A proverb can be regarded as a way of saying something and hiding its meaning. Jamaican proverbs are oldtraditional sayings which dates back to the early 16th century. As a way of formulating their thoughts, our ancestors have used their history to characterize this old tradition. Jamaican proverbs highlight humor and aspirations as a source of warning and advice. For nearly every important occurrence in Jamaican daily life there is a relevant proverb.
It is in the realm of the proverb also that we see clearly the inter-mixture of African and European influences producing the characteristics which are essentially Jamaican. In addition, the proverbs reveal much of the country and the characteristics of the people.
Jamaican proverbs can be put into categories. There are those of African origin, such as “craven choke puppy” which means “you’ve taken on more than you can handle”. Next, there are those proverbs originating in the West Indies. Then, there are those proverbs adopted from a European influence expressed in local idiom.