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31+ Armenian Proverbs: Get Ready To be Swept Off Your Feet

July 8, 2022
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There are many Armenian sayings and expressions that will become etched onto your soul when you learn them. This article will give you rich data on Armenian proverbs. For example, my favorite is: When someone's wealth improves, all of a sudden their house's columns appear to be crooked. Երբ մեկի հարստությունը բարելավվում է, հանկարծ նրա տան սյուները ծուռ են թվում. Yerb meki harstut’yuny barelavvum e, hankarts nra tan syunery tsurr yen t’vum.

Getting To Know Armenian Sayings

Everybody who loves to travel and visit places like myself feels out of this world when they get the opportunity to visit some of the most ancient and rich cultures in the world. However, you need to be aware of certain traditions.

What shook me a lot about Armenians was the fact that they used proverbs and I could not understand them even though I knew the translated version of them. It becomes difficult to understand their culture if you are unaware of Armenian proverbs.

Speaking the local language shows your interest and respect for the country. This article will definitely save you from the awkwardness and will earn you not only the respect but the hospitality of an already hospitable nation.

Armenian Proverbs

A proverb is a widely known expression that usually contains a wise thought. It represents the experiences of wise people as well as the wisdom of the people saying these expressions.

Proverbs are called Առակներ (Arrakner). Being one of the most ancient languages of the world, the Armenian language is rich in many forms of art and Armenian proverbs play a huge role in that richness. 

Armenian proverbs among some other stuff are something that helps people retain their ‘armenianness’. Armenian has a considerable store of traditions as one of the oldest living languages and cultures.

The Data On Armenian Expressions

The Armenian language belongs to the Indo-European group of languages. It is an independent branch, thus naming the branch Armenian as well.

The linguistic features are very unique and this aspect is evident in the proverbs from the Armenian highlands. Like all the linguistic data from other cultures, the Armenian proverbs say a lot about their culture and way of life.

In Armenia life lessons are taught through proverbs thus it can be argued that proverbs from Armenia contain the content from almost every section of life from behaviors to the nature of people, from relationships to responsibilities, etc.

Most of the Armenian proverbs and idioms existed in the form of oral literature. The written collection can be traced to the 19th and 20th centuries.

The very detailed corpus of proverbs was collected by Aram Lanalanyan. The other collections exist mostly in translated versions by the likes of G.O. Kararetian and Knarik Alayekyan.

Initially, these collections were not accessible out of Armenian but now because of the huge and widespread diaspora the data on proverbs are widely known and used. 

Known Armenian Proverbs

Below is a list of Armenian phrases with their transliteration, translation, and their meaning as it will help you pronounce Armenian proverbs and understand their meanings. 

Armenian Proverbs On Wealth

Armenian Proverbs

Երբ մեկի հարստությունը բարելավվում է, հանկարծ նրա տան սյուները ծուռ են թվում

Yerb meki harstut’yuny barelavvum e, hankarts nra tan syunery tsurr yen t’vum

When someone's wealth improves, all of a sudden their house's columns appear to be crooked.

This Armenian proverb refers to common practice that people start seeing defects in things that were otherwise alright when they get wealthy. 

Եթե ​​հարուստ մարդ մեռնի, ամբողջ աշխարհը կհուզվի. եթե մի աղքատ մարդ մեռնի, ոչ ոք դա չգիտի

Yet’e ​​harust mard merrni, amboghj ashkharhy khuzvi. yet’e mi aghk’at mard merrni, voch’ vok’ da ch’giti

If a rich man dies, all the world is moved; if a poor man dies, nobody knows it.

This Armenian proverb highlights the fact that the socio-economic situation of a person is the criteria for one's worth. The rich person's death is a huge loss while the poor person is neglected and forgotten. 

Proverbs On Advice

Armenian Proverbs

Ամպրոպային ամպերը միշտ չէ, որ անձրև են տալիս

Ampropayin ampery misht ch’e, vor andzrev yen talis

Thunder clouds do not always give rain.

This proverb warns us not to raise hopes so that we may not get disappointed. 

Ինչպես ջրաղացները երկու քար են պահանջում, այնպես էլ բարեկամությունը երկու գլուխ

Inch’pes jraghats’nery yerku k’ar yen pahanjum, aynpes el barekamut’yuny yerku glukh

As mills require two stones, so friendship requires two heads.

As the mill is incomplete with a single stone, similarly friendship is carried on from both sides. 

Օժիտը, որ կինը բերում է, նման է զանգի. ամեն անգամ, երբ նա անցնում է կողքով, նա հարվածում է քեզ ծափահարողով

Ozhity, vor kiny berum e, nman e zangi. amen angam, yerb na ants’num e koghk’ov, na harvatsum e k’ez tsap’aharoghov:

The dowry that a woman brings is like a bell; every time she passes by she hits you with the clapper.

A Dowry has been described as evil. It will torture you all of your life and keep reminding you of the evil. The music of the ringing of the bell can also mean an awakening call that you should get rid of this curse. 

Ոչ ոք աղքատին հաց չի տա, բայց բոլորը նրան խորհուրդ կտան

Voch’ vok’ aghk’atin hats’ ch’i ta, bayts’ bolory nran khorhurd ktan

No one will give a pauper bread, but everybody will give him advice

Everybody will be ready to give advice while no one will understand your situation and be willing to help.

Դուք չեք կարող բռունցքով հարվածել ասեղի ծայրին

Duk’ ch’ek’ karogh brrunts’k’ov harvatsel aseghi tsayrin:

You cannot hit the point of a needle with a fist.

It warns us of unthoughtful and unplanned actions against danger. 

Արծիվը սպանվել է իր իսկ փետուրներից պատրաստված նետով

Artsivy spanvel e ir isk p’eturnerits’ patrastvats netov.

The eagle was killed by an arrow made from its own feathers.

Sometimes we ourselves give the means of our own destruction. It is also a warning against self-reliant pride. 

Շները, որոնք կռվում են միմյանց դեմ, կմիավորեն ուժերը գայլի դեմ

Shnery, voronk’ krrvum yen mimyants’ dem, kmiavoren uzhery gayli dem

Dogs that fight each other will join forces against the wolf.

People join forces against external danger even if they have conflicts among themselves. It is important to be united against the outsider despite differences.

Ավելի լավ է մրջյունի գլուխ լինել, քան առյուծի պոչ

Aveli lav e mrjyuni glukh linel, k’an arryutsi poch’

Better to be an ant's head than a lion's tail.

It is better to be a leader of a small group (e.g business.) rather than just a small member of something big.

Խորհուրդն անվճար նվեր է, որը կարող է թանկանալ այն ստացողի համար

Khorhurdn anvchar nver e, vory karogh e t’ankanal ayn stats’voghi hamar».

Advice is a free gift that can become expensive for the one who gets it.

The advice can prove to be expensive because of the hidden cost we might have to pay in pursuit of that free advice.

Sayings On The Nature Of People 

Armenian Proverbs

Ջորին կարողանում է յոթ տարբեր հարվածներ լողալ, բայց երբ տեսնում է ջուրը, մոռանում է բոլորը:

Jorin karoghanum e yot’ tarber harvatsner loghal, bayts’ yerb tesnum e jury, morranum e bolory

A mule can swim seven different strokes but the moment he sees the water he forgets them all.

You tend to lose focus and forget everything when you see your fear in front of you. 

Խեղդվող մարդը կպչի ծղոտներից

KHeghdvogh mardy kpch’i tsghotnerits

A drowning man will clutch at straws.

When a person gets caught in a difficult situation he utilizes every little opportunity to make use of it even if it is of no help at all. 

Նա, ով շատ է խոսում, քիչ է սովորում

Na, ov shat e khosum, k’ich’ e sovorum

He who speaks a lot learns little.

This Armenian phrase implies that spoken words cannot do anything until you act and do something, thus one should act more and speak little.

Տղամարդիկ երեք ականջ ունեն՝ մեկը գլխի ձախ կողմում, մեկը՝ գլխի աջ կողմում, մեկը՝ սրտում

Tghamardik yerek’ akanj unen՝ meky glkhi dzakh koghmum, meky՝ glkhi aj koghmum, meky՝ srtum.

Men have three ears: one on the left of the head, one on the right of the head, and one in the heart.

It is an exaggerated expression for inferring the idea that men are good listeners.

Ինչքան էլ ծառը պտուղ տա, այնքան ավելի է խոնարհեցնում գլուխը

Inch’k’an el tsarry ptugh ta, aynk’an aveli e khonarhets’num glukhy

However much fruit a tree bears, it humbles its head that much more.

This Armenian proverb is symbolic that you can become truly humble when you have something to offer to the world. It also means that egoistic and proud people do not have anything worthwhile to offer.

Կինը նման է լուսնին՝ որոշ գիշերներ՝ արծաթ, մյուսները՝ ոսկի

Kiny nman e lusnin՝ vorosh gisherner՝ artsat’, myusnery՝ voski

A woman is like the moon-some nights it is silver others gold.

It refers to the inconsistent nature of women.

Հանգիստ ձիերն ամենաուժեղն են ոտքով հարվածում

Hangist dziyern amenauzheghn yen votk’ov harvatsum

Quiet horses kick the hardest

Quiet and introverted people prove to be more capable than talkative people. 

Մեղուն մեղր է ստանում այն ​​նույն ծաղկից, որտեղ օձը ծծում է իր թույնը

Meghun meghr e stanum ayn ​​nuyn tsaghkits’, vortegh odzy tstsum e ir t’uyny

The bee gets honey from the same flower where the snake sucks her poison.

This expression basically talks about the nature of people. Two people who have the same opportunities and share everything can have completely opposite natures. 

Եթե ​​կինը լսի, որ դրախտում ինչ-որ անսովոր բան է կատարվում, նա կգտնի սանդուղք, որ գնա և նայեր

Yet’e ​​kiny lsi, vor drakhtum inch’-vor ansovor ban e katarvum, na kgtni sandughk’, vor gna yev nayer

If a woman hears that something unusual is going on in heaven, she would find a ladder to go and look at.

It talks about the curious nature of women.

Միակ սուրը, որը երբեք չի հանգստանում, կնոջ լեզուն է

Miak sury, vory yerbek’ ch’i hangstanum, knoj lezun e:

The only sword that never rests is the tongue of a woman.

A sword is a weapon that hurts, so here it means that women never stop saying hurtful words.

Expressions On Wisdom

Armenian Proverbs

Մի ապուշ քարը գցեց ջրհորը, քառասուն խելոք չկարողացան այն հանել

Mi apush k’ary gts’ets’ jrhory, k’arrasun khelok’ ch’karoghats’an ayn hanel

One idiot threw a stone in the well, forty wise people could not get it out.

This Armenian proverb means that the stupidity of one may cause harm to many. It also implies that one person's irresponsible behavior cannot be corrected by many. 

Եթե ​​մորուքների մեջ իմաստություն լիներ, բոլոր այծերը մարգարեներ կլինեին

Yet’e ​​moruk’neri mej imastut’yun liner, bolor aytsery margarener klinevn

If there was wisdom in beards, all goats would be prophets.

This expression says that being old (the age when people have a beard) does not mean that he is one clever person. Wisdom is a gift and cannot be defined through some physical trait.

Ավելի լավ է իմաստունի հետ քարեր տանել, քան ընդունել խելագարի ճաշը

Aveli lav e imastuni het k’arer tanel, k’an yndunel khelagari chashy

It is better to carry stones with a wise man than accept the meal of a madman.

The company of a wise person is better than that of a hospitable madman, even if you have to do arduous tasks because you will learn something in the end. 

Երբ էշին ծաղիկներ են տվել հոտի, նա կերել է դրանք

Yerb eshin tsaghikner yen tvel hoti, na kerel e drank’.

When they gave the donkey flowers to smell, he ate them.

This proverb is used to criticize imprudent and thoughtless people as they do not grasp the situation and act thoughtlessly. 

Պատերազմի պատճառ չկա, որը խելամիտ մարդիկ չկարողանան լուծել

Paterazmi patcharr ch’ka, vory khelamit mardik ch’karoghanan lutsel:

There is no reason for war that reasonable men can’t settle.

A reasonable and wise man can handle every situation without letting it get chaotic. 

Proverbs For Lessons Of Life

Armenian Proverbs

Արևը չի մնա ամպի հետևում

Arevy ch’i mna ampi hetevum:

The sun won't stay behind the cloud.

It means that truth will not always remain hidden and will reveal itself sooner or later. 

Նույնիսկ եթե սոխակը ոսկե վանդակում է, նա դեռ երազում է անտառ վերադառնալ

Nuynisk yet’e sokhaky voske vandakum e, na derr yerazum e antarr veradarrnal

Even if the nightingale is in a gold cage, she still dreams of returning to the forest.

Love for home or where you belong has been expressed in this Armenian proverb. One cannot live happily out of one's own home.

Բրինձը միայն բառերով չի եփում

Brindzy miayn barrerov ch’i yep’um.

Rice is not cooked with only words.

You cannot do anything with words. One needs to act to get something done.

Ոսկե օրորոցով աղջիկը հայրական տանը երկար չի մնում

Voske ororots’ov aghjiky hayrakan tany yerkar ch’i mnum

A girl with a golden cradle doesn't remain long in her father's house

It means that you cannot remain advantaged all your life as you lose what you have and earn what you don't have. Life is not always the same.

Նա, ով հարցնում է, գիտի մեկ ամոթ. նա, ով չգիտի երկու

Na, ov harts’num e, giti mek amot’. na, ov ch’giti yerku

He that asks know one's shame; he that doesn't know two

It is better to ask and get to know about something rather than never asking and never knowing. 

Պատրաստ լինելը գործի միայն կեսն է

Patrast linely gortsi miayn kesn e

To be willing is only half the job

Willingness is the key to doing an excellent job as you work hard if you are determined for anything. Thus getting free from indecisiveness is like a half-done job as the rest is to work hard. 

Phrases On Relationships

Armenian Proverbs

Ընտրիր ընկեր ծեր մարդու աչքերով, իսկ ձին երիտասարդի աչքերով

Yntrir ynker tser mardu ach’k’erov, isk dzin yeritasardi ach’k’erov:

Choose a friend with the eyes of an old man, and a horse with the eyes of a young one.

Friends and horses are considered symbols of loyalty but here a contrast has developed between the two. You should wisely choose your friend and old age gives you experience, but to choose a horse one needs to be young enough to see the physical traits of the horse correctly. 

Կինը, ով սիրում է իր ամուսնուն, ուղղում է նրա թերությունները. այն տղամարդը, ով սիրում է իր կնոջը, չափազանցնում է դրանք

Kiny, ov sirum e ir amusnun, ughghum e nra t’erut’yunnery. ayn tghamardy, ov sirum e ir knojy, ch’ap’azants’num e drank’:

The woman who loves her husband corrects his faults; the man that loves his wife exaggerates them.

Loyalty in a marital relationship is evident when one tries to correct the other and the other respects and willingly accepts the advice. 

Other Armenian Sayings

Ես շատ երգեր գիտեմ, բայց չեմ կարող երգել

Yes shat yerger gitem, bayts’ ch’em karogh yergel.

I know many songs, but I cannot sing.

It is used when you know how something is done but cannot actually do it. 

Մինչ գերը նիհարի, նիհարը կմահանա

Minch’ gery nihari, nihary kmahana

Before the fat one slims, the slim one will die.

It is an exaggerated expression for saying that it is very difficult and time consuming to lose weight.

Արևին ասում է՝ դուրս մի՛ արի, ես դուրս եմ եկել

Arevin asum e՝ durs mi՛ ari, yes durs yem yekel.

She tells the sun: don't come out, I have come out.

This expression is used when you want to praise the beauty of someone. 

Նա, ով չի կարող տանը աղոթել, պատարագ կմատուցի մեկ այլ տեղ

Na, ov ch’i karogh tany aghot’el, patarag kmatuts’i mek ayl tegh:

He who cannot pray at home will celebrate mass somewhere else.

One will find some other way of doing things if they don't get the opportunity.

Անգամ եփած հավը կծիծաղեր

Angam yep’ats havy ktsitsagher.

Even a cooked hen would laugh.

This proverb is used when you want to say that something or some situation is very ridiculous. 

Ծուլությունից նա կանչում է սեւ էշին «օրհնի ինձ Տեր

Tsulut’yunits’ na kanch’um e sev eshin “orhni indz Ter”

Out of laziness, s/he calls to the black donkey "bless me, Lord".

An extremely lazy person could confuse the priest(who wears black) and black donkey and would not raise his head. 

Մահվան դռան մոտ տղամարդը ջերմություն կաղաչի

Mahvan drran mot tghamardy jermut’yun kaghach’i

At death's door, a man will beg for the fever.

It tells about the fear of death that one would be ready for anything but death.

Երբ գողը գողից գողացել է, Աստված ծիծաղում է դրախտում

Yerb goghy goghits’ goghats’el e, Astvats tsitsaghum e drakhtum

When the thief has stolen from a thief, God laughs in heaven.

The one who does wrong will eventually have done something wrong to him. If you do anything bad, it will come back to you.

Երկրի ձգողականությունն այնքան ուժեղ է, որ ծեր գորշ մարդը ծուռ է քայլում

Yerkri dzgoghakanut’yunn aynk’an uzhegh e, vor tser gorsh mardy tsurr e k’aylum

The gravity of the earth is so strong that the old grey man walks crookedly.

This phrase might be used when there is no link between the two things and you try to forcefully make a logical but false connection between them. 

Դուք այնքան մարդ եք, որքան ձեր իմացած լեզուները

Duk’ aynk’an mard yek’, vork’an dzer imats’ats lezunery:

Inchqan lezoo imanas, aynqan mart es.

You are as many a person as the languages you know.

Or

However many languages you know, that much of a human you are.

The more languages you know the more enjoyable your life becomes as you can socialize with more people. 

Wrapping Up  

Armenian Proverbs

The Armenian language is very rich in sayings and proverbs. This rich data of Armenian expressions come from folklore, literature and other forms of oral culture descended through the ages. Armenian sayings are mostly a collection of advice and codes of life as the history of Armenia itself is full of hustle and changes.

The content of Armenian proverbs is largely composed of advice, guidelines, and suggestions to live a quiet and reasonable life but there are factors of humor and criticism as well. Because of the huge Armenian diaspora, you might rub shoulders with some Armenian people, so these proverbs will help you get closer to that person and also to their cultural traditions. When you use their language they will open up to you as well and so you will get to taste the real flavor of their culture. 

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