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Spanish Proverbs





Spanish proverbs offer insight into Spanish culture, history, and society, and are often used in speech and writing. There is no substitute for knowing them, and if you can use them in yourself, so much the better. Below are all the standard proverbs used in Spanish, along with English translations and explanations. Use the Search Box at left if you cant't navigate your way to what you want.

A B C D E H L M N O P Q R S T U V Z


que cada palo aguante su vela
face the music; take responsibility

querer es poder
where there’s a will, there’s a way. (lit.: to want is to be able to)

quien espera, desespera
a watched pot never boils. (lit.: he who waits, despairs)

quien mal anda, mal acaba
evildoers meet with a bad end. (lit.: he who walks [i.e.: behaves] badly, ends badly; n.b.: a Mexican proverb)

quien mucho abarca, poco aprieta
don’t bit off more than you can chew; don’t take on more than you can. (lit.: he who covers much, grasps little)

quien nace burro muere rebuznando
a leopard does not change its spots

quien nace chicharra muere cantando
a leopard does not change its spots. (lit.: he who is born a cicada dies singing; n.b.: used in Chile)

quien no llora no mama
if you don’t ask you won’t get; the squeaky wheel gets oiled. (lit.: he who doesn’t cry doesn’t suckle)

quien poco tiene, poco teme
he who has nothing has nothing to lose. (lit.: he who has little fears little)

quien rie último, ríe mejor
he who laughs last laughs best

quien siembra vientos recoge tempestades
he who sows the wind will reap the whirlwind

quien/el que tiene boca, se equivoca
to err is human. (lit.: he who has a mouth makes mistakes)


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