Serbian proverbs


Cyrillic: Бог је прво себи браду створио. – Latin: Bog je prvo sebi bradu stvorio.

Translation: God created the beard on himself first. (Meaning that everybody looks after himself first.)


Cyrillic: Боље врабац у руци, него голуб на грани. – Latin: Bolje vrabac u ruci, nego golub na grani.

Translation: A sparrow in the hand is better than a pigeon on the branch. (A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.)


Cyrillic: Врана врани очи не вади. – Latin: Vrana vrani oči ne vadi.

Translation: A crow doesn’t pick out another crow’s eyes. (A thief does not steal from another thief.)



Cyrillic: Гвожђе се кује док је вруће. – Latin: Gvožne se kuje dok je vruće.

Translation: Iron is worked when it’s still hot. (Strike while the iron is hot.)


Cyrillic: Где je много бабица, килава cу деца. – Latin: Gde je mnogo babica, kilava su deca.

Translation: Where there are many midwives, children will be feeble. (Too many cooks spoil the broth.)


Cyrillic: Где ти много обећавају, малу торбу понеси. – Latin: Gde ti mnogo obećavaju, malu torbu ponesi.

Translation: Where people are promising much to you, bring a small bag. (Similar to: There is no free lunch.)



Cyrillic: Дала баба динар да се ухвати у коло, а два да се пусти. – Latin: Dala baba dinar da se uhvati u kolo, a dva da se pusti.

Translation: Grandma gave a dinar to dance, and two to stop. (Be careful what you wish for.)



Cyrillic: Ивер не пада далеко од кладе. – Latin: Iver ne pada daleko od klade.

Translation: A splinter doesn’t land far from the trunk. (An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.)


Cyrillic: Иcпeци пa peци. – Latin: Ispeci pa reci.

Translation: Bake it and then say it. (Think before you speak).



Cyrillic: Кад мачке нема, мишеви коло воде. – Latin: Kad mačke nema, miševi kolo vode.

Translation: When cat is absent, mice dance. (When the cat’s away, the mice will play.)


Cyrillic: Ко вино вечера, воду доручкује. – Latin: Ko vino večera, vodu doručkuje.

Translation: Who has wine for dinner, he has water for breakfast. (You can’t avoid paying consequences for your deeds.)


Cyrillic: Ко другоме јаму копа сам у њу пада. – Latin: Ko drugome jamu kopa sam u nju pada.

Translation: Who digs a trap for others ends up in it himself. (What goes around, comes around.)


Cyrillic: Ко рано рани, две среће граби. – Latin: Ko rano rani, dve sreće grabi.

Translation: One who gets up early is doubly lucky. (The early bird gets the worm.)


Cyrillic: Ко с ђаволом тикве сади, о главу му се обију. – Latin: Ko s vragom tikve sadi, o glavu mu se obiju.

Translation: If one sows pumpkins with the devil, they will bash onto one’s head. (Similar to: As you sow, so you shall reap.)


Cyrillic: Кo нeмa у глави, имa у нoгaмa. – Latin: Ko nema u glavi, ima u nogama.

Translation: Who doesn’t have in his head has in his feet. (Absent-minded do the work twice.)


Cyrillic: Ко сeје ветар, жање олују. – Latin: Ko seje vetar, žanje oluju.

Translation: Who sows wind will harvest storm. (Similar to: As you sow, so you shall reap.)


Cyrillic: Ко уме, њему две. – Latin: Ko ume, njemu dve.

Translation: The one who can gets two. (Skilled worker is paid double.)


Cyrillic: Ко учи знаће, ко штеди имаће. – Latin: Ko uči znaće, ko štedi imaće.

Translation: Those who study will know, those who save will have.



Cyrilic: Лепа реч и гвоздена врата отвара. – Latin: Lepa reč i gvozdena vrata otvara.

Translation: A kind word opens even the iron doors. (You can succeed in anything by being polite.)



Cyrillic: На млађима свет остаје. – Latin: Na mlanima svet ostaje.

Translation: The world is left to the young.


Cyrillic: На муци се познају јунаци. – Latin: Na muci se poznaju junaci.

Translation: You can tell a fearless in times of trouble. (When the going gets tough, the tough get going.)


Cyrillic: Најтамније је испод свеће. – Latin: Najtamnije je ispod sveće.

Translation: Its the darkest underneath the candle. (What you seek could be near you yet unnoticed.)


Cyrillic: На невидишу нема кривице. – Latin: Na nevidišu nema krivice.

Translation: If it isn’t seen, there’s no guilt. (If you do something without being caught it isn’t done.)


Cyrillic: Не можe крушка да роди јабуку. – Latin: Ne može kruška da rodi jabuku.

Translation: A pear tree cannot bear an apple.


Cyrillic: Не сeј тикве где још нису никле! – Latin: Ne sej tikve gde jos nisu nikle!

Translation: Don’t plant pumpkins where they never sprouted! (Don’t waste your time trying things which are proven won’t work.)


Cyrillic: Нема ватре без дима. – Latin: Nema vatre bez dima.

Translation: There is no fire without smoke. (Where there is smoke there is fire.)


Cyrillic: Нема мирног детета ни младе бабе. – Latin: Nema mirnog deteta ni mlade babe.

Translation: There’s no quiet child nor young grandmother.


Cyrillic: Нема хлеба без мотике! – Latin: Nema hleba bez motike!

Translation: There’s no bread without hoe! (You cannot make omelets without eggs. Similar to: Only hard work pays off.)


Cyrillic: Није злато све што сија. – Latin: Nije zlato sve što sija.

Translation: Gold is not all that shines. (All that glitters is not gold.)



Cyrillic: Oбeћaње лудoм рaдoвaње. – Latin: Obećanje ludom radovanje.

Translation: Promise makes a fool happy. (Do not be fooled by empty promises.)



Cyrillic: Пас који лаје не уједа. – Latin: Pas koji laje ne ujeda.

Translation: The dog that barks doesn’t bite. (Barking dogs seldom bite; to be full of empty threats.)


Cyrillic: Правити од комарца магарца. – Latin: Praviti od komarca magarca.

Translation: To make a donkey out of a mosquito. (To make a mountain out of a molehill.)


Cyrillic: Прво скочи па реци хоп. – Latin: Prvo skoči pa reci hop.

Translation: First leap, and then say “hop”! (Do something before you brag about it.)


Cyrillic: Птица раноранилицa прва црва нађе. – Latin: Ptica ranoranilica prva crva nane.

Translation: The early bird catches the first worm.



Cyrillic: Ругала се шерпа лонцу, широка му уста. – Latin: Rugala se šerpa loncu, široka mu usta.

Translation: A pan was mocking a pot because his mouth is big. (The pot calls the kettle black.)


Cyrillic: Ружној девојци огледало криво. – Latin: Ružnoj devojci ogledalo krivo.

Translation: An ugly girl blames the mirror. (A bad craftsman blames his tools.)



Cyrillic: Само слога Србина спаcава – Latin: Samo Sloga Srbina Spasava

Translation: Only unity saves the Serbs.


Cyrillic: Свуда пођи, својој кући дођи. – Latin: Svuda poni, svome domu doni.

Translation: Go everywhere, but come back home. (There’s no place like home).



Cyrillic: Тиха вода брег рони. – Latin: Tiha voda breg roni.

Translation: Quiet water wears down a shore. (Anything is possible with time.)

Note: This proverb uses an archaic word for river shore (breg), whereas today that word has changed its meaning and signifies ‘mountain’.


Cyrillic: Трипут мери, једном сеци. – Latin: Triput meri, jednom seci.

Translation: Three times measure, one time cut. (Measure thrice, cut once; think first, act later.)



Cyrillic: У том грму чучи зец! – Latin: U tom grmu čuči zec!

Translation: That’s the bush where the hare squats! (to find a solution to the problem)


Cyrillic: Уздај се у се и у своје кљусе! – Latin: Uzdaj se u se i u svoje kljuse!

Translation: Trust yourself and your horse! (If you want to get things done, do it yourself.)


Cyrillic: Умиљато јагње две овце сиса. – Latin: Umiljato jagnje dve ovce sisa.

Translation: Cuddly lamb sucks two ewes. (Similar to: Flattery will get you anywhere.)



Cyrillic: Што можеш данас, не остављај за сутра. – Latin: Što možeš danas, ne ostavljaj za sutra.

Translation: What you can do today do not leave off for tomorrow. (Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.)


Retrieved from:

Leave a Reply