Barbadian Proverbs and Sayings

Article excerpt

A selection of Barbadian proverbs with correspondeces from other countries. This is the final segment of proverbs that I started in Volume 14, number 1. I received some feedback from readers who noted that I should have explained their meanings. That is not the purpose of the collection. I just wanted to share with you the reader a passion of mine, collecting proverbs as they are used by native speakers. I leave that other aspect to researchers who will follow.


155. Little children shouldn't play wid sharp-edged tools.

156. Little children and sharp-edged tools ent no friends.

157. Little pitcher got wide ear hole.

158. Little with contenment is great gain.

159. Lime juice neva spoil vinegar.

160. Licky-lacky spell Dutch and P R Y spell particular.

161. Let sleeping dogs lie.(British) a) Don't kick a sleeping dog. (Madagascar)


162. Money mek de mare fly. (British variant)

163. Money and frien'ship doan 'gree. a) Money done, frien' done. (Guyana) b) Lending money and loaning things (Kill (s) friendship.


164. Mout' doan speak evat'ing eye see.

165. More in de mortar beside de pestle.

166. Monkey see, monkey do. (British) a.) Only a monkey understands a monkey. (Sierre Leone) b) Copying everybody else all the time, the monkey one day cut his throat. (Zululand)

167. Money will serve any master.

168. Misery loves company.


169. Night does run 'till day ketch um. a) No matter how long night, the day is sure to come. (Cameroun)

170. Never cut de limb yuh sitting on.

171. Never bite de han' dat feed yuh.

172. Neva seh neva.

173. No one know wha' tomorrow gine bring.

174. News doan lack fuh a carrier. a) News is like a bird, it flies quickly. (Ashanti)


175. Once bitten twice shy. (British)

176. One-smart dead (live) at two-smart door.

177. One one blows does kill ol' cow.

178. One han' cahn clap.

179. Opportunity lost can never be recalled. a) Opportunity lost is never regained. (Fante)

180. One man's curse is another man's blessing.

181. One man's lost is another man's gain.

182. Out of sight, out of mind. a) Long absent, soon forgotten. (Roumanian)


183. Penny wise and pound foolish. (British)

184. Parents eat sour grapes an' de children teet edge.

185. Pick on someone yuh own size.

186. Procrastination is the thief of time. (British Variant)


187. Rain fallin' bucket a drop.

188. Right or wrong, correct.

189. Respect is due a dog.


190. Seeing is believing. (British)

191. Some days soft; some days hard.

192. She playin' de tune dat de ol' cow dead 'pon.

193. Sense before learning.

194. Shut mout' doan ketch fly.

195. She near and far.

196. Scornful dog nyam shit. a) Scornful daag nyam dutty pudding. (Jamaica)

197. Self pity ain't no pity.

198. Spare the rod and spoil the child. (Bible)

199. Sorry killed Ory.

200. Self-help ain't no help.

201. Self-pity ain't no pity.

202. Small pigeon got wide earhole.

203. Speak of de devil an' 'e appears. (Italian)

204. Scratch by back and I'll scratch yours. (American) a) A word of peace redeems a crime. (Ovambo)


206. The longest day got its night.

207. There is trick in trade.

208. Trouble doan set up like rain. a) If you trouble trouble, trouble will trouble you.

(Also Jamaica)

209. The dog's bark is worse than its bite. (British) a) The dog's bark is not might, but right. (Madagascar)

210. Two poor cow does mek up good dung.

211. …