Rent a house or a Room in Gozo, Malta
It is Always Wise to Follow the Sayings of the Old Maltese Proverbs
Maltese Proverbs are very wise sayings indeed and worth pondering about. In Maltese, Qwiel and the singular is Qawl. Il-Qawl Malti. I should think that some proverbs are common in many countries and languages though they must have originated from one specific place. For example "All that glitters is not gold" is certainly known in all English speaking countries as well as in Malta and in Italy. In Malta and Gozo we say "mhux kulma jleqq huwa deheb", meaning - not all that glitters is gold.
These sayings make very good sense and must have been very well thought out by very wise men or women. They are an integral part of the folklore of our Islands but unfortunately very seldom used today, surely not by the younger generation. And another thing, I do not know of any Maltese proverbs that are used in Gozo only. The Maltese proverbs are used on the three Islands of the archipelago.
Before listing all the ones that come to mind at the moment I think that a Video that I made about the Maltese alphabet would be appropriate here. It is intended for non-Maltese who might be interested in the Maltese language.
The Maltese Alphabet and How To Pronounce the Letters.
Common Maltese Proverbs and Sayings and their meaning in English.
The Maltese on this page is written correctly as appropriate using the Maltese alphabet, which includes the letters ġ,ħ,għ and ż.
Maltese Proverbs related to Agriculture and the Atmosphere
F'Marzu il-barri jħoss il-bard minn Qrunu/In March the bull feels the cold through its horns, meaning that it is really cold in March
Frar fawwar jimla il-Bjar/February is overflowing and it rains enough to fill the wells
Jannar kiefer u Frar bid-dwiefer/January is cruel and February has talons, meaning that Feb is even more severe
Xemx u Xita Alla jaf meta/ Sun and Rain only God knows when, meaning we can never tell what the future may bring
Ix-Xita f'April, karru deheb w ieħor ħarir/The rain in April is a cart-load of gold and silk, meaning that April showers are very welcome for the crops
Il-ħmura ta' fil-għaxija lesti ż-żwiemel għat-tiġrija/After a red sunset prepare the horses for the race, meaning a red sky at dusk fortells fine weather
Il-ħmura ta' fil-għodu, għalifhom ħa joqgħodu/A red sky at dawn feed the horses and let them be, meaning expect bad weather
Il-ġurnata minn fil-għodu turik/Early morning conditions show how the day is going to be, meaning that usually you know from the very start what to expect
Riħ ta' siegħa jnaddaf qiegħa/A wind blowing for one hour can sweep clean the threshing floor, meaning that given the chance, things may settle down to normal on their own
B'riħ jew b'rifnu minn hawn irridu insiefru/By a wind or by a gale from here we'll have to sail, meaning is obvious ... we are bound to die one way or another.
Fula f'qargħa/ A broad bean in a pumpkin, meaning a once in a lifetime occurence (usually favourable).
Iż-żmien isajru l-bajtar/time makes the prickly-pears ripen, taken literally meaning that as time passes, one inevitably grows old, or that time is the great healer and problem solver
Il-qasba ma ċċaqċaqx għalxejn/ the reed does not rustle in vain, meaning something similar to 'where there's smoke there's fire'.
April jagħmel il-fjuri u Mejju joħroġ bl-unuri/April makes the flowers and May carries the honours. This often happens in real life when someone works real hard on an idea for example but someone else takes the credit. This is very unfair and sad.
Maltese Proverbs about the Sea
Il-baħar rasu iebsa u żaqqu ratba/The sea is hard-headed but with a soft belly, meaning that the sea is beautiful but can be very dangerous as well.
Rough sea at Dwejra, Gozo.
Tixtrix ħut fil-baħar/Do not buy fish still in the sea meaning do not stake your money on risky investments
Aħjar mitt imgħallaq milli wieħed mgħarraq/It is better to have 100 hanged people than one drowned person, showing how dreadful is a death by drowning
Tini l-fama w itfagħni l-baħar/give me a good name (reputation)and you can then cast me into the sea
Min jorqod ma jaqbadx ħut/those who sleep late do not catch fish, the meaning is obvious.
Maltese Proverbs About Animals
Il-ħmar il-magħdur, id-dubbien miegħu idur/The flies attack the feeble donkey, meaning that the more worse-off one is the more his situation in life is bound to aggravate
Kelb rieqed la tqajmux/Same as in English:let sleeping dogs lie
Il-Kelb il-mismut kull ilma jaħsbu misħun/Once bitten twice shy.
Bil-kelma t-tajba toħroġ il-far mit-tqajba/With a good word you can make the large rat come out of the small hole, meaning that with good-will and dialogue a satisfactory conclusion is sure to be reached.
Juruh id-debba u iqabbżuh il-ħmara/In animal husbandry the stallion is shown a fine mare but is then made to couple with a she-donkey, meaning that empty promises are made to deceive.
Min ibakkar jaqbad il-pluvieri mingħajr ma jsaffar/The early riser catches plovers without the need to whistle, similar to the early bird catches the worm
Li tgeddez il-nemla iġġorru il-ħamla/What is stored by the ant is carried away by the mud slide, meaning that a situation may arise when we have to spend all our life-savings at one go
Tela' ħmar ma' arblu/An ass climbed a pole, meaning a one-off favourable occurance
Ħanqa ta' ħmar qatt ma telgħet is-sema/The braying of a donkey has never reached up to the heavens, meaning the pleas of the common people are rarely heeded
Mitt ħmar, mitt kappestru, a hundred asses, a hundred head-harnesses, meaning different individuals have different ideas
It-tagħlim fil-kbir, qris fil-ħmir/Teaching an old person is like pinching donkeys, meaning it is very hard to teach new things to an old person. Nowadays this concept has changed with the introduction of life-long learning.
Baqra tajba f'pajjizha tinbiegħ/A good cow is often sold in its own locality, meaning that a good product is not hard to sell (appreciative remark) or conversely, there is no demand for a bad commodity (deprecatory remark)
Il-baqra kollha tinbiegħ/All parts of the cow are sold, meaning that you meet all kinds of people those who like this and those who think otherwise
True Love - Mother and Calf
Other Maltese Proverbs
Iddardarx l-Għajn li tixrob minnha/Do not disturb the stream that you drink from, meaning leave well alone
Bus id li tixtieqha maqtugħa/Kiss a hand that you would wish to see chopped off, meaning make sacrifices to keep things moving smoothly
Turix idek il-leminja lix-xellugija/Do not show your right hand to the left, meaning the less people know about you, the better or never brag about what you can do.
Fejn tħobb il-qalb jimxu r-riġlejn/The legs follow where the heart beats, meaning we like to do what our heart and mind desire, be it love, work or play
Għidli ma' min tagħmilha u ngħidlek x'int/Tell me about your friends and I will tell you what you are, meaning that one's character and behaviour are greatly affected by the company one keeps
Li jkollok mid-dar iġġibu/What you own, you bring from home, meaning we inherit our personality and character traits from our parents
Ġid il-bieżel kielu l-għażżien/the fruit of the diligent is sometimes gobbled up by some lazy person.
Qis mitt darba u aqta' darba/Measure carefully for 100 times and cut only once, meaning Look twice before you leap
Min tafu tistaqsix għalih/Do not ask after someone you already know, meaning avoid a bad character once and for all
Il-bniedem jipproponi u Alla jiddisponi/Man proposes and God disposes
L-essenza fil-fliexken iż-żghar issibha/The essence is usually found in small phials, meaning that stature is not always important
Tgħatti x-xemx bl-għarbiel/Keeping out of the sun under cover of a sieve, meaning it is futile to try to hide what is common knowledge
Traqqa l-pannu bil-qargħa aħmar/patching green stuff with pumpkin (orange) meaning choosing a temporary solution to your problem
Iż-żmien hu l-akbar Għalliem/Time is the greatest teacher
Aħjar ħabib fis-suq milli mitt skud fis-senduq/It is better to have a friend at the market-place than one hundred pounds in your coffers
Ftit issib ħbieb tassew/true friends are very hard to come by
Bil-Qatra l-qatra timtela l-ġarra/The jar fills slowly drop by drop, meaning that if you save the pennies you bank the pounds or a grave situation builds up from small and repeated odious words/actions
Il-Ġarra ġejja w sejra fl-aħħar tinkiser/the pitcher that is continually moved from place to place is bound to break in the end, meaning that illicit behaviour is bound to catch up with the culprit sooner or later
L-ispiżjar milli jkollu jagħtik/the chemist dispenses of the stuff that he has meaning that we cannot expect good behaviour from a bad character
Return to Gozo Folklore from Maltese Proverbs
Go Back to HomePage from Maltese Proverbs
NOTE: If you can remember a Maltese Proverb that you cannot see on this Page, please feel free to add it on the Contact Me Form.
Rent a house or a Room in Gozo, Malta