Slovenian proverbs

Proverbs are sayings, which encapsulate human experience and contain some common wisdom or advice. It is often a shared wisdom that crosses boundaries of language and culture. The way the thought is expressed is however characteristic of a particular culture.

The following Slovenian proverbs have been selected from the collection:
"Pregovori in reki na Slovenskem" by Elbin Bojc (DZS Ljubljana 1980).
They have been selected according as the most common and also the most characteristically Slovenian. Each is followed by a literal English translation and an explanation of its meaning.

Proverbs - Pregovori

Laž ima kratke noge. A lie has short legs. (Lie is quickly found out)

Dan je bolje loviti pri glavi kot pri repu . It is better to chase the day by the head than by the tail. (it is better to catch the day in the morning than the evening, if you want to accomplish anything)

Drva je treba kupiti, ko so česnje zrele. It is better to buy firewood, when cherries are ripe. (Early in the year, not just before winter)

Nobena pesem ni tako dolga, da je ne bi izpeli. No song is so long that it wouldn't be sung out. (you can't keep on with the same story, or do things in the same way, since nothing lasts for ever)

Noč svetuje, dan oblikuje. The night advises, the day shapes. (The night is for thinking, the day is for acting)

Rana ura - zlata ura. Early hour - golden hour. (Get up early and start work, and you will accomplish much)

V petek je slab začetek. Friday, bad beginning. (Don't start anything on Friday)

Bog je sam sebi brado ustvaril, potem šele drugim. God created his own beard first, only then for the others. (Everyone takes care of their own needs first, before turning to others)

Opečen otrok vpije: "Ogenj!" Burnt child yells: Fire! (Child that has been burnt will understand the danger of fire)

Pameten gospodar čuva tudi sosedovo hišo pred ognjem. Wise master of the house/property protects his neighbour's house from fire. (It is in man's interest to protect the neighbour's property, since the damage could easily spread to his own)

Pamet je boljša kot žamet. Good sense is better than velvet. (Good sense is of greater value than wealth)

Bolje drži ga kot lovi ga. Better to hold it than to chase it. (Variation on: a bird in hand is worth two in the bush)

Obljuba dela dolg. A promise makes a debt. (If you promise something it is a debt that you have to repay)

Stara ljubezen ne zarjavi. Old love does not rust. (Old love remains unchanged by time)

Kamen do kamna palača, zrno do zrna pogača. Stone to stone - palace, grain to grain - loaf of bread. (You can accomplish much through hard work and careful management)

Ni dela brez jela. No work without food. (Feed the worker if you want him/ her to work)

Pečene piške same ne lete v usta. Roast chickens don't fly into mouth by themselves. (You have to earn them)

Po slabi družbi rada glava boli. From bad company you often get a headache. (Bad company often leads to unpleasant consequences)

Več kot znaš, vcc veljaš. More you know, more respect you get.

Kdor materin jezik zaničuje, tudi matere ne spoštuje. Whoever has contempt for his mother tongue, does not respect his mother.

Skrbna gospodinja tri ogle podpira hiši. Good housewife support three corners of the house .

"Skoraj" ni nikoli zajca ujel, "komaj" ga pa je. "Nearly" never caught the rabbit, "just" did. (You are not successful if you "nearly" succeeded - excuses don't count)

Bolja je domača gruda, kot na tujem zlata ruda. Your one's own country's soil is better than gold ore in foreign land.

Po toči zvoniti je prepozno. It is too late to ring the bells after the hail. (It is no use sounding the alarm, when the damage has already been done)

En danes je boljši, kot dva jutri. One today is better than two tomorrows. (Enjoy today since you are certain of it)

Zmanjka vina ni razgovora, zmanjka denarja, ni prijatelja. No more wine, no conversation, no more money, no friends.

Riba mora plavati trikrat: v vodi, v olju, in v vinu. Fish must swim three times: in water, in oil and in wine.

Mladost je norost, čez jarek skače kjer je most. Youth is crazy, jumping over the ditch, where there is a bridge.

Slepca za pot in bedaka za svet ne vprašaj. Don't ask the blind man for the way, nor a fool for advice.

Kar je dobro se samo hvali. That which is good, praises itself.

Kdor veliko govori, veliko ve ali veliko laže. Whoever speaks a great deal, knows much or lies much.

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