10 Hilarious Nigerian Proverbs Explained

by Mariam Sulaimon
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Nigerian Proverbs: A man expressing himself with smiles while playing a traditional African drum

Nigerian culture has thought-provoking proverbs passed down from generation to generation. Some of these Nigerian proverbs are so funny that you can’t help but laugh when you hear them; however, their essence cannot be overlooked, as they are filled with great sense and wisdom. In short, they are very simple but humorous.

Gone are the days when the elderly were the only chanters of these sayings. Now, even the youngies utter them for fun, but there is much to learn from them. To learn about these sayings and laugh simultaneously, below are ten side-splitting Nigerian proverbs explained. Each one promises that you will be laughing out your worries.

These funny sayings are perfect for a laugh-out-loud contest filled with wise sayings and valuable life lessons you can apply to daily life.

What are the Top 10 Hilarious Nigerian Proverbs? 

Proverb 1: He who sleeps with an itchy anus will wake up with smelly hands


This proverb might look awkward or funny, but its essence and teachings go beyond that. It emphasizes the need to address urgent issues without putting them off. If you don’t, such issues will remain or worsen with time.

However, acting promptly will help you fix them before they cause more damage. You will also have a sense of peace and assurance knowing that you’ve taken out what would have been a barrier.

Read Also: Nigerian Proverbs and Wisdom: Lessons for Modern Living

Proverb 2: However hard a lizard does press up, it will never have the chest of an alligator


This is another hilarious Nigerian proverb that teaches us to avoid trying to be someone else but always embrace our uniqueness. No matter how hard we try to imitate others, we will never have their qualities or characteristics.

It is best to focus on our strengths and talents and use them to achieve our goals and fulfill our potential.

Proverb 3: You cannot cook yams with your anger, no matter how hot.


This proverb still teaches us to always approach things positively and constructively. It’s easy to get caught up in negative emotions like anger, jealousy, or sadness, but it’s important to remember that positivity can change everything.

Building up positivity and constructive energy will make a real difference in the world and the lives of those around us. So, let’s work together to create a better world by being positive and constructive in all that we do.

Read Also: 10 Funny Pidgin Proverbs to Spice Up Your Day

Proverb 4: Even if a goat frowns, it will be taken to the marketplace to be sold


This is one of the Nigerian Proverbs about life and destiny. It simply says that whatever is meant to happen will happen, irrespective of how hard you try to avoid or stop it. It applies to almost everything in life, including reaching milestones; if you are destined to get there, you will get there.

As a result, you shouldn’t try to force anything or do the unimaginable because sometimes, you may be unable to change what’s meant to be. However, it doesn’t mean you should easily give up in the face of a challenge or difficulty. Rather, it preaches knowing your limit and when to refrain from fighting what you probably cannot change.

Proverb 5: A ripe fruit will drop when it notices an honest person


Honesty and virtue can lead to abundance and achievement. It indicates that an honest person may quickly receive accomplishments and blessings when a well-ripe fruit falls from a tree. In other words, blessings and other good things will follow naturally when you are righteous.

Proverb 6: A person with one eye does not thank the Lord until they meet a blind one 


There are instances when we do not see and enjoy our blessings until we face harsh conditions in life. The proverb teaches us to express gratitude for the small things we have, whether they look less or negligible compared to others. It suggests that sometimes, the warmth of the little ones we have in life is more significant than we think.

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Proverb 7: It is not fishing if you do not have a net


Success is seated between two chairs, and preparation is the first chair. Success comes just like that if you are lucky, but life rewards the prepared. You should always be prepared and have everything before starting any important task.

You must be ready and committed to increase your chances of success and avoid wasting time. With preparation, nothing is beyond reach.

Proverb 8: A disobedient fowl learns to be obedient in a cooking pot


This saying affirms that life can be a great teacher, and we, as inhabitants, should be open to learning from experiences. Even the most rebellious, disobedient, and daring individuals can be humbled by life situations that teach them important lessons.

Proverb 9: You cannot make food out of a fine word


It’s important to remember that words alone cannot satisfy our physical needs. While communication is essential for building relationships and expressing our thoughts and emotions, prompt actions are equally important for making things happen quickly.

Therefore, let’s use our words to inspire and motivate ourselves and others to take concrete steps to achieve our goals and fulfill our needs. That way, we can turn our dreams into reality and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

You cannot make food out of a fine word. – This is the bare truth: no matter how pleasant and fine it is, talking can’t turn into something material. You can keep talking about food, but you will stay hungry if you do not take some real food. 

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Proverb 10: If you are not a good dancer, keep on sitting down. 


The proverb means that you should know what you’re good at and not so good at. If you know you’re not a good dancer, it’s better to avoid dancing to prevent embarrassment and failure. However, you can still enjoy watching others dance and maybe learn something while at it, thus improving yourself in the process. 

Keep sitting if you feel you’re not there yet, but don’t forget to practice and stay dedicated til you become your best self. You can only be truly good at what you practice and focus on. Make that leap and dance to your beat to become outstanding!


As you can see, Nigerian proverbs blend wisdom and humor. These sayings are rooted in life experiences despite their awkwardness and humor. The ten hilarious Nigerian proverbs above show the significance of the rich Nigerian culture, where wisdom can be found in the most awkward or funny sayings.

This can be seen from the “He who goes to sleep with an itchy anus wakes up with smelly hands” to the “A ripe fruit will drop when it notices an honest person,” these sayings exist to make us slow down a bit as we go about our daily life as every experience has its lessons.

You can see that Nigerian proverbs are more than mere sayings; they’re an avenue to learn and laugh, combining educative and entertaining functions. One of the lessons you can keep from these hilarious proverbs is to find joy in every little thing and not take life too seriously. Remember, “If you are not a good dancer, keep sitting down.

Read also: Nigerian Slangs Dictionary

Edited by Akinola Dare T.

About Author

Mariam Sulaimon
Mariam Sulaimon
Mariam Sulaimon is a versatile content writer, critical thinker, and researcher with a passion for public relations. She crafts compelling content across diverse niches, including technical content, jobs, travel, and scholarship articles. Writing is not just a profession for Mariam but a hobby and a tool for self-expression.

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