Korean Proverbs (110)

A small fish makes the entire river water muddy.

The fellow who has ten faults sneers at others for having one.

An infinitesimal miss may result in a thousand-mile difference.

Footless words may travel out a thousand miles.

Tall branches are apt to be broken.

Even a fool may sometimes have one accomplishment.

Even a gem has a flaw.

To the blind, glasses are of no use.

The frog forgets he was a tadpole.

Under the command of a great general, there is no feeble soldier.

Frightened by a mud-turtle, startled by a kettle's lid.

The wild apricot may look ripe, but its taste is bitter.

A single hand makes no sound of handclapping.

With bare hands one establishes a family fortune.

Faith will move heaven.

Father hands down, son hands down.

A habit that has started at three will continue till eighty.

To establish a business is easy to maintain it, difficult.

Those who suffer from the same illness pity each other.

After a house is burnt, one becomes cautious of fire.

When joy is exhausted, sorrow follows, and vice versa.

He who knows does not talk he who talks does not know.

The longer the life, the more the shame.

The terrible calligrapher is choosy about his brushes.

The span of a man's life is uncertain to the old and to the young alike.

Our life is like a dayfly's.

If recognized, be not afraid to mend your fault.

Drunkenness reveals one's true mind.

Our life is like candlelight that is flickering in the wind.

He who steals a needle will steal an ox.

Those soya beans that are mixed in the rice
food of others would look bigger.

To begin is to be half done.

The sea may be filled up, but man's avarice cannot be satisfied.

An unlucky fellow gets hurt on his nose
even when he tumbles backward.

A cow that has been scorched by the sun
will pant even on seeing the moon.

Those who meet must part.

To win the battle is easy to secure the victory, difficult.

Words once uttered cannot be overtaken even by a four-horse coach.

Man's mind changes morning through evening.

Anyone who goes hungry for three days will steal.

Contentment is happiness.

The front car upset is a warning to the next car following.

Though they rest on the same bed,
they dream of different things.

Man's life is like morning dew.

The ax well familiar to oneself may be wielded on one's own foot.

A dog barking at a shadow will set a hundred dogs to bark in unison.

A three-day-old puppy does not fear a tiger.

There will be a way to escape even if the sky falls.

Years and months wait for no man.

Beautiful women are short lived.

A serpent, though it is put in a bamboo tube, won't crawl straight.

Words once uttered cannot be overtaken even by a four-horse coach.

Footless words may travel out a thousand miles.

A bad wife will lead her family to downfall.

In a fight between whales, the backs of shrimps are burst.

If the water is too clear, no fish lives in it.

Even a vessel, when it is full, will overflow.

A trifle may incur murdering.

Time is like an arrow.

As there are mice in the house, so are there thieves in the country.

A dog soiled with excrement laughs at another soiled with bran.

The great river refuses no streamlets.

Scholarship knows no national boundary.

A doctor cannot cure his own illness.

Even dust, if amassed enough, will form a great mountain.

One's own deed returns to oneself.

He who chases after a deer will take no notice of hares.

When you enter a village, observe its customs.

To be prepared is to have no anxiety.

Even the salt on the kitchen range won't taste salty
until you try it in your mouth.

In the valley where there is no tiger, the hare is the master.

You will hate a beautiful song if you sing it often.

The sorrow of a widow can be understood only by the widowed.

Resolve lasts three days.

Shrimps get broken backs in a whale fight.

Through old things, we learn new things.

All things in the long run turn to justice.

Old trees are not to be bent.

When the tiger dies, it leaves its skin a man, his name.

Unless you get into a tiger's den, you won't catch a tiger's cub.

Below the tongue, there is an ax hidden.

A moment is worth a thousand gold pieces.

A bird that has been hurt by an arrow
will be frightened even by a crooked twig.

A loyal minister will not serve two masters,
a virtuous woman will not marry twice.

Too many boatmen will row the boat up the mountain.

The red pepper, though small, is hot.

A play may conceive a baby.

Man's affairs are evaluated only after his coffin is closed.

The sparrow, though small, can lay eggs well.

Beans grow where beans are planted,
and limas where limas are planted.

He who has no care for the far future will have sorrow in the near future.

Raindrops will hollow a stone.

Youth comes never again.

After losing the sheep, one repairs the pen.

Better my own ordinary calf than golden calves of others.

Money can put even gods to work for you.

Close neighbors are better than cousins in the distance.

Misfortune may turn out to be blessing.

A monk can't shave his own head.

Even a monkey may sometimes fall from the tree.


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After an ox is lost, one repairs its stable.

A serpent, though it is put in a bamboo tube, won't crawl straight.

He who knows himself as well as his opponent will be invincible.

What one could have filled enough with a hoe,
one now tries to fill with a spade.

A dog barking at a shadow will set a hundred dogs to bark in unison.

A dog soiled with excrement laughs at another soiled with bran.

Those who steal a pin will steal an ox.

Eating pears always cleans one’s teeth.

If the tail is too long, it will be trampled on.

The swallow, though small,
can fly to the south across the sea.

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