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Chinese Idiom

Chinese Idiom & Proverbs



梁上君子 ( liáng shàng jūn zǐ )

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In the Eastern Han Dynasty (dōng hàn 东汉), there was a man named Chen Shi (chén shí 陈寔) . One day, a thief slipped into his livingroom. Hiding behind the beam, the thief waited for Chen Shi to fall asleep. Chen Shi, finding the thief, called his family together, saying, "To be a upright man one must have aspirations. Men are not born evil. But if one gets used to doing evil things, it will be hard to reform. The gentleman above the beam is such a man." The thief, hearing this, hurriedly jumped down and knelt on the ground to beg forgiveness.This idiom is used to refer to a thief.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 June 2009 16:13
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天衣无缝 (tiān yī wú fèng)

tian yi wu feng

There was a man called Guo Han (guó hàn 郭翰) in the Tang Dynasty (táng cháo 唐朝,618-907AD). One summer night, when the moon was very bright, he suddenly saw a girl descending slowly from the sky. He observed the girl closely, ans found that the dress she was wearing was seamless. He was puzzled, and asked why. The girl answered, “Heavenly clothes are not sewn with needle and thread.”
This idiom is used metaphorically to indicate the flawless handling of things. It can also be used to indicate perfectly written poem or other literary article.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 June 2009 23:34
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破釜沉舟 ( pò fǔ chén zhōu )

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In the late years of the Qin Dynasty (qín cháo 秦朝,221 - 206BC), Xiang Yu ( xiàng yù 项羽) lauched a rebellion. After crossing the Zhang River (zhāng hé 漳河), Xiang Yu ordered his soldiers to sink all the boats and break their cooking pots. He distributed each soldier three days' rations and warned them that there was no way return; the only thing they could do to survive was to fight against the enemy. After nine furious war, the Qin army was finally defeated.This idiom is used to reveal one's strong determination to achieve one's goal at any cost.

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 June 2009 21:58
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沉鱼落雁 (chén yú luò yàn)

To make the fish sink and the wild goose fall

In Chinese ancient history,there were four well-known beauties named Shi Shr (xī shī 西施),Wang Jau-jun (wāng zhāo jūn 王昭君),Diao chan (diāo chán 貂蝉),Yang yu-huan (yáng yù huán 杨玉环). Though they were not in the same period, their unforgettable beauties were universally acclaimed by the later generations.

Shi Shr lived in the state of Yue (yuè 越国),during the Spring and autum period (春秋 chūn qiū,770 - 221BC). One day,she and a group of her femal friends went to a nearby river to wash yarn. The sky was blue,the water was extremly crystal that they could see flocks of fish swimming in the water here and there cheerfully. The fish ,too,could see the girls very clearly. Suddenly ,all of the fish began to swim swiftly downward to the bottom of the water,being shocked by the unparalleled beauty of Shi Shr and feeling ashamed themselves. Before long ,the interesting story were diffused and known by most civillians around the country. They therefore gave Shi Shr a nickname ‘The girl makes the fish sink’ ,demonstrating how beautiful she was.

Last Updated on Friday, 08 October 2010 14:48
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门庭若市 (mén tíng ruò shì)

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During the Warring States Period (zhàn guó 战国,481 - 386BC),there was a handsome government official named Zou Ji  (zōu jì 邹忌) who lived in the kindom of Qi. One day,he said to his wife,"everyone said that Mr.Shu (xú gōng 徐公) ,from the Northern city is extremly handsome. Who is better-looking, he or me?” His wife answered,"Of course you are.” Zou Ji posed the same question to his maidservant,and then to the guest who came to his house.Both of them answered that he was better-looking of the two.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 March 2009 22:56
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