Jamaican Proverbs on Caution

Do you know what the proverb “Chicken merry hawk deh near” means? Learn its meaning in our Jamaican Proverbs on “Caution.”

Chicken merry hawk deh near.
TRANSLATION: Chicken merry hawk is near.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: Temper all of life’s experiences with common sense, since danger can arise from unexpected places and things are not always as they appear.

Dawg ave shine teet laaf afta butcha.
TRANSLATION: A dog with shiny teeth laughs at a butcher.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: Be aware of what can go wrong when everything seems to be going in your favor.

Sarry fi mawga dawg, mawga dawg tun roun bite yuh.
TRANSLATION: Sorry for a meager dog, he turns around and bites you.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: 1. People often aren’t grateful for the good things you do for them. 3. Biting the hand that feeds you.

A nuh all bush hate rabbit.
TRANSLATION: Not all bushes hate rabbits.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: There are always exceptions to every rule.

X mi out
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: Don’t get me involved.

Yuh nuh kno oow parson get im gown. 
TRANSLATION: You do not know how hard pastor has worked for his gown.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: Don’t be envious of what others have or what they have achieved.

Nuh wait till drum beat before yuh grine yuh axe
TRANSLATION: Don’t wait until the drum beats before you grind your axe.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: Be prepared for anything that could happen and all possible outcomes.

Mischeef cum by di poun an guh by di ownse
TRANSLATION: Mischief comes by the pound and goes by the ounce.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: It sometimes seems like life’s rewards and benefits are small in comparison to its challenges.

Poun ah fret cyaan pay ownse ah deth
TRANSLATION: One pound of fretting cannot repay one ounce of debts.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: Instead of worrying about a problem, try looking for solutions.

Nuh buy puss inna bag
TRANSLATION: Do not purchase a cat in a bag.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: Consider all your options carefully before making a firm decision.

Yuh nebba si sumoke widout fiyah
TRANSLATION: You never see smoke without fire.
MEANINGS AND EXPLANATIONS: Rumors and strife don’t appear without an underlying reason.