Norwegian Proverbs

Enjoy dozens of witty and insightful Norwegian proverbs and idioms that have been passed down from one generation to the next for hundreds of years!

  • Tomorrow is the day that idlers get busy.
  • From a gruff word, both harm and murder may ensue.
  • The ancients were no fools.
  • The headless army can be in for a hard time.
  • Better to live with certainty than in hope.
  • The craziest speak most truly.
  • The patch always has to be larger than the hole.
  • Too shy gets nowhere ahead.
  • The eye wants to be where it is dear, and the hand where it hurts.
  • The best friends are fewest.
  • To be a hero, hang on for a minute longer.
  • Respect gives power.
  • Everything does not go as we guess.
  • Better bend to get through the door than run one’s head against a stone wall.
  • Shameful deeds bring on revenge.
  • All madmen are not the same.
  • There is a knack to every handicraft.
  • There is no wind that blows right for the sailor who doesn’t know where the harbor is.
  • Other times, other customs.
  • The lame runs if he has to.
  • The taller the house, the heavier the storm.
  • The burden of someone else is always light.
  • Straight ahead is shortest, but not always easiest.
  • The afterthought is good, but forethought is better.
  • Everyone wants to turn the prettiest side forward.
  • Children do children’s work.
  • Fodder and care make the cattle pleasant.
  • In every woman, there is a queen. Speak to the queen, and the queen will answer.
  • All food does not come upon one single dish.
  • To gather and spare can last long.
  • It is easier to learn from the damage of another.
  • If you bend the bow too much, it will break.
  • Most prayers go unanswered anyway.
  • A weeping suitor, a barefoot smith, a runaway horse and a stammering minister—who do you prefer?
  • Bad is called good when worse happens.
  • Better wind one’s way on dry land than lie in water and call.
  • The best cure meets the disease before it enters the home.
  • Too clean has no taste.
  • Child memories will last long.
  • Hidden away hardly means forgotten.
  • Age wants honor.
  • Better barefooted than without jeans.
  • The old are the eldest.
  • Age is nothing to boast of; you get it for free.
  • The best fruits hang highest.
  • On the road between the homes of friends, grass does not grow.
  • It’s no shame to look into the warm spring sun and regret a lost limb.
  • Better an iron dictatorship than a golden anarchy.
  • Not everyone can have the bishop for his uncle.
  • There never was so bad a crow that it did not want a mate.

For thousands more proverbs and words of wisdom, collected from over 40 countries, check out Proverbs from Around the World!

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