A SHORT LIST OF TURKISH PROVERBS... My notes toward a modest compilation of Turkish proverbs. Mütevazı bir Türk atasözleri derlemesine yönelik notlarım. 12. "A proverb is a traditional saying, which offers advice or presents a moral in a short or pithy manner. As with proverbs of other nations, the Turkish-speaking peoples’ folk philosophy, distinctive regional customs and, above all, the peculiar flavor of their language and phraseology constitute the uniqueness of Turkish proverbs. A close examination of these proverbs reveals observations about men and things, oriental customs and ceremonies, facts of natural history, fragments of poetry, and quaint rhymes, puns, and similes." Nejat Muallimoğlu, The Turkish Delights, A Treasury of Proverbs and Folk Sayings, (New York, 1998).

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The Bard and

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Folk Costumes






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Doç.Dr. Yalçınİzbul's [Anthropo-Linguistics]


turkish proverbs - title

My notes toward a modest compilation of Turkish Proverbs

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Doç. Dr. Yalçın İzbul,  http://www.ingilizce-ders.com

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12: Sabır -- Şeytanla

turkish proverb166  Sabır acıdır, meyvesi tatlıdır.  transl: Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.

turkish proverb167   Sakla samanı, gelir zamanı.  meaning: Do not throw away things even if they appear to be most insignificant, for there might come a time when it will be needed. [The idea of "most insignificant" is here exemplified with "straw", partly because the words "straw" and "time" rhyme well in Turkish.]

turkish proverb168  Sarımsağı gelin etmişler, kırk gün kokusu çıkmamış.  free transl: Garlic was given away in matrimony (as a bride), and it kept its smell a secret for forty days.  meaning: Do not be in a hurry in judging people's character; it comes out in
the open only by and by.

turkish proverb169  Sen ağa ben ağa, bu ineği kim sağa?  transl: You a squire, me a squire; whose's going to milk the cow?  meaning: If everyone refuses to do the job at hand, it will go undone. (Offered as a moderate rebuke to criticise a person's refusal to do menial work, such as a household or gardening chore.)

turkish proverb170  Senin dinin sana, benim dinim bana.  transl: Unto you your religion and unto me my religion.  meaning: Just don't bother preaching me. I have no use for it. You follow the dictates of your own faith as I shall follow mine.

turkish proverb171  Sinek küçüktür, ama mide bulandırır.  transl: The fly is small, but it (still) makes your stomach turn.  meaning: Perhaps it seems to be a small clue, but it is certainly enough to arouse my suspicion.

turkish proverb172  Sona kalan dona kalır.  equiv: The early bird catches the worm. First come, first served.

turkish proverb173   Son gülen iyi güler.  He who laughs last laughs best.

turkish proverb174  Söyleyene bakma söyletene bak.  transl: Take no notice of the one who voices it; fix your attention on the one who makes him (= tells him to) say it.

turkish proverb175  Söz gümüşse sükut altındır.  Speech is silver, (but) silence is gold (golden). If speech is silver, silence is gold (golden).

turkish proverb176  Su akarken testiyi doldurmalı. (or, Çeşme akarken testini doldur. or, Çeşme akarken küpünü doldur.)  transl: One must fill one's jug (or barrel, urn, etc) while the water (or, the tap) is flowing.  equiv: Make hay while the sun shines. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.  meaning: One must take advantage of favourable times and not waste time when the conditions are in one's favour -- especially in earning and saving money.

turkish proverb177  Sükut ikrardan gelir.  Silence gives consent.

turkish proverb178  Sütten ağzı yanan yoğurdu üfleyerek yer.  transl: Once burnt one's mouth drinking hot milk, one blows on one's yoghurt before eating it.  equiv: Once burnt twice shy. A burnt child dreads the fire.  meaning: Experience is the best teacher.

turkish proverb179  Şeyh uçmaz, müridi uçurur.  meaning: It is not that the holy man flies; it is his disciples who imagine him fly.  i.e. A leader's followers tend to attribute to him superhuman characteristics that he has not got.

turkish proverb180  Şeytanla ortak buğday eken samanını alır.  transl: He who sows wheat jointly with the Devil gets (only) the chaff. meaning: Be very careful in choosing who your partner will be if you are considering a joint investment.


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The Turkish word for a proverb, atasozu means "grandfather's sayings," or "words," or "elder's words." "In Turkey no conversation takes place without one or more proverbs being mentioned, and it is amazing to see the influence they have on an audience; as soon as a proverb is recited all heads nod in approval and all arguments cease, a suffering or loss becomes bearable and even death loses its sting, for proverbs embody the crystal truth found by long and painful experience, and even though it may sometimes be bitter, it is an acceptable form." Nejat Muallimoğlu, The Turkish Delights, A Treasury of Proverbs and Folk Sayings, (New York, 1998)

Turkish Proverbs: Doç. Dr. Yalçın İzbul, http://www.ingilizce-ders.com  Notes toward a modest compilation of Turkish proverbs. Türk atasözleri derlemesine yönelik notlarım. 2009