeble. (Too many cooks spoil the broth.)
  • Cyrillic: Где ти много обећавају, малу торбу понеси. - Latin: Gde ti mnogo obećavaju, malu torbu ponesi.
    • Translation: Where people are promising much to you, bring a small bag. (Similar to There is no free lunch.)

Д

  • Cyrillic: Да падне на леђа,разбио би нос. - Latin: Da padne na leđa,razbio bi nos.
    • Translation: If he fell onto his back, he'd break his nose. (when the person is very unlucky)
  • Cyrillic: Дала баба динар да се ухвати у коло, а два да се пусти. - Latin: Dala baba dinar da se uhvati u kolo, a dva da se pusti.
    • Translation: Grandma gave a dinar to dance, and two to stop. (Be careful what you wish for.)

И

  • Cyrillic: Ивер не пада далеко од кладе. - Latin: Iver ne pada daleko od klade.
    • Translation: A splinter doesn't land far from the trunk. (An apple doesn't fall far from the tree.)
  • Cyrillic: Иcпeци пa peци. - Latin: Ispeci pa reci.
    • Translation: Bake it and then say it. (Think before you speak).

К

  • Cyrillic: Кад мачке нема, мишеви коло воде. - Latin: Kad mačke nema, miševi kolo vode.
    • Translation: When cat is absent, mice dance. (When the cat's away, the mice will play.)
  • Cyrillic: Ко вино вечера, воду доручкује. - Latin: Ko vino večera, vodu doručkuje.
    • Translation: Who has wine for dinner, he has water for breakfast. (You can't avoid paying consequences for your deeds)
  • Cyrillic: Ко другоме јаму копа сам у њу пада. - Latin: Ko drugome jamu kopa sam u nju pada.
    • Translation: Who digs a trap for others ends up in it himself. (What goes around, comes around.)
  • Cyrillic: Ко рано рани, две среће граби. - Latin: Ko rano rani, dve sreće grabi.
    • Translation: One who gets up early is doubly lucky. (The early bird gets the worm.)
  • Cyrillic: Ко с ђаволом тикве сади, о главу му се обију. - Latin: Ko s vragom tikve sadi, o glavu mu se obiju.
    • Translation: If one sows pumpkins with the devil, they will bash onto one's head. (Similar to As you sow, so you shall reap.)
  • Cyrillic: Кo нeмa у глави, имa у нoгaмa. - Latin: Ko nema u glavi, ima u nogama.
    • Translation: Who doesn't have in his head has in his feet. (Absent-minded do the work twice)
  • Cyrillic: Ко сeје ветар, жање олују. - Latin: Ko seje vetar, žanje oluju.
    • Translation: Who sows wind will harvest storm. (Similar to As you sow, so you shall reap.)
  • Cyrillic: Ко уме, њему две. - Latin: Ko ume, njemu dve.
    • Translation: The one who can gets two. (Skilled worker is paid double.)
  • Cyrillic: Ко учи знаће, ко штеди имаће. - Latin: Ko uči znaće, ko štedi imaće.
    • Translation: Those who study will know, those who save will have.

Л

  • Cyrilic: Лепа реч и гвоздена врата отвара. - Latin: Lepa reč i gvozdena vrata otvara.
    • Translation: A kind word opens even the iron doors. (You can succeed in anything by being polite.)

Н

  • Cyrillic: На млађима свет остаје. - Latin: Na mlađima svet ostaje.
    • Translation: The world is left to the young.
  • Cyrillic: На муци се познају јунаци. - Latin: Na muci se poznaju junaci.
    • Translation: You can tell a fearless in times of trouble. (When the going gets tough, the tough get going.)
  • Cyrillic: На невидишу нема кривице. - Latin: Na nevidišu nema krivice.
    • Translation: If it isn't seen, there's no guilt. (If you do something without being caught it isn't done.)
  • Cyrillic: Не можe крушка да роди јабуку. - Latin: Ne može kruška da rodi jabuku.
    • Translation: A pear tree cannot bear an apple.
  • Cyrillic: Не сeј тикве где још нису никле! - latin: Ne sej tikve gde jos nisu nikle!
    • Translation: Don't plant pumpkins where they never sprouted! (Don't waste your time trying things which are proven won't work.)
  • Cyrillic: Нема ватре без дима. - Latin: Nema vatre bez dima.
    • Translation: There is no fire without smoke. (Where there is smoke there is fire.)
  • Cyrillic: Нема мирног детета ни младе бабе. - Latin: Nema mirnog deteta ni mlade babe.
    • Translation: There's no quiet child nor young grandmother.
  • Cyrillic: Нема хлеба без мотике! - Latin: Nema hleba bez motike!
    • Translation: There's no bread without hoe! (You cannot make omelets without eggs. Similar to Only hard work pays off.)
  • Cyrillic: Није злато све што сија. - Latin: Nije zlato sve što sija.
    • Translation: Gold is not all that shines. (All that glitters is not gold.)

O

  • Cyrillic: Oбeћaње лудoм рaдoвaње. - Latin: Obećanje ludom radovanje.
    • Translation: Promise makes a fool happy. (Do not be fooled by empty promises.)


П

  • Cyrillic: Пас који лаје не уједа. - Latin: Pas koji laje ne ujeda.
    • Translation: The dog that barks doesn't bite. (Barking dogs seldom bite; to be full of empty threats.)
  • Cyrillic: Правити од комарца магарца. - Latin: Praviti od komarca magarca.
    • Translation: To make a donkey out of a mosquito. (To make a mountain out of a molehill.)
  • Cyrillic: Прво скочи па реци хоп. - Latin: Prvo skoči pa reci hop.
    • Translation: First leap, and then say "hop"! (Do something before you brag about it.)
  • Cyrillic: Птица раноранилицa прва црва нађе. - Latin: Ptica ranoranilica prva crva nađe.
    • Translation: The early bird catches the first worm.

Р

  • Cyrillic: Ругала се шерпа лонцу, широка му уста. - Latin: Rugala se šerpa loncu, široka mu usta.
    • Translation: A pan was mocking a pot because his mouth is big. (The pot calls the kettle black.)
  • Cyrillic: Ружној девојци огледало криво. - Latin: Ružnoj devojci ogledalo krivo.
    • Translation: An ugly girl blames the mirror. (A bad craftsman blames his tools.)

С

  • Cyrillic: Само слога Србина спашава - Latin: Samo Sloga Srbe Spasava
    • Translation: Only unity saves the Serbs.
  • Cyrillic: Свуда пођи, својој кући дођи. - Latin: Svuda pođi, svome domu dođi.
    • Translation: Go everywhere, but come back home. (There's no place like home).

Т

  • Cyrillic: Тиха вода брег рони. - Latin: Tiha voda breg roni.
    • Translation: Quiet water wears down a mountain. (Anything is possible with time.)
  • Cyrillic: Трипут мери, једном сеци. - Latin: Triput meri, jednom seci.
    • Translation: Three times measure, one time cut. (Measure thrice, cut once; think first, act later.)

У

  • Cyrillic: У том грму чучи зец! - Latin: U tom grmu čuči zec!
    • Translation: That's the bush where the hare squats! (to find a solution to the problem)
  • Cyrillic: Уздај се у се и у своје кљусе! - Latin: Uzdaj se u se i u svoje kljuse!
    • Translation: Trust yourself and your horse! (If you want to get things done, do it yourself.)
  • Cyrillic: Умиљато јагње две овце сиса. - Latin: Umiljato jagnje dve ovce sisa.
    • Translation: Cuddly lamb sucks two ewes. (Similar to Flattery will get you anywhere.)

Ш

  • Cyrillic: Што можеш данас, не остављај за сутра. - Latin: Što možeš danas, ne ostavljaj za sutra.
    • Translation: What you can do today do not leave off for tomorrow. (Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.)