Ten Malayalam Sayings to Make You Sound Like a Pro

Have you ever wanted to dazzle anybody with your knowledge of Malayalam? There is no shortcut to becoming a literary genius – you need books and experience for that – but here are a few unusual witty Malayalam sayings that you can use to sound like you know more than you do. You may all be familiar with this one, “moothavar chollum muthu nellikka adhyam kaykum, pinne madhurikum”, so don’t just dismiss these, absorb it so that you can use it in your next epic conversation.


Undavanod urula vanganam

This proverb speaks of experience. If you want to start something new, it’s always great if you take advice from someone who’s been there, done that. On the other hand, it can also mean that you shouldn’t ask favours from those who are struggling themselves. Get it from those who’ve already had their fill and is in a position to be happy with sharing. This is one of those Malayalam sayings that will come in handy in your life.

Adakka ayal madiyil vekam, adakka maram ayalo

Most of us may have heard the saying: “Sathyam epozhayalum purathe varum”. This idiom has the same meaning but sounds much cooler. A small lie, like the small adakka can be hidden easily, but then it grows into a really tall, slender tree. Where do you hide it then? Basically, don’t keep lying secrets.

Adiche vazhiye poyilenkil poye vazhiye adikuka

This sarcastic saying is perhaps the go-to of all parents lamenting that their kids don’t do what they want. When there is a beaten path towards your destination and you specifically choose to avoid it, you will have to make a path for yourself wherever you choose to go. Even though the idiom has a negative connotation, the beaten path may not always be great for you and the new path you chose may end up being your best decision. Keep that in mind the next time someone uses it on you.


Adukku parayunavanu anjazhi, muttam vettunavane munnazhi

This is yet another sarcastic entry on this list. It is a comment on nepotism. ‘Anjazhi’ means five measures of grain, which used to be the payment given to workers long ago. ‘Munnazhi’ is lesser than ‘anjazhi’. In short, this cynical idiom means that those who flatter get more benefits while those who work hard end up getting less.

Eli pidikum poocha kalavum odaykum

The meaning is actually pretty obvious from the proverb itself. Nothing in this world is completely perfect or wholly good. Just like a rose has thorns, cats that catch mice also create a lot of chaos. Something that might have helped you in one instance might be a burden in the next. Cat lovers, please bear with this.

Onathin edayil puttu kachodam

Everyone loves Onam. Flowers, new dresses, new shows and most importantly plenty of food. In this time of plenty, you wouldn’t really want to buy more food, would you? That’s exactly what this idiom says, don’t sell your stuff where there is plenty already. You will not be respected where there is an abundance of what you offer. Stop trying to play safe. Be risky, branch off, find a new pasture. An English version of it is “don’t sell ice to the Eskimo”.


Aana koduthalum aasha kodukal

A broken heart is a heavy thing. You should never give someone hope if you are not planning to see it through. Maybe you can get them all sorts of things in the world, even an elephant for some reason, but that cannot compensate for the hurt of broken hopes. You can also hear it in song form in the movie, Oru Painkili Katha, sung by Balachandra Menon and Sreevidya.

Aalin ka pazhukumbol, kakkake vaayil punn

This is a cynical remark on fate and destiny. Crows love the fruit of the aal maram or the banyan tree, yet it so happens at times that their mouths get too sore to eat it when it ripens. A rather unfortunate coincidence don’t you think? It stands to represent such nasty situations where your internal struggles prevent you from getting that one thing you’ve always wanted. Don’t lose heart, the banyan puts out fruits every year.

Kurunthottikum vadhamo

First of all, kurunthotti is a highly useful medicinal plant. It is used to relieve several bodily issues including vadham, that is, arthritic pain. However, what would happen if the kurunthotti itself is debilitated by vadham? This idiom is used to denote those people in a group who are generally major sources of comfort, but are currently seized by some sort of grief. You can use it when you look up to somebody for some exemplary quality and find human weakness instead. 

Oonine munpe choottine purake

‘Choott’ basically is a flaming torch, here it means source of light. ‘Oone’ on the other hand, stands for a meal. This idiom tells us we need to be earlier than others to get food, or any opportunity to survive and do well-the lion’s share goes to the one who leads. Whereas, when someone is disseminating wisdom or showing the way on a risky road, we must follow the light keenly. Very practical advice. 

For more Malayalam sayings, check out this video.

Also, if we have missed out on your favourite Malayalam sayings, let us know!


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