Idioms & Proverbs | मुहावरे और कहावतें | محاورے اور کہاوتیں

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Idioms & Proverbs | मुहावरे और कहावतें | محاورے اور کہاوتیں

Postby Nazīr » 2012-10-13, 13:13

I saw this thread in the Persian forum and thought the Hindi-Urdu forum should have one too. Idioms, proverbs, sayings, and expressions are among my favorite aspects of any language. If you're a learner and use one correctly in your speech or writing, it would probably really impress a native speaker too. Some of the more colorful ones tend to bring a smile to my face whenever I come across them.

To begin, I think it might be good to clarify the difference between these terms; sometimes they're used interchangeably by native speakers.

idiom | muhāvarā | मुहावरा | محاورہ

    A speech form or an expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements

proverb | kahāvat | कहावत | کہاوت

    A short pithy saying in frequent and widespread use that expresses a basic truth or practical precept.
Source.

Or to make it simple, idioms tend to be phrases while proverbs are complete sentences. The word masal ( मसल | مثل ) is also used to mean proverb, though less often than kahāvat.

Below is the format in which I will be presenting the proverbs and idioms. I will also provide an explanation along with an example of a scenario in which using the aforementioned proverb or idiom would be appropriate.

हिन्दी اُردو
Transliteration Literal Translation
ख़ुसरो दरिया प्रेम का उल्टा वा धार । जो उतरा सो डूब गया जो डूबा सो पार | अमीर ख़ुसरौ दहलवी
O Khusro, the river of love runs in strange directions. |
The one who enters it drowns, and the one who drowns, gets across. |
Amīr Khusro of Dehlī (1253–1325 CE)

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Re: Idioms & Proverbs | मुहावरे और कहावतें | محاورے اور کہاوتیں

Postby Nazīr » 2012-10-13, 13:17


दाल में कुछ काला है । دال میں کچھ کالا ہے۔
dāl mēṅ kuch kālā hai There is something black in the lentils.

This proverb is used in a situation where the speaker feels there is something amiss and suspects something is wrong, unusual, or out of the ordinary.

If you've ever made dāl before, you know that before cooking the lentils have to be sifted through in order to remove the black (spoiled?) pieces.

It's comparable to "Something smells fishy" as used in English.

Example) Anjali's husband seems distracted from their marriage these days and has been coming home late from work; she suspects he's having an affair.


जिसकी लाठी उसकी भैंस। جسکی لاٹھی اسکی بھینس۔
jiskī lāṭhī uskī bhains Whoever has the stick, his is the buffalo.

This proverb is used in a situation when there is a competition between two or more individuals, and the individual who is strongest comes out on top. The strength can be something like political power, wealth, or social influence, for example.

This one can be compared to the English proverb, "Might makes right."

Example) Fed up with local corruption, Sameer ran for city council as an independent candidate; unfortunately he was not to able to defeat the incumbent candidate who had the support of his political party and various businesses.


घर की मुर्गी दाल बराबर | گھر کی مرغی دال برابر۔
ghara kī murgī dāl barābar Chicken made at home is equal to lentils made elsewhere.

Barring vegetarians, most people of the Indian subcontinent place greater value on meat dishes than they do on vegetarian dishes because meat is almost always more expensive and difficult to obtain than vegetables.

This proverb is used in a situation when an individual values something that is not in his possession more than something that is already available to him; though not always the case, what said individual wishes to have is usually of lower quality than what he already has.

This one can be compared to the English proverb, "The grass is always greener on the other side."

Example) Raj's mother works all day to prepare a traditional home-cooked Indian feast for his family, but Raj is more interested in having something from the local pizza place.

I should add that this proverb can be used even with Hindi-Urdu speakers who are vegetarian; they will understand you perfectly and not mind its use :wink:


कान पक जाना کان پک جانا
kān pak jānā ears ripening

This idiom is used when an individual has heard too much of a certain topic or too much of a certain individual speak. He likens his frustration to his ears ripening the way a piece of fruit does.

Example) Aisha is sick of her classmates going on and on about their plans for the upcoming school dance. She thinks to herself,

    सारा दिन इनकी बकवास सुन कर, मेरे तो कान पक गए |
    :roll:
    سارا دن انکی بکواس سن کر، میرے تو کان پک گئے۔

You can here this idiom being used in this audio clip from the film Pakeezah at roughly 0:25.

That's all for now. I'll add more soon!
ख़ुसरो दरिया प्रेम का उल्टा वा धार । जो उतरा सो डूब गया जो डूबा सो पार | अमीर ख़ुसरौ दहलवी
O Khusro, the river of love runs in strange directions. |
The one who enters it drowns, and the one who drowns, gets across. |
Amīr Khusro of Dehlī (1253–1325 CE)

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Re: Idioms & Proverbs | मुहावरे और कहावतें | محاورے اور کہاوتیں

Postby Meera » 2012-10-14, 5:39

Sorry, Nazir I don't have a lot of time to write a detailed answer but i just wanted to say thanks so much for making this thread! idioms and proverbs are something I struggle with alot in hindi/Urdu. Bahut shukriya!
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Re: Idioms & Proverbs | मुहावरे और कहावतें | محاورے اور کہاوتیں

Postby Bijlee » 2012-10-14, 18:42

Meera wrote:Sorry, Nazir I don't have a lot of time to write a detailed answer but i just wanted to say thanks so much for making this thread! idioms and proverbs are something I struggle with alot in hindi/Urdu. Bahut shukriya!


Me too! Shukriya, Nazir :D
I wish I had some of my own to add. Sorry I don't at the moment!

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Re: Idioms & Proverbs | मुहावरे और कहावतें | محاورے اور کہاوتیں

Postby idiomatic » 2016-07-03, 6:47

Quite interesting, I love to learn these Hindi idioms and proverbs. Thanks

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Re: Idioms & Proverbs | मुहावरे और कहावतें | محاورے اور کہاوتیں

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-03-13, 6:15

The one proverb in particular that I'm familiar with is:

نادان دوست سے دانے دشمن بہتر ہے.
नादान दोस्त से दाने दुश्मन बेहतर है।
'A wise enemy is better than a foolish friend.'

One idiom that my sister-in-law's dad uses when someone asks him in Hindi how he's doing is "चंगम चंग है!" (چنگم چنگ ہے) which apparently means something like 'the best of all worlds' or 'better than ever' or indicates that he's doing as well as he could ever be doing.


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