Proverbs are wise sayings. Yoruba language has quite some of these proverbs. They are parables,said by elders to teach character or correct a bad behaviour. In Yoruba language, proverbs are in categories. Proverbs are descriptive enough to make situational meanings. In fact, some proverbs are derived from stories; these are called “ìtándòwe”.
Below are some of the Yoruba proverbs and the meaning:
- Ààbọ̀ ọ̀rọ̀ l’à á sọ fún ọmọlúwàbí, tí ó bá dé inú rẹ̀ á di odindin.
Meaning: a word is enough for the wise.
- Àbá mọ̀ a ò ṣe é, a ṣe é tán, ó d’aápọn
Meaning: a man might have repented of his past actions, but he must face the consequences.
- Àbá ni kán ndá, ikán kò le mu òkúta
Meaning: there is no harm in trying. Even though white ants try, it’s certain they cannot devour a rock.
- Abanijẹ́ nba ara rẹ̀ jẹ́
Meaning: He who slanders others, belittles himself or herself.
- Abanilóríjẹ́, ilé rẹ̀ l’ó ti nmú abẹ wa
Meaning: he that misleads others learnt such from home. Every vice has a backup or supporters’ effect.
- Abánirẹ́ fi àfo ìjà sílẹ̀
Meaning: in friendship, do not tell all your secrets, because you might quarrel with that friend someday.
- Àbá ní dií òtítọ́, ojo ni kií jẹ́ kí á dàá
Meaning: cowardice prevents great feats.
- Abarapárá ti gbogbo ènìyàn, òkùnrùn ti ẹni nìkanṣoṣo
Good things have company, bad things are solitary. When you are healthy you have friends, unlike when sick and neglected.
- Àbàtà takété bí ẹni pé kò bá odò tan
Meaning: a mashy place stays aloof like it has nothing to do with the river. A corrupt one is so different enough to be noticed.
- Abẹ́rẹ́ bọ́ l’ọ́wọ́ adẹ́tẹ̀ ó dète, ọ̀rọ̀ balẹ̀ ó d’èrò
Meaning: When a needle drops from a leper’s hand, it requires skillful techniques to pick it; similarly, when a problem is shared, a possible solution is expected.