208 Mexican Proverbs [CULTURAL HERITAGE]

Devang Vibhakar

Mexico is a country with a rich cultural heritage that spans thousands of years, and Mexican proverbs are a reflection of the rich cultural heritage and diverse influences that have shaped Mexican society over the centuries. From indigenous traditions to Spanish colonialism, Mexican proverbs have evolved to become an integral part of the country’s oral history and a testament to the wisdom and insight of its people.

208 Mexican proverbs: Wisdom from a Rich Cultural Heritage

These Mexican proverbs offer valuable life lessons and insights into the human experience, and are a powerful tool for passing on cultural values and traditions from one generation to the next.

Despite the many challenges that Mexico has faced over the years, its people have persevered with resilience and determination. Mexican proverbs reflect this spirit of resilience and provide inspiration and motivation for those facing difficult times. Whether you’re struggling with personal issues or societal challenges, the wisdom and insight of Mexican proverbs can offer guidance and perspective to help you navigate through life’s ups and downs. By embracing the lessons and values embodied in Mexican proverbs, we can all learn to live more fulfilling and meaningful lives.

This article also include the most popular Mexican words that are used regularly in the Mexican culture.

In this article, we will explore some of the most popular Mexican proverbs and their meanings.

Top 10 Mexican Proverbs

01. “El que tiene tienda, que la atienda; el que no, que la venda.” (Take care of your business, or sell it.)


This proverb emphasizes the importance of taking care of your responsibilities. If you own a business, you need to put in the effort to make it successful. If you can’t take care of it, then it might be best to sell it to someone who can.

02. “Cada cabeza es un mundo.” (Each mind is a world.)


This proverb emphasizes the idea that everyone has their own unique perspective on the world. What might be important to one person might not be important to another. It’s important to keep an open mind and try to understand others’ perspectives.

03. “Más vale tarde que nunca.” (Better late than never.)

This proverb emphasizes the idea that it’s better to do something late than not at all. It’s never too late to make a positive change in your life.

04. “No hay mal que por bien no venga.” (Every cloud has a silver lining.)

This proverb emphasizes the idea that even in bad situations, something positive can come out of it. It’s important to remain optimistic and look for the good in every situation.

05. “Al mal tiempo, buena cara.” (Put on a brave face in bad times.)

This proverb emphasizes the importance of having a positive attitude even when things are tough. It’s important to stay strong and keep a good attitude to get through difficult times.

06. “El que se fue a Sevilla, perdió su silla.” (If you leave your seat, someone else will take it.)

This proverb emphasizes the importance of not giving up your position or opportunities. If you leave your job, someone else will take it. If you don’t take advantage of an opportunity, someone else will.

07. “A palabras necias, oídos sordos.” (Ignore foolish words.)

This proverb emphasizes the idea that it’s better to ignore negative or foolish words and focus on the positive. Don’t let others’ negativity bring you down.

08. “A caballo regalado, no se le mira el diente.” (Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.)

This proverb emphasizes the idea that when someone gives you something, don’t be critical or ungrateful. Appreciate what you have.

09. “Del dicho al hecho hay mucho trecho.” (There is a big difference between words and actions.)

This proverb emphasizes the idea that it’s easy to talk about doing something, but actually doing it is much harder. Actions speak louder than words.

10. “El que mucho abarca, poco aprieta.” (Don’t bite off more than you can chew.)

This proverb emphasizes the importance of focusing on what you can handle. Don’t try to take on too much or you won’t be able to do anything well.

Top 208 Mexican proverbs and popular words

Mexican proverbs are a testament to the wisdom and insight of Mexican culture. They offer valuable life lessons and insights into the human experience, and are a powerful tool for passing on cultural values and traditions from one generation to the next. One example of a Mexican proverb is “No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano,” which translates to “Waking up early doesn’t make the day come sooner.” This proverb reminds us that hard work and dedication are important, but that there are no shortcuts to success. It encourages us to be patient and persistent in our efforts, and to trust that good things will come in their own time.

Another Mexican proverb is “El que mucho abarca, poco aprieta” which means “He who grasps at too much, holds little.” This proverb warns against being too greedy or ambitious, and encourages us to focus our energies on what is truly important in life. It reminds us that by trying to do too much, we may end up accomplishing very little, and that we should strive for balance and moderation in all things. Mexican proverbs like these offer timeless wisdom and guidance that can be applied to our lives today, regardless of where we come from or what challenges we may face.

Here are 208 Mexican proverbs with their meaning in English

1. A buena hambre no hay pan duro – Hunger is the best sauce.

2. A cada capillita le llega su fiestecita – Every dog has his day.

3. A cada pajarillo le gusta su nidillo – Every bird likes its own nest.

4. A donde el corazón se inclina, el pie camina – Where the heart goes, the feet follow.

5. A falta de pan, tortillas – If there is no bread, there are tortillas.

6. A palabras necias, oídos sordos – Don’t listen to foolish words.

7. A quien Dios no le da hijos, el diablo le da sobrinos – If God doesn’t give you children, the devil will give you nephews.

8. A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda – God helps those who wake up early.

9. A río revuelto, ganancia de pescadores – When the river is rough, the fishermen gain.

10. Agua que no has de beber, déjala correr – Let the water you’re not going to drink run.

11. Al mal tiempo, buena cara – Put on a brave face in bad times.

12. Al que madruga, Dios lo ayuda – God helps those who wake up early.

13. Amor con amor se paga – Love is repaid with love.

14. Ande yo caliente, ríase la gente – Let people laugh as long as I’m warm.

15. Arrieros somos y en el camino nos encontraremos – We are all travelers on the same road of life.

16. Bala perdida – Stray bullet.

17. Barriga llena, corazón contento – A full belly, a happy heart.

18. Cada cabeza es un mundo – Each person is a unique individual.

19. Cada loco con su tema – Each to their own.

20. Cada oveja con su pareja – Each sheep with its mate.

21. Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente – The shrimp that falls asleep gets carried away by the current.

22. Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente – You snooze, you lose.

23. Caras vemos, corazones no sabemos – We see faces, but we don’t know hearts.

24. Chamba – Work.

25. Chicle y pega – Chewing gum and glue.

26. Chido – Cool.

27. Como agua para chocolate – Like water for chocolate.

28. Como anillo al dedo – Like a ring on a finger.

29. Como el perro del hortelano, ni come ni deja comer – Like the dog in the manger, it neither eats nor lets others eat.

30. Como si nada – Like it’s nothing.

31. Con el tiempo y una caña – With time and patience.

32. Con un ojo al gato y otro al garabato – Keeping an eye on everything.

33. Con una mano adelante y otra atrás – With nothing but the clothes on your back.

34. Costar un ojo de la cara – To cost an arm and a leg.

35. Creerse la última coca-cola del desierto – To think you’re the last Coca-Cola in the desert.

36. Cruzar los dedos – To cross one’s fingers.

37. Dar gato por liebre – To deceive someone.

38. Dar la mano y tomar el codo – To take advantage of someone’s kindness.

39. Dar luz verde – To give the green light.

40. Deja vu – Déjà vu.

41. Del dicho al hecho hay mucho trecho – There is a big gap between saying and doing.

42. Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres – Tell me who you hang out with and I’ll tell you who you are.

43. Dormir como un tronco – To sleep like a log.

44. Echar agua al mar – To do something pointless.

45. El amor es ciego – Love is blind.

46. El que nace pa’ maceta, no sale del corredor – A person’s natural talents cannot be suppressed.

47. El que se enoja pierde – He who gets angry loses.

48. El que se fue a Sevilla, perdió su silla – You snooze, you lose.

49. El que siembra vientos, recoge tempestades – You reap what you sow.

50. El tiempo es oro – Time is money.

51. En boca cerrada no entran moscas – Silence is golden.

52. En la variedad está el gusto – Variety is the spice of life.

53. En tierra de ciegos, el tuerto es rey – In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

54. Entre la espada y la pared – Between a rock and a hard place.

55. Estar en las nubes – To be daydreaming.

56. Estar en su salsa – To be in one’s element.

57. Estar en quiebra – To be broke.

58. Estar más sano que una manzana – To be as fit as a fiddle.

59. Estar como una cabra – To be crazy.

60. Estar chido – To be cool.

61. Estar hecho polvo – To be exhausted.

62. Estar hasta las narices – To be fed up.

63. Estar sin blanca – To be penniless.

64. Estar como un pez en el agua – To be in one’s element.

65. Hablando del rey de Roma, por la puerta asoma – Speak of the devil and he shall appear.

66. Hacer de tripas corazón – To summon up courage.

67. Hasta el fin del mundo – To the ends of the earth.

68. Hasta la vista – See you later.

69. Hasta la vista, baby – See you later, baby.

70. Hasta mañana – See you tomorrow.

71. Hay gato encerrado – Something is fishy.

72. Hacerse agua la boca – To make one’s mouth water.

73. Hacer la vista gorda – To turn a blind eye.

74. Hombre prevenido vale por dos – A stitch in time saves nine.

75. Ir al grano – To get to the point.

76. Ir de mal en peor – To go from bad to worse.

77. Ir viento en popa – To be going well.

78. La excepción confirma la regla – The exception proves the rule.

79. La fruta prohibida es la más dulce – Forbidden fruit is the sweetest.

80. La paciencia es la madre de la ciencia – Patience is a virtue.

81. La suerte de la fea, la bonita la desea – The grass is always greener on the other side.

82. Las apariencias engañan – Looks can be deceiving.

83. Las palabras se las lleva el viento – Words are wind.

84. Lo cortés no quita lo valiente – Good manners cost nothing.

85. Lo que no mata, engorda – What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

86. Lo prometido es deuda – A promise is a debt.

87. Llover a cántaros – To rain cats and dogs.

88. Más vale tarde que nunca – Better late than never.

89. Más vale maña que fuerza – Cunning surpasses strength.

90. Meter la pata – To put one’s foot in it.

91. Muerto el perro, se acabó la rabia – Out of sight, out of mind.

92. Muerto el rey, viva el rey – The king is dead, long live the king.

93. No hay mal que por bien no venga – Every cloud has a silver lining.

94. No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver – There’s none so blind as those who will not see.

95. No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano – Rome wasn’t built in a day.

96. No tener pelos en la lengua – To speak one’s mind.

97. Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente – Out of sight, out of mind.

98. Para todo hay solución, menos para la muerte – There’s a solution to everything except death.

99. Poner los puntos sobre las íes – To dot the i’s and cross the t’s.

100. Por la boca muere el pez – Loose lips sink ships.

101. Por un pelo se pierde la vida – A close shave.

102. Quien calla, otorga – Silence implies consent.

103. Quien mucho abarca, poco aprieta – Jack of all trades, master of none.

104. Quien no arriesga, no gana – Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

105. Quien no tiene nada, nada pierde – You can’t lose what you don’t have.

106. Quien no llora, no mama – The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

107. Quien ríe último, ríe mejor – He who laughs last, laughs best.

108. Querer es poder – Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

109. Salir de Guatemala y entrar en Guatepeor – Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

110. Ser del barrio – To be street smart.

111. Ser la oveja negra – To be the black sheep.

112. Ser pan comido – To be a piece of cake.

113. Ser un cero a la izquierda – To be useless.

114. Ser un cabeza de chorlito – To be a scatterbrain.

115. Ser un canguro – To be a kangaroo (to have many children).

116. Ser un chivo expiatorio – To be a scapegoat.

117. Ser un gallina – To be a chicken (to be afraid).

118. Ser un pelado – To be a nobody.

119. Siempre hay un roto para un descosido – There’s a lid for every pot.

120. Sin pelos en la lengua – To speak one’s mind.

121. Tener dos dedos de frente – To have common sense.

122. Tener más lana que un borrego – To have more money than sense.

123. Tirar la casa por la ventana – To spare no expense.

124. Tomar el toro por los cuernos – To take the bull by the horns.

125. Tomar el pelo a alguien – To pull someone’s leg.

126. Tratar a alguien con guantes de seda – To treat someone with kid gloves.

127. Vale más pájaro en mano que ciento volando – A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

128. Vender humo – To promise the moon and deliver nothing.

129. Venir como anillo al dedo – To come in handy.

130. Vivir al día – To live for the moment.

131. Vivir en las nubes – To have one’s head in the clouds.

132. Ya dio la hora del te – It’s time to call it a day.

133. Ya se armó la gorda – The cat’s out of the bag.

134. Yo me rajo – I give up.

135. ¡A la orden! – At your service!

136. ¡Buen provecho! – Enjoy your meal!

137. ¡Qué padre! – How cool!

138. ¡Qué chido! – How neat!

139. ¡Qué onda! – What’s up!

140. ¡Qué rollo! – What a drag!

141. ¡Qué tal! – How’s it going?

142. ¡Viva México! – Long live Mexico!

143. Aguas – Watch out!

144. Armarla gorda – To make a big deal out of something.

145. Caerle bien/mal a alguien – To make a good/bad impression on someone.

146. Chamba – Job/work.

147. Chavo/chava – Guy/girl.

148. Chévere – Cool/great.

149. Chido – Cool/nice.

150. Chilango – Person from Mexico City.

151. Chiquear – To flirt.

152. Chismoso/chismosa – Gossiper.

153. Comer con los ojos – To eat with your eyes.

154. Con los crespos hechos – To be in hot water.

155. Dar el avión – To ignore someone.

156. Dar en el clavo – To hit the nail on the head.

157. Darle vuelo a la hilacha – To let loose and have fun.

158. De a huevo – Absolutely.

159. Dejar plantado a alguien – To stand someone up.

160. Después de la tormenta viene la calma – After the storm comes the calm.

161. Echar la culpa – To blame someone.

162. Echar por tierra – To ruin.

163. El dinero no compra la felicidad – Money can’t buy happiness.

164. El que nada debe, nada teme – He who owes nothing, fears nothing.

165. En cada casa se cuecen habas – Every family has their own problems.

166. Entre broma y broma, la verdad asoma – Many a true word is spoken in jest.

167. Estar en la luna – To be absent-minded.

168. Estar en las nubes – To daydream.

169. Estar en onda – To be up-to-date with the latest trends.

170. Estar hecho un ají – To be very angry.

171. Faltarle un tornillo – To be crazy.

172. Hacerse pato – To pretend not to know.

173. Hasta el rabo, todo es toro – The devil is in the details.

174. Hay más tiempo que vida – There is more time than life.

175. La curiosidad mató al gato – Curiosity killed the cat.

176. La felicidad está en las cosas simples – Happiness is in the simple things.

177. La ocasión hace al ladrón – Opportunity makes the thief.

178. La suerte está echada – The die is cast.

179. Llevar las riendas – To be in charge.

180. Lo barato sale caro – You get what you pay for.

181. Lo que mal empieza, mal acaba – A bad beginning makes a bad ending.

182. Los amigos se cuentan con los dedos de una mano – True friends are few and far between.

183. Mandar al diablo – To tell someone to go to hell.

184. No dejes para mañana lo que puedas hacer hoy – Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

185. No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver – There is none so blind as those who will not see.

186. No hay rosa sin espinas – There is no rose without a thorn.

187. No se puede tener todo en la vida – You can’t have everything in life.

188. Por si las moscas – Just in case.

189. Quien calla, otorga – Silence gives consent.

190. Quien mucho abarca, poco aprieta – He who grasps at too much, holds onto little.

191. Quien no tiene de inga, tiene de mandinga – If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

192. Quien se acuesta con niños, amanece mojado – You sleep with dogs, you get fleas.

193. Salirse con la suya – To get one’s way.

194. Ser un bicho raro – To be a weirdo.

195. Ser un pelado – To be broke.

196. Si el río suena, es porque agua lleva – Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

197. Si no puedes vencerlos, úneteles – If you can’t beat them, join them.

198. Si te he visto no me acuerdo – Out of sight, out of mind.

199. Tener mala leche – To have a bad temper.

200. Tener más vidas que un gato – To have more lives than a cat.

201. Todo tiene su fin – All good things must come to an end.

202. Tomar el pelo – To pull someone’s leg.

203. Trabajar como un burro – To work like a dog.

204. Una mano lava la otra – One hand washes the other.

205. Vaya tela – What a mess.

206. Ver la paja en el ojo ajeno y no la viga en el propio – To see the speck in someone else’s eye and not the beam in one’s own.

207. Vivir como Dios en México – To live like a king in Mexico.

208. Zapatero a tus zapatos – Stick to what you know.


In conclusion, Mexican proverbs are a testament to the cultural richness and diversity of Mexico. They offer valuable insights into the human experience and serve as a tool for passing on cultural values and traditions from one generation to the next. Mexican proverbs are more than just words; they are a reflection of the resilience, perseverance, and wisdom of the Mexican people. Whether you are facing personal challenges or societal issues, the lessons and values embodied in these proverbs can provide guidance, perspective, and inspiration to help you navigate through life’s ups and downs.

By embracing the wisdom and insight of Mexican proverbs, we can learn to live more fulfilling and meaningful lives. These proverbs remind us to be patient, humble, and grateful, and to prioritize what is truly important in life. They offer a timeless reminder that, regardless of our cultural backgrounds or personal experiences, we all share common struggles and aspirations as human beings. Mexican proverbs are a treasure trove of wisdom and knowledge that can enrich our lives and inspire us to be the best versions of ourselves.

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Devang Vibhakar, Founder and Chief Editor of is from India. He is passionate about quotes. Quotes has changed his life. He is also a writer and has written five books. He has explored the cultures of Scotland and Germany through different cultural exchange programs. You can learn more about him on his about page.

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