Enjoy our Yiddish proverb page, many of these have English translations and some are in Yiddish. Also see our Yiddish collection for books, music and courses in Yiddish.
  • .‎אויף איין שלאָג פֿאַלט קיין בוים ניט אום
    • Af eyn shlog falt keyn boym nit um.
    • A tree doesn't fall with one blow.
    • English equivalent: Little strokes fell great oaks.
    • German gloss (unattested): Auf (Mit) einen Schlag fällt kein Baum (nicht) um.   
  • .אַ קלוגער פֿאַרשטייט פֿון איין וואָרט צוויי
    • A kluger farshteyt fun eyn vort tsvey.
    • A wise man hears one word and understands two.
    • German gloss (unattested): Ein Kluger versteht von einem Wort zwei.
  • .אַחרי מות קדושים
    • Akhre moys kdoyshim. (direct quote from Hebrew)
    • After death, [a person is] holy.
    • Meaning: After a person's death, one should speak only of his virtues. Do not speak ill of the dead.
    • Meaning when used ironically: After death, even the most ordinary person becomes a saint.
    • Latin equivalent: De mortuis nihil nisi bonum. (About the dead, nothing but good [should be said].)
  • .אויף פֿײַער זאָל מען קיין בוימל ניט גיסן
    • Af fayer zol men keyn boyml nit gisn.
    • Don't pour oil on fire.
    • English equivalent: Don't add fuel to the fire.
    • Meaning: Don't make a bad situation worse by making an injudicious remark.
    • German equivalent: Man soll kein Öl ins Feuer gießen.
    • German gloss (theoretical): Auf Feuer soll man kein (Baum-) Öl (nicht) gießen.
  • ‎אַמאָל איז די רפֿואה ערגער פֿאַר דער מכּה‫.‬
    • Amol iz di refue erger far der make.
    • Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.
    • German gloss (theoretical): Einmal (Manchmal) ist die Refue ärger für (als) die Macke.
  • .אַז דער שטיין ליגט אויף איין אָרט ווערט ער אויך באַוואַקסן מיט גראָז
    • Az der shteyn ligt af eyn ort vert er oykh bavaksn mit groz.
    • If a stone stays in one place, it becomes overgrown with grass.
    • English proverb expressing the converse: A rolling stone gathers no moss.
    • German gloss (unattested): Als (wenn) der Stein liegt auf einem Ort wird er auch bewachsen mit Grass.
  • .אַז מען לעבט, דערלעבט מען
    • Az men lebt, derlebt men.
    • When one lives, one experiences.
    • Meaning: If you live long enough, you live to see surprising things.
    • German gloss (unattested): Als (wenn) man lebt, erlebt man.
  • .‎פֿון אַ חזיר־שווענצל קען מען קיין שטרײַמל ניט מאַכן
    • Fun a khazer-shventsl ken men keyn shtrayml nit makhn.
    • You can't make a shtreimel from a pig's tail.
    • English equivalent: You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear.
    • Meaning: "You cannot produce anything of good quality from poor raw material; often used of people."
    • Source: Bernstein, Ignaz (1988). Jüdische Sprichwörter und Redensarten. Fourier Verlag. p. 105. ISBN 3-925037-25-X.
    • German gloss (theoretical): Von einem Chaser-Schwänzel kann man keinen Schtreimel (nicht) machen.
  • .דער מענטש טראַכט און גאָט לאַכט
    • Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht.
    • Man plans and God laughs.
    • English equivalent: Man proposes, God disposes.
    • English equivalent: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." (John Lennon, Beautiful Boy, 1980)
    • German equivalent: Der Mensch denkt und Gott lenkt.
    • German gloss (unattested): Der Mensch trachtet und Gott lacht.
  • .דאָס עפּעלע פֿאַלט ניט ווײַט פֿון ביימעלע
    • Dos epele falt nit vayt fun beymele.
    • English equivalent: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
    • Meaning: Children follow the example of their parents.
    • German equivalent: Der Apfel fällt nicht weit vom Stamm.
    • German gloss: Der Apfel fällt nicht weit vom Baum.
  • .אַ באַרג מיט אַ באַרג קומט זיך ניט צונויף, אָבער אַ מענטש מיט אַ מענטשן יאָ
      • A barg mit a barg kumt zikh nit tsunoyf, ober a mentsh mit a mentshn yo.
      • Two mountains can't come together, but two people can.
      • Meaning: There is always a way for people to find common ground.
      • German gloss (unattested): Ein Berg mit einem Berg kommt sich nicht zusammen, aber ein Mensch mit einem Menschen ja (schon).
  • .די צײַט איז טײַערער פֿון געלט
    • Di tsayt iz tayerer fun gelt.
    • Time is more precious than money..
  • געשוויגן הייסט אויך גערעדט‪.‬
    • Geshvign heyst oykh geredt.
    • Even silence speaks.
    • Meaning: Silence implies consent.
ProverbsYiddish