Wir Ain Leed


Proverbs, called provribs, freits or sawes in Scots, are short familiar sayings expressing a supposed truth or moral lesson.

A bonnie bride is suin buskit, an a short horse is suin wispit. A pretty bride needs little decoration; a small horse little grooming.
A cauld needs the ceuk sae muckle the doctor. I need it like a hole in the head.
A gien cou shoudna be leukit in the mou Don't look a gift horse in the mouth
A greedy gutsie ee ne'er gat a fou wame. Greedy persons are never satisfied.
A guid dug ne'er barkit aboot a bane. Good servants don't look for rewards.
A guid name's suiner tint nor wun. A good name is sooner lost than gained.
A hungersome wame haes nae lugs. A hungry person can't listen to reason.
A rowin stane gaithers nae fog. A rolling stone gathers no moss.
A shored tree staunds lang. Threatened folk live long.
A smaw buss is better nor nae bield. Any port in a storm.
Ae man's meat is anither man's pushion. One man's food is another man's poison.
Early creuk the tree that guid crummock wad be. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.
An ill shearer aye blames his tuils. A bad workman always blames his tools.
As ae door's steekit anither appens. As one door closes another one opens.
As daft as a yett on a windy day. As mad as a hatter.
Auld sawes speaks suith. Old proverbs tell the truth.
Auld speugies is ill tae tame. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Aw compleen o want o siller but nane o want o mense. If they had more sense they would soon have more money.
Aw things haes an end, an a pudden haes twa. All things have an end, and a sausage has two
Aye tae eild but niver tae wit. Always growing older but never wiser.
Bairns maun creep ere thay gang. Don’t try to walk before you can crawl.
Better a fremmit freend nor a freend fremmit. Better friendly stranger than a friend estranged.
Better a moose in the pat nor nae flesh. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Better a tuim hoose nor an ill tenant. Better an empty house than a bad tenant. (Said when letting wind)
Better a wee buss nor nae bield. Any port in a storm.
Better hauf an egg nor a tuim dowp. Better half a loaf than no bread.
Better ma freends thinks me fremmit as fashious. Better my that friends think me a stranger owing to infrequent visits than troublesome owing to too many.
Better mak yer feet yer freends. Show a clean pair of heels.
Better suin nor syne. Better sooner rather than later.
Beauty's muck whan honour's tint. Beauty is of no value when honour is lost.
Claw ye ma back, an A'll claw yers If you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.
Craft maun hae claes but suith gangs nakit. Cunning must have clothes but truth goes naked.
Dinna speak o raip til a chield that's faither wis hingit. Don't talk of rope to a man whose father was hanged.
E'enin orts is guid mornins' fother. Today’s rain is tomorrow’s whisky.
Facts is chields that winna ding. Facts are stubborn things.
Gie a beggar a bed an, he'll pey ye wi a loose. Give a beggar a bed, and he'll pay you with a louse.
Gie yer tongue mair halidays nor yer heid. Give your tongue more holidays than your head.
He shoud hae a hale powe that caws his neebour neetie nou. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
He that's angry appens his mou an steeks his een. The angry man speaks unadvisedly, without investigating the matter.
He that's scant o braith shoudna meddle wi the chanter. Never begin anything for which you have no aptitude.
He that blaws in stour fills his ain een. He who stirs up trouble finds himself in it.
He that sleeps wi dugs maun rise wi flaes. He who keeps bad company will be the worse for it.
He that will til Cupar maun til Cupar. A wilful man must have his way.
Ilk blad o girse keeps its ain dew. Mind your own business.
It's a bare muir that ye gang throu an no find a heather cou. It's a long lane that has no turning.
It's a blate cheetie that maks a prood moose. A shy cat makes a proud mouse.
It's an ill bird that fyles it's ain nest. Don’t foul your own nest.
It's better tae hear the laverock sing nor the moose cheep. The outdoor life is the better.
It's guid tae begin weel, but better tae end weel. Make hay while the sun shines.
It's ill bringin but, whit's no ben. You can't have your cake and eat it.
It's like butter in the black dug's hause. It's no use crying over spilt milk.
It's no the rummlin cairt that faws ower the brae. It's not the likeliest person who dies first.
It's past joukin whan the heid's aff. It's too late to lock the stable door after the horse has bolted.
Keep yer ain fish-guts tae yer ain seamaws. Charity begins at home.
Kinnle a caunle at baith ends, an it'll suin be duin. Go to bed late and rise early, and you'll soon be dead.
Lat the belled wether brak the snaw. Tried leaders are best in emergencies.
Lig the heid o the sou til the tail o the gryce. Balance gains and losses.
Makna tuim ruise. Bestow no empty praise.
Mony ane for laund, taks a fuil by the haund. Many marry for money.
Mony a puckle maks a muckle. Every little helps.
Muckle whistlin for little redd laund. Much cry for little wool.
Nae gairdener iver lichtlied his ain leeks. No man speaks ill of what he values most.
Ne'er find faut wi ma shuin unless ye pey ma souter. Don't criticise something you know nothing about and which is none of your business.
Ne'er gang til the deil wi a dishcloot on yer heid. As well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. In for a penny, in for a pound.
Ne'er lat yer feet rin faster nor yer shuin. Don't outstrip your resources.
Ne'er lat yer gear owergang ye. Pride not yourself in your riches.
Ne'er pit yer haund oot faurer nor yer sleeve will rax. Spend no more than you can afford.
Niver tak a forehaimer tae brak an egg (whan ye can dae't wi the back o a knife). To crack a nut with a sledgehammer.
Oot the hie-gate is aye fair play. Honesty is the best policy.
Pit twa pennies in a pootch, an thay'll creep thegither. Put two pennies in a purse, and they will creep together.
Raise nae mair deils nor ye can lig. Don't start anything you can't stop.
Reek follaes the fairest; beir witness tae the creuk. Excellence is accompanied by envy.
Set a stoot hert til a stey brae. The harder the task, the more determination is needed.
Tak help at yer elbucks. Heaven helps those who help themselves.
The eemock bites sairer nor the clock. It is dangerous to interfere with a man seriously engaged in business.
The keeng ligs doun an the warld rins roond. No man is indispensable.
The pruif o the pudden's in the preein o't. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
The thing that's duin is no tae dae. There's no time like the present.
Thare's a dub at ilka door. There's a skeleton in every cupboard.
Thare's aye some watter whaur the stirkie drouns. No smoke without fire.
Thay are fremmit freends that canna be fasht. They are strange friends who can't be bothered.
Thay gang faur that disna meet ae day. It’s a small world.
We can shape wir bairn's wyliecoat but canna shape thair weird. We can shape our children's clothes but not their fate.
Ye are feart for the day ye niver seen. You are worrying unnecessarily.
Ye canna gaither berries aff a whinbuss. Don't go to ill-tempered people for favours.

For more "freits, sawes an provribs" go to ScotsText


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