Jamaican Proverbs

Jamaican Proverbs on Character

Do you know what the proverb ” Mi cum yah fi drink milk, mi nuh cum yah fi count cow ” means? Learn it’s meaning in our Jamaican Proverbs on “Character “.

Mi cum yah fi drink milk, mi nuh cum yah fi count cow.
TRANSLATION :I came here to drink milk not to count cow.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS :  1. Give me the reward without the work.   I want the benefits but don’t want to work for them. Enjoying what your are entitled to and not worrying about details  2:  “Mind your own business. Enjoy what you are entitled to. Don’t worry about details which do not concern you.”

Wha nuh ded nuh call it duppy.
TRANSLATION:What’s not dead, do not call it a ghost.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1.Don’t count your eggs before they are in your basket. Never underestimate the capability of someone to bounce back from any situation. 2. Don’t give up on those who are temporarily down on their luck

Nuh care ow hog try fi hide unda sheep wool, im grunt let im down.
TRANSLATION:It doesn’t matter how much a hog tries to hide under sheep’s wool his grunt will betray him.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS:  It is impossible to hide your true character.

Finger nebba seh “look ere,” im seh “look yander.”
TRANSLATION: Finger never says “look here,” he says “look yonder.”
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: People do not usually point out their own faults.

Yuh  cyaan teach ole dawg new trick.
TRANSLATION:You cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: Once someone is set in their ways they resent change.

Yuh  too big fi yuh  boots.
TRANSLATION:You are too big for your boots.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: A person who has overestimated his/her ability.

Bud fly too fass pass im ness.
TRANSLATION: A bird flies too fast and passes his nest.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. To be bigheaded and disrespectful. 2. Being too Presumptuous 3. Take time or you might miss something very important.

Me neva bawn wen mi maddah guh a maaket.
TRANSLATION: I was not born when my mother was gone to the market.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. I am not stupid. 2.Don’t take me for an idiot

Gi di devil im due.
TRANSLATION:Give the devil his due.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: Be grateful of a person’s good qualities regardless of their shortcomings.

Dawg know who fi bite
TRANSLATION:A dog knows who to bite
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: A person who is weak is always the target of bullies.  

Def ayse gi liad chobble.
TRANSLATION: Deaf ears give a liar trouble.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. Hearing something and repeating it out of context. 2. Gossiping and something you thing you heard.

Play fool fi ketch wise.
TRANSLATION: Acting foolishly to catch the wise.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1.Selectively playing dumb 2. Playing ignorance to one’s own advantage.

Umble calf suck di most milk.
TRANSLATION:A humble calf sucks the most milk.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: Being humble leads to great rewards

Jack Mandora mi nuh choose none.
TRANSLATION:Jack Mandora I did not choose any.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. It just happened that way. 2. I had nothing to do with how it worked out.  

Play wid puppy, puppy lick yuh mout.
TRANSLATION:Play with puppy, puppy will lick your mouth.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: Familiarly can sometimes be very humuilating..

Brite like four fiyah side.
TRANSLATION:Bright like four fire sides.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. A brazen person.2. Someone who makes himself noticed; someone flashy; a shameless, showy person.

Butta nuh melt eena im mout.
TRANSLATION:Butter cannot melt in his mouth.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. Someone modest and charming.2. Describes a person who is guilty of something but acts innocent. 3. Someone with a cool demeanor.

Dawg hab money nyam cheese, wen im bruk im chaw ole rag.
TRANSLATION:When a dog has money he eats cheese, when he is broke he chews old rags.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. You adapt to circumstances. 2.When you have a lot of money, you’ll spend it on luxuries; when you have less, you make do with less.

Dem jus like clothes pin, queese dem head, dem  foot open up.
TRANSLATION:They are just like clothes pins, squeeze their heads, and their legs open.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1.Promiscuous people.2.Used to describe someone who is promiscuous.

Gi ah man mi haas im waan di saddle to.
TRANSLATION:Give a man my horse he wants a saddle as weil.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. Give an inch they want a mile. 2. Some people are never satisfied, no matter how many favors are done for them. 3. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.

Hog a sweat but lang hair kibba eeh.
TRANSLATION:Hog is sweating but its long hair covers it.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. Adverse circumstances camouflaged by a brave face. 2. Keeping real feelings hidden.

lm don’t know im ayse fram im ass.
TRANSLATION:He does not know his ears from his ass.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. A clueless individual. 2. Someone who doesn’t understand what is really going on. 3. “Doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground.”

lm wouda chat di tail affa cow.
TRANSLATION:He would chat until the tail falls off a cow.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. A very talkative person. 2. Someone who talks too much. Will talk “until the cows come home.”

lm poor show ah great.
TRANSLATION:He is poor but acts rich.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1.Someone who pretends to be wealthy but in truth is not. 2. Someone who acts rich but is actually poor. 3. Pretending to be richer than you are. to impress others.

Trow mi stone eena hag sty any hag bawl a im eeh IIck.
TRANSLATION:Throw my stone in a pig sty, any pig cries he got hit.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: . The one who reacts to an inference, is the one to whom it applies.2. People who react to a general observation/criticism believe it applies to them personally.

Di nearah di bone di sweeta di meat.
TRANSLATION:The nearer the bone, the sweeter the meat.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. Delight in danger.2. Things are appreciated more when it is more difficult to get them.

Dawg a dawg, puss a difahrent sinting.
TRANSLATION:A dog is a dog, a cat (puss) is a different animal.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. To be able to differentiate one situation from the other. 2.Not all situations/people are the same.

Nevah tun duck outta ness.
TRANSLATION:The duck will not leave the nest.

lm nebbah  gi mi zinch.
TRANSLATION:He did not give me zinc
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. He or she gave me nothing.2. He didn’t give me anything. “Thanks for nothing.”

Di more yuh look, di less yuh si
TRANSLATION: The more you look, the less you will see.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1.It is not possible to know every single detail about any subject. Also, the more you find out, the less you know. 2. Sometimes, you can over-analyze an issue.

No matta oow Kakroach junk, im nuh waahk pass fowl yaawd
TRANSLATION: No matter how drunk the cockroach becomes, he never makes the mistake of walking past the yard of the fowl.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1.People naturally know how to protect themselves. 2. Cockroach is considered to be a delicacy for fowls. In the interest of self-preservation, cockroach is always reluctant to go past any area where he may be easily caught by a fowl. For humans, the same should apply, self-protection being the first law of the species.

Hag nyam wha im mine gi im fah
TRANSLATION: The hog/pig eats whatever its mind wants.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1.To each, his own. 2. People will follow their own inclinations.

Wen man belli full, im bruck pat
TRANSLATION: When a man’s belly is filled, he breaks the pot.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. When man is satisfied, he often forgets what hunger or need is, and will be indifferent to the sources of his repast or succor, until he again finds himself in need. 2. When you have everything you need, you don’t prepare for future trouble.

Self praise a nuh nuh recumendayshan
TRANSLATION: Self-praise is no recommendation.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1.Praising yourself means little. 2. One should not be too quick to “sound his own trumpet.”3. “Don’t blow your own horn.”

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