Proverbs and adages are an integral part of Khmer culture and often provide some thoughtful advice or fundamental insight into the basic truths of life. The Khmer Institute has undertaken the task of collecting and translating these words of wisdom into English for the benefit of the English-speaking public and subsequent generations of overseas Cambodians.

In translating these words of wisdom, our primary consideration was the accurate preservation of their meaning. Tone was a secondary consideration. Regrettably, we often could not translate the poetic devices (the rhymes, rhythm, alliteration, assonance and consonance) that give these proverbs and adages their brilliance. For instance, has been translated "Associating with sages will bring you contentment and a life devoid of suffering." This saying is compelling not simply because of its prudent advice, but because of the skillful manner in which the author expresses it. A phonetic transliteration shows the use of various poetic devices: kub kit bon-dit   sok muy che-vit ot tuk. In these less than ten words, we find alliteration, rhyme, consonance and a distinct metrical pattern that is broken off at the end to effectively punctuate the thought.

Click on a set of numbers below to view proverbs
50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500

We have translated and interpreted these sayings to the best of our ability. If you have any knowledge regarding how a specific proverb or adage should otherwise be translated or interpreted, please email us at:

© Khmer Institute. All rights reserved.