PROVERBS WITH LITERARY MEANINGS IN ENGLISH -- 1401-1600
1401. If you go by how delicious the yam is, you consume everything in the barn.
1402. The chicken says that if someone wants to play with him, let him not play with his head.
1403. A deceiver first deceives himself before he deceives someone else.
1404. If one buries the lizard as many times as it falls from above, wealth will be gone.
1405. What am I going to do with it serves as a consolation.
1406. If a person buries himself, one of his hands will stick out.
1407. A person who is weak says that his brother started the trouble. [Too fearful to tell truth, so does not defend brother.]
1408. One who plays with the chicken smells excrement.
1409. The child who warms himself afternoons and evenings with an older person knows how his underwear [casual clothing] is.
1410. There is no way to deny what a woman testifies to about her husband.
1411. Medicine will not heal the heart of a child who is going to die.
1412. One who picks up a guineafeather fowl and rejoices--what about the guineafowl that owns it? [It has more right to celebrate.]
1413. If you cure a mad person, you do not cure him of murmuring.
1414. What you use to prevent illness exceeds what you use to cure it. [Joel feels that this should have been expressed in reverse.]
1415. You can not cut up the animal in the trap.
1416. A yam that did not grow long does not fail to multiply.
1417. The things that are in the home of the bee are not also in the home of the hornet.
1418. By words of mouth one challenges a strong man to a fight. [ima ogu = to challenge]
1419. If an old woman dances wrongly, it is said that she is doing the dance of foreigners.
1420. One who is high up does not abuse the breeze. [îkpøo iyi=to abuse]
1421. Not having a guide causes water not to run straight.
1422. If the young woman moves seductively while preparing the stew, does she think that the ancients fell into the fire [and are watching her]?
1423. Not everything that glitters is gold.
1424. When the old woman is hungry for fufu, she says that she is cooking it for her son.
1425. You do not have to flog a dog to call him to come and eat feces.
1426. If you disturb monkeys, you will find out which one is a male.
1427. You don't have to tell an intelligent child to get out of the sun.
1428. The real dance comes when the duiker dances to the point of fatigue..
1429. The lizard falls safely from a great height and says that if man does not praise him he will praise himself.
1430. The monkey says that she cannot defend the child she is carrying on her back.
1431. The young woman expects every day to be lucky.
1432. One who thinks he is the wisest person in town is a fool in another town.
1433. I'm not going to eat grass in the field--am I a cow?
1434. When an animal follows a monkey, it jumps and breaks its arm.
1435. Who will treat a child the same as the mother who carried him in her womb?
1436. When a child goes through a fence [a difficult achievement] people will know how much sense he has.
1437. The younger generation does the dance that is popular in their time.
1438. If you are too friendly to a small dog, he will chew up your clothing.
1439. When people are making sacrifices, the blame goes to the spirits. [I've done my part, now it's up to them.]
1440. If something happens, one remembers that the cow that climbs a hill breaks its waist.
1441. The fly is wasting its time buzzing around in the pile of feces that is too large for it.
1442. If all [in a group or family] have wealth, they all become brothers.
1443. While they are gathering breadfruit for you, you are eating grass. [You are at fault.]
1444. The bat says that it knows that it is very ugly, so it flies at night.
1445. He who runs in order to be praised breaks his leg.
1446. If you are told to dip in, you carry off the whole bowl
1447. When a child who has a mother is being advised, the orphan learns from it.
1448. Ochongongo [troublemaker] says that a chameleon stepped on his plate and broke it.
1449. The dog that pursues an automobile does something futile.
1450. One who constantly disagrees will agree on the death mat.
1451. Hot soup should be eaten slowly.
1452. The ram says that men expres their feelings with sighs and groans.
1453. The coconut says that the wealthy man eats [coconuts] by a stroke of luck. (The poor man has to make an effort.)
1454. One who holds another person down holds himself down
1455. The rain that beats down on the slave beats down on his owner.
1456. Not seeing what one can do [having no recourse] makes the cocoyam taste like yam. (Make the best of a bad situation.)
1457. The old woman says that it is in the sky and it is also on the earth. (She lacks nothing.)
1458. We are constantly watching the gadfly, yet it is not used to bury the corpse. (Wasting time.)
1459. The day that I go hunting the deer climb into the heights. (Bad luck.)
1460. The tree that stands in the compound feels the knife blade.
1461. When [kind of sauce] starts to taste good, more yam is put in.
1462. One who has borrowed cloth does not dance until late at night.
1463. "Bring, bring" is better for other people's belongings. [Generosity with other people's things.]
1464. Night has not arrived and already they are talking about the daytime.
1465. When a bird perches on a swinging fence, the fence dances.
1466. The soup says that it speaks English but it did not go to school.
1467. Something happened to the cocoyam, that caused it to make a cracking noise. [There is a reason for unusual events.]
1468. I'm coming, I'm coming, is what took away the tail of the toad.
1469. Smiling does not indicate liking.
1470. A woman should not squat in a place full of prickly grass.
1471. The thing the spider uses to make his designs are in his bottom.
1472. One who wears a feather should not wear the feather [wing] of a fly. [That would be insulting.]
1473. Where the millipede dies, there his grave is.
1474. When a person serves a chief, he benefits from the chieftaincy.
1475. If an invited guest treads a chicken to death, he should not be ashamed of it.
1476. One who is always traveling is like a homeless person.
1477. A foolish child does not know when his father's things are shared.
1478. One who pounds palm fruit uses chickens to take a rest (by driving them away).
1479. The man whose scrotum is swollen owes a debt to hydrocele. (It is really hydrocele from which he suffers.)
1480. -- does not strike the cow's ear (is not effective).
1481. One does not stay as a human being and speak as a spirit.
1482. One who carries a load still cannot carry the earth.
1483. Whichever hand is comfortable for a person is the one he uses to place his head on when he goes to sleep.
1484. One should not eat the child's yam because it looks good.
1485. If one purposely falls down laughing, laughter says that it is a strong wrestler.
1486. If you tell a thief to catch a chicken in public, he says that it will bite him.
1487. An old woman ate three pieces of yam and said that her teeth were killing her; those whose teeth were good, how many did they eat?
1488. Anything you look for you can find in the doctor's bag.
1489. The toad says that it does not know how it is going to croak without water filling its mouth.
1490. If one tells how supper was eaten, it becomes a complaint about food. (Stinginess.)
1491. Am I going to eat feces because of shame?
1492. I will not, because my father was reincarnated [into my family], feed him to death.
1493. The big idol that is feared-- is it not a human being who gives it food?
1494. If one tells everything he hears, he becomes a gossip.
1495. If you come to the place where an artist is working, it looks as though he were making a face. [concentration]
1496. One should first evaluate the child's face before eating the food he has in his hand.
1497. When one tells a poor person how to become wealthy, he (the poor person) says, "Let them gather, let them eat, they should not give me any."
1498. If you use something someone wants to pay your debt to him, he takes it whether it is enough or not.
1499. If you wait for sleep to come from the nose, you will stay awake until dawn.
1500. Eating and excreting makes yams and cocoyams expensive in the market.
1501. If you commit murder in anger, the anger stops but the murder is still there.
1502. If a large share is given out portion by portion, you will find out those who are loved.
1503. If beauty were everywhere, who would look at other people?
1504. What the eye sees cannot be disputed.
1505. The Igbo people donot run from rain until they are drenched.
1506. What looks good to the eye makes a friend. (People like good-looking things and people.)
1507. Whatever bad or good thing a man does, his children will grow to meet it. If the tongue scoops up fire and it affects the cheek, it is a bad thing.
1508. The head is not too heavy for its owner.
1509. When there are no more yams in the barn, a woman answers her husband rudely.
1510. Let me first deal with the Eke that I have seen, because I do not know what Orie will bring .
1511. When the child learns to climb, his mother learns to cry.
1512. If the head of the household has no patience, he will live alone.
1513. If a bird is dancing in the road, the thing that is drumming for him is in the bush.
1514. The child who digs cocoyams with his father does not know when he will curse his father.
1515. When the child eats the thing he has been staying awake for, he is overcome by sleep.
1516. The newborn child says that he knew what he could say, but if he did speak, his mother would be killed; or he himself would be thrown away, saying that they had committed an abomination.
1517. When the rich man travels, he eats what he normally avoids.
1518. When the child eats a toad, he refuses meat. (He judges all meat by the bad-tasting toad meat.)
1519. We have two ears but we cannot hear two speeches at the same time.
1520. The one needs my head to use in making a sacrifice, let him take his own to make it.
1521. When an old man eats rats at night, if no man sees him, the spirits will see him.
1522. When an older woman groans in childbirth, is she telling young women not to get pregnant?
1523. If you tell a child to catch a muskrat, are you also going to give him water to wash his hands?
1524. It looks as though a person comes out from sleep and looks as though he were worried.
1525. One who owes a debt is a slave.
1526. If one is cured of hydrocele and his stomach swells, he is destined for the bad bush.
1527. I wish I were a bag so a young woman would sling me over her shoulder.
1528. I know from my own example that beautiful people defecate.
1529. Don't be in too much of a hurry to clean the chicken house.
1530. One who has a venereal disease does not take (a certain type of snuff).
1531. The child who is going to die says that the pestle should be taken to string his bow. (He asks something unusual--behaves recklessly.)
1532. One who wears the feather of a flying animal does not wear the feather of a fly.
1533. One who is loved by all the spirits dies early.
1534. The mind of one person is too much for another person.
1535. The eagle is very beautiful but what spoils him is that he eats toads.
1536. If the hawk kills two animals at once, does he wear a bag?
1537. When there is commotion in the market, that is the best time for the thief.
1538. When the conversation turns to money, the poor person stops talking.
1539. When the child sees that a fight has been stopped, he says that he wants to fight.
1540. The rain covers footprints; it does not beat cover words.
1541. The chicken that scratches up a lot uses its feet to scratch up the thing that kills it.
1542. If you scoop up water in the morning, it looks as though you are not going to drink it. (People did not usually drink water early in the morning.)
1543. You should not blame the duiker that fell into a trap; one who sees a yam plot does not put his foot in.
1544. One who travels to those who lack food and eat fufu must have bought it.
1545. The yam that has grown is truth; the inability to dig it up is a lie.
1546. On the day of hardship, it looks to someone who has as though he is giving people big things.
1547. The talkative woman brings hatred on her relatives.
1548. If a quarrel sees a child he (the quarrel) enter the forest; if he sees an adult he comes out.
1549. One who accidentally passes gas twice has done it once on purpose.
1550. If the mouth is guilty (of not speaking out), the cheek bends.
1551. Rather than rain drown me, let it take my cloth.
1552. One who wrongs his brother--will he see another person and run away?
1553. The isu (clan?) says that if a friend wrongs his friend, his stomach will be like a he-goat to him. (It will swell up--a kind of curse.)
1554. If the eye becomes ashamed, it looks dull (becomes weak).
1555. If something happens to a person and he does not learn from it, he came into the world before evil did.
1556. One who has eaten his fill uses his leg to push the fire back for his companions.
1557. Tortoise says that if one does not use a cow to perform his father's funeral ceremony, it is not a good thing, but if he is told to bring it, he is unable to do it.
1558. The vulture says let no one tell it a disgusting story while he is giving his child feces.
1559. If an animal and a strong man die, those who laugh will outnumber those who cry.
1560. The spirits to whom you make a promise will not kill you.
1561. A person from Umuduru says that he gathered palm nuts and put them in his bag, gathered and put them in his mouth, it does not make the bag heavy, or the mouth.
1562. Color is better when the python has it.
1563. A dancer and his body struggle with each other.
1564. The old woman who saw me and remembered her child--let what happened to her child happen to her.
1565. When you live near a prominent person, if there is no gain there will be problems for you.
1566. If sacrifice is made and no vultures are seen, who are the young men of the spirits? (What is going on?)
1567. If evil gets to be too much, the spirits will be shocked.
1568. If you tell a deaf person to sit down and eat supper, he says that "there is no blame."
1569. When a child is born and he starts to wear clothes, that causes things to become very expensive.
1570. Shall I tell an old woman to close her mouth because flies might fly into it--how do I know what people eat?
1571. No one carried on the head by force will be happy.
1572. When the cock crows early in the morning, those who went to be with their girlfriends return to their own homes.
1573. If a child does not know how to speak in proverbs, he talks gibberish [something meaningless]
1574. The path to the oil palm is better than the path to the raphia palm.
1575. The chief of the compound has not been seen. (One does not know who will be chief.) (One cannot predict who will turn out to be a chief.)
1576. If a person starts out on a journey and turns back, the one who is in the lead he himself] becomes the last one.
1577. What is not good in the fire is not good in the stomach.
1578. Who has something to eat and yet asks, what am I going to eat?
1579. Feces does not go to fight while urine remains at the back.
1580. One who is not there when a male goat is being cut up says that the child has been cut out of its stomach. [People not there give their own versions.]
1581. Even when a person is going to vomit, one should not refuse him food.
1582. If you kill a strong man, what was done to him is in his heart, and if you do not kill him, he retains it in his heart.
1583. For the sake of being good to relatives and to friends, let me not die.
1584. Life consists of always waiting. [enduring, having patience]
1585. One who is found at home pays the debt of hospitality.
1586. When a child speaks, an adult explains for him.
1587. If a judgment does not take a week, the dispute does not end.
1588. When a young man is in his prime, he forgets about death.
1589. When a child outdoes his friends in gathering firewood, they say, "You gathered from the bad bush."
1590. Continually saying, "Please, please" comes out of a full heart.
1591. Tomorrow is not something its brother was.
1592. The town called "Nise" does not have five people.
1593. If one's god demands a cow and he has only a goat, he gives it to him.
1594. One does not kill a person who pleads "please."
1595. If a thing (or person) is eating yam, the meeting is held without him.
1596. Boasting (?) does not make a young man grow big.
1597. Wisdom is half and half--no one's wisdom is complete.
1598. Ike says that the chest does not use size to recognize a
strong man. (You cannot determine a strong man by the size of
1599. One whose brother is selling does not solicit customers [compete with his brother].
1600. A secret meeting is temporary, because what one consults
about everyone will eventually hear about.
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