Tí agbada ò bá gbóná, àgbàdo ò lè ta. /
If the frying pan is not hot, the corns cannot pop.
[No pain, no gain; no sweat, no sweet.]
Ohun tó ṣe igúnnugún tó fi pá lórí, tó ṣe àkàlàmàgbò tó fi yọ gẹ̀gẹ̀ lọ́rùn, tó bá ṣe àgbò bọ̀lọ̀jọ̀, á ti fa ìwo rẹ̀ tu. /
If what made the vulture bald, and caused the crow to end up with a goitered neck had befallen the fully-grown ram, it would have lost its horns.
Tí owó ò bá tí ì dé ọwọ̀ èyàn, ìwà oníwà ló máa máa hù. /
You will never know who anyone really until he or she becomes wealthy.
[Be perceptive; you never know who someone really is, until he or she no longer needs you.]
A kì í dámọ̀nràn àti tà’kìtì lágbàlá ọ̀bọ, nítorí ọ̀bọ fúnrara rẹ̀ ọba òkìtì ni. /
Never toy with the idea of doing a somersault in the vicinity of a monkey, as monkeys themselves, are experts at somersaulting.
[Remain modest; don’t make a show of your ignorance.]
Òròmọadìyẹ tó lóun ò fi tàṣá se, ọ̀sán gangan làṣá yó gbe. /
A chick that is unmindful of the hawk would find itself being preyed upon in broad daylight.
[Be mindful of intolerably high risks.]
Ọkùnrin tó rí ogun tó sá, tó rí iṣẹ tí kò ṣe, bí wọn bá kó ilé láàdúgbò, wọn a fura sí i. /
A man who refuses to go to war and refuses to work would be suspected in a case of theft in the neighborhood.
[Be engaged; do what you can with what you have right where you are.]
Ẹni tó ńkó ẹyin jẹ kò mọ̀ pé ìdí ńro adìyẹ. /
Those eating eggs seldom appreciate how tough egg-laying can be to the hen.
[Be careful to appreciate kind gestures received from others.]
Bí a bá ní igi yìí ò dára, a yọọ́ dànù, igi tọ̀hún ò dára, a yọọ́ dànù, igi wo gan an, ló máa se ọbẹ̀ jinná?
If we keep pulling out and discarding one firewood after another (while cooking with them), with what will the soup be cooked?
[Be tolerant; be forward-looking.]
Eré tí ọ̀pọ̀lọ́ ńsá nínú omi gbígbóná, tó bá sáa lọ́dàn ni, kò ní wọ omi gbígbóná. /
Had the frog been as fleet-footed in the fields as it is in the hot water pot, it won’t have entered the pot.
[A stitch in time saves nine.]
Orúkọ rere, sàn ju wúrà àti fàdákà lọ. /
A good name is better than gold and silver.
[A good name is priceless.]
Ẹní gbé ọba mì kì í ní ìsinmi. /
Whoever gets crowned a king cannot have rest.
[Positions of responsibilities can be demanding.]
Ẹyẹ tó fi ara rẹ̀ wé igún, ẹ̀yìn ààrò ni í ńsùn. /
A bird that compares itself to vultures will end up (being roasted) at the fireplace.
[Don’t compare yourself to anyone.]
Àgbàdo inú ìgò, ó di àwòmọ́jú fún adìyẹ. /
The corns kept in a bottle are viewed with disdain by the hen.
[People are wont to belittle what they can’ t have.]
A kì í gbọ́ kúkù òjò da omi agbada nù. /
No one throws away the water in the trough simply because the cloud rumbles.
[Don’t be presumptuous.]
Iṣẹ́ l’oògùn ìṣẹ́. /
Work is the veritable cure for poverty.
Ojú ló pẹ́ sí, ìpàdé kì í jìnnà. /
A meeting date is not far off, it merely appears so.
[Be patient and keep hope alive.]
Ó lóhun tí ojú rí, kó tó máa ṣoje. /
The tearful eyes have their reasons for being tearful.
[Be tolerant; people have their reasons.]
Tí a kò bá rí ẹni fi ẹ̀hìn tì, bí ọ̀lẹ là ńrí. /
With nobody to lean on, one would seem lazy and irresponsible.
[Good support and networks matter.]
Ọlọ́run kì í ṣe nǹkan, kó má fi àyè ọpẹ́ sí i; tó bá pá baba lórí, a sì fi irùngbọ̀n rọ́po / God never does a thing, without the rationale for Thanksgiving; if he makes a man bald, he would give the beard in replacement.
[There’ll always be reasons to be thankful to God.]
Kì í ṣe gbogbo ajá tó bá gbó’ni lọ́jà, la ńdá lóhùn. /
It’s not all the dogs that bark at one at the marketplace that one responds to.
[Be focused; it’s not all issues that should command one’s attention.]
Ẹni ebi ò pa ri, kì í mọ iyì ayo; ẹni tí ò jẹ ìyà rí, kì í mọ iyì ọrọ̀. /
Whoever has never suffered hunger seldom appreciates satiation; whoever has never suffered lack hardly appreciates wealth.
[We value whatever we’ve lacked.]
Tí ọmọdé bá ńgé igi ní inú igbó, àwọn àgbà ló mọ ibi tó máa ré sí. /
When a youngster is cutting a tree in the forest, the elders are the ones who know where the tree would fall.
[Understanding the ramifications of an action comes with maturity.]
Kí à ba lè mọ̀ pé ìjàpá lọ ṣọ́ọ̀ṣì, wọ́n kí i káàbọ̀, ló bá dáhùn pé ogo ni fún Baba, ogo ni fún Ọmọ, ogo ni fún Ẹ̀mí Mímọ́. / Translation>> Just so everyone will know the tortoise returned from church when he was greeted ‘welcome’, responded with ‘Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.’
[Be humble; no name-dropping.]
Ìtàkùn tó ní kí erin má wọ odò, t’òun terin ní wọ́n máa jọ lọ. /
A creeping plant that wants to obstruct the elephant would find itself in the river with the elephant.
[Be determined; nothing triumphs like determination.]
Òkìtì tí ọ̀bọ ta tí kò nílárí, ni eégún ta tó ńgba owó rẹpẹtẹ. /
The same somersaulting that does not profit the monkey is the one that nets the masquerade lots of money.
[Different strokes for different folks; what works for one may not necessarily work for another.]
Agídí inú ata, ni kì í jẹ́ kí ata pọ́n bọ̀rọ̀.
Pepper’s stubborness is why it seldom ripens fast enough.
[Be broad-minded and flexible.]
Báa gún iyán nínú ewé, táa se ọbẹ̀ nínú èpo ẹpà, ẹni máa yó, á yó. /
Even if we pound yam in a leaf and prepare the soup in a groundnut pod, those who would be full would be.
[No impossibility; keep hope alive.]
Báa gún iyán, táa ro ọkà fún kòfẹ́kògbà, kò ní fẹ́, kò ní gbà, náà ni /
Even if one pounds yam and prepares yam flour meal for a difficult fellow, he’d yet remain difficult.
[Regardless of what you do or say, a difficult fellow would remain difficult; do your best and move on]
Ojú tí kò rí yànnà yánná iná, yẹ̀rẹ̀ yẹ̀rẹ̀ oòrùn, kì í rí yìndìn yindin idẹ. / A pair of eyes that won’t endure the fiery flames of fire and the searing glare of the sun, can’t hope to enjoy the glittering beauty of brass.
[No pain, no gain; no guts, no glory.]
Gbogbo èèyàn oníwà tùtù kọ́ lonínúure. /
It is not everyone with a quiet disposition who is kind-natured.
[Appearance can be deceptive.]
Àjùmọ̀bí kò kan ti àánú, ẹni orí rán síni ló ńṣe ni lóore. /
Kindness won’t necessarily come from one’s siblings but those divinely sent to one.
[Help may not necessarily come from expected sources.]
Ẹní bá fẹ́ jẹ iṣẹ́ ẹ̀ pẹ́, máa ńbínú mọ níwọ̀n ni. /
Whoever wants to long enjoy the fruits of his labour ought to be moderate in his anger.
[Uncontrolled temper can be self-destructive.]