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GREEK PROVERBS

Some Good Old Greek Sayings

"Ακαμάτης νέος, γέρος διακονιάρης."
Lazy youth, begging old age.
"Άλλα λέει η γιαγιά μου, άλλα ακούνε τα αυτιά μου."
"My grandmother says something, my ears hear something else."
The real meaning is deeper. It means that the young do not listen to the old.
"Αν δεν παινέσεις το σπίτι σου, θα πέσει να σε πλακώσει"
"If you do not praise your own home, it will fall on you and squash you."'
You do not speak badly about your own family.
"Άλλος σπέρνει και τρυγάει, κι άλλος πίνει και μεθάει."
"One seeds and harvests and another drinks and gets drunk."
"Aν πιαστείς στο χορό θα χορέψεις."
"If you join the dance-circle, you must dance."
On getting swept along by events.
"Άνθρωπος αγράμματος, ξύλο απελέκητο."
"The illiterate person is like an uncarved piece of wood."
"Απο μακρυά και αγαπημένοι παρά απο κοντά και μαλωμένοι."
"From far away and beloved rather than close by and arguing."
Better to live apart and get along than to live together and argue.
"Απο μικρό και απο κουζουλό μαθαίνεις την αλήθεια."
"From a child and a crazy person you learn the truth."
"Γεννήθηκε ξεβράκωτος, και ντρέπεται ντυμένος."
"He was born without pants and is ashamed to be dressed."
When one person is not raised properly and is accustomed to poor manners or a poor way of life, they are uncomfortable doing things properly.
"Γλύφει, εκεί που έφτυνε."
"He licks, where he used to spit."
Submission. Refers to being wildly inconsistent and/or sucking up to someone.
"Για τον εχθρό που φεύγει, φτιάξε χρυσό γεφύρι."
"For the enemy that leaves, build a golden bridge."
"Γυναίκα που δε θέλει να ζυμώσει, πέντε μέρες κοσκινίζει."
"The woman who doesn't wish to bake bread, spends five days contemplating
Procrastination.
"Γιά το καρφί έχασε το πέταλο."
"For (because of) the nail he lost the horseshoe."
If you don't take care of small problems, they eventually get bigger.
"Δάσκαλε που δίδασκες και νόμο δεν εκράτεις."
"Teacher who taught, but did not keep your books."
Practice what you preach.
"Δώσε τόπο στην οργή."
"Shove anger aside."
Don't make a harsh decision while angry; Don't make a decision/choice out of anger.
"Έβαλαν το λύκο να φυλάξει τα πρόβατα."
"They put the wolf to guard the sheep
They asked someone corrupt to have a task of civil importance.
"Εκύλισε ο τέτζερης και βρήκε το καπάκι."
"The kettle rolled down and found the lid."
A person of a certain character always finds another of the same.
"Έξω απ' το χορό λες πολλά τραγούδια."
"From outside the dance-circle, you sing a lot of songs."
Someone who's not doing, does a lot of talking. Akin to "Easier said than done".
"Είπε ο γάιδαρος τον πετεινό κεφάλα."
"The donkey called the rooster bigheaded."
Similar to "The pot calling the kettle black" or "Look who's talking".
"Η γλώσσα τιμάει το πρόσωπο."
"The way of speaking honors the face/person."
"Η βιβλιοθήκη είναι το φαρμακείο του μυαλού."
"A library is a repository of medicine for the mind."
Used to convey importance of books.
"Η τιμή τιμή δεν έχει και χαρά σ'τον που την έχει."
"Honor is priceless and glad be he who has it."
"Η περιέργεια είναι η αρχή της σοφίας"
"Curiosity is the beginning of wisdom."
"Iσον εστίν οργή και θάλασσα και γυνή."
"A woman and the sea are the same in anger."
"Καλημέρα, Γιάννη." "Κουκιά σπέρνω."
"Good morning, John." "I'm planting beans."
Miscommunication. One says one thing, the other gives an unrelated response."
"Κάλλιο αργά, παρά ποτέ."
"Better late than never."
"Κάλλιο να σε ζηλεύουν παρά να σε λυπούνται."
"Better to be envied than to be pitied."
"Η γλώσσα κόκαλα δεν έχει, αλλά κόκαλα τσακίζει."
"The tongue has no bones, yet it crushes bones."
Can be seen as an equivalent to "The pen is mightier than the sword."
"Μην φυτρώνεις εκεί που δεν σε σπέρνουν."
"Don't sprout where you haven't been planted."
Do not interfere/meddle in the affairs or discussions of others.
"Οταν η φτώχια μπαίνει μέσα από την πόρτα, η αγάπη βγαίνει έξω απ' το παράθυρο."
"When poverty comes in through the door, love goes out through the window."
Financial problems in a home affect loving relationships.
"Οταν λείπει ο γάτος, τα ποντίκια χορεύουν."
"When the cat is absent, the mice dance."
Akin to "When the cat's away, the mice will play". In the absence of authority, anarchy reigns.
"Oι πολλές γνώμες βουλιάζουν το καράβι."
"Too many opinions sink the boat.
Equivalent to the English "Too many cooks spoil the broth". On the perils of democratic indecisiveness.
"Όποιος γίνεται πρόβατο τον τρώει ο λύκος."
"He who becomes a sheep is eaten by the wolf."
follow the wrong people, and you will fail with them
"Όποιος δεν επερπάτησε τη νύχτα με φεγγάρι, και το πρωί με τη δροσιά, τον κόσμο δεν εχάρη."
"Whoever did not walk in a moonlit night, and in the morning with the dew, did not enjoy the world."
"Όποιος καεί στο γάλα φυσάει και το γιαούρτι."
"Whoever gets burnt by the (hot) milk blows on the (cool) yogurt."
When somenone has had a bad experience they tend to be overcautious. For example, someone who has been betrayed does not trust anyone anymore. Akin to "Once bitten, twice shy."
"Όπως έστρωσες θα κοιμηθείς."
"How you make your bed is how you are going to sleep (in it)."
You got yourself into this, now get yourself out of it.
"Όποιος πίνει βερεσέ, δυο φορές μεθάει."
"He who drinks on credit, gets twice as drunk."
"Όποιος κυβερνάει το σπίτι του, κυβερνάει και τη ζωή του."
"He who governs his home, governs his life."
"Ότι μικρομάθεις, δεν γερονταφήνεις."
"What you learn as a child, you cannot forget as an old person."
Refers to knowlegde/skills one acquires as a youngster, and continues to remember for ever.
Also with the meaning of "Old habits die hard."
"Ο ψεύτης κι ο κλέφτης τον πρώτο χρόνο χαίρονται."
"Liars and thieves are happy only the first year (after the deed)."
The implication here is that they eventually get caught.
"Πάμε για μαλλί και θα βγούμε κουρεμένοι."
"We're going to get wool, but we'll come out shorn."
Akin to "Buyer beware."
"Που πας ξυπόλητος στ' αγκάθια;"
"How come you are going barefoot on the thorns?"
Why are you getting into this difficulty unprepared?
"Πρώτα βγαίνει η ψυχή του ανθρώπου και μετά το χούι του."
"First leaves the soul of a person and then his quirks."
Refers to the fact that some habits are ingrained in a person's personality.
"Τα πολλά λόγια είναι φτώχια."
"Many words is poverty."
Advises against talking too much.
"Το αίμα νερό δε γίνεται."
"Blood doesn't turn to water."
Family will always be family. (i.e. "Blood is thicker than water")
"Τι δε σε νοιάζει μη ρωτάς, ποτέ κακό δεν έχεις."
"What doesn't concern you, don't ask about, and you'll never have bad (things in your life)."
About curiosity.
"Το καλό το παλικάρι ξέρει κι'άλλο μονοπάτι."
"The good (wise) lad always knows of an alternate path."
Used when an effort goes wrong or not as expected, but still you manage to find another solution.
"Τώρα έφαγες το βόδι, θ'αφήσεις την ουρά;"
"Now you've eaten the bull, will you leave the tail?"
On seeing a task through to completion.
"Φασούλι το φασούλι γεμίζει το σακούλι."
"Bean by bean, the sack gets full."
On the merits of saving.
"Φίλοι μου στην ανάγκη μου, κι εχθροί μου στη χαρά μου."
"They are my friends when I am in need, and my enemies when I am happy.
   

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