We learned this proverb on the first day of Yoruba class in Nigeria. It means we don’t make fun or abuse people to their face. It would be extremely rude to count a man’s 9 toes right in front of him.
As we have been trekking through campus going from department to department on a journey for library cards, ID cards and the like, we naturally meet a lot of new people. It usually happens that one of us ends up talking more than others. The people we greet assume the others can’t speak Yoruba as well as the one talking and then say that to us to our face. Now we have a comeback to put them in their place and show we actually do know Yoruba dáaáaa (very well).