Ancient Wisdom – Tamil Proverbs

I thought for a difference I would present some Tamil proverbs or ancient wisdom ‘பழமொழி’ in my blog. Though not a written literature of the highly educated , these proverbs very well represent the wisdom of the common people of the Tamil country over the years. I have randomly picked 5 proverbs and presented it along with the english Translations.


பூ மலர்ந்து கெட்டது, வாய் விரிந்து கெட்டது .

Blossoms open and die, your mouth opens and destroys you


Blossoms fade away after opening fully , when the mouth opens , it blurts out things that should not be said, and brings misery. 


எரிகிற விட்டிலே பிடுங்கிறது லாபம்.

Whatever you are able to secure from a burning house is a gain.


This proverb is typically aimed at people who typically take advantage of some thing that’s not theirs. A typical example would be the middlemen who loot things which are donated for the disaster victims.


காடுப்பூனைகுச் சிவராத்ரி விரதமா ?

Will a wild cat observe the fast of Sivaratri ?


There is no special occasion for wicked people to strike.


உழக்கு மிளகு கொடுப்பானேன் , ஒளிந்திருந்து மிளகு சாரு குடிப்பானேன் ?

Why should he give a measure of pepper and drink the pepperbroth in secret ?


A cup of black pepper is huge quantity of pepper which is enough to prepare a feast and even after supplying so much pepper u get only pepper water to drink , means after all the hardwork you have done you have not been recogonized. This can be typically said when one person does all the work to organize an event and some one else takes credit for it.


சாதுரியப்பூனை மீன் இருக்க, புளியங்காயத் திங்கிறதாம்.

The artful cat ate tamarind when there was fish.


The cat in the house ate tamarind when there was fish so that the owner would leave the fish exposed without suspicion. This proverb is typically used for people who have some thing in the mind but pretend to do something else.


Translated by Rev. Herman Jensen (Taken from ‘A classified collection of Tamil Proverbs’).

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  1. I’m an Journalist & writer. I appreciate your enthusiasm & great efforts to bring the Tamil knowledge to the younger genereation through computer media.

    But I have noticed lots of spelling mistakes in Tami sentences- may be typo.
    For example “Milaku sa too” is wrong. Should be “Milaku Saru”. Please pay attention to publish without any mistakes.

  2. Could you please explain the proverb “Why should he give a measure of pepper and drink the pepper broth in secrete”? with example sentence…..I could not understand the explanation…

  3. பழமொழிகள் அனுபவங்களின் பெட்டகம் .அவற்றை அழகாக விளக்கி இருக்கிறீர்கள் நன்றி …P.Sermuga Pandian

  4. Thanks; there are many discussions in yahoo etc forums where day to day problems of the society and politics are discussed. We notice exactly fitting explanation of “what is what”, “what actual situation is” in the words of wisdom by Tamil proverbs, thiru kural etc. When reference is taken to ancient wisdom of experience situation becomes very clear to the modern confused public starting with me. Request Tamil knowing people to communicate proverbs, thiru kural etc in public forums whenever such proverbs directly relevant to the issue discussed are flashing in minds

  5. Pl. add pronunciation for the Tamil Proverb in English alphabet (Roman script) so that those who cannot read Tamil, can try to learn Tamil language, while learning the proverb.

  6. Sir: Kindly look into my suggestion of adding English Roman Script pronunciation. It will help me to improve my ability to read and understand Tamil proverbs.

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