12 Jamaican Proverbs and Their Meanings
The use of Jamaican proverbs play an important role of how locals express themselves in patois. There are many sayings, some passed down from African ancestors, and some a bastardization of English idioms. Proverbs are often injected into everyday conversations and are very handy when one needs to summarize their emotions or a particular situation.
Here are 12 common Jamaican proverbs and their meanings.
- A nuh one day monkey want wife – You don’t know how often you’ll need help in the future so be careful not to turn your back on those who help you.
- See me and know me are two different things – You can’t really know a person just by looking at them. Even if you see them often, unless you spend a lot of time with them you can’t know who they really are.
- Hard ears pickney grave deh a road side – Misfortune will befall those (especially children) who don’t listen to their parents advice.
- What sweet nannie goat ago run him belly – The source of your pleasure now might cause you great sorrow later on.
- Dog have money him buy cheese – When people have a lot of money, they buy things that they don’t need.
- Fiyah deh a mus mus tail him t’ink a cool breeze – When someone is oblivious to an impending disaster and thinks that all is well. Otherwise, don’t mistake a dangerous situation for something safe.
- Dog a sweat but long hair cover it – Not everyone needs to when you’re going through hard times. You can dress up, have fun and carry on with life even though all is not well in your life.
- Wanti wanti cyaa get it, getti getti nuh want it – The person who has the most need can’t get what they want, but the person who has in abundance doesn’t want they have.
- Every weh me tun makka juk me – Every move I make, I encounter a problem.
- Sorry fi mawga dawg, mawga dawg tun roun’ bite yuh – The people you help may very well be the ones to turn around and do you wrong.
- Man nuh dead nuh call him duppy – Don’t give up! As long as a person has life, there is hope for him to find a way to achieve his goals.
- What is joke to yuh is death to me – What’s funny to you may be a source of pain for me.