Asian proverbs and old sayings reveal many aspects of the cultural traditions of a society. Proverbs originated from indigenous humble folk and handed down over the centuries, generation to generation. Many proverbs serve as cautionary tales, warnings, and chastisement.

Whether chiseled in stone or inscribed on papyrus, the message of the metaphor first evolved in Asia. Some of the earliest proverbs have survived for thousands of years, encapsulating lessons gleaned within particular societies and yet equally relevant in any other – as indeed they remain today. Here another collection: 156 Selected Ghanaian Proverbs.

1. A fool who knows he is a fool has a little intelligence, but a fool that thinks he is intelligent is really a fool. A fool who knows he is a fool has a little intelligence, but a fool that thinks he is intelligent is really a fool.

2. A good well-lived today makes every yesterday a dream of a good future, and every morning is a vision of hope. A good well-lived today makes every yesterday a dream of a good future, and every morning is a vision of hope.

3. A house without a child is like a tomb. A house without a child is like a tomb.

4. A man in this world without learning is as a beast of the field. A man in this world without learning is as a beast of the field.

5. A sin that is confessed is less heavy to bear. A sin that is confessed is less heavy to bear.

6. A woman talks to one man, looks at another, and thinks about a third. A woman talks to one man, looks at another, and thinks about a third.

7. A woman’s appetite is twice that of a man’s; her sexual desire, four times; her intelligence, eight times. A woman’s appetite is twice that of a man’s; her sexual desire, four times; her intelligence, eight times..

8. Abstinence is the best medicine. Abstinence is the best medicine..

9. Agreement with two people, lamentation with three. Agreement with two people, lamentation with three..

10. All we can hold in our cold dead hands is what we have given away. All we can hold in our cold dead hands is what we have given away..

113 Famous Asian Proverbs Ancient Wisdom For The 21st Century

11. Among the blind, the squint rules. Among the blind, the squint rules..

12. An elephant never tires of carrying his own trunk. An elephant never tires of carrying his own trunk..

13. Anger has no eyes. Anger has no eyes..

14. As day breaks, the glowworms say “We’ve lit up the world!” As day breaks, the glowworms say

15. As people go their own way, destiny goes with them. As people go their own way, destiny goes with them..

16. As the spokes of a wheel are attached to the hub, so all things are attached to life. As the spokes of a wheel are attached to the hub, so all things are attached to life..

17. Before you build a house you have to dig a pit. Before you build a house you have to dig a pit..

18. By slitting the ears and cutting the tail, a dog is still a dog, not a horse, not an ass. By slitting the ears and cutting the tail, a dog is still a dog, not a horse, not an ass..

19. Can the monkey know the taste of ginger? Can the monkey know the taste of ginger?.

20. Can’t tell his ass from a hole in the ground. Can’t tell his ass from a hole in the ground..

21. Dig a well every day to drink water every day. Dig a well every day to drink water every day..

22. Dig your well before you’re thirsty. Dig your well before you’re thirsty..

23. Eating while seated makes one of large size; eating while standing makes one strong. Eating while seated makes one of large size; eating while standing makes one strong..

24. Eleven persons take eleven paths. Eleven persons take eleven paths..

25. Empty vessels make much noise. Empty vessels make much noise..

26. Even an elephant can slip. Even an elephant can slip..

27. Even the devil needs a friend. Even the devil needs a friend..

28. Fear is the fever of life. Fear is the fever of life..

29. Giving advice to a stupid man is like giving salt to a squirrel. Giving advice to a stupid man is like giving salt to a squirrel..

30. Great anger is more destructive than the sword. Great anger is more destructive than the sword..

31. He who allows his day to pass by without practicing generosity and enjoying life’s pleasures is like a blacksmith’s bellows: he breathes but does not live. He who allows his day to pass by without practicing generosity and enjoying life’s pleasures is like a blacksmith’s bellows: he breathes but does not live..

113 Famous Asian Proverbs Ancient Wisdom For The 21st Century

32. He who loves the truth has many enemies. He who loves the truth has many enemies..

33. Help thy brother’s boat across, and lo! thine own has reached the shore. Help thy brother’s boat across, and lo! thine own has reached the shore..

34. I bought the nettle, sowed the nettle, and then the nettle stung me. I bought the nettle, sowed the nettle, and then the nettle stung me..

35. If a man’s heart be impure, all things will appear hostile to him. If a man’s heart be impure, all things will appear hostile to him..

36. IF you are buying a cow, make sure that the price of the tail is included. IF you are buying a cow, make sure that the price of the tail is included..

37. If you forsake a certainty and depend on an uncertainty, you will lose both the certainty and the uncertainty. If you forsake a certainty and depend on an uncertainty, you will lose both the certainty and the uncertainty..

38. If you gently touch a nettle it’ll sting you for your pains; grasp it like a lad of mettle, an’ as soft as silk remains. If you gently touch a nettle it’ll sting you for your pains; grasp it like a lad of mettle, an’ as soft as silk remains..

39. If you have planted a tree you must water it too. If you have planted a tree you must water it too..

40. Ignorance is the peace of life. Ignorance is the peace of life..

41. It is better to walk than to run; it is better to stand than to walk; it is better to sit than to stand; it is better to lie than to sit. It is better to walk than to run; it is better to stand than to walk; it is better to sit than to stand; it is better to lie than to sit..

113 Famous Asian Proverbs Ancient Wisdom For The 21st Century

42. Kill a cow to donate shoes. Kill a cow to donate shoes..

43. Kind words conquer. Kind words conquer..

44. Learn about the future by looking at the past. Learn about the future by looking at the past..

45. Life is like a lamp flame; it needs a little oil now and then. Life is like a lamp flame; it needs a little oil now and then..

46. Love is a crocodile in the river of desire. Love is a crocodile in the river of desire..

47. Many dogs kill a hare, no matter how many turns it makes. Many dogs kill a hare, no matter how many turns it makes..

48. Never strike your wife, even with a flower. Never strike your wife, even with a flower..

49. No strength within, no respect without. No strength within, no respect without..

50. No sunshine but hath some shadow. No sunshine but hath some shadow..

51. No sweet without sweat. No sweet without sweat..

52. O daughter, I’m telling you. O daughter-in-law, listen to it. O daughter, I’m telling you. O daughter-in-law, listen to it..

53. Of what use is the veil if you are going to dance. Of what use is the veil if you are going to dance..

54. One and one are sometimes eleven. One and one are sometimes eleven..

55. One man can burn water, whereas another cannot even burn oil. One man can burn water, whereas another cannot even burn oil..

56. One man cut the barrage, and a thousand people fell into the river. One man cut the barrage, and a thousand people fell into the river..

57. One man’s beard is on fire, and another man warms his hands on it. One man’s beard is on fire, and another man warms his hands on it..

58. One man’s breath’s another man’s death. One man’s breath’s another man’s death..

59. Only the cure you believe in cures. Only the cure you believe in cures..

60. Our faults provide opportunities for others.

61. Our shadow will follow us. Our shadow will follow us..

62. Popular agitation leads to justice. Popular agitation leads to justice..

63. Saints fly only in the eyes of their disciples. Saints fly only in the eyes of their disciples..

64. Saving mustard seeds in hand, while a watermelon escapes. Saving mustard seeds in hand, while a watermelon escapes..

65. Service is greatness. Service is greatness..

66. Sleep after selling horses and elephants. Sleep after selling horses and elephants..

67. Snakes turn milk into poison. Snakes turn milk into poison..

68. Sorrow for the death of a father lasts six months; sorrow for a mother, a year; sorrow for a wife, until another wife; sorrow for a son, forever. Sorrow for the death of a father lasts six months; sorrow for a mother, a year; sorrow for a wife, until another wife; sorrow for a son, forever..

113 Famous Asian Proverbs Ancient Wisdom For The 21st Century

69. Take a close look at today, because yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is barely a vision. Take a close look at today, because yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is barely a vision..

70. Take a close look then at today. Take a close look then at today..

71. The beggar is not afraid of the drawbacks of being rich. The beggar is not afraid of the drawbacks of being rich..

72. The beggar who asks for crumbs gets more than the one who asks for bread. The beggar who asks for crumbs gets more than the one who asks for bread..

73. The customers are known to the shopkeepers. The customers are known to the shopkeepers..

74. The danger past, and God forgotten. The danger past, and God forgotten..

75. The diamond in your belly sparkles on your face. The diamond in your belly sparkles on your face..

76. The fall is nobody’s sire. The fall is nobody’s sire..

77. The gardener had not yet dug out the radish, when the beggar held the alms-bowl in front of him. The gardener had not yet dug out the radish, when the beggar held the alms-bowl in front of him..

78. The gardner had not yet dug out the radish, when the beggar held the alms-bowl in front of him. The gardner had not yet dug out the radish, when the beggar held the alms-bowl in front of him..

79. The greatest hero is one who has control over his desires. The greatest hero is one who has control over his desires..

80. The one who teaches is the giver of eyes. The one who teaches is the giver of eyes..

81. The tip of a finger cannot be touched by itself. The tip of a finger cannot be touched by itself..

82. The water from the river becomes salty when it reaches the ocean. The water from the river becomes salty when it reaches the ocean..

83. The wind sweeps the road clean. The wind sweeps the road clean..

84. The wise must be respected, even when the advice they give is not suitable. The wise must be respected, even when the advice they give is not suitable..

85. There are none so deaf as those who will not hear advice. There are none so deaf as those who will not hear advice..

86. There are three things that refresh the heart and reduce your grief water, flowers, and a beautiful woman. There are three things that refresh the heart and reduce your grief water, flowers, and a beautiful woman..

87. These three take crooked ways: carts, boats, and musicians. These three take crooked ways: carts, boats, and musicians..

88. They know not their own defects who search for the defects of others. They know not their own defects who search for the defects of others..

89. They who give have all things; they who withhold have nothing. They who give have all things; they who withhold have nothing..

90. To quarrel with a man of good speech is better than to converse with a man who does not speak well.

91. Truth has but one color, a lie has many. Truth has but one color, a lie has many..

92. Wash your hands in the flowing Ganges. Wash your hands in the flowing Ganges..

93. Waste makes want. Waste makes want..

94. Waste not want not. Waste not want not..

95. What nectar can be drunk with the ears? Good advice. What nectar can be drunk with the ears? Good advice..

96. When a camel is at the foot of a mountain then judge of his height. When a camel is at the foot of a mountain then judge of his height..

97. When an elephant is in trouble even a frog will kick him. When an elephant is in trouble even a frog will kick him..

98. When I drown, the whole world drowns. When I drown, the whole world drowns..

99. When pumpkins are watered, brinjals [small plants] also get watered. When pumpkins are watered, brinjals [small plants] also get watered..

100. When rogues fallout, honest men come by their own. When rogues fallout, honest men come by their own..

101. When the mother dies the father becomes an uncle. When the mother dies the father becomes an uncle..

102. Where there is no honey, we have to make do with treacle. Where there is no honey, we have to make do with treacle..

103. Where there is sunshine, there is also shade. Where there is sunshine, there is also shade..

104. Who is the happiest person in the world? An unfaithful husband. Who is the happiest person in the world? An unfaithful husband..

105. Whose stick, his buffalo. Whose stick, his buffalo..

106. Why would a man without a bow look for arrows? Why would a man without a bow look for arrows?.

107. Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day. Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day..

113 Famous Asian Proverbs Ancient Wisdom For The 21st Century

108. You can buy everything, except a father and a mother. You can buy everything, except a father and a mother..

109. You cannot cook one half of the chicken and leave the other lay eggs. You cannot cook one half of the chicken and leave the other lay eggs..

110. You sometimes forget the harm that was done to you, but never the harm you have done to others. You sometimes forget the harm that was done to you, but never the harm you have done to others..

111. Those who are contented with what they have are often happy.

112. Boasting begins where wisdom stops.

113. If you are sick, think about your life; if you are better, think about your gold.

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