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Basque Proverbs and Sayings

Here are some thirty proverbs and extracts that offer a taste of Basque wisdom. To see what the abbreviations at the rear or some of the sentences mean, follow the link.


A good friend makes one a better person, a bad one a worse one.

A good listener needs few words. [Let us hope that.]

A life without friends, and death without company. [Mod]

A lost sheep may be recovered, but lost time not.

A promise is a debt. [Abr.]

A wise person believes little. [Abr]

A wise person believes very little in what is merely of names.*

Before getting married, make sure you know what you're doing.

Do always a fit, right thing, even if you don't come to see results.*

Earth belongs to the brave but heaven to those who deserve it.

Flatterers and traders may be related. [Mod]

Fortune seems to disdain the lazy. *

For anything bad there could be something better and worse.*

God is good, but not crazy.

Health is an asset without equal.

Heaven belongs to those who deserve it. [Abr.]

If you always tell the truth, you may lose your friends.

If you know how to live you know much.

It's at times an easy job to give orders, but you should pay for it. [Mod]

It's better to have a harsh boss than a crazy one.

Laziness leads many people astray.

Life without friends could slowly lead to death without good neighbours. *

One who has nothing may be found to be willing to give.

One who spends his time among wise people is wise too.

Sleep with a woman and she will make sure you wake up.

The eagle needs feathers, and the wren does too.

The lazy person has no time for boring work. *

The sickness of the body is the cure of the mind [some times].

The stupid find relief in the suffering of others.

The truth can be painful.

There is no point in offering a helping hand to someone who wants to drown.

Those who don't look forward, stay behind.

To a good listener, few words are needed.

What the child sees at home, that's what the child may learn.

What the wolf does pleases his mate.

When the fox is engaging you in conversation, keep an eye on your chicken.

You know much if you know how to live.


Basque proverbs and sayings, Literature  

Aske, Jon. Basque Proverbs: Esaera Zaharrak. 1994.
[] and

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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