Site Map
Hungarian Proverbs
Section › 7   Set    Search  Previous Next

Reservations   Contents    

Hungarian Proverbs

These are English versions of 76 Hungarian proverbs with rather equivalent proverbs added in quotation marks.

The numbers in square brackets show where to find the proverbs in a Hungarian work in which there are other translations than English ones (book references are below).


(Not) to overstretch the string. ➾ ([Not] to increase tension to the breaking point.) [369]

A dialogue between deaf people. ➾ (Each tells his own views without regard for that of the other.) [824]

A hasty work is seldom good. ➾ "Haste makes waste." [663]

A man is known by living with him. ➾ "Come live with me and you'll know me." [563]

A master's request is a command. [965]

A promise is a nice word if kept, then it is all right. ➾ "One acre of performance is worth twenty of the Land of Promise." [385]

After three days the place of the guest is behind the door (that is, outside). [1000]

After work rest is sweet. [665]

All are not your friends who smile at you. ➾ "All are not friends that speak us fair." [64]

An embarrassment due to abundance. [112]

An old man is not [necessarily] a senile man. [726]

An ox remains an ox even if driven to Vienna. ➾ "Send a fool to the market (to France, far), and a fool he will return again." [705]

Due to a nail the horse becomes lame. ➾ "For want of a nail the shoe is lost, for want of a shoe the horse is lost, for want of a horse the rider is lost." [841]

Even an old goat likes to lick salt. ➾ (Even old men like making love.) [461]

Even one hundred words lead to one end. ➾ "In brief/short." [889]

Fair words are not enough to an empty belly. ➾ "Fair words fill not the belly." [334]

First (or The main thing) is safety. ➾ "Safety first." [85]

For a thirsty ox dirty water will do as well. [709]

Have a close look at the mother and then marry her daughter. ➾ "Take a vine of a good soil, and the daughter of a good mother." [25]

Having no ointment and box why do you pose as hairdresser? (Do not undertake something you are not satisfactory equipped for.) [391]

He crushes pepper under the nose of somebody. ➾ (He annoys/irritates somebody.) [102]

He cuts the tree under himself. ➾ "To cut one's throat." [232]

He dances on a razor-edge. ➾ (He tries to face danger from two/more sides.) - "It is (like balancing) on a knife's/razor's edge." [100]

He is as impertinent as a fly at the market. ➾ "As bold as brass." [868]

He puts his hands into a wasp's nest. ➾ "To stir up a hornet's/wasp's nest." 1601 [152]

He shoots at sparrows with a (high calibre) gun. ➾ "Take not a musket to kill a butterfly." - "To use a sledgehammer to crack a nut." - "To crack nuts with a steam hammer." - "To break a butterfly on a wheel." [8]

He shows the whiteness of his teeth. ➾ "To show one's true colours." [271]

He stumbled upwards. ➾ (After failing in a job he was moved to a higher position.) [116]

He was already anything but a man hanged. ➾ (He practised many trades and professions.) [16]

He who cannot speak Arabic, should not speak Arabic. ➾ (He who has no knowledge/understanding of something should not interfere with or engage in it.) [28]

He who defends a thief [may be] a bigger thief himself. [936]

He who gets up early finds gold. ➾ "The early bird catches the worm." - "Early to bed and early to rise, makes the man healthy, wealthy and wise." [32]

He who once ventures to lie, deserves no more confidence. ➾ "He that once deceives is ever suspected." [348]

He who readily believes, will be readily disappointed. ➾ "Believe not all that you see, nor half what you hear." - "He who believes easily is easily deceived." [358]

He whose place is on the gallows, will not die in the Danube. ➾ "If you are born to be hanged, then you will never be drowned." c 1503 [14]

It is an ugly bird that defiles its own nest. ➾ "It's an ill (a dirty) bird that fouls its own nest." [614]

It is better to fear (something) than to get frightened. ➾ "Prevention is better than cure." - "Forewarned forearmed." [258]

Leave others in peace, care for yourself. ➾ "Mind your own business." [70]

Let us sleep one (night on this matter). ➾ "Night is the mother of counsel." - "To consult with (take counsel of) one's pillows." [22]

Life does not stop. Life goes on. ➾ "Business as usual." [193]

Like greeting (on arrival), like answer. ➾ "Measure for measure." "Tit for tat." [5]

Like the ocean in a drop. ➾ (A small part of something may present the main characteristics of the whole.) [919]

Luck brings friends, need tries them. ➾ "Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them." 1500 [62]

Man lives by brain (that is, by reasoning). [215]

Neither be conceited, nor fall into despair. [191]

One cannot be cautious enough. ➾ "Remember to distrust." - "Always verify your references." [200]

One cannot put everything under one hat. ➾ (One cannot consider things/ideas identical/equal which are in fact different.) (Against treating alike/indiscriminately.) [436]

Opportunity bears the thief. [19]

Out of a foolish hole a foolish wind blows. ➾ (A fool can tell only foolish things.) - "A fool is known by his speech." 1477 [90]

Repetition is the mother of knowledge. ➾ "Repetion is the mother of learning/skill." [393]

Stretch yourself as far as your cover reaches. [907]

The air was frozen around him (about an atmosphere of distrust). [583]

The big fish eats the little fish. ➾ "Big fish eat little fish." [317]

The black soup is still to come. ➾ (The worst is still ahead.) [584]

The bride is too beautiful. ➾ (This news is too good to be true.) - "To be too good to be true." [636]

The castle of Buda was not built in one day. ➾ "Rome was not built in a day." [114]

The child is dead, the godfathership has ended. [302]

The goat has enough to eat and the cabbage remains. ➾ (Both parties are satisfied.) [459]

The good/bad example is catching. [It could even be followed.] [744]

The horse should worry, he has a big head. ➾ (Don't worry.) [589]

The trees do not grow up to the sky. ➾ (There is a limit to everything.) [235]

The work praises its master. ➾ "The work commends the master." [660]

There are more days than sausages. ➾ (One has to save for the times ahead.) [673]

There is hardly ever a loaded cart which could not carry one more forkful (of hay) [Mod]. [850]

There is no worthless thing which could not be used for something. [221]

They are rowing in the same ship. ➾ "To be/row/sail in the same boat." [316]

This is already a gnawed bone. ➾ (A matter already discussed several times.) [145]

This is not my table. ➾ (This is not my duty/responsibility/concern/task. A refusal of doing / dealing with something.) [38]

This ship is gone. ➾ (This possibility does not exist any more.) [314]

To plant an insect into one's ear. ➾ (To plant an idea into somebody's mind.) - "A flea in one's ear." [89]

To pour clean water into the glass. ➾ (To tell the truth.) [1021]]

Try and combine the pleasant with the useful [Mod]. [465]

Two pipers cannot get on in one tavern. ➾ "Two kings in one kingdom cannot reign at once." - "One master in a house is enough." [170]

Wise men learn by others' harm. ➾ "Wise men learn by other men's harms/mistakes, fools by their own." [694]

You do not need a basket to pick well-known strawberries. ➾ (Those living nearby or being quicker have already picked them.) [206]

You should not only know what is right but also do it. [424]


Hungarian proverbs, Literature  

Paczolay Gyula: 1000 magyar közmondás (1000 Hungarian Proverbs). Bárczi Géza Kiejtési Alapítván. Budapest, 2005.

Harvesting the hay

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

Hungarian proverbs, To top    Section     Set    Next

Hungarian proverbs. User's Guide   ᴥ    Disclaimer 
© 2008–2019, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil [Email]