Top 16 Popular Igbo Language Proverbs and Their Meanings

Nuelson Penuel Friday, November 17, 2023 Basis



Proverbs are not just mere sayings; they encapsulate the collective wisdom and experiences of a community. In Igbo culture, these proverbs are considered invaluable treasures, passed down from generation to generation. With their rich meanings and deep insights, Igbo proverbs give us a glimpse into the philosophy, values, and beliefs of this vibrant Nigerian ethnic group. Today, we explore some of the most popular Igbo proverbs and their profound meanings. 1. "Nwa ogbenye na-eje ka isi nsi" - "A child who behaves well brings honor to the family" This proverb emphasizes the importance of good behavior and its positive impact on the reputation of an individual's family. 2. "Ak? na-agb? oso na ola" - "The wealth of a community lies in its people" This proverb highlights the significance of human resources and the collective strength and talents within a community. 3. "? b?r? na ebu a, onwu anyi nuru" - "If it becomes bad, our death will suffice" This proverb conveys the idea that in times of extreme adversity or hardship, one should be prepared to make significant sacrifices for the greater good. 4. "Mman? nti n'ak?" - "The lizard in the river" This proverb is used to highlight the importance of adaptability and resilience in the face of challenges or changing circumstances. 5. "Olu isi okwu adighi ama onye n’ebe" - "The top of the speech is not reached by someone born on the ground" This proverb underscores the idea that success or mastery in any endeavor requires continuous learning and growth. 6. "Aka n'akp? kwan?" - "The hand washes the face" This proverb emphasizes the interconnectedness and interdependence of individuals within a community, stressing the need for cooperation and support. 7. "Mman? na-eje mba" - "The lizard that eats the elephant" This proverb symbolizes the power of patience and persistence, suggesting that even seemingly impossible tasks can be achieved through consistent effort. 8. "Echiche obodo adighi ukwu anagh? agh?" - "The downfall of a nation is not the end of its people" This proverb encourages resilience and the belief that even in the face of significant setbacks, individuals can rise above challenges and rebuild. 9. "?fe m?? n’?l?, ka m?? n’aku" - "Where my heart is, there lies my treasure" This proverb emphasizes the importance of aligning one's values and interests with their life choices and priorities. 10. "Ah?r? anya n’okwu" - "The ears test words" This proverb emphasizes the importance of careful listening and discernment while evaluating the truth or value of spoken words. Title: Embracing the Wisdom of Igbo Proverbs - A Cultural Treasure 11. "Onye kwe, chi ya ekwe" - "What one seeks, their god supports" This proverb emphasizes the power of individual effort and determination. It suggests that one's destiny and success in life are closely tied to their personal initiative and hard work. It encourages individuals to take responsibility for their actions and believe in their abilities. 12. "Ewu na-eche nti chiri ya" - "The goat grazes where it is tied" This proverb serves as a cautionary reminder against complacency and limited aspirations. It encourages individuals to break free from self-imposed limitations and explore new horizons. It implies that one should not restrict themselves to familiar territories but instead take risks and seek growth. 13. "Otu onye wetara oji, wetara ndu" - "If one person brings kola nut, he brings life" This proverb highlights the importance of unity and community. It asserts that when an individual contributes to the community's welfare and harmony, they ultimately contribute to the overall well-being and vitality of the society. It emphasizes the reciprocity of goodwill and encourages collaboration among people. 14. "Ebe ?kp?r? ?k?s? ebiri" - "Where the lizard fell from is where it got its name" This proverb reminds us of the significance of our ancestral lineage and heritage. It signifies the importance of acknowledging and honoring our roots, as they shape our identity and character. It serves as a call to respect and treasure one's heritage in a rapidly changing world. 15. "Ihe di nma na ihe di n'aka" - "Good things are rare and expensive" This proverb highlights the idea that valuable and gratifying things in life often come with a price. It encourages individuals to appreciate the true worth of things, acknowledging that effort, dedication, and sometimes sacrifice are required to attain them. It also urges caution in wise decision-making and resource management. 16. "?k?k? d? na-akp?" - "The rooster crows and day breaks" This proverb emphasizes the significance of taking action and seizing opportunities. It underscores the idea that progress and success result from one's ability to take initiative promptly. It serves as a motivator, reminding individuals that time waits for no one, and those who act decisively will reap the rewards.


Igbo proverbs offer profound insights into the values and wisdom of the Igbo people, providing guidance for navigating life's complexities. Through their vivid imagery and concise expression, these proverbs communicate profound truths that resonate across cultures and generations. By embracing and understanding the meanings behind these proverbs, we not only gain a deeper understanding of Igbo culture but also acquire enduring wisdom applicable to our own lives. Let us cherish and celebrate this linguistic treasure that has stood the test of time. As Chinua Achebe said, "Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten."

| Comments (0) | Views(83)

Add your comment

Other Posts
Emmason Integratded Services(2017-2024)
All Rights Reserved
Designed and Maintained By Emmason Integrated Services