Almost every culture has its own proverbs. And for some reason, in Lebanon, a lot of these metaphorical lessons of life involve animals.

Here's to the chicken, goat, camel, bear and other four-legged friends for informing our cultural values and (hopefully) making us a bit wiser in our daily dealings. Take a look:

1. Asfoor Bil Eed w La A'chra A'l Chajra

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Literal Translation: One bird in hand, rather than ten on the tree. (Probably the origin of the English proverb: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.)

Meaning: It's better to have one solid thing rather than dream about ten things you don't have. In other words, don't be greedy; be happy with what you have.

2. Chtahayna el Djeije Akalneiha b Reesha

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Literal Translation: We've been craving chicken, so we ate it with its feathers.

Meaning: This proverb is typically used when nagging about how bad you've been wanting something, which then turns out to be disappointing. Tough luck.

3. Ija l Dib Ta Yor'os Attal Sab'e Tman Tinfos

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Literal Translation: The bear came to dance, he killed seven or eight people.

Meaning: Whoever you're telling this is either really clumsy or unlucky, because this means he or she wanted to do something good, pleasant and happy and ended up with a catastrophe.

4. Shibi' Al Dib w A'l el A'sal Mor

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Literal Translation: The bear is full, now he thinks honey is bitter.

Meaning: Someone who is extremely spoiled to the point where he/she can only taste the bitterness in the honey they've always loved.

5. Had el A'arab La Te'rab w Had el Hayye Frosh w Nem

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Literal translation: Don't come near the scorpion, but sleep around the snake.

Meaning: Judging something by the way it looks is wrong and this proverb is here to tell you to keep an eye on the scorpion because it can cause a lot more harm than the snake.

6. El Jamal Law Cheif Hirdabto Wa'aa' Kasar Ra'btu

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Literal translation: If the camel saw his own hump, he would fall and break his neck.

Meaning: If we actually looked at our shortcomings and mistakes, we'd be devastated. It's ignorning these shortcomings that make us so confident.

7. Araj el Jamal Men Chifftou

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Literal translation: The camel limped because of his lips.

Meaning: You're making a big deal out of nothing.

8. El Erd bi Ein Immo Ghazeil

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Literal translation: The monkey looks like a dear in his mother's eyes.

Meaning: This is the most common Lebanese proverb of all. Parents always see their kids as beautiful even when others can clearly see that he/she may not be.

9. A'anze w Law Taret

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Literal translation: It's a goat even if it flies.

Meaning: It means you're acting absurdly stubborn to the point of not being able to admit that you're wrong.

10. Bit'ello Teis Bi'ellak Hleboo

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Literal translation: You say it's a he-goat, he asks you to milk it.

Meaning: This is when someone else is being excessively stubborn toward you, and disregarding the fact that you're completely incapable (for whatever reason) of doing whatever it is they're asking you to do.

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Mireille Massabki Braidy on Nov 12, 2013 via mobile web