a diamond with flaws is better than a pebble without

Haroon

Senior Member
Arabic-Egypt
Hi all

what is the nearest Arabic idiom/ proverb/ wise saying to such a proverb?

Does: الغالي تمنه فيه match?
Thanks in Advance.
 
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  • lukebeadgcf

    Senior Member
    American English
    I wasn't able to find a similar idiom, but I might pose the following:

    ماسة فيها نقائص أحسن من مثل الحصاة. A diamond with flaws is better then an ideal pebble.

    How does that sound?
     

    Josh_

    Senior Member
    U.S., English
    In a proverb book I have I came across these, which are loose equivalents:

    رأسُ كلبٍ أحبُّ إليه من ذنب أسد.ـ
    (Being) the head of a dog is preferable to (being) the tail of a lion.

    قليلٌ في الجيب خيرٌ من كثير في الغيب.ـ
    A little in the pocket is better than a lot in nothing.
    ~ A little of something is better than a lot of nothing.

    As for a translation of the English, my attempt is:
    ماسة فيها عيوب خير من حصاة بلا عيوب
     
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    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    In a proverb book I have I came across these, which are loose equivalents:

    رأسُ كلبٍ أحبُّ إليه من ذنب أسد.ـ
    (Being) the head of a dog is preferable to (being) the tail of a lion.

    قليلٌ في الجيب خيرٌ من كثير في الغيب.ـ
    A little in the pocket is better than a lot in nothing.
    ~ A little of something is better than a lot of nothing.

    As for a translation of the English, my attempt is:
    ماسة فيها عيوب خير من حصاة بلا عيوب
    Josh, how would it sound if I said:
    رأسُ كلبٍ أحبُّ إليه من ذنب أسد.ـ
    To be the head of a dog is preferable than to be the tail of a lion.
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Does: الغالي تمنه فيه match?
    I'm not sure. But after much thought, I can't think of anything better. :(
    ماسة فيها نقائص أحسن من مثل الحصاة. A diamond with flaws is better then an ideal pebble.
    How does that sound?
    I think نقائص is used more with people's carachters/personalities. I suggest we use عيوب.
    As for "ideal pebble", you can say حصاة مثالية or حصاة خالية من العيوب.
    The structure you suggested is, unfortunately, incorrect.
    In a proverb book I have I came across these, which are loose equivalents:
    رأسُ كلبٍ أحبُّ إليه من ذنب أسد.ـ
    (Being) the head of a dog is preferable to (being) the tail of a lion.
    I never heard this one before ya Josh. :)
    But I think the meaning is: He prefers (seeing, having near?) the dog's head to the lion's tail.
    And I don't know if it has the same meaning as the English.
    قليلٌ في الجيب خيرٌ من كثير في الغيب.ـ
    A little in the pocket is better than a lot in nothing.
    ~ A little of something is better than a lot of nothing.
    This one is like عصفور في اليد خير من عشرة على الشجرة . So, I think it won't work here.
     

    Josh_

    Senior Member
    U.S., English
    Josh, how would it sound if I said:
    رأسُ كلبٍ أحبُّ إليه من ذنب أسد.ـ
    To be the head of a dog is preferable than to be the tail of a lion.
    That would work. A more proverb sounding writing might be:

    Better the head of a dog than the tail of a lion.

    I never heard this one before ya Josh. :)
    But I think the meaning is: He prefers (seeing, having near?) the dog's head to the lion's tail.
    And I don't know if it has the same meaning as the English.
    The explanation offered in the proverb book for "رأسُ كلبٍ أحبُّ إليه من ذنب أسد.ـ
    " is:

    يُضرَب في تفضيل المَنصب الأعلى في المستوى المنخفض على المَنصب الأدنى في المستوى العالي كَمَن يُؤثِر، مثلا، أن يكون مديرًا لبنك فرعي على أن يكون نائبًا لمدير بنك مركزي.ـ

    So it has a more figurative meaning, according to the author of this proverb book I have, anyway. There may be several different uses.

    I agree, though, it is not the same thing, but just a loose, or very loose, equivalent. The situations they'd be used in would most probably be different. The only similarity they share, really, I suppose, is that of comparative worth, on the most general level.

    This one is like عصفور في اليد خير من عشرة على الشجرة . So, I think it won't work here.
    The explanation given for "قليلٌ في الجيب خيرٌ من كثير في الغيب.ـ
    "is:

    يُضرَب في تفضيل القليل العاجل على الكثير الآجل.ـ

    ...which of course, is very similar to "عصفور في اليد خير من عشرة على الشجرة " which the author explains as meaning:

    يُضرَب في إيثار القليل المملوك على الكثير الموعود.ـ

    Of course, you're right, they're not really equivalents to the one Haroon asked about, but they do have similar notions of comparative value.

    Giving it more thought, I suppose we better scratch them as being equivalent in any way to the one Haroon asked about.

    An explanation I found of it online is:

    "It's better to have a valuable thing that is not perfect,
    than a useless thing that is perfect."

    Perhaps seeing that will help someone think of an equivalent proverb in Arabic.
     
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    Haroon

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Egypt
    Better the head of a dog than the tail of a lion.



    يُضرَب في تفضيل المَنصب الأعلى في المستوى المنخفض على المَنصب الأدنى في المستوى العالي كَمَن يُؤثِر، مثلا، أن يكون مديرًا لبنك فرعي على أن يكون نائبًا لمدير بنك مركزي.ـ


    Perhaps seeing that will help someone think of an equivalent proverb in Arabic.
    The proverb I remembered is:
    كلب حيّ خير من أسد ميت
    but it seems to contrdict the English idiom, (if I assume the lion with the diamond, and the dog with the pebble!!
     
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    Xence

    Senior Member
    Algeria (Arabic - French)
    I am just remembring two proverbs that may convey the same meaning:

    ظنّ العاقل خير من يقين الجاهل

    and also:

    حقّ يضرّ خير من باطل يسرّ
     
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