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Welsh Idioms

Page history last edited by Sionned 12 years, 7 months ago Saved with comment

You can download a free e-book Idiomatic Dictionary here.

Idiom or Proverb



A ddwg ŵy a ddwg fwy He who steals an egg will steal more A leopard never changes his spots
A fo ben, bid bont He who leads is a bridge If you want to be a leader, be a bridge
Adar o'r unlliw, ehedant i'r unlle Birds of the same colour fly to the same place Those with the same mind set do the same things = Birds of a feather flock together
Angel pen ffordd, diawl pen tân. An Angel on the road, a Devil at the fireplace Being two faced between public and private life
Ar gefn ei geffyl gwyn On the back of his white horse full of mischief
Ar y gweill On the (knitting) needles In progress
Caiff dyn dysg o'i grud i'w fedd Man learns from the cradle to the grave Time brings wisdom
Canu cyn borefwyd, crio cyn swper To sing before breakfast is to weep before supper  
Cartref yw cartref, er tloted y bo Home is home, however poor it may be  
Ceffyl da yw Ewyllys Will is a good horse If someone really wants to do it he/she will work hard
Cenedl heb iaith yw cenedl heb galon A nation without a language is a nation without a heart  
Chwarae troi'n chwerw, wrth chwarae gyda thân Playing with fire will eventually turn bitter. If you play with fire you will get burnt
Cicio'r dorth to kick the loaf to leave a job in a rash manner
Cof a llithr, llythyrau a geidw. Memory slips, letters remain.  
Cymerwch ofal rhag ofn i chi brynu cath mewn cwd Take care lest you buy a cat in a sack pig in a poke
Cymro glan gloyw. A shining clean Welshman A committed Welshman.
Cynnal tan mewn hen aelwyd To light a fire in an old fireplace To start dating an old flame
Cyntaf i'r felin caiff falu First to the mill will get to grind  
Cyw a fegir yn uffern, yn uffern y myn fod A chick reared in hell will want to remain in hell.  
Dawnsio ar y dibyn Dancing on the edge of a cliff Playing with fire
Deuparth gwaith yw ei ddechrau Two thirds of the work is starting Once you’ve started you’re two thirds done
Digrif gan bob aderyn ei lais ei hun Every bird relishes his own voice  
Dim yn yr un cae Not in the same field can't be compared in terms of quality or skills = Not in the same league
Diwedd y gân yw'r geiniog At the end of the song comes payment.  
Dyfal donc a dyr y garreg If you keep on tapping , the stone with break Keep going and you’ll get there in the end
Dywed yn dda am dy gyfaill, am dy elyn dywed ddim. Speak well of your friend; of your enemy say nothing.  
Eang yw'r byd i bawb The world is wide to everyone  
Fel cath i gythral like a cat on the way to hell very very quickly
Fel iâr ar ben domen Like a hen on a heap  
Fel iar yn y glaw Like a hen in the rain You look silly
Fel  hwch ar y rhew Like a pig on ice You look silly
Gall pechod mawr ddyfod trwy ddrws bychan. A great sin can enter by a small door. A big error can start from a small one
Gorau adnabod, d'adnabod dy hun. The best knowledge is to know yourself  
Gorau prinder, prinder geiriau The best shortage is a shortage of words  
Gormod o bwdin dagith gi. Too much pudding will choke a dog  
Gwell dysg na golud Better educated than wealthy  
Gwell fy mwthyn fy hun na phlas arall Better my own cottage than the palace of another  
Gwell swllt da na sofren ddrwg. Better a good shilling than a dud sovereign  
Gwna dda dros ddrwg, uffern ni'th ddwg. Repay evil with good, and hell will not claim you  
Gŵr heb bwyll, llong heb angor A man without prudence is a ship without an anchor  
Gwyn y gwel y fran ei chyw The crow sees its chicks as being pure Parents always sees their children as perfect
Hawdd yw hi, i fod yn ddewr o tu nôl i mur It is easy to be brave behind a wall  
Haws twyllo baban na gwrachen. A boy is easier cheated than a witch.  
Heb ei fai , heb ei eni without its blame, without its name Everyone has their faults = no one's perfect
Hedyn pob drwg yw diogi. The seed of all evil is laziness.  
Hen y teimlir ergydion a gaed yn ifanc. The old feel the blows that were aquired in youth.  
Henaint ni ddaw ei hunan. Old age comes not on its own  
Hir yw pob ymaros. All waiting is long  
I'r pant rhed y dwr The water runs into the valley The rich tend to get richer
Llaeth i blentyn, cig i ŵr, cwrw i'r hen Milk for a child, meat for a man, beer for the old.  
Llyncu mul To swallow a mule To sulk
Mae e/hi'n llygaid ei le He/she is in the eye of his/her place He/she is totally correct
Mae e'n cysgu llwynog He is fox sleeping. He is pretending to be asleep
Mae e'n Gwybod Hyd ei Gyrn He knows the length of his horns He knows his own strengths and weaknesses
Mae fe'n cadw draenog yn ei boced. He keeps a hedgehog in his pocket. He's tight with money.
Mae fe'n lladd gwair He is mowing hay He is killing time
Mae fo'n finny fowt He is half in and half out He can't make up his mind
Mae hi wedi llyncu pry She has swallowed a fly She has become pregnant
Mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn / cyllyll a ffyrc It’s raining old ladies and sticks / knives and forks cats and dogs
Mae hi'n gafael She holds it is cold
Mae'n draed moch arna fi There is pigs feet on me. I've made a mess or in a mess about something I've done
Mae'r esgid yn gwasgu The shoe is very tight Money is scarce
Mae'r hwch yn mynd trwy'r siop The sow is going through the shop The place is going to rack and ruin
Meistr pob gwaith yw ymarfer. The master of all work is in its practise.  
Mor ddu a bol buwch As dark as a cows stomach Its pitch black
Mwyaf y brys, mwyaf y rhwystr. More the hurry, more the obstacles.  
Na ad i'th dafod dorri dy wddf Let not your tongue break your neck.  
N'ad fi'n angof. Forget me not.  
Nerth gwlad, ei gwybodaeth. The strength of a nation is its knowledge.  
Nerth hen, ei gyngor parod. The strength of the old is their ready counsel.  
Ni cheir da o hir gysgu. No good will come of over sleeping.  
Ni edrych angau pwy decaf ei dalcen. Death considers not the fairest forehead.  
Nid aur yw popeth melyn. Everything that is yellow is not gold.  
O bob trwm, trymaf henaint." Of all weights, old age is the heaviest.  
O dan yr ordd Under the sledge hammer being oppressed
Oriau man y bore The small hours of the morning Early in the morning
Paid codi pais ar ol piso Don't raise your pettycoat after peeing Don't cry over spilt milk
Pan fo llawer yn llywio fe sudda'r llong." When the steersmen are many the ship will sink.  
Po callaf y dyn, anamlaf ei eiriau." The wiser the man, the fewer his words.  
Po hynaf fo'r dyn, gadwaethaf fydd ei bwyll. The older the man, the weaker his mind.  
Rhaid cropian cyn cerdded. You must crawl before walking.  
Rhoi halen ar ei gynffon Put salt on his tail Tell someone off for doing something naughty.
Rhuthrodd ef i'r ty gyda ei wynt yn ei ddwrn He rushed into the house with his breath in his fist in a great hurry
Roedd hi'n berwi fel cawl pys She was boiling like pea soup She was chattering/talking incessantly.
Rwy'n barod i roi'r ffidil yn y tô I'm ready to put the fiddle in the roof I'm ready to give up
Segurdod yw clod y cledd. A sword's credit is its idleness. Power is best when not necessary to use.
Teg yw edrych tuag adref. It is good to look homewards.  
Tri chynnig i Gymro. Three attempts for a Welshman.  
Tri chysur henaint: tân, te a thybaco. Three comforts of old age: fire, tea and tobacco.  
Troi'r dŵr at ei felin ei hun. Turning the water at its own mill.  
Tyfid baban, ni thyf ei gadachau. The child will grow, his clothes will not.  
Tynnu nyth cacwn ar fy mhen To pull a wasp's nest on my head to do or say something that upsets a lot of people at the same time.
Wrth gicio a brathu, mae cariad yn magu. Whilst kicking and biting, love develops.  
Wy'n teimlo fel tynnu blewyn o'i drwyn I feel like pulling a hair from his nose I feel like doing something nasty to him
Y cyntaf i'r felin gaiff falu The first to the mill can grind First come first served
Y mae dafad ddu ym mhob praidd. Every flock has its black sheep.  
Y mae mwy nag un ffordd i gael Wil i'w wely. There is more than one way to get Wil to bed.  ... more than one way to skin a cat.
Y mae taten ddrwg ym mhob sach. There is a bad potato in every sack.  
Yn cerdded yn ling di long To dilly dally To loiter or walk casually
Yr hen a ŵyr a'r ieuanc a dybia. The old know and the young suspect.  


Comments (7)

WilapEynon said

at 12:19 pm on May 8, 2011

Mae e'n Gwybod Hyd ei Gyrn = 'He knows the length of his horns' - He knows his own strengths and weaknesses.

WilapEynon said

at 12:22 pm on May 8, 2011

If some one could tidy this up I would be most grateful... I am trying to start a sheet of Welsh Idioms.

WilapEynon said

at 3:52 pm on May 8, 2011

I think idioms and metaphors are the colour, music and feeling in the way a language is used and spoken...


Robert Bruce said

at 7:15 pm on May 12, 2011

Robert Bruce said

at 7:19 pm on May 12, 2011

Sorry about the blank comment above - I had to use it because for some reason the page was broken by the BBC link.

Anyhow, do we need to put this lot into a table?

WilapEynon said

at 9:07 pm on May 12, 2011

Yes please... I tried doing but I am not certain how to... If it could be set up like the remainder of the tables then great. Thanks Rob.

WilapEynon said

at 8:17 am on May 13, 2011

:) :) :) :) :) :) :)

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