Dominican Sayings – Insights into the Culture and Language of the Dominican Republic

Quien mucho abarca, poco aprieta. (He who grasps too much, holds onto little.)

En boca cerrada no entran moscas. (In a closed mouth, flies do not enter.)

Más vale tarde que nunca. (Better late than never.)

La ley del embudo: lo ancho para mí, lo angosto para ti. (The law of the funnel: wide for me, narrow for you.)

El pez por su boca muere. (The fish dies by its mouth.)

Quien mal hace, mal espera. (He who does wrong, expects wrong.)

Al mal tiempo, buena cara. (In bad times, a good face.)

No todo lo que brilla es oro. (Not everything that shines is gold.)

Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo. (The devil knows more from being old than from being the devil.)

Cree el ladrón que todos son de su condición. (The thief believes everyone is of his condition.)

No hay mal que por bien no venga. (There is no evil that doesn’t come for good.)

El que nace pa’ maceta no pasa del corredor. (He who is born for a flowerpot won’t make it to the hallway.)

A caballo regalado no le mires el diente. (Don’t look at the teeth of a given horse.)

Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres. (Tell me who you hang out with, and I’ll tell you who you are.)

En casa de herrero, cuchillo de palo. (In the blacksmith’s house, a wooden knife.)

La suerte de la fea, la bonita la desea. (The fate of the ugly, the pretty one desires.)

Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente. (The shrimp that sleeps, gets carried away by the current.)

En tierra de ciegos, el tuerto es rey. (In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king.)

Más vale maña que fuerza. (Skill is worth more than strength.)

No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano. (Waking up early doesn’t make the morning come sooner.)

Más vale prevenir que lamentar. (Better safe than sorry.)

Lo bailado, nadie te lo quita. (Nobody can take away what you’ve danced.)

Al pan, pan; y al vino, vino. (To bread, bread; and to wine, wine.)

Más vale tarde que nunca, pero a tiempo. (Better late than never, but on time.)

El comal le dijo a la olla: ¡Quítate que me tiznas! (The griddle said to the pot: Get away from me, you’re blackening me!)

Más vale estar solo que mal acompañado. (Better to be alone than in bad company.)

A mal tiempo, buena cara y paraguas en la cartera. (In bad weather, a good face and an umbrella in the bag.)

El que mucho abarca, poco aprieta y sale empapado. (He who grasps too much, holds onto little and ends up drenched.)

El que no llora, no mama. (Those who don’t cry, don’t get breastfed.)

El que no enseña, no vende. (Those who don’t teach, don’t sell.)

El que mucho se ausenta, pronto se olvida. (Those who are often absent, are quickly forgotten.)

Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la resaca. (The shrimp that sleeps, gets carried away by the hangover.)

Cuando el gato no está, los ratones hacen fiesta. (When the cat is away, the mice have a party.)

Más vale llegar a tiempo que llegar tarde. (It’s better to arrive on time than to arrive late.)

A cada pajarito le gusta su nidito. (Every little bird likes its own little nest.)

Dime dónde le duele al gallo y te diré dónde está el grano. (Tell me where the rooster hurts, and I’ll tell you where the grain is.)

Ponte las pilas que el sol no está para mocho. (Get your batteries charged because the sun doesn’t wait for slowpokes.)

Quédate en tu carril, que yo me quedo en el mío. (Stay in your lane, and I’ll stay in mine.)

El que no oye consejos, no llega a viejo. (Those who don’t listen to advice, don’t reach old age.)

Más vale tarde que temprano, pero que sea pronto. (Better late than early, but soon.)

El que mucho se ausenta, pronto se desahucia. (Those who are often absent, are quickly evicted.)

Dios los cría y ellos se juntan. (God creates them, and they meet up.)

Mira pa’lante, que pa’trás ya no vuelvo. (Look forward, because I’m not going back.)

Soldado advertido, no muere en guerra. (An alerted soldier doesn’t die in battle.)

El que mucho abarca, poco disfruta. (He who grasps too much, enjoys little.)

El que no tiene corazón, tiene piedra. (Those who don’t have a heart, have a stone.)

Más vale mano en estómago, que estómago vacío. (A hand on the stomach is worth more than an empty stomach.)

El que deja lo cierto por lo incierto, pierde lo seguro por algo inseguro. (Those who leave certainty for uncertainty, lose security for something insecure.)

En río revuelto, ganancia de pescadores. (In a muddied river, fishermen gain.)

El que no arriesga, no gana. (Those who don’t take risks, don’t win.)

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