Seanfhocail: Irish and Scottish Proverbs


Table of Contents:

 


Introduction

This story goes back nearly two decades.

I'm half Scottish, nearly half Irish, and a wee bit German (hmm, a mixed ethnicism). I also started college as a human-language major before I switched to computer languages. I took linguistical care of my German heritage early on, but I have always found learning the Gaelic languages difficult for lack of proper educational tools.

So with the Internet, I started looking for language resources among many other things. One that I found for info on Gaelic languages was this site: Gaelic Languages Info. Basically, it served as a repository of links to world-wide resources for studying Gaelic languages. Sadly, it appears to now be abandoned with the last update apparently having been in late March 2009.

However, I looked more deeply in one of the site's features. It was basically a Gaelic version of the UNIX program, fortune, which would display a randomly selected "fortune cookie" message every time you logged in. This site's version linked to a CGI program that inserted a random Gaelic proverb every time you came to the site. Drilling down one level into the home page, I found them providing a link to the text file on their site that they used: see seanfhocal ("old" something), which I recommend that you follow since it gives you a lot more information and links to the file's history. That file is at http://www.ceantar.org/Dicts/DLYONS01_DATA. Being in ASCII, it had to use its own notation to mark where the accent marks are. For this page, I had already converted that to the indicated accented vowels, which I hope get rendered properly in all browsers on all computers out there.

 

This is not the only page that presents this list, though my source says that it got some proverbs from other sources (didn't you follow that link above?). The other one I found through very casual searching is http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaeilge/corpus/seanfhocail/seanfhocail.html. I have no doubt that there are many more out there.

 


Statement by the Compiler of the List

The list of proverbs in Irish and Scottish Gaelic was compiled by Damian Lyons -- his email address was given but might no longer be valid: dml@philabs.Philips.Com. The file comes with this statement which I'm presenting here. Unfortunately, it's in Gaelic, so I don't understand it either.
Stair an chomhaid:

Fuair me an chuid is mo den seanfhocail (130) seo ar GAELIC-L timpeall 89/90. Donall McCarthy a scriobh isteach iad i dtus is doigh liom.

Fuair me cupla cinn eile ó Aine McManus 6/93 (27).

Fuair me na seanfhocail albanach (chuid a dho den comhaid seo) o Caoimhin O Do nnaile.

Scríobh me program no dho as C chun an comhad sheanfhocail eireannach a leamh a gus a thaispeant; cód cosul le cookie ar UNIX. Ta an cód seo ar bunn an chomhaid.

Damian O Liathain, Mean Fomhair 1993.

 


Seanfhocail Eireannacha -- Irish Proverbs

Whimsical. Colorful. Offered with wry wit and little inescapable truths about life (eg, "There's no sore bum like your own sore bum."). A joy to read!

Share and enjoy!


The list:
  1. Is fearr rith maith ná droch sheasamh.
  2. Better a good run [retreat?] than a bad stand [defence?].

  3. Níl sa saol seo ach ceo is ní bheimíd beo ach seal beag gearr.
  4. It's a misty old world and we are only in it for a short, sharp while.

  5. Is túisce a thiteann oíche Fómhair ná cloch í bpoll móna.
  6. An Autumn night falls faster than a rock in a boghole.

  7. Is éasca caint ná coisíocht.
  8. Easier talking than doing.

  9. Pós bean aniar agus pósfaidh tú thiar.
  10. Marry a woman from the west and you marry the west.

  11. Ná biodh tús acharainn agat ná deireadh scéil.
  12. Don't start a quarrel or end a story [ie take the last word].

  13. Pós bean ón sliabh agus pósfaidh tú an sliabh.
  14. Marry a mountainy woman and you marry the mountain.

  15. Ní lia duine ná barúil.
  16. There's no less people than opinions.

  17. San áit ina mbíonn toit bíonn tine,
    San áit ina mbíonn tine bíonn teas,
    San áit ina mbíonn teas bíonn mná,
    San áit ina mbíonn mná bíonn gab!
  18. Where there's a roof, there's a fire
    where there's a fire, there's women
    where there's women , there's gossip!

  19. Tús maith leath na hoibre
  20. A good start is half done.

  21. I dtír na ndall, is rí fear an leathsúile.
  22. In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.

  23. 'Cad a dhéanfadh mac an chait, ach luch a mharú !
  24. What would the son of the cat do but kill mice

  25. Tá mise ceart, bíodh an fheamainn ag an bhfear eile.
  26. I'm okay, let the guy have the sea-weed.

  27. Dá mbeadh cuinneog ag an gcat, ba mhinic a phus féin inti.
  28. If the cat had a churn, it's often his own face would be in it.

  29. Mura dtaga leat tar leo!
  30. If you can't beat them join them!

  31. Is maith an té atá ag tabhairt achasáin uaidh.
  32. The pot calling the kettle black.

  33. Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteánn féin.
  34. (There's no fireside like your own fireside.

  35. Níl aon tóin tinn mar do thóin tinn fhéin.
  36. There's no sore bum like your own sore bum.

  37. Is fearr stuaim ná neart.
  38. Better sense than strength.

  39. Is fearr buille a chuireann tú abhaile ná dhá bhuille ar an mbealach.
  40. Better a lift that gets you home than two lifts on the way.

  41. Is fearr cara sa chúirt ná punt sa sparán.
  42. Better a friend in court than a pound in the purse.

  43. Sioc tús oíche dhíol Fionn na bróga;
    Sioc deireadh oíche cheannaigh sé arís iad.
  44. Frost early in the night and Fionn sells his shoes;
    Frost late in the night and he buys them back.

  45. Ní thig leat an craiceann is a luach a fháil.
  46. You can't keep the skin and get its price.

  47. Is iomaí lá ag an uaigh orainn.
  48. We've to spend many days in the grave.

  49. Naoi n-oiche agus oíche gan áireamh,
    ó Oíche Shamhna go hOíche Fhéil Mártain.
  50. Nine nights and one night uncounted,
    From Hallowe'en to St. Martins Night.

  51. Bróga sa chliabhán agus ladhracha sa lathaigh.
  52. Shoes are in the basket[storage] and mud's between the toes.

  53. Is treise dúchas ná oiliúint.
  54. Instinct is stronger than training.

  55. Más mian leat cáineadh pós,
    Más áin leat moladh faigh bás.
  56. If it's abuse you want, marry
    If it's praise you want, die.

  57. Tóg a bhfaighidh tú is bí ag iarraidh tuilleadh.
  58. Take what you are given and hope for a bit extra.

  59. Ní thagann an óige faoi dhó choíche;
    ach tagann an brón faoi dhó san oíche
  60. Youth comes only once to each of us; but sorrow comes twice a night.

  61. Is fearr an tsláinte mhór ná na milte bó.
  62. Better great health than many cattle.

  63. Is fearr an tsláinte ná na táinte
  64. Better health than riches [cattle].

  65. 'Sé an dóchas lia gan anró.
  66. Hope is the physician of each misery.

  67. Is fearr socrú dá dhonacht ná dlí dá fheabhas.
  68. It's better to solve the problem than to improve the law.

  69. Imigh leis an saol agus tiocfaidh sé thart.
  70. Go to the world and it will come to you.

  71. Nár laga Dia do lámh.
  72. May God never weaken your arm.

  73. An rud is annamh is iontach.
  74. The rarest thing is the most wonderful.

  75. Is í an toírneach a scanríonn ach an tintreach a mharaíonn.
  76. It's the thunder that frightens but the lightening that kills.

  77. Ceannigh droch rud is bí gan aon rud.
  78. Buy a bad thing and be left with nothing.

  79. Dá mbeinn-se sna flaithis nár bhreá mo scéal,
    I measc na n-aingeal, na n-aspal sna naomh.
  80. If I was in heaven wouldn't I have a fine story,
    Amongst the angels, the apostles and the saints.

  81. Nár liachtai gráinneacha ghainimh na trá,
    Ná póigin/ní drúchta ar bharr an fhéir,
    Na beannachta Dé le h-anamacha do Mharbh.
  82. More numerous than the grains of sand on the shore,
    Than the drops of dew on the tips of grass,
    The blessings of God on the souls of the Dead.

  83. Is trom an t-ualach an leisce.
  84. Laziness is a heavy load.

  85. Leisce chun luí agus Leisce chun eirí. [Mallacht Cholmchill ar na Gael.]
  86. Reluctant to sleep, reluctant to get up.

  87. Sin í bhur sláinte a Naoimh na héireann,
    Sláinte na n-aingeal is na n-aspal le cheile.
    Sláinte do Phádraig, os é 'bheannaigh éire.
  88. May your joy be great, O Saints of Ireland,
    The joy of the angels and the apostles together.
    And joy to Patrick, because he blessed Ireland.

  89. Ní fhaigheann lámh iata ach dorn dúnta.
  90. A closed hand gets only a clenched fist.

  91. Is mairg a thréigeann an duine gnáth ar dhuine dhá thráth.
  92. Ordinary folk have pity on those [old] folk who are at the end of their days.

  93. Galar fada níor inis ariamh bréag.
  94. A lasting disease never told a lie.

  95. D'fhir cogaidh comhaltar síocháin.
  96. Towards men of war vouch peace.

  97. Is mairg a bhíonn go holc agus go bocht ina dhiaidh.
  98. A sorrow it is that vice follows poverty;
                                OR
    Woe to him who does evil [in order to gain something] and
    fails to profit from his misdeeds [remains poor, after all].

  99. Mair an capall agus gheobhair féar.
  100. Kill the horse and you will get grass.

  101. Ná tarraing an anachain ort mara bhfuil tú i riocht é a chur díot.
  102. Don't draw calamity down on yourself unless you are in shape to shake it off.

  103. Ná tabhair cúl ar comhairle do leasa.
  104. Don't turn your back on good advice.

  105. Trí thréithe na Féinne: glaine ár gcroí,
    neart ár ngéag is beart de réir ár mbriathar.
  106. Three characteristics of Fionn's men:
    purity of our heart, the strength of our limbs and
    our actions according to our word.

  107. An gad is gaire don scórnach is cóir a scaoileadh i dtosach.
  108. The tie[button] closest to the throat is the one to open first.

  109. Ní mairtre go daille.
  110. Blindness is the worst kind of deformation.

  111. Ní bhíonn an rath ach mar a mbíonn an smacht.
  112. The result is only according to the effort.

  113. Feileann spallaí do bhallaí chomh maith le clocha móra.
  114. Pebbles suit walls as well as big rocks.

  115. Go dtuga Dia fairsinge do chroí i gcónaí duit.
  116. May God grant you a big heart always.

  117. Beireann cú mall ar a chuid.
  118. A hound stalks his prey slowly.

  119. Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí.
  120. Praise youth and it will flourish.

  121. Is fearr seo dhuit amháin ná dhá gheobhaidh tú.
  122. Better one here you are than two you will get.

  123. Is measa cara fealltach ná namhaid follasach.
  124. A treacherous friend is worse than an avowed enemy.

  125. Bíodh dhá abhras ar do choigil agat.
  126. Let you always keep two threads on your spool.

  127. Trí bhua an duine shona: fál, faire, mochéirí.
  128. Three attributes of a happy man: guarding, watching, early rising.

  129. Sonas ort agus séan, is an chuid eile orm féin.
  130. May happiness and good fortune be your lot, and may I have what is over.

  131. Is fearr rud maith daor ná droch rud saor.
  132. Better a good der thing than a cheap bad thing.

  133. Ní raibh 'maith go leor' go maith ariamh.
  134. 'Good enough' was never good.

  135. 'Sí capall na hoibre an bia.
  136. Food is the horse for work.

  137. Is minic a bhí gránna gnaíúil agus dathúil dona.
  138. It's often ugly was mannerly and handsome was horrible.

  139. Taithí a ghníonn máistreacht
  140. Practice makes perfect

  141. Sé Dia a rathaíonn.
  142. It is God that prospers.

  143. Níl breith ar an gcloch a caitear.
  144. There's no control upon the stone that is thrown.

  145. 'Gach ré lá ó mó lá-sa amach', adeir Bríd.
  146. 'Every second day from my day onwards' says Bríd.

  147. Fáilte duit, a Mhuire mhór,
    A Mhaighdean shíoraí,
    ár ndídean chóir.
  148. Welcome to you Oh mighty Mary
    Oh eternal Virgin,
    Our rightful sanctuary.

  149. An rud is gaire don chroí, 'sé is gaire don bhéal.
  150. Whatever is closest to the heart, it's that is closest to the mouth.

  151. Oíche Fhéil Fionáin a chuireann mír ar an bhfuacht.
  152. It's the eve of Finian's Feast [FF=12 Dec] that marks the start of the cold [weather].

  153. Pós bean oileáin is pósfaidh tú an t-oileán ar fad;
    Pós bean as gleann is pósfaidh tú an gleann uilig.
  154. Marry an island woman and you marry the whole island;
    Marry a woman from the glens and you marry the whole glen.

  155. Ná pós bean gan locht [mar níl a leithéid ann !]
  156. Don't marry your ideal woman [because there is no such thing !]

  157. Is teoide don mbrat [bplaincéad] a dhúbladh
  158. Your cloak [blanket] will be all the warmer for being doubled

  159. Seo sláinte na ndaoine a bheidh ag dúbláil a bplaincéad anocht !
  160. Here's health to all who will be doubling their blankets tonight!

  161. An té atá caifeach lena óige beidh sé bocht lena aois.
  162. One who is a spendthrift in youth will be poor in old age.

  163. Is fearr bheith cinnte ná bheith caillte.
  164. Better to be sure than to be lost.

  165. An té atá caifeach lena óige beidh sé bocht lena aois.
  166. One who is a spendthrift in youth will be poor in old age.

  167. Tá an spáráil chomh maith leis an saothrú.
  168. Saving[preserving] is as important as cultivation.

  169. An té nach trua leis do chás, ná déan do ghearán leis.
  170. One who hasn't sympathy for your problem, don't bring your complaint to them.

  171. Tá an dá "b'fhéidir" ann - b'fhéidir go bhfuil agus b'fhéidir nach bhfuil.
  172. There are the two "maybe"s - maybe it is and maybe it isn't.

  173. Is iomaí lá sa chill orainn.
  174. We've to spend many days in the church[grave]yard.

  175. Is fearr lúbadh ná briseadh.
  176. It is better to bend than to break.

  177. Ní haon mhaith cneasú thar ghoimh.
  178. It's no use curing the symptoms instead of the disease.

  179. Ní rogha go Rí na cruinne.
  180. Nothing compares to the King of the world.

  181. Bíonn caora dhubh ar an tréad is gile.
  182. There are black sheep in the brightest flocks.

  183. An rud a scríobhann an púca léann sé féin é.
  184. Whatever the pooka writes he reads it himself.

  185. Bíonn driopás ar na h-amadáin nuair a bhíonn drugall ar na h-aingil.
  186. There does be a rush on the fools where there's a reluctance on the angels.

  187. Nollaig bhreá a dhéanann reilig teann.
  188. A fine Christmas makes for a full graveyard.

  189. Tosnú maith leath na hoibre.
  190. A good start is half the job.

  191. Coinnigh do shiopa agus coinneoidh an siopa thú.
  192. Look after your shop and your shop will look after you.

  193. Lá 'le Pádraig - Thug Pádraig grian leis agus Mícheál an tsíon.
  194. Patrick's Day - Pádraig gave it the sun and Michael the calm weather.

  195. Aithnítear cara i gcruatan.
  196. In hardship a friend is recognised.

  197. Binn le neach a mholadh féin.
  198. Melodious to everyone is praise.

  199. Is fearr cara sa chúirt ná punt sa sparán.
  200. Better have a friend in court than a pound in your purse.

  201. Ar oíche Cinn an Dá Lá Dheáag beidh cuimhne grinn go héag.
  202. On the night of the twelfth day [of Christmas] there will be a sharp recollection until death.

  203. Luímse le Dia is go luí Dia liom,
    Crios Mhuire tharam is mé i suan trom.
  204. I rest myself in God and may God rest in me,
    Mary's girdle about me and I in deep slumber be.

  205. Nuair a fheiceann tú an ghealach dearg,
    Tiocfaidh ar an stoirm fearg.
  206. When you see a red moon,
    An angry storm is coming soon.

  207. aer dearg thoir -- fearthainn agus cur
    aer dearg thiar -- teas agus grian.
  208. red in the east, rain and foam
    red in the west, heat and sun

  209. Díogha gach síne sioc ach is measa síor bháisteach.
  210. Everyone hates enduring frost but endless rain is worse.

  211. Is fearr na bróga a chaitheamh ná na bráillíní.
  212. It's better to wear down your shoes than your sheets.

  213. Bí go moch in do shuí is go luath in do luí, Is ní fada go mbeidh tú chomh saibhhhir le rí.
  214. Be early out of bed and go early to your rest, And it won't long you'll be as rich as a king.

  215. Thuas seal, thíos seal, sin mar a bhíonn an saol.
  216. Up for a while, down for a while, that's just how the world is.

  217. An té a bhíonn thuas óltar deoch air
    an té a bhíonn thíos buailtear cic air.'
  218. The one who is above is drunk to
    the one who is beneath gets kicked.

  219. An bhfacha tú an bacach
    nó an bhfacha tú a mhac?
    Ní fhacha mé an bacach
    is ní fhacha mé a mhac,
    ach dá bhfeicfinnse an bacach
    nó dá bhfeicfinnse a mhac,
    ní bhacfainn leis an bacach
    is ní bhacfain lena mhac!
  220. [A tongue twister]
    Did you see the cripple
    or did you see his son?
    I didn't see the cripple
    and I didn't see his son,
    but if I see the cripple,
    or if I see his son,
    I won't pay any heed to the cripple
    and I won't pay any heed to his son.

  221. An té a fhanann le cóir faigheann sé é.
  222. He who waits with justice, gets it.
    He who waits for a fair wind will get it [at sea].

  223. Má bhíonn long is lón agat gheobhaidh tú cóir [uair éigin].
  224. If you have a ship and a cargo, you will get a fair wind [sometime].

  225. An té tá tuirseach is furast a leaba a chóiriú.
  226. The one who is weary, it is their bed is easiest to make.

  227. Is maith an scathán súil carad.
  228. An excellent mirror is the eye of a friend.

  229. An té bhíonn amuigh fuarann a chuid.
  230. He who is out of the house, his dinner gets cold.

  231. Tagann cothromaíocht síne na huaire
  232. Equality comes with the spread of time

  233. Is treise Dia ná dóchas.
  234. God is stronger than hope.

  235. An te bhíonn ag magadh bíonn a leath faoi féin.
  236. The person who is always joking, are themselves half the joke.

  237. Ná déan nós aagus ná bris nós.
  238. Don't make a custom and don't break a custom.

  239. Cailltear bó an tseaca nuair a bhleántar bó an tsneachta.
  240. The cow of the frost will be lost when the cow of the snow is milked.

  241. Nífhaigheann minic onóir.
  242. Often gets no honour.

  243. Is minic a bhain duine slat a bhuail é féin.
  244. Often when a person seizes a stick, it strikes themselves.

  245. éist mórán agus aithris beagán.
  246. Listen to everything and repeat little.

  247. Ní dheanfadh an saol capall rás d'asal.
  248. There's no way in the world to make a racehorse out of an ass.

  249. Cuir s/ioda ar ghabhar is gabhar i gc/onái é.
  250. Put silk on a goat and it's still a goat!

  251. Ní maith samhail a theánn í bhfad.
  252. Don't push a comparison too far.

  253. Thuas atá an chabhair agus anuas atá a haghaidh
  254. Help is above, and it is facing in our direction.

  255. Is maith an tráth dí tart.
  256. A good time to take a drink is when you are thirsty.

  257. Trí rudaí faoin ól; é ól, é iompar agus é íoc.
  258. Three essentials regarding the drink; to be able take it,
    to hold it and to pay for it.

  259. Níl tuile nach dtránn ach tuile na ngrást.
  260. Every tide ebbs except the tide of grace.

  261. Is minic a bádh long láimh le cuan.
  262. Often a ship sank right beside the harbour.

  263. Bíonn dhá insint ar gach scéal,
    Agus bíonn dhá leagan déag ar gach amhrán.
  264. There are two tellings to every story,
    And twelve versions of every song.

  265. Na Faoillí a mharíonn na caoirigh, Márta a mharíonn daoine.
  266. February kills sheep, March kills people.

  267. Ní bhíonn saoi gan lucht
  268. Even the wise are not without fault

  269. Is binn béal ina tost
  270. A silent mouth is sweet.

  271. Más maith, is mithid
  272. If it's good, it's fitting[appropriate].

  273. Aithníonn ciaróg chiaróg eile
  274. One beetle knows another.

  275. Ritheann an charr|fear|ríomhaire seo ar phoitín
  276. this car/man/computer runs on poteen.

  277. Labhair Béarla liom agus brisfidh mé do phus
  278. Speak English to me and I'll break your face.

  279. Scaoil amach an bobailín!
  280. It means pull out all stops, let it rip.

  281. Is tréise tír ná tiarna.
  282. A country is stronger than a lord.

  283. Is minic a bhris béal duine a shrón.
  284. A person's mouth often broke his nose.

  285. Is minc a bhí cú mall sona.
  286. A slow hound was often happy.

  287. Fanann fear sona le séan.
  288. A content man waits for luck.

  289. Giorraíonn beirt bóthar.
  290. Two people shorten the road.

  291. Ní bheathaíonn briathra bráithre.
  292. Words won't feed brothers.

  293. Capall na hoibre an bia.
  294. Food is the horse of work.

  295. Is maol gualainn gan dhearthair.
  296. Unprotected is the shoulder without a brother.

  297. Is fearr an t-imreas ná an t-uaigneas.
  298. Strife is better than loneliness.

  299. Ní haitheantas go haontíos.
  300. You don't know someone until you live with them.

  301. Bíonn adharca fada ar na ba thar lear.
  302. Foreign cows have long horns.

  303. Ní híseal ná huasal, ach thíos seal 's thuas seal.
  304. There is neither common nor noble, but temporary success and temporary failure.

  305. Is fearr daibhir sona ná saibhhir dona.
  306. It's better to be poor and content than to be rich and wretched.

  307. Ní mar a shíltear bítear.
  308. Things are rarely what they seem.

  309. Is fearr goradh cúl cos ná fiche bó ar cnoc.
  310. It's better to warm the backs of your legs
    than to have twenty cows on a hill.

  311. Sceitheann fíon fírinne.
  312. In vino veritas. [In wine, truth]

  313. Tá Búrcach ar Bhúrcach na luaithrigh,
    ach níl ach Búrcach ar an mBúrcach is uaisle.
  314. The Burke of the ashes is a Burke,
    but even the most noble of Burkes is only a Burke.

 


Seanfhocail Albanacha -- Scottish Proverbs

I found these to be less whimsical or colorful than the Irish ones. More pragmatic, even a bit dour. But they offer some good advice and learning attitudes needed to face hardship and reality.

For example, as a military retiree who had served a few decades in the reserves, this one caught my eye:

Am fear nach gheidh na h-airm 'nam na sìth,
Cha bhi iad aige 'n am a chogaidh.
Who keeps not his arms in times of peace,
Will have no arms in times of war.

 


The list:
  1. Anail a Ghaidheil, air a mhullach!
  2. The Gael's breathing place - on the summit!

  3. Abair ach beagan agus abair gu math e.
  4. Say but little and say it well.

  5. Abair sin, nuair a chaitheas tu cruach mhòine còmhla ris.
  6. Say that, when you have spent a stack of peats along with it.

  7. A bhliadhn' is gainne a mhin,
    Dean fuine mhòr aineamh.
  8. During the year when meal is scarce
    Let big bakings be few.

  9. A'chungaidh leighis is goirte,
    'Si is moth'tha deaneamh feum.
  10. The medicine (or liniment) that hurts the most
    Is generally the best healer.

  11. A cur suas inisg, sa bun aig a bhaile.
  12. Spreading a fama, and its root at home.

  13. A ghaoth ag iarraidh na'm port.
  14. The wind seeking the harbours.

  15. A h-uile cù air a chù choimheach.
  16. All dogs down on the strange dog.

  17. A sgaoladh na'n sguab 's a trusadh na'n siobag.
  18. Scattering the sheaves and gathering the straws.

  19. Aithnichear an leomhan air scriob de iongann.
  20. The lion is known by the scratch of his claw.

  21. An ràmh is fhaisg air laimh, iomair leis.
  22. The oar that's nearest at hand, row with it.

  23. An neach nach cìnn na chadal,
    Cha chìnn e na dhuisg.
  24. He who will not prosper in his sleep.
    Will not prosper when awake.

  25. A mheud 'sa gheibh thu gu math,
    Se'n lughad a gheibh thu de'n olc.
  26. The more you get of what's good,
    The less you will get of what's bad.

  27. Am fear is fliuche, rachadh e do'n tobair.
  28. He who is wettest, let him go to the well.

  29. An luigh nach fhaighear cha'n ì a chobhras.
  30. The herb that cannot be found will not give relief.

  31. A taomadh na mara le cliabh.
  32. Bailing the sea with a creel.

  33. A h-uile rud ach an rud bu chòir.
  34. Everything but the right thing.

  35. Adhaircean fada air a chrodh a bhios anns a cheò.
  36. Long horns on the cattle that are seen through the mist.

  37. Air gnothaich na cuthaig.
  38. On the cuckoo's business.
    A1. - A chuir a ruith na cuthaig.
    Sent to chase the cuckoo.
    S.P.- A gowk's errand.

  39. An ceòl air feadh na fìdhle.
  40. The music throughout the fiddle.

  41. An làmh a bheir 'si a gheibh,
    Mar a d'thugar do dhroch dhuin'e.
  42. The hand that gives is the hand that will receive,
    Except when given to a bad man.

  43. Am fear, is fhaide chaidh bho'n bhaile,
    Chual e'n ceòl bu mhilse leis nuair thill e dhachaidh.
  44. Who farthest away e'er did roam
    Heard the sweetest music on returning home.

  45. A lion beag ìs bheagan, mar a dh' ith an cat an t-iasg.
  46. Little by little, as the cat eat the fish.

  47. An rud a nithear gu math, chithear a bhuil.
  48. What is well done will be shown by results.

  49. A chuid de Fhlaitheanas dha.
  50. His shore of Paradise to him.
    "Flaitheanas" according to our etomologists, is from "Flath Innis", "The Isle of Heroes," the heaven of Celtic Mythology. Here the souls of the brave (none other were deserving), went for enternal and blissful repose, at the end of their warrior-careers. Cowardice was deemed a sin that barred the guilty from entering that coveted place. The other place, in those days, was not the brimstone-fueled fire of later beliefs, but a desolated area of ice and snow; cold, not heat, was the meted punishment.

  51. Am facal a thig a Ifrinn - Se a gheibh, ma 's e 's mo bheir.
  52. The message from hell - Give to the highest bidder.

  53. An rud a thèid fad o'n t-sùil
    Thèid e fad o'n chrìdhe.
  54. What goes far from the eye
    Will go far from the heart.
    E.P. - Out of sight out of mind.
    But even proverbs may be mistaken sometimes, as for instance:-
    "Kind eyes may speak the heart's desire,
    When heart for heart doth beat,
    But fond hearts will communicate
    When the eyes cannot meet."

  55. An turadh, an t-anmoch, am muir-làn, 's an Dòmhnach.
  56. Fair weather, the evening, high water, and the Sabbath.
    Does this imply a choice of circumstances?

  57. An uair a bhios sinn ri òrach
    Bidheadhmaid ri òrach;
    'S nuair a bhios sinn ri maorach,
    Bidheadhmaid ri maorach.
  58. When we are seeking gold, let us be seeking gold;
    And when we are seeking bait let us be seeking bait.
    E.P. - One thing at a time, and everything in its own time.

  59. An uair a chluinneas tu sgeul gun dreach na creid i.
  60. When you hear a tale that is not pleasant, do not believe it.
    This means that one should turn a deaf ear to scandal mongering.

  61. Am fear nach gheidh na h-airm 'nam na sìth,
    Cha bhi iad aige 'n am a chogaidh.
  62. Who keeps not his arms in times of peace,
    Will have no arms in times of war.

  63. An car a h' anns an t-seana mhaide,
    Is duilich a thoirt as.
  64. Straightening the bend in old wood
    Is a difficult job.

  65. Air rèir do mheas ort fhèin
    'S ann a mheasas càch thu.
  66. According as thou esteemest thyself
    Others will esteem thee.

  67. Am boll 'air an sgillinn
    Is gun an sgillinn ann.
  68. The boll (of meal) at a penny
    And no penny in hand.

  69. A cheud sgeul air fear an taighe,
    Is sgeul gu làth'air an aoidh.
  70. The first story from the host,
    And tales till morning from the guest.
    The one result old Highland manners and customs, with an
    "Arabian Nights" atmosphere about them.

  71. Am fear a bhios fad aig an aiseig
    Gheibh e thairis uaireigin.
  72. He that waits long at the ferry
    Will get across sometime.
    E.P. - Everything comes to him that waits.

  73. Am fear nach seall roimhe
    Seallaidh e as a dheigh.
  74. He who will not look before him
    Will look behind him.

  75. An triuir nach fuiling an cniodachadh,
    Seann bhean, cearc, agus caora.
  76. Three that won't bear caressing,
    An old woman, a hen, and a sheep.

  77. A bheairt sin a bhios cearr,
    'Se foighidinn is fhear a dheanamh ris.
  78. The loom (or engine) that has gone wrong
    Patience is best for putting it right.

  79. An ràthad fada glan, is an ràthad goirid salach.
  80. The long clean road, and the short dirty road.
    The latter is taken by those who are in a hurry to get rich,
    irrespective of the means adopted.

  81. A bhò is miosa 'th' anns a bhuaile
    'S is cruaidh ni gèum.
  82. The worst cow in the fold
    Lows the loudest.

  83. An rud nach gabh leasachadh,
    'S fheudar cur suas leis.
  84. What cannot be helped
    Must be put up with.
    E.P. - Crying over spilt milk, etc.

  85. An ni 's an teid dàil theid dearmaid.
  86. What is delayed will be forgotten.

  87. An rud is fhiach a ghabhail, 's fhaich e iarraidh.
  88. If it is worth taking, it is worth asking for.

  89. An rud a thig gu dona falbhaidh e leis a ghaoith.
  90. What is got by guile will disappear with the wind.

  91. A mire ri cuilein, cha sgur e gus an sgal e.
  92. Playing with a pup ends in a howl.

  93. Be sin an conadh a chuir do 'n choille.
  94. That were sending fuel to the wood.
    E.P. - Sending coals to Newcastle.

  95. Bu mhath an sgàthan sùil caraid.
  96. A friend's eye is a good looking-glass.

  97. Buinidh urram do'n aois.
  98. Honour belongs to old age.

  99. Bheir an èigin air rud-eigin a dheanamh.
  100. Necessity will get something done.
    E.P. - Necessity is the mother of invention.

  101. Bheirear comhairle seachad ach cha toirear giùlan.
  102. Council can be given, but not conduct.

  103. Bheir duine beath' air èigin, ach cha toir e rath air èigin.
  104. A man may force a livelihood, but he cannot force fortune.

  105. Bheir aon fhear each gu uisge
    Ach cha toir a dhà-dheug air òl.
  106. One man can lead a horse to the water,
    But twelve cannot make it drink.
    Ae man may lead a horse to the water,
    But ane and twenty winna gar him drink.
    - Allan Ramsay's Proverbs.

  107. Bior a d'dhòrn na fàisg;
    Easbhuidheachd ri d' nàmhaid na ruisg;
    Ri gearradh-sgian a d' fheol na èisd;
    Beisd nimheil ri d' bheò na duisg.
  108. A thorn in your grasp, do not squeeze;
    Thy wants to thine enemy do not bare;
    The dagger's point to your flesh do not hear;
    A venomous reptile do not rouse.

  109. Bu mhath ìmpidh a choilich mu shiol a thoirt do na cearcan.
  110. Well was the cock's petition for corn for the hens.

  111. Be sin ìm a chuir do thaigh àraich.
  112. That were sending butter to the farmhouse.

  113. Bithidh bean-mhuinntir aig an fheannaig 's an Fhoghar.
  114. The crow has her maid-servant at harvest time.

  115. Beiridh caora dhubh uan geal.
  116. A black ewe may have a white lamb.

  117. Beus na tuath, far am bithear se nithear.
  118. The manners of the folk where thou art thou must adopt.
    E.P. - When in Rome do as the Romans do.

  119. Balach, is balgaire tighearna,
    dithis nach còir a leigeil leòtha.
  120. A conceited fellow and a laird's tyke
    Two who should not be allowed their own way.

  121. Buail am balach air a charbad,
    Is buail am balgair air a shròin.
  122. Strike the knave on the neck,
    And knock the tyke on the nose.

  123. Bithidh sonas an lorg na caitheamh.
  124. Felicity follows generosity.

  125. Bhiodh sonas aig an strodhaire
    Na'm faigheadh e mar a chaitheadh e.
  126. A man's faults will be as large as a mountain ere he himself sees them.

  127. Bithidh cron duine cho mòr ri beinn mas leir dha fhèin e.
  128. A man's faults will be as large as a mountain ere he himself sees time.

  129. Bithidh na gabhair bodhair 's an fhoghar.
  130. The goats will be deaf as those who will not hear.

  131. Brisidh an teanga bhog an cneath.
  132. A smooth tongue will blunt wrath.
    E.P. - A soft answer turneth away wrath.
    - Solomon.

  133. Bithidh an osnaich dheireanach càidhteach.
  134. The last sigh will be painful.

  135. Biodh earlas meirleach agad air gach neach,
    Ach na dean meirleach de neach idir.
  136. Have the caution of a thief over every one,
    But make no one a thief.

  137. Bha iasad ga ghabhail 's ga thoirt riamh air feadh an t- saoghal.
  138. Borrowing and lending have always been world-wide habits.

  139. B'olc-an-airidh gun deanadh aimsir thioram dolaidh.
  140. 'Twere a pity that dry weather should do harm.

  141. Bòidheach, cha'nn ann dàicheil.
  142. Pretty, not plausible.

  143. Beiridh am beag tric air a mhòr ainmig.
  144. The little frequent will overtake the infrequent large.

  145. B' i sin reul 's an oidhche dhoilleir.
  146. That were a star on a dark night.

  147. B'fhearr a bhi gun bhreith na bhi gun teagasg.
  148. Better be without being than without instruction.

  149. B'fhearr gun tòiseachadh na sguir gun chriochnachadh.
  150. Better not to begin than stop without finishing.

  151. Bheir eu-dochas misneachd do'n ghealtair.
  152. Desperation will give courage to a coward.

  153. Bidh an ùbhal ìs fhearr air a mheangan is àirde.
  154. The best apple will be on the highest bough.

  155. Cha bhi am bochd-soghail saoibhir.
  156. The luxurious poor will not be rich.
    An apt companion to the above is:-

  157. Cha bhi aon duine crionna
    'A measg mille amadan.
  158. There will not be one wise man
    Among a thousand fools.

  159. Cha tig as a phoit ach an toit a bhios innte.
  160. No fumes from the pot, but from what it contains.

  161. Cha bhi luathas agus grinneas an cuideachd a' cheile.
  162. Quick and fine don't combine.

  163. Cha d'thug gaol luath
    Nach d'thug fuath clis.
  164. Quick to love, quick to hate.

  165. Cha do chuir a ghuallain ris
    Nach do chuir tùr thairis.
  166. None ever set his shoulder to
    That did not what he sought to do.

  167. Cha toir an uaisle goil air a phoit.
  168. Gentility will not boil the pot.

  169. "Cha'n eil mi na m' sgoileir, 's cha'n àill leam a bhi,"
    Ma'n d'thuairt a mhadadh-ruadh ris a mhadadh-allaidh.
  170. "I am not a scholar, and don't wish to be",
    As the fox said to the wolf.
    There are several versions of the story from which the above saying originated. Campbell's "West Highland Tales," and Nicholson give slightly different versions,
    The following is one:- The fox and the wolf, walking together, came upon an ass quietly grazing in a meadow. The fox pointed out an inscription on one of the ass's hind hoofs, and, addressing the wolf, said: "Go you and read that, you are a scholar and I am not." The wolf, flattered by the request, went proudly forward, and coming too close to the ass, got knocked in the head, leaving the fox to enjoy their common spoil.

  171. Cha'n i a mhuc is sàimhche
    Is lugh a dh'itheas de'n drabh.
  172. It is not the quietest sow that eats the least.

  173. Ceud maìlle fàilte.
  174. A hundred thousand welcomes.

  175. Cha robh naigheachd mhòr riamh
    Nach robh na chall do dhuin'eigin.
  176. There never was great news
    But was a loss to somebody.

  177. Chaidh theabh le creag,
    Is theabh nach deachaidh.
  178. "Almost" went over a rock,
    And almost didn't.

  179. Cha'n aithnich thu duine
    Gus am bi do ghnothaich ris.
  180. You will never know a man,
    Until you do business with him.

  181. Cha'n fhiach gille gun char,
    Gus am bi do ghnothaich ris.
  182. The man without a turn is worthless,
    And the man of many turns is worthless.
    The man of many turns implies a "twister".

  183. Cha'n eil mòran lochd 's an crìdh a bhios a gabhail òran.
  184. There is not much guile in the heart that is aye singing songs.

  185. Cha'n eil ùaill an aghaidh tairbh.
  186. Pride is not against profit.

  187. Cha'n eil bàs fir gun ghràs fir.
  188. There is no man's death without another man's gain.

  189. Cha sheas càirdeas air a lèth-chois.
  190. Friendship will not stand on one leg.

  191. Coin bhadhail is clann dhaoin eile!
  192. Stray dogs and other people's children!

  193. Cha'n fheum an ti a shealbhaicheas an toradh am blàth a mhilleadh.
  194. He who would enjoy the fruit must not spoil the blossom.

  195. Cha'n fhiach bròn a ghnàth,
    'S cha'n fhiach ceòl a ghnàth.
  196. Sorrowing always is not good,
    And music (mirth) always is not good.

  197. Cha cheòl do dhuin' a bhròn uil' aithris.
  198. It is no music to a man to recite all his woe.

  199. Cha toir muir no mònadh a chuid bho dhuine sona,
    Ach cha ghleidh duine dona allt.
  200. Neither main nor mountain can deprive a prosperous man of his possessions,
    But the unfortunate man cannot retain a rivulet.

  201. Cha do bhris deagh urram ceann duine riamh,
    Agus is mòr-am-beud a bhi uair 's am bith as aonais.
  202. Due civility never broke a man's head,
    And great the pity to be at any time without it.

  203. Cha chuirear gad air gealladh.
  204. A promise can never be tied (or tethered.)

  205. Cha'n eil fealladh ann cho mòr ris an gealladh gun choimhlionadh.
  206. There is no deceit so great as a promise unfullfilled.

  207. Cluinnidh am bodhar fuaim an airgead.
  208. The deaf will hear the clink of money.

  209. Cha dean cridh misgeach breug.
  210. The inebriated heart will not lie.

  211. Cha robh na sgeulaiche nach robh breugach.
  212. There ne'er was a tale-bearer but was un-truthful.

  213. Cha'n uaisle duine na cheird.
  214. No man is above his trade.


Cód UNIX chun na seanfhocail a thaispeant -- Supporting C code for UNIX

The files that came with the proverbs file included some C programming language source files for working with that file. I am listing those here.

Unfortunately, it's not ANSI C (nor C99, nor anything later), but rather what's been called K&R C, the primordial form of C created by Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie (hence the moniker, "K&R") whose only documentation was K&R's book, The C Programming Language (1st edition, 1978). In 1980, ANSI (American National Standards Institute) released a new standard for the C language and the second edition of The C Programming Language was dedicated to that new standard, including Appendix C (Summary of Changes from K&R C to ANSI C).

If you are a C programmer unfamiliar with K&R C, refer to the second edition of The C Programming Language, plus I'll clue you in to two major differences. BTW, Borland's Turbo C from the mid-1980's used to have a K&R option for the compiler, but that was the last I ever saw of support for K&R syntax.

Here are the two major issues:

  1. Default Data Typing.
    Compared to FORTRAN and BASIC, C is very strongly typed. Unfortunately, K&R C allowed you to use a default data type of int, the system-standard integer. Unlike in FORTRAN and BASIC (and various scripting languages) which allow you to declare a variable simply by using it, in C you normally still had to at least declare the variable's name before it could be used -- that's referred to as "strong typing". But if you neglected to explicitly declare the variable's data type, it would default to int. Even more troubling, if you neglected to declare the data type of a function's return value, then that would also default to int.

    But then to add insult to injury, C compilers continued to default undeclared variable and function data types to int without raising an error (though they would usually throw warnings, but most neophyte programmers forget to turn warnings on and so remain clueless).

    In this code listing, you will see many functions with no defined return data type. Rest assured that those functions are expected to return an int value.

  2. Function Headers
    Every function header contains the following information:
    1. The function's name, which is used to call the function.
    2. The function's return data type, including void for returning nothing.
    3. The argument list which gives the arguments' local names and data types.

    How that information is specified has changed, most drastically in the last case. Instead of describing it, it would be far easier just to show you -- if you're a C programmer this will make sense and if you're not than you won't care anyway:

    Early in the source code below, we have the function which is defined thus:
    read_till(f,limit,str)
     FILE *f; char limit, *str;
    {
    
    Now compare that with the ANSI C equivalent:
    int read_till(FILE *f; char limit, int *str)
    {
    
    So in ANSI C, the argument list gives both the local variable names and also their data types, whereas in K&R C, the argument list only gives the local variable names and the declaration of their data types have to go between the function header and the function body. In current compilers, that would throw errors.

    The function return type being defaulted rears its ugly head here too. Even though the function does not return a value, the return value is still int. And undefined. And unchecked. Basically, just all-round sloppy programming.

A big problem for C programmers looking for source code is that there's still a lot of source code on the Internet that's K&R.


--------------------------------
Cód UNIX chun na seanfhocail a thaispeant
--------------------------------


#include <stdio.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/time.h>

/* Gaelic Cookie program. Needs the data file PROVERB_FILE
to be be defined. That data file should be in the format:
file ::= max cookies*
max  ::= integer, max indexnumber of cookie records
cookie ::= indexnumber gaelictext (translation)

Damian Lyons January 1991 */


#define PROVERB_FILE "/betty/b2/dml/util/seanfoclail"

time_t tloc; /* to hold current time (seed for random) */

/* a procedure to read into array str from file f
   until limit character limit is seen */

read_till(f,limit,str)
 FILE *f; char limit, *str;
{ int i=0;
  while ( (str[i]=getc(f))!=limit) i++;
  str[i]='\0'; /* make end of string */
}


/* the main program */

main(argc,argv)
 int argc; char *argv[];

{ char sean[400],miniu[400];
  int mead,imhir,i=1,romha,bearla=1,debug=1,abair=1;
  FILE *src;

 src = fopen(PROVERB_FILE,"r");
 fscanf(src,"%d",&mead);

 if (argc>1) /* any arguments ?*/
 while (i<argc) /* process each argument */
  { if (bearla!=0) bearla = strcmp(argv[i],"-b"); /* Translation ? */
    if (debug !=0) debug= strcmp(argv[i],"-d");   /* Debug ? */
    if (abair !=0) /* print prespecified seanfhocal */
      { abair=strcmp(argv[i],"-a");
        if (abair ==0) /* if so, get the index of the seanfhocal */
           { i++; romha = atoi(argv[i]);
             if (romha>mead||romha<1) /* index out of bounds ? */
                { printf("Seanfhocla indices: 1..%d\n",mead); exit(0); }
           }
      }
    if (bearla!=0&&debug!=0&&abair!=0) /* if a known flag */
       { printf("gc (Gaelic Cookie); flags -b (include English translation)\n");
         printf("                          -d (print some debug info)\n");
         printf("                          -a <num> (to print seanfhocal <num>)\
   n");
         exit(0);
       }
    i++;
  }

 if (abair!=0) /* if not prespecified index, then choose at random */
  { time(&tloc); srand((int)tloc); /* set the seed */
    romha = rand() % (mead+1) ; /* and choose a proverb */
  }
 if (debug==0)
  printf("Imhir %d as %d\n",romha,mead);

 /* now locate the chosen seanfhocal */
 for(imhir=1; imhir<=romha; imhir++) /* skip over the rest of the proverbs */
   { fscanf(src,"%d",&i);
     if (i!=imhir) printf("number mismatch\n");
     read_till(src,'(',sean);
     read_till(src,')',miniu);
   }

  /* and finally print the chosen one */
  if (bearla==0)
  printf("%s(%s)\n",sean,miniu);
  else printf("%s\n",sean);
}

// -------------

/* program to filter text and translate "<vowel>/" to the 8-bit
ascii equivalent accented character. Pipe output of gaelic cookie
program through for better readability.

Damian M. Lyons January 1991*/

#include <stdio.h>
#include "let.h"

main()

{char i,c,cp;

 while ( (c=getc(stdin))!=EOF)
   { cp = getc(stdin);
     if (cp == '/')
       switch(c) {
       case 'a': putc(LETTER_a_ac,stdout); break;
       case 'A': putc(LETTER_A_ac,stdout); break;
       case 'e': putc(LETTER_e_ac,stdout); break;
       case 'E': putc(LETTER_E_ac,stdout); break;
       case 'i': putc(LETTER_i_ac,stdout); break;
       case 'I': putc(LETTER_I_ac,stdout); break;
       case 'o': putc(LETTER_o_ac,stdout); break;
       case 'O': putc(LETTER_O_ac,stdout); break;
       case 'u': putc(LETTER_u_ac,stdout); break;
       case 'U': putc(LETTER_U_ac,stdout); break;
       default: putc(c,stdout); putc(cp,stdout); break;
       }
     else
       { ungetc(cp,stdin); putc(c,stdout); }
   }
}
// ---------------------
/* file: let.h
   This include file contains the LATIN-1 characterset available on SUN3 */

#define LETTER_y_um -1
#define LETTER_p -2
#define LETTER_y_ac -3
#define LETTER_u_um -4
#define LETTER_u_ci -5
#define LETTER_u_ac -6
#define LETTER_u_gr -7
#define LETTER_null -8
#define LETTER_div -9
#define LETTER_o_um -10
#define LETTER_o_sd -11
#define LETTER_o_ci -12
#define LETTER_o_ac -13
#define LETTER_o_gr -14
#define LETTER_n_sd -15
#define LETTER_xis -16
#define LETTER_i_um -17
#define LETTER_i_ci -18
#define LETTER_i_ac -19
#define LETTER_i_gr -20
#define LETTER_e_um -21
#define LETTER_e_ci -22
#define LETTER_e_ac -23
#define LETTER_e_gr -24
#define LETTER_c_cid -25
#define LETTER_ae -26
#define LETTER_a_ang -27
#define LETTER_a_um -28
#define LETTER_a_sd -29
#define LETTER_a_ci -30
#define LETTER_a_ac -31
#define LETTER_a_gr -32
#define LETTER_beta -33
#define LETTER_p2 -34
#define LETTER_Y_ac -35
#define LETTER_U_um -36
#define LETTER_U_ci -37
#define LETTER_U_ac -38
#define LETTER_U_gr -39
#define LETTER_NULL -40
#define LETTER_times -41
#define LETTER_O_um -42
#define LETTER_O_sd -43
#define LETTER_O_ci -44
#define LETTER_O_ac -45
#define LETTER_O_gr -46
#define LETTER_N_sd -47
#define LETTER_D_bar -48
#define LETTER_I_um -49
#define LETTER_I_ci -50
#define LETTER_I_ac -51
#define LETTER_I_gr -52
#define LETTER_E_um -53
#define LETTER_E_ci -54
#define LETTER_E_ac -55
#define LETTER_E_gr -56
#define LETTER_C_cid -57
#define LETTER_AE -58
#define LETTER_A_ang -59
#define LETTER_A_um -60
#define LETTER_A_sd -61
#define LETTER_A_ci -62
#define LETTER_A_ac -63
#define LETTER_A_gr -64
#define LETTER_? -65
#define LETTER_3_4 -66
#define LETTER_1_2 -67
#define LETTER_1_4 -68
#define LETTER_GG -69
#define LETTER_obar -70
#define LETTER_sup_1 -71
#define LETTER_cid -72
#define LETTER_dot -73
#define LETTER_para -74
#define LETTER_mu -75
#define LETTER_ac -76
#define LETTER_sup_3 -77
#define LETTER_sup_2 -78
#define LETTER_pm -79
#define LETTER_ang -80
#define LETTER_bar -81
#define LETTER_reg -82
#define LETTER_minus -83
#define LETTER_neg -84
#define LETTER_LL -85
#define LETTER_abar -86
#define LETTER_copr -87
#define LETTER_um -88
#define LETTER_sect -89
#define LETTER_sbar -90
#define LETTER_yen -91
#define LETTER_box -92
#define LETTER_pound -93
#define LETTER_cslash -94
#define LETTER_i -95

// ---------------------

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First uploaded on 2019 November 26.
Updated on 2019 November 26.

E-Mail Address: dwise1@aol.com.