Russian Proverbs 

  • Without effort, you won’t even pull a fish out of a pond
  • Love is evil – it will make you fall in love with a goat
  • A spoken word is not a sparrow. Once it flies out, you can’t catch it
  • I ran from the wolf but ran into a bear
  • Work is not a wolf. It won’t run away to the forest
  • An old friend is better than two new ones
  • Pigs might fly.
  • Even the sword doesn’t cut the head of the one who confesses. 
  • If God listened to every shepherd’s curse, our sheep would all be dead. 
  • There may be deep bottoms in still waters. 
  • Once you have fallen into the water, you’re not scared of water any more. 
  • Habit is a shirt that we wear till death. 
  • Bad news doesn’t rest peacefully. 
  • A boat stands firmer with two anchors. 
  • When Anger and Revenge get married, their daughter is called Cruelty. 
  • Live and scratch — when you’re dead the itching will stop. 
  • A day is long, but a lifetime is short. 
  • The bear dances but the tamer collects the money. 
  • The snail is coming, who knows when it arrives. 
  • A wooden bed is better than a golden coffin. 
  • Two deaths will not happen, but one is inevitable. 
  • As long as a child does not cry, it does not matter what pleases it. 
  • A good-looking man is pleasant to look at, but it is easier to live with an amusing one. 
  • Judges and physicians kill with impunity. 
  • The more you know the less will you sleep. 
  • Keep your ears wider and your mouth narrower. 
  • They come into the courtroom in a suit and leave with no trousers. 
  • What fell off the cart is as good as gone. 
  • Paper will endure anything. 
  • Don’t praise your furnace when the house is cold. 
  • Do not make elephants fly. 
  • Make a friend of the wolf, but keep your axe ready. 
  • Even the sword doesn’t cut the head of the one who confesses. 
  • Seven axes lie together, two distaffs apart. 
  • In a rickety stable the cow produces no milk. 
  • All lay loads on a willing horse. 
  • The wolf is not afraid of the sheepdog, but he is of his chain. 
  • If you rush things, you’ll only make others laugh. 
  • It’s better to be a cripple than always sitting down. 
  • If God listened to every shepherd’s curse, our sheep would all be dead. 
  • There may be deep bottoms in still waters. 
  • Once you have fallen into the water, you’re not scared of water any more. 
  • Habit is a shirt that we wear till death. 
  • Bad news doesn’t rest peacefully. 
  • A boat stands firmer with two anchors. 
  • When Anger and Revenge get married, their daughter is called Cruelty. 
  • Live and scratch — when you’re dead the itching will stop. 
  • A day is long, but a lifetime is short. 
  • The bear dances but the tamer collects the money. 
  • The snail is coming, who knows when it arrives. 
  • A wooden bed is better than a golden coffin. 
  • Two deaths will not happen, but one is inevitable. 
  • As long as a child does not cry, it does not matter what pleases it. 
  • A good-looking man is pleasant to look at, but it is easier to live with an amusing one. 
  • Judges and physicians kill with impunity. 
  • The more you know the less will you sleep. 
  • Keep your ears wider and your mouth narrower. 
  • If you like to sled, you have to like to drag the sledge
  • In a quiet lagoon, devils dwell
  • Your elbow is close, yet you can’t bite it
  • Don’t go to another monastery with your own rules
  • Live for a century, learn for a century
  • If you are going to call yourself a milk-mushroom, get in the basket!
  • They come into the courtroom in a suit and leave with no trousers. 
  • What fell off the cart is as good as gone. 
  • Paper will endure anything. 
  • Don’t praise your furnace when the house is cold. 
  • Make a friend of the wolf, but keep your axe ready. 
  • Forbidden fruit is sweet. Seven troubles – one response. 
  • Where goes a horse with its hoof, there goes a crayfish with its pincer. 
  • In a crush, yet without resentment. 
  • All are not cooks who walk with long knives. 
  • Warm a frozen snake and it will be the first to bite you. 
  • Clever father, clever daughter; clever mother, clever son. 
  • What you go looking for, you will find. 
  • He is brave when fighting against sheep, and when fighting against a brave man he’s a sheep himself. 
  • Do not make jokes that cost more than a ruble. 
  • The newborn baby yells; you die in silence. 
  • The night walks the same road as the dream. 
  • Don’t cast beads in front of pigs. 
  • Those who love you will make you weep; those who hate you will make you laugh. 
  • An old man telling lies is like a rich man stealing. 
  • Who falls in the water will hold on to the foam to save himself. 
  • Deprive a mirror of its silver and even the czar won’t see his face. 
  • Be wise, but pretend to be ignorant. 
  • The wolf can always be hired very cheap as a shepherd. 
  • Mistrust is an axe in the tree of love. 
  • Even an eagle will not fly higher than the sun. 
  • What men usually ask for when they pray to God is that two and two may not make four. 
  • One good daughter is worth seven sons. 
  • Invite a peasant to your table and he’ll put his feet on it. 
  • A kind word is like a Spring day. 
  • A clever speech is pleasant to listen to. 
  • No-one goes to another monastery with their own charter. 
  • One fisherman recognizes another from afar. Rotten straw can harm a healthy horse. A word of kindness is better than a fat pie. 
  • First the stable, then the cow. 
  • He who offers his back should not complain if it is beaten. 
  • The wolf is beaten not for being grey, but for having eaten a sheep. 
  • The shovel insults the poker. 
  • These are just flowers; berries will come soon. 
  • Once burned by milk you will blow on cold water. 
  • Who lives in exile finds that spring has no charm. 
  • In another person’s eye one can notice even a mote, but in one’s own, cannot see even a log. 
  • When you are at home, even the walls help you. 
  • An old loan repaid is like finding something new. 
  • It is unpleasant to go alone, even to be drowned. 
  • After all, every man is the son of a woman. 
  • Friendship is friendship but service is service. 
  • Tears come more often from the eyes than from the heart. 
  • Envy sees the sea but not the rocks. 
  • The peasant sweats and the nobleman is always right. 
  • If men could foresee the future, they would still behave as they do now. 
  • A drop hollows out a stone. 
  • If everyone were a gentleman, who would make the mills work? It is bread that keeps one warm, not fur. 
  • A spoken word is not a sparrow. 
  • Once it flies out, you can’t catch it. 
  • When a needle sees a dagger, she cries “O sister!” The offender never forgives. 
  • Morning is wiser than the evening. 
  • A field in common is always ravaged by bears. 
  • Another’s cow can moo, yours had best stay silent. 
  • The tears of strangers are only water. 
  • Not every glittering thing is gold. 
  • A proverb can’t be judged. 
  • Close to the Tsar, close to death. 
  • Any wise man has enough simplicity. 
  • Complacent fool harms worse than the enemy. 
  • Partnership is an invention of the devil. 
  • If you cut it, you won’t get it back. 
  • When he mounts his horse he forgets God; when he dismounts, he forgets his horse. 
  • The blind cannot see — the proud will not. 
  • If only youth would know, if only old age were able. 
  • Lie, but don’t overdo it. 
  • A man without a wife is like a man in winter without a fur cap. 
  • If all of us take hold of it together, it won’t feel heavy. 
  • Trust in God, but mind your own business. 
  • Give a naked man a piece of cloth and he will say it is too thick. 
  • The moon gives us light but no heat. 
  • You must chop down the tree that gives too much or too little shade. 
  • You cannot please everybody. 
  • The rich would have to eat money, but luckily the poor provide food. 
  • Love and eggs are best when they are fresh. 
  • Not the place adorns the man, but a man adorns the place. 
  • The future is for those who know how to wait. 
  • Ask a lot, but take what is offered. Hunger is not your aunt . 
  • Better to turn back than to lose your way. 
  • I ran from the wolf but ran into a bear. 
  • Truth is spoken from the toddler’s mouth; From the mouth of babes With company, even death loses its sting. 
  • Bread is the head of everything. 
  • The horses of hope gallop, but the asses of experience go slowly. 
  • It is not the horse that draws the cart, but the oats. 
  • Don’t swap horses when crossing the stream. 
  • It’s not gods who make pots. 
  • The dog learns to swim when the water reaches his ears.
  • One road for the fugitive and a hundred for the pursuer. 
  • Prey runs into a trapper. 
  • How echo is prompted, it will bounce back. 
  • A tale is told quickly, but the job is done slowly. 
  • I sell it for what I bought it. 
  • No year has two summers. 
  • Don’t boast when you start out, but when you get there. 
  • The further into the woods, the more firewood you’ll encounter. 
  • You don’t learn anything from buying, but you do from selling. 
  • Give him a fingernail, he will ask for the forearm.
  • The hammer shatters glass but forges steel. 
  • Living your life is not like crossing a meadow. 
  • When death is there, dying is over. 
  • To ask is no sin, and to be refused is no calamity. 
  • Patience and work will fray through anything. 
  • Eggs cannot teach a hen. 
  • You never know what you can do till you try. 
  • They don’t swing fists when the fight is over. 
  • The wife is twice precious only; when led into the house, and when taken out. 
  • Make yourself a sheep and the wolf is ready. 
  • Seek the brave in prison and the stupid among the clergy. 
  • A drowning man grabs even a straw. 
  • Every sandpiper praises his own swamp. 
  • The wise man says “I am looking for the truth”; and the fool, “I have found truth.” 
  • The scythe has hit a stone. 
  • Our eyes are our enemies. 
  • If the fool has a hunchback no one remarks about it; if a wise man has a boil everybody talks about it. 
  • Words are silver, silence is gold. 
Scroll to Top