Thursday, November 7, 2019

French Sayings and Proverbs

French Sayings and Proverbs A proverb is a phrase or a saying that states a general truth based on common sense, often used to make a suggestion or to offer a piece of advice. In English, proverbs make their way into conversation masked as conventional wisdom when people say that two wrongs dont make a right, or that great great minds think alike. Every language has its own idioms, proverbs, riddles, and sayings. In French, much like in English, proverbs are used liberally in conversations. Here is a list of some French proverbs to help you brush up on your language skills. The French proverbs below are written  in bold  and followed by their English equivalents. The literal English translations of the proverbs are in quotation marks below. cÅ“ur vaillant rien dimpossible.  - Nothing is impossible for a willing heart.(To a valient heart nothing impossible.) limpossible nul nest tenu. - No one is bound to do the impossible. (To the impossible no one is bound) quelque chose malheur est bon. - Every cloud has a silver lining. (Unhappiness is good for something.)Aprà ¨s la pluie le beau temps. - Every cloud has a silver lining. (After the rain, the nice weather.)Larbre cache souvent la forà ªt. - Cant see the forest for the trees. (The tree often hides the forest.)Aussità ´t dit, aussità ´t fait. - No sooner said than done. (Immediately said, immediately done.)Autres temps, autres mÅ“urs. - Times change. (Other times, other customs.)Aux grands maux les grands remà ¨des. - Desperate times call for desperate measures. (To the great evils great remedies.)Avec des si (et des mais), on mettrait Paris en bouteille. - If ifs and ands were pots and pans thered be no work for tinkers hands. (With ifs (and buts ), one would put Paris in a bottle.) Battre le fer pendant quil est chaud. - To strike while the iron is hot. (To hit the iron while its hot.)Bien mal acquis ne profite jamais. - Ill gotten ill spent. (Goods poorly gotten never profit.)Bonne renommà ©e vaut mieux que ceinture dorà ©e. - A good name is better than riches. (Well named is more is worth more than golden belt.)Bon sang ne saurait mentir. - Whats bred in the bone will come out in the flesh. (Good blood doesnt know how to lie.)Ce sont les tonneaux vides qui font le plus de bruit. - Empty vessels make the most noise. (Its the empty barrels that make the most noise.)Chacun voit midi sa porte. - To each his own. (Everyone sees noon at his door.)Un clou chasse lautre. - Life goes on. (One nail chases the other.)En avril, ne te dà ©couvre pas dun fil. - Warm weather in April isnt to be trusted. (In April, dont remove a thread (of your clothing).)En tout pays, il y a une lieue de mauvais chemin. - There will be bumps in the smoothest roads. (In every co untry there is a league of bad road.) Entre larbre et là ©corce il ne faut pas mettre le doigt. - Caught between a rock and a hard place. (Between the tree and the bark one shouldnt put a finger.)Heureux au jeu, malheureux en amour. - Lucky at cards, unlucky in love. (Happy in the game, unhappy in love.)Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps. - One swallow doesnt make a summer. (One swallow doesnt make spring.)Il faut casser le noyau pour avoir lamande. - No pain no gain. (You need to break the shell to have the almond.)Il faut quune porte soit ouverte ou fermà ©e. - There can be no middle course. (A door must be open or closed.)Il faut rà ©flà ©chir avant dagir. - Look before you leap. (You have to think before acting.)Il ne faut jamais dire  «Ã‚  Fontaine, je ne boirai pas de ton eau  !  Ã‚ » - Never say never. (You should never say, Fountain, I will never drink your water!)Il ne faut jamais jeter le manche aprà ¨s la cognà ©e. - Never say die. (One should never throw the handle after the felling a xe.)Il ne faut rien laisser au hasard. - Leave nothing to chance. (Nothing should be left to chance.) Il ny a pas de fumà ©e sans feu. - Where theres smoke, theres fire. (Theres no smoke without fire.)Il ny a que les montagnes qui ne se rencontrent jamais. - There are none so distant that fate cannot bring together. (There are only mountains that never meet.)Il vaut mieux à ªtre marteau quenclume. - Its better to be a hammer than a nail. (Its better to be a hammer than an anvil.)Impossible nest pas franà §ais. - There is no such word as cant. (Impossible isnt French.)Les jours se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas. - Theres no telling what tomorrow will bring. (The days follow each other and dont look alike.)Un malheur ne vient jamais seul. - When it rains, it pours! (Misfortune never comes alone.)Le mieux est lennemi de bien. - Let well enough alone. (Best is goods enemy.)Mieux vaut plier que rompre. - Adapt and survive. (Better to bend than to break.)Mieux vaut prà ©venir que guà ©rir. - Prevention is better than cure. (Better to prevent than to cure.) Mieux vaut tard que jamais. - Better late than never. (Late is worth more than never.)Les murs ont des oreilles. - Walls have ears.Noà «l au balcon, Pà ¢ques au tison. - A warm Christmas means a cold Easter. (Christmas on the balcony, Easter at the embers.)On ne fait pas domelette sans casser des Å“ufs. - You cant make an omelette without breaking eggs.On ne peut pas avoir le beurre et largent du beurre. - You cant have your cake and eat it too. (You cant have the butter and the money from [selling] the butter.)Paris ne sest pas fait en un jour. - Rome wasnt built in a day. (Paris wasnt made in a day.)Les petits ruisseaux font les grandes rivià ¨res. - Tall oaks from little acorns grow. (The little streams make the big rivers.)Quand le vin est tirà ©, il faut le boire. - Once the first step is taken theres no going back. (When the wine is drawn, one must drink it.)La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure. - Might makes right. (The strongest reason is always th e best.) Rien ne sert de courir, il faut partir point. - Slow and steady wins the race. (Theres no point in running, you have to leave on time.)Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait. - Youth is wasted on the young.(If youth knew, if old age could.)Un sou est un sou. - Every penny counts. (A cent is a cent.)Tant va la cruche leau qu la fin elle se casse. - Enough is enough. (So often the pitcher goes to the water that in the end it breaks.)Tel est pris qui croyait prendre. - Its the biter bit. (He is taken who thought he could take.)Tel qui rit vendredi dimanche pleurera. - Laugh on Friday, cry on Sunday. (He who laughs on Friday will cry on Sunday.)Le temps, cest de largent. - Time is money. (Time, thats money.)Tourner sept fois sa langue dans sa bouche. - to think long and hard before speaking. (To turn ones tongue in ones mouth seven times.)Tous les goà »ts sont dans la nature. - It takes all kinds (to make a world). (All tastes are in nature.)Tout ce qui brille nest pas or. - All that glitters isnt gold. Tout est bien qui finit bien. - Alls well that ends well.Toute peine mà ©rite salaire. - The laborer is worthy of his hire. (All trouble taken deserves pay.)Un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu lauras. - A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. (One that you hold is better than two that you will have.)Vouloir, cest pouvoir. - Where theres a will, theres a way. (To want, that is to be able.) French Sayings About Types of People   bon  entendeur, salut. - A word to the wise is enough. (To a good listener, safety.) mauvais ouvrier point de bons outils. - A bad workman blames his tools. (To a bad worker no good tools.) lÅ“uvre on reconnaà ®t lartisan. - You can tell an artist by his handiwork. (By his work one recognizes the workman.) pà ¨re avare fils prodigue. - The misers son is a spendthrift. (To a stingy father prodigal son.) tout seigneur tout  honneur. - Honor to whom honor is due.Aide-toi, le ciel taidera. - Heaven helps those who help themselves. (Help yourself, heaven will help you.)Au royaume des aveugles les borgnes sont rois. - In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king.Autant de tà ªtes,  autant  davis. - Too many cooks spoil the broth. (So many heads, so many opinions.)Aux innocents  les  mains  pleines. - Beginners luck. (Full hands for the innocents.)Bien  faire  et  laisser  dire. - Do your work well and never mind the critics. (Do well and le t (them) speak.)Cest au pied du mur quon voit le maà §on. - The tree is known by its fruit. (Its at the foot of the wall that you see the mason.) Cest en forgeant quon devient forgeron. - Practice makes perfect. (Its by forging that one becomes a blacksmith.)Charbonnier  est  maà ®tre chez  lui. - A mans home is his castle. (A coalman is master at home.)Comme  on connaà ®t  ses  saints, on  les  honore. - To know a friend is to respect him. (As one knows his saints, one honors them.)Comme  on  fait  son lit, on  se  couche. - Youve made your bed, now you must lie on it.Les conseilleurs ne sont pas les payeurs. - Givers of advice dont pay the price. (Dispensers of advice are not the payers.)Les cordonniers sont toujours les plus mal chaussà ©s. - The shoemakers son always goes barefoot. (Shoemakers are always the worst shod.)Deux patrons font  chavirer  la  barque. - Too many cooks spoil the broth. (Two bosses capsize the boat.)Lerreur  est  humaine. - To err is human. (The error is human.)Lexactitude est la politesse des  rois. - Punctuality is the politeness of kings.Lhabit  ne  fait  pas le  moine. - Clothes dont make the person. (The habit doesnt make the monk.) Il ne faut pas juger les gens sur la mine. - Dont judge a book by its cover. (One shouldnt judge people on their appearance.)Il ne sert rien de dà ©shabiller Pierre pour habiller Paul. - Robbing Peter to pay Paul. (It serves no purpose to undress Peter to dress Paul.)Il nest si mà ©chant pot qui ne trouve son couvercle. - Every Jack has his Jill. (Theres no jar so mean that it cant find its lid.)Il vaut mieux aller au moulin quau mà ©decin. - An apple a day keeps the doctor away. (Its better to go to the mill than to the doctor.)Nà ©cessità ©Ã‚  fait  loi. - Beggars cant be choosers. (Necessity makes law.)Nul  nest  prophà ¨te en son pays. - No man is a prophet in his own country.Loccasion  fait  le  larron. - Opportunity makes a thief.On ne peut pas à ªtre la fois au four et au moulin. - You cant be in two places at once. (One cant be at the oven and the mill at the same time.)On  ne  prà ªte  quaux  riches. - Only the rich get richer. (One onl y lends to the rich.)Quand le diable devient vieux, il se fait ermite. - New converts are the most pious. (When the devil gets old, he turns into a hermit.) Quand on  veut, on  peut. - Where theres a will, theres a way. (When one wants, one can.)Qui  aime  bien  chà ¢tie  bien. - Spare the rod and spoil the child. (He who loves well punishes well.)Qui  casse  les  verres  les  paie. - You pay for your mistakes. (He who breaks the glasses pays for them.)Qui craint le danger ne doit pas aller en mer. - If you cant stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. (He who fears dangers shouldnt go to sea.)Qui  donne  aux  pauvres  prà ªte Dieu. - Charity will be rewarded in heaven. (He who gives to the poor loans to God.)Qui dort dà ®ne. - He who sleeps forgets his hunger. (He who sleeps eats.)Qui  maime  me  suive. - Come all ye faithful. (He who loves me, follow me.)Qui nentend quune cloche nentend quun son. - Hear the other side and believe little. (He who hears only one bell hears only one sound.)Qui  ne  dit mot consent. - Silence implies consent. (He who says nothing consents.)Qui  ne  ri sque  rien  na  rien. - Nothing ventured, nothing gained. (He who risks nothing has nothing.) Qui  paie  ses  dettes  senrichit. - The rich man is the one who pays his debts. (He who pays his debts gets richer.)Qui  peut  le plus  peut  le  moins. - He who can do more can do less.Qui  sexcuse,  saccuse. - A guilty conscience needs no accuser. (He who excuses himself accuses himself.)Qui se marie la hà ¢te se repent loisir. - Marry in haste, repent later. (He who marries in haste repents in leisure.)Qui  se  sent  morveux,  quil  se  mouche. - If the shoe fits, wear it. (He who feels stuffy should blow his nose.)Qui sà ¨me le vent rà ©colte la tempà ªte. - As you sow, so shall you reap. (He who sows the wind reaps the storm.)Qui  sy  frotte  sy  pique. - Watch out - you might get burned. (He who rubs against it gets stung.)Qui  terre  a,  guerre  a. - He who has land has quarrels. (Who has land, has war.)Qui  trop  embrasse  mal  Ãƒ ©treint. - He who grasps at too much loses everything. (He who hugs too m uch holds badly.)Qui  va   la chasse  perd  sa  place. - He who leaves his place loses it. / Step out of line and youll lose your place. (He who goes hunting loses his place.) Qui  va  lentement  va  sà »rement. - Slowly but surely. (He who goes slowly goes surely.)Qui  veut  la fin  veut  les  moyens. - The end justifies the means. (He who wants the end wants the means.)Qui veut voyager loin mà ©nage sa monture. - He who takes it slow and steady travels a long way. (He who wants to travel far spares his mount.)Qui  vivra  verra. - What will be will be/Time will tell/God only knows. (He who lives will see.)Rira  bien  qui  rira  le dernier. - Whoever laughs last laughs best. (Will laugh well he who laughs last.)Tel pà ¨re, tel fils. - Like father like son.Tout soldat a dans son sac son batà ´n de marà ©chal. - The sky is the limit. (Every soldier has his marshalls baton in his bag.)Tout  vient   point   qui  sait  attendre. - All things come to those who wait. (All comes on time to the one who knows how to wait.)La và ©rità © sort de la bouche des enfants. - Out of the mouths of babes. (The truth come s out of the mouths of children.) French Sayings With Animal Analogies   bon  chat  bon  rat. - Tit for tat. (To good cat good rat.)Bon  chien  chasse de race. - Like breeds like. (Good dog hunts [thanks to] its ancestry.)La  caque  sent  toujours  le  hareng. - Whats bred in the bone will come out in the flesh. (The herring barrel always smells like herring.)Ce nest pas un vieux singe quon apprend faire la grimace. - Theres no substitute for experience. (Its not an old monkey that one teaches to make faces.)Ce nest pas la vache qui crie le plus fort qui fait le plus de lait. - Talkers are not doers.(Its not the cow that moos the loudest who gives the most milk.)Cest la poule qui chante qui a fait lÅ“uf. - The guilty dog barks the loudest. (Its the chicken that sings who laid the egg.)Chat à ©chaudà ©Ã‚  craint  leau  froide. - Once bitten, twice shy. (Scalded cat fears cold water.)Le chat  parti,  les  souris  dansent. - When the cats away, the mice will play. (The cat gone, the mice dance.)Chien  quià ‚  aboie  ne  mord  pas. - A barking dog does not bite. Un  chien  regarde  bien  un  Ãƒ ©và ªque. - A cat may look at a king. (A dog looks well at a bishop.)Un chien vivant vaut mieux quun lion mort. - A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. (A live dog is worth more than a dead lion.)Les chiens aboient, la caravane passe. - To each his own. (The dogs bark, the caravan goes by.)Les  chiens  ne  font pas des chats. - The apple doesnt fall far from the tree. (Dogs dont make cats.)Donne au chien los pour quil ne convoite pas ta viande. - Give some and keep the rest. (Give the dog the bone so that he doesnt go after your meat.)Faire  dune  pierre  deux  coups. - To kill two birds with one stone. (To strike twice with one stone.)Faute de  grives, on mange des merles. - Beggars cant be choosers. (Lack of thrushes, one eats blackbirds.)Les  gros  poissons  mangent  les  petits. - Big fish eat little fish.Il faut savoir donner un Å“uf pour avoir un bÅ“uf. - Give a little to get a lot. (You have to know how to give an egg to get an ox.) Il ne faut jamais courir deux lià ¨vres la fois. - Dont try to do two things at once. (One should never run after two hares at the same time.)Il ne faut jamais mettre la charrue avant les bÅ“ufs. - Dont put the cart before the horse. (One should never put the plow before the oxen.)Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de lours avant de lavoir tuà ©. - Dont count your chickens before theyre hatched. (You shouldnt sell the bearskin before killing the bear.)Il vaut mieux sadresser Dieu qu ses saints. - Its better to talk to the organ-grinder than the monkey. (Its better to address God than his saints.)Il y a plus dun à ¢ne la foire qui sappelle Martin. - Dont jump to conclusions. (Theres more than one donkey named Martin at the fair.)Le loup  retourne  toujours  au  bois. - One always goes back to ones roots. (The wolf always goes back to the woods.)Ne rà ©veillez pas le chat  qui  dort. - Let sleeping dogs lie. (Dont wake the sleeping cat.)La  nuit,  tous  le s  chats  sont  gris. - All cats are grey in the dark. (At night, all the cats are grey.) On ne marie pas les poules avec les renards. - Different strokes for different folks. (One does not wed hens with foxes.)Petit petit,  loiseau  fait  son nid. - Every little bit helps. (Little by little, the bird builds its nest.)Quand le chat nest pas l, les souris dansent. - When the cats away, the mice will play. (When the cat isnt there, the mice dance.)Quand on parle du loup (on en voit la queue). - Speak of the devil (and he appears). (When you talk about the wolf (you see its tail).)Qui a  bu  boira. - A leopard cant change his spots. (He who has drunk will drink.)Qui  maime  aime  mon  chien. - Love me love my dog. (He who loves me loves my dog.)Qui naà ®t  poule  aime  Ã‚  caqueter. - A leopard cant change his spots. (He who was born a hen likes to cackle.)Qui se couche avec les chiens se là ¨ve avec des puces. - If you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas.Qui  se  fait  brebis  le loup le mange. - Nice guys finish last. (He wh o makes himself a ewe the wolf eats.) Qui  se  ressemble  sassemble. - Birds of a feather flock together. (Those who resemble assemble.)Qui vole un Å“uf vole un bÅ“uf. - Give an inch and hell take a mile. (He who steals an egg will steal an ox.)Souris qui na quun trou est bientà ´t prise. - Better safe than sorry. (A mouse that has only one hole is soon caught.)

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