The devil finds work for idle hands

J.F. de TROYES

Senior Member
francais-France
I am wondering whether you know a proverb that corresponds to this one in as many languages as possible. Could you translate it word for word, if it's necessary?
French: "L'oisiveté est la mère de tous les vices" ( Idleness is the mother of all vices ).
Thanks a lot.
 
  • spakh

    Senior Member
    Anatolian Turkish
    I don't know a proverb or saying for that but I can translate it into Turkish.

    The devil finds work for idle hands.
    Şeytan aylak ellere iş bulur.

    Idleness is the mother of all vices.
    Tembellik tüm kötülüklerin* anasıdır.

    *illetlerin is also possible and much better for vices instead kötülüklerin

    Hope it helps
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    In Egyptian Arabic, we have a proverb that says :
    الإيد البطّالة نجسة el-eed el-baTTaala negsa
    Which can be roughly translated as : the idle hand is impure.
     

    Julkio

    Senior Member
    Spanish from Spain (Madrid)
    In spanish is "La pereza es la madre de todos los vicios" that is word by word "Laziness is the mother of all vices", it is strange is the same than in Turkey and in Finland.
     

    Kraus

    Senior Member
    Italian, Italy
    The Italian expression is very similar to the Spanish one: "L'ozio è il padre dei vizi" (Idleness is the father of the vices).
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    In Czech, I cannot recall of anything that has a status of a proverb although there are ways to convey the idea:

    Zahálka plodí neřest. Idleness breeds vice.
    Zahálka je matkou neřesti. Idleness is the mother of vice.

    Jana
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    In Japanese, there is a proverb based on Chinese classic.

    小人閑居して不善をなす。
    Piddling man, when idle, does evil.

    The source of this proverb is 禮記/大學, which says, "小人閒居為不善" or (piddling man, when unseen, does evil). I checked with a Chinese to find out that this quote is not used in modern Chinese discourse.
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    In spanish is "La pereza es la madre de todos los vicios" that is word by word "Laziness is the mother of all vices", it is strange is the same than in Turkey and in Finland.
    We have the same in Portuguese: a preguiça é a mãe de todos os vícios.
     

    betulina

    Senior Member
    català - Catalunya
    In Catalan it's "la mandra és la mare de tots els vicis" (Laziness is the mother of all vices). There is also an "answer" to it, which is: "i, com a mare, cal respectar-la" (and, as a mother, we must respect it/her). :D
     

    spakh

    Senior Member
    Anatolian Turkish
    Turkish 'şeytan' is the perfect equivalent of English 'satan'. I think they've the same origin. So şeytan can be used for devil.
     

    J.F. de TROYES

    Senior Member
    francais-France
    In Japanese, there is a proverb based on Chinese classic.

    小人閑居して不善をなす。
    Piddling man, when idle, does evil.

    The source of this proverb is 禮記/大學, which says, "小人閒居為不善" or (piddling man, when unseen, does evil). I checked with a Chinese to find out that this quote is not used in modern Chinese discourse.
    Thanks a lot for letting me know this Japanese proverb that is surprisingly akin to European ones. Do you mean that this proverb has altered the meaning of the old Chinese saying by switching "idle" with "unseen" ?
    In Egyptian Arabic, we have a proverb that says :
    الإيد البطّالة نجسة el-eed el-baTTaala negsa
    Which can be roughly translated as : the idle hand is impure.
    Thanks a lot, Cherine; I'd like to ask you a question, but I prefer to switch over to the Arabic forum.
     

    J.F. de TROYES

    Senior Member
    francais-France
    In Catalan it's "la mandra és la mare de tots els vicis" (Laziness is the mother of all vices). There is also an "answer" to it, which is: "i, com a mare, cal respectar-la" (and, as a mother, we must respect it/her). :D
    Muchas gracias por el proverbio en catalán y aún más la salida viva !
    Turkish 'şeytan' is the perfect equivalent of English 'satan'. I think they've the same origin. So şeytan can be used for devil.
    You're quite right, it comes from Hebrew, as you can read here. Its the same word in Arabic too " شيطان "( Shitan )

    Thanks a lot to evrybody for your answers that are of great interest to me.
     
    Greek:

    «Ἀργίᾱ, μήτηρ πάσης κακίας» [arˈʝi.a ˈmi.tiɾ ˈpa.sis kaˈci.as] (in MoGr pronunciation) --> idleness is the mother of all evil; one of the quotations of the Athenian philosopher & statesman Solon, saved by Plutarch and used as proverb in MoGr.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    Standard Italian
    In Italian:
    L'ozio è il padre dei vizi (idleness is the father of vices). ''Ozio'' (idleness) is masculine in Italian, therefore it cannot be the 'mother'. ;)
    The word derives from Latin 'otium' (leisure time).
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top