Portuguese Proverbs Sayings

Portuguese proverbs are known for their wisdom, wit, and timeless relevance. These sayings provide valuable insights into the Portuguese culture and are often used to offer advice and guidance in everyday life. Let's take a look at some popular Portuguese proverbs and their meanings.

1. "Quem não tem cão, caça com gato."
Translation: "He who doesn't have a dog hunts with a cat."
Meaning: This proverb encourages resourcefulness and making the best of a situation, even when lacking the ideal resources.

2. "Águas passadas não movem moinhos."
Translation: "Past waters don't move mills."
Meaning: This proverb reminds us that dwelling on the past or past events that cannot be changed is futile. Instead, it's important to focus on the present and future.

3. "Amor com amor se paga."
Translation: "Love is repaid with love."
Meaning: This proverb emphasizes the importance of reciprocity in relationships and the idea that love and kindness should be given and received in return.

4. "Em terra de cegos, quem tem olho é rei."
Translation: "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."
Meaning: This saying highlights the idea that in a situation where others lack knowledge or insight, even a small amount of it can be highly valuable.

These proverbs offer profound wisdom and reflect the values and beliefs of the Portuguese culture. They continue to be relevant in today's world, serving as timeless sources of guidance and inspiration.

Money alone can't make one happy.

Taking out without putting in, soon comes to the bottom.

From a closed door the devil turns away.

The headache is mine and the cows are ours.

Every one to his liking.

Those who are born to be small shit never make it to big shit.

The drowning man is not troubled by rain.

He is no friend that eats his own by himself, and mine with me.

Let him eat the tough morsel who eat the tender.

Despise your enemy and you will soon be beaten.

The opportunity makes the thief.

She is well married who has neither mother-in-law nor sister-in-law.

It's hard to please Greeks and Trojans at the same time.

He who knows little soon blabs it.

The lame goat does not take a siesta.

Let the guts be full, for it is they that carry the legs.

It's better not to poke a jaguar with a short staff.

Honour and profit will not keep in one sack.

He is my friend who grinds at my mill.

Everything must have a beginning.

A good year is determined by its spring.

One fool makes a hundred.

Throw that bone to another dog.

Death makes us equal in the grave but not in eternity.

Fair and softly goes far in a day.

Never mention rope in the house of a man who has been hanged.

Much straw and little corn.

Home saints don't make miracles.

Every one speaks of the feast as he finds it.

For a voracious beast pebbles in his feed.

Where the river is deepest it makes the least noise.

Make good flour and you need no trumpet.

The man of your own trade is your enemy.

Marry me forthwith, mother, for my face is growing wrinkled.

Keep your sickness until Friday and don't fast.

Laws go where money pleases.

Fish's child knows how to swim.

Portuguese Sayings in English

A guest and a fish stink in three days.

A guest and a fish stink in three days.

The bad neighbour gives a needle without thread.

List of  in English

The bad neighbour gives a needle without thread.

Let me go warm, and folks may laugh.

Let me go warm, and folks may laugh.

It is well to know how to be silent till it is time to speak.

It is well to know how to be silent till it is time to speak.

Friends are flowers in the garden of life.

Friends are flowers in the garden of life.

Running by one's will never gets tired.

Running by one's will never gets tired.

Old horse doesn't learn how to walk.

Old horse doesn't learn how to walk.

Money is not gained by losing time.

Money is not gained by losing time.

A bird in the hand is more worth than two flying.

A bird in the hand is more worth than two flying.

Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee.

Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee.

Honour a good man that he may honour you, and a bad man that he may not dishonour you.

Honour a good man that he may honour you, and a bad man that he may not dishonour you.

My money, your money, let us go to the tavern.

My money, your money, let us go to the tavern.

Slow help is no help.

Pray to the saint until you have passed the slough.

No flies get into a shut mouth.

A bad knife cuts one's finger instead of the stick.

Speak little and well, they will think you somebody.

Mouth from honey, heart of gall.

Let not him that has a mouth ask another to blow.

From the soldier who has no cloak, keep your own in your chest.

Money lent, an enemy made.

Strength comes from Union.

Lying pays no tax.

Much law, but little justice.

A fault confessed is half forgiven.

Talk of the wolf and behold his skin.

In a piranha infested river, monkeys drink water using a straw.

Much laughter, little brains.

Jack is as good as his master.

Get a name to rise early, and you may lie all day.

Martha sings well when she has had her fill.

The fool passes for wise if he is silent.

My gossips don't like me because I tell them truths.

A good word quenches more than a cauldron of water.

Lay your hand on your bosom and you will not speak ill of another.

A great thrust of a lance at a dead Moor.

Make yourself honey and the flies will eat you.

Let the giver be silent and the receiver speak.

Much coin, much care.

Give orders, and do it yourself, and you will be rid of anxiety.

Short reckonings make long friends.

Never say, of this water I will not drink, of this bread I will not eat.

The guests will go away, and we will eat the pasty.

Marry your son when you please, your daughter when you can.

A small pack becomes a small pedler.

Never poke a jaguar with a short stick.

Party over, musicians by foot.

No one has seen to-morrow.

Praise in own mouth is insult.

Old donkeys do not learn languages.

The loss which your neighbour does not know is no real loss.

A word to the wise is enough.

The accomplice is as bad as the thief.

Not everything that shines is gold.

Frost on the mutt, water on the bed.

Go to your rich friend's house when invited; to your poor friend's without invitation.

Soft water on hard rock, beats so much that it perforates it.

The night is good counsellor.

An angry man heeds no counsel.

Good words and bad acts deceive both wise and wimple.

Of evils, choose the least.

The bread eaten, the company departs.

To the child and the little bird, God catches the fall.

God helps them that help themselves.

Don't leave the high road for a short cut.

Everything has its time.

On a fool's beard all learn to shave.

The sooner begun, the sooner done.

He who make more of you than he is wont, either means to cheat you or wants you.

Each monkey on its branch.

An old monkey will not stick his hand into a jar.

Hell is paved with good intentions, and roofed with lost opportunities.

Only people who work make mistakes.

Death spares neither Pope nor beggar.

Good habits result from resisting temptation.

I see by my daughter's face when the devil lays hold of my son-in-law.

Children tell in the highway what they hear by the fireside.

Hope is the last to die.

Beauty is a good letter of introduction.

In a quarrel between a husband and his wife, keep away.

Passed waters can't move the mills.

The wolf eats of what is counted.

Grief pent up will burst the heart.

It is better to receive awards that you don't deserve rather than deserve them and not receive them.

The pitcher that goes often to the well leaves either its handle or its spout there.

Appearances are deceiving.

Keep good company and you shall be of the number.

Better an ass that carries me than a horse that throws me.

It is nothing, they are only killing my husband.

Prepare a nest for the hen and she will lay eggs for you.

Let every man look to the bread upon which he must depend.

Perseverance kills the game.

Keep no more cats than will catch mice.

Thinking of where you are going, you forget from whence you came.

Much laugher, short wisdom.

Better droping than dry.

Live to live and you will learn to live.

Michael, Michael, you have no bees, and yet you sell honey.

To change one's habits smacks of death.

He has nothing, for whom nothing is enough.

They are rich who have friends.

Promising is not giving, but serves to content fools.

Better is a leap over the ditch than the entreaties of good men.

Trust not a dog that limps.

What is bought is cheaper than a gift.

Under a shabby cloak may be a smart drinker.

Rise early, and you will observe; labour, and you will have.

Better late than never.

He loves well who never forgets.

Broken friendship may be soldered but can never be made sound.

Beware of a door that has many keys.

War is sweet to him who does not go to it.

The mill does not grind with water that is past.

Never cut what can be untied.

Send a man of sense on the embassy, and you need not instruct him.

To give is honour, to beg is dishonour.

When thieves fall out, their knaveries come to light.

No one is content with his lot.

Show me a poor man, I will show you a flatterer.

He that would be old long must begin betimes.

One good word puts out the flames better than a bucket of water.

Win a bet of your friend, and drink it on the spot.

Play with an ass, and he will slap your face with his tail.

Whither goest thou, Misfortune? To where there is more.

Bleed him, purge him, and if he dies, bury him.

Out of sight out of mind.

Sloth is the mother of poverty.

Woman, wind, and luck soon change.

Speak not of my debts unless you mean to pay them.

He who has four and spends five, has no need of a purse.

Of the good man a good pledge, and of the bad neither pledge nor surety.

You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. *

Right or wrong, our house up to the roof.

Some bad things come for good.

You can't make a good shaft of a pig's tail.

Change yourself, and fortune will change with you.

Women are supernumerary when present, and missed when absent.

The mad dog bites its master.

Stolen house, locks on the door.

Women and glass are always in danger.

He who serves two masters has to lie to one.

You will not see many with green eyes.

The ripest fruit will not fall into your mouth.

Vile let him be who deems himself vile.

Who will not when he can, can't when he will.

Here you do, here you pay.

Portuguese Proverbs Love

Love should be paid with love.

Love should be paid with love.


Love and lordship like no fellowship.

Love and lordship like no fellowship.

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Lovers' quarrels are love redoubled.

Lovers' quarrels are love redoubled.

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Love and faith are seen in their works.

Love and faith are seen in their works.

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Love knows no law.


Lovers' fights, double loves.

Love is blind.

Love has no law.

Love is paid with love.

Poverty never sped well in love.

Deeds are love, and not sweet words.

Misery loves company.

All the world loves a lover.

Sweet are the tears that are dried by your loved one.

An old man in love is like a flower in winter.

If one loves the ugly, one shall find it beautiful.

Of soup and love, the first is the best.

Mad love, I for you and you for another.

To love and be wise is incompatible.

Married couples who love each other tell each other a thousand things without talking.

Tell me your friends and I'll tell you who you are.

Jack will never make a gentleman.

Children should be seen and not heard.

It's best to prevent than to have to remedy.

Better repair the gutter than the whole house.

The ass dead, the corn at his tail.

Let not the tongue utter what the head must pay for.

I have nothing for dinner, sit down to table.

Where there is smoke there is fire.

Between husband and wife, one doesn't put the spoon.

Money soothes more than the words of a cavalier.

Destroy the lion while he is but a whelp.

Not much can be done when everyone is giving orders.

The beast that goes well never wants a rider to try its paces.

When the old dog barks, he gives counsel.

No better moonshine than in august.

If you know what a dollar is worth, try to borrow it.

One knows where the shoes hurt.

Let every man mind his own business, and leave others to theirs.

Children pick up words, as pigeons peas, And utter them again as God shall please.

Better just repair the gutter than the whole house.

The bread never falls but on its buttered side.

What the eyes don't see the heart doesn't feel.

The dog wags his tail, not for you, but for your bread.

Don't leave for tomorrow what you can do today.

No one is a good judge in his own cause.

Another's misfortune does not cure my pain.

Water by Saint John's takes oil and doesn't give bread.

Dirty clothes one washes at home.

If you would be in good repute, let not the sun find you in bed.

Under the sackcloth there is something else.

The Sun rises for everybody.

Peace with a club in hand is war.

Tell your friends a lie; if he keeps it secret tell him the truth.

Far from the eyes, far from the heart.

Money wins the battle, not the long arm.

Big fish are fished in big rivers.

The devil is not so ugly as he is painted.

Each one takes his/her own decisions.

By going gains the mill, and not by standing still.

To separate the men from the boys.

Every one is wise for his own profit.

In a dangerous river, the alligators swim backstroke.

Gain has a pleasant odour, come whence it will.

Time is money.

Each one in his profession.

Erring is human, forgiving is divine.

God has given nuts to one who has no teeth.

Though the mastiff be gentle, yet bite him not by the lip.

Friends are friends, business are business.

In the long run, the greyhound kills the hare.

If you have a friend who is a doctor, then send him to your enemy's house.

Let every one be content with what God has given him.

Tell your friend a lie. If he keeps it secret, then tell him the truth.

Conceal not your secret from your friend, or you deserve to lose him.

Mad as a wet hen.

There is never wanting a dog to bark at you.

The fisherman fishes in troubled water.

Every land to its own custom, every wheel its own spindle.

God writes straight by broken lines.

Little chips kindle fire, and big logs sustain it.

Good manners and plenty of money will make my son a gentlemen.

The thief becomes the gallows well.

Give me money, not advice.

It is bad to have a servant, but worse to have a master.

The archer that shoots badly has a lie ready.

The dog that barks much is never good for hunting.

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