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Flashcards in Spanish Proverbs Deck (104):

Beggars can't be choosers.

A mucha hambre, no hay pan duro.

For a hunger so great, there is no bread that is too hard. A variant of this expression is Al hambre de siete dias, no hay pan duro


An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

A diario una manzana es cosa sana.

It's a healthy thing to have an apple daily


Home is where the heart is.

A donde el corazón se inclina, el pie camina.

Toward wherever the heart is inclined, the foot will walk


You have to strike while the iron is hot.

A la ocasión la pintan calva.

Opportunity is painted as being bald. This proverb refers to the Greek mythical figure, Caerus, the youngest child of Zeus, and the personification of fortune, luck, and opportunity. He was often depicted as bald, though with hair in front, the better to grab as he came toward you.


A fool and his money are soon parted.

A los tontos no les dura el dinero.

Money doesn't last for fools


Every dog has its day.

A todos les llega su momento de gloria.

A moment of glory comes to everyone


It never rains, but it pours.

Al que no quiere caldo, dos tazas.

Two cups for he who doesn't want broth. A variant of this expression is No quieres caldo, ¡pues tomas tres tazas!


The chickens have come home to roost.

Aquellos polvos traen estos lodos.

That dust brings this muck


Long absent, soon forgotten.

Ausencia al más amigo presto le pone en olvido.

Absence makes even the closest friend forgotten


Let bygones be bygones.

Borrón y cuenta nueva.

A smudge and a new account. Here, cuenta nueva takes on the meaning "a new start"


To err is human, to forgive divine.

Consejo es de sabios perdonar injurias y olvidar agravios.

It is the advice of wise men to forgive insults and to forget offenses


We're all a little crazy in one way or another.

De cuerdo y loco todos tenemos un poco.

We all have a little sanity and little craziness


You can judge a man by the company he keeps.

Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres.

Tell me whom you go with, and I'll tell you who you are


Where there's smoke, there's fire.

Donde hay humo, hay calor.

Where there's smoke, there's heat


Poverty breeds discontent.

Donde no hay harina, todo es mohína.

It's all sad where there's no oatmeal. Note the atypical accent mark in mohína, meaning "the dumps" or "the sulks", which is used to rhyme with harina, or "oatmeal"


Nothing succeeds like success.

El éxito llama al éxito.

Success attracts success


Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

El mejor halago es que lo imiten a uno.

The best praise is for one to be imitated


Actions speak louder than words.

El movimiento se demuestra andando.

Movement is demonstrated in action


You've made bed, and now you'll have to lie in it.

El que la hace la paga.

Whoever does it pays for it


If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

El que la sigue la consigue.

Whoever chases it gets it


The early bird catches the worm.

El que madruga coge la oruga.

(The bird) who rises early catches the caterpillar. In the Spanish proverb, el que is referring to el pájaro.


April showers bring May flowers.

A abril con sus chaparrones, sigue mayo con sus flores.

After April with its downpours, comes May with its flowers


Better late than never.

Más vale tarde que nunca.

Late is worth more than never


Better safe than sorry.

Más vale prevenir que lamentar.

It's worth more to prevent than to regret


A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Más vale pájaro en mano que cien volando.

A bird in the hand is worth more than one hundred flying. A variant of this expression is Más vale pájaro en mano que ciento volando


Birds of a feather flock together.

Dios los cría y ellos se juntan.

God raises them, and then they unite


Curiosity killed the cat.

La curiosidad mató al gato.


The devil is in the detail.

El diablo está en los detalles.


Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Traten a los demás tal y como quieren que ellos los traten a ustedes.


There's no use crying over spilt milk.

De nada vale llorar sobre la leche derramada.


Don't judge a book by its cover.

Las apariencias engañan.

Appearances are misleading. A variant of this expression is El hábito no hace al monje.


The apple does not fall far from the tree.

El fruto no cae lejos del árbol.

Note that "fruit" is usually feminine, fruta, but it can also be masculine el fruto, in which case it means "product" or "result"


Better be alone than in bad company.

Más vale andarse soltero que con mal compañero.

It's better to go alone that to with bad company


The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Al freir de los huevos lo verá.

You'll see it once you fry the eggs


Everybody to whom much is given, much is expected.

Al que mucho se le confía, mucho se le exige.

To whom much is entrusted, much is asked


Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda.

God helps those who rise early


Daub yourself with honey, and you will never lack flies.

A quien se hace de miel las moscas le comen.

Whoever makes himself of honey is eaten by flies


When there's a will, there's a way.

Más hace el que quiere que el que puede.

He who wants more does more than he who can


Let sleeping dogs lie.

Mejor es no menearlo.

It's better not to shake it up. A variant of this expression is Mejor no revolver el asunto


All talk and no action.

Mucho ruido y pocas nueces.

A lot of noise for a few nuts


Misfortunes always come in threes.

No hay dos sin tres.

There's no two without three


What you see is what you get.

No hay más cera que la que arde.

There's no more wax than what is burned


Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.

No hay tempestad que mucho dure.

There's no storm that lasts long


You're casting pearls before swine.

No se hizo la miel para la boca del asno.

The honey wasn't made for the donkey's mouth (to eat)


You can't have your cake and eat it too.

No se puede tener todo.

You can't have it all


Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Obra de común, obra de ningún.

A job shared by everyone is no one's job


He who chastens one chastens twenty.

Quien a uno castiga a ciento hostiga.

Whoever punishes one plagues a hundred


If you lie down with dogs, you'll get up with fleas.

Quien con perros se echa, con pulgas se levanta.


He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Quien paga elige.

Whoever pays chooses


When it rains, it pours.

Siempre llueve sobre mojado.

It always rains on someone wet


Different strokes for different folks.

Sobre gustos y colores no discuten los doctores.

Doctors never argue about tastes and colors


You are what you own.

Tanto tienes, tanto vales.

You have a lot, you're worth a lot


All things are easy that are done willingly.

Tarea que agrada presto se acaba.

Work that pleases you is soon finished


Hope is a good breakfast but a bad supper.

Con esperanza no se come.

You can't eat with hope


I don't care what people say as long as I get what I want.

Dame pan y dime tonto.

Give me bread and call me crazy


What the boss says goes.

Donde hay patrón, no manda marinero.

The sailor doesn't give commands where there's a captain


It's no crime to steal from a thief.

El ladrón que roba a otro ladrón tiene cien años de perdón.

The thief who steals from another thief earns a hundred years of pardon


Time and tide wait for no man.

El tiempo pasa inexorablemente.

Time passes mercilessly


Home is where the heart is.

El verdadero hogar es donde uno tiene a los suyos.

A real home is where one has those he deems dear


One can't see the forest for the trees.

Los árboles no dejan ver el bosque.


No hunchback sees his own hump.

Ningún jorobado ve su joroba.


Two roosters do not crow in a henhouse.

No cantan dos gallos en un gallinero.


One can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

No se puede hacer tortilla sin romper los huevos.

Tortillas aren't made without breaking eggs


Not every truth should be said.

No todas las verdades son para dichas.


All roads lead to Rome.

Todos los caminos llevan a Roma.


Each Tuesday has its Sunday.

Cada martes tiene su domingo.


Love is blind.

El amor es ciego.


The best scribe makes a blot.

El mejor escribano echa un borrón.


Think before you speak.

Antes de hablar, pensar.

Before speaking, thinking


The best things in life are free.

Lo que no cuesta dinero, siempre es bueno.

What doesn't cost money is always good


We all make mistakes.

El que tiene boca se equivoca.

Whoever has a mouth makes mistakes


As you sow, so shall you reap.

Quien siembra vientos recoge tempestades.

Whoever sows winds will reap storms. A variant of this expression is Lo que siembres cosecharás.


He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.

Quien a hierro mata, a hierro muere.

He who kills with iron dies by iron


You never know what you've got till it's gone.

Nadie sabe lo que vale el agua hasta que falta.

No one knows what water is worth until it's needed.  A variant of this expression is Nadie sabe lo que tiene hasta que lo pierde (nobody knows what they have until they lose it).


If you keep your mouth shut, you won’t put your foot in it.

En boca cerrada no entran moscas.

Flies don't enter closed mouths


If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.

Lo barato sale caro.

What's cheap ends up being expensive


Necessity is the mother of invention.

La necesidad hace maestros.

Necessity makes masters


You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Loro viejo no aprende a hablar.

An old parrot doesn't learn how to talk


Speaking of the devil...

Hablando del rey de Roma... (y él que se asoma)

Speaking of Rome...and the one who's coming


If you want something done well, do it yourself.

Si quieres ser bien servido, sírvete a ti mismo.

If you want to be well served, serve yourself


Time is money.

El tiempo es oro.

Time is gold


A stitch in time saves nine.

Una puntada a tiempo ahorra ciento.

A stich in time saves a hundred


Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.

No hay que vender la piel del oso antes de cazarlo.

There's no need to sell the bearskin before you hunt the bear


The grass is always greener on the other side.

Nadie está contento con su suerte.

No one is content with his fate


Every cloud has a silver lining.

No hay mal que por bien no venga.

There is nothing bad that doesn't come from good


Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

La ausencia es al amor lo que al fuego el aire.

Absence is to love what fire is to air


When the cat’s away the mice will play.

Cuando el gato duerme, bailan los ratones.


The end justifies the means.

El fin justifica los medios.


Two heads are better than one.

Cuatro ojos ven más que dos.

Four eyes see more than two do


All that glitters is not gold.

No es oro todo lo que reluce.


Brain is better than brawn.

Más vale maña que fuerza.

Skill is worth more than force


Rome wasn't built in a day.

No se ganó Zamora en una hora.

Zamora wasn't won in an hour


Out of sight, out of mind.

Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente.

Eyes that don't see, heart that can't feel


One man's meat is another man's poison.

Lo que a uno cura a otro mata.

What cures one kills another


It is raining cats and dogs.

Llueve a cántaros.

It's raining pitcherfuls (of water)


A friend in need is a friend indeed.

En el peligro se conoce el amigo.


Is the coast clear?

¿Hay moros en la costa?

Are there Moors on the coast?


How great it is to see you!

¡Dichosos los ojos que te ven!

Blessed are the eyes that see you!


An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Ojo por ojo, diente por diente.


Foolish words fall on deaf ears.

A palabras necias, oídos sordos.

For foolish words, deaf ears


One should not bite off more than one can chew.

Quien mucho abarca, poco aprieta.

He who takes on much pushes out little


Loose lips sink ships.

Quien mucho habla, mucho yerra.

He who talks much, much errs


Do the right thing without hope of reward.

Haz el bien y no mires a quién.

Do the right thing and don't look to whom it's done


Things can't get worse.

No llegó la sangre al río.

It's not as if blood has reached the river