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18 Aug

Old Welsh Proverbs, Sayings and Phrases

Posted by Becca Hemmings

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


10 Comments

Aled, is this the poem you’re looking for?

Fini, Fini, fawd
Brawd y Fini fawd,
Wili Bibi,
Siôn Babw,
Bys bach druan gŵr,
Dal ’i ben o dan y dŵr.

Which roughly translates as:

Big vinny
Big Vinny’s brother
Will the smaller one
John the baby
and the little toe.
[pitiful man,
broke his head while carrying water.]

Posted by Gideon Hodge on March 31, 2019

Liz Herdson: ‘benthyg dros amser byr yw popeth a geir yn y byd hwn’.

Posted by Lf on March 31, 2019

Benthyg dros amser byr yw popeth a geir yn y byd hwn

Everything you have in this world is just borrowed for a short time,

Posted by Peter Critchley on March 31, 2019

What about: I’r pant y rhed y dwr. Meaning: into the hollow runs the water or rich people have a knack of getting even richer lol

Posted by Rhys Gwennant Davies on March 31, 2019

Answer to Sandra Morris’ post My grandfather taught me the same Welsh saying : Bys bawd, fenw fenw, cefnder fenw fenw, Dic y crogwr, bys bach druan ŵr dal ei ben o dan y dŵr. Happy memories!

Posted by Wayne Morgan on March 31, 2019

Here is a good Welsh saying that is used up here in Anglesey…Hael yw Hywel gyda pwrs y wlad,.it means that you can spend someone else’s money like water

Posted by Geraint Davies on March 31, 2019

I saw a while ago a Welsh saying that means young roof in reference to the next generation. Is anyone able to find the Welsh phrase for this?

Posted by chris austin on March 31, 2019

Fini, Fini, fawd
Brawd y Fini fawd,
Wili Bibi,
Siôn Babw,
Bys bach druan gŵr,
Dal ’i ben o dan y dŵr.

Which roughly translates as:

Big vinny
Big Vinny’s brother
Will the smaller one
John the baby
and the little toe.
[pitiful man, 
 broke his head while carrying water.] 

Posted by Liz Herdson on November 07, 2017

I like, “Everything owned is borrowed for a time” I wish I knew the original Welsh for that.

Posted by Aled on January 04, 2017

my grandfather used to recite a saying as he held each one of my toes in turn. I will try and transcribe, please excuse the spelling the third toe is kenda vinni vinni the fourth toe is tennis adroin. if anyone knows this poem I would love to learn. This is my only memory I have left of him. Thanks everyone

Posted by Sandra Morris on October 28, 2015

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