Vietnamese Fairy Dust


Casually sprinkle these into your Vietnamese conversation and suddenly everyone thinks you’re a Vietnamese (language) expert.
Yes, they do work like magic, but use them sparingly, or everyone will start coming to you with expert language questions (that you can’t answer).

1. một mũi tên trúng hai con chim (one arrow hits 2 birds)
Hitting 2 birds with a stone

2. cha nào con nấy
Like father, like son

3. trâu chậm uống nước đục (slow buffalo drinks muddled water)
The early bird gets the worm

4. một giọt máu đào hơn ao nước lã (one drop of red blood is more than a pond of water)
Blood is thicker than water

5. một nghề cho chín còn hơn chín nghề (one job done well better than 9 jobs)(chín means both well-done and the number 9)
Jack of all trades, master of none

6. tư tưởng lớn gặp nhau (great mind meets one another)
Great minds think alike

7. chó chê mèo dài đuôi the dog says the cat has long tail
The pot calls the kettle black

8. không có lửa làm sao có khói (no fire, how come there’s smoke?)
No smoke without fire

9. im lặng là vàng
Silence is golden

10. đếm cua trong lỗ count crabs in the hole (before actually catching them)
Don’t count your chicken before they hatch

11. (thà) muộn còn hơn không
Better late then never


3 responses »

  1. I understand the idiom of “Đếm cua trong lỗ”, but in a conventional day-to-day conversation, how would you put it to good use? Can you provide a small example of how to use that one? perhaps a pretend conversation would help.

  2. Chồng: tháng sau (anh) được tăng lương sẽ mua ti vi mới
    Vợ: cứ từ từ (chắc gì đã được tăng lương). Đừng có đếm cua trong lỗ vội

    (husband: next month I get a pay raise so I’ll buy us a new TV)
    (wife: slow down. Who knows if you’ll really get a pay raise. Don’t count chicken before they hatch)

  3. A: mua nhiều sổ xố thế này thế nào cũng trúng
    B (nghĩ thầm): “đếm cua trong lỗ”

    A: I bought so many lottery tickets. I will win for sure
    B (think silently): “counting chicken before they hatch”

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