A list of Arabic proverbs & sayings

Proverbs are wise sayings about life. Arabic is the language of proverbs and sayings. Especially in dialects, people love to use proverbs which is a nice way to talk about certain things in life without mentioning it by name. Furthermore, you can express a whole chapter about moral teachings in a single line.

FAMOUS ARABIC PROVERBS AND SAYINGS:

1- Character, personality
2- Power
3- Revenge
4- Fate
5- Friendship
6- Business
7- Life

1- Character, personality
.السَّبْع سَبْع ولو في قَفَص

El sab’ sab’ walaw fi qafas means (literally): A lion is a lion even if in a cage.
Meaning: You can’t keep a good man down.

Someone with moral substance will remain so under duress. This saying is not very much in use, but listeners will get the drift if you use it. It is one of a genre of sayings that assert the innate worth of someone by repetition of the same epithet twice. In Egyptian Arabic, “el-Gada’ gada’” is another one that asserts that a “genuine person (is always) a genuine person.”

.أسد عليَّ وفي الحروب نعامة

You behave with me as if you were a lion, while in battle you are like a black ostrich (that flees even at the voice of a whistler.)

This is a famous line of the poet عِمْران بن حِطَّان (Imraan bin Hittaan).

Imraan (died: 703/84 AH) was an Arab poet who grew up in Basra (present-day Iraq). He was first a Sunni and is mentioned by Ibn Saʿd in the second class of the “followers” ( اَلتَّابِعُونَ‎ ) of Basra. It is said that he was converted by his wife to the doctrines of the Kharijites (الخوارج).

.إذا لم تكن ذئبًا أكلتك الذئاب

Be tough as a wolf lest wolves would eat you.

2- Power
.اللي له ضَهر ما ينضربش على بَطْنه

illi lu dahr ma-yindiribsh 3ala batnu) means one, who is strongly backed will not be struck in the belly.

It is a common Egyptian proverb that is often used in connection with police men. The wordضهر means back (of a human, animal). The Egyptian expression lu dahr (له ضهر) denotes he has backing; he has support.

Depending on the situation, the proverb may also express: The lone sheep is in danger of the wolf. (Chinese proverb)

3- Revenge
.على الباغي تَدور الدوائر

What goes around comes around. Or: Payback’s a bitch.

German: Wie du mir, so ich dir. Alles rächt sich irgendwann. Was man sät, das wird man ernten.

In general, the Arabic proverb says that oppressive people will be treated the same: that the status eventually returns to its original value after completing some sort of cycle.

4- Fate
.ساعة القدر يعمى البصر

Literally, ساعة القدر يعمى البصر (saa3at el-2dr ya3mee elbasr) means: When it is time for Fate (to be realized), (one’s) sight is blinded.

This is a very common proverb in Egypt. Meaning: No amount of wisdom can help one escape one’s fate. When time comes for a destined thing to happen, man can’t have much choice to change it. It’s mainly said with bad incidents that couldn’t be changed or avoided.

The verb عمى means to become blind; قدر means fate, destiny; thus, you may also hear: ساعة القضاء

An English translation may be: Accidents will happen in the best-regulated families.

5- Friendship
.أحذر عدوك مرة, وأحذر صديقك ألف مرة

Be wary around your enemy once, and your friend a thousand times.

.اختر الرفيق قبل الطريق

Choose the companion before the road/way.

It is a famous proverb that is common in many dialects as well. For example: دوّر على الرفيق قبل الطريق

6-Business
.أخلص النية وبات في البرية

Reached the goal and spent the night in the desert. General meaning: “The matter is first.”

In the Tatar language, it corresponds to a proverb that is identical in semantics:
Эш беткәч уйнарга ярый (Meaning: It’s okay to play when you’re done.)

7-Life
.الجعان يحلم بسوق العِيش

ig-ga3aan yihlam bi-suuq el-3eesh literally means the hungry man dreams of the bread market.

It denotes that one’s aspirations are determined by one’s needs.

The Arabic word عيش which literally means life is used in Egypt as the main word for bread.

It approximately means what the following Philippine proverbs denotes: There is no burnt rice to a hungry person. (Nothing comes wrong to a hungry man).

Une liste de proverbes et dictons arabes

Les proverbes sont des dictons sages sur la vie. L’arabe est la langue des proverbes et des dictons. Surtout dans les dialectes, les gens adorent utiliser des proverbes, ce qui est une belle façon de parler de certaines choses dans la vie sans les mentionner par leur nom. De plus, vous pouvez exprimer tout un chapitre sur les enseignements moraux en une seule ligne.

CÉLÈBRES PROVERBES ET DITES ARABES:

1- Caractère, personnalité
2- Puissance
3- Vengeance
4- Destin
5- Amitié
6- Entreprise
7- Vie

1- Caractère, personnalité
.السَّبْع سَبْع ولو في قَفَص

El sab ‘sab’ walaw fi qafas signifie (littéralement): Un lion est un lion même s’il est dans une cage.
Signification: Vous ne pouvez pas retenir un homme bon.

Quelqu’un avec une substance morale le restera sous la contrainte. Ce dicton n’est pas très utilisé, mais les auditeurs auront la dérive si vous l’utilisez. Il fait partie d’un genre de dictons qui affirment la valeur innée de quelqu’un en répétant deux fois la même épithète. En arabe égyptien, «el-Gada’ gada »» est un autre qui affirme qu’une «personne authentique (est toujours) une personne authentique».

.أسد عليَّ وفي الحروب نعامة

Vous vous comportez avec moi comme si vous étiez un lion, tandis qu’au combat vous êtes comme une autruche noire (qui fuit même à la voix d’un siffleur).

C’est une ligne célèbre du poète عِمْران بن حِطَّان (Imraan bin Hittaan).

Imraan (décédé: 703/84 AH) était un poète arabe qui a grandi à Bassorah (aujourd’hui l’Irak). Il était d’abord sunnite et est mentionné par Ibn Saʿd dans la deuxième classe des «disciples» (اَلتَّابِعُونَ) de Bassora. On raconte qu’il a été converti par sa femme aux doctrines des Kharijites (الخوارج).

.إذا لم تكن ذئبًا أكلتك الذئاب

Soyez dur comme un loup de peur que les loups ne vous mangent.

2- Puissance
.اللي له ضَهر ما ينضربش على بَطْنه

illi lu dahr ma-yindiribsh 3ala batnu) signifie celui qui est fortement soutenu ne sera pas frappé dans le ventre.

C’est un proverbe égyptien courant qui est souvent utilisé à propos des policiers. Le mot ضهر signifie dos (d’un humain, animal). L’expression égyptienne lu dahr (له ضهر) indique qu’il a un soutien; il a du soutien.

Selon la situation, le proverbe peut également exprimer: Le mouton seul est en danger de loup. (Proverbe chinois)

3- Vengeance
.على الباغي تَدور الدوائر

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Ou: Payback est une chienne.

Allemand: Wie du mir, so ich dir. Alles rächt sich irgendwann. Était l’homme sät, das wird man ernten.

En général, le proverbe arabe dit que les personnes oppressives seront traitées de la même manière: que le statut revient finalement à sa valeur d’origine après avoir terminé une sorte de cycle.

4- Destin
.ساعة القدر يعمى البصر

Littéralement, ساعة القدر يعمى البصر (saa3at el-2dr ya3mee elbasr) signifie: Quand il est temps que le destin (se réalise), (on) la vue est aveuglée.

C’est un proverbe très courant en Egypte. Signification: Aucune quantité de sagesse ne peut aider à échapper à son destin. Quand vient le temps pour qu’une chose destinée se produise, l’homme ne peut pas avoir beaucoup de choix pour la changer. Cela se dit principalement avec de mauvais incidents qui ne pouvaient pas être modifiés ou évités.

Le verbe عمى signifie devenir aveugle; قدر signifie destin, destin; ainsi, vous pouvez également entendre: ساعة القضاء

Une traduction en anglais peut être: Les accidents se produiront dans les familles les mieux réglementées.

5- Amitié
.أحذر عدوك مرة, وأحذر صديقك ألف مرة

Méfiez-vous une fois de votre ennemi et de votre ami mille fois.

.اختر الرفيق قبل الطريق

Choisissez le compagnon avant la route / le chemin.

C’est un célèbre proverbe qui est également courant dans de nombreux dialectes. Par exemple: دوّر على الرفيق قبل الطريق

6-Affaires
.أخلص النية وبات في البرية

Atteint l’objectif et passé la nuit dans le désert. Sens général: “La question est la première.”

En langue tatare, cela correspond à un proverbe identique en sémantique:
Эш беткәч уйнарга ярый (ce qui signifie: vous pouvez jouer lorsque vous avez terminé.)

7-Life
.الجعان يحلم بسوق العِيش

ig-ga3aan yihlam bi-suuq el-3eesh signifie littéralement l’homme affamé rêve du marché du pain.

Cela signifie que les aspirations de chacun sont déterminées par ses besoins.

Le mot arabe عيش qui signifie littéralement la vie est utilisé en Egypte comme mot principal pour le pain.

Cela signifie approximativement ce que les proverbes philippins suivants indiquent: Il n’y a pas de riz brûlé pour une personne affamée. (Rien ne va mal à un homme affamé).

10+ Reasons to start learning Arabic language this week.

Maybe you are not sure if learning Arabic is really something for you. The following 10 points may help you get an idea:

1- Are you doing business with the Arab world?

The Arab countries are in the process of reforming and diversifying their economies. Business regulation is improved in order to make the economies more competitive and to attract entrepreneurs. In the Arabian Gulf, for example, huge investments are made in areas like construction, finance, telecom and tourism.

The size of the Middle Eastern economy as a whole has increased by
approximately 120% in the five year period from mid-2003 to mid-2008.
Egypt is on a path of vigorous economic growth. The Syrian economy is set on strong growth as a result of improved relations with the West.
Libya has come out of its long isolation, and is gradually opening up to foreign investment.

Knowledge of Arabic provides better insight into all aspects of business in the Arab World. The business culture in the Arab World is very much about building personal relationships of mutual trust. In this environment, knowledge of Arabic can be instrumental in fostering deeper business relations.

2- Are you into diplomatic or cultural relations?

Knowledge of Arabic is instrumental in building positive relationships of exchange with the Arab world.
The Arab World is moving towards a new era, characterized by more openness and liberalization.
Reforms aiming at more government transparency and increased public participation in decision-making, are beginning to change traditional patterns of governance.
This development benefits trade relations and cultural exchange with the Arab World. Knowledge of Arabic is an essential for anyone seeking profound understanding of the culture and thinking-patterns of the Arab world.

3- Do you often travel to the Arab world?

Arabs feel honoured when foreigners make an attempt to speak their language. Even a few phrases make a difference. Having sound knowledge of the language makes you a extra welcome and honoured guest.

Knowledge of Arabic gives you the opportunity to get closer to the locals and get better insight into their culture and traditions.

.. and wouldn’t it be nice if you were able to read and understand all written signs..?

4- Are you an expat in an Arab country?

Living in a country without being able to understand its language, can be frustrating. It makes you feel like a stranger, regardless of how long you stay.

If you are an expatriate in an Arab country, you have probably realised how much easier, and also enjoyable, your daily life would be if you knew how to read and speak Arabic.

5- Are you planning for a job in an Arab country?

With the Arab economies set on steady growth, professionals in various fields are in high demand.
Knowledge of Arabic can increase your chances of getting an interesting and rewarding job in an Arab country.

Examples of professions where knowledge of Arabic is desirable: Foreign Correspondent, Translator, Technical Engineer, Geologist, Banker, International Consultant, Foreign Service Officer, International Lawyer, Teacher, Researcher, Doctor, Nurse, Dentist, and Social Worker.

6- Are your activities related to Islam?

role in Islam. It is the language of the Quran, and the source language of Islamic jurisprudence and religious literature (read more by clicking on “What is the Role of Arabic in Islam?” in the sidebar).

The Quran in Arabic is the only version accepted as being “the Quran”. The meanings of the Quran can be translated to other languages, but these are only regarded as “translations of the meaning of the Quran”.

Arabic is the language of worship – prayers are read in Arabic, and the international greeting between Muslims is in Arabic. Non-Arab Muslims are encouraged to learn Arabic to enable them to read the Quran and improve their understanding of it.

Knowledge of Arabic is the best tool for both Muslims and Non-Muslims to understand what Islam is about. It also helps in building positive interaction with Muslim communities.

7- Do you have an interest in Arab culture and affairs?

“What would you like to drink?” A common question, and gesture of hospitality, in the Arab world.
Getting to the roots of Arab culture is best done through its most cherished treasure – the Arabic language.

The traditional hospitality of the Arabs, which visitors to the Arab world often have the pleasure to witness, becomes even more cordial when the guest shows an ambition to communicate in Arabic.
The guest is not expected to speak perfect Arabic, and it is the good intention that counts. Even a few words are appreciated.
Whether your contacts are social or business, knowledge of Arabic is likely to boost your status, and help foster trust and solid relationships.

8- Do you have Arab family members?

Maybe you have relatives or friends from an Arab country. Learning to communicate with Arab family members or friends in their own language can be both interesting and fun. It can add a whole new dimension to your life. It would enable you to better understand their emotions and thinking patterns. And you would surely benefit personally from the positive impact this would have on yourself.

9- Does your work involve contacts with Arab immigrant communities?

If your type of work includes contact with Arab immigrants, knowledge of Arabic can facilitate your work and improve relations between yourself and your clients.

10- Do you enjoy the challenge of learning new languages?

Maybe you are keen to learn a new language, but you want to try something different… something more exotic… a more “unusual” type of language…
Some simply start learning Arabic “for the heck of it”… Learning Arabic can be challenging, but the reward is great, once you begin to appreciate the unique beauty and richness of this great language.

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