Yorùbá Proverbs

"Obì kékeré kọjá òkúta ńlá."

Literal Translation: A small kolanut is superior to a large stone.

Meaning: A small gift is better than none at all

"A kì í rí i ká tún sọ pé a ò ri mọ́."

Literal Translation: One does not see a thing and then say one does not see it.

Meaning: Always stand by your word.

"Má sẹ̀ẹ́ kí ọ̀ràn má pọ̀."

Literal Translation: Do not deny your responsibility; that way the problem will be minimized.

Meaning: Refusing to accept one's responsibility only aggravates one's difficulties.

"A kì í fi idà pa ìgbín."

Literal Translation: One does not use a sword to kill a snail

Meaning: Remedies should be commensurate with the problem.

"Ewúrẹ́ ò ṣe-e fiṣu ṣọ́."

Literal Translation: A goat is not a wise choice as the guard over yams.

Meaning: Do not entrust your affairs to your enemy.

"A kì í fi ọlá jẹ iyọ̀."

Literal Translation: One does not consume salt according to one's greatness.

Meaning: Too much of a good thing can be dangerous.

"Àjò kì í dùn kónílé má relé."

Literal Translation: The journey is never so pleasant that the traveler does not return home.

"Bí ọmọdé bá ṣubú a wo iwájú; bí àgbá bá ṣubú a wo ẹ̀hìn."

Literal Translation: When a youth falls he looks ahead; when an elder falls he looks behind.

Meaning: The youth is mindful of what his superiors think of him, while the elder is mindful of what the young thinks of him.

"Adìẹ ò lè ti ìwòyí sunkún ehín."

Literal Translation: Chicken cannot at this late date bemoan its lack of teeth. 

Meaning: Everything at its proper time.

"Ètò lòfin kìn-ín-ní lóde ọ̀run."

Literal Translation: Order is the first law in heaven.    

Meaning: Whatever one does, one must be orderly.

"Ẹni tí yó fò yó bẹ̀rẹ̀."

Literal Translation: The person who will leap must first  crouch

Meaning: One must make adequate preparations for any project.

"A-ṣoore-jókòó-tì-í, bí aláìṣe ni."

Literal Translation: A person who does a favor and squats by it is like a person who has done no favor.

Díẹ̀-díẹ̀ nimú ẹlẹ́dẹ̀ẹ́ fi ńwọgbà.

Literal Translation: It is bit by bit that the nose of the pig enters the fence.

Meaning: A small problem, if not attended to, becomes unmanageable.