Old Welsh Proverbs, Sayings and Phrases

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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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?

chris austin

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.] 

Liz Herdson

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


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

Sandra Morris

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