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Sayings from my part of the world : Take it Outside! • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Sayings from my part of the world

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The Cormorant
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Sayings from my part of the world

Postby The Cormorant » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:58 am

I suppose this is the most suitable place to post this, but I invite the moderators to move it to where they see fit if I chose the wrong place.

I'm personally infatuated with quotes and sayings that come from different parts of the world. Being from the Arabian Gulf region, I've had the opportunity to learn many quotes that I use in daily conversation. I thought I'd share a few from time to time, and invite forum members who have uncommon and interesting sayings to share them here.

Plenty of the ones I remember use animals as metaphors to drive a point. Arabs like to use symbolism through animals, as I'm sure a few other cultures do. I'll explain the context of use for each one and translate to the best of my ability. Some of our sayings come from poem stanzas.

I hope you enjoy reading them.


1. " Wolves don't wander aimlessly"

The wolf in Arab culture, is likened to sinister intent and cunning. If someone says this to you, they are implying that you have an angle and want something specific from them which you're not being forthcoming about.

2. "Those who don't know falcons cook them"

Falconry is popular in the Middle East. In times where we were mostly Bedouins, we used falcons to hunt game. Arabian falcons can cost as high as 60,000 dollars or more nowadays. Needless to say, if you cook a falcon, you're not the sharpest knife in the drawer. What this person means is you, or the person who you are talking about doesn't understand the value of what he has possession of.

3. "If a lion shows its teeth, don't assume that its smiling"

Pretty self-explanatory.

4. "He who showers himself with compliments deserves a swift kick."

It's a popular saying because it rhymes in Arabic. You say this when someone is full of themselves.

5. " You have to be a wolf, so terrible and obnoxious that the pack does not mistake you for a meal"

Which roughly means there's no room in life for the meek and timid.

6." He who pays his debts, sleeps soundly"

Straight forward, but is popular because it rhymes in Arabic

7. " A host with a full stomach doesn't rush to serve hungry guests"

This is said in situations where one is in need of something from someone who needs nothing. This person has no urgency to act to get something done that does not serve him.

8. " Those who share blood, share burdens"

No one will stand by your side more than family. Families in the Middle East have strong bonds and long lineages. There is a large emphasis in Arab culture on helping family, as it kind of links to honor.

9. " A man with two minds is a liar"

Simply put, you can't think and do multiple things simultaneously. You say this to someone when you advise them to focus on one thing at a time.

10. " Not all things plump are walnuts."

I guess Arabs really like walnuts, but the idea behind this saying is not everything that looks good on the outside is good for you.


I think we'd all enjoy hearing about sayings from different parts of the world. Do share! and I'll happily add more later if you enjoyed these.
"The hearts of Arabs are filled with words of furious passion that slip through eloquent tongues, unto deaf ears, which belong to nodding heads."

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Re: Sayings from my part of the world

Postby Oldtimer » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:22 am

Very interesting! I'll only offer one contribution, from England.
"Hark at the pot calling the kettle black!"
Used in retaliation when the person criticizing someone is just as bad as the person being criticized.
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Re: Sayings from my part of the world

Postby The Cormorant » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:56 am

"The hearts of Arabs are filled with words of furious passion that slip through eloquent tongues, unto deaf ears, which belong to nodding heads."

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Re: Sayings from my part of the world

Postby Oldtimer » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:56 am

My father used to say "Don't burn the candle at both ends" when my sisters and I stayed out late (at least, he thought it was late) because we had to get up early in the mornings.
He also used to say "Don't spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar", meaning don't spoil a good job by skimping on the essentials. He was a perfectionist and it rubbed off on me.
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Re: Sayings from my part of the world

Postby updog » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:40 pm

This is a great thread, Cormorant.

I'm from Nebraska, U.S.A., and people here will ask if you were "born in a barn" if you leave a door open, especially in winter.
"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



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Re: Sayings from my part of the world

Postby Jowen » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:09 pm

My father (English) loved quotes and sayings. He always had one ready appropriate to a situation, but sometimes they were contradictory.

"Look before you leap" -- assess a situation and make a considered judgment call before accepting.

"He who hesitates is lost" -- to avoid a missed opportunity, make a quick decision.

Not surprising I'm so mixed-up!
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Re: Sayings from my part of the world

Postby mammamaia » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:41 pm

thanks for those nifty bits of wisdom from the arab world!

i'm of a mind to save some of them, for future use...

love and hugs, maia
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Re: Sayings from my part of the world

Postby The Cormorant » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:57 pm

"The hearts of Arabs are filled with words of furious passion that slip through eloquent tongues, unto deaf ears, which belong to nodding heads."

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Re: Sayings from my part of the world

Postby The Cormorant » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:08 pm

"The hearts of Arabs are filled with words of furious passion that slip through eloquent tongues, unto deaf ears, which belong to nodding heads."

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Re: Sayings from my part of the world

Postby The Cormorant » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:24 pm

"The hearts of Arabs are filled with words of furious passion that slip through eloquent tongues, unto deaf ears, which belong to nodding heads."

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