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Yiddish Sayings, Proverbs, Phrases,
Aphorisms, Curses, and Insults



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A bad peace is better than a good war.

A shlekhter sholem iz beser vi a guter krig.

A bad penny always turns up.

A falsheh matba’ieh farliert men nit.

A bad person is capable of doing anything bad (lit., what’s in the cards).

Vos in der kort.

A blow is forgotten; a spoken word lingers on.

A klap fargait, a vort bashtait.

A blow will heal but words you feel.

A patsh farheylt zikh, a vort gedenkt zikh.

A boil is fine as long as it’s under someone else’s arm.

A geshvir iz a guteh zach bei yenem untern orem.

A broken spirit is hard to heal.

A tserissen gemit iz shver tsum hailen.

A buzzing in one’s (mind) head.

Zhu met (mir) in kop.

A child’s tears reach the heavens.

A kind’s treren reissen himlen.

A child’s wisdom is also wisdom.

A kindersher saichel iz oichet a saichel.

A cramp in his body / in his stomach / in his guts / in his bowels / in his finger.

A kramp im in layb / in boyakh / in di kishkes / in di gederem / in di finger.

A crowd of people, and not one real person among them.

A groyse oylem, un nito eyn mentsch.

A curse is not a telegram: it doesn’t arrive as quickly.

A kloleh iz nit kain telegrameh; zi kumt nit on azoi gich.

A curse on my enemies.

A klog tsu meineh sonim.

A curse on you!

A brokh tsu dir!

A cutie-pie showing off her (new) dress.

A maidel mit a klaidel.

A dog is sometimes more faithful than a child.

A hunt iz a mol getrei’er fun a kind.

A dog without teeth also attacks a bone.

A hunt on tsain varft zikh oich oif a bain.

A dog without teeth is just not a dog.

A hunt on tsain iz ois hunt.

A fault-finder complains even that the bride is too beautiful.

A khasuren di kalleh is tsu shayn.

A fitting expression makes a good impression.

A guter oysdruk makht a gutn ayndruk.

A fool can ask more questions in an hour than a wise man can answer in a year.

A nar ken fregen mer frages in a sho vi a kluger ken entferen in a yor.

A fool doesn’t age and cold water doesn’t spoil.

A nar vert nit elter un kalteh vasser vert nit kalyeh.

A fool falls on his back and bruises his nose.

A shlamazel falt oifen ruken un tseklapt zikh dem noz.

A fool gives and the clever one takes.

A nar git un a kluger nemt.

A fool goes to the baths and forgets to wash his face.

A nar gait in bod arein un fargest zikh dos ponim optsuvashen.

A fool grows without rain.

A nar vakhst on regn.

A fool remains a fool.

A nar bleibt a nar.

A foolish rich man is still a lord.

A nogid a nar iz oich a har.

A frequent guest becomes a burden.

An ofter gast falt tsu last.

A friend is not someone who wipes your tears; he’s someone who doesn’t make you cry.

A khave iz nit dafke der vos visht dir op di trern nor der vos brengt dikh bekhlal nit tsi trern.

A friend remains a friend up to his pocket.

A freint bleibt a freint biz di kesheneh.

A friend you get for nothing; an enemy has to be bought.

A freint bekamt men umzist; a soineh muz men zikh koifen.

A gentle word can even break a bone.

A veikher vort brekht a bein.

A golden key opens all doors.

A goldener shlisl efent ale tirn.

A good daughter makes a good daughter-in-law.

A guteh tochter iz a guteh shnur.

A good friend is often better than a brother.

A guter freint iz oft besser fun a bruder.

A good Jew doesn’t need a letter of recommendation; for a bad one, it would do no good.

A guter yid darf nit kain briv, a shlechten yidden helft nit kain briv.

A good livelihood is a cure for all ills.

Parnosseh iz a refueh tsu alleh krenk.

A great doctor is accompanied by a great angel.

Mit a groissen roifeh gait a groisser malech.

A guest is like rain: when he lingers on, he becomes a nuisance.

A gast iz vi regen az er doi’ert tsu lang, vert er a last.

A guilty man is always self-conscious.

Oifen goniff brent dos hittel.

A half-fool is a very wise man.

A halber nar iz a gantser khokhem.

A half truth is a whole lie.

A halber emes iz a gantser ligen.

A happy mommy and daddy, and an easy upbringing.

A freylekhe tate-mame, un a gringe hodevaniye.

A heavy heart talks a lot.

A shver harts redt a sach.

A heavy purse makes a light-hearted spirit.

A shverer beitel macht a leicht gemit.

A hint hits harder than the truth.

Der remez shlogt shtarker vi der emess.

A homely girl hates the mirror.

A meiseh moyd hot faynt dem shpigl.

A human being learns to speak early and to keep silent late.

Der mentsh lernt fri redn un shpet shvaygn.

A hundred houses shall he have, in every house a hundred rooms and in every room twenty beds, and a delirious fever should drive him from bed to bed.

Hundert hayzer zol er hobn, in yeder hoyz a hundert tsimern, in yeder tsimer tsvonsik betn un kadukhes zol im varfn fin eyn bet in der tsveyter.

A kind word is better than charity.

A guter vort iz karanter vi a nedoveh.

A lazy person has to do a task twice.

A foiler tut in tsveyen.

A leopard cannot change his spots (lit., a wolf loses his hair but not his nature).

A volf farlirt zayne hor, ober nit zayn natur.

A liar must have a good memory.

A ligner darf hoben a guten zechron.

A liar never believes anyone else.

A ligner glaibt kainmol nit.

A liar tells his story so often that he gets to believe it himself.

A ligner hert zikh zeineh ligen azoi lang ein biz er glaibt zikh alain.

A lie you must not tell; the truth you don’t have to tell.

A ligen tor men nit zogen; dem emess iz men nit m’chuyev zogen.

A little bit of luck is better than a ton of gold.

A shtikel mazel iz vert merer vi a ton gold.

A little charm and you are not ordinary.

A bisseleh chain iz shoin nit gemain

A lock is good only for an honest man.

A shloss iz gut nor far an orentlechen mentshen.

A lot of words, a lot of foolishness—the less you talk, the healthier.

Marbe dvorim, marbe shtus—vos vintsiker m’ret, gezinter iz.

“A man comes from the dust and in the dust he will end”—and in the meantime it is good to drink vodka.

“Odem yesode meofe vesofe leofe,” beyno—lveyno iz gut a trink bronfn.

A man is not to be pitied; pitiable is one who is not a man.

Oif a mentshen iz nit kain rachmones; a rachmones iz oif nit a mentshen.

A man should stay alive if only out of curiosity.

A mentsh zol leben shoin nor fun neigerikeit vegen.

A meowing cat can’t catch mice.

A kats vos m’yavket ken kain meiz nit chapen.

A mirror can be the biggest deceiver.

A shpigel ken oich zein der grester farfirer.

A mountain cannot be moved with a splinter.

Me ken dem barg mit a shpendel nit avektrogen.

A new broom sweeps clean.

A nei’er bezim kert gut.

A penny at hand is worth a dollar at a distance.

A noventer groshen iz besser vi a veiter kerbel.

A person is recognized by his speech.

A mentshn derkent men in zayn redn.

A piece of meat with two eyes (insult).

A shtik fleish mit tsvei oygn.

A pig remains a pig.

A chazer bleibt a chazer.

A plague on you! (lit., cholera on you)

A khaleryeh (chaleyre) ahf dir!

A pony-tailed cutie-pie.

A maidel mit a vayndel.

A poor man is like a torn sack.

An oreman iz vi a lecherdiker zak.

A proverb tells the truth.

A shprikhvort, iz a vorvort.

A quiet fool is half a sage.

A shveigendiker nar iz a halber khokhem.

A rich miser and a fat goat are of no use until they are dead!

Fyn a kargn gvir in fet bok genist men ersht nukhn toyt!

A righteous man who knows he is righteous is not righteous.

A tsadik vos vais az er iz a tsadik iz kain tsadik nit.

A shame and a disgrace.

A shandeh un a charpeh.

A sick man you ask; a well man you give.

A kranken fregtman; a gezunten gitman.

A single log doesn’t warm the fireplace.

Ain sheitel holts macht nit varem dem oiven.

A slap heals but a harsh word is remembered.

A patsh farhailt zikh un a vort gedenkt zikh.

A sleepless night is the worst punishment.

A nacht on shlof iz di gresteh shtrof.

A story without a moral is like a meal without a sweet dish.

A mayse on a moshl iz vi a moltsayt on a tsimes.

A strange fool is laughable, but your own fool is shameful.

A fremder nar iz a gelekhter, an eygener a shande.

A superfluous word has no place.

An iberik vort hot nit kain ort.

A thief with connections is not self-conscious.

Oifen goniff in a tsilinder brent nit dos hittel.

A trade makes you a king but robs you of leisure.

A melocheh iz a melucheh, ober men hot nit kain minut menucheh.

A trick is clever only once.

Ain mol iz geven a chochmeh.

A wicked tongue is worse than an evil hand.

A baizeh tsung iz erger fun a shlechter hant.

A wise man conceals his intelligence; the fool displays his foolishness.

Der kluger bahalt dem saichel; der nar veist zein narishkeit.

A wise man hears one word and understands two.

A kluger farshtait fun ain vort tsvai.

A wise man knows what he says; a fool says what he knows.

A kluger vaist vos er zogt; a nar zogt vos er vaist.

A word helps a good person; but even a stick can’t help the bad.

A guten helft a vort; a shlechten helft afileh kain shteken oich nit.

A word is like an arrow—both are in a hurry to strike.

A vort iz azoi vi a feil—baideh hobn groisseh eil.

A word less, as long as it’s the truth.

Vainiker a vort, abi dem emess.

A young child should be named after him.

A kleyn kind zol nokh im heysn.

A young tree bends; an old tree breaks.

A yung baimeleh baigt zikh; an alter brecht zikh.

After a good cry, your heart is lighter.

Az me vaint rich ois, vert gringer afn harts.

After death one becomes important.

Nochen toit vert men choshev.

After the wedding it’s too late to have regrets.

Noch di chupeh iz shpet di charoteh.

Ah, I’m getting tired (lit., oh my, I’m not getting good).

Oi, mi nisht gut gevorn.

Aimless wandering (lit., he wanders around like a fart in a pickle-barrel).

Er drayt sich arum vie a forts in roosl.

All brides are beautiful; all the dead are pious.

Alleh kalles zeinen shain; alleh maissim zeinen frum.

All fight for a piece of bread.

Es shlogen zikh aleh far di shtikeleh challeh.

All his teeth should fall out except one to make him suffer.

Ale tseyn zoln bay im aroysfaln, not eyner zol im blaybn oyf tsonveytung.

All in one (person) is to be found in no one.

Alles in einem is nisht do bei keine.

All of life is a struggle.

Dos gantseh leben iz a milchomeh.

All or nothing.

Oder gor oder gornit.

All problems I have in my heart, should go to his head.

Ale tsores vos ikh hob oyf mayn hartsn, zoln oysgeyn tsu zayn kop.

All spruced up (lit., like Chavele on her way to her divorce).

Vie Chavele tsu der geht.

All that glitters is not gold.

Nit als vos glanst iz gold.

All the world is on the tip of the tongue.

Di gantse velt shteyt oyf der shpits tsung.

An animal has a long tongue, yet he can’t recite a blessing.

A behaimeh hot a langen tsung un ken kain brocheh nit zogen.

An embittered heart talks a lot.

A bitter harts redt a sach.

An empty barrel reverberates loudly.

A pusten fas hilcht hecher.

An example is no proof.

A moshel iz nit kain rai’eh.

An imaginary illness is worse than a real one.

An einredenish iz erger vi a krenk.

An ounce of luck is worth more than a pound of gold.

Besser a loit mazel aider a funt gold.

An unlucky person is a dead person.

A mentsh on glik is a toyter mentsh.

Anger is like a thorn in the heart.

Der tsoren iz in hartsen a doren.

Animals have long tongues but can’t speak; men have short tongues and shouldn’t speak.

A behaimeh hot a langen tsung un ken nisht reden; der mentsh hot a kurtseh un tor nisht reden.

Another man’s disease is not hard to endure.

A makeh in yenems orem iz nit shver tsu trogen.

Another man’s tidbit smells sweet.

A fremdeh bissen shmekt zis.

Another’s cloak does not keep you warm.

A fremdeh pelz varemt nit.

Anything in excess is unhealthy.

Tsu gut iz umgezunt.

(Oh,) Are you ever a clever child! (or, nice work!)

(Oy,) A gezunt dir in kepele!

Are you starting up again?

Du fangst shoyn on?

As long as one limb stirs, one does not think of the grave.

Kolzman es rirt zikh an aiver, klert men nit fun kaiver.

As long as you understand your foolishness, you are smart.

Vibald du farshtaist dein narishkeit, bistu a kluger.

As many years as he’s walked on his feet, let him walk on his hands, and for the rest of the time he should crawl along on his ass.

Vifil yor er iz gegangn oyf di fis zol er geyn af di hent un di iberike zol er zikh sharn oyf di hintn.

As one is at seven, so is he at seventy.

Vi ainer iz tsu ziben, azoi iz er tsu zibetsik.

As pretty as the moon.

Shein vi der lavone.

As the wallet grows, so do the needs.

Ven es vakst der teister, vaksen di baderftikaiten.

As the years go by, the teeth and the memory grow weaker.

Mit di yoren verren shvacher di tsain un der zikoren.

As you make your bed, so will you sleep in it.

Vi me bet zikh ois, azoi darf men shlofen.

Ask advice from everyone, but act with your own mind.

Barat zikh mit vemen du vilst; un tu miten aigenem saichel.

At a distance you fool others, close at hand just yourself.

Fun vaytn nart men laytn, fun neont zikh aleyn.

At night all cows are black.

Bei nacht zeinen alleh ki shvarts.

At other people’s parties one eats heartily.

Oif yenems simchah hot men a guten appetit.

At the baths all are equal.

In bod zeinen alleh gleich.

Bad fortune follows the poor man.

Noch dem oreman shlept zikh der shlimazel.

Bad fortune, where goest thou? To the poor man!

Shlimazel, vohin gaist du? Tsum oreman!

Bad temper and anger shorten the years.

Der ka’as un der tsoren farkirtsen di yoren.

Be careful, you got burned once already! (said to a divorcé who’s contemplating remarrying)

Hit zikh, du host zikh shoyn eyn mol opgebrit!

Be sure to stay healthy—you can kill yourself later.

Abi gezunt—dos leben ken men zikh alain nemen.

Beautiful as the seven worlds.

Shein vi di zibben velten.

Beautiful is not what is beautiful, but what one likes.

Nit dos iz sheyn, vos iz sheyn, nor dos, vos es gefelt.

Before you utter a word you are the master; afterwards you’re a fool.

Aider me zogt arois s’vort, iz men a har; dernoch iz men a nar.

Being single has its advantages. (lit., alone, one’s soul is pure.)

Aleyn iz di neshome reyn.

Being without money is always a mistake.

On mo’es iz tomid a to’es.

Better a blow from a wise man than a kiss from a fool.

Besser fun a gratsh a patsh aider fun a nar a kush.

Better a complete fool than half wise.

Besser a gantser nar aider a halber khokhem.

Better a crooked foot than a crooked mind.

Besser a krummer fus aider a krumer kop.

Better a good enemy than a bad friend.

Besser a guter soineh aider a shlekhter freint.

Better a Jew without a beard than a beard without a Jew.

Besser a yid mitun a bord, vi a bord mitun a yid.

Better a pain in your heart than shame before men.

Besser a vaitik in harts aider a charpeh in ponem.

Better a rich tenant than a poor landlord.

Besser a reicher shochen aider an oremer balabos.

Better an egg today than an ox tomorrow.

Besser heint an ai aider morgen an ox.

Better barley soup at home than a roast at someone else’s home.

Besser bay zikh krupnik, eyder bay yenem gebrotns.

Better caution at first than tears afterwards.

Besser frier bevorent aider shpeter bevaint.

Better good and a little rather than bad and a lot of it.

Besser gut un a bissel aider shlechts un a fuleh shissel.

Better not to live than to become dependent on children

Besser oyf der velt nit tsu lebn, eyder onkumen tsu kinder.

Better old wine than old strength.

Besser alter vein aider alter koiches.

Better one cow in the stable than ten in the field.

Besser ain ku in shtal aider tsen in feld.

Better one friend with a dish of food than a hundred with a sigh.

Besser ain freint mit gekechts aider hundert mit a krechts.

Better pour out your troubles to a stone, but don’t carry them within yourself.

Tsum shtain zol men klogen nor nit bei zikh zol men trogen.

Better that my enemy should see good in me than I should see evil in him.

Besser der soineh zol bei mir guts zen aider ich bei im shlechts.

Better the best of the worst than the worst of the best.

Besser dos besteh fun dem ergsten aider dos ergsteh fun dem besten.

Better to be a wise person in Hell than a fool in paradise.

Besser mit a klugn in gehenem eyder mit a nar in ganeydn.

Better to break off an engagement than a marriage.

Besser di tenoim tsereissen aider di ketubeh.

Better to die upright than to live on your knees.

Besser tsu shtarben shtai’endik aider tsu leben oif di kni.

Better to do nothing than to make something into nothing.

Besser gornisht tsu machen aider tsu machen gornisht.

Better to have an ugly patch than a beautiful hole.

Besser a miesseh lateh aider a shaineh loch.

Better to hear curses than to be pitied.

Besser herren kloles aider herren nebech.

Better to lose with a wise man than to win with a fool.

Besser mit a klugn tsu farlirn, eyder mit a nar tsu gevinen.

Better to pray for yourself than to curse another.

Besser zikh tsu vintshen aider yenem tsu shelten.

Beware of your friends, not your enemies.

Hiten zol men zikh far di freind, nit far di feint.

Big deal! (sarcastically) (lit., a piece of luck happened to you).

A glick hot dich getrofen.

Black sorrow is all that his mother should see of him.

Finstere leyd zol nor di mama oyf im zen.

Blood doesn’t turn into water.

Fun blut vert kain vasser nisht.

Blood is thicker than water.

Blut iz dicker fun vasser.

Boring, long-winded and annoying conversation; talking your ear off (lit., banging on the teapot).

Hoken a chainik (tchinik)

Borrow causes sorrow.

Borgen macht zorgen.

Borrowed brains have no value.

Geborgter saichel toig nit.

Break your own head! (lit., bang your head on the wall).

Shlog zikh kop in vant.

Charity is also a habit.

Oif tsedokeh iz oich do chazokeh.

Charm is better than beauty.

Khein geit iber shein.

Cheapest is dearest.

Vos iz billik iz teier.

Children and money make a nice world.

Kinder un gelt iz a shaineh velt.

Children bring good fortune, children bring misfortune.

Kinder brengen glik, kinder brengen umglik.

Chopped liver is better than miserable troubles.

Gehakteh leber iz besser vi gehakteh tsores.

Clothes conceal the blemish.

Klaider bahalten dem mum.

Clothes make the man.

Klaider machen dem mentshen.

Conceit and an empty purse are no companions.

Ga’aveh un a laidiker teister zeinen nit kain por.

Couldn’t care less about it (lit., have him in the dirt).

Khob im in drerd.

Couldn’t care less about it (lit., have him in the bath).

Khob im in bod.

Crabgrass grows overnight.

Vildeh grozen vaksen iber nacht.

Cut it short (lit., without long introductions).

On langeh hakdomes.

Damn it!

A klog af defruf, halevay!

Damn you!

A klog af dayn kop, halevay!

Death doesn’t knock on the door (i.e., doesn’t warn of its impending arrival)

Der toyt (teyt) klapt nit in (der) tir.

Dignified silence is better than dignified speech.

Shaineh shveigen iz shener vi shain reden.

Do me a favor.

Tu mir a toiveh.

Doctors and grave-diggers are partners.

A dokter un a kvores-man zeinen shutfim.

Dogs fight over a bone and mourners over an inheritance.

Hint beissen zikh iber a bain un availim iber a yerusheh.

Don’t ask for credit! Pay in cash in advance! Cash on the barrelhead!

Ribi-fish, gelt oyfen tish!

Don’t ask questions about fairy tales.

Oif a meisseh fregt men kain kasheh nit.

Don’t be an idiot! Don’t be a damn fool!

Zei nit kain vyzoso.

Don’t be scared when you have no other choice.

Hob nit kain moirch ven du host nit kain ander braireh.

Don’t boast of your money because you can easily lose it.

Mit gelt tor men nit stolzieren, veil me ken es gleich farlieren.

Don’t bother me! (lit., don’t twist my head)

Drai mir nit kain kop!

Don’t butt in (lit., don’t mix yourself into that).

Mish zikh nisht (nit) arayn.

Don’t climb too high and you won’t have to fall.

Krich nit tsu hoich, vestu nit darfen falen.

Don’t depend on miracles.

Oif nisim tor men zikh nit farlozen.

Don’t depend upon others—do it yourself.

Alain iz di neshomeh rain.

Don’t do business with a fool.

Mit a nar tor men nit handlen.

Don’t do me any favors (sarcastic).

Tu mir nit kayn toives.

Don’t eat the challah before you’ve made the blessing.

Es nisht di khale far a moitse.

Don’t get excited! (lit., it’s not burning!)

Se brent nit!

Don’t get on my nerves; stop nagging me (lit., don’t bang my teapot).

Hok mir nit kayn chainik (arain).

Don’t give me a canary (lit., don’t give me an evil eye).

Gib mir nit kain aynhorah.

Don’t hit me and don’t lick me

Shlog mikh nit, un lek mikh nit.

Don’t lie down with a healthy head in a sick bed.

Laig zikh nit mit a gezunter kop in a kranken bet.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

A geshenktn ferd kukt men nit in/af di tseyn.

Don’t mix business with pleasure.

Handelshaft iz kain brudershaft.

Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

Laig nit op oif morgen vos du kenst heint bazorgen.

Don’t rub your belly when the little fish is still in the pond.

Patsh zikh nit in beicheleh, ven fisheleh iz noch in teicheleh.

Don’t sell the skin off the bear that’s still in the forest.

Fun dem ber in vald zol men dos fel nit farkoifen.

Don’t throw away the soiled until you have the clean.

Varf nit arois di shmutsikeh aider du host di raineh.

Don’t trust a relative in business.

In handlshaft iz nito ken bridershaft.

Don’t worry about it (lit., do not say woe).

Zok nit kin vey.

Don’t worry; doesn’t worry.

Nisht gedeiget.

Drop dead (lit., I have you) (Americanism).

Ich hob dir.

Drop dead!

Ver derharget!

Drop dead!

Ver geharget!

Drop dead! (lit., you should get killed).

Geharget zolstu veren.

Drop dead! (lit., you should lie in the earth!).

Zolst ligen in drerd.

Easy to promise, hard to fulfill.

Gring tsu zogen, shver tsu trogen.

Eat like a bird, excrete like a horse! (vulgar)

Ess vie ein foygl sheise vie ein ferd!

Eat, pray, don’t act like a jerk!

Ess, bench, sei a mensch!

Either all or nothing.

Oder gor oder gornisht.

Either it doesn’t help or it isn’t needed.

Oder es helft nit oder men darf es nit.

Either too much or not enough (vulgar) (lit., either a wallop or a fart)

Oder a klop, oder a forts.

Enjoy it! (sarcastic) (lit., it [the food] should not “agree”)

Zol es dir farshatn!

Envy breeds hate.

Fun kinah vert sinah.

Even a poor man wants to live.

An oreman vil oich leben.

Even for bad luck one needs luck.

Tsum shlimazel muz men oich mazel hoben..

Even the best swimmer can drown.

Der grester shvimmer kon zikh trenken,

Even though a cow has a long tongue, it can’t recite a blessing.

A beheyme hot a lange tsung un ken keyn brokhe nit zogn.

Every day brings forth its own sorrows.

Yeder morgen brengt zikh zorgen.

Every heart has secrets.

Yedeh harts hot soides.

Every limb wants to speak but the tongue alone does the talking.

Ale glider viln redn un di tsung aleyn shtelt men aroys.

Every man has a madness of his own.

Itlecher mentsh hot zikh zein shigoyen.

Every man has his burden.

Yeder mentsh hot zein peckel.

Every man has his own idiosyncrasies.

Yeder mentsh hot zein aigeneh meshugass.

Every man is blind to his own faults.

Yeder mentsh iz oif zikh alain blind.

Every man knows he will die but no one wants to believe it.

Yeder mentsh vaist az er vet shtarben, ober kainer vil es nisht gloiben.

Every mother thinks her child is beautiful.

Yedeh mutter denkt ir kind iz shain.

Every one fears a goat from in front, a horse from the rear and a fool on every side.

Far a tsap hot men moireh fun forent, far a ferd fun hinten, far a nar fun alleh zeiten.

Every only daughter has her charms.

Itlecheh bas-yechideh hot zikh ir chaindel.

Every town has its fool.

Itlecheh shtot hot ir meshugenem.

Every way up has its way down.

Yeder barg-aroif hot zein barg-arop.

Every word in its place.

Yedes vort oyf zayn ort.

Everyone else has committed a crime (lit., a thief’s hat burns).

Afn gonif brennt das hittel.

Everyone knows where his shoe pinches.

Yeder vaist vu se drikt im der shuch.

Everything ends in weeping.

Altsding lozt zikh ois mit a gevain.

Everything is good but only in its time.

Alts iz gut nor in der tseit.

Everything revolves around bread and death.

Alts drait zikh arum broit un toit.

Evil tongues are silenced by the tinkle of coins in your pocket.

Es shtumeh di tsinger ven du host in kesheneh klinger.

Excess is unhealthy.

Vos tsu iz umgezunt

Fear God, but be wary of men.

Far Got hot men moireh; far mentshen muz men zikh hiten.

Fools and weeds grow without rain.

Naronim on kropeveh vaksen on regen.

Fools don’t have to be sown; they grow up by themselves.

Kain naronim badarf men nisht tsu zaien; zai vaksen alain.

For a little love, you pay all your life.

Far a bisel libe batsolt men miten gantsen leben.

For better, for worse.

Tsum glik, tsum shlimazel.

For compassion and for cowardice there is no remedy.

Fun rachmones un fun pachdones ken men zikh nit oishailen.

For the disease of stubbornness there is no cure.

Far an akshen iz kain refueh nito.

For the smallest favor you become a debtor.

Far der klenster toiveh vert men a ba’al-choiv.

For this I went to college? (Usually said when describing a menial task.)

Darf min gehn in kolledj?

For your children’s sake you would tear the world apart.

Far kinder tsereist men a velt.

Fortunate is the man who has a happy old age.

Voil tsu dem mentshen vos baglikt oif der elter.

Fortune makes you smart, because fortune makes you rich.

Der mazel macht klug, veil der mazel macht reich.

Fortune provides shelter.

Dos mazel hot hazel.

Friends are better at a distance.

Guteh freint fun veiten.

Friendship is stronger than kinship.

Khavershaft iz shtarker vi brudershaft.

From a doctor and from a bathhouse attendant. there are no secrets.

Faren doktor un faren beder zeinen nito kain soides.

From a fool one has grief.

Fun a nar hot men tsar.

From afar you fool others; nearby, only yourself.

Fun veiten nart men leiten; fun der noent, zikh alain.

From an old maid you get a faithful wife.

Fun an alte moid vert a getraye vayb.

From bad matches also come good children.

Fun krume shidukhim kumen arois glaikheh kinder.

From envy grows hate.

Fun kine vert sine.

From fortune to misfortune is a short step; from misfortune to fortune is a long way.

Fun glik tsum umglik iz a shpan; fun umglik tsum glik iz a shtik veg.

From one deep ditch comes more water than from ten shallow ones.

Fun ain tifeh grub hot men mer vasser vi fun tsen flacheh.

From one ox you can’t skin two hides.

Fun ain oks tsit men kain tsvai fellen nit arop.

From overeating one suffers more than from not eating enough.

Fun iberessen cholyet men mer vi fun nit deressen.

From tale-bearing and secrets run as from ghosts.

Fun rechiles un soides antloif vi fun shaidim.

From your mouth to God’s ears.

Fun dayn moyl in gots oyern.

Get a move on.

Gib zikh a traisel.

Get lost, hit the road; beat it! (lit., go defecate in the ocean!)

Geh kaken oifen yam!

Give a pig a chair, he’ll want to get on the table.

Az me lozt a chazzer aruf afn bank, vil er afn tish.

Go bang your head against the wall.

Geh shlog dein kup en vant.

Go fight city hall! (lit., go fight with God).

Shlog zikh mit Got arum!

Go look for someone who cares.

Lech hapess me yenanea otcha.

Go screw yourself (vulgar).

Geh tren zikh.

Go split your guts (lit., go drop).

Geh plats.

Go talk to the wall.

Geh red tsu der vant.

Go to hell (lit., I have you in the ground).

Ich hob dir in drerd.

Go to hell!

Geh in drerd arein!

Go to the devil! (lit., a devil should enter your father’s father!).

Ruach in dein taten’s taten arein!

Go to the toilet.

Geh in der klozet.

Go understand a girl: she looks forward to her wedding and weeps as she walks to the marriage ceremony.

Gai farshtai a maidel: zi vart oif di chasseneh un vaint tsu di chupeh.

God created a world full of many little worlds.

Got hot zikh bashafen a velt mit klaineh veltelech.

God gave the fool hands and feet and let him run.

Got hot gegeben dem nar hent un fis un hot im gelozt loifen.

God helps the poor man: He protects him from expensive sins.

Got helft dem oreman: er farhit im fun tei’ereh avaires.

God is a father; luck is a stepfather.

Got iz a foter; dos mazel iz a shtif-foter.

God is not rich; all He does is take from one and give to the other.

Got alain iz nit reich—er nemt nor bei ainem un git dem anderen.

God loves the poor and helps the rich.

Got hot lib dem oreman un helft dem nogid.

God punishes but man takes revenge.

Got shtroft, der mentsh iz zikh noikem.

God punishes with one hand and blesses with the other.

Got shtroft mit ain hant, un bentsht mit der anderen.

God save us from having one shirt, one eye, and one child.

Got zol hiten fun ain hemd, ain oig un ain kind.

God send the weather according to your needs.

Got shikt di kelt noch di klaider.

God sends the remedy for the disease.

Got shikt di refueh far der makeh.

God should bestow him with everything his heart desires, but he should be a quadriplegic and not be able to use his tongue.

Got zol gebn, er zol hobn altsding vos zayn harts glist, nor er zol zayn geleymt oyf ale ayvers un nit kenen rirn mit der tsung.

God should bless him with three people: one should grab him, the second should stab him and the third should hide him.

Got zol im bentshn mit dray mentshn: eyner zol im haltn, der tsveyter zol im shpaltn un der driter zol im ba’haltn.

God should bless me so that I don’t need people.

Got zol mich bentshen, ich zol nit broichen mentshen.

God should visit upon him the best of the ten plagues.

Gut zol oyf im onshikn fin di tsen makes di beste.

God sits on high and makes matches below.

Got zitst oiben un poret unter.

God takes with one hand and gives with the other.

Got nemt mit ain hant un git mit der andereh.

God watches over fools.

Got hit op di naronim.

Gold glitters even in the mud.

Gold sheint fun bloteh.

Gold never rusts (lit;, golden dishes will never turn black).

Goldene keylim vern ka mol nit shvarts.

Good for nothing! It’s worth nothing!

Toig ahf kapores!

Good health to you (lit., good health on your head).

A gezunt ahf dein kop.

Good tidings are heard from far away.

Guteh psures hert men fun der veitens.

Goodness just radiates from her face!

Di gutskayt ligt ir uysgegosn afn punem!

Gossiping is the worst habit and the biggest calumny.

Loshen horeh iz di ergsteh mideh un gresteh tsoreh.

Great wealth will marry off even an old woman.

Es stayet di bobben chasseneh tsu machen.

Had they put your brain inside a bird, it would have started flying backwards!

Im hayu samim et hamo’ach shelcha betoch tsipor, hi hayta matchila la’uf achora!

Half an answer also says something.

A halber entfer zogt oichet epes.

Hang yourself with a sugar rope and you’ll have a sweet death.

Heng dikh oyf a tsikershtrikl vestu hobn a zisn toyt.

Happy poverty overcomes everything.

A lustiger dales gait iber alles.

Have facts at one’s fingertips.

Kenen oyf di finger.

Have no end of trouble (lit., to sing and to talk).

Hobn tsu zingen un tsu zogen.

Having an only child is like having one eye.

Ain kind iz azoi vi ain oig.

He doesn’t believe in God, yet asks His mercy.

Er glaibt nit in Got un bet zein genod.

He eats as if he just recovered from a sickness.

Er est vi noch a krenk.

He fell for her “hook, line, and sinker”!

Er iz gevorn far ir di kapore!

He is completely crazy!

Er iz meshuge afn gantsn kop!

He is mediocre—not near to a wise man, not far from a fool.

Er iz a seredniak—nit no’ent tsu a khokhem un nit veil fun a nar.

He is smart whose fortune follows him.

Der iz klug vos zein mazel gait im nokh.

He just can’t stop praising her! (Can’t praise her enough)

Er ken zikh fun ir nit oploybn!

He may be frum, but he’s still a thief!

Er iz Got’s ganef!

He owes everybody money.

Er iz Got di neshome shuldik.

He owes him the hole in the bagel

Er iz im shuldik di lokh fun beygl.

He pretends he doesn’t know he is doing something wrong, e.g., breaking into a line.

Er macht zack nisht visindicht.

He should be transformed into a chandelier, to hang by day and to burn by night.

Migulgl zol er vern in a henglayhter, by tog zol er hengen, un bay nakht zol er brenen.

He should burn up! (lit., a fire should meet him)

A feier zol im trefen!

He should crap blood and pus.

Er zol kakn mit blit un mit ayter.

He should drink too much castor oil.

Azoy fil ritzinoyl zol er oystrinkn.

He should drop dead.

Paigeren zol er.

He should get so sick as to cough up his mother’s milk..

Oyskrenkn zol er dus mame’s milakh.

He should get the (insert town name) calamity.

Krugn zol er di ____ brokh.

He should give it all away to doctors.

Oyf doktoyrim zol er dos avekgebn.

He should go nuts and run around (through the streets).

Meshuga zol er vern un arumloyfn (iber di gasn).

He should grow a wooden tongue.

A hiltsener tsung zol er bakumn.

He should grow like an onion with its head in the ground.

Er zol vaksn vi a tsibele mit dem kop in drerd.

He should have a large store, and whatever people ask for he shouldn’t have, and what he does have shouldn’t be requested.

A groys gesheft zol er hobn mit shroyre: vus er hot, zol men bay im nit fregn, un vos men fregt zol er nisht hobn.

He should have Pharaoh’s plagues sprinkled with Job’s scabies.

Er zol hobn paroys makes bashotn mit oybes krets.

He should laugh with lizards.

Lakhn zol er mit yashtherkes.

He should marry the daughter of the Angel of Death.

Khasene hobn zol er mit di malekh hamoves tokhter.

He should see everything, but have no reason (with what) to buy it.

Er zol altsting zen, un nit hobn farvos (mit vos) tsu koyfn.

He who becomes angry for no reason becomes friendly again for no reason.

Ver es vert umzist baroiges, vert umzist vider gut.

He who cannot stand the smell of gunpowder should not engage in war.

Ver es kon kain pulver nit shmeken, der zol in der malchumeh nit gaien.

He who has money has the whole world!

Ver es hot gelt hot di gantseh velt!

He who has not tasted the bitter does not understand the sweet.

Der vos hot nit farzucht bittereh, vaist nit voz zies iz.

He who has the ax gives the whacks.

Ver es hot di hak, git dem knak.

He who has the money has the authority.

Ver es hot di matbaieh, der hot di daieh.

He who hesitates is lost.

Vos mer gevart, mer genart.

He who is aware of his folly is wise.

Der vos farshtait zein narishkeit iz a kluger.

He who is destined to hang won’t drown.

Ver es darf hengen vert nisht dertrunken.

He who is no good to himself is not good to another.

Ver es toig nit far zikh, toig nit far yenem.

He who is silent means something just the same.

Der vos shveigt maint oich epes.

He who keeps quiet is half a fool; he who talks is a complete fool.

Az me shveigt iz men a halber nar; az me redt iz men a gantser nar.

He who laughs at the poor will become the butt of others’ jokes.

Ver es lacht fun an oreman, der vet veren oif gelechter.

He who lies in the sty will be eaten by the pigs.

Az me laight zikh in kleien, shlepen di chazzerim.

He who likes his work, to him work comes easy.

Ver es hot lib di melocheh iz im leicht di melocheh.

He who likes to take does not like to give.

Der vos gleicht tsu nemen, gleicht nit tsu geben.

He who looks for light work goes very tired to bed.

Der vos zucht leichteh arbet gait zai’er mid tsu bet.

He who praises himself will be humiliated.

Es libt zikh alain, shemt zikh alain.

He who throws stones on another gets them back on his own bones.

Ver es varft oif yenem shtainer krigt tsurik in di aigeneh bainer.

He’s a low down good-for-nothing.

Er iz a niderrechtiker kerl.

He’s a motor-mouth! (lit., he talks like fire and like flood)

Er ret far fayer un far vaser!

He’s got nothing to offer!

Er hot nit vos tsu farkoyfn!

He’s no great sage and no small fool.

Nit kain groisser khokhem, nit kain klainer nar.

He’s playing the field (looking for a mate).

Er shteyt in shidukhim.

Health comes before making a livelihood.

Gezunt kumt far parnosseh.

Heaven and earth have sworn that the truth shall be disclosed.

Himmel un erd hoben geshvoren az kain zach zol nit zein farloren.

Heaven and hell can both be had in this world.

Ganaiden un gehenem ken men baideh hoben oif der velt.

Hell is not so bad as the way to it.

Der gehenem iz nit azoi shlecht vi dos kumen tsi im.

His flesh should be eaten by venereal disease.

Fransn zol esn zayn layb.

His luck should be as bright as a new moon.

Zayn mazl zol im layhtn vi di levone in sof khoydesh.

Honey on the tongue, gall in the heart.

Honik oifen tsung, gall oifen lung.

Honor is measured by him who gives it, not by him who receives it.

Der koved iz fun dem vos git im, un nit fun dem vos krigt im.

Honor is much dearer than money.

Ehreh iz fil tei’erer far gelt.

Honors will came to you by themselves if you don’t run after them.

Loif nit noch dem koved, vet er alain tsu dir kumen.

Hope for miracles but don’t rely on one.

Hof oif nissim un farloz zikh nit oif a nes.

Hoping and waiting makes fools out of clever people.

Hofen un haren machen klugeh far naren.

Hurry up! (lit., give yourself a shake)

Gib zikh a shukl!

I am (not) in a hurry.

Ich eil zikh (nit).

I am disappointed.

Ich bin ahntoisht.

I am fainting. A response to receiving extremely upsetting information or news (lit., it’s getting dark in my eyes).

Es vert mir finster in di oygn.

I am happy to make your acquaintance.

A fargenign aich tzu kenen.

I can’t lead you astray.

Ich ken dir nisht farfeeren.

I can’t sing, but I’m an expert on it.

Zingen ken ich nit, ober a maiven bin ich.

I complain and I keep going.

Me krechts, me geht veyter.

I despise you. Go to the devil (lit., I whistle on you).

Ich feif oif dir.

I did wrong? So call me a nut!

Ruf mich k’nak-nissel!

I don’t care.

A gesheft hob nicht.

I don’t care. I should worry.

A deigeh hob ich.

I don’t envy you.

Ich bin dich nit mekaneh.

I don’t want to know.

Ich vill nicht vesn.

I hate him.

Ich hob im feint.

I have a heartburn.

Es brent mir ahfen harts.

I have no alternative.

A breyre hob ich.

I have no idea.

Ich hob nicht kain anung.

I have your measure (lit., I have you in my pocket).

Ich hob mir fer pacht.

I haven’t got the faintest idea! (lit., I should know from trouble as I know about this!)

Zol ich azoy vissen fun tsores!

I keep on dropping things.

Oy! Es falt fun di hent.

I love you!

Ich hob dir lieb!

I need it like a hole in the head!

Ich darf es vi a loch in kop!

I should have such good luck.

Az a yor ahf mir.

I should know as little about trouble (as I know about what you are asking me).

Ich zol azoy vissen fun tsores.

I should outlive him long enough to bury him.

Vi tsu derleb ikh im shoyn tsu bagrobn.

I sure told him off!

Ikh hob em arayngezogt in tatn’s tatn arayn!

I trust you, but send cash!

Bist a botu’ach, ober shik arein m’zumonim!

I wish that I could have the pain instead of you, my child! (said by a loving mother to her suffering child)

Mir zol zayn far dir, mayn kind.

I wish you to have ten houses, each house with ten rooms, each room with ten beds and you should roll from one bed to the other with cholera!

Zolst hobn tsen haizer, yeder hoiz zol hobn tsen tsimern, in yeder tsimer zoln zain tsen betn un zolst zij kaiklen fun ein bet in der tsweiter mit cadojes!

I work for nothing! (lit., I work in an empty world)

Ikh arbet af a puster velt!

I’ll give you nothing! (lit., I’ll give you a fever).

Ich vel dir geben kadoches!

I’ll give you such a smack!

Ich vel dir geben a khamalye!

I’m a worn-out old shoe.

Oy, ikh bin an alter shkrab.

I’m about to faint (from sheer exhaustion).

Ich gai chaleshen bald avek.

I’m gonna fix his wagon! (lit., I’ll make him miserable!)

Ikh’l em umgliklekh makhn!

I’m not in a hurry.

Ich yog zikh nit.

I’m nothing more than a piece of a broken old pot.

Ikh bin nisht mer vee a tsebrukhener sharbm.

If a girl has no other virtues, even a freckle can be considered one.

Az es zenen nito keyn andere mayles, iz a zumer-shprinkele oykh a mayle.

If all men pulled in one direction, the world would topple over.

Ven alleh mentshen zollen tsien oif ain zeit, volt zikh di velt ibergekert.

If dumbness was a drop of water, you would have been an ocean!

Im hatimtoon haya tippa, ata hayita okianoos!

If everybody says so, there’s some truth to it.

Az di velt zogt, zol men gloiben.

If fortune calls, offer him a seat.

Ven dos mazel kumt, shtel im a shtul.

If God lived on earth, all his windows would be broken.

Az Got volt gelebt oif der erd, volt men im alleh fenster oisgeshlogen.

If I don’t come today, I’ll come tomorrow (procrastinator’s motto).

Kum ich nisht heint, kum ich morgen.

If I live, I'll see you Monday, if not, Tuesday.

Oyb ich leb'n, ich oyt zayn ir Montik, oyb nayt, Dinstik.

If I would be like someone else, who will be like me?

Az ich vel zein vi yener, ver vet zein vi ich?

If it doesn’t get better, depend on it, it will get worse.

Az es vert nit besser, vert memaileh erger.

If it would help to pray to God, then people would be hiring others to pray for them.

Ven es zol helfen Got betten, volt men shoin tsugedungen mentshen.

If it’s done at the right time, it’s not a sin.

Shpilt tsu di shoh, iz kain zind nito.

If luck plays along, cleverness succeeds.

Az di hatslocheh shpilt, gilt ersht di chochmeh.

If my grandmother had testicles she would be my grandfather.

Az di bobe volt gehat beytsim volt zi geven mayn zeyde.

If not for the fear of punishment, it would be sweet to sin.

Ven nit di moireh, volt geven zis di avaireh.

If not for the light, there would be no shadow.

Ven nit di shein, volt kain shoten nit geven.

If one asks, one does not err.

Az me fregt, blonzhet men nisht.

If one could do charity without money and favors without aggravation, the world would be full of saints.

Tsedokeh zol kain gelt nit kosten un gemilas-chassodim zolen kain agmas-nefesh nit farshafen, volten geven di velt fil tsadikim.

If one has nothing to say, it’s best to shut up.

Az men hot nit tsu entfern, muz men farshveign.

If one is fated to drown, he will drown in a spoonful of water.

Az es bashert ainem dertrunken tsu verren, vert er dertronken in a leffel vasser.

If one soldier knew what the other thinks, there would be no war.

Ven ain zelner volt gevust vos der anderer tracht, volt kain krig nisht geven.

If one wants to beat a dog, one finds a stick.

Az mir vill schlugen a hunt, gifintmin a schtecken.

If someone tenders money, take it! (Take it now, and ask questions later...)

Az me git gelt, nemts!

If stupidity was a tree, you would have been a forest!

Im hatipshut hayta etz, ata hayita chorshat kakal!

If the bride can’t dance, she finds fault with the musicians.

Az di kalleh ken nit tantsen, zogt zi az di klezmorim kennen nit shpilen.

If the cobbler sticks to his last, his pot is full.

Der shuster beim kapul un der top iz ful.

If the eyes wouldn’t see, the hands wouldn’t take.

Di oigen zollen nit zen, volten di hent nit genumen.

If the fool didn’t belong to me, I’d be laughing too.

Ven der nar volt nit geven mein, volt ich oikh gelakht.

If the horse had anything to say, it would speak up.

Ven dos ferd volt gehat vos tsu zogn volt es geret.

If the shoe fits, wear it.

Oib der shuch past, kenst im trogen.

If the student is successful, the teacher gets the praise.

Az der talmid iz a voiler, iz der rebbi oich a voiler.

If the world will ever be redeemed, it will be only through the merit of children.

Oib di velt vet verren oisgelaizt, iz es nor in zechus fun kinder.

If there’s bitterness in the heart, sugar in the mouth won’t make life sweeter.

Az oif dem hartsen iz bitter, helft nit in moil kain tsuker.

If there’s nothing in the pot, there’s nothing on the plate.

Az s’iz nito in top, a nito in teller.

If they had to put your brain in a chicken, it would run straight to the butcher.

Im hayu samim et hamo’ach shelcha b’tarnegol, hu haya ratz yashar l’shochet tafsik lezyen.

If two people confirm something, it’s true (lit., if two people say you’re drunk, the third one goes to sleep).

Az tsvei zuggen shiker, leigst zikh der driter shloffen.

If we thanked God for the good things, there wouldn’t be time to weep over the bad.

Ven me zol Got danken far guts, volt nit zein kain tseit tsu baklogen zikh oif shlechts.

If you can’t do as you wish, do as you can.

Az me ken nit vi me vil, tut men vi me ken.

If you can’t endure the bad, you’ll not live to witness the good.

Az men ken nit iberharn dos shlechteh, ken men dos guteh nit derleben.

If you can’t go over, go under.

Az me ken nit ariber, gait men arunter.

If you deal with tar, expect your hands to get dirty.

Ver es poret zikh mit staleh, shmirt zikh ein di hent.

If you dig a pit for someone else, you fall in it yourself.

Az me grubt a grub far yenem, falt men alain arein.

If you don’t eat garlic, you won’t smell bad.

Az men est nisht kain knobl, shtinkt men nit.

If you don’t save the penny, you’ll not have the dollar.

Az me shport nit dem groshen, hot men nit dem rubel.

If you don’t want to get old, hang yourself when you’re young.

Az me vil nit vern alt, zol men zikh yingerheyt oyfhengern.

If you have bread and butter, you have good luck.

Host broit mit puter, iz der mazel a guter.

If you have, hold on to it; if you know, be silent; if you can, do!

Host du, halt; vaist du, shveig; kenst du, tu!

If you have the money, you have the voice.

Az men hot di matbai’eh, hot men di dai’eh.

If you have—hold, if you know—keep silent!

Hostu—halt, veystu—shvayg!

If you keep on talking, you will end up saying what you didn’t intend to say.

Az me redt, derredt men zikh.

If you lie down with the dogs, you get up with the fleas.

Az me shloft mit hint shtait men oif mit flai.

If you lie on the ground, you cannot fall.

Az me ligt oif der erd, ken men nit fallen.

If you live long enough, you will live to see everything.

Az men lebt, derlebt men zikh alts.

If you lose your self respect, you also lose the respect of others.

Az men falt bei zikh, falt men oich bei andereh.

If you mix around, you learn quite a bit.

Fun itlechen hoiz trogt men epes arois.

If you put something in, you can take something out.

Az me laigt arein, nemt men arois.

If you repeat often enough that you’re right, you will discover you’re wrong.

Az men chazert tsu fil iber vi gerecht men iz, vert men umgerecht.

If you seek, you will find.

Az me zucht, gefint men.

If you talk a lot, you talk of yourself.

Az me redt a sach, redt men fun zikh.

If you walk straight, you will not stumble.

Az me gait gleich, fait men nit.

If you want something, you have to work for it.

Gebroteneh teibelech flien nit in moil arein.

If you want to avoid old age, hang yourself in youth.

Az me vil nit alt verren, zol men zikh yungerhait oifhengen.

If you want to please everybody; you’ll die before your time.

Vest vellen zikh oisfeinen far leit, vestu shtarben far der tseit.

If you’re at odds with your rabbi, make peace with your bartender.

Az men krigt zikh miten rov, muz men sholem zein miten shainker.

If you’re going to do something wrong, enjoy it!

Az me est chazzer, zol rinnen fun bord.

If you’re going to eat pork, eat the best kind (lit., if you’re going to eat pork, get it all over your beard).

Ez men est khazer zol rinen ariber der bord.

If you’re going to eat pork, let it be good and fat.

Az me est chazzer, zol men essen fetten.

If your grandmother had a beard, she’d be your grandfather.

Ven di bobbeh volt gehat a bord, volt zi geven a zaideh.

In a good apple you sometimes find a worm.

In a shainem epel gefint men amol a vorem.

In a lucky time it’s good to talk; in an unlucky time, it’s better to be silent.

In a guter sho tsu reden; in a baizer sho tsu shveigen.

In a quarrel, each side is right.

In toch iz yeder tsad gerecht.

In a quarrel, leave the door open for a reconciliation.

Az da krigst zikh, krig zikh azoi du zolst zikh kennen iberbeten.

In sleep, man doesn’t sin, but his dreams do.

In shlof zindikt nit der mentsh, nor zeineh chaloimes.

In the mirror everybody sees his best friend.

In shpigel zet itlecher zein besten freind.

Ink dries quickly; tears don’t.

Tint trikent shnell ois; treren nisht.

It can’t (wouldn’t) hurt.

Es ken nisht (nit) shatn.

It costs money to sin.

A nevaireh kost oich gelt.

It costs nothing to look.

Onkuken kost kain gelt.

It doesn’t cost anything to promise and to love.

Tsuzogen un lib hoben kost nit kain gelt.

It doesn’t matter to me.

Es macht mir nit oys.

It doesn’t take long to get used to good things.

Tsum guten vert men bald gevoint.

It gives me great pleasure (often said sarcastically).

Es tut mir a groisseh hanoeh.

It helps like blood-cupping helps a dead person.

Zolst helfen vi a toyten bankes.

It is better to live in joy than to die in sorrow.

Es iz besser tsu leben in naches aider tsu shtarben in tsar.

It is conceivable. It is imaginable.

Es ken gemolt zein.

It is easier to find faults in others than virtues in oneself.

Es iz leichter bei andereh chesroines tsu gefinen vi bei zikh meiles.

It is easier to hear a secret than to keep it.

Gringer iz herren a sod aider hiten a sod.

It is not so good with money as it is bad without it.

Es iz nit azoi gut mit gelt vi es iz shlecht on dem.

It is written: silence is wisdom.

Es shtait dokh geshribn: khokhme—shtikeh.

It isn’t done as easily as it’s said.

Es tut zikh nit azoi gut vi es redt zikh.

It melts in the mouth, delicious, yummy.

Tsegait zikh in moyl.

It should bang in your head (the way it is bothering me!).

Zol dir klappen in kop!

It should not happen (to you); God forbid! (concerning a sad event) (lit., don’t you think [it])

Nisht du gedacht.

It stinks!

Se shtinkt!

It will all work out.

Es vet zikh alts oyspressen..

It won’t hurt in arranging a marriage.

Es ver nit shaten tsum shidekh.

It’s a shame for the children!

Es iz a shandeh far di kinder.

It’s a shame to waste money on that!

S’iz a shod di (dos) gelt!

It’s a steal (lit., a bargain for/from a thief).

A metsieh far/fun a ganef.

It’s as appropriate as a pig.

Es past vi a khazer.

It’s as appropriate as a slap in response to a greeting of “good shabbos”

Es past zikh vi a patsh tsu gut shabes.

It’s better to be embarrassed than heartbroken.

Es iz besser a shandeh in ponem aider a vaitik in hartsen.

It’s better to be with a wise man in hell than with a fool in paradise.

Besser mit a klugen in gehenem aider mit a nar in ganaiden.

It’s better to praise yourself than to disparage others.

Red besser vegen zikh guts vider vegen dem andern shlechts.

It’s bitter and bad when the public is wrong.

Es iz bitter un shlecht ven der rabim iz umgerecht.

It’s bitter like bile and without bile one cannot live.

Es iz bitter vi gal, un on gal ken men nit leben.

It’s completely useless, futile (lit., it helps like blood-cupping helps a dead person).

Zolst helfen vi a toiten bankes.

It’s delicious (lit., one can lick the finger).

Me ken lecken di finger.

It’s easier to earn money than to keep it.

Gelt tsu fardinen iz gringer vi tsu halten.

It’s easy to acquire an enemy; hard to acquire a friend.

Gring iz tsu krigen a soineh; shver iz tsu krigen a freind.

It’s garbage (lit., it never rose and it never flew).

Es iz nit geshtoygen un nit gefloygen.

It’s good for nothing! I have no use for it (lit., I need it for a [useless] fowl sacrifice).

Ich darf es ahf kapores!

It’s good to behold beauty and to live with wisdom.

Oif shainem iz gut tsu kuken; mit a klugen iz gut tsu leben.

It’s good to learn to barber on someone else’s beard.

Oif a fremder bord iz gut zikh tsu lernen sheren.

It’s good to poke the fire with somebody else’s hands.

Mit fremdeh hent iz gut feier tsu sharren.

It’s good to talk about troubles that are over.

Ibergekumeneh tsores iz gut tsu dertsailen.

It’s more important to please people than to please God.

Far der velt muz men yoitseh zein vi far Got alain.

It’s no crime to steal from a thief.

A ganef fun a ganef iz potter.

It’s none of your business.

Es iz nit dayn gesheft.

It’s not the stick that helps, but the good word.

Nit der shteken helft, nor der guter vort.

It’s the bait that lures and not the fisherman or the tackle.

Dos veremel nart op, un nit der fisher oder di vendkeh.

It’s too heavy to carry and too precious to throw away.

Es iz shver tsu trogen, un avekvarfen tut bang.

It’s useless for me to talk (lit., there’s no one here to talk to!)

Nito tsu vemen tsu reydn.

Jack-of-all trades, master of none.

Fil meloches, vainik broches.

Keep your mouth shut!

Nem-on a fuln moyl vaser!

Kindness is better than piety.

Gutskeit iz besser fun frumkeit

Kindness is remembered, meanness is felt.

Guts gedenkt men, shlechts filt men.

Kiss my behind! (vulgar)

Kush meer in toches!

Laughter is heard farther than weeping.

A gelechter hert men veiter vi a gevain.

Learning cannot be inherited.

Toireh kumt nit b’yerusheh.

Leeches should drink him dry.

Trinkn zoln im piavkes.

Lending should be done with witnesses; giving, without witnesses.

Leien darf men mit aides, geben zol men on aides.

Let a goose loose in oats and she will starve to death.

Az me zetst arein a gandz in hober, shtarbt zi fun hunger.

Let God worry about the morrow—and for today, who will give me a loan?

Far morgen vet Got zorgen—un heint ver vet mir borgen?

Let God worry about tomorrow.

Oif morgen zol Got zorgen.

Let him suffer and remember.

Zol er krenken un gedenken.

Let it be worse, as long as it’s a change.

Loz zein an ergerer, abi an anderer.

Let what I wish on him come true (most, even half, even just 10%).

Zol es im onkumn vos ikh vintsh im (khotsh a helft, khotsh halb, khotsh a tsent kheylik).

Life is like a child’s undershirt—short and soiled.

Dos leben iz vi kinderhemdel—kurts un bash.

Life is nothing but a dream, but don’t wake me up!

Dos lebn iz nit mer vi a kholem, ober vekt mikh nit oif!

Life is the greatest bargain—you get it for nothing.

Dos leben iz di gresteh metsieh—men krigt es umzist.

Like soap for the body, so are tears for the soul.

Vi zaif faren guf iz a trer far di neshomeh.

Little children, little joys; bigger children, bigger sorrows.

Klaineh kinder, klaineh fraiden; groisseh kinder, groisseh laiden.

Live and let live.

Me darf leben un lozen leben.

Live till 100 like a 20-year-old.

Biz hundert azoi ve tsvantsik.

Lived like a lord and died like a fool.

Gelebt vi a har un geshtorben vi a nar.

Loaf, do nothing, be completely inactive (lit., not to put a finger in cold water).

Nisht araynton keyn finger in kalt vaser.

Look down, and you’ll know how high up you are.

Kuk arop, vest du visn vi hoykh du shteyst.

Lost years are worse than lost dollars.

Farloreneh yoren iz erger vi farloreneh gelt.

Love and hunger don’t dwell together.

Libeh un hunger voinen nit in ainem.

Love is like butter; it’s good with bread.

Libeh iz vi puter, s’iz gut mit broit.

Love is sweet, but it’s good with bread.

Di libe iz zis nor zi iz gut mit broit.

Love the other fellow and don’t let yourself be fooled by the first.

Hob lib dem tsvaiten un loz zikh nit naren fun dem ershten.

Luck and charm cannot be purchased in a store.

Mazel un chain koift men nit in kremel.

Luck without sense is a perforated sack.

Glik on saichel iz a lecherdiker zak.

Lying in the ground, baking bagels.

Lign in drerd un bakn beygl.

Make it round and to the point!

Makh es kaylekhdik un shpitsik.

Man has two eyes, two ears, but only one mouth.

Der mentsh hot tsvai oigen, tsvai oiren, ober nor ain moil.

Man is born to die.

Der mentsh iz tsum shtarben geboren.

Man is what he is, but not what he used to be.

Der mentsh iz vos er iz, ober nit vos er iz geven.

Man keeps hoping till he goes to his eternal slumber.

Der mentsh tut hofen biz er vert antshlofen.

Man proposes, God disposes (lit., man plans, God laughs).

Mentsch tracht, Got lakht.

Man rides, but God holds the reins.

Der mentsh fort un Got halt di laitses.

Many people see things but few understand them.

A sach mentshen zehen, nor vainik fun zai farshtai’en.

Many songs, but few dumplings.

A sakh zmires, un veynik kneydlekh.

Marriage is like a padlock, divorce the key.

Di khasene iz a shlos, der get a shlis’l.

Married in a hurry and stuck for good.

Chasseneh gehat oif gich un geblibben in shtich.

Marry blindly and your wife will lead you by the nose.

Hostu khasene blind, vet dayn vayb dikh firn bay der noz.

Marrying and dying are two things for which one is never late.

Men farshpetikt nit chasseneh hoben un shtarben.

May a beautiful, purified plague befall them.

A sheynem, reynem kapore of zey.

May a strange death befall you!

A mise meshune oyf dir!

May God help me!

Zol Got mir helfen!

May God prevent!

Zol Got ophiten!

May he rest in peace, and have a long wait (till I die and join him).

Zol er likhtik ru’en un lang vartn.

May you grow like an onion, with your head in the ground!

Vahksin zuls du vi a tsibeleh, mitten kup in drerd!

May you grow to health (said when someone sneezes).

Vahksin zuls du tsu gezunt.

May you grow to life (said when someone sneezes).

Vahksin zuls du tsu leben.

May you grow to long years (said when someone sneezes).

Vahksin zuls du tsu langeh yor.

May you never again experience (such) pain.

Ir zolt mer nit visn fun ken tzar.

May you suffer an ugly fate!

Chap ein a meesa meshina.

Men fear the gallows more than God himself.

Far der teliyeh hoben mentshen mer moireh vi far Got alain.

Miracles don’t happen every day.

Nit yeden mesles treft zikh a nes.

Misers are idol worshipers.

Kargeh leit dinen der avoideh-zoreh.

Misfortune binds together.

Umglik bindt tsunoif.

Money buys everything except brains.

Far gelt bakumt men alts, nor kain saichel nit.

Money can do everything.

Mit gelt ken men alles.

Money causes conceit and conceit leads to sin.

Gelt brengt tsu ga’aveh un ga’aveh tsu zind.

Money goes to money.

Gelt gait tsu gelt.

Money is not a problem.

Gelt is nisht kayn dayge.

Money is round, it rolls away from you.

Gelt iz keilechdik—amol iz es do, amol iz es dort.

Money lights up my little world like the sun.

Gelteleh baleicht vi zun mein velteleh.

Money lost, nothing lost; courage lost, everything lost.

Gelt farloren, gor nit farloren; mut farloren, alts farloren.

Money rules the world!

Gelt fiert di gantseh velt!

More blemish, more dowry.

Mer a chessorin, mer nadan.

Mountains cannot meet, but men can.

A barg mit a barg kennen zikh nit tsuzamen kumen, ober a mentsh mit a mentsh kennen.

Much ado about nothing! Impossible! (lit., in heaven there’s a big fair!).

Oyfen himmel a yarid!

My money went down the drain! (lit., my money went into the ground [to Hell])

In drerd mein gelt!

My stomach aches.

Es tut mir vey der boykh.

Necessity breaks iron.

Noit brecht eizen.

Neither here nor there, in limbo.

Nisht ahin un nisht aher.

Neither here nor there; it doesn’t matter (lit., it won’t fly, it won’t fit).

Nisht geshtoygen, nisht gefloygen.

Neither with curses nor with laughter can you change the world.

Nit mit shelten un nit mit lachen ken men di velt ibermachen.

Never mind the remorse, don’t commit the sin.

Men iz dir moichel di t’shuveh, nor tu nit di avaireh.

Nine rabbis cannot make a quorum but ten shoemakers can.

Nein rabonim kenen kain minyen nit machen ober tsen shusten yoh.

No answer is also an answer.

Nit kain entfer iz oich an entfer.

No calendar is needed for dying.

Tsum shtarben darf men kain luach nit hoben.

No choice is also a choice.

Kain braireh iz oich a braireh.

No fruit falls from withered trees.

Fun fartrikenteh baimer kumen kain paires nit arois.

No good comes out of hurrying.

Fun eilenish kumt kain guts nisht arois.

No one believes a liar even when he tells the truth.

A ligner glaibt men nit, afileh az er zogt dem emess.

No one hides—neither the wicked his wickedness nor the fool his folly.

Kainer bahalt nit; nit der rosheh zein rishes, nit der nar zein narishkeit

No one is as deaf as the one who will not listen.

Keyner iz nit azoy toyb vi der vos vil mit hern.

No one knows what the morrow will bring.

Kainer vaist nit vemes morgen es vet zein.

No one possesses all the virtues.

Alleh meiles in ainem, iz nito bei kainem.

No one sees his own faults (lit., no one sees his own hunchback).

Keiner zeyt nisht zein eigener hoyker.

No tongue speaks as much ill as one’s own.

Keyn tsung ret nit azoy fil shlekhts vi di eygene.

Nobody has a monopoly on regret.

Kainer hot nit kain legoteh tsu hoben charoteh.

Nobody is willing to take away your troubles; nobody can take away your good deeds.

Tsores vil men nit tsunemen; mitsves ken met nit tsunemen.

Not all troubles come from heaven.

Nisht alleh tsores kumen fun himmel.

Not all who sit at the head table are aristocrats.

Nit itlecher vos zitst oiben-on iz a pan.

Not every heart that laughs is really cheerful.

Nit yeder harts vos lacht iz frailech.

Not everybody is content with his looks, but everyone is content with his brains.

Nit yeder iz tsufriden mit zein ponem, ober mit zein saichel iz yeder tsufriden.

Not everyone the dogs bark at is a thief.

Nit yederer oif vemen hunt bilen iz a ganev.

Not speaking also talks.

Nit geret iz oykh geret.

Not that which is beautiful but that which pleases is beautiful.

Nit dos iz shain vos iz shain, nor dos vos gefelt.

Not the rich who pay; the honest pay.

Nit der reicher tsolt; der erlecher tsolt.

Not to have any choice available is also a choice.

Kein briere iz oich a breire.

Not what it’s cracked up to be (lit., all seven lucky things).

Alle ziben glicken.

Nothing came of it! (lit., there’s nothing up there but a small attic)

Es hot zikh oysgelohzen a boydem!

Nothing is perfect.

Mit alleh meiles iz nito.

Nothing is too difficult—you only have to know it.

Gornisht iz nisht shver—men badarf nor kenen.

On a beautiful person, it’s good to look; with a smart person, it’s good to live.

Of a shaynem iz gut tsu kukn; mit a klugn iz gut tsu lebn.

On his words no building could be built.

Oif zeineh raid ken men nit boien kain binyen.

On summer days he should mourn, and on wintry nights, he should torture himself.

In di zumerdike teg zol er zitsn shive, un in di vinterdike nekht zikh raysn af di tseyn.

On the other side of the fence, you have a change of heart.

Fun yener zeit planken hot men andereh gedanken.

On the Sabbath even the wicked in hell have rest.

Shabbes hot der rosheh in gehenem oich ru.

On the tip of the tongue lies the fate of the entire world.

Oif der shpits tsung ligt di gantseh velt.

One always thinks that others are happy.

Ainem dacht zikh az bei yenem lacht zikh.

One can’t fill a torn sack.

A lecherdiken zack ken men nit onfillen.

One cross word brings on a quarrel.

Fun a vort vert a kwort.

One doesn’t build on foreign ground.

Oif fremder erd boit men nit.

One doesn’t know another’s sorrow.

Ainer vaist nit dem anderens krenk.

One doesn’t spoil a shirt because of one corner.

Iber a tsvikel macht men kalyeh kain hemd.

One even gets tired of eating only dumplings.

Kreplakh esn vert oykh nimes.

One fool can ask more than ten wise men can answer.

Ain nar ken mer fregen aider tsen klugeh kenen entferen.

One fool is a lot of fools.

Ain nar macht a sach naronim.

One fool is an expert on the other.

Ain nar iz a maiven oifen anderen.

One is certain only of death.

Zikher iz men nor miten toit.

One is not kept alive by joy, nor does sorrow alone cause death.

Fun naches lebt men nit; fun tsores shtarbt men nit.

One laughs alone and weeps alone.

Es lacht zikh alain un es vaint zikh alain.

One lie is a lie, two are lies, but three is politics!

Ainer iz a ligen, tsvai iz ligens, drei iz politik.

One link snaps and the whole chain falls apart.

Brecht zikh a ring, tsefalt di gantseh kait.

One misfortune is too few for him.

Eyn imglik iz far im veynik.

One mother achieves more than a hundred teachers.

Eyn mame dergreykht mer vi a hundert lerers.

One old friend is better than two new ones.

An alter freint iz besser vi a nei’eh tsvai.

One person speaks Russian like a Jew, another speaks Yiddish like a Goy.

Eyner ret rusish vi a yid, der anderer ret yidish vi a goy.

One who has no idea where he’s going or what he’s doing there (lit., blunders around like a fart in the pickle-barrel).

Drayt zakh vee a foorts in roosl.

One word becomes a herd.

Fun a vort vert a kvort.

One’s good luck is another’s misfortune.

Ainem’s mazel iz an anderen’s shlemazel.

Onions should grow from your bellybutton!

Zol vaksen tsibbelis fun pipek!

Only at your own table can you be sated.

Nor bei zein aigenem tish ken men zat verren.

Only fools rely on miracles.

Nor naronim farlozn zikh oyf nisim.

Only in dreams are the carrots as big as bears.

Nor in cholem zeinen meren vi beren.

Only refuse is to be gotten free.

Umzist krigt men nor mist.

Out of sight, out of mind (lit., far from the eyes, far from the heart).

Vayt fun di oygn, vayt fun hartsn.

Out of stubbornness many a man goes from heaven to hell.

Fun akshones vegen gait men amol fun ganaiden in gehenem arein.

Parents can give a dowry but not luck.

Nadan kenen eiteren geben, ober nit kain mazel.

Parents can provide everything except good luck.

Elteren kenen alts geben, nor kain mazel kenen zai nit geben.

Petty thieves are hanged; big thieves are pardoned.

Klaineh genaivim hengt men; groisseh shenkt men.

Pimples should grow on your tongue!

Zol makekhs vaksen offen tsung!

Pity has pure intentions.

Rachmones hot raineh kavones.

Pledge yourself and you’ve sold yourself.

Untergenumen haist zikh farkoift

Possession is nine-tenths of the law.

Ho-oykheyz beyad iz di beste tefile!

Poverty has a thick head.

Der dales hot a grobeh kop.

Poverty hides wisdom.

Der dales farshtelt di chochmeh.

Poverty is no disgrace, but also no great honor.

Orem iz nit kain shand, ober oich kain groisser koved nit.

Poverty is no disgrace, just so it isn’t filthy.

Orem iz nit kain shandeh, abi nit shmaikateh.

Poverty reveals itself first on the face.

Der dales laigt zikh tsum ershten oifen ponem.

Pray that you may never have to endure all that you can learn to bear.

Me zol nit gepruft verren tsu vos me ken gevoint verren.

Pray that you may not be a burden to your children.

Me zol nit darfen onkumen tsu kinder.

Pride lies on the dung-heap.

Gadles ligt oifen mist.

Purim is no holy day and fever is no disease.

Purim iz kain yontev nit un kadoches iz nit kain krenk.

Put off your worries for the morrow.

Di zorgen laig op oif morgen.

Put up or shut up. Let’s conclude this (lit., asses on the table).

Tokhes ahfen tish.

Quiet, don’t make an uproar.

Sha shtil, makht nish keyn gerider.

Quiet streams wear away the shores.

Di shtileh vasserlech reissen ein di breges.

Quit bugging me and get lost: go drive yourself crazy (lit., go turn your own head around).

Fardrai zikh dem kop.

Rich men are often lean and poor men fat.

Faran dareh gvirim un fetch oremeleit.

Rob not, repent not.

Ganveh nit un fast nit.

Run away from an insult but don’t chase after honor.

Far umkoved antloif, ober yog zikh nit noch koved.

Save, save; when comes the evil year it’s gone!

Shpor, shpor; kumt der shvarts yor un nemt tsu gor!

Scolding won’t help, but the stick would.

Shreien helft nit, ober a shteken helft.

Scram! (lit., go whistle on the ocean).

Geh feifen ahfen yam!

Scratching and borrowing is only good for a while.

Kratsen un borgen iz nor gut oif a veil.

Sewing and rending [opening a seam], both require a measure of skill.

Neyen un trenen muz men kenen.

She doesn’t stop talking (lit., she doesn’t close her mouth).

Zi farmacht nit dos moyl.

She has sexy legs.

Zi hot yeytser-hore fislakh.

She is absolutely beautiful!

Zi iz a (zeltene) sheynhayt!

She is absolutely beautiful!

Zi iz an emes’e yefastoyer/krasavitse!

She is ugly as sin.

Zi iz a (rikhtike) miyeskayt.

She should have stones and not children.

Shteyner zol zi hobn, nit kayn kinder.

She was a whore in her mother’s belly.

Sie haut gevain a courva in de momma’s bouch.

She’s a beauty, all right: large as a barrel, and wide as a gate! (humorous and/or sarcastic)

Zi iz take a yefastoyer: groys vi a fas, un breyt vi a toyer!

She’s got it all! (Possesses every possible virture)

Zi iz mushlemes bekhol hamayles!

Shove it up your rectum! (vulgar)

Zolst es shtipin in toches!

Shrouds are made without pockets.

Tachrichim macht men on keshenes.

Silence also conveys meaning.

Shvaygn heyst oykh geret.

Silence is the restraint of wisdom—but mere silence is not necessarily wisdom.

Shvaygn iz a tsoym far khokhme—ober nor shvaygn iz keyn khokhme nit.

Skin someone alive (lit., to tear the skin).

Reissen di hoit.

Slap your backside and yell “hooray” (Said to a child who complains about having nothing to do).

Patsh zikh in tuchis und schrei “hooray.”

Sleep is a thief.

Der shlof iz a ganev.

Sleep is the best doctor.

Der shlof iz der bester dokter.

Small children don’t let you sleep; big children don’t let you rest.

Klaineh kinder lozen nit shlofen; groisseh kinder lozen nit ruen.

So, does one have children? (Comment when a child does something bad).

Nu, dahf men huben kinder?

So how is it with your new wife, great or bitter? (Asked of a newlywed husband.)

Vi iz ba dir, motso oder moitsei?

So I made a mistake. So what?

Host du bie mir an avleh.

So it goes in this world: one has the purse, the other has the money.

Azoi gait af der velt: ainer hot di beitel, der tsvaiter hot di gelt.

Some want to live well and cannot, while others can live well and will not.

Aineh villen leben un kennen nit, un andereh kenen leben un villen nit.

Someone else’s backside is easy to smack.

Afh yenems tukhes is gut sepatchen.

Sometimes a fool can say something clever.

A nar ken a mol zogen a gleich vort.

Sometimes a piece of ill luck comes in handy.

A shlamazel kumt oich a mol tsu nuts.

Sometimes even a fool can say a smart word.

A nar ken a mol zoygn a klug vort.

Sometimes the remedy is worse than the disease.

A mol iz der refueh erger fun der makeh.

Sometimes the servant is nobler than the master.

A mol iz der meshores mer yachsen vi der porets.

Speech is difficult, but silence is impossible.

Reden iz shver un shveigen ken men nit.

Speech is good, silence is even better.

Redn iz gut, shveign nokh besser.

Speech is silver, silence is golden.

Reden iz zilber, shveigen iz gold.

Speed is only good for catching flies.

Geshvindkeit iz nor gut floi tsu chapen.

Stealing and giving away for charity is still stealing.

Geganvet un opgegeben tsedokeh—haist geganvet.

Stick your head in the mud (lit., go with your head in the ground).

Geh mit dein kop in drerd.

Still waters run deep.

Shtil vasser grobt tif.

Stones on his bones.

Shteyner af zayne beyner.

Stop bending my ear! (lit.; stop banging on my head)

Hok mir nit in kop!

Stop talking yourself into illness (lit., a lung and a liver on the nose).

A lung un leber oyf der noz.

Stuff yourself with hope and you can go crazy.

Fun loiter hofenung ver ich noch meshugeh.

Success intoxicates without wine.

Nitsochen farshikert on vein.

Sure, I can really afford this! (humorous and sarcastic)

Di bobe iz mir raykh gevorn!

Suspense is worse than the ordeal itself.

Der innu-hadin iz erger vi der din alain.

Sweet talk doesn’t make you warm but sweet meaning does.

Es iz nit varem fun dobreh raideleh, nor fun dobreh maineleh.

Talk is worth a shilling; silence is worth two.

A vort iz vert a sileh; shveigen iz vert tsvai.

Talk too much and you give yourself away.

Az men ret, deret men zikh.

Talk your heart out.

Me redt zikh oys dos harts.

Tasty is the fish from someone else’s table.

Geshmak iz der fish oif yenems tish.

Ten ships of gold should be his and the money should only make him sick.

Tsen shifn mit gold zol er farmorgn, un dos gantse gelt zol er farkrenkn.

Thank you so much! (lit., a pretty, pure thank you).

A sheyner veyer dank.

Thank you very much!

A groysn/sheynem dank dir/aykh!

Thanks a lot!

A groysn/sheynem dank!

Thanks for nothing. (lit., many thanks in your belly button).

A shaynem dank dir im pupik.

That person may be no good, but his money is okay!

Der mentsh iz treyf, ober zayn gelt iz kosher!

That which is practiced in youth will be pursued in old age.

Tsu vos men iz gevoint in der yugend, azoi tut men oif der elter.

That’s a tremendous bargain!

Dos iz a vilder metsiye!

That’s chicken feed (chump change; a paltry sum). (lit., it’s nothing silver-coated; serebrom means silver-coated in Russian)

Dos iz khay kak serebrom.

That’s how the cookie crumbles!

Azoy vert dos kichel tsekrochen.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Di epeleh falt nit veit fun baimeleh,

The best horse is just a carcass when it dies.

Der bester ferd iz nor a padleh ven er paigert.

The best horse needs a whip, the wisest man advice, and the most chaste woman a man.

Der bester ferd darf hoben a baytsh, der klugster man an eytse, un di frumste mekeyve a man.

The best speech is the one you don’t make.

Di beste rede iz di vos men halt nit.

The bigger the beard, the bigger the crook!

Vos greser di bord, alts greser der ganef!

The biggest folly of the fool is that he thinks he is smart.

Di gresteh narishkeit fun a nar iz vos er maint az er iz klug.

The bitterest misfortune can be covered up with a smile.

Dem bitersten mazel ken men farshtellen mil a shmaichel.

The boaster gets stuck in the mud.

Der barimer bleibt shteken in bloteh.

The body is a sponge, the soul an abyss.

Der guf iz a shvom, di neshomeh a tehom.

The cat knows whose meat she ate!

Es vais di kats vemes flaish zi hot oifgegessen!

The cat likes fish but she doesn’t want to wet her paws.

Di kats hot lib fish, nor zi vil di fis nit einnetsen.

The clothes make the man.

Klaider machem dem mentshem.

The crow flies high but settles on a hog.

Di kro flit hoich un zetst zikh oif a chazzer.

The doctor has a remedy for everything but poverty.

Der doktor hot a refueh tsu alts, oder nit tsu dales.

The door to evil-doing is wide, but the return gate is narrow.

Arein iz di tir brait, un arois iz zi shmol.

The dream is a fool and sleep’s the master.

Der cholem iz a nar un der shlof iz der har.

The drunkard and the bartender both smell of whisky.

Fun shikker and fun shenker shtinkt mil bronfen.

The ears don’t hear what the mouth utters.

Di oi’eren heren nit vos dos moil redt.

The face tells the secret.

Der ponem zogt ois dem sod.

The faster, the better.

Vos gicher, alts besser.

The first quarrel is the best quarrel.

Der ershter broigez iz der bester broigez.

The first time it’s smart, the second time it’s cute, the third time you get a sock in the teeth.

Ain mol a saichel, dos tsvaiteh mol chain, dem dritten mol git men in di tsain.

The food is cooked in a pot and the plate gets the honor.

Shpeiz kocht men in top un koved krigt der teller.

The gates of tears are never shut.

Di toi’ern fun treren zeinen kain mol nit farshlossen.

The gift is not as precious as the thought.

Es iz nit azoi tei’er der geshank vi der gedank.

The girl who can’t dance says the band can’t play.

Az di ken nit tantsen, zogt zi az di klezmorim kenen nit shpilen.

The good ones pay, the bad ones demand.

Guteh tsolen, shlechteh monen.

The grave is already dug and man still continues to hope.

Di grub iz shoin ofen un der mentsh tut noch hofen.

The greatest folly of the fool is that he thinks he is smart

Di greste narishkayt fun a nar iz az er meynt az er is klug.

The hardest work is to go idle.

Di shversteh arbet iz arumtsugain laidik.

The heart is small and embraces the whole wide world.

Di klainer harts nemt arum di groisseh velt.

The heart is something of a prophet.

Dos harts iz a halber novi.

The heaviest burden is an empty pocket.

Der shversteh ol iz a laidikeh kesheneh.

The hell with it! (lit., let it burn!)

Zol es brennen!

The Hell with them!

Hengen zey zikh uf!

The Hell with you!

Hots mikh un zayts mikh!

The just path is always the right one.

Der derech hayosher iz alleh mol kosher.

The less said, the better (lit., the less you speak, the healthier).

Vos veyniker men ret, alts gezinter iz.

The less you ask, the healthier.

Vos vintsiker me fregt, iz als gezunter.

The less you sleep, the more you get out of life.

Kirtser geshlofen, lenger gelebt.

The less you talk the better off you are.

Vos vainiker me ret, iz als gezunter.

The liar is not believed even when he tells the truth.

Dem ligner gloibt men afileh an emess oich nit.

The longer a blind man lives, the more he sees.

Vos lenger a blinder lebt, alts mer zet er.

The longest way is the one to the pocket.

Der veister veg iz der tsu der kesheneh.

The masses are asses.

Der oilem iz a goilem.

The master is kind but his hand holds the cane.

Der porets iz gut un in hant iz di rut.

The mirror fools none but the ugly.

Der shpigel nart kainem nisht op, nor dem miessen.

The nearer to the synagogue, the farther from God.

Vos noenter tsu der shul, alts vayter fun Got.

The nuisance is here already!

Er iz shoyn du, der nudnik!

The ocean cannot be emptied with a can.

Me ken dem yam mit a kendel nit ois’shepen.

The outer garment conceals the inner torment.

Dos oibershteh klaid fardekt di untershteh leid.

The ox is not aware of its strength.

Der oks vais nit fun zein gevureh.

The pen is more deadly than an arrow.

A pen shist erger fun a fayl.

The pig snatches the best apple.

Dos besteh epel chapt ois der chazzer.

The place where we are not seems good.

Dorten iz gut vu mir seinen nito.

The poor man’s enemies are few, the rich man’s friends are even fewer.

Der oreman hot vainik feint, der reicher hot vainiker freint.

The poor man’s temptation is a loaf of bread.

Dem oreman’s yaitser-horeh iz a skorinkeh broit.

The poor think, the rich laugh.

Der oreman tracht, der nogid lacht.

The prayer ascends and the blessing descends.

Di tefileh gait aroif un di brocheh gait arop.

The rabbi’s daughter is forbidden what the bath-house keeper’s daughter is allowed.

Dem rav’s tochter tor nit vos dem beder’s tochter meg.

The reddest apple has a worm in it.

Di roitsteh epel hot a vorm.

The rich eat the meat; the poor the bones.

Der reicher es dos flaish un der oreman di bainer.

The rich have no sense of justice.

Der oisher hot nit kain yoisher.

The rich man has his brains in his billfold.

Der gvir hot dem saichel in teister.

The richest inheritance might become a burden.

Es ken zein barb, oich di reichsteh arb.

The road to the cemetery is paved with suffering.

Oisbrukirt mit tsores iz der veg tsum bais-hakvores.

The saloon-keeper loves the drunkard, but he wouldn’t give him his daughter in marriage.

Der shainker hot lib dem shikker, ober di tochter vet er im nit geben.

The shoemaker speaks of his last and the baker speaks of his paddle.

Der shuster ret fun der kopete un der beker ret fun der lopete.

The shoes of the poor man’s children grow with their feet.

Di shich fun oreman’s kind vaksen miten fisel.

The smallest vengeance poisons the soul.

Di klensteh nekomeh farsamt di neshomeh.

The smoothest way is full of stones.

Der gleichster veg iz ful mit shtainer.

The sneeze confirmed the truth.

G’nossen tsum emess.

The stomach keeps a secret better than the heart.

Der mogen halt besser a sod vi di harts.

The stomach swallows up the head with the mind.

Di boich farshlingt di kop miten saichel.

The storm blows over but the driftwood remains.

Der vint flit avek un di kerpes bleiben.

The sun shines brighter after a shower.

Di zun sheint lichtiker noch a regen.

The temples are grey yet the mind is childish.

Es iz groi di pai’eh un narish di dai’eh.

The thief has an easy job and bad dreams.

Der ganev hot a gringer melocheh un shlechteh chaloimes.

The tongue is not in exile.

Di tsung iz nit in goles.

The tongue is the pen of the heart.

Di tsung iz di feder fun hartsen.

The Torah gives light, the Torah burns, but only the dollar gives warmth.

Di toireh leicht, di toireh brent, ober varemen varemt der kerbel.

The troubles of a stranger aren’t worth an onion.

A fremdeh tsoreh iz kain tsibeleh nit vert.

The truth can walk around naked; the lie has to be clothed.

Der emes ken arumgain a naketer; dem lign darf men baklaidn.

The truth doesn’t die but it lives like a poor man.

Der emess shtarbt nit ober er lebt vi an oreman.

The truth has charm but it’s shy.

Der emess hot alleh meiles, oher er iz a shemevdiker.

The truth has many faces.

Der emess hot a sach ponimer.

The truth is in sight; the lie is behind the eyes.

Der emess iz in di oigen, der ligen iz hinter di oigen.

The truth is not alive, the truth is not dead, it struggles!

Der emess lebt nit, der emess shtarbt nit, der emess matert zikh!

The truth surfaces like oil on water.

Der emess kumt arois azoi vi boimel oif der vasser.

The ugliest life is better than the nicest death.

Der miesteh leben iz besser fun shensten toit.

The warmest bed is mother’s.

Di varemsteh bet is di mames.

The ways of repentance are as much hidden as the ways of sin.

Di vegen fun teshuveh zeinen nit vainiker farborgen vi di vegen fun zind.

The wedding vow is a short prologue to a long drama. “Harey-at” (Hebrew) is the name of the traditional wedding formula: “Behold, you are consecrated unto me with this ring in accordance with the laws of Moses and Israel.”

Der “harey-at” iz a kurtser prolog tsu a lange drame.

The whole word is one town.

Di ganzer veld is ein stat.

The whole world is one thief.

Di gantseh velt iz aim ganev.

The whole world isn’t crazy.

Di gantseh velt iz nit meshugeh.

The wicked fare well in this world; the saints in the life to come.

Dem rosheh gait oif der velt, dem tsadik oif yener velt.

The wisest man is guilty of folly.

Der klugster mentsh benart zikh.

The wolf is not afraid of the dog, but he hates his bark.

Der volf hot nit moireh faren hunt, ober es gefelt im nit zein bilen.

The world consists of cogs: one depends on the other.

Di velt iz a hekeleh: ainer darf tsum anderen.

The world has a saying: better to lose with a wise man than to win with a fool.

Di velt zogt a vertel: besser mit a klugen farliren aider mit a nar gevinen.

The world hates the informer and the moralist.

Di velt hot feint dem massernik un dem mussernik.

The world is big, its troubles still bigger.

Di velt iz grois, ireh tsores noch gresser.

The world is full of troubles, but each man feels his own.

Di velt iz ful mit tsores, nor yederer fielt nor zeineh.

The world is good, only bad luck casts a pall over it.

Di lichtikeh velt iz fun shlimazel farshtelt.

The world stands on money.

Oif gelt shtait di velt.

The world stands on three things: money, money, and money.

Oif drei zachen shtait di velt: oif gelt, oif gelt, un oif gelt.

The worst libel is the truth.

Di ergsteh rechiles iz der emess.

There are no enemies for free; you have to pay for them.

Kain umzister soineh iz nito; me batsolt far im.

There is a new question to every answer.

Oyf itlekhn terets ken men gefinen a naye kashye.

There’s no lock on a mouth.

Oyf a moyl iz keyn shlos nito.

There’s no one as deaf as he who will not listen.

Kainer iz nit azoi toib vi der vos vil nit herren.

They agree like cat and dog.

Zai shtimen vi a kats un a hunt.

They are making a big deal out of this.

Me makht a gants yontef derfun.

They bury better looking ones.

Sheinere leygt men in drerd.

They don’t let you live!

Me lost nit leben!

They should free a madman, and lock him up.

A meshugener zol men oyshraybn, un im araynshraybn.

They’ve buried nicer looking people than that.

Sheinera menchen haut me gelicht in drerd.

Thieves and those in love both love darkness.

Ganovim un farlibte hobn lib fintsternish.

Things are not as quickly achieved as conceived.

Nisht azoi gich macht zikh vi es tracht zikh.

Things can’t be bad all the time, nor good all the time.

Nit af alleh mol shlecht, un nit af alleh mol gut.

Things may get worse before they get better.

Aider es kumt di nechomeh, ken oisgaien di neshomeh.

Think fast!

Orientir zikh!

Thistle sticks to clothes and disease to the body.

Kadeges klepen zikh tsu klaider un krenk tsum guf.

Those who can’t bite should not show their teeth.

Az men ken nit beissen, zol men nit veizen di tsain.

Three things cannot be hidden: love, coughing and poverty.

Drei zakhen ken men nit bahalten: libeh, hisen un dales.

Throw salt in his eyes, pepper in his nose.

Zalts im in di oygen, feffer im in di noz.

Time brings wounds and heals them.

Di tseit brengt vunden un hailt vunden.

Time can alter everything.

Di tseit ken alts ibermachen.

Time is the best physician.

Di tseit iz der bester doktor.

To assume is to be deceived.

Az men maint, genart men zikh.

To be miserly is worse than to steal.

Kargen iz erger vi ganvenen.

To do all the talking (to have the greatest voice or authority).

A breyte deye hob’n.

To every answer you can find a new question.

Oif itlechen terets ken men gefinen a nei’eh kasheh.

To every new song one can find an old tune.

Tsu itlechen neiem lid ken men tsupassen an alten nigen.

To fall down you manage alone but it takes friendly hands to get up.

Falen falt men alain, ober oiftsuhaiben zikh darf men a hant fun a freind.

To have a trade is to be free of worry.

Melocheh bez deigeh.

To have money is a good thing; to have a say over the money is even better.

Tsu hoben gelt iz a guteh zach; tsu hoben dai’eh iber di gelt, iz noch besser.

To hell with him (lit., I have him in the bath house).

Ich hob im in bod.

To hell with it.

Ich hob es in drerd.

To hell with you (lit., I have you in the bath house).

Ich hob dich in bod.

To learn the whole Talmud is a great accomplishment; to learn one good virtue is even greater.

Durchlernen gants shas iz a groisseh zach: durch lernen ain mideh iz a gressereh zach.

To look like a rooster who’s just trodden his hens.

Oyszen vi a hon nokh tashmish.

To make promises and to love don’t cost any money.

Tsuzogn un lib hoben kostn kayn gelt nisht.

To me you’re beautiful.

Bei mir bist du sheyn.

To observe the Sabbath is easier than to make it.

Halten shabbes iz gringer vi machen shabbes.

To our future together.

Tsu undzer tsukunft tsuzamen.

Too much eating and drinking leads to poverty.

Tsu fil essen un trinken in dales zinken.

Too much glory is half disgrace.

Tsu fil koved iz a halbeh shand.

Too much is superfluous.

Vos tsu iz iberik.

Too much modesty is half conceit.

Tsu fil anives iz a halber shtolts.

Too much of anything is undesirable.

Tsu shain iz amol a chissoren.

Travail of raising children

Tsar gidul bonim

Trouble cuts up the heart.

Tsores tsezegen di harts.

Trouble doesn’t come alone.

A tsoreh kumt nit alain.

Trouble is like strong medicine—too much at a time is harmful.

Tsores zeinen shtarkeh tropens, es toig nit a sach mit a mol.

Troubles with soup is easier than troubles without soup.

Tsores mit yoykh iz gringer vi tsores on yoykh.

Trust draws to heaven, honor to earth.

Bitochen tsit tsum himmel, koved tsit tsu der erd.

Truth is a slowpoke.

Der emess iz a kricher.

Truth is found only with God, and with me only a little.

Emess iz nor bei Got un bei mir a bissel.

Truth is the safest lie.

Der emess iz der bester lign.

Truth one finds only in the prayerbook.

Emess iz in sidder.

Trying to outsmart everybody is the greatest folly.

Vellen zein kliger fun alleh iz di gresteh narishkeit.

Trying to please is always costly.

Tsulib ton kost tomid tei’er.

Twice a year the poor are badly off: summer and winter.

Tsvai mol a yor iz shlecht dem oreman: zumer un vinter.

Two are embarrassed: the fool in the company of wise men and the wise man in the company of fools.

Tsvai falen tsu last: der nar tsevishen klugeh un der kluger tsevishen naronim.

Two beggars together cannot afford to prepare for one Sabbath.

Tsvai kabtsonim kenen kain ain shabbes nit machen.

Underlings are worse than masters.

Di pod-panes zeinen erger fun di panes alain.

Uphill one climbs slowly; downfall one rolls fast.

Aroif kletert men pavolyeh; arop kolert men zikh shnell.

We grow accustomed to our troubles.

Me vert tsugevoynt tsu di tsores.

We know when we start out; when we’ll return, we know not.

Ven men fort arois vaist men, ven men kumt tsurik vaist men nit.

Well said! Well done! You are so smart! (affectionately) (lit., a life on your head)

A leben ahf dein kepele!

Were his word a bridge, it would be risky to pass over it.

Oib zein vort volt gedint als brik, volt men moireh hoben aribergain.

What a bargain!

Shoyn ainmol a metsieh.

What a deaf man doesn’t hear, he imagines.

Vos a toiber derhert nit, dos tracht er zikh ois.

What a fool can spoil, ten wise men cannot repair.

Vos a nar ken kalye makhn, kenen tsen khakhomin nit farrikhtn.

What a man thinks up for himself, his worst enemy couldn’t wish for him.

Vos der mentsh ken alts ibertrachten, ken der ergster soineh im nitvintshen.

What a sober man thinks, a drunkard speaks.

Vos bei a nichteren oif dem lung, iz beim shikker oif der tsung.

What a wise man bewails makes the fool happy.

Vi dem klugen iz bitter iz der nar alts frailech.

What are they lacking?

Vos failt zai?

What are you bothering me for? (lit., why are you twisting my head?)

Vos draistu mir a kop?

What are you screwing around for? What are you fooling around for? (vulgar)

Vos barist du?

What are you talking about?

Vos ret ir epes?

What are you talking my head off for?

Vos hakst du mir in kop?

What did I need it for?

Vos hob ich dos gedarft?

What difference does it make as long as he makes a living? (lit., nifter = deceased).

Nifter-shmifter, a leben macht er?

What difference does it make to me?

Vos macht es mir oys?

What difference does it make?

Vos iz der chil’lek?

What difference does it make?

Vos macht vos oys?

What do you hear around? What’s up?

Vos hert zikh?

What does it matter (to me)? What do I care?

Vos art es (mich)?

What does it mean?

Vos heyst?

What God decrees, man cannot prevent.

Vos Got tut basheren, ken kain mentsh nit farveren.

What God does is probably for the best.

Vos Got tut, iz mistomeh gut.

What is the trick? (lit., what is the wisdom?)

Vos iz di chochmeh?

What one has, one doesn’t want; and what one wants, one cannot have.

Vos me hot, vil men nit; un vos me vil, hot men nit.

What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t feel.

Vos di oig zet nit, di harts fielt nit.

What use is beauty without good luck?

Vos toig shainkeit on mazel?

What you wish me, I wish you.

Vos du vinsht mir, vinsh ikh dir.

What’s cooking?

Vos kocht zikh in teppel?

What’s new?

Vos hert zikh epes nei’es?

What’s on his mind, is on his tongue.

Vos oif der lung, dos oif der tsung.

What’s the point? What’s the outcome? (lit., what’s on the bottom line?).

Vos iz di untershteh shureh?

What’s the purpose? Where does it lead to?

Vos iz der takhlis?

What’s the use of a beautiful dream, if the dawn is chilly?

Vos toig dir der chaner cholem, ven der frimorgen iz kalt?

What’s wrong with you?

Vos iz mit dir?

What’s wrong? (lit., is the bride too beautiful?)

Di kale iz tsu sheyn?

What’s your rush? (lit., so the messiah will be born a day later).

Vet moshiakh geboyrn vern mit a tog shpeter.

Whatever a child babbles, its mother will understand.

Vos a kind zol nit der’raiden, vet di muter im farshtain.

When a clever man makes a mistake, does he make a mistake!

Az der kluger failt, failt er veit!

When a drunkard has no whiskey, he will at least talk of whiskey.

Ven a shikker hot nit kain bronfen redt er chotsh fun bronfen.

When a fool goes shopping, the storekeepers rejoice.

Az a nar gait in mark, fraien zikh di kremer.

When a fool holds his tongue, he too can be thought clever.

Az a nar shveigt vert er oykh gerekhnt tsvishn di kluge.

When a fool keeps quiet, you can’t tell whether he is foolish or smart.

Az a nar shveigt, vaist men nit tsi er iz a nar tsi a khokhem.

When a lion is sleeping, let him sleep.

Az a leyb shloft, loz im shlofn.

When a luckless fool kills a rooster, it still hops; when he winds a clock, it stops!

Ven a shlimazel koilet a hon, gait er; drait er a zaiger, shtait er!

When a toothache comes, you forget your headache.

Az es kumt tsonvaitik fargest men kopvaitik.

When a wise man talks to a fool, two fools are talking.

Az a kluger redt tsu a nar, reden tsvai naronim.

When an orphan suffers, nobody notices; when he rejoices, the whole world sees it.

Ven a yosem leidt, zet kainer nit; ven er frait zikh, zet di gantseh velt.

When brains are needed, brawn won’t help.

Ven men darf hoben moiach, helft nit kain koiach.

When distress doesn’t show on the face, it lies on the heart.

Ven tsores laigt zikh nit oifen ponem, laigt zikh es oifen hartsen.

When does a poor man rejoice? When he has lost something and found it again.

Ven frait zikh an oreman? Ven er farlirt un gefint.

When does God rejoice? When a poor man finds a treasure and returns it.

Ven frait zikh Got? Az an oreman gefint a metsieh un git es op.

When foolishness sometimes succeeds, it is still foolishness.

Az a narishkeit gerot afileh amol, iz es fort a narishkeit.

When God gives bread, the people give butter.

Az Got git broyt, gebn mentshn puter.

When I am eating, everybody can go to Hell! (lit., when I am eating, everything can be in the ground).

Ven ich ess, ch’ob ich alles in dread.

When it comes to money, watch yourself! (from Heb. abbr. for gimel p’omim, gimel-pey, “three times,” used in the siddur to indicate a verse’s repetition.

Gelt, pavolye!

When it comes to one’s own children, everybody is blind.

Oif aigeneh kinder iz yederer a blinder.

When one always drinks vinegar, he doesn’t know that anything sweeter exists.

Az me trinkt alleh mol esik, vais men nit az es iz do a zisereh zach.

When one lives, one experiences (lit., with life comes experience).

Az men lebt, erleybt men.

When one lives out of the alms box, his stomach remains empty.

Ven men lebt fun der pushkeh iz laidik di kishkeh.

When one must, one can.

Az me muz, ken men.

When one pours out his heart, he feels lighter.

Az me redt zikh arop fun hartsen, vert gringer.

When one shears the sheep, the skin on the ram trembles.

Az men shert di shepsn, freyen zikh di tsign.

When one talks too much, one talks foolishness.

Az me redt a sach, ken men zikh oisreden a narishkeit.

When people say someone is crazy, believe it.

Az me zogt meshugeh, zol men gloiben.

When people talk about something, it is probably true.

Az es klingt, iz misstomeh chogeh.

When something’s burning, there’s a fire.

Az es brent, is a fayer.

When the cat is asleep, the mice dance around.

Ven di kats shloft, tantsen di meiz.

When the coop is secure, the geese will grow fatter.

Iz di shteig enger, hodeven zikh di gendz besser.

When the eyes don’t see, the heart doesn’t ache.

Ven di oigen ze’en nit, tut nit vai di harts.

When the father gives to his son, both laugh. When the son gives to the father, both cry.

Ven der tati/fater gibt men tsu zun, lachen baiden. Ven der zun gibt men tsu tati/fater, vainen baiden.

When the heart is bitter, sugar won’t help.

Ven dos harts iz bitter, helft nit kain tsuker.

When the heart is full, the eyes overflow.

Az dos harts iz ful, gai’en di oigen iber.

When the light is crooked, the shadow is crooked.

Ven di licht iz krum, iz der shoten krum.

When the lights go out, the mice begin to dance.

Ven s’farleshen zikh di licht, haiben on tantsen di meiz.

When the messiah comes, all the sick will be healed; only a fool will stay a fool.

Az meshiach vet kumen, vellen alleh krankeh oisgehailt verren; nor a nar vet bleiben a nar.

When the ox falls, everyone sharpens their knife.

Az der oks falt, sharfen alleh di messer.

When the sheep are shorn, the lambs tremble.

Az men shert di shaf, tsitteren di lemmer.

When the sin is sweet, the repentance is not bitter.

Ven di avaireh iz zis, iz nit bitter di teshuveh.

When the stomach is empty, so is the brain.

Az der mogen iz laidik iz der moi’ech oich laidik.

When the streets are muddy, the cobblers rejoice.

Az s’iz in droissen a bloteh, frai’en zikh di shusters.

When the teacher and his wife quarrel, the students get the worst of it.

Az der malamed kright zikh mit der veib iz az och un vai tsu di talmidim.

When the wife wears the pants, the husband washes the floor.

Ven di veib trogt di hoizen, vasht der man di spodnitsen.

When there is a way out, there is no need for fear.

Iz do a braireh, darf nit zein kain moireh.

When there’s a remedy for an ailment, it’s only half an ailment.

Ven tsu a krcnk iz do a refueh, iz dos a halbeh krenk.

When things go right, you become rich.

Ven es gait gleich, vert men reich.

When two play a game, there must be a winner and a loser.

Ven tsvai shpilen, muz ainer gevinen un ainer farliren.

When two say you’re drunk, it’s best to go to sleep.

Az tsvai zogen as du bist shikker, darf men zikh laigen shlofen.

When you climb a ladder, count the rungs.

Az du gaist oifen laiter, tsail di treplech.

When you fight, do it in a manner that will allow you to make up.

Az du krigst zikh, krig zikh az du zolst zikh kenen iberbetn.

When you flee from fire, you run into water.

Az men antloift fun feier, bagegent men dos vasser.

When you go to your neighbors, you find out what is happening at home.

Az me gait tsevishen leiten, vaist men vos se tut zikh in der haim.

When you grease the palms of [bribe] the proper authority, then you get what you need (lit., when you grease [the axles], you can go [travel]).

Az men shmirt—fort men.

When you have a grandchild, you have two children.

Az men hot an ainikel, hot men tsvai kinder.

When you lack butter for the bread, it is not yet poverty.

Ven es felt puter tsu broit, iz es noch nit kain noit.

When you laugh, all see; when you cry, no one sees.

Ven me lacht ze’en alleh; ven me vaint zet kainer nisht.

When you look to the heights, hold on to your hat.

Az du kukst oif hoichen zachen halt tsu dos hitl.

When you need the thief, you take him down from the gallows.

Az men darf dem ganef, nemt men em arop fun der t’liye.

When you send a fool to the market, the merchants rejoice.

Az me shikt a nar oifen mark, frai’en zikh di kremers.

When you sow money, you reap fools.

Az me zait gelt, vaksen naronim.

When you sweep the house, you find everything.

Beim oiskern di shtub gefint men alts.

When you want to beat a dog, be sure to find a stick.

Az me vil a hunt a zets geben, gefint men a shteken.

When you’re too smart, you ruin yourself.

Az m’is tsu klug, light men in drerd.

When your enemy falls, don’t rejoice; but don’t pick him up either.

Az der soineh falt, tor men zikh nit fraien, ober men haibt im nit oif.

Where are you climbing with your crooked feet?

Vu krikhst du mit dayn krume fis?

Where people love you, go rarely; where you are hated, go not at all.

Dort vu men hot dich lib, gai vainik; vu men hot dich feint, gai gor nit.

Where the devil says good morning (has many meanings; used with other phrases).

Vi der ruach zogt gut morgen.

Where there is honey, there flies gather.

Vu honik, dort fligen.

Where there is peace, there is blessing.

Vu sholom, dort iz brocheh.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Az se brent, iz a fei’er.

Where you find Chava (Eve), there you’ll find love.

Dort vu khave, dort iz ahave.

Where you need intellect, strength will not do.

Vu me darf moyech, helft nit kain koyech.

Whether a rabbi or a bath-house keeper, all have enemies.

Rov oder beder, alleh hoben soinem.

While the word is still in your mouth, you are a lord; once you utter it, you are a fool.

Az di vort iz in moil, iz men a har; az me lozt zi arois, iz men a nar.

Who comes to greet a pauper? A cold wind and wild dogs.

Es kumen mekabel ponem zein dem oreman—a kalter vint un a baizeh hunt.

Who feels guilty, feels responsible.

Ver filt zikh, der meynt zikh.

Who would have believed it?

Ver volt dos gegleybt?

Whoever is ashamed of his family will have no blessings.

Ver shemt zikh fun zeineh mishpocheh, oif dem iz kain brocheh.

Why does poverty whistle? Because it has nothing but a pipe!

Farvos feift der dales? Veil er hot nor a dudeh!

Wisdom can’t be purchased in the market.

Saichel krigt men nisht oif di berzeh.

Wisdom comes with the years.

Der saichel kumt noch di yoren.

Wisdom is a precious thing.

Saichel iz an aideleh zach.

Wisdom is better than sanctimony.

Klugheit iz besser fun frumkeit.

Wisdom travels by oxen.

Der saichel fort oif oksen.

Wise children have short years.

Kluge kinder hobn kurtse jorn.

Wise men go on foot and fools ride.

Di klugeh gaien tsu fus, un di naren foren.

With a brush and a needle poverty can be covered up.

Mit a barsht un a nodel bahalt men dem dales.

With a child in the house, all corners are full.

A kind in shtub, ful in alleh vinkelech.

With a fairy tale and with a lie you can lull only children to sleep.

Mit a meisseh un mit a ligen ken men nor kinder farvigen.

With a fool you have no right to do business.

Mit a nar tor men nit handlen.

With a good guest, you are happy when he arrives; with a bad one, when he leaves.

Mit a guten gast frait men zikh ven er kumt arein; mit a shlechten gast, ven er gait avek.

With anger you don’t get too far.

Mit rugzeh fort men nit veit.

With another’s common sense one cannot live.

Mit fremden saichel ken men nit leben.

With honey you can catch more flies than with vinegar.

Mit honik ken men chapen mer fligen vi mit essik.

With lies you will go far, but not back again.

Mit ligen kumt men veit, ober nit tsurik.

With luck, even your ox will calve.

Az dos mazel gait, kelbt zikh der oks.

With luck, everything is possible.

Mit mazel ken men alles.

With one hand God punishes and with the other he blesses.

Mit ain hant shtroft Got un mit der anderer bentsht er.

With patience you can drain a brook.

Mit geduld shept men ois a k’val.

With patience you can even bore through granite.

Mit geduld boiert men durch afileh a kizelshtain.

With the tongue anything is possible.

Mit der tsung ken men alts makhn.

With truth man reaches God.

Mit emess kumt men far Got.

Without a tongue is like without a bell.

On a tsung iz vi on a glok.

Without an excuse there’s no respect.

On a terets iz gor kain derech-erets.

Without luck, nothing will succeed.

On mazel toig gor nit.

Without money, it is no world.

On gelt iz kain velt.

Woe is me and my years!

Vai vind iz meine yoren.

Woe is me, down to my toes.

Oi vey tsu meina baina.

Women have nine measures of talk.

Veiber hoben nein mos raid.

Words should be weighed and not counted.

Verter zol men vegn un nit tseiln.

Worms eat you up when dead and worries eat you up alive.

Verem essen toiterhait un deiges lebedikerhait.

Worries are easier to bear with soup than without it.

Tsores mit yoich iz gringer tsu fartrogen vi tsores on yoich.

You are too full of yourself and making much noise about it (lit., do not disturb the geese).

Strashen net de genz.

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Me ken khapn mer flign mit honik vi mit esik.

You can die of hunger only in a year of famine.

Fun hunger shtarbt men nor in a hunger-yor.

You can make a dream bigger than the night.

Men ken machen dem cholem grosser vi di nacht.

You can recognize a donkey by his long ears, a fool by his long tongue.

An aizel derkent men bei di langeh oi’eren, a nar bei der longer tsung.

You can throw a cat however you want, it always stays on its feet.

Varf di kats vi du vilst, blaypt zi alts shteyn af di fis.

You can vomit from this.

Me ken brechen.

You can’t dance at two weddings at the same time.

Me ken nit tantsen oif tsvai chassenes oif ain mol.

You can’t get ahead with keeping quiet.

Durch shveigen ken men nit shteigen.

You can’t grow corn on the ceiling.

Oifen balken ken kain korn nit geroten.

You can’t have more in the plate than you have in the pot.

In shissel ken nit zein mer vi in top.

You can’t make cheesecakes out of snow.

Mit shnei ken men nit makhn gomolkhes.

You can’t make ten when there isn’t one to start with.

Es ken nit verren tsen ven ains iz nito.

You can’t outrun the moon.

Me ken nit iberloifen di levoneh.

You can’t patch up a torn friendship.

Oif a tserisseneh freintshaft ken men kain lateh nit laigen.

You can’t pee on my back and tell me that it’s rain!

Du kannst nicht auf meinem rucken pishen unt mir sagen class es regen ist.

You can’t put “thank you” in your pocket.

A dank ken men in kesheneh nit legen.

You can’t ride in all directions at one time.

Me ken nit foren oif alleh yariden olf ain mol.

You cannot pay a debt with a noble pedigree.

Mit zechus-oves batsolt men nit kain choives.

You cannot pay a debt with a sigh.

Mit a krechts batsolt men nit a choiv.

You could live, but they don’t let you.

Meh ken leben nor men lost nit.

You don’t count the teeth in someone else’s mouth.

In yenems moil tsailt men nit di tsain.

You don’t frighten me (lit., go threaten the bed bugs).

Geh strasheh di vantsen.

You don’t have to be pretty if you are charming.

Me darf nit zein shain, nor chainevdik.

You don’t have to be wise to be lucky.

Tsum glik badarf men kain chochmeh nit.

You don’t mean the hagadah, but the dumplings

Me meynt nit di hagode, nor di kneydlekh.

You don’t play around with God! First, it’s not allowed and second, He won’t let you.

Mit Got tor men zikh nit shpilen. Ershtens, tor men nit, un tevaitens, lozt er nit.

You don’t show a fool a job half-done.

Me tor nit veizen a nar halbeh arbet.

You low-life! (lit., despicable person)

Du menuvl menuvl, eyner!

You low-life! (lit., outcast)

Oysvorf, eyner!

You may deal in rags and dress in velvet.

Men ken handlen mit trantes un zikh klaiden in samet.

You must not take offense at anything a fool does.

Oif a nar tor men nit faribel hoben.

You mustn’t pour salt on a wound.

Oif a vund tor men kain zaits nit shiten.

You never know the other fellow’s troubles.

Kainer vaist nit vemen der shuch drikt.

You piece of nothing! (humorous) (lit., you hunk of meat with two eyes!)

Du shtik fleysh mit tsvey oygn!

You should be like a lamp: you should hang during the day and burn during the night!

Zolst zein vi a lomp, am tug sollst di hangen, in der nacht sollst di brennen!

You should choke on it.

Dershtikt zolstu veren.

You should get a stomach cramp!

Se zol dir grihmen in boych!

You should grow like an onion with your head in the ground.

Zol ze vaksen ze ve a tsibble mit de kopin dreid.

You should have a nightmare! (lit., a dark dream on your head and on your hands and feet).

A finstere cholem auf dein kopf und auf dein hent und fiss.

You should live and be well!

Zolst leben un zein gezunt!

You should live so!

Zolstu azoy lebn!

You should live! And be well!

A leben ahf dir!

You should lose all your teeth except one, and that one should ache!

Zolst farlirn ale tseyner akhuts eynem, un der zol dir vey ton.

You should not ask a fool a question, nor give him an explanation.

Oif a nar iz kain kasheh nit tsu fregen un kain pshat nit tsu zogen.

You should swell up like a mountain!

Zolst geshvollen veren vi a barg!

You shouldn’t know from evil.

Zolst nit vissen fun kain shlechts.

You’ll never amount to anything (you loser)!

Du’st tomed blaybn a loy-yuts-lekh

You’re a piece of meat with two eyes!

Vos a shtik fleish mit tsvei oygn!

You’re all set! (lit., you’re on the horse!)

Zeit ir doch ahfen ferd!

You’re climbing on the straight wall.

Ikh zol azoy visn fun tsores.

You’ve gotten your way with me.

Bei mir hust du gepoylt.

Your life should be a disaster (lit., a curse on your life).

A brokh tsu dayn lebn.

Your own children can sometimes become your worst enemies!

Me hodevet kinder; me hodevet sonim!

Your stomach will rumble so badly, you’ll think it was Purim noisemaker.

Es zol dir dunern in boykh, vestu meyen az s’iz a homon klaper.

Youth is a mistake, middle age a battle, and old age a regret.

Di yugnt iz a feler, di menlekhe yorn a kamf, un der elter a kharote.


For pronunciation hints, see the Yiddish Glossary page.


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Yiddish Sayings, Proverbs, Phrases, Aphorisms, Curses, and Insults

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