253 Famous Greek Proverbs

wonder-is-the-beginning-of-wisdom

  • 1. A beard signifies lice, not brains.
  • 2. A cat with gloves never catches mice.
  • 3. A different man, a different taste.
  • 4. A dove has no place amongst the crows.
  • 5. A drop of wisdom is better than a sea of gold.
  • 6. A drowning man takes hold of his own hair.
  • 7. A fat belly did not invent gun powder.
  • 8. A fox is not caught twice in the same snare.
  • 9. A gift, though small, is welcome.
  • 10. A goat thief came along and they put him in jail.

 

  • 11. A good bird begins chirping while in the egg.
  • 12. A lazy tailor finds his thread too long.
  • 13. A library is a repository of medicine for the mind.
  • 14. A lucky person is someone who plants pebbles and harvests potatoes.
  • 15. A mad bull is not to be tied up with a packthread.
  • 16. A man with a skinny wife is a deceitful man.
  • 17. A miser and a liar bargain quickly.
  • 18. A miser is ever in want.
  • 19. A poor man who takes a rich wife has a ruler, not a wife.
  • 20. A priest blesses his own bread first.

 

  • 21. A real scoundrel turned up and they took off their hats to him.
  • 22. A small evil may be a great good.
  • 23. A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.
  • 24. A stout bearded woman always bears something malicious.
  • 25. A thousand people cannot undress a naked person.
  • 26. A truth spoken before its time is dangerous.
  • 27. A wheel that turns gathers no rust.
  • 28. A woman prefers a man without money to money without a man.
  • 29. A word out of season may mar a whole lifetime.
  • 30. A young man should not marry yet, an old man not at all.

 

  • 31. Act quickly, think slowly.
  • 32. Add not fire to fire.
  • 33. Affairs sleep soundly when fortune is present.
  • 34. After the war, aid.
  • 35. Age brings experience, and a good mind wisdom.
  • 36. Alexander the Great was not very tall.
  • 37. Alexander the Great wasn’t tall.
  • 38. All receive advice. Only the wise profit from it.
  • 39. All things good to know are difficult to learn.
  • 40. An eagle’s old age is worth a sparrow’s youth.

 

  • 41. An iron rod bends while it is hot.
  • 42. An old cat likes young mice.
  • 43. An old enemy never becomes a friend.
  • 44. An open enemy is better than a false friend.
  • 45. Appear always what you are and a little less.
  • 46. Ask for advice but do what you think is best.
  • 47. Be thine enemy an ant, see in him an elephant.
  • 48. Before you can score, you must first have a goal.
  • 49. Better a drop of wisdom than an ocean of gold.
  • 50. Better a sick body than an ignorant mind.

 

  • 51. Better the first of its kind than the last.
  • 52. Better the friend we can see than the money we cannot.
  • 53. Birth, ancestry, and that which you yourself have not achieved can hardly be called your own.
  • 54. Character is habit long continued.
  • 55. Curses are like chickens; they come home to roost.
  • 56. Death is never at a loss for occasions.
  • 57. Deeds are fruits, words are only leaves.
  • 58. Do not compare a fly with an elephant.
  • 59. Do not lean on a worm-eaten staff.
  • 60. Don’t keep any secrets of yourself from yourself.

 

  • 61. Don’t trouble a quiet snake.
  • 62. Eat and drink with your relatives; do business with strangers.
  • 63. Eat beans for lunch and have no friends at the dinner table.
  • 64. Either remain quiet, or say things that improve the silence.
  • 65. Empty barrels and insignificant people always make the most noise.
  • 66. Endeavor to bear the ignorance of fortune with patience.
  • 67. Envy accomplishes nothing.
  • 68. Even from a foe a man may learn wisdom.
  • 69. Even from an enemy a man can learn wisdom.
  • 70. Every country is a fatherland.

 

  • 71. Every story can be told in different ways.
  • 72. Every tale can be told in a different way.
  • 73. Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.
  • 74. First secure an independent income, then practice virtue.
  • 75. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, prepare to die.
  • 76. For lazy people it is always party time.
  • 77. From a broken violin do not expect fine music.
  • 78. From a thorn comes a rose, and from a rose comes a thorn.
  • 79. Give me today and you may keep tomorrow.
  • 80. Good accounts make good friends.

 

  • 81. Gray hair is a sign of age, not of wisdom.
  • 82. Gray hair is a sign of age, not wisdom.
  • 83. Great abilities produce great vices as well as virtues.
  • 84. Great birth is a very poor dish at table.
  • 85. Greeks only agree with each other about going to the toilet.
  • 86. He who cannot bear misfortune is truly unfortunate.
  • 87. He who eats and drinks with the rich leaves the table hungry.
  • 88. He who has been angry becomes cool again.
  • 89. He who is born in jail loves jail.
  • 90. He who is outside the door has already a good part of his journey behind him.

 

  • 91. He who plunders with a little boat is a pirate; he who plunders with a fleet is a conqueror.
  • 92. He who respects his parents never dies.
  • 93. He who revealeth his secret maketh himself a slave.
  • 94. He who suffers much will know much.
  • 95. He who thinks the worst usually is right.
  • 96. He who wants to be happy must stay at home.
  • 97. He who would be happy should stay at home.
  • 98. I feel pain that envy is exchanged for beautiful deeds.
  • 99. I hate a jovial table companion with a good memory.
  • 100. I send thee myrrh, not that thou mayest be by it perfumed, but it perfumed by thee.

 

  • 101. If advice will not improve him, neither will the rod.
  • 102. If all men were just, there would be no need of valour.
  • 103. If all the bees made honey, there would be enough for even gypsies to eat.
  • 104. If deeds are wanting, all words appear mere vanity and emptiness.
  • 105. If it were not for hope, the heart would break.
  • 106. If you cannot catch a fish, do not blame the sea.
  • 107. If you steal something small you are a petty thief, but if you steal millions you are a gentleman of society.
  • 108. If you wish to be good, first believe that you are bad.
  • 109. Ignorance of one’s misfortunes is clear gain.
  • 110. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it.

 

  • 111. Ill beef ne’er made gude broo.
  • 112. Ill-timed laughter is a dangerous evil.
  • 113. In baiting a mousetrap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse.
  • 114. In business you need two Jews for one Greek, two Greeks for one Syrian and two Syrians for one Armenian.
  • 115. In hospitality, the chief thing is the good will.
  • 116. In the young, silence is better than speech.
  • 117. In times of difficulty, friendship is on trial.
  • 118. It is better in times of need to have a friend rather than money.
  • 119. It is better to be envied than pitied.
  • 120. It is easier to talk than to hold one’s tongue.

 

  • 121. It is not good for all our wishes to be filled; through sickness we recognize the value of health; through evil, the value of good; through hunger, the value of food; through exertion, the value of rest.
  • 122. It is not what they profess but what they practice that makes them good.
  • 123. It is useless to knock at the door of a deaf man.
  • 124. Keep no secrets of thyself from thyself.
  • 125. Kindheartedness and honesty can be expected only from the poor.
  • 126. Kindness begets kindness.
  • 127. Know all and you will pardon all.
  • 128. Know yourself.
  • 129. Learn to obey before you command.
  • 130. Learn to walk before you run.

 

  • 131. Listen to that which is well said even if it is from the mouth of an enemy.
  • 132. Listen to valuable statements even if they come from your enemy’s mouth.
  • 133. Live today, forget the past.
  • 134. Man is the measure of all things.
  • 135. Many a pupil has gained more wealth than his master.
  • 136. Many men know how to flatter, few men know how to praise.
  • 137. Many men, many minds.
  • 138. Men never moan over the opportunities lost to do good, only the opportunities to be bad.
  • 139. Men prone to tears are good.
  • 140. Men who have lost heart never yet won a trophy.

 

  • 141. Milk the cow, but do not pull off the udder.
  • 142. Mountains are used to snow.
  • 143. My donkey is dead; let no more grass grow.
  • 144. Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue; to the end we should hear and see more than we speak.
  • 145. Neither promise wax to the saint, nor cakes to the child.
  • 146. Never consult a doctor who has never been ill himself.
  • 147. Never give a sword to a fool or power to an unjust man.
  • 148. No mill, no meal.
  • 149. No need to teach an eagle to fly.
  • 150. No one loathes the smell of himself.

 

  • 151. Not speech, but facts, convince.
  • 152. Nothing in excess.
  • 153. Nothing is so reckless as a blind horse.
  • 154. Nothing will content him who is not content with a little.
  • 155. Observe your enemies, for they first find your faults.
  • 156. Old age and poverty are wounds that can’t be healed.
  • 157. Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill.
  • 158. Old men are twice children.
  • 159. One hand washes the other and both wash the face.
  • 160. One minute of patience can mean ten years of peace.

 

  • 161. One minute of patience, ten years of peace.
  • 162. One witness one liar; more witnesses, all liars.
  • 163. One word spoken in anger may spoil an entire life.
  • 164. Other days, other ways.
  • 165. Outside a sheep, inside a wolf.
  • 166. Painless poverty is better than embittered wealth.
  • 167. Pleasure is the greatest incentive to vice.
  • 168. Pleasures are transient — honors immortal.
  • 169. Pleasures are transient, honors are immortal.
  • 170. Poor men’s words have little weight.

 

  • 171. Proportion your expenses to what you have, not what you expect.
  • 172. Remorse is worse than a beating.
  • 173. Sharing the figs can leave you with none at all.
  • 174. She who laughs not in the morning, laughs not at noon.
  • 175. Someone with an unrelenting heart is his own executioner.
  • 176. Sometimes you have to throw yourself into the fire to escape from the smoke.
  • 177. Son of a priest, grandson of the devil.
  • 178. Success has many friends.
  • 179. Success is doing what you like and making a living at it.
  • 180. Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.

 

  • 181. Sweet is the memory of past labor.
  • 182. Swift gratitude is the sweetest.
  • 183. Take a young woman for the pleasure of possessing her until she is old.
  • 184. Terrifying are the weaknesses of power.
  • 185. The beginning is the half of every action.
  • 186. The best fish hook cannot catch limp cheese.
  • 187. The excess of a virtue is a vice.
  • 188. The fly sat upon the axle of the chariot-wheel and said “What a lot of dust I raise!”
  • 189. The fox that waits until the chicken falls from the perch dies from hunger.
  • 190. The frog wanted to be an ox and swelled up until he burst.

 

  • 191. The grumbling mother-in-law forgets that she once was a bride.
  • 192. The heart that loves is always young.
  • 193. The house of envy lies in the lowest hollows, golden, sunless, breathed upon by no wind, grim and filled full of inert chill, and lacking warmth, is always roiled in fog.
  • 194. The knee is closer than the calf.
  • 195. The more the mother-in-law drinks the more friendly is her greeting.
  • 196. The net of the sleeper catches fish.
  • 197. The old age of an eagle is better than the youth of a sparrow.
  • 198. The people make the town.
  • 199. The rest of the world does not know what newlyweds know.
  • 200. The sins we often regret are the sins we never commit.

 

  • 201. The style is the man himself.
  • 202. The tongue has no bones, yet it breaks bones.
  • 203. The unknown is ever imagined.
  • 204. There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.
  • 205. They sowed the seed of an “if’ but it didn’t germinate.
  • 206. They throw stones at the walnut trees, but not at the maple.
  • 207. Think not on what you lack as much as on what you have.
  • 208. Think with the wise, but talk with the vulgar.
  • 209. Thinking evil is much the same as doing it.
  • 210. Those who fight with silver spears are sure of their victory.

 

  • 211. Time is a river of passing events — a rushing torrent.
  • 212. Time is the best adviser.
  • 213. To deceive a diplomat speak the truth, he has no experience with it.
  • 214. To have five drachmas in the hand is better than ten drachmas on paper.
  • 215. To rebel in season is not to rebel.
  • 216. Truth lies at the bottom of a well.
  • 217. Under every stone sleeps a scorpion.
  • 218. We became gravediggers but nobody dies anymore.
  • 219. We have two ears and one mouth that we may listen the more and talk the less.
  • 220. We must endure what fortune sends.

 

  • 221. Welcome is the best cheer.
  • 222. What is good to know is difficult to learn.
  • 223. What is true is no more sure than the probable.
  • 224. Whatever is good to know is difficult to learn.
  • 225. Whatever kind of word thou speakest, the like shalt thou bear.
  • 226. When at a loss how to go on, cough.
  • 227. When God throws the dice are loaded.
  • 228. When God throws the dice, they are loaded.
  • 229. When the devil grows poor he becomes a tax collector.
  • 230. When the fox cannot reach the grapes he says they are not ripe.

 

  • 231. When the gods are angry with a man, they give him what he asks for.
  • 232. When you go to bed with a clear head, you will not get up with a headache.
  • 233. Where there is a sea there are pirates.
  • 234. Where there is love there is no darkness.
  • 235. Who ceases to be a friend never was one.
  • 236. Who hunts two hares will catch neither.
  • 237. Who wouldn’t lick his fingers when they have been dipped in honey?
  • 238. Whoever feeds the wolf in the winter will be eaten by him in the spring.
  • 239. Without a general an army is lost.
  • 240. Women are as changeable as the sea.

 

  • 241. Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.
  • 242. Wonders will never cease.
  • 243. You can tell who the good seamen are during a storm.
  • 244. You can’t hide behind your finger.
  • 245. You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.
  • 246. You cannot reason with a hungry belly; it has no ears.
  • 247. You easily forget the eyes that don’t see you any more.
  • 248. You have to put a young girl onto an old man.
  • 249. You know who the good seamen are when the storm comes.
  • 250. You learn to limp if you live with cripples.

 

  • 251. You must keep quiet or say only things that improve silence.
  • 252. You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.
  • 253. Young wood makes a hot fire.

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