|1||Silently in the forest makes a bird||À dé’gbó àì fọ’hùn ún mã ń mú k’ẹ́iyẹ ṣu lé’ni l’órí ni||Arriving silently in the forest makes a bird shit on one’s head||If someone was insolent to a powerful person with authority to punish at will and went unpunished, this could lead to more disrespect from others. An example has to be made.|
|2||Effortless like child’s play||A dùn ún ṣe bọ̀rọ̀, Ohun t’Ọ́lọ́un l’ọ́wọ́ sí; a ṣòro ó ṣe, Ohun t’Ọ́lọ́un ò l’ọ́wọ́ sí||Effortless like child’s play, what God Has a hand in; difficult to do, what God Has no hand in||This might be a muse of someone who is embarking on a personal project.|
|3||Shenanigans of a bird||A dúró l’ókèèrè t’ó ñ wò’ṣe ẹiyẹ||Standing at a distance while observing the shenanigans of a bird||If someone is acting funny or behaving strangely, you stand and watch them or pretend like you don’t notice their improper behavior.|
|4||Bush fowl||A f’àparò s’ábẹ́, à ñgbin’ka||We place a bushfowl under us while we plant seeds||– You’re entrusting the wrong individual with an important duty; be ready for a probable betrayal;|
– Resolve the nagging issue on the ground before embarking on another effort.
|5||Gold bangle||A fi Òjé bọ Ọwọ́ Olórìṣà; ìgbà tí nwọn ó fi bọ̀ọ́ l’ọ́wọ́, a mã ni’ra. Ìgbàt’ọ́n bá wọ̀ọ́ tán, kìí ṣeé yọ bọ̀rọ̀||We put a gold bangle on the idol-god priest; when they were putting it on his wrist, it did not enter with ease. Though the bangle has finally entered, pulling it out is now a colossal problem||Building someone up might have been a tremendous task; however, to get him down from the pedestal on which you had placed him is now an uphill task. Extreme caution needs to be exercised.|
|6||Fear, throne||A ìí j’ọba k’a l’ójo; t’énìà bá j’ọba t’ó l’ójo, Ṣàngó níí pa’rũ wọn||We don’t ascend to the throne and have fear; if a man becomes the king and is timid, it is Ṣàngó that kills his kind||If you knew you weren’t an able man, why did you contest to be king in the first place? Now whom do you want your citizens to rely on in times of war, etc.?|
|7||Paying someone in bad coin||A ìí m’awo tán, k’á tún wá fi p’ọmọ Emèrè jẹ||We don’t master the knowledge of divinity and use it to kill a reincarnated child||We don’t acquire power from someone and use it to harm his family and loved ones.|
|8||Salt||A kì ñ f’ọlá j’iyọ̀||We don’t eat salt as much to reflect our wealth||– We do things in moderation and not engage in unnecessary activity because of who we are, however rich or however connected we think we are;|
– Another example: We do not leave all the lights and ACs in our house on and go on holiday and say ‘what the heck, we have money to pay for the bill when we return’.
|9||Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul||A kì ñ f’ọmọ Ọbà f’ọ́ṣun||We don’t pass off the son of Obà to Ọ̀ṣun||Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.|
|10||Appreciation||A kì ń gb’ókèèrè m’adùn Ọbẹ̀||We don’t stay at a considerable distance and appreciate the taste of a stew||To be part of the event, you need to be there in person.|
|11||Suffering without reason||A kì ñ l’ọ́kọ́ ń’lé k’a f’ọwọ́ kó’mí||We do not have a hoe in our yard and use our bare hands to scoop up faeces||We do not have an army, government or an established authority and fight our own battles or face our challenges alone.|
|12||Home||A kì ñ ní Ilé Ìyá, k’á má nî ti Baba||We do not have a mother’s home and not have a father’s||Whoever the rival group sends as emissary, we send a secret spy to investigate the emissary without their knowledge.|
|13||Nothing gets past them||A kì ń s‘òòṣà l’ódò kí Làbẹlàbẹ má mọ̀n||We don’t worship an Òòṣà (messenger-god) in the river that Làbẹlàbẹ will be unaware of it||Nothing gets past the state secret service.|
|14||Helper who doesn’t let you forget||A kì ń ṣ’oore fún’ni k’a tún ló’ṣõ tìí||We don’t do someone a favor and we ‘crouch on’ the assistance, i.e. making him never to forget the help rendered||A person who helps someone out of dire straits but never lets them forget it.|
|15||Speak for oneself||A kì ń t’ẹnu Ọ̀kùnrùn-ún j’oògùn||We don’t swallow medicine through the mouth of another person||The man is right here; let him speak for himself.|
|16||Know friends||A kì ńbá’ni rìn k’a má mọn’lé ẹni||We don’t walk along with someone and don’t know where the person lives||We can’t be friends with someone and not know where he lives and his family.|
|17||Whispers||A kì ńgbọ́ Wuyẹ-wuyẹ n’ílé Àgbà lẹ́ẹ̀mejì||We don’t hear whispers in an elder’s house twice||If you have to hear it twice, you’re not welcome in the house, i.e. it’s not a place you should be visiting.|
|18||Be mindful||A kì ñt’ojú Ẹlẹ́sẹ̀ Mẹ́sãn kã||We don’t stand before someone with nine toes and start counting them||We should be careful and mindful of what we say within the earshot of whomsoever we’re gossiping about.|
|19||Rejoice||À kú sọ’rínù nii t’ọ̀gẹ̀dẹ̀||In death, head slumped and leaning forwards is the appearance of dead banana trees||One might say this to express their glee that something they found odious is now as dead as a dodo. The adage is not really of any importance.|
|20||It’s entirely up to you||A lè mú Ẹṣin lọ Odò ni, a ò lè fi ipá mú Ẹsin m’omi||We may lead a horse to the stream, but we cannot force a horse to drink water||We may show you a way out of the situation you are in, but we cannot force you to take up the counsel.|
|21||Who are you?||À ñ b’ẹ̀rù al’ájá, Ajá rò’pé Òun l’à ñ b’ẹ̀rù||We exhibit our fear of the dog owner, the dog thinks it’s him we’re afraid of||This is a derisive saying, like “who do you think you are?”|
|22||Preserve||À ñ gb’òròmọndìẹ l’ọ́wọ́ Ikú, ó ní nwọn ò jẹ́ k’óun lọ s’áàtàn k’óun lọ jẹ̀||We are trying to preserve a chick from death, it complains they don’t allow it to go and play on the refuse dump||This allegory is warning someone for their own good.|
|23||Pay back with malice||A ń l’éku sí wọ́n, nwọ́n ń l’éjò sí wa||We are driving mice toward them, they’re driving snakes toward us||We are doing things to uplift or assist someone; the same person rewards us by plotting bad things against us in return.|
|24||Doesn’t deserve||À ń pọ́n Jẹ̀bẹ̀ lé l’a fi ń pèé ní Àkísà||We are honoring Jẹ̀bẹ̀ [raggedy tatters fit for recycling] by calling them Àkísà [rags]||Someone is just flattering another but the person in the narrative does not really merit any honor.|
|25||Euphemizing||À ń pọ́n’kú lé l’à ń p’ọ́fọ̀ ṣẹ̀||We are euphemizing Ikú [death] by saying Ọ̀fọ̀ [demise] has occurred instead||We are just being nice and courteous to someone out of politeness or respect and so we are not showing how we really feel.|
|26||Good customer service||À ń rọ́’jú j’ẹ̀kọ Ọ̀bùn, ó tún ń pọn kéré||We are managing to eat Ẹ̀kọ [hardened corn-pudding] of Ọ̀bùn [slovenly person], she portions it out in smaller wraps than the competition||This is directed at someone whose business people are being magnanimous enough to patronize [to keep them afloat] and yet lacks enviable customer service.|
|27||Bygones||A ní k’á j’èkuru k’ó tán, a tún ń gbọn’wọ́ ẹ̀ s’áwo||We said let’s eat and finish Èkuru till there’s none left, and yet here we are, shaking the crumbs in the plate||We agreed to let bygones be bygones yet some members of the accord are still bringing up unnecessary issues that could add more fuel.|
|28||Ungrateful||À ñjà nítorí Ọ̀jà, Ọ̀jà ní taló ñjà L’ẹ́hìnkùnlé Òun?||We are fighting in defence of the hermit, the ungrateful recluse cries out “who are those fighting in my backyard?”||We are doing all we can to restitute the wealth and dignity of someone who hardly deserves it, and here he is, complaining of us disturbing him.|
|29||Two heads are better than one||À ñpéé gbọ́n ni; a kì ñpéé gọ̀||We ‘complete’ [gather together] to get wiser; we don’t ‘complete’ to get dumber||– We put heads together to reach a mutually-beneficial solution;|
– Two heads are better than one.
|30||Two wrongs do not a right make||À ò níí b’ínú Orí k’a fi fìlà dé’dodo||We can’t be mad with the head and put the hat on the navel||We can’t be angry with someone enough that we would give what is rightfully theirs to someone else.|
|31||Talk of the devil||A p’orí Àparò, ó já’ko||We call the bushfowl’s spirit, and out from the bush it pops out||The very moment we start to discuss someone who is not present, a knock comes on the door and the man appears;|
Sort of “talk of the devil”.
|32||Sculpture Gbedu drums||A rí Igi gbogbo n’ínú Igbó k’a tó fi Ọ̀mọ̀ gbẹ́ Gbẹ̀du||We saw all trees in the forest before we chose to use Ọ̀mọ̀ to sculpture Gbẹ̀du drums||We knew what we got before we elected to go this route.|
|33||Say something and see it pass||A s’ọ̀rọ̀ ṣẹ kìí s’ọ̀rọ̀ọ́ dànù||–||He who says something and it comes to pass never speaks for nothing.|
|34||Difficult to remove||A ti fi Òjé bọ Olõṣà l’ọ́wọ́, ó ku Baba Ẹni tí ó bọ́ọ||We have put the gold bangle on the messenger-god priest, let’s see whose father would dare to attempt to remove it||You have helped create a monster and placed him on the throne; to unseat him will be almost an impossible endeavour.|
|35||Talking drum||À ti rán’múu Gángan kìí ṣe Ẹ̀hìn Èékánná||The Gángan’s (talking drum’s) capability to vary its tone is not behind [i.e. independent of] the drummer’s nails||You didn’t get to where you are without the groundwork having been laid nicely by the very person being discussed.|
|36||Sacrificial food to the gods||À ti ṣ’ẹbọ, à ti ṣ’òògùn, b’ã ti wá’yé pé aá rî nã l’àá rí||Whether we offer sacrificial food to the gods or consult the oracle is irrelevant, what we had chosen to be before we were born is what we will be||Do not seek wealth through shortcuts or maneuverings.|
|37||Forewarn||A wí fún’ni k’ó tó da’ni, Òun ní Àgbà Ìjàkadì||He who apprises someone before he betrays them is the winner of a wrestling bout||– The penalty for breaking rules has been announced, so let no one complain;|
– In other words, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
|38||goiter sufferer, swallow||Aà kì ñsọ fún Onígbègbè k’ó gbé t’ọrũn ẹ̀ mì||We don’t tell a goiter sufferer to swallow the tumor in his neck||We don’t tell someone with an obvious problem not to seek remedy but to just shut up or go and die.|
|39||Chase away the fox||Aá kọ́kọ́ lé Akátá lọ ná k’a tó wá f’àbọ̀ bá’dìẹ||We should first chase away the fox before we return to admonish the fowl/chicken||– We gather together to fight he who has done a loved one a wrong, then put our heads together to chastise the person we’re defending for having initiated or drawn first blood that had caused the ire of the person we’re complaining about.|
– See proverb #40.
|40||Chase away the goat||Aá kọ́kọ́ lé Ewúrẹ́ lọ k’a t’ó f’àbọ̀ bá’dìẹ||We first chase away the goat before we shoo away the chicken||– We first confront the issue at hand and resolve it before we confront the instigator of the problem.|
– See proverb #39.
|41||Do without||Aà lè fá’rí l’ẹ́hìn Olórí||We can’t shave a head behind the owner of the head||– The party cannot go on when the celebrant is not around;|
– The proceedings cannot hold without the accused being present in court.
|42||Compare||Aà lè fi Ikú w’órun||We can’t compare death to sleep||The issue is simply incomparable, like chalk and cheese basically.|
|43||Pay twice||Aà lè mã bọ Òrìṣà k’a tún mã bọ Obì||We can’t worship Òrìṣà god and worship the kola-nut as well (the latter is used to worship/appease the former)||We can’t pay both ways; it’s either we pay for one and the concerned person takes responsibility for the other.|
|44||Up to you||Aà ñ ṣípẹ̀ẹ nọ̀n’ró f’ábuké||We don’t tell a hunchback to stand upright||If you won’t take heed and protect yourself or do something that’s going to be beneficial to your well-being, it’s your problem and all eyes will see and you’ll bear the consequence.|
|45||Know the consequence||Aà ní k’ọ́mọdé má wun’yín Ganganran, ìgbàt’ó bá ti lè r’ẹ́nu bòó||We don’t plead with the little kid to not grow buck teeth, as long as he’s got the lips to cover them||You may break any law or do something intolerable as long as you’re prepared for the consequences of your action.|
|46||Nothing new||Aà rí’rú Eléyî rí, a fi ñd’ẹ́rù b’ọlọ́rọ̀ ni||‘We’ve never seen this type of thing before’ is only uttered to frighten the ‘possessor of the story’||Nothing new under the heavens.|
|47||Instant result||Aà tíì kó’fá n’lẹ̀, Ifá ti ń ṣẹ||We haven’t removed the shells of Ifá oracle from the floor [divination mat], the divination is already manifesting||We have hardly spoken, what we just talked about is already beginning to take place.|
|48||Do what you must||Àá wẹ̀ k’á jàre Ọyẹ́ ni||We bathe to ‘subdue’ or ‘beat’ the Harmattan||We do what is necessary to placate a hot issue.|
|49||A clue or hint is enough||Ààbọ̀ Ọ̀rọ̀ l’à ñsọ f’ọ́mọlúwàbí, t’ó bá dé’nú ẹ̀ á d’odi-ñdi||The little narrative we tell a wellborn & intelligent child, when he absorbs it, it becomes whole||You have only to suggest or give a hint to someone, and if he is wise enough, he’d get the whole picture.|
|50||It’s obvious; non sequitor||Àãfã ñjó’ná, ẹ ńbèèrè Irùgbọ̀n||A priest is ablaze and you’re asking whither is his beard?||– Only a fool would ask the obvious;|
– It is illogical or a non-sequitur.
|51||Show empathy or concern||Aájòó j’òwó||Showing concern trumps giving someone money any time||Concern and empathy is way better than sending money to someone who would rather have your quality time.|
|52||Compassion||Àánú Ojú ìí jẹ́’á t’ọwọ́ b’ojú||The compassion we feel towards eyes precludes us from sticking fingers in eyes||– If a blind person or a physically challenged person offends us, we wouldn’t raise our hand and strike them, so we let them be;|
– Because of our inbuilt empathy we don’t beat someone who is down and out.
|53||United we stand||Ààrò mẹ́ta ò gbọdọ̀ d’ọbẹ̀ nù||A three-stone fire must not tip over a pot of soup||With the three (or more) of us, the support for our collective goal would be much stronger.|
|54||Comfort zone||Ààrò t’ó bá tutù l’ẹdìẹ ñ yé sí||A fire pit that is cold is where a chicken hatches in||Where things are cool and calm is where a woman births.|
|55||In time of trouble||Àbàtá ta kété bí Ẹni tíò b’ódò tan||The mud stands at an arm’s length like it’s not related to the brook||In time of trouble some close friends or colleagues may desert you and act like they don’t know you.|
|56||Too late||Abẹ́ gé’mọ l’ọ́wọ́, Ọmọ́ s’abẹ nù; ṣé Abẹ ò ti ṣe’hun t’ó fẹ́ ṣe ni?||A blade accidentally cut a child’s finger, the child throws the blade away; has the blade not accomplished its mission?||The damage is already done.|
|57||Needle||Abẹ́rẹ́ á lọ k’ọ́nà Okùn t’ó dí||The needle will pass before the thread’s path closes||I’ll get safely out of town before the trouble, earthquake, disaster etc. begins.|
|58||Stepping on toes||Abìnrìnbẹ̀rẹ̀ ní ó m’óyè dé’lé||He who crouch-walks is the one that returns home with a chieftaincy title||He who is diligent, careful, not confrontational, avoids stepping on toes and ruffling feathers but works quietly in the background unseen, unnoticed, like a fly on the wall, is the one that succeeds and comes away with something tangible out of the commotion.|
|59||Give all assistance you can||Àbòtán ni Òòṣà ń bò’dí Ìgbín; t’ã bá d’áṣọ f’ọ́lẹ, aá pã l’áró ni||It is with full shield that messenger-gods protect the snail; if we buy clothes for a lazy person, we tie-dye them before giving the dresses to him||The speaker is pleading for full help and assistance for someone (could be himself), even for the smallest thing so that he’ll not have to spend a penny or invest the least effort at all.|
|60||Quiet reticent||Adákẹ́-máfọhùn, aà mọn t’ẹni t’ó ñṣe||The reticent man, we don’t know whose side he’s on||A habitually quiet stakeholder that gives no one a clue as to what he’s thinking.|
|61||Denial||Àdàpèmọ̀n l’ọmọ mi ñ fẹ́’wọ́; Olè l’olè ñjẹ́||Denial is “my child borrows things without the permission of the owners and forgets to return them”; a thief is what a thief is||Call a spade a spade; don’t shy away from the truth that is right before you.|
|62||King, crown, chief||Adé Orí l’a fi ñ m’ọba, Ìrùkẹ̀rẹ̀ l’a fi ñ mọ̀n’jòyè||The crown on the head symbolizes a king; the horsetail fly-whisk is how we recognize a chief||With certain peculiarities and qualities we know who’s in charge or who’s got the balls.|
|63||Chicken, rope||Adìẹ t’ó bà l’ókùn; Ara ò rọ’kùn, Ara ò r’ẹdìẹ||The chicken that lands and perches on a rope; the rope is not settled and neither is the chicken||A vexatious bothersome person who keeps stirring up trouble wherever he goes, yet he’s not at peace himself.|
|64||Wind, trees||Afẹ́fẹ́ kan ò níí fẹ́ k’ó má kan Igi Oko l’ára||No wind will blow and not touch the body of trees in the forest||Repercussions of a major governmental decision will be felt by every citizen in the Diaspora.|
|65||Listener||Afetísáròyé, kò ní ñkankan-án ṣe ni||N/A||A listener who just listens and doesn’t offer any advice with regard to the matter someone is narrating to him really has no clue what should be done.|
|66||Wasting time||Àfi tí Oluwa bá kọ́ Ilé nã, Ẹ̀dá ñṣe l’ásán ni||Except God builds the house, human beings are only “making” in vain||If you are trying hard to achieve something important, except it be given you from above, you’re only wasting your time.|
|67||Mediator, judge||Agb’ẹ́jọ́ Ẹnìkan dá, Àgbà Òṣìkà ni||The mediator that listens only to one side of a story is the elder statesman of the Evil Ones||Usually uttered by someone who feels he needs to hear the two sides of a story before rendering his judgment.|
|68||Elders, youth, celebration||Àgbà (Àgbàlagbà) ìí ṣ’orò bí Èwe||The elders don’t celebrate festive periods like the youth||You don’t expect elders or those in authority to behave in an unexpected manner that is unbefitting for their position in society.|
|69||Disorder||Àgbà ìí wà l’ọ́jà, k’órí Ọmọ tuntún wọ́||Elders cannot be in the market and a toddler’s head is lopsided||There should be no disorder when there is a power/leader or council that can control the situation and dowse the flames.|
|70||Accept the situation||Àgbà l’ó ń gb’ẹ̀kọ tíò l’éwé||It is the elder that accepts the hardened corn-pap that has not been properly dished out in leaves||Try and accept the situation at it currently stands.|
|71||Cry for help||Àgbà níí gba’ni l’ọ́jọ́ Ìṣòro, Òun l’ó mú kí Alákàrà mí sá ti Ẹlẹ́kọ ọ̀ rẹ||The elders are those that rescue someone at a time of distress, that’s what made my Àkàrà seller chase after your Ẹ̀kọ seller. [The Àkàrà and Ẹ̀kọ both complement one another]||The speaker is crying out for help from the listener.|
|72||Sure of yourself, empty barrel||Àgbá Òfìfo níí p’ariwo||An empty barrel makes the most noise||– Those who are given to boasting about their accomplishments are often the worst underachievers;|
– If you know your own self-worth and you’re a fantastic individual, you do not need to beat your own drum.
|73||Façade of importance||Àgbà tí ò bá gbó’jú-gbó’nu, Òun ní ñta Màrìwò||The elder who lacks genuine power is the one that wears palm fronds||He who lacks real influential power puts on the façade of importance when the real power-movers are not around.|
|74||Count your losses||Àgbà tíò b’ínú Òun l’ọmọ ẹ̀ ń pọ̀ jọjọ||The elder who is not upset is the one whose children number a lot||– Accept what is going on as pre-ordained and endeavour to control your temper;|
– Suffer pain or misfortune in a stoical manner;
– Grin and bear it;
– Count your losses and move on.
|75||Humiliation, mortification||Àgbà t’ó bá jẹ Àjẹ Ìgbẹ̀hìn, fún’ra Alára ẹ̀ l’ó mã ru Igbá ẹ̀ dé’lé||The elder who relishes eating leftovers, by himself will he carry its calabash-container home [when everyone has left him to it]||An upright member of the community who does not respect himself but dishonors himself by his actions should be ready to bear the humiliation all by himself.|
|76||Swear, sin||Àgbà wá bú’ra b’éwe ò bá ṣe ẹ́ rí||Elders should come and swear that they’d never been young once||Let he who is without sin come and cast the first stone. Something like that.|
|77||Only God Knows||Agbààwẹ̀ má dá’tọ́ mì, Ọlórun l’ẹlẹ́rï Ọfun||A faster who swears he never swallows spittle during a fast, God is the only witness||What someone says may be factual, only God Knows if it is the truth.|
|78||United we stand||Agbájọ Ọwọ́ l’a fi ñ sọ̀’yà||With supportive hands [in unison] do we beat our chest||United we stand, divided we fall.|
|79||Forget the idea||Àgbàlagbà t’ó bá san Yangan mọ́n’dī ó ti di Alámũseré Ẹdìẹ||The elder who ties a belt of grains to his waist makes himself the chicken’s clown||Whoever attempts to do what you have in mind will shame himself. Better perish the thought.|
|80||Wreak havoc||Àgbàrá Òjò ni ẹ́, oò l’óò n’ílé é wó||You’re flood water, you can’t say you’re not ready to bring down a house||– For example the hyperbole could rebuke someone thought to expose secrets going on in a business, and the revelation could make the company lose patronage and fold up as a result of everyone knowing secrets of how they’re making their profit;|
– To judge from your lack of respect for money, you’re ready to ruin someone, spending anyhow the way you do.
|81||Rude, impolite||Àgbàrá t’ó ñ kọjá l’ójúde Ọba tí ò k’ọ́ba||Flood water that flows past the king’s palace but doesn’t stop to salute the king||– Passing right in front of the house of someone you know and not saluting them;|
– Imagine the Russian president coming to America on private business without paying a visit to the US president.
|82||Count your blessings||Àgbébọ̀ ń ràgà b’ọmọ ẹ̀ nítorí Àwòdì-òkè; Òròmọndìẹ wá ń wẹ́yì pé Àwòdì-òkè é ti ń ṣ‘àṣe jù||A hen covers her hatchlings because of the eagle in the sky; meanwhile, the baby chickens are moaning that the eagle is overdoing it.||Be content that the situation is not worse than it is!|
|83||Just a messenger||Agbèf’ọ́ba kan ìí j’ẹ̀bi||No royal announcer is ever guilty||The pronouncements he makes are given to him by the ruler or the chiefs.|
|84||Retreat||Àgbò t’ó tà’dí m’ẹ́hìn, Agbára l’ó lọọ mú wá||The ram that appears to withdraw or retreat has gone to bring might||– He who retreats has probably gone to bring reinforcement;|
– He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.
|85||It’s so obvious||Agbọ́n ń sẹ́, Oyín ń sẹ́, Oju Oloko dẹ̀ rèé kùdùrù-kuduru ni||The wasp is refuting, the bee is also denying knowledge of what caused the farmer’s face to look so puffed-up with blotchy welts||The case is clear-cut as to what happened and who is responsible.|
|86||New things||Àgbọ̀nrín Èṣí l’ò ñjẹ l’ọ́bẹ̀||The deer you killed last year is what you’re still eating in stews||New things are in vogue;|
The world has evolved and moved beyond your thinking.
|87||An angry man||Àgékù Ejò ìí ṣ’oro bí Agbọ́n||An almost-hacked-to-death snake is not as lethal as a swarm of wasps||A man who has been unjustifiably wronged without recompense is an angry man.|
|88||Future problem||Àgékù Ejò ò ṣeé fi s’ílẹ̀||An almost-hacked-to-death snake cannot be left alive||The son of an assassinated king, leader or warrior cannot be spared because when he comes of age, he may seek retribution, just like a decimated force cannot be allowed to regroup and wreak havoc in a later skirmish.|
|89||Harmless||Agódó-ńgbó Ẹsin ni, kò tíì t’éréé sá||He is a colt; he is not yet fit to run||– He’s a kid in the scheme of things; he can’t defend himself, let alone a whole town/community;|
– He’s not up to someone I can pick a fight with; I guess I’ll pick someone my own size.
|90||Wrong crowd||Àgùtàn t’ó bá b’ájá rìn á jẹ̀’gbẹ́||A sheep that is friends with a dog will eat faeces||An upright individual who mixes with a bad crowd will commit crimes.|
|91||How dare you||Àì fi’ni pe’ni, àì f’ènìà p’ènìà tí ñmú Ará Oko sán Bàñtẹ́ wọ̀’lú||Not having regard for someone, not having respect for a human that makes bush folks enter a town with only a loin cloth on the waist||A rebuke for a flagrant disrespect shown by someone or group to some higher person such as a chief or a king.|
|92||Are you a coward?||Àì lè jà níí jẹ́ Oko Babaà mi ò dé’bíyï||It’s the lack of ability to fight that makes someone say “my father’s farm does not extend up to here”||I have proof of what I’m saying, so let’s go to court;|
It’s cowardly to utter such words when it’s really the fear of your opponent’s power or influence that made you say it.
|93||Makes no difference||Àì l’ówó l’ọ́wọ́ ò pa’ni l’órúkọ dà; ẹ kàn lè má fi ‘Ọ̀gbẹ́ni’ si ni||Being not wealthy does not change a man’s name; only thing is you may not precede the name with ‘Mr.’||Not having a particular thing or being part of a group does not negate the legitimacy or right of an individual.|
|94||It’s all down to you||Àì mọ Iṣẹ́ ẹ́ kọ̀ l’ó mú Ọmọ Orogùn ki Orí b’omi gbígbóná||The lack of ability to refuse errands is what makes the wooden spatula stick its head into boiling water||If someone sends you to do some evil deed, it behooves you to refuse or proceed.|
|95||Don’t fool yourself||Àìd’óko Bàbá Ẹlòmíìn rí l’a fi ñrò’pé Oko Bàbá Ẹni nìkan l’ó tóbi jù||Not having had the privilege to visit the farm of someone else’s father makes us believe that our father’s farm alone is the largest in the world||If you are cocooned by the belief that what you have is one of a kind, that may be because you’re only aware of yours and no one else’s.|
|96||Don’t be naïve||Àìgbọ́’fá l’à ń wò’kè; Ifá kan ò sí ní Bárá||Not adhering to Ifá oracle’s divinations is why we keep staring into empty sky; there’s no revelation in Bárá||In gullibility we look up to someone or entity to feed us when there’s no manna from anywhere.|
|97||Ain’t their fault||Àìjiná Ọ̀ọ̀lẹ̀ kò ní k’á kan’ra m’éwé||The undercooking of Ọ̀ọ̀lẹ̀ [bean cake baked in broad leaves] does not make us short-tempered with the leaves||Don’t punish the messenger.|
|98||Unison||Àìrìn k’á pọ̀ l’ó ñj’ọmọ Ejò ñ’yà||Not walking together in unison results in the suffering of hatchling snakes||– There’s safety in numbers;|
– Not having agreement and understanding with your own folks exposes a man to unnecessary suffering as a result of going it alone.
|99||Exhaustive enquiries||Àìrìnjìnà l’a ò kan Abuké Ọ̀kẹ́rẹ́||It’s because you haven’t walked far enough that you haven’t encountered a hunch-backed squirrel||If you think you are the best/greatest at one thing, that’s probably because you haven’t heard of anyone else who might have accomplished the same ‘feat’. There is always something greater and more amazing than what you do know.|
|100||No choice, no alternative||Àìrírárá l’à ñ j’ẹ̀kọ||Due to scarcity is why we eat Ẹ̀kọ [hardened corn-pudding]||I’m accepting this [whatever] because there’s no alternative anywhere.|
|101||Nothing one can do about it, helpless||Àìsàn l’ó ṣeé wò; a ò rí t’ọlọ́jọ́ ṣe||N/A||Illness is what’s curable; we can’t do anything about death.|
|102||No alternative||Àìsí ńbẹ̀ l’àì dá si||Not being there is not participating in it||You can’t be at the event and not give a helping hand.|
|103||Unambiguity; be clear and precise||Àìsọ̀rọ̀ Ẹ̀là l’ó pa Baálẹ̀ Atẹ̀gúnsí; ó ní “Ibi tí mo bá f’iṣu sí, Ibẹ̀ ni k’ẹ gún l’ódó.” Ńgbàt’ó dẹ̀ f’iṣu s’ẹ́nu, nwọ́n gún Ẹnu ẹ̀ l’ódó ni||Not speaking commonspeak [vernacular] was what killed the overseer of Atẹ̀gúnsí; he had instructed that “wherever I place the boiled yam is exactly where you should pound [with a pestle]”, and when he placed the yam in his mouth, they pounded his mouth||– This is a hilarious take on someone telling another to do something they please when he’s not around, when he really means the opposite;|
– This is a lesson to always make yourself clear and always say what you mean.
|104||Lack of conviction||Àìt’éyín í ká l’à ń f’ọwọ́ bòó||Not being up to the age of losing teeth is why we cover them||– Not being certain of one’s own innocence is why anyone would not readily deny what they’ve been accused of;|
– Not being confident of one’s own ability (or conviction) is why one might not venture to do something, not speak out and/or why one would rather keep [a truth] out of public knowledge and ‘keep it in the closet’.
|105||The pot calling the kettle black||Àìtètè m’ólè, Olè ñ m’ólóko||If a farm thief is not apprehended in time, he may turn out and accuse the farm owner of stealing||You’re accusing me of what you’re actually guilty of yourself.|
|106||Impossibility||Ajá ìí ro’rò tàbí gbó’ná k’ó ṣọ́ ojú’lé méjì||A dog is not brutal or ferocious so much that it guards two houses||No matter how rich you are, you cannot drive two cars at the same time, sleep in two beds in two houses in one night or eat the food of many people at one sitting.|
|107||Leave it to the right people||Ajá Ìwòyí l’ó mọn Ehoro Ìwòyí í lé||Only the dogs of today know how to chase the rabbits of today||– It’s only the modern youth that can deal with modern issues;|
– It’s only the crime fighters of today that can catch today’s criminals;
– The old ideas have been revamped and upgraded to meet today’s needs.
|108||What’s good for the goose is good for the gander||Ajá m’ọmọ tiẹ̀ ẹ́ fún l’ọ́mú; ó mọ t’ọmọ Ẹlòmíìn ín bù jẹ||A dog knows how to breast-feed her own puppy; she knows how to bite the puppy of another dog||Rather like having one set of laws for a group and another set for others (one nation, two justice systems).|
|109||Let them who have ears listen||Ajá t’ó bá ma sọ’nù kìí gbọ́ Fèrè Ọlọ́dẹ||The dog that is going to go astray will never hear the whistle of the communal night guard||He who is destined to suffer the loss of something valuable to him will not heed any dissuading advice contrary to his own decision.|
|110||Courageous, well done!||Ajá t’ó bá re’lé Ẹkùn t’ó bá bọ̀ l’áyọ̀, ńṣe l’ó yẹ k’a kíi kú Orí Ire||The dog that visits the tiger and returns with joy unscathed, we should congratulate it||Who has gone through this sort of trial and tribulation and lives to tell the tale should be able to face any challenges and adversities, so congratulate them.|
|111||Can you dare||Ajá t’ó bá tó, k’ó dú’bũ Ẹkun l’ọ́nà||A dog that is sure of himself, let him waylay a tiger on the path||The speaker is challenging an adversary to meet him force with force if he would dare.|
|112||Not trivial or insignificant||Àjànàkú kọ’jã mo rí ñkan fìrí||An elephant is beyond “I just glimpsed something in a twinkle of an eye”||A huge event or a noteworthy object cannot be discarded as insignificant.|
|113||Watch your back||Àjẹ́ ké l’ánã, Ọmọ kú l’énî; tani ò mọ̀n pé Àjẹ́ t’ó ké l’ánã ló p’ọmọ jẹ?||A witch howled last night, a child suddenly drops dead the next morning; who doesn’t know that it was the witch that screeched yesterday that killed the child [to eat] spiritually?||What problem you may be experiencing was probably set in motion by betrayal from someone you foolishly confided in.|
|114||Anything goes||Àjẹpọ̀ nii t’àdán||Mix-eating everything is the character of the bat||– Just like a bat, the person in reference can eat anything including certain forbidden foods without negative health repercussions; or|
– The person in question may employ all kinds of tactics to achieve his goal;
– An individual has a devil-may-care attitude; he’s not daunted in the least by others’ opinion of him, he trudges on.
|115||Appreciate||Ajogún Ẹ̀wù ni ẹ́, oò mọn’yì Agbádá ńlá||You are an inheritor of a dress, you do not really appreciate the value of an eminent Agbádá||You have inherited something but you don’t really know the value of it.|
|116||You can’t hide it||Àjòjì ò níí wọ̀’lú k’ólè má mọ̀n||A stranger will not enter a town that thieves will not know||Nothing goes on in the country that citizens will not notice.|
|117||Stick to the plan||Àjọrò l’à ñpè ní Àjerò||What is thought of and agreed upon together is what is called Àjerò||What we planned and agreed together is what we should carry out.|
|118||The secret is out||Àkàrà ti tú s’épo||Àkàrà balls [beignets or fritters made of black-eyed beans] have cascaded into the palm oil [have broken the seal of their container]||The secret is out in the open.|
|119||Always ready||Akọ ni mo wà bí Ìbọn||Cocked like a gun I am||I am always in a firing state / launch-mode for anything – just say the word and I spring into action at any given time.|
|120||Suffer the same fate||Akọ́dà kan ìí fẹ́ k’ọ́n gbé Idà kọjá ní’wájú Òun||No executioner likes anyone to carry a sword past right in front of him||People who mete out punishment or terror do not appreciate the same being done to them or their loved ones.|
|121||Naysayers||Akọ́ni k’ó bàjẹ́ ni, nwọn ò kì ñ bá’ni dé’bẹ̀||N/A||The instigators of “let’s ruin their celebration” usually don’t accompany the person they’re encouraging to the event.|
|122||Was already made||Àkùrọ̀ mí ti l’ómi l’ódò k’ójò t’ó rọ̀ si||My wetland already had water before rain fell on it||Things were already working great for me before your arrival/ before I knew you.|
|123||No one can touch me||Alẹ́ kìí lẹ́ k’ọmọ Ejò má rìn; t’ọmọ Eku l’ó ni’ra||The night is never so dark that a snakelet won’t be able to walk; the matter of rat puppies is the problem||You might say this if you feel fearless or confident about something that you can either do now or postpone till there’s more assurance of free passage like, say, a curfew has been lifted.|
|124||Lazy one||Alẹ́lẹ́ Ọ̀lẹ́ yọ̀; Àkùkọ́ kọ Ọ̀lẹ́ p’òṣé||N/A||As dusk approaches, the sluggard rejoices; the rooster crows [in the dawn] the lazy one hisses.|
|125||Beyond you||Alubàtá kan ìí dá’rin||No Bàtá drummer ever initiates a song||Don’t voice your opinion in the matter; it’s above your pay grade.|
|126||Feign, play dumb||Amọ̀rọ̀bini Ọ̀yọ́||A person already wise to a situation but asking questions about it like he didn’t know||Basically saying to someone why are they asking questions they already know the answer to, like someone from Ọ̀yọ́ might do. Ọ̀yọ́ is an important city in Yorùbá land and used to be a great empire before the slave trade began.|
|127||Has to be confronted||Amúnisin ò wá Àlọ̀, àfi k’ọ́n kòó l’ójú||An oppressor (or bully) does not want a dialogue or negotiation, except one confronts him squarely (with own weapons)||– Shout at the devil [in question];|
– Look your enemy in the eye.
|128||Lacks credibility||Àpaàdé’lé kò tíì jẹ́ k’a m’ológbò l’ọ́dẹ||Not bringing home its kill from the bush has not endeared the cat to be recognized as a predator||His not having made his wife pregnant doesn’t make anyone believe that a fellow exists (as a real man).|
|129||More or less the same||Àparò kan ò ga jù’kan lọ, àf’èyí t’ó bá g’orí Ebè||One bushfowl is no taller than another, except the one that climbs on a mound||One is not better than the other.|
|130||The truth is out||Àparò ti já’kó||The bushfowl has broken out of the bush||What you thought the world didn’t know about is now out in the open; basically, the cat is out of the bag.|
|131||Better late than never||Apẹ́lẹ́hìn ìí jẹ̀’bàjẹ́||He who arrives last doesn’t eat the rotten food||He who laughs last laughs best.|
|132||Don’t be weak||Àpọ́nlé ò sí f’ọ́ba tí ò l’ólorì||There’s no honor or respect for the king who has no queen||No one respects a leader who acts like a weakling or doesn’t do what’s expected of his esteemed office [lacking in guts/dignity].|
|133||Occupational hazard||Ara Ìjà l’eyín wà||Biting [using teeth] is part of a fight||– You can’t moan about someone using any means available to them to fight you;|
– It’s part of the game, so don’t complain about unorthodox tactics.
|134||Wow! What a surprise!||Àrà ńgò rirí, mo r’órí Ológbò l’átẹ!||Hack, I’d never seen the like; I saw a cat’s head on a market table-display!|
The points-to-ponder sentence usually precedes a gossip:
|An unexpected event has just occurred/has been witnessed.|
|135||Sorry for you||Ará-ilé l’ó ń bá ẹ pèé l’ámõdi, Wèrè l’ará-ìta mã pèé||It’s only your close family members that might call it Àmódi (slight infection), mental illness is what everyone else will call it||If you’re engaged in illicit activity and no one has reigned you in at home because you’re family, if you were to demonstrate half of the deeds outside, you would probably be labeled a criminal and get in legal trouble.|
|136||Backfire||Àrígiṣẹ́gi t’ó ṣẹ́’gi, Orí ara ẹ́ ló ma fi rũ||The junk bug that breaks pieces of wood, it’s its own head it’ll use to carry them||Whoever plots evil against us will be hoisted by his own petard.|
|137||Do not be presumptuous||Àrísá Ẹkùn, t’ojo kọ́ tàbí…|
Yíyọ́ Ẹkùn bíi t’ojo kọ́
|The ‘sighting & running’ of the tiger is not out of dread OR…|
The sneaking of the tiger is not out of dread
|If someone doesn’t appear to want to engage you in a confrontation, it’s not necessarily because of fear of you; more likely it’s for something else that may not be so obvious to you.|
|138||Enjoyment, pleasure||Àríyá ò l’ópin||N/A||Enjoyment and pleasure has no end.|
|139||Quarrels, arguments||Àríyàn-jiyàn l’ó ń b’ọ̀rẹ́ ẹ́ jẹ́||N/A||Arguments are what ruin a friendship.|
|140||Trouble-maker||Aròmàlà ni ẹ́, t’ẹnu Apẹ l’o fẹ́ gbọ́||You are a stirrer [cook] of Àmàlà, you’re only waiting to hear what the pot will say||You’re a trouble-maker, you’re only spoiling for a fight.|
|141||What are you going to do about it?||Àṣá gb’ọ́mọ Àgbébọ̀, Àgbébọ̀ ọ́ mú’ra ìjà; Ìran Ẹ̀dìẹ a p’àṣá rí ni?||A kite snatched a chick, the mother-hen prepares for a fight; has a descendant of chickens ever killed a kite?||– The local thug/bully snatches a boy’s girlfriend, the father gets ready for a fight; has anyone in the village ever challenged the thug before?|
– For instance, some powerful individual infringes on your rights, to whom will you complain?
|142||Watch the company you keep||Àṣá ń b’ẹ́iyẹlé ń ṣ’eré, Ẹiyẹlé ń yọ̀; Ẹiyẹlé ń f’ikú ṣ’eré, kò ì ‘mọ̀n p’ó fẹ́ ṣe’kú pa Òun ni||The kite is playing with the pigeon, the pigeon is rolling in tears of joy; the pigeon is playing with death, it has no inkling yet that the kite wants to kill it||Watch the company you keep; don’t assume everyone laughing with you wants your success and happiness.|
|143||Backfire||Aṣe’ní ṣe’ra ẹ̀||The voodoo destiny-changer has inadvertently done himself in||– Someone’s wicked or evil plans against another person has ironically backfired on him;|
– He has been hoisted by his own petard.
|144||Why be suspicious?||Aṣèbàjẹ́ ṣebí t’Òun l’à ñwí; Aṣebúburú ẹ kú Araá’fu||The evildoer thinks we are talking about him; to the trouble-maker: well done for vigilance||He who engages in illicit activities suspects everyone is always talking about him.|
|145||No impossibility||Àṣetì kìí b’ọ́jọ́ k’ó má yọ, Àṣetì kìí b’óòrùn k’ó má yọ l’ókè||N/A||Un-doability never happens to the day that it’ll fail to break, un-doability never befalls the sun that it’ll not shine.|
|146||The right time||Àsìkò Ekún l’à ń jẹ Eeṣin||The season of Ekún is when we eat flies||We should do things when the time is right.|
|147||Its own time||Àsìkò Eré fún Eré, Àsìkò Iṣẹ́ fún Iṣẹ́||Playtime is for playing, work time is for working||Everything has its own time.|
|148||Out of hand, too late||Aṣọ ò b’ọ́mọ́yẹ mọ́n, Ọmọ́yẹ ti rìn’hõhò w’ọjà||The dress no longer fitted Ọmọ́yẹ, Ọmọ́yẹ has walked naked into the market||– The matter has worsened and gotten out of hand;|
– The thing can’t be remedied any longer, it’s too late.
|149||Too huge, too big||Àtàrí Àjànàkú ni, kìí ṣ’ẹrù Ọmọdé||The head of an elephant is not a load for a child||The problem at hand is beyond the remit of the youth.|
|150||That’s how I found it||Àtẹ́lẹwọ́ ni mo bá’là, mi ò m’ẹni t’ó kọọ́||On the palms did I find lines, I know not who made the incision||I found things the way they are; I don’t know who made them so.|
|151||Expensive||Àti j’ẹlẹ́dẹ̀ yùngbà-yungba, àti san’wó ẹ̀ tìkọ̀tikọ||To eat pig [pork] is finger-licking delicious, but to pay for it is teeth-gnashing unsavory||Obliging an expensive taste has its unsavory payback.|
|152||Rein it in, resolve it||Àti kékeré lati ñp’ẹ̀kan Ìrókó; t’ó bá d’igi ñlá, á mã gb’ẹbọ||From young we nip the Ìrókó tree in the bud, otherwise, when it becomes big, it will demand sacrifices continually|| – It’s from young you inculcate a child to have good character; when he grows it may be more difficult to bend him the right way;|
– If we don’t put a check on a nascent concern, it will take more than a concerted effort to deal with the problem it will create.
|153||What are you going to do about it?||Àwòdì-òkè t’ó ń wo Ìkarahun kọ̀rọ̀, kín l’ó lè f’ìgbín ṣe||The eagle in the sky that’s eyeing a snail askew, what’s it going to do with the snail?||An example: the local thug eyeing a little disabled kid cockeyed, what’s he going to do to the kid?|
|154||Won’t make a difference, occupational hazard||Àyímọ́n ìí p’ọlọ́kà||Stirring here and there does not kill an Àmàlà cook||– Let the activist do as he pleases or say what he wants to say;|
– Let whoever wants to complain [about an issue under discussion] go ahead and complain; that’s not going to affect anything;
– It’s an occupational hazard of the profession; it’s part of the job.
|155||No difference||B’ã ṣe b’ẹ́rú l’a b’ọ́mọ||As we birthed slaves, so were free children born||– As children of the rich and famous were born, so were the children of the poor and unknown;|
– What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
|156||Respect||B’ájá bá ń sínwín, ã m’ojú Olówó ẹ̀||If a dog develops insanity, he’ll still recognize his master||No matter how rich or powerful you become, you’ll still show respect for your parents or some authority.|
|157||What’s the point?||B’ájá gbe’yọ̀ kín l’ó mã fi rò?||If a dog grabs a pack of salt, what’s he going to stir it in?||What’s the use of giving something to someone who doesn’t know the value or purpose of it?|
|158||Look after||B’áládîn ò bá sí ñ’lé, ńṣe l’ọmọ wọn ñ j’ogún Ẹbu||If the palm-kernel-oil seller is away from home, the children inherit desiccation||If the leaders/parents are absent, things could go poorly for the people/children.|
|159||Hope||B’áò kú, Ìṣe ò tán||If we don’t die, activities and deeds are not yet over||If what we currently seek appears unobtainable, we should not despair; there are bound to be opportunities before long, so keep your spirit up.|
|160||Your deed||B’árã bá kú tán, Orúkọ Ẹni kìí kú||If one’s body ages and dies, one’s name remains immortal||– One’s deed in life will succeed him;|
– You’ll be remembered by what you did while alive.
|161||Punishment unlikely||B’àṣèjẹ́ Obì t’ó ñso n’ígbà Ẹ̀rùn||Dinner-ruiner-kolanut that grows in the height of summer||A lament to complain after a felony has been committed, especially when the perpetrator is someone that cannot really be made to pay for the deed, i.e. a little child, a prince/princess etc.|
|162||Poverty, hunger||B’ébí bá kúrò n’ínú Ìṣẹ́, Ìṣẹ́ bù ṣe||N/A||When hunger is out of the equation, poverty is reduced.|
|163||Do such a thing||B’éégun bá dán’rú ẹ̀ l’áṣà, yíó d’ènìà||If a masquerade attempts such a thing, he’ll become human||It’s unthinkable to contemplate such a deed because the consequence of such action will be dire.|
|164||Despondent||B’ẹ́kún bá d’alẹ́ kan, Ayọ̀ ńbọ̀ l’ówúrọ̀||If tears linger for one night, joy is coming in the dawn||Do not be despondent about the crisis you are currently facing, peace and joy is just round the corner.|
|165||Accept your culpability||B’ẹ́lẹ́jọ́ bá m’ẹjọ́ ẹ̀ l’ẹ́bi kò níí pẹ́ ní Ìkũnlẹ̀||If the accused acknowledges his culpability, he won’t be long on his knees||If a respondent accepts his guilt, his sentence may be much reduced for saving the taxpayers money for a lengthy court proceedings.|
|166||Do what you’ve got to do||B’énìyán bá f’ogún Ọdún pinlẹ̀sẹ̀ ẹ Wèrè, Ijọ́ wo l’ó fẹ́ já?||If someone plans for twenty years on becoming a madman, how long has he got to begin playing out the role?||If you want to do something, do it and stop mucking about; spare us the suspense.|
|167||Log in the eye||B’énìyán bá mã d’áṣọ fún’ni, t’ọrùn un ẹ̀ l’a ma kọ́kọ́ wò||If someone wants to clothe us, we first look at the clothes he’s wearing||For example, someone who wants to show you how to be successful. If he were successful himself, he wouldn’t be squatting with his parents.|
|168||Contempt||B’énìyán bá pẹ́ l’órí Imí, Eeṣin-k’éeṣin yíó ba ńbẹ̀||If someone tarries too long while passing stool, all kinds of flies will start to swarm round him||Stop wasting unnecessary time over trivial things that only bring contempt and move quickly on to tangible stuff.|
|169||Don’t try it!||B’énìyán bá wọ’lé pé k’òun m’ẹ́iyẹ Ọ̀nìnì, Àwòmọn Ìran l’ó wò l’áiyé ẹ̀||If someone entered to grab an Ọ̀nìnì (it’s an African supernatural bird that human eyes must not glimpse), that would be the last time he would ever see anything in his lifetime||This proverb is a severe warning from someone to another that what they’re trying to do is forbidden and could be fatal.|
|170||Psychopathic, evil||B’ẹ́pà ò bá ti dáa, Ọmọ inú rẹ̀ ò lè dáa||If groundnuts are not good, the seeds [peanuts] inside the shells will not be good||If the leader is evil, his offspring are likely to be too.|
|171||Explore opportunities||B’ésõ bá pọ́n rẹ̀dẹ̀rẹ̀dẹ̀, aà lè fi s’ílẹ̀ l’áì ka||When fruits are fully ripe, we cannot abandon them and not pluck them||When solutions are available, we exploit them to our advantage.|
|172||Similar characteristics||B’éwé bá pẹ́ l’ára Ọṣẹ, á d’ọṣẹ||If a leaf stays too long wrapped around soap [African natural black soap], the leaf will also become soap||The notion is if someone or something has been too long in a place, he/it becomes a part and parcel of the main indigenous product or culture, with the same characteristics to boot.|
|173||Insult, slur, slight||B’íyà ñlá bá gbé’ní sán’lẹ̀, kékeré a sì g’orí Ẹni||If a major adversity brings someone down, a little one will ascend it|| – Kind of after an unjust punishment, one is receiving another; only this time it’s being inflicted by someone in lesser status than the narrator;|
This is a muse about one’s plight that they are facing another insult that has ‘added salt to the injury’.
|174||The way you left it||B’õ bá ṣe t’ẹ́ní ẹ l’o ma sùn le||How you have spread your mat is how you are going to sleep on it||– You’ve made your bed, now lie in it;|
– How you have built your house is how you’re going to live in it.
|175||Perseverance, don’t give up||B’ó pẹ́, b’o yá, Akólòlò á pe Baba||Sooner or later, a stammerer will pronounce ‘Baba’||– After a spate of trials and errors you’ll succeed if you don’t give up;|
– If you persevere long enough you’ll have what you so desperately seek.
|176||Find a way||B’ó ti wùn kí Èkúté gbọ́n tó, Ẹ̀sọ̀pẹ̀lẹ́ ni Olõgìnní ó fi mu||No matter how clever the mouse is, quietly is the way the cat will snare it||No matter how cunning an enemy is, a great warrior will find a way to get him.|
|177||Fall back on||B’óde bá le’ni, Ilé l’ã wá||If ‘outdoors’ or an outing chases one away, it’s our house we return to||If someone drives us from their house, we still have our own home to return to.|
|178||Fallout, repercussion, consequence, reckoning||B’ógún bá jẹ lọ ńkọ́, Ọgbọ̀n ń jẹ bọ̀ ńgb’ẹ̀hìn||If twenty goes a-eating, thirty will return a-eating in the end||– You may think you can do what you like now and get away with it, but the consequence is coming;|
– There’ll be a time to face up to something one has been running away from for some time;
– There’s a fallout for every decision one takes.
|179||Get out of the situation||B’ójò õ bá ń pa’ni, a mã tọ̀ sí Ṣòkòtò Ẹni||If rain is falling on someone, he could pee inside his trousers||– If someone finds himself in trouble, he could say things he could be ashamed of later, after the problem is over;|
– One would do anything to get out of his dire straits.
|180||Finally, assuredly||B’ọ́kọ̀ bá r’òkun b’ó r’ọ̀sà, ó ní láti gún’lẹ̀ s’ébũté||If a ship travelled through the Atlantic ocean or river Niger, it would still berth at a port or marina||– All this talk has got to lead to something;|
– All the efforts that have been invested in this business must surely produce something.
|181||Predicament, zero option||B’ómí bá p’ọmọ Ẹni, Omi nã l’a ma lò||N/A||If water kills one’s child [i.e. by drowning], we would still use water.|
|182||Beware, look out||B’ómī bá pọ̀ j’ọkà lọ, á mã dí Kókó||If water is too much in the pot of Ọkà [a.k.a. Àmàlà], it comes out with unsavory lumps in it||– Example: let the new government establish itself and find its feet first before everyone starts demanding for this and that, otherwise what the country may end up with won’t be a model government;|
– Too many cooks spoil the broth.
|183||Legacy||B’ọ́mọ Ẹni bá wà l’áiyé, b’árã bá bàjẹ́, Orúkọ Ẹni ò níí bàjẹ́||As long as one’s offspring remains alive, if the body withers, one’s name will not go to ruin||The child that one leaves behind will continue one’s legacy.|
|184||Devastation, ruination||B’óo ba o pá; b’óò ba o bùú l’ẹ́sẹ̀ l’ọ̀rọ̀ Ọmọ Aráiyé||If you catch up with him, kill him; if you don’t catch up with him, shear him in the leg (by applying voodoo potion to someone’s footstep spiritually that can strike a deep cut in the physical) is the legend of human beings||Devastation and ruination is what people secretly wish their fellow human beings, so be careful and watch your back.|
|185||Don’t go beyond your means||B’ọ́wọ́ Ekú ṣe mọn l’ó ṣe fi ñ bọ́’jú||As tiny as the hands of a mouse are is how it uses them to rub its face||– Someone should do as well as possible with the limited money they have;|
– Buy a car you can afford and maintain;
– Send your children to a school you can afford to pay for;
– You only buy things that you have sufficient money to pay for.
|186||Consequence, strength, as a result of||B’áa bá fa Gbùùrù, Gbùùrù á fa’gbó||If we drag liana, liana will in turn drag the bush||Three example scenarios:|
– If the breadwinner of a household gets taken out by, say, ill health, the children may suffer greatly, especially in a household without a father with an income;
– If a huge storm occurs, it could destroy dwellings thereby making a large number of people homeless;
– If the insurance premium on an apartment goes up, the landlord may feel no compunction to also increase the rent.
|187||Speak out||B’áa wí, aá ku, b’áà wí, Ọ̀run l’à nlọ||If we speak, we’ll die; if we don’t speak, we’ll die; it’s Heaven we’re headed||This is said by someone wishing to speak out about the appalling state of affairs in the country when everyone appears to be scared of speaking their mind.|
|188||What has it got to do with you?||Báwo l’a ṣe pín’tan Ajá t’ó kan Lèmọ́nmù?||How did we manage to divide the dog’s thigh that a part ended up at the Imam’s house? [Muslims don’t eat dogs]||This idiom is directed at someone rudely bringing their opinion into a discussion [that doesn’t really concern them] without having been invited.|
|189||Sidetrack||B’ẹ́iyẹ́ bá ṣe lọ ni ẹ jẹ́ k’á sọ̀’kòo ẹ̀||Let’s aim the stone towards the trajectory of the bird||Let’s not focus more attention on an issue than it merits.|
|190||Suspicious behaviour||B’énìà ò bá rìn’rìn Àwàsà, nwọ́n ò lè f’èkùrọ́ lǭ||If someone did not walk the walk of Àwàsà, no one would offer him palm kernels||If one didn’t behave in a suspicious way, no one would suspect and accuse them of anything.|
|191||Please everyone||Bí a bá gún’yán nínú Ewé, bí a se’bẹ̀ nínú Èèpo-ẹ̀pà, Ẹní mã yó, á yó||(During a feast): if we ground pounded-yam in a leaf, cooked the stew in a groundnut shell, those who would be full and satisfied would be full and satisfied||No matter what you do for some people, there’ll be those who will be pleased and grateful, and those that will not be. You can’t satisfy everyone, in other words.|
|192||No matter what, steadfast||Bí a bá ñ jà bíi k’á kú kọ́||If we are quarrelling, it’s not till one of us drops dead||No matter what, we should still be there for each other even when we disagree.|
|193||You know what you’re doing||Bí a bá ñ sun’kún, a mã ñ rí’ran||If we’re crying, we are always able to see||No matter what the situation might be, you always know what’s right and what’s wrong.|
|194||Anyone but…||Bí a bá ní Ẹran On’íwo ní ó kan’ni pa, kìí ṣe bíi t’ìgbín||If we say an animal with horns will head-butt someone to death, it’s not such as a snail||– A boastful saying. For example: if news has been circulating that B is planning to take over A’s company, A could contemptuously retort that it won’t be someone like B;|
– The story of Goliath probably illustrates this metaphor best: if, on the night of his famous battle with David, anyone would have said to Goliath, “you know, in my dream, I saw someone beat you in a fight”, Goliath might have replied, “well, not like David.”
|195||Entrust, assign, delegate||Bí a bá ni k’a fi Aṣiwèrè s’ílẹ̀ k’ó ṣeé wò lóõtọ́, yí ó ba ñkan jẹ́||If we adjudge and leave the madman to actually try it, he might ruin things||Entrusting such an important task to the individual in question would not be such a smart idea.|
|196||Support||Bí a ò bá r’ẹ́ni f’ẹ̀hìn tì, bí Ọ̀lẹ l’àá rí||If one doesn’t have any support/backer, one appears to be a lazy man/skiver||Two heads are better than one.|
|197||Off guard||Bí a ṣe gbọ́n ń’ílé Ọkọ l’a ṣe gbọ́n n’ílé Àlè||As astute as we become in our husbands’ houses, so are we wise in our lovers’||As we’re getting ready, so are our enemies getting ready also, to meet us force with force, fire with fire; so get your wits about you, people!|
|198||You tell them one thing, they do another||Bí a ti ñ ge l’ọ̀wọ́ nã l’ó ñ bọ̀’rùka||As we snip her fingers, she keeps putting on rings||We are telling her off about one thing, she is doing another.|
|199||Alternative||Bí aà bá rí Àdán, a mã f’òòdẹ̀ ṣ’ẹbọ||If we can’t find a bat, we use a vesper-bat to do sacrifices||In the absence of proper normal channels, find and use other means to achieve your goals.|
|200||Relax, don’t worry||Bí Àfòmọ́ bá ń fò mọ́n’gi Àràbà, t’ó ń fò mọ́n’gi Ìrókò, ó ní láti yọ’gi Ìbẹ́pẹ sọ́tọ̀||If the creeper clings to Àràbà [oak] tree, clings to Ìrókò tree, it always stays clear of the pawpaw tree||– Could be a sort of prayer that the troubles currently sweeping the country [or layoffs occurring at the organization where you work] will not affect you;|
– Relax, nothing is going to touch your kith and kin.
|201||Name dropping, influence||Bí aò bá r’ẹ́ni f’ẹ̀hìn tì, bí Ọ̀lẹ l’ã rí; Bí aò bá r’ẹ́ni gbọ́kàn lé, aá tẹ’ra mọ́n’ṣẹ́ Ẹni||If we had no one to lean on, we would look like layabouts; if we had no one to depend on, we would put more effort in our occupations||If one lived in a country where influence of big names one knew didn’t guarantee a path to easy jobs, one would strive more in his education and make sure to graduate with excellent grades.|
|202||Do not despair||Bí aò kú, Ìse ò tán||If we don’t die, activities/events do not end||Don’t despair, if at first you don’t succeed, you should try and try again.|
|203||Betrayal||Bí Àtùpà [Fìtílà] ṣe l’ágbára tó, kò leè rí ìdí ara ẹ̀ tán.||Either use Àtùpà or Fìtílà in a single context, not both. As powerful as a lantern might be, it cannot see its own base fully||No matter how powerful a king or warlord is, he cannot be fully certain of unequivocal loyalty among his ranks and guess who could betray him.|
|204||Time for change||Bí Bàtà bá ti ñ ró pọnlá-pọnlá, ó ṣe tán tí ó ya nìyẹn||When shoes [or slippers] start making a peculiar flap-flap noise, they are ready to split||When the people want a change, riots, protests, disturbances etc. will be the order of the day.|
|205||Backer, support||Bí ẹ bá ń gbọ́ Dòdóñdãwà Dòdóñdãwà, Ènìà ní mbẹ l’ẹ́hìn Dòdó; Dòdó kan ìí dã wà!||Dòdó ñ dã wà [Dòdó supposedly stays all by itself].|
If you hear Dòdóñdãwà Dòdóñdãwà, it’s a human being that’s behind Dòdó; no Dòdó ever stays alone
|Behind every successful man there is a woman; so to speak.|
|206||Betrayal||Bí Ẹbí bá da Àjànàkú, Ifọ́nrán Owú kan lásán gbée dè||If a relation betrayed an elephant, a mere thread of wool could ensnare her||If a leader is betrayed to his enemies by one of his own family, the shock would be so much that a little nudge is all it would take to bring him to his knees.|
|207||Reimburse, money back||Bí Ẹ̀bìtì ò bá p’eku, á f’ẹyìn f’ẹ́lẹ́yìn||If a trap will not kill a rat, it will return the palmnut [bait] to the palmnut owner||If someone will not carry out what he was hired for, it behooves him to return all that was given to him to execute the project in the first place.|
|208||Fame, recognition||Bí ẹẹ̀ m’erin, ẹẹ̀ gbó’hùn Erin; b’ẹ́ẹ̀ m’ọ̀sà, ẹẹ̀ j’iyọ̀ l’ọ́bẹ̀?||If you didn’t know the elephant, didn’t you hear the sound of the elephant; if you didn’t know the she-river, didn’t you eat salt in stews?||– The name of the man in reference precedes him;|
– Show respect for the man of the moment and hail him.
|209||Vogue, trend, fad||Bí Èní ṣe rí, Ọ̀la ò rí bẹ́ẹ̀ tàbí…|
Bí Èní ṣe rí kọ́ l’ọ̀la ó rï
|As today is, tomorrow won’t be||What is the norm today may not necessarily be the case tomorrow (or in the near future).|
|210||Becoming a reality||Bí Eré, bí Eré, Àlàbo’rún di Ẹ̀wù||Like play, like a jest, the shoulder scarf turns into a dress||Gradually, what we thought was a joke is fast becoming a certainty.|
|211||Trouble, disorder, chaos||Bí Ìdágìrì bá wọ̀’lú, Ẹsẹ̀ gìrì á tẹ̀le||If disorder or trouble comes to town, innumerable feet will follow it||If anarchy occurs, countless thugs and marauders will accompany it.|
|212||Mimic, imitate, emulate||Bí Ìgbín fà, Ìkaraun ẹ̀ a tẹ̀le||If a snail crawls, its shell follows it||Where you find one, you’ll likely find the other or if the leader does something, his followers will follow suit.|
|213||Follows||Bí Ìjàpà bá r’àjò, a mã mú’lé ẹ̀ dání||If the tortoise goes on a journey, it takes its house [shell] with it||Wherever the king goes, his retinue accompanies him.|
|214||No choice||Bí Irín bá já, Irin nã la ma fi só||N/A||If steel breaks, it’s steel we’ll use to mend it.|
|215||Count on||Bí Ìwọ bá ṣe Rere, Ara kì yíò a yá ọ||If you do good, your body will feel ‘weightless’ OR If you have done well, won’t your body feel light?||This metaphor dictates that if you’ve not been nasty to a particular person(s) in your life, you can always count on them as allies in time of need. As there has been no old axe to grind or no angst that might make you feel undeserving of their support when you need it most, you can freely enlist their help, surely.|