راسه كبير وعقله صغير
Ráso kbîr w 3a2lo zghîr
His head is big and his spirit is small.
(Said of someone vain and narrow-minded)
متل الجرس ع دنب بغل
Metl ej-jaras 3a danab baghl
Like the bell on the mule's tail
(Said of someone who never stops talking)
بيبني علالي وقصور بالهوا
Byebne 3alele w 2sur bel-hawa
He builds high chambers and castles in the air.
(Building castles in Spain. French: Bâtir des châteaux en Espagne.)
بيمسك الحبل من الطرفين
Byemsok el-7abl men et-tarafen
He's holding the rope from both ends
(He's working for two opposite factions or wants to be on good terms with everybody.)
متل الخروف، لا بعضّ ولا بخرمش
Metl el-kharúf, la bi3add wa la bikharmesh
Like a sheep, he doesn't bite and doesn't scratch.
(Said of someone very easy going.)
جاية من التنّور
Jéye men et-tannúr
She's back from the tannour.
(The tannour is a structure to bake bread. It is difficult and exhausting to use, so that a woman or a man who returned from a day's work at the tannour was very likely in a bad mood. This expression is said of someone waspish or gruff.)
بفصّل للبرغوت قميص
Bifassel lal-barghút 2amîs
He makes a shirt for a flea.
(Said of someone very minute)
يا جبل عالي ما بهزّك ريح
Ya jabal 3ále ma bihezzak rî7
O high mountain, no wind moves you.
(Said of someone who always remains calm and stoic)
حامل السلّم بالعرض
7émel es-sellom bel-3ard
He carries the ladder sideways.
(Said of someone who makes things more complicated than they have to be)
لا حياة لمين تنادي
La 7ayát la mîn tunádi
No life to call to.
(Said of someone apathetic or dense)
بتحكي بالشرق، بجاوبك بالغرب
Bte7ke besh-shar2, bijéwbak bel-gharb
You speak to him in the East, he replies in the West.
(Said of someone unfocused who's just not there when you talk to them)
شمّام هوا قطّاف ورد
Shemmém hawa 2attáf ward
A smeller of air, a picker of roses.
(Said of someone dreamy and poetic.)
نفسها طيّب على الأكل
Nafsa tayyeb 3al-akl
Her breath is good for food.
(Said of someone who has a gift for cooking, like green thumbs for gardening)
براسه موّال غنّاه
Bi-rásso muwwél ghannéh
He had a song in his head a song so he sang it.
(Said of someone who placed a word he'd been been dying to say)
إتّفق القطّ والفار على خربان الدار
Ettafaqa l-qett wal-fár 3ala kherbén ed-dár
The cats and mice agreed to wreak havoc in the house.
(Describes a situation where enemies have allied themselves against a third party.)
نطر يا كديش تينبت الحشيش
Ntór ya keddîsh ta-yenbot el-7ashîsh
Wait, grazing horse, for the grass to grow.
(When pigs fly. French: Quand les poules auront des dents. Aux Calendes grecques. )