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6 Proverbs

Six Jamaican Proverbs

Proverbs are universal in their message, although rooted in their respective cultures.  Here are a few Jamaican proverbs that no doubt resonate with similar proverbs in Switzerland and elsewhere.

Proverb: If you get your han’ in a debil mout’ tek it out.
Translation: If you put your hand in the devil’s mouth, take it out carefully.
Explanation: Act cautiously in getting out of difficulty.

Proverb: Peacock hide him foot when him hear ’bout him tail.
Translation: The peacock hides his foot when he hears about his tail.
Explanation: A proud person does not like his little weaknesses exposed.

Proverb: No wait till drum beat before you grine you axe
Translation: Do not wait until the drumbeats before you grind your axe.
Explanation: Be prepared for all eventualities.

Proverb: A no want a fat mek nightingale foot ‘tan’ so
Translation: It is not need of fat that the nightingale’s legs look like that.
Explanation: Do not judge by appearances.

Proverb: Ole fiyah tick easy fe ketch
Translation: Old fire sticks are easily re-kindled.
Explanation: It is much easier to light coals which have been burnt before, than to get a fire going with fresh logs.  Similarly, if a relationship has previously existed between two people, it is easier to rekindle the flames of love than to start a new relationship with someone else.

Proverb: Yu cyaan ketch Quaku (Harry), yu ketch im shut
Translation: If you cannot catch Quaku (Harry), catch his shirt
Explanation: It is not always possible to get everything you want.  Be satisfied with what little you have, until you can get all you want.  Having caught Quako’s shirt, you are all the closer to catching him.

Can you think of similar proverbs in your culture?

For more Jamaican proverbs go to:  https://nlj.gov.jm/jamaican-proverbs-2/