Thai proverbs

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To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be.
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  • นานาจิตตัง
    • Transliteration: Na na jit tung
    • Literal: All sorts of mind.
    • Meaning: Everyone to his taste; up for grasp.
  • ใส่หน้ากาก
    • Transliteration: sai na kak
    • Literal: Wear a mask.
    • Meaning: Faking; putting up a face.
  • หมาขี้ไม่มีใครยกหาง
    • Transliteration: mah kee mai mee krai yok hahng
    • Literal: Nobody lifts a dog's tail when it defecates.
    • Meaning: Self praise is not recommended.
  • น้ำลดตอผุด
    • Transliteration: Num lod tor pud
    • Literal: At low tide, the stump emerges.
    • Meaning: Deeds (negative) can't be hidden from view forever.
    • กาคาบพริก
    • Transliteration: ka kab prik
    • Literal: A crow holds the chilli in its mouth.
    • Meaning: Evaluate yourself well before putting on that glaring red dress. (Dare not putting on a red dress when you're not fair-skinned.)
    • ตำน้ำพริกละลายแม่น้ำ
    • Transliteration: tum nam prig la lai ma nam
    • Literal: Pound the hot sauce and pour it away in the river.
    • Meaning: Don't be extravagant or wasteful.
    • คิดก่อนเจรจา
    • Transliteration: kid-kon-je-ra-ja
    • Literal: Think before speaking.
    • Meaning: (straightforward)Think before making a verbal exchange.
  • ต้นร้ายปลายดี
    • Transliteration: ton-rai-plai-dee
    • Literal: Bad beginning; good ending.
    • Meaning: Referring to people or situations which have a bad start but gets better towards the end.
  • กบเลือกนาย
    • Transliteration: Kob Luek Nai
    • Literal: The frog picking a leader.
    • Meaning: if you change your mind too much, you'll get hurt
  • กงเกวียนกำเกวียน
    • Transliteration: Kong kwean kum kwean
    • Literal: A cart's wheels fall into the track.
    • Meaning: Like karma, deeds repay.
  • กระต่ายหมายจันทร์
    • Transliteration: Kra-tie' mai jhun
    • Literal: A rabbit aims for the moon.
    • Meaning: Don't aim at the impossibilities; get grounded.
  • กลมเป็นลูกมะนาว
    • Transliteration: Glom pen luge mar-now
    • Literal: Round like a lime.
    • Meaning: Referring to those who's quick to run out of the problem (negative).
  • กำขี้ดีกว่ากำตด
    • Transliteration: Kum khee dee kwa kum tod
    • Literal: Grabbing excrement is better than grabbing flatulence.
    • Meaning: Having something is better than having nothing.
  • กำแพงมีหู ประตูมีตา
    • Transliteration: Kum-pang mee hu, pra-tu mee tar
    • Literal: Walls have ears; doors have eyes.
    • Meaning 1: Be aware when you have confidential information.
    • Meaning 2: There are doors into everything, regardless of the tight security one's set up to guard that secret.
  • กิ่งทองใบหยก
    • Transliteration: Ging tong by yok
    • Literal: A gold branch with a jade leaf.
    • Meaning: A perfect couple (often use with the fiancees; in Chinese it means a princess).
  • กิ้งก่าได้ทอง
    • Transliteration: King-khar dhai thong.
    • Literal: A chameleon acquires gold.
    • Meaning: Those who like to call for the other's attention by showing their belongings.
  • กินบนเรือนขี้รดบนหลังคา
    • Transliteration: Kin bon ruen, khee bon lung kar
    • Literal: Eat in a house then excrete on the roof.
    • Meaning: Referring to those who are ungrateful to who did good things to them.
  • แกว่งตีนหาเสี้ยน
    • Transliteration: Kwang teen har siean.
    • Literal: Swing a foot into thorns.
    • Meaning: Those who like to court trouble.
  • รักฉันต้องรักหมาฉันด้วย
    • Transliteration: Rak chan tong rak maa chan duay
    • Literal: Love me, love my dog.
    • Meaning: If you love me, love me with all my faults.
  • ขี่ช้างจับตั๊กแตน
    • Transliteration: Kee chang jahb thak-a-thaen
    • Literal: Ride an elephant to catch a grasshopper.
    • Meaning 1: Don't make something easy difficult.
    • Meaning 2: Use the correct tool for the correct job.
  • เส้นผมบังภูเขา
    • Transliteration: Senn pom bang puu khao
    • Literal: A hair hides a mountain.
    • Meaning 1: Sometimes the problem is not as big as you think it is.
    • Meaning 2: You can't see something clearly even when it's huge and right in front of you, because of that little something that obscures it.
  • จับปลาสองมือ
    • Transliteration: Jahb plaa song mue
    • Literal: To catch fish in each hand.
    • Meaning 1: Try not to multitask if that compromises the success of any single thing.
  • ช้างตายทั้งตัวเอาใบบัวปิดไม่มิด
    • Transliteration: Chang tie tung tua ow bai buor phid mai mid
    • Literal: A dead elephant cannot be covered by a lotus leaf.
    • Meaning: Don't try to hide a big mistake/problem, once it's out in the open.
  • ปิดทองหลังพระ
    • Transliteration: Phid thong lhang phra
    • Literal: Cover the back of an image of Buddha with gold leaf.
    • Meaning: Referring to those who help others behind the scene, not desiring credits or recognition.
  • งมเข็มในมหาสมุทร
    • Transliteration:Ngom kem nai mahaa-sa-mut
    • Literal: Looking for a pin in the ocean.
    • Meaning: Don't try the impossible.
  • รักวัวให้ผูกรักลูกให้ตี
    • Transliteration: Rak wua hy puuk rak luuk hy dtee
    • Literal: If you love your cow, tie it up. If you love your child, punish him/her.
    • Meaning: If you love your child, you must discipline them.
  • ความลับไม่มีในโลก
    • Transliteration: Kwan lub mai mee nai loke
    • Literal: There are no secrets in the world.
    • Meaning: There is no such thing as secret; try not to hide what can't be hidden.
  • น้ำขึ้นให้รีบตัก
    • Transliteration: Narm khuen hai reeb thug
    • Literal: When the river is filled, be quick to fetch some into your bucket.
    • Meaning: Seize the opportunity.
  • กันไว้ดีกว่าแก้
    • Transliteration: Gan wy dtee gwaa gae
    • Literal and meaning: Preventive measure is better than curative measure.
  • ไฟลนก้น
    • Transliteration: Fai lhon kon
    • Literal: Having your buttocks on fire.
    • Meaning: Describing the manner in which one is pressured by something, usually a deadline.
  • เตี้ยอุ้มค่อม
    • Transliteration: Tear um khom
    • Literal: The short carrying the hunchback.
    • Meaning: Watch out for yourself if you know you're already disadvantaged.
  • แกะดำ
    • Transliteration: Kare dum
    • Literal: Black sheep.
    • Meaning: The different one; the weird one.
  • เข็นครกขึ้นภูเขา
    • Transliteration: Khen krok kheun phu kao
    • Literal: Push the stone to the top of the mountain.
    • Meaning: To perform a Herculean task.
  • งามแต่รูปจูบไม่หอม
    • Transliteration: Ngam tae rup, jub mai horm
    • Literal: Great look but bad breath.
    • Meaning: Those who have good apperance, but do not behave nicely or have no manner.
  • หัวล้านได้หวี
    • Transliteration: Hua laan dy wee
    • Literal: A bald man bestowed with a comb.
    • Meaning: A person sometimes wants something that is useless to him/her.
  • หนีเสือปะจระเข้
    • Transliteration: Nee sua pa' jorakeh
    • Literal: Escape from a tiger to be eaten by a crocodile.
    • Meaning: To escape a danger only to meet another.
    • English version: Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
  • ไก่ได้พลอย
    • Transliteration: Kai die' ploy
    • Literal: A chicken gets a gem.
    • Meaning: A person who has a good thing, but he doesn't know about value.
  • ไก่เห็นตีนงู งูเห็นนมไก่
    • Transliteration: Kai hen teen ngu, ngu hen nom kai
    • Literal: A chicken sees the snake's foot and a snake sees the chicken's breast.
    • Meaning: Two parties who know each other secret.
  • กบในกะลา
    • Transliteration: Khob nai ka la
    • Literal: Frog in a coconut shell.
    • Meaning: Referring to those who's insular but ignorant, like a frog living in a coconut shell.
  • กระต่ายตื่นตูม
    • Transliteration: Kra tay teun toom
    • Literal: Like a shocked and frenzied bunny.
    • Meaning: When you are excited, you cannot see the real issue.
  • ไก่งามเพราะขน คนงามเพราะแต่ง
    • Transliteration: Kai ngam pror khon, kon ngam pror thang
    • Literal: Chicken are beautiful because of their feathers; women are beautiful because of their make-up.
    • Meaning: Beauty comes after one grooms her appearance and puts on cosmetics.
  • สอนจระเข้ว่ายน้ำ
    • Transliteration: Son jarakeh wai-naam
    • Literal: Teach a crocodile to swim.
    • Meaning: Don't teach an expert.
  • เดินตามผู้ใหญ่ หมาไม่กัด
    • Transliteration: Dern tarm phu-yai mha mai khud
    • Literal: When you follow the old man, the dog will not bite.
    • Meaning: Follow the wiseman and you will be safe from harm.
  • รำไม่ดีโทษปี่โทษกลอง
    • Transliteration: Rarm mai dee, tose phee tose klong
    • Literal: Those who dance poorly yet blame the musician (direct meaning: flutes and drums).
    • Meaning: Referring to one who blames others for his own shortcomings or failures.
  • ชิงสุกก่อนห่าม
    • Transliteration: Shing suek khorn harm
    • Literal: Get overripe before partly ripe.
    • Meaning: A person who did something before appropriate time (usually means unmarried sex.)
  • กว่าถั่วจะสุกงาก็ไหม้
    • Transliteration: Kwar thua ja suek, nga kor mai
    • Literal: Before the nut is cooked, a sesame is burnt.
    • Meaning: Don't let issues hang for too long until they're all burnt.
  • เข้าหูซ้ายทะลุหูขวา
    • Transliteration: Khao hu sai, ta-lu' hu khwa
    • Literal: In the left ear, out the right ear.
    • Meaning: Referring to an oblivious attitude; referring to people's ignorance, in letting others' cautionary/instructional words slip off.
  • มือไม่พายเอาเท้าราน้ำ
    • Transliteration: Meue mai pie ou tao ra narm
    • Literal: Not paddling, even hang feet in the water.
    • Meaning: A person who doesn't help but only hinders progress.
  • จับเสือมือเปล่า
    • Transliteration: Jub sua mue paol
    • Literal: Catch a tiger with bare hands.
    • Meaning: Being ill-equipped in tasks that require methodical preparations.
  • งงเป็นไก่ตาแตก
    • Transliteration: Ngong pen kai tar-taec
    • Literal: Confused like a chick with shattered eyes.
    • Meaning: So confused or surprised because of some events that happened really fast.
  • เข้าเมืองตาหลิ่ว ต้องหลิ่วตาตาม
    • Transliteration: Khao mueng tar-lew, tong lew-tar tarm
    • Literal: When in the city of the slanted-eyed, do squint your eyes.
    • Meaning: Follow the majority, if you are minority; adapt to situations and people around you.
    • English version: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
  • เห็นกงจักรเป็นดอกบัว
    • Transliteration: Heng gong jak pen dok bua
    • Literal: Mistaking blades for a lotus.
    • Meaning: Being blind as to view a threatening person/thing as lovely.
  • ปั้นน้ำ้เป็นตัว
    • Transliteration: Pann nam pen tua
    • Literal: Mold water into a shape.
    • Meaning: Building fanciful stories out of thin air.
  • โง่เง่าเต่าตุ่น
    • Transliteration: Ngoh ngow tow toon
    • Literal: Dumb like a turtle.
    • Meaning: Obtuse.
  • ช้างเผือกเกิดในป่า
    • Transliteration: Chang puak kird ni pa
    • Literal: White elephants are born in the forest.
    • Meaning: The best thing is difficult to find.
  • ไม้อ่อนดัดง่ายไม้แก่ดัดยาก
    • Transliteration: Mai oon dud nang mai gae dud yag.
    • Literal: Young trees are easier to mold than aged trees.
    • Meaning: You cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
  • พบไม้งามเมื่อยามขวานบิ่น
    • Transliteration: Pob mai ngarm muea yam kwan bin.
    • Literal: Find a nice tree when your axe is broken.
    • Meaning: Find a pretty woman when you are older.
  • ฆ่าควายอย่าเสียดายพริก
    • Transliteration: Ka kwai ya sia die prig
    • Literal: Don't lament over a chilli when killing a buffalo.
    • Meaning: Don't mind little things when grand tasks/responsibilities/achievements are at hand.
  • กระดังงาลนไฟ
    • Transliteration: Kra dang nga lon fai
    • Literal: A Kradanga flower (thai) is fragrant when toasted on fire.
    • Meaning: Old but hot.
  • ความพยายามอยู่ที่ไหน ความสำเร็จอยู่ที่นั่น
    • Transliteration: Kwam pa-ya-yam yoo tee nhai, kwam sum-red yoo tee nun
    • Literal: Where there is a will, there is a way.
    • Meaning: Try your best, and there's success.
  • ความแน่นอน คือความไม่แน่นอน
    • Transliteration: Kwam nae-norn keu kwam mai nae-non
    • Literal: The only certainty is uncertainty.
    • Meaning: Things are dual in nature: certain things are uncertain things.
  • หน้าเนื้อใจเสือ
    • Transliteration: Nar nur jai saur
    • Literal: Nice face, but with the heart of a tiger.
    • Meaning: Referring to one with a nice exterior but with a cruel heart.
  • วัวหายล้อมคอก
    • Transliteration: Wua hai lorm korg.
    • Literal: Building ox's pen after it was stolen.
    • Meaning: A preventive method enforced only after the disaster or mistake has occurred.
  • ความงามไม่คงที่ ความดีสิคงทน
    • Transliteration Kwam ngam mai kong tii, kwam dee si kong ton
    • Literal: Beauty fades, good deeds are permanent.
    • Meaning: Don't judge people by their appearance, but their behaviour.
  • เห็นช้างขี้ ขี้ตามช้าง
    • Transliteration hen chaang khee khee dtaam chaang
    • Literal: See an elephant defecate and try to defecate as much.
    • Meaning: To keep up with the Joneses.
  • ซื้อควายในหนอง
    • Transliteration seuu khwaay nai naawng
    • Literal: Buying a water buffalo in the marsh.
    • Meaning: To purchase something unseen.
    • English version: To buy a pig in a poke.
  • เสน่ห์ปลายจวักผัวรักจนตาย
    • Transliteration saneh bplaay jawak phuaa rak john dtaay
    • Literal: A husband loves the charm of the ladles tip until dying.
    • Meaning: When a wife cooks good the husband will love her until end of life.
    • English version: The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
  • กินน้ำพริกถ้วยเดี่ยว
    • Transliteration gin nam phrik thuay diaao
    • Literal: Eat the spicy chili sauce only from one cup.
    • Meaning: Be always faithful to your wife.
  • วัวแก่กินหญ้าอ่อน
    • Transliteration wuaa gaae gin yaa aawn
    • Literal: Old bull eats soft grass.
    • Meaning: An old man loves a young woman.
  • เป็นที่รักของชายชราดีกว่าเป็นทาสของชายหนุ่ม
    • Transliteration bpen theerak khaawng chaay charaa dee gwaa bpen thaat khaawng chaay noom
    • Literal: Be darling of old man is better than be slave of young man
    • Meaning: It is better to be the darling of an old man than to be the slave of a young man.
  • อย่าเปิดฝาเรือน
    • Transliteration yaa bpeert faa reuuan
    • Literal: Don't open a wall of your house.
    • Meaning: Don't wash your dirty laundry in public.