Yiddish Expressions and Yiddish proverbs

Below you will find a more than 100 Yiddish expressions, Yiddish proverbs and Yiddish sayings. This collection was compiled from a large selection of resources, if you have a Yiddish proverb, expression or saying not on this page please add it at the bottom of this page. Thank you. Happy reading.

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Yiddish Expressions

Provide for the worst; the best can take care of itself.

Seek advice but use your own common sense.


Truth is the safest lie.

Truth never dies, but lives a wretched life

yiddish expressions

A child’s tear rends the heavens.

We are all schlemiels

God made man because he loves stories.

He who comes for the inheritance is often made to pay for the funeral.

Hell shared with a sage is better than paradise with a fool.

If a link is broken, the whole chain breaks.

Spare us what we can learn to endure

If a man is destined to drown, he will drown even in a spoonful of water.

Weeping makes the heart grow lighter.

What you save is, later, like something found.

Gold’s father is dirt, yet it regards itself as noble.

Understanding is something we’re sure the other fellow hasn’t got.

We have far greater compassion for another’s misfortune than our pleasure in another’s good fortune.

What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your tongue.

Send a fool to close the shutters and he’ll close them all over town.

yiddish sayingsThe heaviest thing in the world is an empty pocket.

The whole world is a big town.

Treat me like a rabbi; watch me like a thief.

Send a fool to the market and a fool he will return.

Show a dog a finger, and he wants the whole hand.

Show her the rudder, but don’t steer her boat.


Golden dishes will never turn black.

Don’t throw a stone into a well from which you have drunk.

Don’t throw away the old bucket until you know whether the new one holds water.

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.

Measure the corn of others with your own bushel.

Money buys everything but good sense.

Silence is also speech.

Sleep faster, we need the pillows.

Talk too much and you talk about yourself.

When a thief kisses you, count your teeth.


If you have nothing to lose, you can try anything.



yiddish prverbs

If you lie on the ground, you can’t fall.

If you seek a reputation for wisdom, agree with everyone.

When fortune calls, offer her a chair.

When luck joins in the game, cleverness scores double.

Talking comes by nature, silence by wisdom.

Flattery makes friends and truth makes enemies.

Flattery sits in the parlor when plain dealing is kicked out of doors.

The wise man, even when he holds his tongue, says more than the fool when he speaks.

Time and words can’t be recalled, even if it was only yesterday.

To every answer you can find a new question.

When one must, one can.




Express Yourself

It is fun to pursues the language of other cultures and I hope you are enjoying these Yiddish Expressions. If you find one you really like you might consider putting one of these Yiddish Proverbs or Yiddish Expressions on a t-shirt, or apron or a number of other things. It is really easy to do. Just grab your favorite Yiddish expressions or Yiddish sayings and head over to zazzle.com to create your own way of expressing yourself. Below you will find a say it in yiddish apron made at zazzle.






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When the light is crooked, the shadow is crooked

Tomorrow your horse may be lame.

Trouble is to man what rust is to iron

Fleas are not lobsters.


God created a world full of little worlds.

A chip on the shoulder indicates wood higher up.

A table is not blessed if it has fed no scholars.

A wise man hears one word and understands two.

yidish sayingsAfter nine months the secret comes out.

All signs are misleading.

Better ask ten times than go astray once.

Charge nothing and you’ll get a lot of customers.

Hope may give a man strength, but not sense.


If I dealt in candles, the sun wouldn’t set; if I dealt in shrouds, people would stop dying.

If the head doesn’t work it’s bad news for the legs.

Charity and pride have different aims, yet both feed the poor.

If a man is destined to drown, he will drown even in a spoonful of water.

It is far easier to spot faults in another than virtues in oneself.

It is the kindness and not the harshness in the headmaster’s voice that pushes tough boys to cry.

Life is the cheapest bargain–you get it for nothing.


An imaginary ailment is worse than a disease.

God is an honest payer, but a very slow one.

If all pulled in one direction, the world would keel over.

If each one sweeps before his own door, the whole street is clean.

If rich people could hire other people to die for them, the poor could make a wonderful living.


If Saint Paul’s day be fair and clear, it will betide a happy year.

Charity covers a multitude of sins.

Charity excuseth not cheating.

The schlemiel lands on his back and bruises his nose.

The soldiers fight, and the kings are heroes.

The truly rich are those who enjoy what they have.

yiddish proverbs

The wheel turns round

Charm is more than beauty.

Beware of still water, a still dog, and a still enemy.

Bygone troubles are good to tell.” “Ca’ me, ca’ thee.

A dog without teeth will also attack a bone.

A fool is his own informer.


Candlemas day, put beans in the clay; put candles and candlesticks away.

A fool says what he knows, and a wise man knows what he says.

A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.

If things are not as you wish, wish them as they are.


Make new friends, but don’t forget the old ones.

Make no more haste than good speed.


Make sure to send a lazy man for the Angel of Death.

A good friend you get for nothing, an enemy you have to buy.

A heavy purse makes a light heart.


Many complain of their looks, but none of their brains.

Your neighbor’s apples are the sweetest.

Your pot broken seems better than my whole one.

If we did not flatter ourselves, nobody else could.

If you ever need a helping hand you’ll find one at the end of your arm.

Not everyone who sits in the seat of honor is master.


If you want your dreams to come true, don’t sleep.

Interest on debts grow without rain.

Love tastes sweet, but only with bread.

A fool who can keep silent is counted among the wise.

And If my grandmother had balls, she’d be my grandfather

A good enemy is better than a bad friend

yiddish expressionsA golden key will open every lock.

One good deed has many claimants.

One good fore wit is worth two after wits

A dead man is mourned seven days; a fool, his lifetime.

You can’t chew with somebody else’s teeth.


Man plans, God laughs.


Express Yourself

Another Great way to express yourself is to put it on a postage stamp when mailing out bills, greeting cards, or letters. Check out the yiddish postage stamp below and then grab your favorite Yiddish expressions and head on over to zazzle to create your own.





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You can’t measure the whole world with your own yardstick.

Your health comes first; you can always hang yourself later.

A jest is half a truth.

A joke driven too far brings home hate.

He that cannot pay, let him pray.


A man cannot jump over his own shadow.

A man cannot spin and reel at the same time.

A man comes from the dust and in the dust he will end–and in the meantime it is good to drink a sip of vodka.

One person enjoys a piece of hard cheese, a second a spun out prayer chant, and a third a door to the street.

Parents can give everything but common sense.

Prayers go up and blessings come down.

Protest long enough that you are right, and you will be wrong.

A man is not honest simply because he never had a chance to steal.

The glaciers didn’t freeze overnight.




yeddish proverb

The nearer to the synagogue, the farther from God.

The rich man who is stingy is the worst pauper.

A man is not old until his regrets take the place of his dreams.

No man suffers from another’s sins–he has enough of his own.

Once poor, never rich.

A man should live if only to satisfy his curiosity.


Love is blind; jealousy sees too much.

Rejoice not at your enemy’s fall, but don’t pick him up, either.

Some people are like new shoes–the cheaper they are, the louder they squeak!

Love your neighbor, even if he plays the trombone.

May God protect you from goyisha hands and yiddishe tongues.

Money is round, so it rolls away.

yiddish sayingA penny is a lot of money–if you haven’t got a penny.

Golden dreams make men wake hungry.

Had you gotten up early, you wouldn’t have needed to stay up late.


He falsifies who renders a verse just as it looks.

He that can’t endure the bad, will not live to see the good.

He that cannot ask cannot live.

No one sees his own hunchback

He that cannot obey cannot command.

A penny is sometimes better spent than spared.

The complete fool is half prophet.

You buy yourself an enemy when you lend a man money.

The entire world rests on the tip of the tongue.

Words show the wit of a man, but actions his meaning.

yiddish expression

Worries go down better with soup

When one lives, one experiences

The girl who can’t dance says the band can’t play.

A rich man’s foolish sayings pass for wise ones.

With time, even a bear can learn to dance.


Words should be weighed, not counted.

A rich mouthful, a heavy groan.

You can’t force anyone to love you or lend you money.

A snake deserves no pity.

The longer a blind man lives, the more he sees.

Confidence is half of victory

It has taken me some time to compile this list of Yiddish Proverbs, Yiddish expressions, and Yiddish Sayings. My goal is to have the best collection of Yiddish Expressions on the web. So, if you have a Yiddish proverb or saying you would like to add to this list please do so with the form below. Thank you.

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