Proverbs in Swahili and their Translations and Meanings

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Swahili Proverbs

Here are Swahili proverbs (methali za Kiswahili) translated into English with there meanings. There are over 400 proverbs in Swahili here arranged alphabetically from A to Z.

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter A

  • Ada ya mja hunena muungwana ni kitendo. (The behavior of a person shows whether they are a gentleman.)
  • Adhabu ya kaburi aijuaye maiti. (Only the dead know the punishment of the grave.)
  • Adui wa mtu ni mtu, adui mpende, adui aangukapo mnyanyue. (An enemy is still a person. Love your enemy, and help them up when they fall.)
  • Afadhali ya Musa kuliko ya Firauni. (It is better to be poor than rich if you are unhappy.)
  • Afya ni bora kuliko mali. (Health is more important than wealth.)
  • Ahadi ni deni. (A promise is a debt.)
  • Aibu ya maiti aijuaye mwosha. (Only the person who washes the corpse knows its shame.)
  • Aisifuye mvua imemnyea. (He who praises rain has been rained on.)
  • Alisifuye jua limemwangaza. (He who praises the sun has been warmed by it.)
  • Ajali haina kinga. (Accidents cannot be prevented.)
  • Ajizi ni nyumba ya njaa. (Laziness is the home of hunger.)
  • Akiba halozi, akiba si mbi ijapokuwa ya kumbi, siku ya kivumbi hutiwa motoni. (Savings are not bad, even if they are only coconut fibres. On the day of the storm, they will be put to the test.)
  • Akili ni mali, akili nyingi huondoa maarifa. (Knowledge is wealth, but too much knowledge can lead to a loss of understanding.)
  • Akili ni nywele kila mtu ana zake. (Everyone has their own intelligence.)
  • Akili nyingi huondoa maarifa. (Too much knowledge can lead to a loss of understanding.)
  • Akufaaye kwa dhiki ndiye rafiki. (A true friend is someone who is there for you in times of trouble.)
  • Akutendaye mtende, mche asiyekutenda. (He who does you good, do for him good and who does you wrong, ignore them.)
  • Aliye juu mngoje chini. (He who is on top will eventually come down.)
  • Aliye kando haangukiwi na mti. (He who is standing far from the tree will not be fallen down by it.)
  • Aliyekula kitovu chako hatakuachia utumbo. (He who has eaten your navel will not leave you with a stomach.)
  • Aliyekunyima kunde/mbaazi amekupungunguzia mashuzi. (He who has denied you beans has reduced your stew.)
  • Aliyekunyoa shungi kakupunguzia kuchana. (He who has shaved your hair has reduced your combing.)
  • Aliyetota hajui kutota. (He who has not experienced something does not know how to deal with it.)
  • Aliyeumawa na nyoka akiona unyasi hushituka. (He who has been bitten by a snake is startled by the sight of grass.)
  • Amani haipatikani ila kwa ncha ya upanga. (Peace can only be achieved through violence.)
  • Amnyimaye punda adesi ampunguzia mashuzi. (He who has denied the donkey a saddle has reduced its load.)
  • Anayemwamini Mungu si mtovu. (He who believes in God is not dishonest.)
  • Angalipaa juu kipungu kamwe hafiki mbinguni. (Even if a small ant jumps high, it will never reach the sky.)
  • Angurumapo Simba, mcheza nani? (Who will dare to challenge the lion when it roars?)
  • Asio mali, hasidi wa mwenye mali. (He who has no wealth is envious of the wealthy.)
  • Asiye na bahati habahatiki. (He who has no luck is not lucky.)
  • Asiye na mwana aeleke jiwe. (He who has no child should adopt a stone.)
  • Asiyejua utu si mtu. (He who does not know humanity is not a person.)
  • Asiyekubali kushindwa si mshindani. (One who does not accept defeat is not a competitor.)
  • Asiyesafiri husifu upishi wa mama yake tu. (One who does not travel praises only his mother’s cooking.)
  • Asiyesikia la mkuu huvunjika guu. (One who does not listen to the older people’s advice will break his leg.)
  • Atangaye na jua hujua. (One who travels with the sun knows.)
  • Avumaye baharini papa kumbe wengine wapo. (One who rules the ocean is sharks, but there are others too.)
  • Awali ni awali hakuna awali mbovu. (The beginning is the beginning, there is no bad beginning.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter B

  • Baada ya dhiki faraja. (After hardship comes relief.)
  • Bahati ya mwenzio usiilalie mlango wazi. (Do not covet your neighbor’s fortune.)
  • Balaa hukutia mtu wako. (Misfortune befalls your own.)
  • Bandu bandu humaliza gogo. (The anthill eats up the log.)
  • Baniani mbaya kiatu chake dawa. (Even a bad Indian has a good pair of shoes.)
  • Bao nene si chuma chembamba. (A thick timber is not a thin metal.)
  • Barua ya moyo husomwa juu ya panda la uso. (The letter of the heart is read on the forehead.)
  • Bendera hufuata upepo. (The flag follows the wind.)
  • Bilashi, bilashi, katu haitoshi. (A little bit, a little bit, is never enough.)
  • Binadamu ni kama kilihafu hakosi uchafu. (Human beings are like a cooking pot, they never lack dirt.)
  • Bura yangu sibadili kwa rehani. (I would not trade my things for other people’s things.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter C

  • Chanda chema huvikwa pete. (A good thing is adorned with an award.)
  • Chelewa chelewa, utakuta mwana si wako. (If you delay, you will find that nothing waits for you.)
  • Chombo kilichopikiwa samaki hakiachi kunuka vumba. (A pot that has cooked fish does not stop smelling of smoke.)
  • Chovya chovya humaliza buyu la asali. (Tasting now and again will finish the honey jar.)
  • Chungu kidogo huchemka upesi. (A small pot boils quickly.)
  • Chururu si ndondondo. (A drop is not a flood.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter D

  • Dalili ya mvua ni mawingu. (A sign of rain is clouds.)
  • Damu ni nzito kuliko maji. (Blood is thicker than water.)
  • Dau la mnyonge haliendi joshi likienda joshi ni matakwa ya Mungu. (The weak person’s boat does not go far, if it goes far it is God’s will.)
  • Dawa ya deni kulipa. (The cure for debt is to pay it.)
  • Dawa ya jipu kulipasua. (The cure for a boil is to lance it.)
  • Dawa ya moto ni moto. (The cure for fire is fire.)
  • Debe shinda haliachi kutika. (A full basket does not stop leaking.)
  • Debe tupu haliachi kuvuma. (An empty container does not stop making noise.)
  • Domo kaya samli kwa mwenye ngombe. (A  person who talks a lot is a blessing to a cattle owner.)
  • Dondandugu halina dawa. (An incurable sore has no cure.)
  • Dua la kuku halimpati mwewe. (A chicken’s prayer does not reach the eagle.)
  • Dunia hadaa ulimwengu shujaa. (The world is a deceit; the universe is a hero.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter E

  • Eda ni ada yenye faida. (A wife’s period of mourning after death or divorce of husband is a fee with benefits.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter F

  • Fadhila mpe mama na Mola atakubariki. (Show kindness to your mother and God will bless you.)
  • Fadhila za punda mashuzi. (Kindness from a donkey is useless.)
  • Fadhili ukitenda usingoje shukrani. (Do good deeds without expecting thanks.)
  • Fahari isiyo na ari haina heri. (Pride without effort is useless.)
  • Fimbo ya mbali haiuwi nyoka. (A stick from afar cannot kill a snake.)
  • Fumbo mfumbie mjinga mwerevu huling’amua. (Give a fool a riddle and it will be solved by a wise man.)
  • Funika kombe mwanaharamu apite. (Cover the pot so the thief can pass by.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter G

  • Ganda la muwa la jana chungu kaona kivuno. (Yesterday’s sugarcane husk is a source of pride for the ant.)
  • Ghururi na binadamu hawaachani. (Pride and humans never part ways.)
  • Ghushi dhahabu na shaba dhambi na dhawabu havighushiki. (Fake gold and copper are not as valuable as real gold and copper.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter H

  • Haba na haba hujaza kibaba. (Little by little, the calabash fills up.)
  • Hadhari kabla ya hatari. (Be careful before danger strikes.)
  • Hakuna bamvua lisilo usubi. (There is no a good thing without a defect.)
  • Hakuna marefu yasiyokuwa na ncha. (There is no length without an end.)
  • Hakuna masika yasiyokuwa na mbu. (There is no rainy season without mosquitoes.)
  • Hakuna ziada mbovu. (There is no such thing as too much.)
  • Hamadi kibindo ni silaha iliyo mkononi. (A ready-made plan is a weapon in the hand.)
  • Hapana maji yasiyo na mawimbi. (There is no water without waves.)
  • Haraka haraka haina baraka. (Haste has no blessings.)
  • Hasira hasara. (Anger is a loss.)
  • Hasira ya mkizi furahaya mvuvi. (The anger of the mullet fish is a joy to the fisherman.)
  • Hatua moja hufupisha safari. (One step shortens the journey.)
  • Heri kujikwaa kidole kuliko ulimi. (Better to stumble with the finger than with the tongue.)
  • Heri mchawi kuliko mtu fitina. (It is better to be a witch than a troublemaker.)
  • Heri nusu shari kuliko shari kamili. (It is better to have half of a bad thing than all of it.)
  • Hewala! si utumwa. (Accepting what someone else tells you is not slavery.)
  • Hindi ndiko kwenye nguo na wendao uchi wako. (There are a lot of clothes in India but there are people who walk naked there.)
  • Huenda umaskini ukakaribia ukafiri. (Poverty can be same as disbelief.)
  • Hukutia mtu wako. (Yor enemy is the one who is close to you.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter I

  • Ibilisi wa mtu ni mtu. (The devil of a person is a person.)
  • Ingiwa na shake. (Crying alot.)
  • Inuka twende ni kwa waaganao. (Get up, let’s go; it’s for those who bid farewell.)
  • Ivushayo ni mbovu. (The item that helped you to overcome your trouble is bad afterwards.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter J

  • Jambo la ukucha halichukuliwi shoka. (A task that can be done with a hand should not be done with a hoe.)
  • Jaribu huleta fanaka. (Trying brings success.)
  • Jawabu la kesho andaa leo. (Prepare today for tomorrow’s answer.)
  • Jawabu wakatiwe na wakatiwe si zani. (The answer is sometimes and sometimes not.)
  • Jimbi wa shamba hawiki mjini. (The farm rooster does not crow in the town.)
  • Jino likingoka ukubwani halimei tena. (A tooth that is pulled out in adulthood doesn’t grow again.)
  • Jogoo likiwika lisiwikae kutakucha. (Even if the rooster crows or it doesn’t, morning must come.)
  • Jogoo wa shamba hawiki mjini. (The farm rooster does not crow in the town.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter K

  • Kafiri akufaaye si Islamu asiyekufaa. (An unbeliever who helps is better than a Muslim who does not help.)
  • Kamba hukatikia pabovu. (The rope breaks where it is weak.)
  • Katakata pua uunge wajihi. (Do something even if it’s tough, and it will increase your chances of success.)
  • Katiti ni tamu kingi kina kiembeza. (Small is better; More brings harm.)
  • Kazi mbi si mchezo mwema. (Bad work is not good.)
  • Kenda fumbata si kumi nenda uje kesho. (Be content with what you have.)
  • Kichwa cha kuku hakihimili kilemba. (A person of low status cannot be given a position of high honor.)
  • Kidole kimoja hakivunji chawa. (It takes more than one person to accomplish a task.)
  • Kifo cha wengi harusi. (A tragedy can be an opportunity for others to benefit.)
  • Kila mtoto na koja lake. (Every child has their own unique personality.)
  • Kila mwacha samboye, huenda ali mwanamaji. (He who leaves his village may be a sailor.)
  • Kila mwamba ngoma,huvutia kwake. (When people do something, the first does it for their own benefit.)
  • Kila mwamba ngoma, ngozi huivuta kwake. (When people do something, the first does it for their own benefit.)
  • Kila ndege huruka kwa ubawa wake. (Every bird flies with its own wings.)
  • Kilichoingia mjini si haramu. (What enters the city is not forbidden.)
  • Kilimia kikizama kwa jua huzuka kwa mvua, kikizama kwa mvua huzuka kwa jua. (When a hoe sinks into the ground due to the sun, it will rise up due to the rain.)
  • Kimya kingi kina mshindo mkuu. (A lot of silence means something.)
  • Kinyozi hajinyoi akinyoa kujikata. (A barber does not shave himself.)
  • Kinywa ni jumba la maneno. (The mouth is a house of words.)
  • Kipya kinyemi ingawa kidondo. (The new is always fresh, even though it’s a wound.)
  • Kisebusebu na kiroho ki papo. (Some people pretend they don’t need something but they actual need it.)
  • Kitanda usicholala huwajui kunguni wake. (You do not know the bedbugs of a bed you have not slept in.)
  • Kitegwacho kukitega kwataka ubongo. (Every work needs knowledge and wisdom to do it effectively.)
  • Kivuli cha mgude husaidia walio mbali. (The shadow of a tree helps those who are far away.)
  • Kujikwaa si kuanguka, bali ni kwenda mbele. (Stumbles are not falls, but rather steps forward.)
  • Kukopa harusi kulipa matanga. (Borrowing money is awesome but paying it back is a great deal.)
  • Kuku havunji yai lake. (A chicken does not break its own egg.)
  • Kuku mgeni zawadi za kunguru. (A guest chicken is a gift to the crows.)
  • Kula kutamu kulima mavune. (Eating is sweet, but farming is hard work.)
  • Kula ni vyepesi lakini kulima ngo. (Eating is easy, but farming is difficult.)
  • Kula uhondo kwataka matendo. (To enjoye excitement requires action.)
  • Kulea mimba si kazi kazi kulea mwana. (Carrying a pregnancy is not work, but raising a child is.)
  • Kunguru mwoga hukimbiza bawa lake. (A cowardly crow chases its own wing.)
  • Kutoa ni moyo si utajiri. (Giving is from the heart, not from wealth.)
  • Kutoa ni moyo usambe ni utajiri. (Giving is from the heart, it does require wealth.)
  • Kuvua si kazi kazi ni magawioni. (Fishing is not the task; the real task is at the market.)
  • Kuvuja kwa pakacha nafuu kwa mchukuzi. (Leakage in the basket benefits the carrier.)
  • Kuzima koleo si mwisho wa uhunzi. (Resting is not the end of the work.)
  • Kwa mwari kwaliwa na kwa kungwi nako huliwa. (When you’re assisted, assist back also.)
  • Kwa mwendawazimu kumeingia mlevi. (When something goes from bad to worse.)
  • Kwa mwoga huenda kicheko na kwa shujaa huenda kilio. (Don’t do things that will land you in trouble.)
  • Kwea iliyo uchungu si uongo ulio mtamu. (A bitter truth is better than a sweet lie.)
  • Kwendako mwinyi hurudi mwinyi. (As the saying goes, “What goes around comes around.”)
  • Kwenye udongo hukosi mfinyanzi. (There is always a potter where there is clay.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter L

  • La kuvunda halina ubani. (Something that is already spoiled does not need incense.)
  • La mgambo likilia kuna jambo. (When there is a siren, there is something wrong.)
  • Leo ni leo asemaye kesho ni mwongo. (Today is today, whoever says tomorrow is a liar.)
  • Lila na fila havitangamani. (Good and bad do not mix.)
    Lililompata peku na ungo litampata. (What happens to a someone may happen to you.)
  • Linalopita hupishwa. (What has passed is forgiven.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter M

  • Mafiga mawili hayainjiki chungu. (Unity is strength.)
  • Mafuu hapatilizwi. (A fool cannot be cured.)
  • Maisha ni bahati ifumbate. (Life is luck, so take it seriously.)
  • Maji ukiyavulia nguo huna budi kuyaoga. (When you do something, be ready to for its effects.)
  • Maji mafu mvuvi kafu. (Something is done good under favorable conditions.)
  • Maji ya nazi hutafuta mvungulio. (Good things waits for an opportunity.)
  • Maji yakimwagika hayazoleki. (What has passed should be forgotten.)
  • Majuto ni mjukuu huja baada ya kitendo. (Regret  comes after the act.)
  • Makuukuu ya mwewe si mapya ya kengewa. (A hawk’s leftovers are not new to a kite.)
  • Mali bila daftari hupotea bila habari. (Wealth without a record disappears without a trace.)
  • Mali ilivunja nguu milima ikalala. (When you are wealthy you can do anything.)
  • Mali ya bahili huliwa na mchwa. (A miser’s wealth is eaten by ants.)
  • Mama mkwe hafungui mdomo. (A mother-in-law should not talk stupidly.)
  • Mambo kangaja huenda yakaja. (Bad things will come your way someday.)
  • Mashua ya maskini huzama mtoni. (A poor person’s opinion doesn’t go far.)
  • Maskini hana kinyongo. (A poor person has no grudge.)
  • Maskini hana rafiki. (A poor person has no friends.)
  • Maskini haokoti, akiokota huambiwa keba. (A poor person does not bring change in a society, if he tries, he is criticized.)
  • Mavi usiyoyala wayawingiani kuku? (It is not wise to strife with was has passed)
  • Mavi ya kale hayanuki. (The past has no effect on your life.)
  • Mbio za sakafuni huishia ukingoni. (Everything has an end.)
  • Mbiu ya mgambo ikilia kuna jambo. (When there is a siren, there is something wrong.)
  • Mbwa wa msasi mkali ni wakali pia. (The dogs of a fierce hunter are also fierce.)
  • Mcha Mungu si mtovu. (A God-fearing person is not wicked.)
  • Mchagua jembe si mkulima. (A person who chooses the hoe is not a farmer.)
  • Mchakacho ujao haulengwi na jiwe. (Future troubles are unpredictable and cannot be prevented.)
  • Mchama ago hanyeli huenda akauya papo. (It is not wise to despise one who has helped you, you may need him one day)
  • Mchawi akifichua mirimo ya wachawi huuawa. (A witch who reveals the secrets of other witches will be killed.)
  • Mchele mmoja mapishi mbalimbali. (A work may be done in many different ways.)
  • Mchelea bahari si msafiri.  (When you fear you aren’t up for the task.)
  • Mchelea mwana kulia hulia yeye. ((Avoiding necessary actions may lead to undesirable consequences.))
  • Mcheza hawi kiwete ngoma yataka matao. ((A skilled person does not lose their skills; success requires effort.)
  • Mchimba kisima huingia mwenyewe. (One who starts something is responsible for its completion.)
  • Mchonga mwiko hukimbiza mkono wake. (A person engaged in mischief may end up being harmed by their actions.)
  • Mchovya asali hachovyi mara moja. (A person who indulges in pleasure tends to repeat the experience.)
  • Mdomo siri ya gunda. (Words hold the key to understanding.)
  • Meno ya mbwa hayaumani. (People who know each other should not harm one another.)
  • Mfa maji haachi kutapatatapa. (A desperate person continues seeking solutions.)
  • Mficha uchi hazai. (A person who keeps troubles to himself will not find solutions.)
  • Mfinyanzi hulia gaeni. (One’s ability doesn’t help him, but benefits others.)
  • Mgaagaa na upwa hali wali mkavu. (A person who seeks will find.)
  • Mganga hajigangi. (A doctor does not treat themselves.)
  • Mgema akisifiwa tembo hulitia maji. (When someone is praised, they develop pride.)
  • Mgeni njoo mwenyeji apone. (Good news is good to everyone.)
  • Mgomba haushindwi na mkunguwe. (A person of strength is not intimidated by others.)
  • Mgonjwa haulizwi dawa. (When someone is clearly in need, help is given without asking.)
  • Miye nyumba ya udongo sihimili vishindo. (A fragile situation or relationship cannot endure pressure.)
  • Mkaidi hafaidi hadi siku ya Iddi. (Being obstinate brings no advantage.)
  • Mkamia maji hayanywi. (A person in a favorable situation may not take advantage of it.)
  • Mkata hana kinyongo. (A poor person doesn’t hold grudges.)
  • Mkate mkavu wa nyumbani ni bora kuliko nyama ya shuwa ya pengine. ( A piece of dry bread from home is better than a roasted piece of meat from someone else’s home.)
  • Mke ni nguo mgomba ni kupalilia. (A wife is an essential part of a home, just as a hoe is crucial for farming.)
  • Mkokoto wa jembe si bure yao. (Working hard brings rewards.)
  • Mkono mtupu haulambwi. (You can’t get anything with an empty hand.)
  • Mkuki kwa nguruwe mtamu kwa mwanadamu mchungu. (Something that is enjoyable to one person can be unpleasant to another.)
  • Mkulima ni mmoja walaji ni wengi. (One person does the work, but many people benefit from it.)
  • Mkwamba hauzai mzabibu. (A bad seed will not produce good fruit.)
  • Mkware hajiingilii mwenyewe. (A person can do better with the help of others.)
  • Mla mbuzi hulipa ngombe. (A person who does something wrong will be punished.)
  • Mla nawe hafi nawe ila mzaliwa nawe. (A friend will run from you when you’re in trouble, but your own relatives will not.)
  • Mlimbua nchi ni mwananchi mwenyewe. (The people who live in a country are the ones who should be responsible for it.)
  • Mnyamaa kadumbu. (A silent person perseveres.)
  • Mnyonge mnyongeni haki yake mpeni. (Help the oppressed and give them their rights.)
  • Mnyonge hana haki mpaka mwenye nguvu apende. (The oppressed have no rights until the powerful decide to give them.)
  • Minyonyore haunuki hupendeza mauaye. (Something that is not attractive when alive can be beautiful when dead.)
  • Moja shika si kumi nenda rudi. (It is better to have something than nothing, even if it is not much.)
  • Moja ya mkononi yashida mia ya mbali. (The less that you own is better than much that are far away.)
  • Mpanda farasi wawili hupasuka msamba. (A person who tries to do two things at once will fail.)
  • Mpenzi hana kinyongo. (A lover does not hold grudges.)
  • Mpiga ngumi ukuta huumia mkonowe. (A person who fights against a wall will only hurt himself.)
  • Mrina haogopi nyuki. (A brave person is not afraid of anything.)
  • Msafiri kafiri. (A traveler is like a stranger.)
  • Mshale usio na unyoya hauendi mbali. (When you have no support, you will not go far.)
  • Mshika mawili moja humponyoka. (A person who tries to do too much will fail.)
  • Mshonaji hachagui nguo. (A tailor does not choose clothes.)
  • Msi chembe wala uta si muwani. (A person who is not ready is not worth.)
  • Msitu ni mpya na komba nao. (Without experience, you may find it hard for you to do something.)
  • Mstahimilivu hula mbivu. (A patient person will eventually succeed.)
  • Mtafitafi hula samaki, mtulivu hula nyama. (A curious person will learn a lot, but a calm person will be content.)
  • Mtaka cha mvungu ni sharti ainame. (A person who wants something must make an effort to achieve it.)
  • Mtaka yote hukosa yote. (A person who wants everything will end up with nothing.)
  • Mtambua ndwele ndiye mganga. (A person who knows the cause of a disease can cure it.)
  • Mtaratibu humshinda mwenye nguvu. (A patient person will eventually defeat a powerful person.)
  • Mtashi hana kinyongo, ajapowaswa hakomi. (A person who is not easily offended will not be discouraged.)
  • Mtembezi hula miguu yake. (A person who doesn’t settle for good ends up with nothing.)
  • Mteuzi heshi tamaa. (A person who is greedy will not be able to make a choice.)
  • Mti upigwao mawe ni wenye matunda. (Those who face challenges often reap rewards.)
  • Mtoto akililia wembe mpe. (It implyies that one who insists on requesting should have it.)
  • Mtoto musikivu ndiye abarikiwaye. (A vigilant child is the blessed one.)
  • Mtoto wa nyoka ni nyoka. (Like father, like son.)
  • Muamidi cha ndugu, hufa masikini. (Relying solely on family support may lead to poverty.)
  • Mume ni kazi, mke ni nguo. (A husband provides for the family while the wife nurtures and cares.)
  • Mume wa mama ni baba. (Respect your dad as a father figure.)
  • Mvi usiopambwa vyema huyua. (Things that are not well-maintained will eventually deteriorate.)
  • Mvumilivu hula mbivu. (Patience leads to good outcomes.)
  • Mvuvi ndiye ajuaye pweza alipo. (An expert in a field knows the ins and outs of it.)
  • Mwamini Mungu si mtovu. (Those who believe in God are honest and trustworthy.)
  • Mwana kidonda, mjukuu kovu. (A problem may persist through generations.)
  • Mwana maji wa kware kufa maji mazoea. (People who are accustomed to something dangerous are not afraid of it.)
  • Mwana wa mhunzi asiposana hufukuta. (Children should learn the skills of their parents or ancestors.)
  • Mwana wa mhunzi asiposana huvuvia. (Children should learn the skills of their parents or ancestors.)
  • Mwanamaji hutaraji kufa maji. (People who are exposed to danger often expect to be harmed.)
  • Mwanzo wa ngoma ni lele. (Things often start with a lot of excitement or commotion.)
  • Mwanzo wa mvua ni mawingu. (Certain signs precede an event.)
  • Mwenda juu kipungu hafikii mbinguni. (People should not set unrealistic goals for themselves.)
  • Mwenda pole hajikwai. (It is better to take things slowly and carefully than to rush and make mistakes.)
  • Mwenda tezi na omo marejeo ni ngamani. (One who goes away from home will eventually return home – warning against arrogance.)
  • Mwenye dada hakosi shemeji. (One with a sister won’t lack a brother-in-law.)
  • Mwenye kelele hana neno. (One who makes a lot of noise has no substance – actions speak louder than words.)
  • Mwenye matende hana paja. (Implyies that having something valuable may come with a disadvantage.)
  • Mwenye nguvu mpishe. (Make way for the strong one – advising deference to those with power or authority.)
  • Mwili wa mwenzio ni kando ya mwilio. (You know nothing about someone’s struggles.)
  • Mwizi akishikwa husema kaokota. (When a thief is caught, he claims he was just picking up something.)
  • Mwosha huoshwa. (The one who bathes is bathed – suggesting mutual help.)
  • Mwosha husitiri maiti. (Bathing doesn’t help a dead man.)
  • Mzaha mzaha hutumbuka usaha. (Taking matters lightly may land you in trouble.)
  • Mzigo mzito mpe Mnyamwezi aubebe. (Implyies that tasks should be assigned to those who can handle them.)
  • Mzoea kutwaa, kutoa ni bangu. (Getting used to taking but not giving is thieving.)
  • Mzoea udalali hawezi kazi ya duka. (Being overly dependent on something may hinder progress.)
  • Mzoea vya kunyonga, vya kuchinja hawezi. (One who is used to handle something will not be able to do another task well.)
  • Mzungu wa kula hafundishwi mwana. (A person who is used to luxury cannot be taught to be humble.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter N

  • Nahodha hodari haogopi mawimbi. (A good leader is not afraid of challenges.)
  • Nazi mbovu harabu ya nzima. (One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.)
  • Ncha ikikosa mshale mzima hukosa. (If the tip is missing, the arrow is useless.)
  • Ndaro haina neno. (Pride is not necessary about talking about yourself.)
  • Ndege mjanja hunaswa kwenye tundu bovu. (A clever person can be tricked by a simple mistake.)
  • Ndege wasiofahamu ulimbo hunaswa kumi kumi. (People who are ignorant of a danger are likely to fall victim to it.)
  • Ndoto njema haihadithiwi. (Good dreams should not be shared.)
  • Ndovu hashindwi na mkongawe. (A large and powerful person cannot be defeated by a small and weak person.)
  • Ndugu chungu, jirani mkungu. (A close relative can be more harmful than a neighbor.)
  • Neno la mbali ni usiku wa giza. (A message from a distant place is like a dark night.)
  • Ngalawa isiyo na mirengu haisalimiki. (A boat without oars is doomed.)
  • Ngoja ngoja yaumiza matumbo. (Procrastination can be harmful.)
  • Ngozi ivute ili maji. (Do something before it is too late.)
  • Nguo ya kuazima, haisitiri matako. (Something you don’t own has no lasting benefits.)
  • Ngombe haelemewi na nunduye. (You should always bear you responsibilities.)
  • Ngombe mwenye tume ndiye achinjwaye. (When you fear, people will not respect you.)
  • Nimekula asali udogoni, utamu ungali gegoni. (The sweetness of childhood memories still lingers.)
  • Njaa ya leo ni shibe ya kesho. (Hunger today, satisfaction tomorrow.)
  • Njia ya mwongo ni fupi. (The path of a liar is short.)
  • Nyani haoni kundule, huliona la mwenziwe. (A stupid person does not see their defects, but sees those of others.)
  • Nyota ya mtu kuzimika. (A person’s star can fade.)
  • Nyumba ya mgumba haina kilio. (A childless woman’s house does not have crying.)
  • Nyumba ya udongo haihimili kishindo. (A house made of mud cannot withstand a strong wind.)
  • Nzi kufa juu ya kidonda si haramu. (It is not wrong for a fly to die on a wound.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter O

  • Ondoa dari, uezeke paa. (Get rid of obstructing things in your life, and rebuild it.)
  • Oto la kuku usilaze kicheche. (Do not trust someone with your own things.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter P

  • Pahala pa itifaki ikirahi haipiti. (A place where there is agreement there is no disagreements.)
  • Paka akiondoka panya hujitawala. (When there is no authority, people will govern themselves.)
  • Paka akiondoka panya hutawala. (When there is no one in charge, people will do the way they please.)
  • Paka hakubali kulala chali. (Don’t agree to do something if it is not aligned with your customs.)
  • Paka mafuta kwa mgongo wa chupa. (To be a liar.)
  • Palilia mkoche, mnazi wende na nyasi. (You should prioritize important things first.)
  • Pambo la jeneza lamfaani mtu? (It doesn’t help to do things to somebody that does not benefit them.)
  • Panapo udhiapenyeza rupia. (Where there is a problem there is a way.)
  • Papo kwa papo kamba hukata jiwe. (In face of challenges, endure and eventually you will succeed.)
  • Pato kuu ni la Mungu apaye wawi na wema. (The main income comes from God, who blesses with kindness.)
  • Pema ijapo pema, ukipema sana si pema tena. (Even if something seems perfect, excessive perfection may lead to imperfection.)
  • Pembe za chaki. (Private place.)
  • Penye nia pana njia. (Where there is a will, there is a way.)
  • Penye uchafu hapakosi nzi. (Where there is dirt, flies are not absent. i.e., A bad environment attracts undesirable elements.)
  • Pilipili usiyoila yakuwashia nini? (Why are you bothered by the things that are not your own?)
  • Pilipili iliyo shambani, yakuwashiani? (Why are you bothered by the things that haven’t happened?)
  • Pitapita zake hazininyimi usingizi. (I’m not bothered by their actions.)
  • Polepole ndiyo mwendo. (Slowly is the way to go. i.e., Patience is important.)
  • Punda haendi ila kwa mikwaju. (Some people only respond to force.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter R

  • Radhi ni bora kuliko mali. (Contentment is better than wealth.)
  • Rahisi haihalisi. (Easy is not always real. i.e., Easy come, easy go.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter S

  • Samaki mkunje angali mbichi, akishakauka hakunjiki. (Bend a fish while it’s still fresh; once it dries, it won’t bend.)
  • Samaki mmoja aki huoza wote wameoza. (If one fish rot in a backet, all are rotten.)
  • Shauku huondoa maarifa. (Enthusiasm removes knowledge.)
  • Sheria ni msumeno hukata huku na huku. (The law is a double-edged sword; it cuts both ways.)
  • Sheria ni msumeno hukata mbele na nyuma. (The law is a double-edged sword; it cuts front and back.)
  • Shetani wa mtu ni mtu. (A person’s devil is another person.)
  • Shibe ni mwana malevya na njaa ni mwana malegeza. (A full stomach makes you lazy, and hunger makes you active.)
  • Shukurani ya punda ni mateke. (A donkey’s gratitude is a kick.)
  • Sikio la kufa halisikii dawa. (Some people won’t accept advice.)
  • Siku njema huonekana asubuhi. (A good day is seen in the morning. i.e., A positive start leads to a good day.)
  • Siri ya mtungi aijuaye kata. (You know nothing about something until you experience it.)
  • Siri ya kaburi aijuaye maiti. (The secret of the grave is known by the dead. i.e., Some things are better left unknown.)
  • Sisimizi hawi ngombe. (An ant cannot become a cow. i.e., Know your limitations.)
  • Sitafuga ndwele na waganga tele. (Don’t hide sickness yet there are doctors.)
  • Subira yavuta heri. (Patience attracts blessings. i.e., Good things come to those who wait.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter T

  • Taa haachi mwiba awe. (One should be cautious even after achieving success.)
  • Tabia ya mtu kupenda mambo ya anasa na starehe. (People have a habit of loving luxury and pleasure.)
  • Tikiti baya liko shambani mwako. (You have your own problems to deal with.)
  • Titi la mama li tamu, jingine haliishi hamu. (Be satisfied with what you have.)
  • Tone na tone huwa mchirizi. (Consistent efforts lead to success.)
  • Tupa jongoo na mti wake. (Deal with a problem at its source.)
  • Turufu huenda kwa mchezaji. (The one in control has the advantage.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter U

  • Ubaya hatima yake mbaya. (Evil, its end is bad.)
  • Ubishi chanzo cha mateto. (Argument is the source of disputes.)
  • Uchungu wa mwana aujuaye mzazi. (Only the parent knows the pain of the child. i.e., Parents understand their children the best.)
  • Udogo wa kimo una mambo. (Short stature has its advantages. i.e., Small stature doesn’t limit potential.)
  • Ufukara hufanya mtu awe na udhalili moyoni. (Poverty makes a person have humility in their heart.)
  • Uhalifu mwenenzi si wa mkazi milele. (A crime partner is not a permanent resident. i.e., Betrayal is inevitable.)
  • Uhenga hauambiwi maana. (It is not wise to tell people the bad things they did in the past.)
  • Uislamu umemshinda fisi. (A strong and righteous force prevails.)
  • Ujana ni moshi ukienda haurudi. (Youth is like smoke; once it’s gone, it doesn’t return. i.e., Make the most of your youth.)
  • Ujanja mwingi mbele giza. (Too much cunningness precedes darkness. i.e., Deceit can lead to downfall.)
  • Ukiiga tembo kunya utapasuka msamba. (If you imitate an elephant in popping, your rectum will tear. i.e., Know your limits.)
  • Uking’wafua mnofu ukumbuke na kuguguna mfupa. (If you slaughter fat, remember to gnaw on the bone. i.e., Make the most of what you have.)
  • Ukiona ambari na zinduna i papo. (Recognize opportunities when they arise.)
  • Ukiona ambari, zinduna ipapo. (Where there’s something valuable, more is likely to be found.)
  • Ukiona vyaelea vimeundwa. (Nothing happens without effort.)
  • Ukipenda chongo huita kengeza. (People often mock what they desire.)
  • Ukistaajabu ya Musa utayaona ya firauni. (The more you see, the more you will be amazed.)
  • Ukitaja nyoka shika kigongo. (Be careful what you say, you might just be inviting trouble.)
  • Ukitaka kujua utamu wangoma ingia ucheze. (To know the taste of honey, you must taste it yourself.)
  • Ukitaka kuruka, agana na nyonga. (To fly, you must be prepared to take risks.)
  • Ukitaka riba sikio ziba. (If you don’t want to hear about something, just ignore it.)
  • Ukitenda wema usingoje kulipwa. (Do good without expecting anything in return.)
  • Ukubwa ni jaa. (Greatness is a burden.)
  • Ukubwa wa pua si wingi wa kamasi. (Appearances can be deceiving.)
  • Ukuukuu wa kamba si upya wa ukambaa. (Experience is more important than youth.)
  • Ukweli ukidhihiri uongo hujitenga. (Truth will always prevail over lies.)
  • Ulimi hauna mfupa. (Words can be very hurtful.)
  • Ulimwengu ni dhaifu siuoneni sheshe. (The world is fragile, treat it with care, don’t be attracted by passing things.)
  • Umoja ni nguvu utengano ni udhaifu. (Unity is strength, division is weakness.)
  • Upeo wa macho si mwisho wa dunia. (There is always more to learn.)
  • Ushikwapo shikamana. (When things get tough, get tougher too.)
  • Usiache mbachao kwa msala upitao. (Don’t give up on your dreams for something that is only temporary.)
  • Usidharau dafu embe ni tunda la msimu. (Don’t underestimate someone or something just because they are not popular or fashionable.)
  • Usidharau kiserema chalima kuliko jembe zima. (Don’t underestimate someone or something just because they are small or insignificant.)
  • Usicheze na simba ukamtia mkono kinywani. (Don’t mess with someone who is stronger than you.)
  • Usigombe na mkwezi, nazi imeliwa na mwezi. (Don’t argue with someone who has done you no wrong.)
  • Usikate ubeleko mtoto kabla hajazaliwa. (Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.)
  • Usimlaumu udobi kaniki ni rangi yake. (Don’t blame someone for their natural characteristics.)
  • Usimwage mtama kwenye kuku wengi. (Don’t waste your time or resources on something that is not worth it.)
  • Usinipake mafuta kwa mgongo wa chupa. (Don’t treat me like a fool.)
  • Usinivishe kilemba cha ukoka. (Don’t give me false hopes.)
  • Usione tanga la nguo ukasahau la myaa. (Don’t focus on the small things and forget the big picture.)
  • Usipoziba ufa utajenga ukuta. (If you don’t fix a small problem, it will only get worse.)
  • Utajiri ni kivuli. (Wealth is fleeting.)
  • Uuzohali ni nyumba ya njaa. (Laziness leads to poverty.)
  • Uzuri wa mkakasi ndani kipande cha mti. (Beauty can be outside but inside there is nothing.)
  • Uzuri wa mkakasi ukilowa maji basi. (Don’t be deceived by outside beauty.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter V

  • Vita vya panzi, furaha ya kunguru. (A conflict between two weak parties benefits a third party.)
  • Vundo la kinyesi ni malazi ya paka/bata. (Some find comfort in undesirable situations.)
  • Vunja dari uezeke paa. (Invest in improvement and progress.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter W

  • Wajua tamu ya ua, sumu wanipeani? (You know what can hurt someone, so don’t do it.)
  • Wanja wa manga si dawa ya chongo. (A superficial solution is not a real solution.)
  • Wapiga mbiu ganjoni utasikiwa na nani? (If you speak in a place where no one is listening, your words are wasted.)
  • Waraka ni nusu ya kuonana. (Communication is important, even if it is not in person.)
  • Wema hauozi. (Good deeds are always remembered).
  • Werevu mwingi mbele giza. (Being too clever can lead to trouble.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter Y

  • Ya Kaizari mpe Kaizari na ya Mungu mpe Mungu. (Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.)
  • Ya mgambo ikilia kuna jambo. (A warning sign is a sign of danger.)
  • Ya mkiwa haiiti na ikiita hupapata. (A poor man’s business has no profit, if it does is by lucky.)
  • Ya mkiwa haiiti, na ikiita hupapa. (A poor man’s business has no profit, if it does is by lucky.)
  • Yaliyompata peku na ungo yatampata. (What happens to him may happen to you.)
  • Yaliyopita si ndwele tugange yajayo. (Don’t dwell on the past, learn from it and move on.)
  • Yaliyopita si uele tugange yajayo. (Don’t dwell on the past, learn from it and move on.)
  • Yuajifanya mawele, kujitia mitini, ili aambiwe naye yumo. (Someone who tries to be something that he is not, in order to be accepted.)

Proverbs in Swahili that starts with letter Z

  • Zana za vita ni silaha. (War is fought by weapons.)