Vocab Vendredi: Arabic Proverbs COMPETITION!!

Hello again and welcome to another Vocab Vendredi. Last week, we looked at some of my favourite Arabic proverbs about camels in The Son of a Duck is a Floater and what they mean in English. This week, I’ve got a little competition for you…

I’ve selected five Arabic proverbs that have similar English equivalents and I want you to guess what they are! I’ve given you the literal English translation as a hint. The person who gets the most correct will get a postcard from me in the post! Please post your answers in the comments by 15th November and share this blogpost with anyone else who might fancy having a go!

Anyway, here are the phrases:


يسرق الكهل من العين

He steals the kohl from the eye

(NB: I love this one, because of it’s Arabisation with the use of ‘kohl’)


إذا كثر الربابنة غرقت السفينة

Too many captains sink the ship.


ذنب الكلب أعوج ولو حطيت في خمسين قالب

The dog’s tail remains crooked, if it is put in fifty moulds.


كل شمس إلها مغرب

Every sun has its sunset.


شحاذ وبيشارط

A beggar and he bargains!

I look forward to seeing your guesses for the English equivalents of these Arabic proverbs in the comments. I think number 4 is the hardest…Please remember that you have until 15th November to get your answers in!

And, as always, if you are looking for someone to translate from Arabic to English for you, I would be happy to help. Please contact me via my contact page for rates.

If you made it this far, here is a bonus phrase that is identitical in both Arabic and English:

لا دخن بدون نار

No smoke without fire.

Published by verityroat

Verity Roat BA CANTAB MA TRANSLATION CIOL Career Associate is a UK-based Arabic and French > English translator, Copy-writer, Copy-editor, Transcriber, Role-player & Tutor.

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