a diamond with flaws is better than a pebble without

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Haroon, May 9, 2011.

  1. Haroon

    Haroon Senior Member

    C A I R O
    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.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  2. lukebeadgcf

    lukebeadgcf Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    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?
     
  3. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    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
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  4. ayed

    ayed Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic(Saudi)
    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.
     
  5. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I'm not sure. But after much thought, I can't think of anything better. :(
    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.
    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.
    This one is like عصفور في اليد خير من عشرة على الشجرة . So, I think it won't work here.
     
  6. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    That would work. A more proverb sounding writing might be:

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

    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.

    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.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  7. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    قد لا تكتمل الماسة - لكنها أفضل من الحصوة الكاملة
    Someone make it into poetry please!
     
  8. Haroon

    Haroon Senior Member

    C A I R O
    Arabic-Egypt
    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!!
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  9. 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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