Nigerian pidgin proverbs are unhinged for real, but I have to admit that I’ve latched on to a few on the days I needed some self-induced motivation.

You can’t hear “Eye wey dey cry dey see road” and won’t be tempted to sneak in a laugh in the middle of hot shege. 

Anyway, I’ve taken the trouble (or delight to be honest) to compile a comprehensive list of pidgin proverbs and what they mean. 

Funny Nigerian Pidgin Proverbs

A Guide to Understanding 70 Nigerian Pidgin Proverbs and Their Meanings

These pidgin Nigerian proverbs will crack you up and teach you one or two important lessons. Talk about being multifaceted. 

Custard na pap wey jand:

Looks can be deceiving. Stay sharp.

Man wey naked no dey put hand for pocket:

Stop capping. Be honest about your true situation.

Who dey purge no dey select toilet:

Basically, beggars can’t be choosers.

Cunny man die, cunny man bury am:

Takes a thief to catch another.

E don tey wey yansh dey for back:

There’s nothing new under the sun.

Better soup, na money kill arm:

The good things in life don’t come cheap.

Rice wey dey bottom pot today go dey on top cooler tomorrow:

No condition is permanent. 

Lion no dey born goat:

Like father, like son.

One day breeze go blow, fowl yansh go open:

Nothing stays hidden forever. 

Pikin wey say mama no go sleep, him eye no go touch sleep:

If you cause problems, you’ll see problems.

Leave mata for Mathias and Sabi for Sabinus:

Mind your business and let sleeping dogs lie.

Ikebe no dey heavy the owner:

You can’t run away from your problems.

Na see finish make “good morning” turn “how far”:

Set boundaries.

One day bush meat go catch the hunter:

Everyday for the thief, one day for the owner

Who borrow cloth nor dey too dance for party:

Tread carefully.

Lean on me, no be press me die:

Don’t overstretch your helpers.

Woman wey never see problem na him dey hold breast run:

When you face problems, every other thing won’t matter.

Woman wey dey find bele no dey wear pant sleep:

No dey disguise, be honest with your problems. 

Na from clap dance dey start:

A little drop forms an ocean. Start somewhere

To piss no hard but fowl no fit:

Run am if e easy.

No matter how your anger hot reach, e nor fit boil beans:

Baby, calm down.

Person wey tey for party go follow dem wash plate:

Always know when to leave.

Cassava today fit be Garri tomorrow:

No condition is permanent; keep hope alive.

You no need cutlery to chop slap:

If you fuck around, you’ll find out.

Na condition make crayfish bend:

Sapa will humble you.

Nearly no dey kill bird:

If e didn’t dey, e didn’t dey.

Cow wey dey in a hurry to go America go come back as corn beef:

Don’t rush, calm down.

Every mallam with him own kettle:

All man for himself.

Because Lizard dey nod no mean say everything dey okay:

Looks can be deceiving.

Motivational pidgin proverbs

A Guide to Understanding 70 Nigerian Pidgin Proverbs and Their Meanings

If you’re in the mood for some aspire-to-perspire lessons, these pidgin proverbs pack a punch. 

Today’s newspaper na tomorrow’s suya paper: 

Nothing lasts forever.

I get am before no be property:

Hustle. Move past old glory.

Chicken wey run way from Borno go Ibadan go still end up inside pot of soup:

You can’t run away from your destiny.

Lizard wey fall from tall iroko tree, if nobody hail am!! é go hail himself:

Believe in yourself. Hype yourself TF up!

Na for afternoon dem dey find black goat:

Make hay while the sun shines.

Fowl wey dem carry for head no dey know say to waka na work:

A dependent person doesn’t know the value of what they’re enjoying. 

Akara and moin moin get the same parent na wetin dey pass tru make dem different:

How you start doesn’t matter, what does is how you finish. 

No matter how dark room wan be, man go still locate woman breast:

A Guide to Understanding 70 Nigerian Pidgin Proverbs and Their Meanings

There is always a way where there’s will.

Person wey chop belle full, no know wetin hungry man dey see:

Privilege blinds you to the pain of others.

Yansh no get teeth but e dey cut shit:

Small things can do big things. 

My thing and our thing no be the same oh:

Hustle o. 

Better name better pass gold and silver:

Protect your integrity.

Na small world no mean say you fit trek from Naija go London:

It’s not easy because it appears easy.

Student wey read na him serious, but na who pass sabi book:

The end justifies the means. 

Rolling stone, na person push am:

There is always a reason for something.

Pikin wey use agbada take stat guy go talk wetin e go wear wen e old:

Slow and steady wins the race.

Fly wey no get special adviser na im dey folow dead bodi enta grave:

Don’t be ignorant; stay woke.

If life dey show you pepper, my guy make pepper soup:

Make something good out of a bad experience

Water wey dem use take make eba no fit come back:

Don’t cry over spilt milk.

No matter how lizard dey do press up e no go get chest like alligator:

Be proud of who you are.

Wetin old woman siddon for ground see, pikin wey stand on top tree no fit see am:

Wisdom comes with old age.

Bring suya, bring suya….na cow body dey suffer am:

Actions have consequences.

Self-explanatory pidgin proverbs

A Guide to Understanding 70 Nigerian Pidgin Proverbs and Their Meanings

Egg roll wey no get egg na puff puff

Show evidence. Always.

No be everything wey touch your hand you go put for mouth.

Everything that glitters isn’t gold.

Pikin no sabi fire unless he touch am:

Experience is the best teacher.

Poor man no dey siddon for front bench for village meeting:

With wealth comes confidence.

Na same water wey make egg hard dey make potato soft:

Life comes at everyone in a different way.

Table no dey turn, na who get sense dey change chair:

Take charge of your destiny.

If trust dey, water for no boil fish:

Trust no one.

Na strong head make February no complete:

Try dey hear word.

Water and ogogoro na the same colour, no mean say na the same:

Things don’t always seem as they appear.

Na wetin happen before, make strong man quiet:

Experience is the best teacher.

Person no dey learn to use left hand for old age:

Old dogs can’t learn new tricks.

Who dey argue na him dey tey for knee down:

A Guide to Understanding 70 Nigerian Pidgin Proverbs and Their Meanings

Be quick to apologise when guilty.

I hear no mean say I gree:

Consent is consent.

Head wey no wan think, go carry load:

Respect who get, but fear who never collect:

Be slow to dismiss people.

Pikin wey like party rice no suppose fear to dance:

If you want it, work for it.

Even dirty water dey quench fire:

Be slow to underestimate. 

Dem no dey slim fit borrowed clothes:

Don’t overstretch your helper.

Epp me watch my pikin no mean kill am for me:

Critise but be kind with your words.

You’ll have your fill of grilled, peppered or fried meat and many more at Zikoko’s meat festival on November 11. Have you bought your Burning Ram ticket? You can do that real quick here.



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