Russian Proverbs

  • 'Tis a hard winter when one wolf eats another.
  • A cat always knows whose meat it eats.
  • A drop hollows out a stone.
  • A fly cannot enter a closed mouth.
  • A good citizen owes his life to his country.
  • A guest has not to thank the host, but the host the guest.
  • A kind word is like a Spring day.
  • A lonely person is at home everywhere.
  • A long pull and a strong pull and a pull altogether.
  • A man is judged by his deeds, not by his words.
  • A mile walk with a friend has only one hundred steps.
  • A net will catch more than a pole.
  • A priest's belly is made up of several sheepskins.
  • A proverb can't be judged.
  • A wife is not a pot, she will not break so easily.
  • A word of kindness is better than a fat pie.
  • Absentmindedness is searching for the horse you are riding.
  • Abuse doesn't hang on the collar.
  • Acknowledgement is half of correction.
  • All ages are submissive to love.
  • All are not cooks who walk with long knives.
  • All lay loads on a willing horse.
  • An egg is dear on Easter day.
  • An enemy will agree, but a friend will argue.
  • An indispensable thing never has much value.
  • Any sandpiper is great in his own swamp.
  • Ask a lot, but take what is offered.
  • Ask a silly question and you get a silly answer.
  • Beat your own and others will fear you.
  • Better a dove on the plate than a woodgrouse in the mating place.
  • Better a fair pair of heels than a halter.
  • Chickens are counted in autumn.
  • Confide a secret to a dumb man and he will speak.
  • Cry and the whole world cries with you.
  • Cry not out before you are hurt.
  • Curious Varvara's nose was torn off.
  • Cut down the tree that you are able to.
  • Deprive a mirror of its silver and even the czar won't see his face.
  • Desert and reward seldom keep company.
  • Do not make an elephant out of a fly.
  • Do not make me kiss, and you will not make me sin.
  • Don't put it in my ear, but in my hand.
  • Don't put new wine into old bottles.
  • Eat what is cooked; listen to what is said.
  • Eggs cannot teach a hen.
  • Eternal peace lasts only until the next war.
  • Even a blind pig finds an acorn every once in awhile.
  • Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes.
  • Every peasant is proud of the pond in his village because from it he measures the sea.
  • Every road has two directions.
  • Every sandpiper praises his own swamp.
  • Every seed knows its time.
  • Fear has big eyes.
  • Fear the Greeks bearing gifts.
  • Fear the goat from the front, the horse from the rear, and man from all sides.
  • For him who does not believe in signs, there is no way to live in the world.
  • For ill do well, Then fear not hell.
  • Give your children too much freedom and you lose your own.
  • Glory lies still; abuse is running.
  • Glowing coals sparkle oft.
  • God does not give to the cow that butts.
  • God wanted to chastise mankind, so he sent lawyers.
  • Gossip needs no carriage.
  • Happiness is not a horse; you cannot harness it.
  • Having a good wife and rich cabbage soup, seek not other things.
  • Having given your word, be strong; not having done it, try not to promise.
  • He can cheat a fish of its skin.
  • He need not search his pockets for words.
  • He who doesn't risk never gets to drink champagne.
  • Hypocrites kick with their hind feet while licking with their tongues.
  • If everyone gives one thread, the poor man will have a shirt.
  • If the child does not cry, the mother knows not its wants.
  • If the devil catch a man idle he'll set him at work.
  • If the doctor cures, the sun sees it; but if he kills, the earth hides it.
  • If the pocket is empty, the judge is deaf.
  • If the thunder is not loud, the peasant forgets to cross himself.
  • If you are a host to your guest, be a host to his dog also.
  • If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.
  • If you do not strike back at him who hits you, there is no way for him to find out whether you also have hands.
  • If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.
  • If you don't have time to do it right you must have time to do it over.
  • If you were born lucky, even your rooster will lay eggs.
  • If you will not hear reason, she will surely rap your knuckles.
  • In a quarrel, leave room for reconciliation.
  • Keep your ears wider and your mouth narrower.
  • Keep your eye on the ball.
  • Law is a flag and gold is the wind that makes it wave.
  • Laws are silent in time of war.
  • Let everyone pick his own nose.
  • Long whiskers cannot take the place of brains.
  • Looking at a tree see its fruit; looking at a man see his deeds.
  • Love and eggs are best when they are fresh.
  • Mock not the fallen, for slippery is the road ahead of you.
  • Mocking is catching.
  • Not all who make love make marriages.
  • Not everyone who has a cowl on is a monk.
  • Not everything is a mermaid that dives into the water.
  • Old age is not a blessing.
  • Old age is not a joy, but death is not a gain.
  • Once burned by milk you will blow on cold water.
  • One does not go to Tula with one's own samovar.
  • One does not look for good when he is well.
  • One does not wash one's dirty linen in public.
  • One fisherman recognizes another from afar.
  • Peace lasts until the army comes, and the army lasts until peace comes.
  • Pray to God but continue to row to the shore.
  • Praying kneads no dough.
  • Rooster today, feather duster tomorrow.
  • Small children give you headache; big children heartache.
  • Small choice in rotten apples.
  • Small faults indulged in are little thieves that let in greater.
  • Smooth hands love the labor of others.
  • Spending is quick, earning is slow.
  • Still water undermines the bank.
  • Success and rest don't sleep together.
  • Success consecrates the foulest crimes.
  • Success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan.
  • Take the bull by the horns.
  • Take the goods the gods provide.
  • Take thy thoughts to bed with thee, for the morning is wiser than the evening.
  • Take time to smell the roses.
  • Take time when time is, for time will away.
  • Tell God the truth, but give the judge money.
  • Tell lies, but become not tangled in lies.
  • Tell me who's your friend and I'll tell you who you are.
  • The calmer you go, the further along you will be.
  • The fall of a leaf is a whisper to the living.
  • The fall of the leaf; is a whisper to the living.
  • The first [cup of vodka] goes as a stake, the second as a falcon, and the third as a little bird.
  • The fish always stinks from the head downwards.
  • The hammer shatters glass but forges steel.
  • The horse may run quickly, but it can't escape its own tail.
  • The morning is wiser than the evening.
  • The morning sun never lasts a day.
  • The offender never forgives.
  • The one who draws a cart is urged on.
  • The one who pulls a cart is urged on.
  • The peasant will not cross himself before it begins to thunder.
  • The rich would have to eat money if the poor did not provide food.
  • The riches that are in the heart cannot be stolen.
  • The scythe ran into a stone.
  • The slower you go, the farther you will be.
  • The sluggard will not plough by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.
  • The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the scythe.
  • The tallest tree is rooted in the ground.
  • The toe of the star-gazer is often stubbed.
  • The tongue always returns to the sore tooth.
  • There may be deep bottoms in still waters.
  • There may be snow on the roof, but there's fire in the belly.
  • There will be trouble if the cobbler starts making pies.
  • There's no harm in wine; it's drunkenness that is at fault.
  • To run away is not glorious, but very healthy.
  • Trust in God but lock your doors.
  • Until you have smoked out the bees, you can't eat the honey.
  • Vodka is the aunt of wine.
  • Water does not run under a lying stone.
  • What the young one begs for, the grown-up throws away.
  • When money speaks the truth is silent.
  • When money talks, the truth is silent.
  • When you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes; when you leave, you judge him by his heart.
  • Where something is thin, that's where it tears.
  • With lies you may go ahead in the world - but you can never go back.
  • Without a shepherd, sheep are not a flock.
  • You cannot break through a wall with your forehead.
  • You cannot pull a fish out of the pond without work.
  • You cannot ride two horses with one ass.
  • You cannot write in the chimney with charcoal.
  • You do not need a whip to urge on an obedient horse.
  • You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.
  • You don't get something for nothing.
  • You look for the horse you ride on.
  • You need a sharp axe for a tough bough.
  • Your feet are crooked, your hair is good for nothing, said the pig to the horse.

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