The following are some of the best known Thai proverbs and sayings for you to practice reading Thai. They are followed by the literal translation and then the English proverb equivalent. Please look for books on Thai proverbs and try to learn from them. Learning Thai proverbs is an excellent way to increase your understanding of Thai culture and the way Thais think. These are some interesting Thai proverbs, try to memorize some and impress your Thai friends!
1. รักพี่เสียดายน้อง (rák pîi sǐa daai nɔ́ɔng)
Love the older sister, but yearn for the younger sister.
(The grass is greener on the other side of the hill.)
2. รำไม่ดีโทษปี่โทษกลอง (ram mâi dii tôot bpìi tôot glɔɔng)
Dance poorly and blame the oboe and the drum.
(A poor workman blames his tools.)
3. เฒ่าหัวงู (tâo hǔa nguu)
Dirty old man
4. จับปลาสองมือ (jàp bplaa sɔ̌ɔng muu)
Catch two fish in two hands.
(Run after two hares, catch neither.)
5. ไม้ใกล้ฝั่ง (mái glâi fàng)
A log near the river bank
(To have one foot in the grave)
6. หมากัดอย่ากัดตอบ (mǎa gàt yàa gàt dtɔ̀ɔp)
If dogs bite, don’t bite back.
(Don’t stoop as low as your enemy.)
7. กลับบ้านเก่า (glàp bâan gào)
To return to one’s old home
(To pass away)
8. หนีเสือปะจระเข้ (nǐi sǔa bpà jɔɔ-rá-kêe)
Run away from a tiger and face a crocodile.
(To go from the frying pan into the fire)
9. ดูช้างให้ดูหาง ดูนางให้ดูแม่ (duu cháang hâi duu hǎang duu naang hâi duu mɛ̂ɛ)
To check an elephant, look at his tail, To check a women, look at her mother.
10. ลูกไม้หล่นไม่ไกลต้น (lûuk mái lòn mâi glai dtôn)
The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.
(Like father, like son)
Thai culture illustrated with the above proverbs can be seen as similar to Western culture in many ways and very very different in others!
Enjoy Learning Thai kâ 🙂
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Thai Language teacher