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57 Burmese Quotes, Proverbs & Sayings + Their Meanings

Burmese people use a lot of sayings and expressions in daily life which offer advice and even sometimes have hidden meanings.

I spent hours and hours to find these Burmese proverbs and quotes to learn more about Burmese beliefs and ways of thinking. 

Below I’ve listed famous Burmese quotes, common Burmese proverbs and inspiring Burmese sayings along with their meanings.

(My favourite is number 44.)

Famous Burmese Quotes & Burmese Proverbs

Here’s some of the most famous Myanmar quotes as well as some common Burmese proverbs and their meanings in English. These are used often in day to day life.

  1. ကံယုံ၍ ဆူးပုံမနင်းရာ – Don’t jump into a pit of thorns out of blind faith.

This Burmese proverb teaches that we should not carry out actions without proper reasoning.

  1. ကိုယ့်ပေါင် ကိုယ်လှန်ထောင် – To pound on one’s own thighs.

This Burmese proverb teaches that unwise actions and words will only end up hurting yourself. 

  1. မိုးရွာတုန်း ရေခံ – Collect rain water when it rains.

This quote teaches us to take full advantage of any opportunity that arises.

Famous Burmese quote which reads 'collect rain water when it rains'.
  1. ကြာကြာဝါးမှ ခါးမှန်းသိ – Bitter taste is only apparent after chewing for some time.

This Burmese quote means that the true character of a bad person will only become apparent after getting to know the person well.

  1. ကြိုးစားက ဘုရားဖြစ် – Strive and become a Buddha.

This Burmese saying means that if you work hard, anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

  1. ငါးခုံးမတစ်ကောင်ကြောင့် တစ်လှေလုံးပုပ် – One rotten fish fills the whole boat with a foul smell. 

This Burmese quote is talking about reputation. The reputation of a family or business can be ruined by the behavior of one person.

  1. မမှားသော ရှေ့နေ၊ မသေသော ဆေးသမား – A lawyer who wins all cases or a doctor who saves all patients is unheard of.

This Burmese saying teaches us that despite knowledge and experience, we all fail sometimes.

  1. ခလုတ်ထိမှ အမိတ – Stumble and fall, only then will mother be called.

This Burmese saying is used to talk about children ignoring the guidance of their parents and only calling for help when they get into trouble.

  1. ခြောက်တိုင်းလည်း မကြောက်နှင့်၊ မြှောက်တိုင်းလည်းမမြာက်နှင့် – Don’t be afraid of every intimidation but also don’t fall for every compliment.
  1. ဆူးပေါ်ဖက်ကျ ဖက်ပေါက်၊ ဖက်ပေါ်ဆူးကျ ဖက်ပေါက် – When the thorn falls on the leaf, the leaf is punctured. When the leaf falls on the thorn, the leaf is still punctured.

This proverb teaches that weak people are vulnerable and should be cautious.

  1. တစ်ခါသေဖူး ပျဉ်ဖိုးနားလည် – Once there is death, one understands the cost of a coffin.

This Myanmar quote means that we learn from our experiences.

  1. မသိသူကျော်သွား၊ သိသူဖော်စား – An ignorant person walks over the pot of gold, the informed person digs it up.

This quote stresses the value of knowledge and wisdom. 

Famous Burmese proverb which reads 'an ignorant person walks over the pot of gold, the informed person digs it up'.
  1. ​​တစ်ချက်ခုတ် နှစ်ချက်ပြတ် – One slash cuts in two places.

This Burmese saying teaches us about efficiency. For example, you can accomplish several tasks in one journey.

It’s similar to the English proverb ‘killing two birds with one stone’.

  1. ​​ဘူးဆိုလျှင် ဖရုံမသီး – A marrow plant won’t bear pumpkin fruit.

This proverb means that you can’t change people.

  1. ဘယ်သူမပြု မိမိမှု – We are the heir to our own deeds.

The meaning of this Burmese proverb is that we will face the consequences of our actions. There is no one to blame but ourselves.

  1. မျက်ကန်း တစ္ဆေမကြောက် – A blind man is not afraid of a ghost.

This Myanmar quote means that a reckless person is blind to the danger ahead of him/her.

  1. မရှိတာထက် မသိတာ ခက် – Not knowing is worse than not having.

This quote means that in life, not having knowledge is worse than not having material things.

  1. မီးလောင်ရာ လေပင့် – Wind blows where there is fire.

This proverb is a metaphor meaning that trouble can be made worse by outside interference.

  1. သည်ပုတ်ထဲက သည်ပဲ – Beans from the same pot are fermented alike.

This saying is similar to the English proverb ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ and means that children often show similar behaviors to their parents.

Famous Burmese saying which reads 'beans from the same pot are fermented alike'.
  1. အိပ်ချင်ယောင်ဆောင်သူ အနှိုးရခက် – Waking someone who is pretending to be asleep is difficult.

This proverb means it’s hard to deal with a deceitful person – you’ll find it hard to see their true colors. 

Beautiful Burmese Quotes & Burmese Sayings

Below I’ve listed a range of famous and inspirational Burmese quotes and Burmese sayings.

  1. ကြီးသူကို ရိုသေ၊ ရွယ်တူကို လေးစား၊ ငယ်သူကို သနား – Revere the elders, respect your peers and be kind to the young.
  1. ကုသိုလ်လည်းရ ဝမ်းလည်းဝ – Make merit and fill your stomach at the same time.

This Burmese saying is talking about doing good deeds. It’s saying you can do good things, e.g. be a doctor, and it will give you a sense of purpose and joy.

  1. ချစ်စကိုရှည်စေ၊ မုန်းစကိုတိုစေ – Let love live long, let hate live short.
  1. ကလေးရှက်တော့ငို၊ လူကြီးရှက်တော့ရယ် – When embarrassed, children tend to cry whilst adults tend to laugh.
  1. ကိုယ်ထင် ခုတင်ရွှေနန် – Deluded people think their bed is a golden palace.

This Burmese quote tells us that some people get lost in their own world with unrealistic expectations.

  1. ကျွန်းကိုင်းမှီ ကိုင်းကျွန်းမှီ – An island depends on the reeds, the reeds depend on the island.

This Burmese saying describes relationships where  people depend on each other – one could not survive without the other.

Famous Burmese quote which reads 'an island depends on the reeds, the reeds depend on the island'.
  1. အပွေးမြင် အပင်သိ၊ အသွေးမြင် အသွင်သိ – You can tell the tree by its bark and a man by his character.
  1. ​​ချွေတာစုဆောင်း သူဌေးလောင်း – Skimp, save and live a modest life to become rich.
  1. ဆင်ပိန် ကျွဲလောက် – A skinny elephant is still the size of a buffalo.

This Burmese quote means that when a rich person gets poorer, they are still very rich.

  1. တစ်လုတ်စားဖူး သူ့ကျေးဇူး – A bite of food, gratitude.

This quote teaches us that we should be thankful for the food we eat. 

  1. သန်းခေါင်ထက် ညဉ့်မနက် – The night cannot be darker than the midnight hours.

This saying means that having gone through the worst, the situation will improve gradually.

  1. တိတ်တိတ်နေ ထောင်တန် – Silence is worth a thousand words.

This Burmese saying is similar to the English version ‘silence is golden’.

  1. ရောင့်ရဲတင်းတိမ် လူ့စည်းစိမ် – Contentment is the luxury of life.

This saying means that the person who needs the least is usually happier than the person who has the most.

  1. ပညာလို အိုသည်မရှိ – You’re never too old to gain new knowledge.
Famous Burmese quote which reads 'you're never too old to gain new knowledge'.
  1. တိမ်မယောင်နှင့်နက်၊ လွယ်မယောင်နှင့်ခက် – Shallow in appearance but deep, easy in appearance but hard.

This quote means that only after trying something may you realize that certain tasks are harder than they seem.

  1. နွားကွဲ ကျားကိုက် – Cows that do not stay as a herd become victims of the tiger.

This Burmese quote teaches us that a divided nation or a divided family is vulnerable to attack.

  1. ပညာ သမာ အာဘာ နတ္ထိ – There is no light as bright as knowledge.
  1. ဖြစ်သမျှအကြောင်း အကောင်းချည်းပဲ – Whatever happens is for the best.
  1. ဘုရားမှတ်လို့ ကိုးကွယ်ပါ၊ ဖွတ်ထွက်မှ တောင်ပို့မှန်းသိ – A mound was mistaken to be a pagoda until the lizard came out.

This Burmese quote is referring to a bad person who may be mistaken for a good person until their immoral traits show.

  1. မမြင်ဖူး မူးမြစ်ထင် – A naive person thinks the Mu stream is a river.

The Mu stream is a small stream in Myanmar. This proverb teaches about naivety and to always try to learn more.

  1. ​​စကားနည်း ရန်စဲ – Less talk, less enemies.

This quote teaches us to be careful with our words.

  1. မြွေမသေ တုတ်မကျို – Let the snake live and keep the stick unbroken.

This Burmese quote teaches that you should compromise in times of conflict for a win-win situation.

In this example, the snake kept its life and the person kept their stick intact. 

Famous Burmese proverb which reads 'let the snake live and keep the stick unbroken'.
  1. လူမိုက်နှင့်ငွေ အတူမနေ – An unwise person and money do not stay together.

This quote simply means that a fool or someone who is not clever will lose all their money.

  1. သတိမမူ ဂူမမြင်၊ သတိမူက မြူကိုမြင် – Reckless people don’t see a big cave, vigilant people see even the fine mist.

This saying emphasizes mindfulness and that we should always recognise the opportunities that surround us.

  1. ​​သွားဖန်များ ခရီးရောက် – Make frequent trips to reach the destination.

This quote is about perseverance. Keep going until you achieve your goals.

  1. ​​အလကားရသည့်နွား သွားဖြဲကြည့် – Don’t examine the teeth of a cow you get as a gift.

This Burmese proverb teaches us that it would be inappropriate to look for imperfection and complain about something we didn’t pay for.

Be appreciative and say thank you.

  1. အလိုကြီးက အရနည်း – A greedy person ends up with less.
  1. ဥစ္စာဟူသည် မျက်လှည့်မျိုး၊ ပညာဟူသည် မြတ်ရွှေအိုး – Material things will perish but knowledge is valuable like a pot of gold.

This Burmese quote emphasizes the importance of knowledge over material possessions.

Best Burmese Idioms & Burmese Expressions

Below I’ve listed the most well-known Burmese idioms and expressions. Many of these have hidden meanings.

  1. ကြက်ကန်း ဆန်အိုးတိုး – Like a blind chicken stumbling into a pot of rice.

This Burmese idiom is used to describe someone who has found success by chance and not through hard work.

  1. ကျွဲပါးစောင်းတီ – Like playing a harp to a buffalo.

This Burmese idiom is used to describe an uncultured person who does not appreciate the finer things in life.

Famous Burmese idiom which reads 'like playing a harp to a buffalo'.
  1. ပွဲပြီး မီးသေ – The fire went out as soon as the show was over.

This Burmese idiom describes when initial enthusiasm dies down after a fad.

  1. ​​မီးခဲပြာဖုံး – Red hot charcoal covered with ash.

This idiom is used when a skillful person is unable to accomplish something due to circumstances.

  1. မီးစာကုန်ဆီခန်း – The lamp runs out of wick and oil.

This idiom is used to describe an older person who has reached retirement age. Their physical strength, work and sometimes wealth may have gone.

  1. ယုန်ထောင် ကြောင်မိ – A trap for a rabbit caught a cat.

This Burmese idiom is used to describe a situation where you planned for something but the result was something different.

  1. ​​အိုးက မပူ စလောင်းက ပူ – The lid is hot but the pot is not.

This idiom is used to describe when a person who has no business in a situation becomes restless and the person experiencing the difficult situation remains calm.

  1. အိတ်ပေါက်နှင့် ဖားကောက် – To collect frogs using a bag with a hole.

This Burmese expression is used to describe a wasted effort.

  1. အိမ်နောက်ဖေး ဈေးဆိုင်တည် – To open a shop in the backyard.

This expression is used to refer to growing vegetables in your backyard.

Thanks for reading this post on the best Burmese quotes about life, famous Burmese sayings and fascinating Burmese proverbs.

What was your favourite quote?

These Burmese quotes & sayings give an interesting insight into the Burmese beliefs and language.

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