Top Catalan Sayings and Proverbs translated to English
Here is a list of the most important and widespread Catalan Sayings and proverbs, which are sentences that convey the collective wisdom of our forefathers and have been passed down to successive generations over the years. While a saying is a familiar expression that is often repeated, a proverb is a type of saying that contains a piece of advice or simply contains truth or a value. We will provide a literal, word-by-word, translation as well as the closest equivalent saying and proverb in English and French. There is an audio recording of every expression too, so that you can learn how to pronounce them.
✪ Qui no s’arrisca, no pisca ✪
Literal translation: He who doesn’t take risks, doesn’t grab (anything).
English closest equivalent: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
✪ Com més serem, més riurem ✪
Literal translation: The more we will be, the more we will laugh.
English equivalent: The more, the merrier.
✪ A poc a poc i bona lletra ✪
Literal translation: slowly and neat handwriting.
English equivalent: The more haste, the worse speed / More haste, less speed.
✪ De mica en mica, s’omple la pica ✪
Literal translation: Bit by bit, one fills the sink.
English equivalents (depending on the context): Many a little makes a mickle, Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves or Constant dripping wears away the stone. In French: Petit à petit, loiseau fait son nid (literally, little by little the bird makes its nest).
✪ Si vols estar ben servit, fes-te tu mateix el llit ✪
Literal translation: If you want to be well served, make the bed yourself.
English equivalent: If you want something done right, do it yourself.
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✪ Els catalans, de les pedres en fem pans ✪
Literal translation: Catalans make bread out of stones.
Meaning: Catalan people get ahead in spite of difficulties because they are productive and can make a virtue out of necessity.
✪ Hi ha més dies que llonganisses ✪
Literal translation: there are more days than sausages. (llonganisa is a speciality cold sausage with spiced pork filling and intestine skins).
English equivalent: There’s plenty of time.
✪ Al pot petit hi ha la bona confitura ✪
Literal translation: In the small jar there is the good jam.
English equivalent: Good things come in small packages.
✪ Tal faràs, tal trobaràs ✪
Literal translation: Such you will do, such you will find.
English equivalent: What goes around, comes around.
✪ No diguis blat fins que no el tinguis al sac i ben lligat ✪
Literal meaning: Don’t say wheat until you have it in the bag and well tied up.
English equivalent: Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.
✪ Qui de jove no treballa, de vell dorm a la palla ✪
Literal translation: He who doesn’t work when young, will sleep on the straw when old.
English equivalent: If you lie upon roses when young, you will lie upon thorns when old.
✪ Cel rogent, pluja o vent ✪
English closest equivalent: Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning.
Literal meaning: Reddish sky, rain or wind.
French closest equivalent: Ciel rouge le soir laisse bon espoir. Ciel rouge le matin, pluie en chemin.
✪ A l’estiu, tota cuca viu ✪
Literal translation: In summertime, every bug comes alive.
We haven’t found any equivalent for this saying, but here is this one: Friends, sun, sand, and sea, that sounds like a summer to me. It also conveys the liveliness inherent in summertime.
✪ Qui no vulgui pols, que no vagi a l’era ✪
Literal meaning: If you don’t want dust, don’t go to the threshing floor.
English closest equivalent: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. French closest equivalent: Qui craint le danger ne doit pas aller en mer (literally, He who is afraid of danger, shouldn’t go to the sea)
✪ Per Nadal, cada ovella al seu corral ✪
Literal translation: At Christmas, every sheep to its yard.
English closest equivalent: All hearts come home for Christmas
French closest equivalent: Tout le monde devrait être à la maison pour Noël (Everybody should be at home for Christmas)
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✪ Qui dia passa, any empeny ✪
Literal translation: He who a day passes by, pushes a year.
Closest equivalent in English: Tomorrow is another day .
Closest equivalent in French: Demain est un autre jour.
✪ Qui no té memòria, ha de tenir cames ✪
Literal meaning: He who doesn’t have (a good) memory, needs legs.
Closest equivalent in English: One would forget one’s head if it weren’t screwed on.
✪ Pagant Sant Pere canta ✪
Literal meaning: If you pay, Saint Peter sings.
English closest equivalent: Money talks.
French closest equivalent: L’argent a le dernier mot (literally, money has the last word).
✪ De més verdes en maduren ✪
Literally: Even greener ones have ripened
Closest equivalent in English: Stranger things have happened.
Closest equivalent in French: De drôles de choses se sont passées (literally, stranger things have happened)
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