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  • Date :
  • 4/17/2007

Thai Proverbs

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These are written in the Thai script, with the approximate English pronunciation written to the right of it. The literal translation and the English equivalent (if there is one) or meanings (if not) are also written below. Many of the ideas expressed in them are pretty similar, which is perhaps a bit surprising given how different traditional Thai culture is to Western ideas.

1) Nee seua bpa jo-ra-key

Translation: Escape from the tiger and into the crocodile.

Meaning: Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

2) See sor hai kwai fang

Translation: To play violin for the water buffalo to listen to.

Meaning: Cast pearls before swine.

3) Ao maprao hao bpai kai suan

Translation: Take coconuts to sell in the orchard.

Meaning: Carrying coals to Newcastle.

4) Yah dtee dton bpai gorn kai

Translation: Don"t worry yourself about the fever before it arrives.

Meaning: Cross the bridge when you come to it.

5) Ram mai dee toht bpee toht glorng

Translation: Those who can"t dance blame it on the flute and the drum.

Meaning: A bad workman blames his tools.

6) Wah dtair kao Inao bpen eng

Translation: Inao (the name of a Thaifolk hero) blames other people but does it himself.

Meaning: The pot calls the kettle black.

7) Kwahn pah sahk

Translation: Splitting hard wood with an ax.

Meaning: Calling a spade a spade.

8) bpit torng lang pra

Translation: Putting gold leaf on the back of the Buddha image.

Meaning: Doing good deeds without seeking attention.

9) Mair-o mai yoo noo ra-reng

Translation: When the cat"s away, the mice will play.

Meaning: the same as above.

10) Jap dai kah nang kah kao

Translation: Catching somebody with the hide and the horns.

Meaning: Catching somebody red-handed.

11) Bplah dtua dieow nao men mot tang korng

Translation: One rotten fish makes the whole catch smell.

Meaning: A rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.

12) Wan pra mai mee hon dieow

Translation: Buddhist holy days don"t occur only once.

Meaning: Every dog has his day.

13) Chua jet tee dee jet hon

Translation: Bad seven times, good seven times.

Meaning: Every cloud has a silver lining.

14) Rorng hai nam dtah bpen pao dtah

Translation: Crying like a turtle being grilled.

Meaning: Crying your eyes out.

15) Dtai bpra-chot bpah-chah

Translation: Dying to spite the graveyard.

Meaning: Cutting off your nose to spite your face.

16) Yah jap bplah sorng meu

Translation: Don"t catch fish with both hands.

Meaning: You can"t have your cake and eat it.

17) Roo yahng bpet

Translation: To know things in the same way a duck does.

Meaning: Jack of all trades, master of none.

18) Ying tee dieow dai nok sorng dtua

Translation: To fire one shot and get two birds.

Meaning: To kill 2 birds with one stone.

19) Ngom kem nai maha-samut

Translation: Dive for a needle in the ocean.

Meaning: Look for a needle in a haystack.

20) Dai yahng sia yahng

Translation: You have to sacrifice something to get something.

Meaning: You can"t make an omlette without breaking eggs.




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