More Than 100 Ancient Korean Proverbs
A 1000-li (old Korean length unit, about 0.4 km) journey starts with one step.
A day-old pigeon cannot fly over a mountain pass.
A fish wouldn't get into trouble if it kept its mouth shut.
A great river does not refuse any small streams.
A hunter's knife cannot carve its own handle.
A kitchen knife cannot carve its own handle.
A man's youth will never die, unless he kills himself.
A newborn baby has no fear of tigers.
A nobleman's calf does not know how a butcher kills.
A physician's neighbour is never a doctor.
A poor old horse will have a worn out tail.
A sheet of paper is lighter if two of you don't try to carry it.
A stranger nearby is better than a far-away relative.
A turtle can only get on it by sticking its neck out.
A turtle travels only when it sticks its neck out.
After losing a cow, one repairs the barn.
After three years at a village schoolhouse, even a dog can recite a poem. (Practice makes perfect.)
Aim high in your career but stay humble in your heart.
An empty cart rattles loudly.
Anyone who goes hungry for three days will be inclined to steal.
Beans come out from where beans are planted, and padd (red beans) come out from where red beans are planted.
Better in the grave than be a slave.
Birds listen to day-words and rats listen to night-words. (Be careful of when or where you say, there are people around that may overhear you.)
Butterflies come to pretty flowers.
Carve the peg only after studying the hole.
Cast no dirt into the well that gives you water.
Cast not pearls to swine.
Catch not at the shadow, and lose the substance.
Catching a star in the sky.
Coming words will be beautiful if gone words were beautiful. (Sweet responses are begotten from sweet words. What you say is what you will hear.)
Cross even a stone bridge after you've tested it.
Do not draw your sword to kill a fly.
Don't try to cover the whole sky with the palm of your hand.
Drinking Kimchi-water first (before eating Ddeok, Korean rice cakes). (In ancient times, water from kimchi dishes were commonly drunk after eating Ddeok to restore hydration to the mouth or help swallow something as dry as Ddeok. Drinking the kimchi-water before any Ddeok was served can be used to describe unreasonable hopes or impatience.
Duck egg in the NakDongGang (NakDong River). (Describing a dangerous situation, and often alone with no proximal help in sight. An egg floating all alone in such a wide river is in danger and alone.)
Even a fish wouldn't get into trouble if it kept its mouth shut.
Even a monk can't shave his own head.
Even a sheet of paper is lighter when two people lift it.
Even children of the same mother look different.
Even honey can taste bitter if it's used as medicine.
Even if the sky falls on you, there is a hole that you can escape from.
Even if you know the way, ask one more time.
Even monkeys may fall from trees.
Even the best song becomes tiresome if heard too often.
Even though words have no wings, they can still fly a thousand miles.
Even if you encounter a stone bridge, tap it first before crossing.
(Having one's) foot struck by a much-trusted axe. (Being betrayed by something one puts much trust in.)
Modern Korean Quotes
- Modern Inspirational Korean Quotes
Modern Korean quotes are inspirational and refreshing.
Beautiful Korean Love Poem
- Close To You ........ A Korean Love Poem
There's no such thing as the perfect guy. And there's no such thing as the perfect girl. But only a less than perfect guy And a less than perfect girl can make a perfect love.
Through old things, we learn new things.
Gather dust to build a mountain.
Give an extra piece of cake to a stepchild.
If a pedestrian sees a horse he will want to ride it.
If there is a rich man in the area three villages are ruined.
If you kick a stone in anger, you’ll hurt your own foot.
If you speak of the tiger, it will come.
If you starve for three days, there is no thought that does not invade your imagination.
If you want a well, only dig in one place.
If you're standing in the hole you're digging, you should stop digging.
It is a bad plowman that quarrels with his ox.
It's darkest underneath the lamp stand. (It is hard to anticipate what is coming, therefore, keep an eye on your own business and take care of the matters closest to you first.)
Man's affairs are evaluated only after his coffin is closed.
Man's extremity, God's opportunity.
Man's mind changes throughout the course of a day.
No sleep, no dream.
One doesn’t know the ㄱ (기역, Giyeok, a Korean character) even when looking at a sickle. (Used to describe dim-witted people, as if they cannot even understand that a sickle looks like the very first letter (ㄱ) of the Korean alphabet.)
One moment is worth more than a thousand gold pieces.
One will get caught if one's tail is too long. (Leaving behind too much traces of yourself will make yourself conspicuous and easily apprehended.)
Power lasts ten years; influence not more than a hundred.
Put off for one day and ten days will pass.
Remember, even monkeys fall out of trees.
Repaying a 1000-Nyang (old Korean currency unit) with one word. (Tact can go far, and may even settle large debts.)
Someone else's rice cake always looks bigger.
Starting is half the task. (A good start is important to any effort.)
Tall branches are apt to be broken.
Tap even a stone bridge before crossing.
The bad calligrapher is choosy about his brushes.
The bad plowman quarrels with his ox.
The bull that is used to the sun shivers by the light of the moon.
The deeper the waters are, the more still they run.
The frog forgets that he was once a tadpole.
The matchmaker gets three cups of wine when he succeeds and three slaps on the cheek when he fails.
The nicest woman is your own; the nicest harvest is your neighbours.
The person who has many faults is usually the first to criticize others.
The person who knows himself and his opponent will be invincible.
Carve a peg only after you have observed the hole.
The thief hates the moon.
There is no winter without snow, no spring without sunshine, and no happiness without companions.
There's a running chump, and above it is a flying chump. (There's always someone better than someone else at something.)
Three years will eradicate even murderous thoughts.
To be prepared is to have no anxiety.
To begin is to be half done.
To show a duck's foot. (To lie.)
To take off one's shichimi. (To lie or feign ignorance. Hunters used to tag their hunting hawks with the names of the owners but hawks tend to bite these tags off, as if to feign ignorance of its possession to its owner.)
Trying to find Suknyung from the well. (In ancient time, Suknyung was a popular beverage sifted from rice where much water from the well is required. Finding Suknyung in the well describes an impatient person who tries to skips necessary procedure, instead of fetching water from the well to make Suknyung, he tries to look for Sukhyung directly from the well.)
Useful trees are cut down first.
Virginity can be lost in one night.
When tigers die, they leave leather behind. When people die, they leave their names behind.
When you have three daughters, you sleep with the door open.
Where there are no tigers, a wild cat is very self-important.
Wise men philosophize as the fools live on.
Woman was born three days earlier than the devil.
Words have no wings but they can fly a thousand miles.
You cannot strike a face that is smiling.
You will hate a beautiful song if you sing it often.
Dining etiquette in Korea
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