Nád-bí caínfoltach ní-bí caínfuillmech.

Nád-bí caínfoltach ní-bí caínfuillmech.

(that-not-is * well-wealthy * is-not-usually * well-profited)

Whoever is not wealthy is not likely to profit.

This maxim appears in Ancient Laws of Ireland, v. 112.7. While in a broad sense it might be restated as “it takes money to make money”, it probably had a more narrow application in early Ireland. A gloss on it says “In ti ag na bi tochus taitnemach ni bi eneclann taitnemach do” (Whoever does not have a lot of property does not have much of an honour price). Or more crudely, “if you don’t have much, you don’t amount to much.”

The original, non-normalized spelling is “Nadbi caínfoltach nibi caínfuillmech.”

Topics: Maxims & Wise Counsel