10+ Eye-Opening Easy Khmer Proverbs To Try Out

Proverbs In Khmer

Sometimes it becomes almost impossible for a beginner language learner to move on with lessons and find the right resource. And since you are here, I am guessing you are facing the same issue. However, you no longer have to worry. If you ask me how I became a fluent Khmer speaker in just a few months, Khmer sayings and proverbs will come first on the list.

So, I have prepared this blog filled with content from old Khmer proverbs that teach essential life lessons to common sayings in the Khmer language pertaining to my own experience. Learning some Khmer proverbs like កុំឱ្យបុរសខឹងលាងចាន។ កុំអោយបុរសឃ្លានបាយថែអង្ករ។– “Don’t let an angry man wash dishes; don’t let a hungry man guard rice,” អ្នកមិនចាំបាច់កាប់ដើមឈើដើម្បីបានផ្លែនោះទេ។– “You don’t have to cut a tree down to get at the fruit,” etc., will give you a great insight into the teachings and beliefs of the Khmer people and also give you a specific language speaking practice. Hence, you improve your skills along with the knowledge of Khmer culture. If you want to learn more, continue reading!

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Importance Of Khmer Old Sayings

What are proverbs, and why are they important? If you really want to take your Khmer skills to a higher level, you first need to understand and learn what Khmer sayings actually are.

Proverbs, in the simplest terms, are understood as wise groups of words that carry meaning and advice related to life. In many cultures, they are considered gems of wisdom, and Khmer culture is one of them, nurturing the Khmer’s old sayings since the time of dawn.

The ancient Khmer sayings teach life lessons that everyone can relate to in some way at some level. They are words that speak the truth that cannot be conveyed otherwise in a usual verbal way.

A Khmer proverb is not just territorially bound. Although old sayings accumulate the wisdom of Khmer culture and their tradition, the hidden meaning can take you to a global span of understanding that will enlighten you with exceptional thoughts. From teaching children to advising in times of sorrow, a proverb widely plays a binding role that even the modern world cannot forget.

So, to truly understand the Khmer locality and their language, you must go through some of the mundane sayings that will help you improve your skills and give you a lesson you have never received before.

Basic Khmer Proverbs You Must Know

Proverbs In Khmer

Coming to the main part, we will now go through some of the many Khmer sayings with proper English translation and meaning. Make sure you learn their significance thoroughly and understand the deeper essence rather than just memorizing the words. If you are curious, let’s get started right away!

1. A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing ចំណេះដឹងតិចតួចគឺជារឿងគ្រោះថ្នាក់

One of the most common cambodian proverbs that you must know is ចំណេះដឹងតិចតួចគឺជារឿងគ្រោះថ្នាក់. Pronounced as chamnehdoeng techtuoch kuchea rueng krohthnak, it is a widely accepted saying that rules not only in Cambodia but in the societies of the entire world.

It says a small amount of knowledge or lack of accurate information can mislead people into thinking they are superior to others. Thus, one should always be aware of the actual matter first before acting on it.

2. A Rotten Apple Injures Its Companions ផ្លែប៉ោមរលួយមួយធ្វើឱ្យដៃគូរបស់វារងរបួស

Another very important saying ផ្លែប៉ោមរលួយមួយធ្វើឱ្យដៃគូរបស់វារងរបួស, pronounced as phle baom rluoy muoy thveu aoy daikou robsa vea rng rbuos, is quite populer in Phnom penh. This phrase encourages people in the Cambodian culture not to wind up with bad people. In simplest terms, it says that a single rotten apple can make the entire basket go bad. So, a poor or bad quality of a person can negatively influence the whole group.

3. Let Your Parents Eat While Their Throat Is Still Standing – ឱ្យឪពុកម្តាយរបស់អ្នកញ៉ាំខណៈពេលដែលបំពង់ករបស់ពួកគេនៅតែឈរ

In the heart of the locals to the Cambodian origin of practices, the saying ឱ្យឪពុកម្តាយរបស់អ្នកញ៉ាំខណៈពេលដែលបំពង់ករបស់ពួកគេនៅតែឈរ, aoy aupouk mteay robsa anak nhoam khn pel del bampngk robsa puokke nowte chhor, still remains one of the wisest sayings that explains the importance of family.

It says you should take care of your parents as long as possible because they won’t be with you forever. Such a thought is critical in today’s world, where children’s and parents’ spirits get divided at a certain age.

4. You May Know A Lot, But Also Respect Other’s Knowledge អ្នកប្រហែលជាដឹងច្រើន ប៉ុន្តែក៏គោរពចំណេះដឹងរបស់អ្នកដទៃផងដែរ។

The pronunciation of the above phrase goes like anak brahelcha doeng chraen bonte ka korp chamnehdoeng robsa anakadtei phng der. It is another famous saying that attracts meaning worldwide. “Respect other’s knowledge” meaning refers that while you may know a lot, there is always a possibility that the other person may know more. So, keeping your ears open is always essential.

5. Do Good, Get Good. Do Bad, Get Bad – ធ្វើល្អ បានល្អ។ ធ្វើអាក្រក់បានអាក្រក់

Coming to a very simple yet meaningful phrase that says ធ្វើល្អ បានល្អ។ ធ្វើអាក្រក់បានអាក្រក់- thveula ttuol ban la . thveu akrak ban akrak. As you can already interpret, it means you get what you give. If you treat others the way you want to be treated, you will get the right results. But you are only delusional if you treat people wrong and expect them to treat you nicely. So, you must do good to receive good from others.

6. Don’t Trust The Sky, Don’t Trust The Stars – កុំទុកចិត្តមេឃ កុំទុកចិត្តផ្កាយ

In this world of fallacies and fraudulence, we often say that we shouldn’t trust someone blindly. Expressing the same sentiment, the phrase កុំទុកចិត្តមេឃ កុំទុកចិត្តផ្កាយ- Kom tuk chet mek, kom tuk chet pkay says that you should never trust someone entirely and blindly. That means, even when the sky looks like it is about to rain, never trust it with your whole heart. You never know when uncertainties will hit you.

7. The Immature Rice Stalk Stands Erect, While The Mature Stalk, Heavy With Grain, Bends Over- ដើម​ស្រូវ​ដែល​មិនទាន់​ពេញវ័យ​ឈរ​ត្រង់ រីឯ​ដើម​ចាស់ទុំ​មាន​ទម្ងន់​ធ្ងន់​នឹង​គ្រាប់​ធញ្ញជាតិ

One of the most traditional sayings of Cambodia, daem​ srauv​ del​ mintean​ penhvy​ chhr trang rie​ daem​ chasatoum​ mean​ tomngon​ thngon​ nung​ kreab​ thonhnhocheate, refers to the respect that we should give to our elders. By the terms bend over and mature stalk, we refer to the hunchback elders who are much more wise than us.

And indeed, it is seen in Cambodia that people respect elders in a way no other countries do. They madly believe in giving respect and love to the elderly citizens who almost lose their identity in this ever-growing western world.

8. The Boat Sails By, The Shore Remains ទូកទៅកំពង់នៅ

One of the most epic and wisest of all, ទូកទៅកំពង់នៅ- touk​ baek​ kat​ chrang​, says that one must work hard and do good things to become a person who is praised and respected by all. That means your good identity and dignity will remain at the shore even when your boat leaves, meaning when you die or leave this earth. It is one of the best lessons that a native Khmer speaker inherits to discipline children and make them understand the nature of life.

Other Khmer Sayings To Try Out

Khmer Inscription

Other than the phrases we studied above, there are a lot more that you can go through. Thus, to give your more Khmer sayings, this section will briefly take us on a proverb ride with only the translations and pronunciation. Buckle up!

A leaf always falls near a treeស្លឹកឈើជ្រុះមិនឆ្ងាយពីគល់Sloek Chheu Chruh Min Chhngay Pi Kol
Learn so that you know, earn so that you become rich.ចេះមកពីរៀន មានមកពីរកCheh Mok Pi Rien Mean Mok Pi Rouk
To cook a long eel needs a long cooking pot.អន្ទង់វែងឆ្នាំងវែងAntong Veng Chhnang Veng
A cake is always smaller than its baking pot.នំមិនធំជាងនាលិNom Min Thom Cheang Neal
The sea water and the fresh water never mix. ទឹកសមុទ្រមិនបំពានទឹកទន្លេTuek Sakmot Min Bopean Tuek Tonle
Many drops of water can fill a container.តក់ៗពេញបំពង់Tak Tak Penh Bampong
We plant rice with water, we wage war with rice.ធ្វើស្រែនឹងទឹក ធ្វើសឹកនឹងបាយThveu Nueng Tuek Thveu Soek Nueng Bay
Your job is your treasure.ការងារជាកំណប់។Kangea Chea Kamnob
If the culture falls, the nation falls and if the culture rises, the nation rises.វប្បធម៌រលំ ជាតិរលាយ វប្បធម៌ពណ្ណរាយ ជាតិថ្កុំថ្កើន។Vapathoar Rolom Cheat Roleay Vapathoar Ponnareay Cheat Thkom Thkaeun
Pride earns you nothing, humility earns you many things.ងើយស្កក ឱនដាក់គ្រាប់។Ngeuy Skak Aong Dak Kroab
If you love the parent, you must love the child.ស្រឡាញ់មេ បំពេកូន។Sralanh Meh Bampeh Koun
Protect the forest, then you have the firewood.រក្សាព្រៃគង់ មិនខ្វះអុសដុត។Reaksa Prey Kong Min Khvas Os Dot
At home, we have different mothers. Away from home, we have the same mother.នៅផ្ទះម្ដាយទីទៃ ទៅព្រៃម្ដាយតែមួយ។Nov Pteah Mday Titey Tov Prey Mday Tae Muoy
Put all your effort then you will succeed.តស៊ូគង់បានសម្រេច។Tasu Kong Ban Samrach
A mountain never has two tigers.ភ្នំមួយមិនដែលមានខ្លាពីរទេ។Phnom Muoy Min Ach Mean Khla Pir Teh

Wrapping up!

Now you know all the crucial sayings in the Khmer language. I’m pretty sure learning this group of words has improved your language skills and enlightened you with eye-opening life lessons that the locals commonly follow in Cambodia. So, if you plan to travel to Cambodia anytime soon, use all these phrases while conversing with your Khmer friends and surprise them with your knowledge. With such mastery, you will undoubtedly make more friends and impress the elder’s in the country.

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