"Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo."

Translation:More knows the devil for being old than for being the devil.

December 18, 2013



I enjoy this idiom, but I do want to know what it literally says ... "The devil knows more by being old than by being the devil" ?? Anyway, it's a good one, say I.

December 19, 2013


looks like the literal translation is: "The devil knows more because he is old than because he is the devil." or at least that's the literal translation that makes the most sense to me.

December 19, 2013


Apparently another translation of 'diablo' is smart, hence perhaps "The devil knows more because he is old than because he is smart"? Age/experience vs raw intelligence when it comes to wisdom.

December 19, 2013


That's is the idea of the idiom. The second reference to 'diablo' can be translated as to be devious/cunning. So even when 'smart' is not the best literal translation, it makes the point.

February 7, 2014


Reminds me of the quote from the Bill Murray movie "Groundhog Day": "Well maybe the real God uses tricks, you know? Maybe he's not omnipotent. He's just been around so long he knows everything."

February 5, 2015


And they say you can't learn anything from T.V. Clearly they haven't watched the wise film Groundhog Day.

March 26, 2015


This is the first comment I've made, and the first lingot I've given. This is because not only did you help clarify the idiom, but you used a favorite movie of mine to do so! Nice Work!

September 16, 2015


Many people ask about the two meanings, so here there is some additional detail.

"El diablo" = The devil (Noun)

"ser diablo" = To be cunning/devious (Adjective)

From the dictionary, one of the many meanings of diablo says: "Persona astuta, sagaz, que tiene sutileza y maña aun en las cosas buenas."

A person sharp, clever, who is subtle and uses tricks even in good things.

April 6, 2015


If I had an ingot it would be yours.

August 22, 2014


I don't know where I'd be without this thread.

September 25, 2014


Apparently? I couldn't find this as a translation. Any documentation of this second meaning?

July 5, 2014


Could be, but I think it might be weird to use both meanings of diablo in the same sentence. Maybe there's a native speaker out there who would like to clarify for us? Any takers out there? haha

December 19, 2013


I think using two meanings of one word in the same sentence isn't weird, particularly not when it's an idiom. Word-play and all that:)

December 19, 2013


Doesn't the lack of "el" in the second use of "diablo" mean it is being used to mean "smart" the second time? So "The devil knows more because he is old rather than because he is smart" would be the more correct translation.

January 19, 2014


I agree with both you and elliban.

This is definitely a play on words. I love it!

February 5, 2014


I agree - Mañana en la mañana. It's the same as "I read the red book before I could read."

March 13, 2014


The idiom is mostly saying that a person is wiser for age(due to experience and time) than for who they are(as in whatever position they may hold).

Devil is used mostly because it is thought that the devil knows a lot thus being compare to being smart, but in this idiom, the smartness is due to age. Plus it makes the idiom easier to remember and say. My dad says that it is mostly said so that older people should be respected because they've experienced more and thus know more. (both my parents are native speakers, i'm here mostly to freshen up on my spanish so i don't get ridiculed by my cousins when i visit them)

January 24, 2015


Thanks Cindy...this now makes sense to me...respect for the aged is very prominent in the European countries as well, and they have a lot of "wisdom sayings" that promote that thinking too.

February 26, 2015


Exactly. I am a native speaker. Cindy is totally right :)

April 8, 2015


Thanks CindySC1 and german.castro for expanding the meaning and word play of this expression. In English we might refer to an older, sagacious, person as a 'cunning old devil' - when their astute ways come to light... ;-)

April 30, 2015



February 7, 2015



May 15, 2015


Think of the second sense of the meaning as "diabolical"; the devil is diabolical (clever, cunning, etc).

February 9, 2014


Using both meanings is sort of the point. Wordplay is common in proverbs and idioms.

July 2, 2014


No weirder than teaching "patos contra tortugas" or "el mono camina acerca de caballo"

September 1, 2014


Perhaps the second usage could be better translated as 'devilish' to capture this meaning? :)

March 6, 2014


Go for the cognate. "Diabolical"

March 13, 2014


After all, Duolingo did use "ella vino con vino". Made me remember it too. :)

June 16, 2014


What's the word play with this sentence?

July 11, 2014


Why do you think it would be weird? ¨Smart people know more when they´re old than when they´re just smart¨sounds ok to me.

February 13, 2014


I am not a native speaker, but there is a difference between The Devil(Satan) and a devil(a devil spirit), I wonder if the é changed to e over time.

January 23, 2015


Yes, I understand it is a play on words, but I mention this for anyone who studies the bible also. The Devil is so crafty, but a big part of why he is so good at deceiving people isn't only because of who he is, but from trial and error, and he has been around, deceiving people for a long time, which brings us back to the idiom.

January 25, 2015


Using two meanings of a single word together is what makes a pun a pun. I can't speak for Spanish but it makes perfect sense to my anglophone AND francophone sensibilities.

July 4, 2015


Actually, I don't think the devil is the 'he' in this sentence. I think it's a play on the double meaning of diablo, so the literal translation would be "He better knows the devil through age than by being smart". In other words he has come to recognise certain truths (wisdom) by having lived a long time and not because he is smart. There is a more appropriate equivalent English idiom but I can't remember it at the moment.

January 16, 2014


Replying to my own post, most sites do translate it as "The devil knows more" so you're right, I'm wrong.

January 16, 2014


You may not have been correct, but as an aphorism, I think yours is wiser. I'd use it!

May 14, 2014


Yeah it was an interesting insight NJ

May 21, 2014


Very analytical, and in the end, you got the idea behind the idiom even if you got the translation totally wrong. The devil is literally the person mentioned (where you got it wrong) but the point is that wisdom comes with age (the idea behind the idiom has nothing to do with an actual devil but with the benefit of experience and age).

July 2, 2014


"Experience is the best teacher" would be in line with the general idea, but it's just not as colorful.

May 12, 2014


Yeah, english has such boring and austere idioms :-)

May 21, 2014



October 25, 2014


The literal translation I wrote is 'the devil knows more by age than by being the devil' and it was accepted as correct.

October 7, 2014


Your translation makes more sense than theirs. It's also the first saying I've seen so far in this bonus lesson that didn't have an English equivalent, which might be why I had trouble with it.

June 17, 2015


You are right sir!

December 20, 2013


Yeah why's the translation so Friggin weird

July 27, 2014


Yes. It does accept this version of the translation. Maybe it didn't before, but it does now.

November 2, 2016


Thanks for a sensible translation!

October 8, 2017


Duo accepted: "The devil knows more because he is old than for being the devil."

Makes sense to me; experience, not evil, makes the devil wise. Or knowledgeable, really.

December 21, 2013


I second wanting to know what it literaly says :D I'm always interested in knowing how proverbs are formed :)

December 19, 2013


That's a way better idiom than the one it gives you. In fact after I got it wrong and it said "with wisdom comes age" all I could say was "what"

July 5, 2014


Isn't that supposed to be "with age comes wisdom" ? I noticed duolingo sometimes has two versions of a translation where the difference is in the order of the words. In some cases they seem to be saying that either version is correct, when there is also a difference in meaning in duolingo's 2 English translations. Maybe the contex in which the phrase or sentance is used indicates the meaning to those fluent in Spanish. At my level, I'm not always so sure.

February 26, 2015


i actually thought the diablo didn't mean the devil, so for me, it was, "the old wise man knows more than the wise man"

February 3, 2014


I love that!

November 30, 2014


That sounds way more awesome than the english idiom

May 7, 2014


I was thinking it was "one knows more(or more is known) of the devil through age than through the devil" but yours make more sense grammatically and is more fun!

June 21, 2014


That's exactly what I wrote! It marked it wrong. And therefore I lost.

September 21, 2014


Thank you for explaining that, because it made absolutely no sense to me!

December 25, 2014


what does this idiom even mean?

January 29, 2015


This is a great thread! To me this idiom means "Respect your elders" i.e Learn from their acquired wisdom in spite of their faults/sins, a concept I see more the wisdom of, the older I get!

October 18, 2015


I googled: 'The older you get, the wiser you get'.

February 27, 2017



April 30, 2014


Maybe something like, "there's no devil like an old devil"?

December 15, 2014


I totally did not guess what this meant, but I really like this saying. It makes sense once you have the explanation. Anyone else think that this is the most fun lesson yet?

January 20, 2014


Yes I do! I think we're the oddballs. But I'm enjoying learning new phrases, even if I can't get all the way through the lesson without losing all my hearts.

January 30, 2014


Lol! I started making a list of all the new idioms with their translations so that I could review and practice them before trying a new lesson. It was the only way I could get through the lessons because I kept losing all my hearts, too!

January 30, 2014


Thank heavens the lessons are infinitely repeatable or I would be in deep, deep trouble.

March 15, 2014


I made a list also. I'm going to make flash cards. YES - this was most enjoyable.

March 22, 2014


Funny how this idiom perfectly describes the experience we are having now.

June 30, 2014


I made a list also. I'm going to make flash cards. YES - this was most enjoyable.

March 22, 2014


The most fun, and also the most frustrating in some ways, as some of the English "equivalents" are pretty tortured, and I really do so want to know all of the literal translations to expand my vocabulary. So I have a love/hate relationship with it. Well worth the lingots I spent to get it, though, and I wish there were more to buy!

May 14, 2014


couldn't of sumed it up better myself

November 30, 2014


Yes, I like learning idioms

April 7, 2014


There is no substitute for experience should be accepted.

December 19, 2013


I thought so, since it is the equivalent, but no luck, one heart hit the floor, in a pool of blood...

December 20, 2013


It is accepted now (Mar 2014)

March 15, 2014


Span¡shD!ct gives "there's no substitute for experience" and "experience is what really counts" as translations for this phrase.


August 9, 2014


i thought for sure it was "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't", any native speakers care to chime in on how to say that?

January 2, 2014


Certainly that's an English idiom, but it has nothing to do with this one, which is about how youth and vigor may not be as valuable as experience and wisdom.

February 11, 2014


Or, as my husband says to our kids, "Youth and vigor can always be overcome by age and treachery."

March 10, 2014


Aha, so you married an old devil.

March 10, 2014


This is a different idiom "Más vale diablo conocido que por conocer". It refers to don't take risk with people/things that you don't know which could be worst than the options that you already have.

February 13, 2014


Better the devil you know.

March 12, 2014


I believe the correct English idiom for that would be "Better a known devil than an unknown angel" , but as said it's a different meaning than the one here on DL

March 9, 2014


That's basically what i put, as well.

March 18, 2014


I put that too!!!

September 15, 2014


I thought it was that, too, because it was the only English idiom I know with the devil in it. This is so hard!

November 15, 2014


Wisdom comes with age.

January 9, 2014


I suppose that this is the equivalent english version, the others are just 'literal translations' not what people uses in english.

February 13, 2014


Yeah, that's what we all have to learn ) Not about devil's features )))

January 10, 2014


I just can't get this one to stick in my head. So much for that wisdom coming with age stuff. :D

April 5, 2014


There has to be a shorter, easier, way of saying this... :P

December 18, 2013


Idiom. Not sure why Duo has added it for you at level 9. ?

December 18, 2013


It came with that 'bonus' pack for Idioms. :P Of which there is no way I can translate any of them on my own... Ha.

December 18, 2013


okay. lucky you, huh? ;)

December 18, 2013


Haven't you bought the new bonus skills yet?! :)

December 18, 2013

  • 2011

I've been trying to get this expression back again in my practice rotation. I'd like to suggest to Duolingo that the more idiomatic way of saying it in English is "With age comes wisdom." I forgot to do it the first and so far only time I've gotten it.

February 6, 2014


One of the correct solutions is "wisdom comes with age" so there's no need to report for that.

February 11, 2014

  • 2011

Yeah, it wants "wisdom comes with age," but I've only ever heard it as "with age comes wisdom."

February 11, 2014


I've only heard it as "with age comes wisdom" too.

February 15, 2014


I think there are way better old sayings than this.

March 18, 2014


I think it would've been better if the "diablo" showed an alt translation of "devious"/"cunning". I guessed the structure of the wordplay pretty well, and thought the second diablo looked very much like an adjective to mirror with "old", but the popup claimed different… so I failed at "a" devil.

April 25, 2014


Can someone help me in understanding how wisdom has been paralleled with "devil" ?

April 25, 2014


Devils are known to be cunning and clever in the folk history of many diverse cultures. So even though they are evil, they require perhaps not wisdom, but certainly knowledge to perform their tricks on the rest of us. In the US, they are known as politicians.

April 25, 2014


Got it, thank you Roger.

April 26, 2014


I translated it correctly, yet got it wrong.

Thev devil knows more due to age than for being the devil.

Specifically relating to the assumption; idea; that experience is more valuable than: ability, abilities aquired or inate nature. Which of course is often false. Knowing what to do based upon an aquired skill-set often trumps any supposed wisdom. With age wisdom often does not come. Sorry, but it is true.

June 27, 2014


i typed in the litarall transalation and it came up with this and i was like .OK then...

July 31, 2014


From Wikipedia: Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo. Alt: Sabe más el diablo por viejo que por diablo. Translation: The devil knows more because he's old, than because he is devil. Interpretations: With age comes wisdom. Swedish equivalent: Old is the oldest. A person with age, acquires a certain prudence and knowledge from life's experiences. Source: Glazer, Mark (1987). A Dictionary of Mexican American Proverbs. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 78. ISBN 0313253854.

November 18, 2014


For you frustrated students of idioms. I actually found an example of this in use. I was browsing the FaceBook page of an old Puerto Rican soldier I served with he Vietnam. He posted a video of a young boxer at a gym. The guy was tall and muscular and was smirking confidently at a group of people talking to him from outside the ring. Finally and old man in sweat pants, a bent back, balding, and wearing an old Christmas sweater climbs into the ring with boxing gloves on. The young man standing tall laughs dismissively at the old man. The old man shuffles back and forth forcing the young man into the corner taking a few hits in the process. THEN the old codger unloads a couple of deadly combinations on the young boxer sending him first onto the ropes and then onto the floor. The young boxer gets up unsteadily and the old man drills in again and sends the younger but much younger opponent onto the floor this time with a flattened and bloody nose. Under the video a friend of my fellow veteran posted in broken English, "Jose Osvaldo The devil knows more fore old than for devil!!! Jajajajajaja verdad Javier R. Gonzalez-Urdaneta." Recently I was leafing through a list of government jobs for translators wanted for intelligence work. It was clear that they did want candidates even if they were members of the "Real Academy Espanola." They wanted people who would understand idioms and the street language used by terrorists and narco trafficantes.

April 28, 2015


I don't get why they only showed me diablo meant devil... :-/

March 25, 2014


Мудрость приходит с годами.

March 26, 2014


arisston "A wise uncle for years"...?

April 30, 2015


Just for crap and giggles, on my first try, I typed in: "you must know the devil to understand the devil"... ha

March 31, 2014


This translate to wisdom comes with age?! And i was struggling with devil and the old to make a sentence!

May 6, 2014


Wow still trying to untwist my tongue after saying that idiom at full speed :-D

June 4, 2014


Hahaha I stupidly guessed "idle hands do the devils work" because Ive given up guessing these idioms

September 30, 2014


yeah, so have I

October 2, 2014


I believe this is equivalent to a rarely used saying in the USA: "Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill." I have the t shirt, thanks. Enjoyed everyone's comments.

July 5, 2015


I think the meaning is "The devil is more recognizable for being old than for being the devil."

August 24, 2015


I will play the devil's advocate and direct you to the following: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/m%C3%A1s_sabe_el_diablo_por_viejo_que_por_diablo It is one of many sources indicating that the DL version is correct.

July 8, 2017


Creo que su significado es que la sabiduria se consigue a traves de la experencia. Wisdom comes with age.

February 24, 2017


This interpretation is simply expressed and seems perfect to me - although it is not as colourful as the Spanish.

February 24, 2017


Estoy totalmente de acuerdo

February 25, 2017


why not. sabiduria viene con la edad

February 22, 2014


Because it's an idiom, not a literal translation.

Similarly, you could translate "Are you pulling my leg?" as "¿Estás tomándome la pierna?" but that would be wrong, because the idiom that means a similar thing in Spanish is "tomando el pelo" -- hair, rather than leg. (In fact, amusingly, if you put "¿Estás tomándome el pelo?" into GTranslate, it gives you, "Are you kidding me?" as its top translation. Not bad.)

February 22, 2014


Their algorithms are getting better. I wonder what it would make of some of our expressions: 'It takes a lang spoon tae sup wi the de'il!'

April 30, 2015


More knows the devil for being the devil than for being old. Thats what I found on google yet it wasnt right.

February 23, 2014


You can't trust GTranslate to get idioms right in general, and really its grammar is pretty poor. It's pretty useful for getting a sense of what a word means -- if you stick in a single word, it gives you several translations, which helps you understand both the main usage and the connotations.

Anyways, in this case, it's entirely backwards. An overly-literal translation would be, "The devil knows more from being old, than from being the devil." I'm actually surprised that Google got it that badly wrong -- It's swapping the order of "por viejo" and "por diablo" for no apparent reason.

February 23, 2014


No, I wasnt using GT, I just googled the sentence and found some people talking about it and someone spanish translated it. Sorry for my english.

February 23, 2014


Because its the opposite, "more know the devil for being old than for being the devil."

April 7, 2014


Actually it is it is "The devil knows more because of his age than . . . ."

April 7, 2014


now I get it. "more knows the devil" is an awkward way of saying "the devil knows more". I read it as "more people know the devil"

July 7, 2017


It is only awkward in English. We are studying Spanish.

July 8, 2017


Yes, absolutely, it's only an awkward way of saying it in English. I wasn't making any comment on the Spanish phrase, only the English translation of it.

July 8, 2017


In that case, wouldn't that mean the verb would be "saben", as the subject would be plural?

April 7, 2014


No, there is only one devil and he knows more due to his age than from being a clever devil. Hence, "Wisdom comes with age."

April 7, 2014


how does "Wisdom" come from "Devil" in that sentence?? it doesn't make any sense...?

March 7, 2014


The actual translation is something like "The devil knows more by being old than by being the devil."

July 6, 2014


I feel like it should be "Knowledge comes with age" as well, but it was wrong. :/

March 15, 2014


"Correct solution: The devil knows more for being old than the devil."

It doesn't sound correct...

March 18, 2014


This isn't a fair one. How are we supposed to get this right the first time?

March 19, 2014


What is the importance of getting it right the first time? I believe the importance is in finally getting it right. I have sworn never to reveal how many times I have repeated certain lessons, before the light bulb went on.

March 19, 2014


I just meant that it would be good to have something to go on. I can memorize something and get it right the next time, I'd just like to have a clue, to build on something I know the first time I see it. That's just me.

March 20, 2014



March 20, 2014


Any Cantonese speakers here? 人老精,鬼老靈 ;)

March 23, 2014


That's too hard... .-.

March 24, 2014


This is so complex

March 29, 2014


Very interesting to see all of the conclusions you can draw from one idiom. I really wanna know which native speaker originated this one...

March 31, 2014


Короче говоря, вырастешь-поймешь))

April 13, 2014


Without reading the comments, the idiom is lost. It's asking the literal translation and it didn't make sense.

April 16, 2014


I found this very difficult at first, but I am learning that literal translation is not simply a word for word process. As you start assembling words into two and three word groups the meanings begin to change. "Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo." Más sabe el diablo por viejo (The devil knows more because of age) que por diablo (than from being the devil).

April 17, 2014


How about: The devil knows more for being an old devil than being just a devil

April 23, 2014


I think this made the most sense out of them all

August 5, 2014


The way I learned it was "El diablo no sabe tanto por ser diablo sino por ser viejo", I think. I could be remembering it wrong.

April 23, 2014


Wait woa woa woa where did the devil go?

May 3, 2014


I put the devil knows more by being old than he does by being the devil, can that also be accepted instead of being marked wrong?

May 13, 2014


I don't get what More knows the devil by old that by devil means! Then you have to translate that to Wisdom comes with age!!!! Seriously?!?! Give me a break! Duolingo is a really good free accurate site and I recommend it to people but this is so wrong! Duolingo PLEASE change this!

May 13, 2014


Agreed - this drives me bonkers!

June 16, 2017


this website says: "experience is what really counts" http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/diablo

May 19, 2014


this is also a nice website for the origin of spanish idioms: http://www.frasesparalahistoria.com/paremia/m%C3%A1s-sabe-el-diablo-por-viejo-que-por-diablo

May 19, 2014


Literal better

May 24, 2014


This literally blew my mind.

May 24, 2014


It sounds like ''Either you die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain''.

May 29, 2014


I don't think the devil is wise, just, devilishly clever?

June 1, 2014


How is anyone supposed to guess this translation?

June 29, 2014


How is anyone supposed to guess this translation?

June 29, 2014


I wanted to put "Give the devil his dues," but I didn't think it would be correct.

July 6, 2014


It's unfair to expect us to know the idiom for the first time seeing it and expect us to get it by giving the word's exact meanings.

July 8, 2014


In all fairness they do not "expect" anything out of us. No one said you are to get it the first time. Anyone that does is advanced in Spanish.

July 8, 2014


That's why this lesson is completely optional, and you don't have to pass it to access other lessons. It's really hard to teach things like idioms using Duolingo's formula (or in general, frankly), because they just don't hold up well to direct translation. Duolingo is giving you the opportunity to learn these Spanish sayings while still recognizing that this is a kind of unusually difficult lesson and should be kept separate from the rest.

July 8, 2014


I agree completely with katemonster. I'm very grateful that Duolingo has this as optional, because as she said it's very hard to teach things like idioms when they don't translate directly.

November 14, 2014


This was the worst way to spend lingots

July 14, 2014


The literal English translation is grammatically incorrect.

July 22, 2014


what's the difference between - "age brings wisdom" and "wisdom comes with age"? This is the one grouse I have with Duolingo! Sometimes the solutions do not accommodate variations with the same meanings.

July 22, 2014


Where does diablo come from in with age comes wisdom? Im confused!!! I might quit duolingo if this confusion is repeated

July 26, 2014


Idioms will rarely translate directly. For example, if I were to say, "A taste of your own medicine," or, "Don't beat a dead horse," in English, you would probably know exactly what I meant. However, if you were to translate this to Spanish for someone trying to learn English they would probably be very confused.

July 26, 2014


Exactly. "Beating a dead horse" might translate to "belaboring the point," for example. It means the same thing, but uses different words.

In this case, the sentence translates directly as something like, "The devil knows more because he is old than because he is the devil." But this phrase doesn't really mean anything to us in English, so they used a translation that means the same thing but makes more sense to English speakers.

July 26, 2014


Maybe the confusion is that there is no equivalent 'catch phrase' in English. Sometimes you just have to heavily massage an idiom to approximate a good translation. (Perhaps one possibility in this case would be something like "old devils are wiser". ??

December 15, 2014


Whys the translation for it so freaking weird...

July 27, 2014


The literal translation is incorrect, because it says 'the devil' at the end. There is no 'el', and the idiom is a word play with the double meaning of diablo (devil) and diablo (smart, cunning, devious). The correct literal translation should be 'the devil/fiend knows more for being old than for being devious/fiendish'. Other words for smarts, cunning translate more clearly, but lose the pseudo-wordplay.

August 6, 2014


This is ridiculous - how can I know the answer when it has never been taught before. Moreover, it is like that with most of the idioms. This lesson is useless!

August 21, 2014


Honestly, I thought it was "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't." Haha, I guess I still have a lot to learn.

August 28, 2014


I was looking the best way to translate this idiom and i think this is the best... "Experience and age make the devil wiser than his being a devil"

October 22, 2014


This is very awkward in translation. Very unclear what it means. Could use editing.

October 25, 2014


i typed "older is wiser", and it beeped wrong, but one of the correct translations read: The older the wiser. Isn't that basically the same thing?!?

October 29, 2014


Interesting. My first reaction was to think that it was The more the devil knows the more old he is and that made no sense. There doesn't seem to be a version of this in English. I'm wondering where the idiom originates from and what other languages use it. Anyone?

November 6, 2014


This translation makes no sense at all! There isn't even the word devil in the translation! To me that is crazy beyond words!

November 14, 2014


el truco mas grande que hizo el diablo es de convencer el mundo el no existe.

December 2, 2014


The translation of this idiom is excellent on this discussion board (abobve), but poor within the lesson itself.

December 6, 2014


I agree with you! There are certain limitations to learning a foreign language on Duolingo. It is great on repetition and vocabulary building and learning points of grammar. It is NOT good on explaining the subtle differences in language/translation. Which makes it HORRIBLE at doing idiomatic expressions or proverbs. Or even better, check out the "flirting" optional exercise. It is totally off the wall. But the discussions are very helpful here. There are certain things I never learned correctly, like use of indirect pronouns and articles and I learned a lot from the other students.

December 6, 2014


I've never heard this idiom before in my life. What's a common English equivalent that a native English speaker would recognize?

December 15, 2014


In English we say John knows, he knows, but plural i.e. we know they know more know.

January 6, 2015


In English we say John knows, he knows, but plural i.e. we know they know more know.

January 6, 2015


I am not a native english speaker and I never heard the suggested translation before . Would the following saying be a viable alternative :"You cannot teach an old dog new tricks" .

January 8, 2015


With age comes wisdom.

January 9, 2015


Duolingo is demoralizing this poor gringo by introducing this phrase so early.

January 17, 2015


I just want to chime in that the literal translation ("More knows the devil for being old than for being the devil.") really makes no sense to me.

I appreciate everyone's explanations here.

January 23, 2015


I answered:" The devil knows more because of age than being the devil." And was told I was missing a word!

January 23, 2015


I said " The more more you know about the devil, and old man goes to hell." Apparently, It's wrong...

February 4, 2015


Does it not mean 'better the devil you know' ?

February 6, 2015


I find such translation: "the devil knows more because he lives the longest, and not because he is the devil"

February 25, 2015


I just spent 30 of mine to unlock this? What's this section supposed to teach us how frustrating jdioms in Spanish really are and how are we supposed to even come ckose to translating these or the general meaning?

February 28, 2015


Stumps me every time!

March 3, 2015


Nothing to do with "Better the devil you know" then??

March 4, 2015


Never heard this expression before in either language and I'm fluent in both.

March 4, 2015


I think it's supposed to be "mas SABEN," which is the third person plural form of the verb, "saber - to know." I don't think it should be "mas SABE because "mas" means more in Spanish so it is an implicitly plural word. ie. more people, more things, etc. The literal translation is, "More know the devil for being old than for being the devil.

March 9, 2015


Literally never heard this idiom in my life

March 12, 2015



March 24, 2015


I typed "The devil knows more WITH age, than by being the devil" instead of the correct "The devil knows more BY age, than by being the devil" is that not the same??

April 11, 2015


I took a stab in the dark... "Nobody knows the devil better than the old man himself". I knew that was not the same as the translation, but I could not think of anything else.

May 8, 2015


The English translation on this one is whacked. :/ "More knows the devil for being old than for being the devil." is /really/ clunky. The translations the guys have on the long thread above would serve this idiom much better than this one. "The devil knows more from being old than from being the devil" would be better.

May 13, 2015


DuoLingo seems to mistranslate some English/American idioms. Noun agreement is important. We don't say "more knows", it's "More know."

June 13, 2015


In French they are way quicker to fix mistakes and permit alternative translations. I have been complaining about More Knows for YEARS, but Duolingo continues to refuse to accept the gramatically correct More Know!

June 16, 2017


But in English 'more knows the devil ...' is correct - 'More know the devil ...' would be wrong. - We say, 'The cat knows more than it is letting on ...' but, "Dogs know which side their bread is buttered.' (Unless they 'bite the hand that feeds them', of course.)

June 17, 2017


You are absolutely wrong about this. In English grammar More is treated singularly, so More Know would be the correct translation.

You wouldn't say They Knows - you would say They Know.

More Know is exactly the same.

June 17, 2017


Hmmm ... I don't know! But 'they' is plural ... 'the devil' is singular ... so ... They know ... but the devil knows more ...

June 18, 2017


The Devil Knows, but More Know.

The construction of this sentence is absolutely messed up if it's about what the Devil knows rather than about what More Know.

At the very, very least, Duolingo should accept More Know as a correct response. Because it is THE correct response.

Or Duoilingo should change the English translation to something that actually makes sense in English instead of this gibberish.

June 18, 2017


makes no sense

July 11, 2015


I believe it is " The devil knows a lot because he is old, not because he is smart." because the words por and para both mean "for" but por is for the past affecting the now and para is the now affecting the future. "Bebo por ti" means i drink because of you(you did something to make me want to go drunk). "Bebo para ti" means "I drink in your honor" or "I drink for you."

August 2, 2015



August 5, 2015


It is rather hard to udnerstand

September 26, 2015


Another way of putting it is: The older we get the more evil we come across in life.

September 28, 2015


I think 'The devil knows more for the devil is old' fits the words and is neater but it wasn't accepted. I don't think Duo lets you make suggestions anymore.

November 8, 2015


This is not English. I put in 'rather the devil you know' and was told it was wrong!

November 9, 2015


This is not english

November 10, 2015


I have never heard this expression before; would rather duolingo concentrated on expressions that are widely used

November 11, 2015


Terrible translation that is nonsense

December 4, 2015


I think there is an error in the instructor that for some reason sets this phrase and "cuentas claras, amistades largas" to never be first asked that you translate it in text. I always, .. literally always, find myself saying it first or else listening and transcribing the sound. So I never get quizzed to remember the meaning without first having seen the translation at the bottom after saying it once.

January 5, 2016


Judge Marilyn Milian used this phrase today on The People's Court.

June 15, 2016


Just wanted to let everyone know that a google search of "meaning of mas sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo" turns up THIS COMMENT SECTION as the first result. Duolingo users are awesome :)

July 15, 2016


better the devil you know than the devil you don't? who says the translation above?

July 19, 2016


My only error on this one was I put, "More knows the devil". I was marked wrong for putting an S where it was not needed but in English it sounds just fine!!!

August 3, 2016


I said "More KNOW the devil", than "More KNOWS the devil, and Duo gigged me as WRONG.

August 29, 2016


I know - this is totally wrong, yet Duolingo refuses to allow More Know as a proper response!

June 16, 2017


It makes so much more sense after reading all this!

December 26, 2016


Sorry, but whatever this may mean in spanish to a native spanish speaker, the translation given in duolingo is absolutely rubbish and incomprehensible in english, and I cannot come up with an equivalent english saying for this, whereas I can come up with an equivalent english saying for all the other idioms given!

December 31, 2016


The devil is evil but he is also wise. Evil comes from some kind of inner corruption but wisdom comes from age ... This idea sounds rather philosophical and I like it, but I'm not sure what the application is.

December 31, 2016


The devil you know is better than the devil you dont know

January 27, 2017


"More knows" is incorrect English. It should be "more know"; in English, "more" is plural, so the verb must agree.

February 22, 2017



June 16, 2017


On doing a bit of research I found that there was not an English idiom that was the same as the answer. However, I did find the following two items on different sites. 1.Mas sabe el Diablo por viejo que por Diablo. Significado: Una persona sabe mas por su experiencia que por sus conocimientos. Meaning: A person knows more by his experience than by his knowledge.

  1. I suppose the Devil must be rather old… American society typically attributes wisdom to those who are advanced in years, yielding many sayings along those lines. We often say, “The older you are, the wiser you get” or the cynic may say, “With much wisdom comes much sorrow.” The Spanish, however, have a peculiar expression which is Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo, meaning ‘The Devil knows more from being old than from being the Devil.’ Although the concept is easily understood, and in fact some people do say, “The Devil knows a lot from being old,” the Spanish phrase goes further as to add the idea that experience is not only valuable, but perhaps more valuable than training or education.
March 2, 2017


I'm just glad for the comments. so helpful, because i am no fan of idioms.

March 17, 2017


This makes no sense to me.

April 29, 2017


the first ten comments say it better than what I had.

June 15, 2017


More Knows is gramatically improper!

When will this sentence appear as More Know? It's ridiculous that the proper English sentence is always marked wrong!

June 16, 2017


"More knows (sic) the devil for being old than for being the devil."

That's the translation Duo provided. Though I'm not sure I get it.

July 1, 2017


I feel like this needs more sensible/colloquial translation into English. No native English speaker would ever say this as it's translated, and it doesn't make sense to me.
While it's good to know the literal translation, I think that a colloquial one would be more useful in terms of understanding what this idiom really means to a Spanish speaker.

August 24, 2017


the "correct solution" is not correct the proper grammar would be more KNOW the devil fore being old than for being the devil not more knows

September 25, 2017


Yes that is what I was thinking. It's been driving me crazy.

December 13, 2017


Shouldn't it be, More know the devil instead of knows?

October 16, 2017


This makes absolutely no sense in English, so why would I use it in conversation in Spanish? Duolingo should provide historical context in the idioms section so that English-speakers can make sense of it. About half of the idioms in this section are nonsensical in English, so it keeps me from wanting to learn them.

October 25, 2017


more is plural, knows implies singular

October 27, 2017


The English translation of this idiom is awkward and does not seem to make any sense. I have never heard it anywhere else, and after multiple rereads (every time it pops up) it hasn't gotten any clearer. What in the world does this mean?

October 28, 2017


more is not singular! knows Is singular!!

October 28, 2017



November 14, 2017


Surely it should be know not knows, ie more know the devil.

November 18, 2017


"More knows" is incorrect English. "More" is plural (as in "not one"), and so the verb agreement should be "know."

November 20, 2017


The English translation is grammatically incorrect

November 23, 2017


you cannot say more or most "knows" it is "know" as more or most are singular words denying more than on thing in the category, not themselves plurals

November 29, 2017


how comes the owl doesn't accept his own translation "The devil knows more as an old man than as a devil" ??? I obviously prefer "More knows the devil for being old than for being the devil", still it is not congruent

December 20, 2017


this makes no sense then again it may explain why franco ruled the country for 40 years

December 31, 2017


Hey, I said, "More knows the devil for being ol than being the devil," and Duolingo passed me for the course :D thanks for enabling me, Duo!

January 5, 2018


More knows? How is that correct English?

January 5, 2018


The English is ungrammatical. "More" stands for "more people." "More" is plural, so "know" is the proper verb.

January 20, 2018


Surely is should read “ more know the devils” . “ Knows “sounds really bad English .

February 12, 2018


"More know the devil ... " has a better linguistic flow than "More knows ..."

Duolingo marks the former as wrong even though it doesn't affect the meaning nor the understanding.

February 17, 2018



March 25, 2015


I forgot the ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ "for". God, nobody will know what I'm talking about now.

May 12, 2015


most know the devil by old than because devil

March 7, 2014


Seriously wtf how was I suppose to translate that

June 23, 2014
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