Some of these Jamaican proverbs /parables are used in songs

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Some of these Jamaican proverbs /parables are used in songs

Postby Tune In » Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:20 pm

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Real Museum of Jamaican History
14 May 2013 ·
Jamaican Proverbs
These are some regular Jamaican proverbs and parables that are used quite frequently, the average Jamaican uses them so frequently, it is like a second language in our heads. They teach wisdom, caution, and open a dimension of thought that does not exist in our daily communications. Typically they are used to remind us that there is another side to every situation in life. They are not taught in any repetitious format and are usually just thrown at us in reprimand or in a situation that you have never encountered before and they become a part of our repertoire. Some are very deep and some are very funny, these are just the parables but, there are several other sayings that are a part of our daily dialogue. Please add yours to the list!-RBM
1) If you can’t catch Kwako, you Ketch him Shirt ..This means you take what you can get, even if it is not the best that you are looking for. It is also used in the term of exacting vengeance, when you cannot get who caused you damage, you go after what is closest to him.
2) Hog Say, The first water him ketch him Bathe, again this means take what you get first instead of waiting for what you really want.
3) Duppu Know Who Fi Frighten, this means, ghosts know who to spook or ,someone will only harass those he can and not go after those he can’t.
4) Cock Mouth, Kill Cock, this means by your own mouth you have told on yourself.
5) Laaffy Laaffy , Love Lay Down. This means when a young woman is flirtatious and loves to laugh with boys, she can be easily lead to sleep with them too.
6) When Bull Old, You take String Tie Him: This means, when a man was once strong and aggressive, in old age he is easily lead to do your will.
7) Dem give We water fi carry Inna Basket, this means you were given a raw deal.
8) Empty Bag Cyaant Stand Up. No one can work well on an empty stomach.
9) Young Broom Sweeps Clean, But Old Broom Knows all the Corners, This Means: A young man may be strong in bed, but an old lover knows what he is doing very well.
10) Fowl Can’t Hear Ssheee, Fowl Hear Bam! That means, when you speak to a child who does not listen to your words, the next step is to give them the whip. It also means that if you did not heed a warning, you will be rewarded with difficulty.
11) Chicken Merry, Hawk Deh Near! This is a saying that means when everything is going well, it may end in disaster. Its usually applied to small children making mischief who may get a spanking. Chicken Merry is a common pet name for small children who are always laughing.
12) The Higher the Monkey climb, the more him batty exposed. (Batty meaning backside) This means, the more someone does, the more you can see their faults.
13) Eye No See, Heart No leap. This means, you are unaware of danger that may be coming.
14) Di Olda Di Moon, Di Brighter it shine, this means Older people are wiser.
15) Mi Nah buy no puss inna bag. This means, I will not buy goods I cannot see for sure it is what I am paying for.
16) One Hand Cant Clap, this means you need two people to work together in life to be successful.
17) Ole Fiyah Stick, Easy fi Ketch , This means old lovers will always fall for each other.
18) Anno One Time monkey want wife. This means, if someone has taken advantage of your kindness eventually they will try to again and find that they cannot.
19) High Seat, Kill Miss Thomas Puss. This means do not try to force yourself into circumstances that do not suit you.
20) Puss and dawg no have di same luck. This means, what will work for someone will not work for everyone else.
21) Yuh Mussy think You **** can burn grass, this is usually meant to make a young boy knows he is not yet a man.
22) Carry go Bring, Come. This is for a person who is a news carrier. Usually if someone brings gossip they also take gossip away too.
23) Waste Not, Want Not. This means do not waste anything because you may want it in the long run.
24) Neva See, Come See. This means people who are not bred well and make too much of an excitement about things and are easily impressed.
25) Pretty Rose Carry Macka, this means a like a rose a beautiful woman has thorns, be careful with her.
26) Fowl whay Nyam Outta hand, easy fi Ketch, it means if you let your guard down, you will be easily fooled.
27) NO put You hat where you can’t reach it! This means, do not set goals that you cannot obtain.
28) If you want half a bread, beg summady buy it but if you want a whole one, buy it yourself. This means, it is best to do some things yourself than trust others who will do it half done.
29) Monkey Must know whay him aggo put him tail before him order trousers. This means, not everything in fashion is for everyone.
30) When Jackass Smell Corn, Him Gallop, this means encouragement sweetens labor.
31) The Stone that the builder refuse, will be the head corner stone, this is a very popular biblical reference , usually used when a parent rejects a child and the child grows up to be of superior quality.
32) Cow Nevah Know Di Use a Him Tail Until Him Lose it, This means when you take someone for granted, you will find out their value when they leave.
33) No Wait till drum beat before you grind you axe. It means, do not wait for a problem before you find a solution.
34) Coward Man, Keep Sound Bone. It means, you don’t have to fight every battle and you will live to fight the war.
35) No Mug No Bruk, No Coffee No Dashway. This Means, nothing really bad happened and you should calm down.
36) Bull Buck and Duppy Conqueror: This means, a person is brave and mighty.
37) The same knife whay stick sheep stick goat. This means what is happening to the less fortunate will eventually happen to the fortunate too.
38) Teeth and Tongue Muss Meet! This means, when two people don’t get along eventually they will argue.
39) Hog Pikney Say Mumma, Make You mouth So long. Hog Say:” You a grow come you will see.” It means, do not admonish your elders for where they are in life, you too will get all the hardships and know them well.
40) Everyday The Devil Help Theif, One Day God will Help Watchman, it means one day you will have your vengeance.
41) Fiyah Deh a Muss Muss (Mongoose)Tail, Him think a cool Breeze. This means you are naïve to the impending dangers ahead!
42) When you go a jackass Yaard, You musn’t chat bout big Ears. This means: Do not talk about others in their presence.
43) Self Praise is No Reccommendation. It means do not toot your own horn.
44) What gawn Bad a Mawning cant come good a night. It means, what was wrong from the beginning will never be right in the end.
45) Dem Come In Like Black Crab Inna Barrel, This refers to people who always hold each other back.
46) Some a dem come in like snake under grass. This means, be careful of people who pretend to be friends but are really enemies.
47) Bend The Tree while it Young. It means, curve your children how you want them to grow when they are young.
48) When Kitchen Dresser tumble Down, Mawga Dog Laugh. It means the less fortunate will laugh at the fortunate when they make fools of themselves.
49) Cockroach Nuh Business Inna Fowl Fight, Cockroach has no place between fighting chickens or he will be pecked. It means, leave 2 people alone when they are fighting, be careful not to take sides because they are both alike and you are not.
50) Big Bed Make Man Sleep Late. This means in the abundance of luxuries, you become indolent and lazy.
51) What Sweet Nanny Goat Aggo Run Him Belly, It means the source of your enjoyment will be the source of your demise.
52) You Cyaan Siddung Pon Cow Back, Buss Cow Skin. You can’t sit in a person’s home and insult them and you can’t admonish someone when you are benefitting from them. Mainly for rebellious teenagers who are still in their parents home, quarrelling with them.
53) Lay Down Wid Dog, You Rise Wid Fleas, It is the Same as Play Wid Puppy. Puppy Lick you Mouth. Familiarity breeds contempt.
54) If You No Mash Ants, You no know what is in him. It means to test people around you and find out who they are.
55) Time Longer than Rope, this means that in time, you will see a person for who they really are or eventually you will see vengeance occur unto people who has wronged you.
56) Wanty Wanty Can’t get it and get it get it no want it. This means, you want something you cannot get it but who has this same thing does not want it.
57) It Better Fi Lose Time than You Character. This means, By any means, keep your principles and your character. Do not let someone get you out of your character.
58) You can shake a man Hand but you can’t shake his heart. What you see on the outside is not what is on the inside.
59) Puss No Have Hand, Him Use Him Foot Wipe Him Face, this means, if cats don’t have hands and make themselves clean, you can adopt yourself to anything.
60) Bucket Wid Hole a Bottom , No Have No business a riverside. This means, mind your own business, you have problems of your own.
61) Bush Have Ears! Be careful what you say in public, the wrong person may hear you.
62) Silent River runs deep. What this means is when you see someone is quiet, be very careful they may be very dangerous like a deep quiet river. .or there is more to them than appears.
63) Kibba You Mouth..Means Shut UP!
64) Fool Mi One time Shame on You, Fool me 2 times, Shame on ME!
65) Dem Come Een Like Batty and Bench, It means people, especially children who are seldom separated from each other.
66) Sometimes You Haffi Suck Salt Through Wooden Spoon, it means you have to do what you have to do.
67) Dog a Sweat but Long Hair Hide it! This means, things are not as prosperous as they seem. It’s the same as not all that glitters is gold.
68) Mi Come Yah Fi Drink Milk, Mi No Come Yah Fi count cow. It means, I came to get the goods not worry about the bad. I like to apply this to workplace drama, I am there for the good, I don’t care about the bad that was there before I came and will be there when I leave.
69) Horse Dead and Cow Fat, it means when the horse dies, the cow gets fat. By someone’s misfortune, you have gained.. The Term also is used when someone us giving you false stories for the truth.
70) When You a Dig Hole, Dig 2, this means when you are seeking to cause mischief and grief for a person, expect mischief and grief for yourself too.
71) When Plantain want to cut it shoot. This means, when an adolescent or someone is acting up, they get bigger than their britches and needs cutting down to size.
72) Mi throw mi stone inna pig pen, the one what squeal, a him it lick. It means, I say something, without speaking to anyone directly and the one who responds is the one it was meant for. That is the same as saying Mi throw my corn, mi never call no fowl.
73) Dance a Yard, before you dance abroad. This means do the right thing at home so you don’t embarrass yourself in public.
74) Howdy and Thank You No Bruk No Square. Meaning it cannot hurt to say hello and thank you.
75) Manners will take you through the world! This means if you have manners you can get very far in life.
76) Annoh same time leaf drop a river bottom it rotten. This means that something has been wrong for a while or that in time something will go wrong if you are not careful.
77) What don’t Kill Fattens, this means, if it does not kill you it will make you stronger.
78) When trouble take you pikney shurt fit you! This means, when you have financial problems, you do whatever you can to get bye.
79) Every Mikkle Makes a Mukkle, This means every little bit will eventually add up. It is the same meaning as, One One Cocoa, full basket. As time goes by the little will add up to greater.
80) Sorry FI Mawga Dawg, Dem Turn Round Bite You. This means that you have shown charity to someone who is ungrateful.
81) Patient man ride Donkey, this means if you are patient you will get by a little easier than if you rush.
82) Everyday the bucket go a well, one day the bottom aggo drop out. It means if you keep provoking someone , expect a retaliation at some point.
83) Calf Pikney Have Cow Mumma, it means when you see someone timid and shy, be careful not to mess with them, their parents may be more aggressive than you expect.
84) Jackass Follow Cane Trash Go a Pound, this means that you realize that you were foolish and allowed yourself to be lead into the wrong direction by the wrong person.
85) Puss Gone, Rat Takes Charge, this means the same as when the cat is away, the mice shall play.
86) Thief Never Love Fi see Teef wid Long Bag, this means, someone may be envious of your progress just because they never got the opportunity to be as successful as you.
87) Bad Mind Worst Than Obeah, This means, someone’s negative wishes, and negative energy is far worst than witchcraft. Usually it is used in the term to be secretive about one’s success or you will attract the envy of others.
88) Donkey Say The World no level, this is a term that can be applied to virtually any unfair circumstances, especially when Bad people get good blessings and good people get bad blessings.
89) If You no Go Inna Fowl Coop Fowl Can’t **** Pon You, This Means if you did not put yourself in the situation, you could not have been caught in it.
90) What Nuh Dead, Nuh Dash it way. It means don’t call something a lost cause before it really is.
Bless Up Bless Up Bless Up
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Re: Some of these Jamaican proverbs /parables are used in so

Postby Ranking Glasses » Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:18 pm

Play fool to get (or catch) wise - playing dumb / innocent to glean information.
Give away him batty, and s**t through him ribs - give away more than he can afford to.
Tom drunk but Tom no fool - just because someone has been drinking doesn't mean they're an idiot.
Craven choke puppy - your own greed can cause your demise.
What sweet you a go sour you - something that is pleasurable now may have consequences later.
Wante wante can't get it and getty getty no want it - someone can't obtain somthing which someone else has but doesn't need.
You can't give puss butter fe (to) mind - people will give into temptation when they are are entrusted with the object of their desire!
Last edited by Ranking Glasses on Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Some of these Jamaican proverbs /parables are used in so

Postby Peacemakeya » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:15 pm

* Mi nuh take side mi take di front ... avoid the false dualism/schism of this dimension

* Di wicked will fight di evil and di victor will fall pon his own sword ... what happens when u take sides

* Mi nuh believe in Jah - mi know Jah ... if it needs explaining u don't get it - but it's not claiming to 'know it all' ... just to know enuff
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Re: Some of these Jamaican proverbs /parables are used in so

Postby Ranking Glasses » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:23 am

Proverbs can contribute to the stifling of development because several of them are warnings about what might happen if someone is ambitious and tries to improve their lot in life. Why so many proverbs for such a small island? Could it he linked to a history of slavery and colonialism where people had to stay in their place or else?

All this forboding can make people afraid to step out of their "comfort" zone:

2) Hog Say, The first water him ketch him Bathe, again this means take what you get first instead of waiting for what you really want.
7) Dem give We water fi carry Inna Basket, this means you were given a raw deal.
11) Chicken Merry, Hawk Deh Near! This is a saying that means when everything is going well, it may end in disaster. Its usually applied to small children making mischief who may get a spanking. Chicken Merry is a common pet name for small children who are always laughing.
12) The Higher the Monkey climb, the more him batty exposed. (Batty meaning backside) This means, the more someone does, the more you can see their faults.
13) Eye No See, Heart No leap. This means, you are unaware of danger that may be coming.
19) High Seat, Kill Miss Thomas Puss. This means do not try to force yourself into circumstances that do not suit you.
20) Puss and dawg no have di same luck. This means, what will work for someone will not work for everyone else.
27) NO put You hat where you can’t reach it! This means, do not set goals that you cannot obtain.
37) The same knife whay stick sheep stick goat. This means what is happening to the less fortunate will eventually happen to the fortunate too.
41) Fiyah Deh a Muss Muss (Mongoose)Tail, Him think a cool Breeze. This means you are naïve to the impending dangers ahead!
43) Self Praise is No Reccommendation. It means do not toot your own horn.
48) When Kitchen Dresser tumble Down, Mawga Dog Laugh. It means the less fortunate will laugh at the fortunate when they make fools of themselves.
50) Big Bed Make Man Sleep Late. This means in the abundance of luxuries, you become indolent and lazy.
51) What Sweet Nanny Goat Aggo Run Him Belly, It means the source of your enjoyment will be the source of your demise.
63) Kibba You Mouth..Means Shut UP!
71) When Plantain want to cut it shoot. This means, when an adolescent or someone is acting up, they get bigger than their britches and needs cutting down to size.
78) When trouble take you pikney shurt fit you! This means, when you have financial problems, you do whatever you can to get bye.
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Re: Some of these Jamaican proverbs /parables are used in so

Postby Don Julian » Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:12 pm

Ranking Glasses and Tune In thanks for these lists.
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