40 Portuguese Proverbs with English Translations

40 Portuguese Proverbs with English Translations (and audio)

As a lover of proverbs from all languages, countries, and cultures, I’m always up for finding new ones and sharing them with you fine people. Today, we’ll be looking at some Portuguese proverbs. Yay!

I’ve noticed that proverbs in the Romance languages (and even, to a certain extent, the Germanic languages) tend to be identical. Fascinating stuff. It’s like they all got together and decided to share wisdom in slightly different words.

The Latin connection runs deep, clearly, influencing not just the structure and vocabulary of these languages, but their cultural expressions as well.

Proverbs are definitely worth reading and familiarising yourself with if you’re learning a new language, as although they often use slightly outdated language, you’ll pick up useful vocabulary and even learn how to structure sentences.

Some of them are pretty funny, too, as you’ll see in a moment. Don’t be surprised if you’re left shaking your head in wonderment at how outlandish some of them are.

There are 40 of these bad boys, including their English translations. Audio, too, to help you get the most out of this post.

All right, that’s enough from me. Enjoy!

Portuguese proverbs 1-8

A gallinha aparta-lhe o ninho, e pôr-te-ha o ovo.Prepare a nest for the hen and she will lay eggs for you.
Fardel de pedinte nunca he cheio.A beggar’s wallet is never full.
Deos he o que sara, e o mestre leva a prata.God heals, and the doctor gets the money.
Homem nescio, dá ás vezes bom conselho.Fools sometimes give wise men counsel.
Na barba do nescio aprendem todos a rapar.On the fool’s beard all learn to shave.
Rato, que naõ sabe mais que hum buraco, asinha he tomado.The rat that knows but one hole is soon caught.
A amigo naõ encubras teu segredo, que darás causa a perdelo.Conceal not your secret from your friend, or you deserve to lose him.
Dinheiro emprestaste, inimigo ganhaste.Money lent, an enemy made.

Portuguese proverbs 9-16

Mais descobre huma hora de jogo, que hum anno de conversaçaõ.An hour of play discovers more than a year of conversation.
Boca que diz sim, diz naõ.The mouth that says “Yes,” can say “No.”
Naõ ha palavra mal dita, se naõ fora mal entendida.No word is ill spoken, that is not ill taken.
O lobo perde os dentes, mas naõ o costume.The wolf loses his teeth, but not his inclination.
Mal alheio naõ cura minha dor.Another’s misfortune does not cure my pain.
Galgo que muitas lebres levanta, nenhuma mata.The greyhound that starts many hares kills none.
A agoa tudo lava.Water washes everything.
Em quanto a grande se abaixa, a pequena varre a casa.Whilst the tall maid is stooping, the little one sweeps the house.

Portuguese Udemy

Portuguese proverbs 17-24

Gallinha, que em casa fica, sempre pica.The hen that stays at home picks up the crumbs.
Bem cheira a ganancia, donde quer que vem.Gain has a pleasant odour, come whence it will.
Lá vaõ leis, onde querem cruzados.Laws go where dollars please.
Naõ diga a lingoa, por onde pague a cabeça.Let not the tongue utter what the head may have to pay for.
A casa do amigo rico irás sendo requerido, e a casa do necessitado sem ser chamado.Go to your rich friend’s house when invited; to your poor friend’s without invitation.
O dia de amanhã ninguem o vio.No one has seen tomorrow.
Molher palreira diz de todos, e todos della.A gossiping woman talks of everybody, and everybody of her.
Panella que muito ferve, o sabor perde.The pot that boils too much loses its flavour.

Portuguese proverbs 25-32

Amor naõ tem lei.Love has no law.
Naõ he pobre, senaõ o que se tem por pobre.No one is poor but he who thinks himself so.
Muito sabe a raposa, mas mais sabe quem a toma.The fox knows much, but more he that catches him.
A adem, a mulher, e a cabra, he má cousa sendo magra.A goose, a woman, and a goat, are bad things lean.
Ferro, que naõ se usa, enche-se de ferrugem.Iron that is not used soon rusts.
Mais faz quem quer, que quem pode.He that will, does more than he that can.
O moço preguiçoso, por naõ dar huma passada, da oito.The lazy servant takes eight steps to avoid one.
Pés costumados a andar, naõ pódem quedos estar.Feet accustomed to go cannot be still.

Portuguese proverbs 33-40

Mais val boa regra, que boa renda.Good management is better than good income.
Quem tem quatro, e gasta cinco, naõ há mister bolsa, nem bolsinho.He who has four and spends five, has no need of a purse.
Tanto morre o Papa, como o que naõ tem capa.Death spares neither Pope nor beggar.
Pequeno machado parte grande carvalho.A small hatchet fells a great oak.
O marido antes com hum só olho, que com hum filho.Rather a husband with one eye than with a son.
Fazei-vos mel, comer-vos-haõ as moscas.Make yourself honey and the flies will eat you.
Nada duvida, quem naõ sabe.He doubts nothing who knows nothing.
Bem toucada naõ ha mulher feia.No woman is ugly if she is well dressed.

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