Yoruba Proverbs

 

 

This is a compilation of proverbs submitted below:

YORUBA DESCENDANTS ASSOCIATION OF ALABAMA INC.

1. Agba ki wa loja, ki ori omo titun o wo.  Used when elders are expected to play elderly roles so that permanent damage is not done by Prof Ayanwale. 

 

2. Ile nsu ile nmo, olojo kajo : Used to encourage kids not to waste precious youthful time by Prof Ayanwale 

 

3. Aifini p’eni, aifeniyan pe eniyan ni ara oko se nsan bante w'olu. Used when due respect is expected but not given by Prof Ayanwale 

 

4. Ayangbe aja dun je, a ti yangbe onko?  Pleasure is good and sweet  but it demands hard work and pains-taking long time to earn / accomplish by Prof Ayanwale 

 

5. Amu’ni bu’ni eran Ibiye; Ibiye fo l’oju otun, eran e fo ni tosi. Used when one tries to avoid creating an unintended problem by Prof Ayanwale 

 

6. Bi owo eku ti mo, ni o fi nnuju: Cut your coat according to your size. Used in counseling one to recognize his/her natural limits and do things in moderation by Prof Ayanwale  

 

7. Oju orun to eiye meji fo laif’ apa gba ara won. There is plenty of room for people’s interactions without one stepping on the other’s toe by Prof Ayanwale 

 

8. Imowon ara eni ni ekeji ogbo; Your knowing and applying your limitation is (next to) wisdom by Prof Ayanwale 

 

9. Ma a mu e j'agbo, ehin ara re ni yio fi lana; Used when threats are made but can only be shared. Threats that cannot be carried out without the aggressor taking the lion share by Prof Ayanwale 

 

10. Omo t'oni ki iya oun ma sun, ohun na ko ni fi oju kan oorun. (Similar to 9) by Prof Ayanwale 

 

11. Aparo kan ko ga ju ikan lo, a fi eyit’o ba gun ori ebe Used when an individual among his own contemporaries tend to show off or tries to claim a superiority with nothing to show for it by Prof Ayanwale 

 

12. Ti inu ba ti ri ni obi fi nyan: Honesty is the best policy. A clear mind results in successful endeavor by Prof Ayanwale 

 

13. A'isoro a'i yan oro ni o pa elempe isiwaju; ti o so wipe igba wuwo ju awo lo. Un-clarified statement leads to misunderstanding that may result in paying heavy penalty by Prof Ayanwale 

 

14. Nse or Nda loda lomo de egbe; egbe ki ise ile omo; A baby carried on the side is unnatural, it is only to ease cleaning his/her sputum more easily. Children are carried on the back not side 
by Prof Ayanwale 

 

 15. Ebi npa ejo, ahun nyan, ati ahun ati ejo, eran jije ni fun olode; Both the tortoise that taunts a hungry snake are edible meat (preys) to a hungry hunter by Prof Ayanwale 

 

 16. Ikoko ti a je ata, idi re gbodo gbona; One must work hard to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor.(No sweat no gain) by Prof Ayanwale 

 

 17. Oko se ro ni agbede pa’ko ta: A black-smith would not sell hoes to others if it is easy to cultivate  farms by Prof Ayanwale 

 

 18. E ba mi to omo mi ko de inu olomo: A mother’s request to help nurture her child does not come from her heart because nurturing involves corporal punishment that no mother would like 
by Prof Ayanwale 42

 

 19. Lala to l'osoke, ile l'ombo. No one can dispute or disrespect the law of gravity. What goes around comes around ? by Prof Ayanwale 

 

 20. Eni ma je oyin inu apata ki wo enu aake: (like 16 above) by Prof Ayanwale 

 

 21. Omo o l'ayole, eni omo sin l'obimo - dont count on the fact that you have children, if they are there when you need them like when it's time to bury you, then you can say you had children by Prof Ayanwale 

 

 22. Ogun l'abi omo koriko, ogbon l'awo d'agba, omo eruwa. Bi eeyan bi 'kan oga, o to. Literal translation, the grass can have 20 children and eruwa can boast of raising 30 kids till adulthood but if you have just one child that rises to become a leader, that one is enough by Prof Ayanwale 

 

 23. Eyin ti aja fi 'n ba omo e sere ni fi bu u je. The same teeth that the dog uses to play with her child is the same ones he uses to bite in disciplining the child by Prof Ayanwale 

 

 24. Ogbon ologbon ni ki i je ki a pe agba l'omugo. Other people's wisdom would not let us call an elder foolish by Prof Ayanwale 

 

 25. Oro sunnukun, oju sunnukun l'a fi n' wo. Deep rooted matters call for deep rooted thoughts by Prof Ayanwale 

 

 26. Ile ni apoti n'joko de idi used when a child misbehaves outside and the parents wait at home until he returns home ... by Prof Ayanwale 

 

 27. A' itete m'ole, ole n'm'oloko i.e here you are quickly accusing someone of doing something wrong when you have just done that wrong thing yourself by the blog editor 

 

 28. Eni a le mu l'aa n'ledi mo. i.e You can only harrass someone that you are more powerful than or someone who's not as strong as you by the blog editor. 

 

 29. Eti baba nile, eti baba l'oko;eniyan ni i je be (Father hears everything because people tell him) Dr Fadamiro 

 

 30. Orisa je ki 'n pe meji Obirin ko denu.("God bless my hosehold with a sencond woman" is a woman's false wish) from Dr Adediji 

 

 31. Isokan ni agbara- unity is strength from Dr Sesi Ogunbi 

 

 32. Eni jin si koto, o ko ara yoku l'ogbon from Mrs Adagunodo 

 

 33. IIosiwaju ki i se ise ojo kan, sugbon die-die ni - progress is not achieved in a day, but gradually from Dr Sesi Ogunbi 

 

 34. Di e, di e ni ijapa n rin de ibugbe re - slow and steady, the tortoise reaches it's destination from

 Dr Sesi Ogunbi 

 

 35. Oro ki i tobiju ki a fi obe bu. from Dr Adediji 

 

 36. Sakatapara ni agbalagba n sin ito, ti ito ba di anpo lenu N kan

miran n be ni di e ni from Dr Adediji 

 

 37. Bi a o ti se laawi, Enikan ki yan anan re l'odi from Dr Adediji 

 

 38. A'njuwon ko se wi l'ejo,  Ija ilara ko tan boro from Dr Adediji 

 

 39. Pasan ti a mu na iyale o wa lehin aaro iyawo from Dr Adediji 

 

 40. A i to eyin ka laa d'owo bo from Dr Adediji 

 

 41. Owo omode to to pepe , ti agbalagba ko wo akerengbe from Dr Adediji 

 

 42. A ki beri lehin olori from Dr Adediji 

 

 43. Bi egungun eni ba joo re, ori a ya a'tokun re from Dr Adediji 

 

44.  Aditi n' pe o, iwo ni o un gbo agoya , eniti oun pe o ko ni dake from Dr Adediji 

 

45. Bi aya ba moju oko tan alarina a yera from Dr Adediji 

 

46. Ai f'agba f'enikan, ko je k'aye ogun from Dr Adediji 

 

47. Eyin l'ohun, bi o ba ti bo lu'le, ko see ko mo from Dr Adediji 

 

48.  A'i gbo'fa la a wo oke, ifa kan o si ni pere from Dr Adediji 

 

49. Ogede ta kete, bi eniti ko ba odo tan from Dr Adediji 

 

50. Agutan to b'aja rin, yi  o j'egbe from Dr Adediji 

 

51.Agutan ko ni ohun ba ewure rin, ewure lo pe iya hun ko bi dudu from Dr Adediji 

 

52. Omode to ba agba rin, a da'gba from Mrs Popoola 

 

53. Omode to ba gbo'ran si agba lenu, agba re a da'le from Mrs Popoola 

 

54. Aro ole se be, o dani lobe nu, ti a ko ni ri je mo from Mrs Popoola 

 

55. Ko'ju ma ri ibi, gbogbo ara ni ogun re from Mrs Popoola

 

56. Abuke ti o gba 1bale aro, yio mura from Mrs Popoola 

 

57. Eniti o ba fe mu obo, yio se bi obo from Mrs Popoola 

 

58. Igbo leti, eniyan ni je be from Mrs Popoola 

 

59. Bo ti wi, la'wi; enikan ki i so'pe o t'iwi from Mrs Popoola 

 

60. Agbajo owo la n 'fi soya, ajeji owo kan ko gberu dori from Mrs Adagunodo 

 

61. Eni egun gun le, se lo n to alabe lo from Mrs Adagunodo 

 

62. A'i gbofa la'n woke, ifa kan ko si ni para from Mrs Adagunodo ( double entry) 

 

63. Eniti eegun n'lepa ko r'oju, bi o ti n re eniyan, beni o n re araorun ( Do not falter if you are being chased as one is getting tired so is the one chasing you) from Dr Adediji 

 

64. Ero ona ni r'oyin oka to gbo (Passers-by are the first to bring the news that the corn is ripe) from Dr Fadamiro

 

65. Eyin to ta yo, wahala enu ni. (A protruded teeth is a problem to the mouth) from Dr Fadamiro 

 

66. To ju, ti iye ni aparo fin ri’ran. Literary translation one has to be alert at all times: Mrs Popoola 

67. Gbongbon kan o si, a fi eniti o ba’ ti ara re. There is a limit to how you can encourage someone to improve self, unless one wants to improve. Mrs Popoola 

68. Awa o le je aji gbon eeni, ki eni wa je aji no’ese. Some people can not be working, while others are waiting to ripe the benefit of the hard work. Mrs Popoola 

 

69. Aafa jo'na, e n bere irugbon. Literally means the Imam was burnt up in a fire and you're asking for his beard? i.e there are more important things to be concerned about 

70. Ara baba o ya, ara baba o ya, eko n'wole, ewe n'jade. The old man is reportedly very sick but he seems to be eating very well judging b the full plate going into his room and the empty plate that comes out....In other words, he cant be that sick. 

71. Ti ina o ba tan l'ori, eje o le tan l'eekanna: If you still have head-lice, you will still have bloodied nails from fingers crushing the lice. Unless you tackle the root cause of a problem, you will continue to deal with its consequences .

 

72. Oore ti a se fun adie k'o denu, bo pe titi, a se omi too ro sini l'enu. (hardwork will not go unrewarded. A favor meted out to the chicken is not deeprooted, in due course, it becomes a finger licking condiment !!! from Mr Dada 

 

73. Saan laarin aje ni muni pekoro by Mrs Lawal  : Get to the point and be direct.

 

74. Melo ni eera to sope aran nyo owun lenu by Mrs Lawal   It's not that serious stop the complaining.

 75. Aki tori pe a fe je eran ka ma dobale fun malu by Mrs Lawal  - Contentment prevents unnecessary humility

 

76. Asegbe kankan ko si, Ase pamo lowa. by Mrs Lawal  -  Nothing is hidden under the Sun. We reap what we sow..

 

77. A pe ko to jeun koni je ibaje by Mrs Lawal - Delay is not denial the best is yet to come.

 

78. Eni ba ma daso fun eni tara re ni a koko wo by Mrs Lawal #78     How can you help me when you can't help yourself.79. Okan kan la yo ese leku by Mrs Lawal #79     One thing at a time take it easy.80. A ki ni eni ni mosan, ki a ma mu kikan ( Mosan is an Orange tree) by Mrs Lawal #80     You can't have someone in an influencial position and be helpless.81. Omo to ba no owo ni Iya re ngbe. by Mrs Lawal #81     Seek and you shall find.82. Ile ti a ba fi ito mo, Iri ni yio wo ( ito is saliva, iri is dew) by Mrs Lawal #82      A solid foundation can survive all times.83. Iwon eku ni iwon ite. by Mrs Alabi #83The next 20 proverbs are by Mr Ayo Babatunde.84.  A kii so wipe ki omode ma hu eyin gan n gan, sugbon ni igba ti o ba huu, ti ko ri ete fi boo, oju re ko wa ni jaa.   

 

85. A ngba oromodie ( omo adire ) lowo iku, o ni won ko je ki oun lo si ori akitan lo jeun.

 

86. Bi ara ile eni ba nje kokoro buburu, bi a ko ba so fun, huru-here re ko ni jeki a sun loru.

 

87. Bi a ba ju abebe si oke ni igbagbogbo, ibi pelebe ni yio maa fi le ile.

 

88. Bi iya nla ba ngbe ni sanle, kekere a maa gori eni.

 

89. Obe ti baale ile kii je, iyaale ile kii see.
 

90. Idi ko yato, bi a se bi eru ni a bi omo.

 

91. A ini ora Ogonogo, a kii fi we ti Adigbonanku.,
 

92. Ijakumo kii rin ode osan, eni a biire kii rin oru.
 

93. Oogun ti a ko fi owo se, eyin aaro ni o ngbe.
 

94.  Omode jogun ilu, o nyo, ko mo pe aimo ilu lu ni o pa baba oun.
 

95.  Ki owo to te iya Akoko, omo re a ti to igi so.
 

96.  Owo ti Apon fi ko ata, ti o fi ko iyo, o to owo ira eshin.

 

97.  Aigbofa ni a now oke, ifa kan ko si ni para.
 

98. Ara ile eni ko se ni, eniyan ile eni ko se eniyan, a ko ni fi we alaroo lasan.
 

99.  A ini aso lorun Paaka oye ki o to apewo fun omo eriwo.
 

100. Gele o dun bi ka maa we, ka maa we, ko dabi ko ye eni.
 

101.  Eti Oba ni ile, eti Oba loko, eniyan ni o nje bee.
 

102.  Aare npe o, o nda ifa, bi ifa ba fo ire ti Aare ko ba fo ire nko ?

 

103.  A ki i mu ise je, ka mu ise je. You cannot escape work and escape poverty. by Mr Odutola

104. A n juwon ko se wi lejo, ija ilara ko tan boro. Superiority cannot be stated as a case, while envious quarrels do not end easily. by Mr Odutola.

105.  Abere yo lo k'ona okun to di. The needle would have gone before the way of the thread becomes blocked. By Mr Odutola

106.  Didun lodun ti a 'nba ore je efo , ti ile oge to oge e je. by Dr Adediji

107. Obo (monkey) ti o gbon  ni aawe n'gbo by Mrs Alabi. It is only the foolish or stupid Monkey that does not know the tricks that is tested by a period of fasting.

108. Ejo la 'n ko, a ki i ko ija by Mrs Alabi  meaning you may want to try diplomacy to get your point across without resorting to arguments or as Dr Phil would say, "do you want to be right and win your argument or do you want to be happy?"

109. Igba ara la'n bu 'ra by Mrs Alabi. meaning everything in its own time or you do things when the time is right for it.
 

YORUBA DESCENDANTS ASSOCIATION OF ALABAMA INC.