25 Estonian Proverbs with English Translations

25 Estonian Proverbs (with audio and English Translations)

Yep, we’re here again, folks, with yet another proverbs post. (Get used to it, because I’m a sucker for foreign proverbs!)

Today, we’re looking at some Estonian proverbs. These are pretty awesome, I must say. The Estonians certainly have an interesting way of viewing the world; so I think you’ll like this offering we’ve got for you.

Estonian Udemy

As you well know, you can learn a lot about a people and their culture through their old sayings. But the learning doesn’t really stop there, because by reading these bad boys, you’ll even pick up vocabulary and see how Estonian grammar functions. Pretty neat, huh?

We’ve included the English translations, a few illustrative… erm… illustrations, and even thrown in the audio for each proverb. Yeah, we thought you’d like that.

All right, without further ado, let’s read some Estonian proverbs!

Estonian proverbs 1-5

Anna üks hiukse-karw kuratile, sis kizub ta kõik su pea otsast ara.Give the devil a hair and he’ll tear it all off your head.
Mis koer ei näe, seda koer ei haugu.What the dog doesn’t see, it does not bark at.
Peksmise hõbid lähevad keha külge, aga sõnade peks läheb kehast läbi.The marks from beating stay on the body, but the beating of words goes through the body.
Tühi jutt on kui hundi-sitt must ja karvane.Empty talk is like wolf dung, black and hairy.
Mida väiksem vägi, seda rohkem viha.The smaller the power, the greater the anger.

Estonian proverbs 6-10

Ega ma tasku ei pista, ma pistan suhu.I don’t put it in my pocket, I put it in my mouth. (Said of stealing to eat).
Kõik ei ole kuld, mis hilgab, ega kõjk mitte karud, mis karvased on.All is not gold that glitters, nor are all bears that are furry.
Sina oled kolm päeva enne sündimist juba aevastanud.You sneezed three days before you were born. (You’re too clever)
Vägeva veega ei too laineid mitte.A strong current does not bring waves. (True strength or power works quietly)
Kes armu ei näita, se armutu sureb.He who shows no mercy dies without mercy.

Estonian proverbs 11-15

Ei lakkudes kõht täiž sa.You won’t fill your stomach by licking.
Anna hobusele süa, kui tahad sõita.Feed the horse if you want to ride.
Ega surm kallis ei ole.Nor is death expensive.
Ta on nenda ihnus, et ei ratsi nina nüzata.He is so stingy that he won’t even blow his nose.
Mis vihaga tehakse, läheb viltu.What is done in anger goes wrong.

Estonian proverbs 16-20

Kegi ei pea kõrgemale lendama, kui suled kannavad.No one should fly higher than their wings can carry them.
Kui iga kodanik pühib oma ukse eest, siis on kõik ülits puhas.If every citizen sweeps in front of their own door, then everything will be clean.
Ni avalikult, et pime kepiga võib ära tunda.So obvious that even a blind man with a stick can recognise it.
Sündinud asju ei või parata.Things that have happened cannot be changed.
Varblased puhivad oma nokka selle oksa vastu, kus peal nad seisavad.Sparrows wipe their beaks on the branch they are standing on.

Estonian proverbs 21-25

Ei lõppe enne tö, kui kaks kätt rinnule savad.The work is not finished until you put both hands on your chest. (Until you die)
Ükski meister ep ole sündimizest sadik meister.No master is born a master.
Hapud õunad peawad kä säma ära sõdud.Sour apples must also be eaten.
Tühja kõhuga on raske vilet puhuda.It’s hard to whistle on an empty stomach.
Hea sõna ei tee kuskil kahju.A kind word never hurts.

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