In Spanish language, the native, popular proverbs received the name of refranes. In Mexico, these are called dichos. Most of them are humorous. The first anthology of them, with the title of "Proverbs that old women tell around the fire" (in Spanish, Proverbios que dicen las viejas tras el fuego) was made by the writer Marqués de Santillana in the 15th century. Sancho Panza, one of characters of the Don Quijote, spouts proverbs for any occasion.
List of refranes
Note: the pronunciation in the provided sound files is not precicely that of Spanish people.
- A buen hambre no hay pan duro. (There is no hard bread if you are hungry) - "Hunger is the best gravy" (Shakepeare) ()
- A caballo regalado no le mires el dentado. A caballo regalado no se le miran los dientes. (Don't look a gift horse in the mouth)
- A donde fueres haz lo que vieres. (Wherever you go, do what you see) - When in Rome, do as the Romans do. ()
- A falta de hombres buenos, a mi padre hicieron alcalde. (For lack of good men, they made my father mayor) ()
- A perro flaco, todos son pulgas. (To a skinny dog, all are fleas.)
- A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda. (God helps those who get up early) - God helps those who help themselves. Or, The early bird gets the worm. ()
- A todo cerdo le llega su San Martín (Every pig has its San Martin's day) - What goes around, comes around. ()
- Caras vemos, corazones no sabemos. (We see the faces, we do not know about the hearts)
- Cuando el indio va de culo, no hay barranco que lo ataje. (When the indian slides on his butt, there's no way to stop him)
- Del árbol caído todos hacen leña (Everyone gets wood from a fallen tree.)
- Del dicho al hecho, hay mucho trecho (There's a great distance between the word to the deed)
- Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres (Tell me who is by your side and I'll tell you who you are.) - Birds of a feather flock together. Or, A man is known by the company he keeps. ()
- El mal escribano le echa la culpa a la pluma (The poor writer blames the pen) - It's a poor workman who complains about his tools. ()
- El que con niños se acuesta, molido (or meado) se despierta (Those who go to bed with babies get up damp) - Lie down with dogs and you wake up with fleas.
- El que no llora no mama (He who doesn't cry, doesn't suckle) - The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
- El que se ha quemado con leche al ver una vaca llora (He who has scalded himself on milk, weeps when he sees a cow)
- En boca cerrada no entran moscas (A closed mouth gathers no flies) - Same in english. ()
- Gato escaldado del agua fría huye (The cat that has been scalded flees from cold water)
- Más vale llegar a tiempo que en convidado (It's better to arrive at the right moment than to be invited)
- Más vale pájaro en mano que ciento volando (A bird in the hand is better than a hundred flying birds) A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
- No hables de la soga en casa del ahorcado (Don't talk about rope in a hanged man's home) ()
- No hay mal que por bien no venga (There's no bad that something good doesn't come from it) - Every cloud has a silver lining. ()
- No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano (Dawn doesn't hurry if you get up earlier) ()
- Quien a buen árbol se arrima buena sombra le cobija (If you lean to a good tree you will be protected by a good shadow)
- Ser como el perro del hortelano, que ni come las berzas, ni las deja comer al amo (To be like the gardener's dog, who doesn't eat the cabbages, nor lets the master eat them)
- Si quieres el perro, acepta las pulgas (If you want the dog, accept the fleas.) ()
- Si tu mujer quiere tirarte de un tejado, procura que sea uno bajo (If your wife wants to throw you off the roof, try to find a low one)