I’m a big fan of proverbs because they have power and depth and can encourage a person like nothing else. Since I have Czech roots and spent a lot of time with my grandparents, who used proverbs as a regular part of communication, I often remember some Czech proverbs, especially when I feel like the world has turned its back on me.
These are seven famous Czech proverbs that you may have never heard, along with their translations and meanings.
Trpělivost přináší růže
Translation: “Patience brings roses.”
If you are patient and wait for things to unfold in their own time, you will be rewarded with something beautiful and worthwhile, just like how a rose takes time to grow and bloom.
In essence, the proverb is a reminder that good things often come to those who wait and have the patience to see things through. It is a gentle encouragement to be patient and trust the process and divine timing, as I like to say, even if it takes longer than expected because the end result will be worth the wait.
Just as faith can move mountains, patience brings roses.
Bez práce nejsou koláče
Translation: “No work, no kolache.”
It is necessary to experience discomfort or difficulty in order to achieve success or make progress toward a goal. In other words, if you want to achieve something significant, you must be willing to work hard and endure some hardships or difficulties along the way.
Just like kolache costs money and effort to prepare, you have to work hard to afford them.
Bez peněz do hospody nelez
Translation: “Don’t go to the pub without money.”
“Bez peněz do hospody nelez” is a warning against spending beyond one’s means or resources. It suggests that one should not engage in activities or behaviors that require spending money if they do not have the financial means to do so.
In a broader sense, this Czech proverb encourages responsible financial behavior and advises against living beyond one’s means. It is important to live within one’s financial limits and avoid taking on unnecessary debt or financial burdens. So, if you can’t afford to go to the pub and buy a pint with your own money, don’t go there!
Kdo lže, ten krade
Translation: “He who lies steals.”
“He who lies steals” means that telling lies is akin to stealing something from someone. Just as stealing takes away something that rightfully belongs to someone else, lying takes away the truth and deceives others by presenting false information as fact.
The old Czechs always believed that the one who could lie could also steal since both lying and stealing are one and the same thing.
Ranní ptáče dál doskáče
Translation: “The early bird catches the worm.”
My grandfather always had a habit of getting up at 4 in the morning to get as much done as possible. He used to tell me that “ranní ptáče dál doskáče,” and that if I got up early in the morning, I would enjoy the day to the fullest and get a lot done. And he was quite right.
This beautiful Czech proverb means that the person who starts their day or task early and gets a head start will have an advantage over others who start later.
The metaphorical meaning of this proverb is that if you act promptly and take advantage of opportunities as they arise, you will have a better chance of achieving success than if you wait until later.
Basically, this proverb has two meanings, but they agree on one thing – the sooner you start, the better your chances of achieving it.
Co nejde silou, jde rozumem
Translation: “What can’t be done by force can be done by intelligence.”
One of my favorite proverbs, “co nejde silou, jde rozumem,” means that there are some things that cannot be achieved through sheer physical strength or coercion but can be achieved through cleverness, wit, or intelligence.
Using one’s intelligence, resourcefulness, and creativity can be more effective than the brute force of aggression. Words, communication, or intelligence can often solve more than aggression or physical strength. That’s how I personally interpret this proverb.
Častá krůpěj kameny proráží
Translation: “Frequent hail breaks through the stone.”
While the occasional rain or shower only cleans the stones, frequent hails can move them or even break them. This beautiful proverb reminds us that consistent and determined effort can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles or challenges.
By persevering and not giving up, a person can achieve even the most difficult or daunting goals. This proverb emphasizes the importance of persistence, tenacity, and perseverance in the face of challenges, suggesting that even if progress is slow, continued effort can ultimately lead to success.
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