International Proverbs – Inspirational Words of Wisdom

International Proverbs

Be inspired by these International Proverbs. May you find the wisdom you are searching for in these wise words.

African proverbs | American proverbs | Chinese proverbs | Czech proverbs | Japanese Proverbs | French proverbs | Spanish proverbs | Scottish proverbs | Russian proverbs | Turkish proverbs | Italian proverbs 


African Proverbs 

A cutting word is worse than a bowstring, a cut may heal, but the cut of the tongue does not.

Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand.

There are no shortcuts to the top of the palm tree.

A person with too much ambition cannot sleep in peace.

He who refuses to obey cannot command.

A stream cannot rise above its source.

Those who accomplish great things pay attention to little ones.

Seeing is different than being told.

A quarrelsome chief does not hold a village together.

You can tell a ripe corn by its look.

Do not call to a dog with a whip in your hand.

The laughter of a child lights up the house.

Repetition is the mother of knowledge.

A stream cannot rise above its source.

Wood already touched by fire is not hard to set alight.

American Proverbs 

Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy.

Necessity never made a good bargain.

If you desire many things, many things will seem but a few.

Wishes won’t wash dishes.

Pride is said to be the last vice the good man gets clear of.

Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

Good weight and measure, are heaven’s treasure.

A dose of adversity is often as needful as a dose of medicine.

Here today, gone tomorrow.

Wishes won’t wash dishes.

Necessity never made a good bargain.

From little acorns, mighty oaks do grow.

Hope is a good breakfast, but a poor supper.

The cemeteries are filled with people who thought the world couldn’t get along without them.

If you desire many things, many things will seem but a few.

Take the bitter with the sweet.

Pride is said to be the last vice the good man gets clear of.

Variety is the spice of life.

Hope is a good breakfast, but a poor supper.

Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

Never be content with your lot. Try for a lot more.

Here today, gone tomorrow.

Chinese Proverbs

It’s better to be without a book than to believe a book entirely.

If you bow at all, bow low.

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

A man who cannot tolerate small misfortunes can never accomplish great things.

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood

Experience is a comb that nature gives us when we are bald.

A hundred no’s are less agonizing than one insincere yes.

Two good talkers are not worth one good listener.

Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.

He who cheats the earth will be cheated by the earth.

A hundred no’s are less agonizing than one insincere yes.

There are two kinds of perfect people: those who are dead, and those who have not been born yet.

Behave toward everyone as if receiving a guest.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

Distant water does not put out a nearby fire.

A fall into a ditch makes you wiser.

Czech Proverbs

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

There are no cakes without work.

When you go to buy, use your eyes, not your ears.

Even small fish are fish.

Patience brings roses. 

He who digs a hole for someone will fall in it himself.

What have you learned young you’ll find useful in the old.

What’s at home, counts

Measure twice, cut once.

The morning is wiser than the evening.

Do not protect yourself by a fence, but rather by your friends.

An early bird will hop farther.

An apple does not fall far from the tree.

Repetition is the mother of wisdom.

English Proverbs

A good beginning makes a good ending.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink

Where there’s a will there’s a way.

Birds of a feather flock together.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

The grass is always greener on the other side.

All that glitters is not gold.

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

There is no time like the present.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

The early bird catches the worm.

It’s a blessing in disguise.

Don’t cross a bridge until you come to it.

Let bygones be bygones.

The least said is soonest mended.

Life is what you make it.

A stumble may prevent a fall.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

In every life, a little rain must fall.

There is none so blind as those who will not see

To everything, there is a season.

French Proverbs

A friend is known in a time of need.

Better to wear out than rust out.

A lie travels around the world while the truth is putting her boots on.

Bear with evil and expect good.

A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Easy to say is hard to do.

He is rich enough who owes nothing.

Better to be seen alone than in bad company.

It is not enough to run, one must start in time.

You can’t have your cake and eat it.

All is well that ends well.

A fault once denied, is twice committed.

A great estate is not gotten in a few hours.

Don’t find fault with what you don’t understand.

Learning is there for every man.

Italian Proverbs

A fool and his money are soon parted.

The habit doesn’t make a monk. 

Necessity becomes will.

Between saying and doing many a pair of shoes is worn out.

Barking dogs don’t bite.

A forced kindness deserves no thanks.

Anger can be an expensive luxury.

Give neither counsel nor salt till you are asked for it.

Better give a penny than lend twenty.

The liar needs a good memory.

Better an egg today than a chicken tomorrow.

Give time time. 

Wise men learn by other men’s mistakes, fools by their own.

Who offends writes on sand; who is offended, on marble.

He who begins many things finishes but few.

Silence gives consent.

To each his own.

One who sleeps doesn’t catch fish.

People in glass houses should not throw stones.

He who starts well is halfway done.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.

Better one day as a lion than a hundred as a sheep.

There are not two without three.

Time is money.

The silence was never written down.

Every rule has an exception.

Japanese Proverbs

It is better to write down something once than read it ten times.

Ten men, ten minds.

If you wait, there will come nectar – like fair weather.

Fall down seven times, get up eight.

Let what is past flow away downstream.

It is better to not read at all than to believe everything you read.

Cold tea and cold rice are tolerable; cold looks and cold words aren’t.

Adversity is the foundation of virtue.

A round egg can be made square according to how you cut it; words would be harsh according to how you speak them.

Art is the illusion of spontaneity.

An ant hole may collapse an embankment.

Gossip about a person and his shadow will appear.

The reverse side also has a reverse side.

There are no national frontiers to learning.

You can’t see the whole sky through a bamboo tube.

When you’re thirsty it’s too late to think about digging a well.

You can know ten things by learning one.

When someone is really hungry, then there is no such thing as “bad food.”

Better to be a crystal and to be broken, than to be a tile upon the housetop.

Russian Proverbs

Every road has two directions.

Take the bull by the horns.

A  kind word is like a Spring day.

The calmer you go, the further along you will be.

He who doesn’t risk never gets to drink champagne.

Gossip needs no carriage.

You don’t get something for nothing.

Success and rest don’t sleep together

Praise loudly,  blame softly.

If you don’t have time to do it right you must have time to do it over

If everyone gives one thread, the poor man will have a shirt.

Failure teaches you more than success.

One does not wash one’s dirty linen in public.

Take time to smell the roses.

Every seed knows its time.

Scottish Proverbs

Learn young, learn fair; learn old, learn more.

Confessed faults are half mended

Be happy while you’re living, For you’re a long time dead.

Better be ill-spoken of by one before all than by all before one.

Never let your feet run faster than your shoes.

Take care of your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves.

What may be done at any time will be done at no time.

Be slow in choosing a  friend but slower in changing him.

Fools look to tomorrow. Wise men use tonight.

Willful waste makes woeful want.

They that will not be counseled cannot be helped.

Get what you can and keep what you have; that’s the way to get rich.

They that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind.

Luck never gives; it only lends.

When the heart is full the tongue will speak.

Spanish Proverbs

A tired person can sleep anywhere.

Never spend your money before you have it.

The fifth wheel to a cart is but an encumbrance.

For a  good appetite, there is no hard bread.

If you play with fire you get burnt.

We’ll just have to make do.

The wise man does not hang his knowledge on a hook.

If you want to be respected, you must respect yourself.

We do not know what is good until we have lost it.

Charity well regulated begins at home. To the grateful man give more than he asks.

If there be no remedy, why worry?

You have to make the most of the chances that come your way. Who talks much, errs much.

A wise man changes his mind, a fool never.

Tomorrow will be another day.

He who gives when he is asked has waited too long.

Turkish Proverbs

Abundance is from activity. 

No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back.  There is no right way to do a wrong thing.

Today’s egg is better than tomorrow’s hen.

He that conceals his grief finds no remedy for it.

Who gossips to you will gossip about you. 

Tomorrow is another day.

A lake forms drop by drop.

It is not disgraceful to ask, it is disgraceful not to ask. 

Patience is the key to paradise. 

Wish well, be well.

Kind words will unlock an iron door.

Good actions are never lost. 

Two heads are better than one. 

If and When were planted and Nothing grew.

A wise man remembers his friends at all times; a fool, only when he has need of them. 

You harvest what you sow.

A man does not seek his luck, luck seeks its man.

A knife wound heals; a wound caused by words does not.

Having two ears and one tongue, we should listen twice as much as we speak. 

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