The Maltese language is very rich in wise sayings and proverbs (‘qwiel’ in Maltese) that are worth pondering about.
As in the case of other languages, some of the proverbs found in the Maltese language are found in other languages as well as they are common to different countries around the world.
In this blog post we will be sharing with you 12 common Maltese proverbs that will make you think twice about everyday situations.
12 Common Maltese Proverbs
1. Min jistenna jithenna – He who waits is rewarded
This is a very commonly used phrase in Maltese and is mostly used when you want someone to wait patiently for something.
It is very similar to the english expression ‘patience is a virtue’. However, in Malta we always manage to turn things around.
This phrase is often changed into ‘min jistenna jitherra’ which means ‘he who waits, wears out’. This is like saying if you want something take action now don’t wait.
2. Fejn thobb il-qalb jimxu r-riglejn – Where the heart loves, that’s where the legs walk.
This means that we are bound to make sacrifices that conform with our love. So if, for example, our beloved one needs to move to another village, or country, love will take us there.
3. Ghidli ma’ min taghmilha u nghidlek x’int – Tell me who you’re friends with and I’ll tell you what you are
This means that our character and behaviour are greatly affected by our friends, those whom we interact with or hang out with.
In other words, people can tell whether there are good or bad influences in our lives by the people who are closest to us.
4. Qis mitt darba u aqta’ darba – Measure 100 times and cut once.
This literally means that you should take all the time in the world to make a decision, however once you’ve made a decision, you cannot go back on your word.
In other words, make sure that before you take a decision, you consider all the options, but then once you do take a decision, go ahead and stick to it.
5. Tixtrix hut fil-bahar – Do not buy fish while they are still in the sea
This means that you shouldn’t put your money on something that is not 100% safe.
Since there is no guarantee that the fish in the sea will be caught, you should not pay money for such fish before it has been caught. Be wise when it comes to investing money.
6. Il-borza tal-bezziegh la timtela w lanqas tifriegh -The wallet of the timid man neither increases nor decreases.
This proverbs teaches us that being afraid to take risks in life will get us nowhere. We will simply remain at a standstill in our lives, pondering on what might have been.
7. Il-mistoqsija oht il-gherf – A Question is the sister of Wisdom
As we all know, we will not learn unless we ask questions, enquire, and try to find out more to increase our knowledge. Unless we ask a question, we will never learn the answer.
8. Gawdi ghax mid-dinja m’ghandna xejn. – Have fun because we have nothing from this world.
This proverb encourages us to live life to the full because, at the end of the day, we will not take with us any earthly possessions once life is over.
9. Li kien kien, li kieku kieku. – What was was, what if (remains) what if…
This proverb states that it is no use crying over spilt milk, or imagining how things would have turned out if something else had happened differently. We have to accept reality and move on.
10. Tinfaxxax rasek cabel taqsama – Do not bandage your head before you break it
So many times we make a big fuss about something which we believe is going -or could – happen.
This proverb encourages people to live the moment, and stop acting like something wrong has happened just because we believe that it might.
11. Iż-żmien hu l-akbar għalliem – Time is the greatest teacher
A proverb that is synonymous with “only time will tell”, the difference being that here we are stating that it is a teacher, because it will teach us that we were wrong to expect something to happen, when it’s no use speculating.
12. Kliem ix-xih zomm fih – The words of the old man you should trust
Old people have a lot of experience. They have been through a lot in life and the younger generations can definitely learn from the words of the older people.