Yorùbá Proverbs are wise sayings passed through generations to teach historical lessons, highlight good morals, and instil social values. The use of a Yorùbá Proverb by a younger person is prohibited in the presence of an older person, without prior permission to do so.

Below is a table of some Yorùbá Proverbs, their literary translations and meanings:

Yorùbá Proverb

Literal Translation


Adìẹ funfun kò mọ ara rẹ̀lágbà

The white chicken does not realise its age

Respect yourself

Ọbẹ̀ kìí gbé inú àgbà mì

The soup does not move round in an elder’s belly

You should be able to keep secrets

À ń pe gbẹ́nàgbẹ́nà ẹyẹ
àkókó ń yọjú

A sculptor is summoned and the woodpecker shows up

Never think too highly of yourself

Díẹ̀ díẹ̀ nimú ẹlẹ́dẹ̀ẹ́ fi ń wọgbà

Little by little is how the pig’s nose enters the yard

Attend to a small problem before it becomes uncontrollable

Ilé ọba tójó ẹwà ló bùsi

The king’s palace that got burnt added beauty to it

Every cloud has a silver lining