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Owe Yoruba Proverbs and Sayings And Their Meanings

(Last Updated On: October 18, 2017)

Aaah! Omi tó tán lẹ́hìn ẹja ló sọọ́ di èrò ìṣasùn is a typical Yoruba proverb which simply means that “a person is helpless without good support”. I’m pretty sure you’re viewing this page because you want to learn new Yoruba proverbs otherwise called Owe Yoruba…. Mind you, it doesn’t mean owe (to be indebted to someone). We’ve got more than enough Yoruba proverbs for you…

So are you ready? Let’s go learn some new proverbs, shall we? Don’t forget to check out our catalog of Igbo language proverbs and African proverbs.

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  • Ìwà rere lẹ̀ṣọ́ ènìyàn. Good character is man’s adornment.
  • Bí a bá dé ìlú táà léèyàn, ìwà rere làá ní. If one is a complete stranger in a town, one ought to simply be of good character.
  • Eré tí ajá bá fi ogún ọdún sá, ìrin fàájì ni fún ẹṣin. A race that takes dogs 20 years, is a leisurely walk to horses.
  • Ohun tí ajá rí tó ńgbó, kò tó èyí tí ágùntàn fi ńṣe ìran wò. What makes dogs bark, is nothing to what sheep ignore.
  • Gbogbo ọ̀rọ̀ ló lésì, ṣùgbọ́n kìí ṣe gbogbo ọ̀rọ̀ làá fèsì sí. There’s a response to every statement, but not all statements merit a response.
  • Kì í ṣe gbogbo ajá tó bá gbó’ni lọ́jà, la ńdá lóhùn. It’s not all dogs that bark at one at the marketplace that one needs to attend to.
  • Aṣọ ńlá kọ́ lèyàn ńlá. Clothes do not make a man.
  • Gbogbo ohun tó ńdán kọ́ ni wúrà. Not all that glitters is gold.
  • Ọ̀pọ̀ ló fẹ́ lápa láì lápá, béèyàn ò sì lápá, kò leè lápa. Many want to make a mark without effort, yet without effort, no marks can be made.
  • Tí agbada ò bá gbóná, àgbàdo ò lè ta. If the frying pan is not heated up, the corns cannot pop.
  • Ewé kan kì í bọ́ lára igi, kí Ọlọ́run Ọba má mọ̀. A leaf won’t drop off a tree without God’s foreknowledge.
  • Òní la rí, kò sí ẹni tó mọ̀la. We are only certain of today; no one knows tomorrow.
  • Nínú ìkòkò dúdú, ni ẹ̀kọ funfun ti ńjáde. Out of the black pot nonetheless, comes the white pap.
  • Ó lóhun tí àgùntàn rí, kó tó dákẹ́ jẹ́jẹ́. The sheep has its reasons for being noticeably quiet.
  • Ti imú yé imú tí imú fi ńfọn. The nose has its reasons for being noisy.
  • A kì í yangan bàtà lójú ẹni tí kò lẹ́sẹ̀. Don’t brag about shoes around someone who has no legs.
  • A kì í tojú oníka mẹ́ẹ̀sán kàá. Don’t count the toes of someone with nine toes in his presence.
  • Ọ̀kàndínlógún tó lóun ò bá oókan ṣe, à ti di ogun rẹ̀ á nira. To become 20 would be hard for a 19 that refused to be associated with 1.
  • Ọwọ́ ọmọdé ò tó pẹpẹ; ti àgbàlagbà kò wọ akèrègbè. A child’s hand can’t reach a (high) shelf; an elder’s hand won’t enter a gourd.
  • Bó pẹ́ bó yá, akólòlò á pe ‘baba’. It may take longer, but a stammerer would eventually pronounce ‘father’.
  • Kékeré ológbò nií jẹ kísà níyà; tó bá dàgbà tán a máa pa èkúté. Only as a kitten is a cat in deprivation; it’s able to kill rats once grown.
  • Ká dúpẹ́ lọ́wọ́ ẹni tó mọ́ni lójú; ọ̀pọ̀ ni ò wo’bi téèyàn wà. We should thank whoever looked at us with disdain; many didn’t bother to look.
  • Ohun tí èyàn ò bá ní í rà, kì í yọ owó rẹ̀. One shouldn’t be haggling the price of what one won’t buy.
  • Nǹkan tí èyàn ò ní í jẹ, kì í fi run imú. No one sniffs, what he or she won’t eat.
  • Kòkòrò tó ńjó lẹ́ẹ̀bá ọ̀nà, onílù rẹ̀ ńbẹ nínú igbó.The insect dancing by the bush path has its drummer right in the bush.
  • Ìròmi tó ńjó lójú omi, onílù rẹ̀ wà nìsàlẹ̀ odò. The waterbug dancing on the surface of the stream has its drummer below the surface.
  • Èló ni wọ́n ńmú orúnkún wúńdíá tí adélébọ̀ ńrin àrìnwọ́ọ̀dí? What does it take to woo a spinster that a married lady now walks seductively?
  • Mélòó ni èèrà tó wípé aràn ńyọ òun l’ẹ́nu? How big is the ant that claimed that it’s being ailed by worms?
  • Àwòdì òkè kò mọ pé ará ilẹ ńwo òun. The hawk hovering above is unaware that the people on the ground are watching it.
  • A kò gbọdọ̀ tìtorí kòkòrò kó síni lójú, kí a wá ki igi bọ ojú ọ̀hún. No one pokes a stick into his eye simply because an insect entered it.
  • Ẹni bá pẹ́ nígbó á rí ìríkúùrí. Whoever tarries long in the forest, would have strange experiences.
  • Ayé kì í fọn fèrè, tó fi ńkọjá lára ẹni. The world seldom blows the bugle before leaving one behind.
  • Ọlọ́run tó ńse ọbẹ̀, kò kúrò ní ìdí ààrò. God who is cooking the soup, has not left the kitchen.
  • Ẹni táa fẹ́ rí, la fẹ́ rí, kò sọ́jọ́ táa jí táà réèyàn. Our hearts pine for those we want, though there are people around each waking day.
  • Ẹni tí a kò bá fẹ́ nilé rẹ̀ ńjìnnà. Only those we are not keen on visiting live afar off.
  • Aláṣejù ajá ni í lépa ẹkùn. Only an intemperate dog stalks the leopard.
  • Àìnísùúrù ìnàkí ló sọọ́ di ará inú igbó. Gorilla’s impatience is what made it an inhabitant of the forest.
  • Àìmọṣẹ́ kọ̀, ló mú kí orógùn ki orí bomi gbígbóná. Not knowing how to decline a task, is how the wooden stirrer gets dipped into hot water.
  • Afọgbọ́nọlọ́gbọ́n ṣọgbọ́n kì í ṣìṣe. Those who learn from and adopt the wisdom of others seldom stumble.
  • A kì í dàgbà fún ohun tí a kò bá mọ̀. One is never too old to learn what one does not know.
  • A kì í dúpẹ́ lọ́wọ́ aláṣetì; aláṣeyọrí là ńkí. Appreciation is not given to whoever abandons a task, but to the one who completes it.
  • Ìbẹ̀rẹ̀ kọ́ l’onísẹ́, à fi ẹni tó bá fi orí tì í d’ópin. To start anything is not as crucial as seeing it through to completion.
  • Òkèlè gbígbẹ pẹ́lù ìrọ̀rùn sàn ju wàrà tó kún fún ìyọnu lọ. Dry morsel with peace is better than milk that is full of stress.
  • Ìfẹ́ fọ́jú; obìnrin táa bá fẹ́ràn kì í ní àlébù. Love is blind; a woman one really loves seldom has faults.
  • Láníntán kan kò ní ni ìwo ẹṣin. No one can be so wealthy as to own the horn of a horse.
  • Ohun tí a bá bò, ló ńníyì. Whatever is covered up (or not easily accessible) is what is respected/honored.
  • Oníbàtà ló ńfojú di ẹ̀gún; ẹni táa bá fẹ́ ló ńfojú dini. A man with shoes despises thorns; those we love often do take us for granted.
  • Pẹ́pẹ́yẹ ńlérí lásán ni, kò ní kọ. The duck is simply pretentious, it won’t crow.
  • Mímì lẹpọ̀n àgbò ńmì, kò lè já. The ram’s testicles are merely dangling, they cannot fall off.
  • Ẹyìn tí yóò di epo, yóò tọ́ iná wò. A palm nut that wants to become palm oil would have a taste of fire.
  • Ọlọ́run tó dá ẹnu, ti dá ohun tí kálukú máa fi síi. God who created the mouth had also created what we’d all be feeding it with.
  • Ajá ìsìnyì, ló mọ ehoro ìsìnyì ńlé. Only the modern day dogs can chase the modern-day rabbits.
  • Orí bíbẹ́, kọ́ ni oògùn orí fífọ́. Decapitation is not the antidote for a headache.
  • Bí èyàn yóò bá wọlé kan, yóò kọ ẹ̀hin si òmíràn. To enter one house, one invariably has to turn one’s back on another.
  • Pẹ̀lẹ́pẹ̀lẹ́ là ńpa àmúkùrù ẹpón. It is with gentleness that one kills the black ant lodged around one’s scrotum.
  • Onísùúrù ló ńfún wàrà kìnìún. Only a patient person can get to milk a lioness.
  • Bí inú ṣe lè bí àjànàkú, ló ṣe lè bí èèrà. If the elephant can be angry, so can the ant.
  • Bí a kò bá rí ẹni bá là, ọ̀là kì í yá. If we lack good network, the efforts to build wealth can be stifled.
  • Òkun kì í hó ruru, kí á wàá ruru. Do not paddle wildly in a stormy sea.
  • Ẹni gbé ọkàn lé Olúwa kò ní jogún òfo. Whoever places his hope on God won’t hope in vain.
  • Bí ọkọ̀ kan ó re Ejínrín, ẹgbẹgbẹ̀rún ẹ̀ á lọ. If one bus won’t go to Ejinrin town, thousands of others will go.
  • A kì í mọ iyì wúrà tí kò bá sọnù. A piece of gold is seldom appreciated until it gets lost.
  • Àìríni bárìn, a máa múni pe ajá láàwé. The absence of anyone to associate with, could make one call a dog a friend.
  • A kì í yàgò fún ẹlẹ́ṣin àná. No one gives way (or defer) to someone who used to own a horse.
  • Àpa àímú délé ni kò jẹ́ kí a mọ̀ pé ológbò ńse ọdẹ. Its penchant for not bringing home its games, is why the cat is not known for hunting.
  • A kò lè tìtorí pé a fẹ́ jẹran kí a wá máa pe màlúù ní bọ̀ọ̀dá. No one defers to calling a cow a brother because one desires to eat beef.
  • Ẹní bá rọra pa èèrà, á rí ìfun inú rẹ̀. Whoever would patiently dismember an ant would see its intestines.

I could go on and on… but hold on, I will continue, till you learn all the Yoruba proverbs and their meanings.

Tags : LanguagesProverbs

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