Old Welsh Proverbs, Sayings and Phrases

We are a wise bunch! Here are a few old Welsh expressions. Feel free to add your own favourites in the comment section below!

"A fo ben, bid bont" - If you want to be a leader, be a bridge

"Bûm gall unwaith - hynny oedd, llefain pan ym ganed" - I was wise once: when I was born I cried

"Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon" - A nation without a language is a nation without a heart

"Deuparth gwaith yw ei ddechrau." - Starting the work is two thirds of it

"Dyfal donc a dyr y garreg" - Tapping persistently breaks the stone

"Digrif gan bob aderyn ei lais ei hun" - Every bird relishes his own voice

"Dywed yn dda am dy gyfaill, am dy elyn dywed ddim" - Speak well of your friend; of your enemy say nothing

"Eang yw'r byd i bawb." The world is wide to everyone

"Gwna dda dros ddrwg, uffern ni'th ddwg" - Repay evil with good, and hell will not claim you

"Gwell dysg na golud" - Better educated than wealthy

"Gwell fy mwthyn fy hun na phlas arall" - Better my own cottage than the palace of another

"Gorau prinder, prinder geiriau" - The best shortage is a shortage of words

"Gorau Cymro, Cymro oddi Cartref"  - Best Welshman, Welshman from Home

"Gorau adnabod, d'adnabod dy hun." - The best knowledge is to know yourself

"Hedyn pob drwg yw diogi" - The seed of all evil is laziness

"Heb ei fai, heb ei eni" - He who has no faults is not born

"Hir yw pob ymaros" - All waiting is long

"Nid aur yw popeth melyn" - Everything that is yellow is not gold

"Nerth gwlad, ei gwybodaeth" - The strength of a nation is its knowledge

"Teg yw edrych tuag adref." - It is good to look homewards

"Tri chysir henaint: tân, te a thybaco" - Three comforts of old age: fire, tea and tobacco

"Tyfid maban, ni thyf ei gadachan" - The child will grow, his clothes will not

"Yr hen a ŵyr a'r ieuanc a dybia" -The old know and the young suspect

"Y mae dafad ddu ym mhob praidd" - Every flock has its black sheep

"Mae tegell yn ferwi and ty'n barod." - The kettles boiling and I'm ready.

"Dod yn ôl at fy nghoed" - To return to my trees - to relax and unwind, to calm your mind

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Deborah Noland: A phrase you’re looking for (“A place for the soul to find peace”) is “Lle i enaid gael llonydd.” It’s my favourite one.


Rhoer fiddle yn y to. Literally translated it means put the fiddle in the roof I.e to give up

Lawrence bumtwig

My great uncle would always use terms like uffern Dan and navy wen. But his most popular was (excuse the spelling) amyrna ffyrni. Does anyone know the meaning?

Tina Evans

My grandmother always used to say – please excuse the spelling – “Dim baw yw bacco” and I never know what it meant. Please could someone help? TYIA


Apologies if this is rude, but someone has asked me to find out what this means, which was said to her as a child:- ‘yay cucum bitalbun les Morgan mein herr’.

Sue godfrey

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