Vocabulary: Phrases And Proverbs

Phrases and Proverbs are called ‘उखान’ (ukhan) in Nepali. Such ‘ukhan’ are passed down as wisdom throughout ages. Hence, they give us some wisdom and knowledge.

English Translations of some make no sense, but the Original makes so much sense. So, some might seem weird….

This is an EXTREMELY SHORT version of the total number of Proverbs. The ones below are the ones used more commonly.


अचानोको पीर खुकुरीले जान्दैन (achano ko pir khukuri le jandaina)

Literally: The Blade knows not the worries of the Board 

Meaning: The perpetrator (or a person who causes harm) doesn’t know or care about the victim or his/her feelings and worries.


अकबारी सुनलाई कसी लगाउनु पर्दैन (akabari sun lai kasi lagaunu pardaina)

Literally: The Fine (Pure) gold doesn’t need to be polished

Meaning: The good (high-quality) things should not be tested for it’s reliability (or strength) time and again.


अगुल्टोले हानेको कुकुर बिजुली चम्कँदा तर्सिन्छ (agulto le haneko kukur bijuli chamkanda tarsincha)

Literally: The dog beaten by a stick gets startled when a lightning strikes

Meaning: Once bitten, twice shy / Once someone is made to lose trust (or is betrayed), then he/she frets on small things (or treads carefully)


आकाशको फल आँखा तरी मर् (akash ko phal akha tari mar)

Literally: The fruits of the sky can only be stared at till death.

Meaning: Things that are beyond our reach cannot be received. Also, it means to dream about unachievable things.


आफु नमरी स्वर्ग देकिन्न (afu namari swarka dekhinna)

Literally: The heavens can only be seen after our death

Meaning: Till we experience something ourselves, we would not know how it (something like event) feels like


आलु खाएर पेडाको धाक (aalu khaera peda ko dhak)

Literally: Boasting about eating Peda (a sweet) when what actually consumed was Potato

Meaning: Talking/ Boasting about selves beyond our actual potential


ईन्द्रका अगाडि स्वर्गको बयान (indra ko agadi swarga ko bayan)

Literally: The summary of the Heaven in front of The King of Gods (Indra)

Meaning: Those who are very knowledgeable about a certain subject dismisses the talks of those who don’t have much knowledge about it


एकले थुकी सुकी, सयले थुकी नदी (Ek le thuki suki, saya le thuki nadi)

Literally: One spit dries but hundreds can make a river

Meaning: Unity is Strength


ओरालो लागेको मृगलाई बाच्छाले पनि खेद्छ (oralo lageko mriga lai bachcha le pani khedcha)

Literally: The Deer who is on a slope can be chased even by a calf

Meaning: If we are weak then we are loathed/ hated by everyone


कालो अक्षर भैँसी बाराबर (kalo akshar bhaisi barabar)

Literally: A black letter equals to a buffalo

Meaning: To be illiterate


अन्धो गोरुलाई औँसी न पुर्ने (andho goru lai ausi na purne)

Literally: For a blind ox, there is no significance of The full moon or the new moon

Meaning: For the ones without knowledge, then there is no importance of that subject (to them)


खाने मुखलाई जुंगाले छेक्दैन (khane mukh lai junga le chekdaina)

Literally: The mouth that eats is not shielded by the moustache

Meaning: For those who have a will, there is a way/ The one who are determined to complete a task will do it by hook or by crook and won’t be stopped by any barrier


चोक्टा खान गएकी बूढी झोलमा डुबेर मरी (chokta khana gaeki budhi jholma dubera mari)

Literally: The Old Woman who went to eat a piece of food drowned in soup

Meaning: Greed leads to even bigger losses


जो जोगी आए पनि कानै चिरेको (jo jogi aae pani kanai chireko)

Literally: Every sage who comes has their ears sliced

Meaning: Every person who does the same thing have similar characteristics/ Everyone who does no work at all


जसले मह काढ्छ, उसले हात चाट्छ (jasle maha kadhcha, usle haat chatcha)

Literally: The one who extracts the honey, can later lick his had

Meaning: Fruits of labour are sweet/ The one who does hard work reaps his rewards 


जो होचो उसैको मुखमा घोचो (jo hocho usai ko mukh ma ghocho)

Literally: The one who is short gets picked the most

Meaning: Everyone takes an advantage of the upright (trait)


ढुङ्गा खोज्दा देवता मिल्नु (dhunga kohjda dewata milnu)

Literally: Finding a god while searching for stones

Meaning: To flow with the tide/ To get something better while searching for something ordinary 


नमच्चिने पिङ्को सय झड्का (namacchine ping ko saya jhadka)

Literally: The swing that doesn’t move injures you a hundred times

Meaning: The ones who possess the least knowledge display the greatest ego


नजिकको तीर्थ हेला (najik ko tirtha hela)

Literally: The adjacent shrines are ignored

Meaning: The value of things when we use regularly is diminished


नपत्याउने खोलाले बगाउँछ (napatraune khola le bagaucha)

Literally: The underestimated River sweeps 

Meaning: A dark horse/ The ones which we underestimate turns out to be a formidable force


नाच्न नजान्ने आँगन टेढो (naachna najanne agan tedho)

Literally: The one who cannot dance blames that the Floor was tilted

Meaning: Placing the blame on something after being unable to do a task


मुखमा रामराम बगलीमा छुरा (mukha ma ramram bagali ma chura)

Literally: The mouth that says ‘Ram, Ram’ (God’s Name) with a knife in the pocket

Meaning: Two-faced people/ The ones who say good things in front of you and back-bite later


हुने बिरुवाको चिल्लो पात, नहुने बिरुवा को फुस्रो पात  (hune biruwa ko chillo paat, nahune biruwa ko phusro paat)

Literally: The plant that prospers have smooth leaves whereas the plant that grows badly has wilted leaves

Meaning: The prodigies display talent from an early age/ Talent is displayed from the start only


बाह्र बर्ष रामायण पढ्यो सीता कसकी जोई (bahra barsha ramayan padhyo sita kaski joi)

Literally:  Wondering who is Sita after learning Ramayan for 12 years

Meaning: The ones who never learn a lesson


घाँटी हेरी हाड निल्नु (ghati heri haad nilnu)

Literally: Swallow the bone after seeing the size of the neck

Meaning: Don’t bite more than you can chew/ Work according to your potential


बादरको हातमा नरिवल (baadar ko haatma nariwal)

Literally: A coconut in a monkey’s hand

Meaning: Being extremely destructive/ For a fragile thing or responsibility falling in the hands of irresponsible people