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Haitian Proverbs
 
 
  • Konbit Kreyol
  • Konbit Kreyol
  • Konbit Kreyol
  • Konbit Kreyol
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Welcome to the KK Gazette, the Konbit Kreyol newspaper where we keep everyone informed of the latest news, event and resources revolving around Konbit Kreyol, other Haitian student organizations, Haiti, and local news. We are always looking for new information to share with our members, if you have events, news, or programs related to the members of our organization please feel free to contact any one from the e-board. We are also looking for members and writers to publish articles in are featured section on our site.

Haitian Proverbs

 

Haitian proverbs are concrete sayings popularly known, repeated, and passed down through generations. During Konbit Kreyol's general meetings proverbs are sometimes taught in "Creole 101" mostly through skits performed by members.  Haitian proverbs express a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. The proverbs are listed in Creole and its English translation too.

 


 

 

Haitian Proverbs

 

A

  • "Men anpil, chay pa lou."
    • Many hands [make] the load lighter.
  • "Anpil ti patat fè chay."
    • A lot of small potatoes make a load.
  • "Aprè dans, tanbou toujou lou."
    • After the dance, the drums are always heavy.
  • "Avan ou ri moun bwete, gade jan ou mache."
    • Before you laugh at those who limp, check the way you walk.
  • "Avek pasyans, w’ap wè tete foumi."
    • With patience, you will see an ant's breasts.
  • "Ayisyen swiv kouran."
    • Haitians follow the flow.
  • "Ayiti se tè glise."
    • Haiti is a sliding land (quicksand).

B

  • "Bab pi long, men sousi pi vye."
    • The beard is longer, but the Eyebrows are older.
  • "Baton ede pye."
    • The stick helps the foot.
  • "Bay kou, blye; pote mak, sonje."
    • [You] give a blow, [you] forget; [when you] bear marks, [you] remember.
  • "Bay piti pa chich."
    • To give little is not [being] cheap.
  • "Bèf a-ke pa janbe dife."
    • An ox with a tail does not walk over the fire.
  • "Bèf dèyè bwè pi bon dlo (si rete dlo)."
    • The ox that comes last drinks better water (if there is still water).
  • "Bèf pa di savann mèsi."
    • The ox does not thank the field.
  • "Bèf san ke, Bondye pouse mouch pou yo."
    • The ox with no tail, God will clear the flies for it.
  • "Bèl anfòm pa vle di la sante."
    • Pretty and in shape do not mean healthy.
  • "Bèl antèman pa vle di paradi.
    • A nice funeral does not mean access to paradise.
  • "Bèl cheve pa lajan.
    • Nice hair is not money.
  • "Bèl dan pa vle di zanmi: dan pa kè."
    • Nice teeth do not mean friends: teeth are not the heart.
  • "Bo nan bouch, men pè dan."
    • Kiss the mouth, but fear the teeth.
  • "Bondye bon."
    • God is good. (God willing)
  • " Bondye fe san di."
    • God acts and doesn't talk.
  • "Bondye pa bòpè."
    • God is not a father-in-law.
  • "Bonjou se paspò ou."
    • Hello is your passport.
  • "Bouch granmoun santi, sa’k ladan se rezon."
    • Old folk's mouth stink, what's in there is wisdom.
  • "Bouch manje tout manje, men li pa pale tout pawòl."
    • The mouth eats all food, but does not talk all words.
  • "Bourik fè pitit pou do-l ka poze."
    • The donkey makes offspring so that its back may rest.
  • " Bourik swe pou chwal dekore ak dentel."
    • The donkey sweats so the horse can be decorated with lace.
  • "Bourik toujou aji bourik."
    • A donkey always acts like a donkey.
  • "Bout kouto miyò pase zong."
    • A piece of a knife is better than nails.
  • "Bwè dlo nan vè: respekte vè."
    • Drink water in a glass: respect the glass.
  • "Byen mal pa lanmò."
    • Not well is not death.
  • "Byen prè pa lakay."
    • Very close is not home yet.
  • "Byen prè pa rive."
    • Very close is not there yet.
  • "Byen prese pa rive."
    • In a hurry will not arrive.

C

  • "Chaj ou pa ka pòte, ou mete-l atè dousman."
    • The load you cannot carry, you put it down carefully.
  • "Chak chen pipi jan li konnen."
    • Every dog pisses his own way.
  • "Chak kochon gen samdi pa-l."
    • Each pig gets his own Saturday.
    • (Pigs are usually slaughtered Saturdays)
  • "Chanje mèt, chanje metye."
    • Trade the boss, trade the job.
  • "Chat mande swe, ou mete chen deyè-l."
    • If the cat wants to sweat, you get the dog behind him.
  • "Chay sòti sou tèt, li tonbe sou zepòl."
    • The load that you bear on your head falls on your shoulders.
  • "Chemen bezwen pa janm long."
    • The road to need is never long.
  • "Chemen bouton se chemen maleng."
    • The road to a stud is the road to sickness.
  • "Chemen lajan pa gen pikan."
    • The money road has no thorns.
  • "Chemen long pa touye moun."
    • A long road does not kill people.
  • "Chen gen kat pye, men li ka mache nan yon sèl chemen."
    • A dog has four legs, but it walks in only one path.
  • "Chen grangou pa kouche."
    • A starving dog does not lie down.
  • "Chen ki gen zo nan bouch li pa gen zanmi."
    • A dog with a bone in his mouth has no friends.
  • "Chen ki jape pa mòde."
    • The dog that barks does not bite.
  • "Chen ou fè byen, lè li anraje, se ou li mòde."
    • The dog that you took care of will bite you when enraged.
  • "Chen vòle tabak menm si li pa fimen."
    • The dog steals tobacco even if it does not smoke.
  • "Chodyè ou pa monte, ou pa desann li."
    • The pot you did not put up, you do not put down.
  • "Chwal ki gen dis mèt mouri nan poto"
    • A horse with ten masters will die [tied] to its post.
  • "Chwal konn longè kòd li."
    • The horse knows the length of its rope.

D

  • "Dan pouri gen fòs sou bannann mi."
    • Rotten teeth only have power over (can only bite) ripe plantains.
  • "Dan griyen se danje."
    • The teeth laugh, beware.
  • "Dan se zo."
    • Teeth are bones.
  • "De kòk kalite pa rete nan menm baskou."
    • Two good cocks do not stay in the same farm-yard.
  • "De nèg pa fri."
    • Two skinny people don't fry. (Two poor people shouldn't marry, for even together they won't have enough to get by)
  • "De toro pa rete nan menm savann."
    • Two bulls do not stay in the same field.
  • "Degaje pa peche."
    • To get by is not a sin.
  • "Depi nan Ginen, nèg rayi nèg."
    • Since Africa (Guinea), [Haitians] hate [Haitians] (We can never forgive those who sold us as slaves)
  • "Depi ou nan labatwa, fòk ou aksepte san vole sou ou."
    • If you are in the slaughterhouse, you must accept to get blood on you.
  • "Dèyè mon gen mon."
    • Behind the mountain, there are mountains.
  • "Djòl fè dèt, dèyè peye."
    • The mouth makes debt, the behind pays back.
  • "Dlo pa janbe trou."
    • Water does not cross over holes. It must first fill the hole, before it can move on.
  • "Doktè pa janm trete tèt li."
    • The doctor never treats his own head.
  • "Doktè pran swen ou, men li pa Bondye."
    • The doctor takes care of you but he is not God.
  • "Dòmi se ti frè lanmò."
    • Sleep is death's little brother.
  • "Douz metye, trèz mizè."
    • Twelve trades, thirteen misery.
  • "Dwèt ou santi, men ou pa koupe-l jete."
    • Your finger may smell, but you do not cut it and throw it away.
  • " Dye mon, gen mon."
    • Beyond the mountains, more mountains.

E

  • "Evite miyò pase mande padon."
    • To avoid is better than to ask forgiveness.

F

  • "Fanm pa dra."
    • Women are not bed sheets.
  • "Fanm se kajou: plis li vye, plis li bon."
    • A woman is like mahogany: the older she is, the better she is.
  • " Fanm pou you tan, manman pou tout tan."
    • Wife for a time, mother for all time.
  • "Fè zanmi ak kouto avan zabriko mi."
    • Make friend with the knife before apricots are ripe.
  • "Fèy mapou sanble fèy manyòk."
    • The 'Mapou' leaf looks like the manioc leaf.
  • "Fizi tire, nanpwen aranjman."
    • [When] the guns fire, there is no [possible] agreement.
  • "Fòk de klòch sonnen pou konn verite-a."
    • [You must hear] two bells ring to learn the truth.
  • "Fòk gen maladi pou gen lanmò."
    • There must be illness so as to have death.
  • "Fòk ou bat tanbou-a pou tande son li."
    • You must beat the drum to hear its sound.
  • "Fòk ou pèdi tan pou ou gen tan."
    • You need to lose time in order to have time.

G

  • "Grangou se mizè, vant plen se traka."
    • Hunger is misery; a full stomach is trouble.

I

  • "Ipokrit se kouto de bò."
    • Hypocrites are two-edge knifes.

J

  • "Jan chat mache, se pa konsa li kenbe rat."
    • The way the cat walks is not the way it holds the rat.
  • "Jan ou bat tanbou, se konsa nou danse."
    • The way you beat the drum is how we dance.
  • "Jan ou ranje kabann ou, se jan ou kouche."
    • The way you make your bed is the way you will lie on it.
  • "Jan ou vini se jan an yo resevwa ou."
    • The way you come is the way people will receive you.
  • "Je wè, bouch pè."
    • The eyes see, the mouth is afraid.
  • "Jijman Bondye vini sou bourik."
    • God's judgment comes on a donkey.
  • "Joumou pa donnen kalbas."
    • A pumpkin does not bear gourds.
  • "Jwe ak makak, men pa manyen ke-l."
    • [You may] play with the monkey, but don't play with its tail.

K

  • "Kalbas gran bouch pa kenbe dlo."
    • A large pot without cover does not hold water.
  • "Kay piti, ou prann nat ou anba bra ou."
    • [When] the house is small, you hold your bedding under your arm.
  • "Kay koule tronpe soley men li pa tronpe lapli."
    • A leaking roof may fool sunny weather, but cannot fool the rain.
  • "Kòfrefò pa swiv kòbiya."
    • The safe does not follow the hearse.
  • "Komansman chante se soufle."
    • The first steps of singing are breath.
  • "Konmisyon pa chaj."
    • An errand is not a load.
  • " Konstitisyon se papie, bayonet se fe."
    • The constitution is paper, bayonets are steel.
  • "Kote fil fini, se la kouti fini."
    • Where the thread ends is where the seam ends.
  • "Kote ki gen grangou, kabrit pa mouri nan kòd."
    • Where there is hunger, goats do not die tied to their ropes.
  • "Kote ki gen granmoun, kay pa boule."
    • Where there are elders, the house do not burn.
  • "Kote ki gen kou pa gen chenn, kote ki gen chenn nanpwen kou."
    • Where there are blows, there are no chains; where there are chains, there are no blows.
  • "Kote y’ap plimen kòdenn, poul pa ri."
    • Where they pluck turkeys, chickens do not laugh.
  • "Koulèv ki vle gwo rete nan trou-l."
    • The snake that wants to get big stays in its hole.
  • "Kouto pa janm grate manch li."
    • A knife never scrubs its own handle.
  • "Krapo fè kòlè, li mouri san dèyè."
    • A toad gets angry, it dies without its buttock.
  • " Kreyol pale, kreyol komprann."
    • Creole spoke is creole understood; speak plainly, don't try to deceive.

L

  • "Labou rete kouran."
    • The mud stops the flow.
  • "Lafimen pa janm leve san dife."
    • Smoke never rises without fire.
  • "Lajan al ka lajan."
    • Money only goes to money.
  • "Lajan kase wòch."
    • Money breaks rocks.
  • "Lamepriz vo mye ke larepons."
    • Contempt is better than an answer.
  • "Lane pase toujou pi bon."
    • 'Last year' is always better.
  • "Lang pa lanmè, men li ka neye-w."
    • The tongue is not the sea, but it can drown you.
  • "Lè kabrit gen twòp mèt, li mouri nan solèy."
    • When a goat has too many masters (owners), it dies (tied) in the sun.
  • "Lè labouyi cho, ou manje-l a rebò."
    • When the porridge is hot, you eat it on the side.
  • "Lè pyebwa jwe ak van, li pèdi fèy li."
    • When the tree plays with the wind, it loses its leaves.
  • "Lè setan ou echi (lè ou fin’ fè tan ou), se ale p’ou ale."
    • When your seven years are over (when your time is done), you [must] go for good.
  • "Lè w’ap bwè nan yon sous, pa chye ladan."
    • When you drink at a spring, do not poop in it.
  • "Lè w’ap neye, ou kenbe branch ou jwenn."
    • When you are drowning, you hang to the branch you reach.
  • " Le yo vle touye chen yo di'l fou."
    • When they want to kill a dog they say its crazy.
  • "Lè yon chodyè cho, ou pa desann li ak men."
    • When a pot is hot, you do not take it down with your hands.
  • "Lespwa fè viv."
    • Hope makes one live.
  • " Li pale franse."
    • He speaks French. (so is likely is deceiving you)

M

  • "M’pat manje pwa, m’pa ka poupou pwa."
    • I did not eat beans, I cannot poop beans.
  • "Machann nan mache gen de mezi."
    • The merchant at the market has two measures.
  • "Mache dousman, ou pòte bon nouvèl."
    • Walk slowly [when] you bear good news.
  • "Madichon ou bay bèlmè ou se manman ou li rive."
    • When you curse your stepmother, your mother will be the victim.
  • " Makak pa janm kwe petit-li led."
    • A monkey never thinks her baby's ugly.
  • "Maladi pa konn vanyan."
    • Illness does not know brave heart.
  • "Maladi veni sou ou a cheval, men li kite ou a pye."
    • Illness comes at you on a horse, but leaves you by foot.
  • "Malè avèti pa touye kokobe."
    • A foreseen disaster does not kill the fool.
  • "Malè pa gen klaksonn."
    • Misfortune has no horn.
  • "Manje kwit pa gen mèt."
    • Cooked food has no master.
  • "Manman pa janm mode pitit li jouk nan zo."
    • A mother never bites her child to the bone.
  • "Mapou tonbe, kabrit manje fèy li."
    • When the 'Mapou' [huge tree] is down, the goats eat its leaves.
  • "Marengwen mòde-w sou nen, men ou pa ka ba-l kou fò."
    • The mosquito bites you on the nose, but you cannot hit it hard.
  • "Memwa se paswa."
    • Memory is a strainer.
  • "Men anpil, chay pa lou."
    • Many hands make a load lighter.
  • "Menm nan lanfè gen mounpa."
    • Even in hell, there are people from your clan.
  • "Mennen koulèv al lekòl pa anyen; se fè-l chita ki rèd."
    • To take the snake to school is nothing; it is to make it sit that is tough.
  • "Merite pa mande."
    • Deserve, do not ask.
  • "Mèt do pa grate do."
    • You cannot scratch your own back.
  • "Mezire avan ou koupe."
    • Measure before you cut.
  • "Milat pov se neg, eg rich se milat."
    • A poor mulatto is black, a wealthy black is mulatto.
  • "Mouch pa bezwen vyann, men li gate-l."
    • The fly does not need the meat, but it will spoil it.
  • "Moun ki bezwen deyò chache chemen pòt."
    • He who must go out search for the door.
  • "Moun mouri pa konnen valè dra blan."
    • The dead does not know the value of white sheets.
  • "Moun mouri pa pè santi."
    • The dead is not afraid to smell.
  • "Moun pa konn achte chat nan sak."
    • People don't buy a cat in a bag.
  • "Moun pa-w se dra."
    • Your clan is sheets.
  • "Move zèb ka leve toupatou."
    • Weeds can grow anywhere.

N

  • "Nan bay kout men, ou jwenn kout pye"
    • You give a hand, but [you may] get kicked out.
  • "Nan mitan diri, ti wòch goute grès."
    • In the middle of [cooked] rice, a little pebble will taste grease.
  • "Nan mitan avèg, bògn se rwa."
    • Among the blind, the one-eyed is king.
  • "Nan tan grangou patat pa gen po."
    • In times of famine, sweet potatoes have no skin
  • "Nanpwen cho ki pa vin frèt.."
    • There is nothing hot that will not get cold.
  • "Nanpwen kavalye ki pa janm tonbe."
    • There is no horseman who never fell.
  • "Nanpwen maladi ki pa gen remèd"
    • There is no illness that does not have a cure.
  • "Nanpwen mòn Jezi pa deplase."
    • There is no mountain that Jesus cannot move.
  • "Nanpwen metye ki pa nouri mèt li.."
    • There is no craft that will not feed the craftsman.
  • " Neg di san fe."
    • People talk and don't act.
  • "Nèg fè lide-l, Bondye ba-l dwa."
    • The man gets the idea, God authorizes it.
  • "Nen pran kou, je kouri dlo; je pran kou, nen kouri dlo."
    • The nose is hurt, the eyes water; the eyes are hurt, the nose runs.

O

  • "Ou bat tanbou epi ou danse ankò."
    • You beat the drum and you dance again.
  • "Ou fòse bourik janbe dlo; ou pa fòse-l bwè."
    • You [may] make the donkey cross the water; you [cannot] make it drink it.
  • "Ou granmoun sèlman lè ou lakay ou."
    • You are an old man only when you are at home.
  • "Ou konn kouri, men fòk ou konn kache."
    • You [may] know how to run, but you must know how to hide.
  • "Ou konn sa w’ap kite; ou pa konn sa ou pral jwenn."
    • You [may] know what you leave behind; you do not know what you will get.
  • "Ou konn kouri, ou pa konn kache."
    • You know how to run, but you don’t know how to hide.
  • "Ou pa fouye zo nan kalalou."
    • You do not dig up bones in akra.
  • "Ou pa dwè dekouvri Sen Pòl pou kouvri Sen Piè."
    • You must not undress Saint Paul to dress Saint Peter.
  • "Ou pa ka fè san sòti nan wòch."
    • You cannot have blood flow from a rock.
  • "Ou vle tout, ou pèdi tout."
    • You want everything, you lose everything.
  • " Ou we sa ou genyen, ou pa konn sa ou rete."
    • You know what you've got, but you don't know what's coming.
  • "Ougan pa janm geri maleng li."
    • The 'ougan' (Medecine Man) never cures his own illness.
  • "Ouvriye vann zouti-l, men li pa vann metye-l."
    • A carpenter [may] sell his tools, but he [cannot] sell his skills.

P

  • "Pa bay bèf la babokèt lè l’ap rale kabwèt."
    • Do not put the harness on the ox when it is going to pull the kart.
  • "Pa jete vye chodyè pou chodyè nèf."
    • Don't throw away the old pot for a new pot.
  • "Pa kroke makout twò wo, men kote men ou ka rive."
    • Do not hang the basket too high, but where your hand can reach it.
  • "Pa pale sa ou pa we ak prop je ou."
    • Never talk about something that you have not seen with your own eyes.
  • "Pa pèdi founo pou yon sèl pen."
    • Do not lose your oven over just one bread.
  • "Padon pa geri maleng."
    • Forgiveness does not cure illness.
  • " Pal franse pa di lespri pou sa."
    • Speaking French doesn't mean you are smart.
  • "Pale franse pa di lespri pou sa."
    • To speak French does not mean wits.
  • "Parese pa gen kay."
    • Lazy people do not have a house.
  • "Paròl gen zèl."
    • Words have wings.
  • "Parol pa chay."
    • Words are not a load.
  • "Paròl two fò, machwè gonfle."
    • Too false words [make] the jaw swell.
  • "Pè pa preche de fwa."
    • Fear does not preach twice.
  • "Pi gran nèg se moun ki fè respè-l."
    • The greatest man is the man who shows respect.
  • "Pise krapo ogmante larivyè."
    • The frog's pee adds to the river.
  • "Piti piti zwazo fè nich."
    • Little by little the bird makes his nest.
  • "Pitit ki pa kriye pa bezwen tete."
    • The baby who does not cry does not need to be breast-fed.
  • "Pitit tig, se tig."
    • A tiger cub is a tiger.
  • "Pito ou mize ou nan wout, ou pote bon nouvèl."
    • Better to take your time on the way, if you bring good news.
  • "Pòt tè pa goumen ak pòt fè."
    • The clay pot [must] not wrestle with the iron pot.
  • "Pousyè pa leve san van."
    • Dust does not lift without wind.
  • "Premye so pa so."
    • The first idiot is not an idiot.
  • "Pye pa gen rasinn : tout moun ka tonbe."
    • Feet have no roots: everyone can fall.
  • "Pye poul pi bon pase bwadann."
    • A hen's foot is better than a donkey's hoof.

R

  • " Rache manyok bay te a blanch."
    • Uproot the manioc, and clear the land.
  • "Rad pa janm fè moun."
    • Clothes do not make a person.
  • "Rad sal lave nan fanmi."
    • Dirty clothes are [to be] washed in the family.
  • "Rann sèvis mennen chagren."
    • To give a hand leads to sorrow.
  • "Rat anpil, trou pa fon."
    • Lots of rats, the hole is not deep.
  • "Rat konnen chat konnen barik mayi-a rete la."
    • The rat knows, the cat knows: the corn barrel is safe.
  • "Ravet pa janm gen rezon devan pou."
    • Roaches are never right when facing chickens
  • "Rayi chen an, men di dan li blanch."
    • [You may] hate the dog, but [you must] admit that its teeth are white.
  • "Rebwè se nòs."
    • Drinking again is [like] a wedding.
  • "Regle jis pa gate zanmi."
    • A fair deal does not spoil friendship.
  • "Responsab se chay."
    • [To be] responsible is a load.

S

  • "Sa je pa wè, kè pa tounen."
    • What the eyes do not see does not make the heart grow fonder.
  • "Sa ki rete nan kè-m dòmi lakay."
    • What is still in my heart sleeps at my home.
  • "Sa ki rive koukouloulou a, ka rive kakalanga tou."
    • What happens to the turkey can happen to the rooster too.
  • " Sa ou fe, se li ou we."
    • What you do is what you see.
  • "Sa ou pa konnen pi gran pase ou."
    • What you do not know is bigger than you.
  • "Sa ou plante se sa ou rekolte."
    • What you sew is what you [will] harvest.
  • "Sa ou t’ap chache antè, ou jwenn li atè."
    • What you are searching underground, you find it on the ground.
  • "Sa-k pase nan kizin, lakay pa bezwen konnen."
    • What goes on in the kitchen, the house does not need to know.
  • "Sak vid pa kanpe."
    • An empty sack cannot stand up.
  • "Santi bon koute che."
    • Smelling good is expensive.
  • "Se aprè batay nou konte blese."
    • It is after the battle that you count the injured.
  • "Se chat kay k’ap manje poul kay."
    • It is the cat of the house that will eat the hen of the house.
  • "Se de bon ki fè bonbon."
    • It's two 'good' that makes candy.
  • "Se grès kochon an ki kwit kochon an."
    • It is the pork's grease that cooks the pork.
  • "Se kouto sèlman ki konnen sa ki nan kè yanm."
    • Only the knife knows what is in the yam's heart.
  • "Se lakizin ki di-m ki jan lakay ye."
    • It is the kitchen that tells me how the house is.
  • "Se lè koulèv mouri ou wè longè-l."
    • It is when the snake dies that you can see its size.
  • "Sè lè van soufle ou wè dèyè poul."
    • It is when the wind blows that you can see the hen's behind.
  • "Se mèt kò ki veye kò."
    • It is the owner of the body who watches his body.
  • "Se nan chemen ou konnen sa-k pase nan chanm."
    • It is on the road that you learn what goes on in [your] room.
  • "Se nan chemiz blanch yo wè tach"
    • It is on the white shirt that one can see the stain.
  • "Se pa lè yon moun ap neye p’ou montre-l naje."
    • It is not when someone is drowning that [it is time] to show him how to swim.
  • "Se pa nèg ki voye wòch ki te tiye koulèv-la, se nèg ki te wè'l"
    • It is not the man who threw the stone who killed the snake: it is the man who saw it.
  • "Se siro ki rale foumi."
    • It is the syrup that attract ants.
  • "Se sou pye mango chaje yo voye wòch."
    • It is on the mango tree full of fruits that they throw stones.
  • "Se soulye ki konn si chosèt gen twou."
    • It is the shoe that knows if the sock has a hole.
  • "Sel pa vante tèt li di li sale."
    • Salt doesn’t boast that it is salted.
  • "Si bòt la tro jis pou ou, mache pye atè."
    • If your boot is too tight, walk barefoot.
  • "Si m’te konnen toujou dèyè."
    • 'If I had known' is always behind.
  • "Si ou gen yon sous k’ap ba ou dlo, ou pa koupe pyebwa kote-l."
    • If you have a well that can give you water, you must not cut the tree near it.
  • "Si ou kouvri dife, w’ap gen dife."
    • If you cover a fire, you [still] have a fire.
  • " Si ou manje bouji, fòk ou poupou mèch."
    • If you eat a candle, you must poop the wick.
  • "Si ou vle gen rezon devan kras, se benyen p’ou benyen."
    • If you want to win over dirt, you need to bathe [thoroughly].
  • "Si travay te bon bagay, moun rich la pran-l lontan."
    • If work were a good thing the rich would have grabbed it a long time ago.
  • "Sonje lapli ki leve mayi ou."
    • Remember the rain that made your corn grow.
  • "Sòt pa touye-w, men li fè ou swe."
    • Stupid does not kill you, but it makes you sweat.
  • "Souke tèt pa kase kou."
    • [You can] shake your head, [but] do not break your neck.

T

  • "Tan ale, li pa tounen."
    • Time goes, [but] does not come back.
  • "Tanbou prete pa janm fè bon dans."
    • A borrowed drum never makes good dancing.
  • "Tande ak wè se de."
    • To hear and to see are two [different] things.
  • "Tande pa di konprann pou sa."
    • To hear does not mean to understand.
  • "Tete pa janm twò lou pou mèt li."
    • Breasts are never heavy for their owner.
  • "Ti bwa ou pa wè, se li ka pete je-w."
    • The small stick you do not see is the one that may puncture your eye.
  • "Ti chen gen fòs sèlman devan kay mèt li."
    • A puppy is strong only before his master's house.
  • "Ti kou ti kou bay lanmò."
    • Light blows [again and again] bring death.
  • "Ti koulèv k'ap grandi se anba wòch ke li rete."
    • Little snakes need to grow in hiding.
  • "Ti kouri kenbe tete; gwo kouri, lage tete."
    • For a little run, hold your breast; for a big run, don't hold your breast.
  • "Ti mapou pa grandi anba gwo mapou.
    • Little 'mapou' [big tree highly respected in Haiti] do not grow at the foot of big 'mapou'.
  • " Ti moun fwonte grandi devan baron.'"
    • An impudent child grows up under Baron's eyes
      ( Baron Samdi is the guardian of the cemetery in the Vodou religion)
  • "Ti pil ti pil fè chaj."
    • A little amount plus a little amount make a load.
  • "Toro ki begle pa gra."
    • The bull that lows is not fat.
  • "Twou bounda'w won... ou bizwen pete kare."
    • Your anus is round... you [need to] fart square.
  • "Toujou gen retay kay tayè."
    • [There are] always leftovers at the tailor's house.
  • "Tout bèt jennen mòde."
    • Any strain animal [will] bite.
  • "Tout moun se moun, tout moun pa menm."
    • All people are people but not all people are the same.
  • "Two prese fè ou bo sou nen."
    • Too much hurry makes you kiss the nose.
  • "Two vit pa rive."
    • Too fast does not arrive.

V

  • "Vant plen pa gwòs; gwo tèt pa lespri.
    • A big belly does not mean pregnancy; a big head does not mean wits.
  • "Volè pa janm renmen volè parey li.
    • A thief never likes a thief like him.
  • "Vwazinaj se fanmi
    • Neighborhood is family.

W

  • "Wè jodi-a, men sonje denmen.
    • See (live) today, but think about tomorrow.
  • "Wè pa wè, lantèman pou katrè.
    • See [it] or not, the funeral is at four o'clock.
  • "Wòch nan dlo pa konn doulè wòch nan soley.
    • The stone in the water does not know the pain of the stone in the sun.
  • "Wont pi lou pase sak sèl.
    • Shame is heavier than a bag of salt.

Y

  • "Yo pa achte chat nan sak."
    • You don't buy a cat in a bag. (Make sure you know what you are buying.)
  • "Yo pa voye wòch sou mango vèt."
    • You don't throw rocks at a green mango. (You wait until a mango is ripe before you try to knock it down from the tree.)
  • "Yon bon zanmi pi bon pase frè.
    • A good friend is better than a brother.

 

Z

  • "Zafè kabrit pa zafè mouton."
    • The goat's business is not the sheep's business.
  • "Zanmi prè se kouto de bo; zanmi lwen se lajan sere."
    • Close friends are [like] a double-edge knife; far away friends are saved money.
  • "Zanno kase nan sak, grenn li pa pèdi."
    • [When] the necklace [is] broken in a bag, its pieces are not lost.
  • "Ze ki kale tro bonè, ti poul la p’ap viv."
    • [When] eggs hatch too early, chickens will not live.

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