Best Sicilian Expressions About Life That We Love

10 April 2023
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House
Unsplash: Casey Lovegrove

It is believed that in many remote villages of Sicily, many residents still speak the Sicilian language. Now, it is important to note that we are talking about the Sicilian language aka sicilianu, not the Sicilian accent. And that’s because the Sicilian language and Sicilian accent are two different things. In fact, sicilianu actually preceded the Italian language and it even has elements of Greek, French, Catalan, Spanish, and Arabic. As a result, some words in the Sicilian language are based upon their foreign influences. For example, the word “ceriso” (which means cherry in English) comes from Greek and the word “zibbibbu” (a type of grape) comes from Arabic.

Another thing that’s very special about this language is its abundance of proverbs. These Sicilian sayings offer wise advice and useful information on a variety of topics, including life and love and relationships and heartaches and politics and weather and many, many more stuff. Sometimes, one of these sage one-liners can be the most perfect and best witty response to end any type of conversation ever. Read on and be the judge!

  • Unni cc'è oru, cc'è stolu
    Translation: gold attracts the crowd
    Meaning: all the wealth in the world can be blindly attractive and make you forget about the more valuable things

  • Cu' vigghia, la pigghia
    Translation: the early bird catches the worm
    Meaning: the person who arrives early has the highest chance of success

  • Pesci fet d'a testa
    Translation: the fish stinks from the head
    Meaning: corruption begins from the top

  • Bòn tièmpu e màlu tièmpu nun nùra tutu u tièmpu
    Translation: neither good nor bad weather lasts forever
    Meaning: change is constant in life and everything is temporary

  • Se nun si’ Re, nun fari liggi nova
    Translation: if you’re not a king, don’t make the laws
    Meaning: don’t try to act as if you have more power than you actually do; stay humble

  • L’ amuri è come a tussi…nun si po ammucciari
    Translation: love is like a cough… impossible to hide
    Meaning: you cannot hide your love and feelings for someone

  • Quannu amuri tuppulìa, ‘un lu lassari ‘nmenzu la via
    Translation: when love knocks, be sure to answer it
    Meaning: when you find love, don’t give up on it so easily

  • Non c’è megghiu sarsa di la fami
    Translation: hunger is the best sauce
    Meaning: everything tastes better when hungry

  • A petra ufferta di n'amicu e comu un pumu
    Translation: a rock offered by a friend is like an apple
    Meaning: no matter what it is, a gift from a friend is always priceless

  • Ogni mali nun veni pri nòciri
    Translation: not every pain comes to harm you
    Meaning: with every bad thing comes something good