Malay Proverbs – Simpulan Bahasa.

J000000Sunday08 83112, 2008. at 11.15pm07 (Uncategorized)

Selamat malam semua,

                                     The proverbs that Cikgu showed us in class were really very insightful and I thought of searching for more malay proverbs to further expand my knowledge of them.

1)Air sama air, sampah ke tepi juga.

  • Literal translation: Water and water, rubbish moves aside.
  • Do not get involved in a sibling or family dispute because when they get back together, one will be left out.

 2)Alang-alang menyeluk pekasam, biar sampai ke pangkal lengan

  • Literal translation: Since you happen to put your hand in a container full of pickles, might as well dip your whole arm in the container.
  • If you are going to do something, you might as well go all the way. This comes from the fact that the ripest pickles sink to the bottom, thus if a person is putting their hand in the jar, they might as well go all the way and take the best from the bottom of the jar.

3)Anjing menyalak di ekor gajah

  • Literal translation: Dog barking at elephant’s tail.
  • A weakling trying to challenge a person with power

4)Bacang dibungkus, tentu baunya keluar juga.

  • Keeping a secret that is already known to others

5)Bagai anjing beranak enam

  • Literal translation: Like a dog gave birth to six litters.
  • Very thin (human figure).

6)Bagai beruk kena belacan

  • Literal translation: Like a monkey who eats belacan (a Malay traditional foodstuff; chilli paste which is pungent and spicy ala chili con carne).
  • Describing a person who is in a state of panic or hyperactivity, as a monkey would be shouting and screaming after eating spicy food.

7)Bagaikan kacang lupakan kulit

  • Literal translation: Like the peanut, who forgets its shell.
  • A person who forgets/denies his roots.

8)Berat sama dipikul, ringan sama dijinjing

  • A heavy load should be borne together as well as a light load. 
  • A trouble shared is a trouble halved.

9)Beri betis, hendak paha

  • Literal translation: When a calf is given, a thigh is requested.
  • A greedy person will always ask for more.

10)Bertepuk sebelah tangan manakan berbunyi

  • Literal translation: Clapping with one hand won’t make a sound.
  • Compare: It takes two to tango.

11)Biar berputih tulang, jangan berputih mata

  • Literal translation: Let the bones white, don’t let the eyes white.
  • Stay and fight instead of turn and run.
  • The ‘bones white’ points to the color of the bone.
  • The ‘eyes white’ points to when the eyes turn away, the white eye part shows.

12)Biar pecah di perut, jangan pecah di mulut

  • Literal translation: Let it break in the stomach, don’t let it break at the mouth.
  • No matter what happens, keep this a secret.

13)Buruk muka, cermin dibelah .

  • Literal translation: Ugly face, mirror cut.
  • Oneself is unclever yet blame others

14)Cacing hendak menjadi naga .

  • Literal translation: Worm wants to be dragon
  • Someone trying to be something that he or she cannot be.

15)Cubit peha kanan, peha kiri terasa sakit

  • Literal translation: Pinch right thigh, left thigh feels pain
  • When your loved one is in pain, you suffer too.

16)Di mana ada kemahuan, di situ ada jalan

  • Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

17)Disangka panas sampai ke petang, rupa-rupanya hujan di tengah jalan

  • Literal translation: Thought it would be hot until evening, turns out it rained on the way.
  • Plan gone awry on the way.

18)Gajah seberang laut nampak, kuman depan mata tak nampak

  • Literal translation: Elephant across the seas can be seen, germs in front of the eyes is unseen.
  • The bad of others can be seen, one’s bad goes unnoticed.

19)Harimau mati meninggalkan belang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama

  • Literal translation: Tigers die leaving their stripes (of their fur), but humans die leaving their names (reputation).
  • A person dies but his deeds live on.

20)Jangan berumah di tepi pantai jika takut dipukul ombak

  • Literal translation: Don’t bulild a house on near the beach if afraid of being hit by waves.
  • Don’t do it if you are afraid of taking the risks.

21)Jangan bersultan di mata, bersyaitan di hati

  • Literal translation: Don’t show sultan in the eyes but have satan at heart.
  • Don’t be two-faced.

22)Jangan disangka air yang tenang tiada buaya.

  • Literal translation: Do not think that placid water is without crocodiles.
  • A serene façade can hide many secrets.
  • similar to still waters run deep.


  • Makan boleh sebarang makan, cakap jangan sebarang cakap
    • Literal translation: Eat just about anything, don’t talk just about anything.
    • Watch your mouth/words.
  • 24)Melentur buluh biarlah dari rebungnya

    • Literal translation: To bend a bamboo, start when it’s still a shoot.
    • Start cultivating good values in a very early age. An English equivalent is “Strike the iron while it’s hot.”

    25)Yang bulat tak datang bergolek, yang pipih tak datang melayang

    • Literal translation: Round object will not roll over, flat object will not fly over.
    • You have to make an effort to achieve something

    26)Tak tahu menari, dikatakan lantai jongkang-jongket

    • Literal translation: Because of lack of talent in dancing, the floor is blamed. (i.e. uneven, bumpy etc.etc.) 
    •  A bad workman often blames his tools.

    27)Yang menang menjadi abu, yang kalah menjadi arang

    • Literal translation: The winner becomes ashes, the loser becomes coal.
    • Worthless fight, neither sides win nor lose.

    28)Sudah terhantuk baru nak tengadah

    • Literal translation: You look up after you already hit your head.
    • An action deemed too late as the incident has already happened.

    29)Sudah jatuh, ditimpa tangga

    • Literal translation: After falling, the ladder falls upon you.
    • After one bad thing another follows.

    30)Sesal dahulu pendapatan, Sesal kemudian tiada gunanya

    • Literal translation: Being regretful early will be advantageous, being regretful later is of no use.
    • English Equivalent:Think before you leap.


    The End.

    Terima Kasih=)



    1. Cikgu said,

      Baik anda sedang belajar

    2. Students « Pandora’s Box said,

    3. Rozhana said,

      thank you so much! i really needed this for malay but couldnt find it. thanks:)

    4. Anonymous said,

      anybody knows the malay proverb meaning
      if you have, share; if you lack, seek?
      i have been searching for the malay version but unable to find

    5. Anonymous said,

      Thanks for all the Proverbs need it very much

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