Popular Tobago Sayings

People may think that us Trinis and Tobagonians speak the same type of creole, but that isn’t so. We are miles apart when we speak, even I at times have trouble understanding when Tobagonians talk. In the Trini dictionary I gave you all a taste of some of the words used in Tobago. Here, I present to you some popular Tobago sayings or what I would call local Tobago creole proverbs. I hope you have fun reading these sayings.

When you’re finished reading the Tobago sayings you can head on over to Trini sayings .

Ah nuh fuh want ah tongue, mek cow cyar talk – Some things might just be beyond your power.

Belly full man does tell hungry gut man keep heart – Well to do people offer words of consolation only to the needy, but never any tangible assistance.

Do not let the candle cost more than the funeral – In an effort to solve one problem be wary of creating further problems.

Even though I am a hungry cock, ah doh eat rotten corn – One should maintain his dignity and integrity irrespective of his wants.

Every mouldy bread geh ih mouldy cheese – Everyone has his friend.

Give am rope leh ih hang ihself – Usually too much freedom is used to one’s disadvantage.

Hen wid chicken cyar cross river – People with certain inabilities are not free to act.

Howdy, thanky, break no bone – Engaging in lengthy conversations is what usually brings about enmity.

House full, kitchen full but not even a thimble full – The loneliness that prevails after one’s kids has all left.

If you rub mih back, mih go rub yuh belly – Those who give will receive.

Monkey know wha’ tree fuh climb – One usually assesses a person before taking chances with him/her.

Mih hear better cock than that crow and nex morning ih end up in a pot – The element of uncertainty is never entirely erased.

Mouth open, tory jump out – Closely guarded secrets are usually disclosed when friends have disagreements.

Manure cyar do nutten to old buck-buck tree – There comes a time when attempts to make a positive change in a person or situation will be futile.

Nuh all skin teeth ah good skin teeth. Nuh all skin teeth ah laugh – The situation is not always as genuine as it appears to be.

One, one, does full basket – Success might not come at once, but over time.

One finger cyar pick louse - Co-operation is necessary for success.

One hand wash the other, together dey wash the face – So much more is achieved by co-operation.

Prophet nuh get honour ah ih own country – People usually do not appreciate their own.

Poke ah poke, no beef – The situation is unchanged.

Ratta tongue does sell ih head – Disclosing too much can get one into trouble.

Sheep cyar bring goat – Children are usually no different from their parents.

Skim yuh water before yuh dip am – Assess a situation carefully before committing yourself to it.

Tom drunk, but Tom nuh fool – People who appear to be foolish are not necessarily so.

There is more in the mortar besides the pestle – There is more to a situation than meets the eye.

Wha’ morning sun nuh dry, evening sun cyar dry – Certain situations or persons cannot get better.

Wha’ ears hear tongue shouldn’t know – One should learn to keep his secrets.

When crab walk ih does end up in a pot – Some people, by instability, get themselves into trouble.

Whey horse tie ah deh ih ha’ fuh graze – One should capitalize on what’s available to him.

Wha’ eye nuh see, heart nuh grieve – People do not usually worry over what they are not aware of.

Who have cocoa in sun always looking fuh rain – People who are guilty always think that the accusing finger is pointed at them

When two elephants ah fight, ah grass does suffer – While those in authority bicker, it is their dependents who are affected.

Wah sweet goat mouth does sour ih behind – The result of pleasure is sometimes pain.

Word ah mouth nuh food ah belly – One cannot survive on mere promises.

When yuh hand in the lion’s mouth, ease it – People in compromising situations cannot call the shot.

Yuh can laugh because yuh ceh shine teeth – People who are on top of a situation or in an advantageous position have nothing to worry about.

Yuh deh ah water bottom, yuh nuh know how sun hot ‘pon top – When one is sheltered from an experience he does not have clear picture of what obtains.

Yuh could promise yuh back a shirt, but nuh yuh belly food – Food is the prime necessity for survival.

Yuh could strain water, but yuh cyar strain blood –Denotes that the bond that exists among relatives exceeds all else.

Source: Taking a Look at the Heritage of Tobago. A book compiled by the Culture Department Tobago House of Assembly (03/04/03)

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