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Proverbs & Idioms
Proverbs Guide
Tradition Chinese
不善始者不善終。
Simplified Chinese
不善始者不善终。
Transliteration
bù shàn shǐ zhě bù shàn zhōng
Literally
The bad beginning makes a bad ending.
Meaning
If you do some mischies,the god will retributive you in the end.
Tradition Chinese
放下屠刀,立地成佛
Simplified Chinese
放下屠刀,立地成佛
Transliteration
fàng xià tú dāo, lì dì chéng fó
Literally
The butcher who lays down his knife, at once becomes a Buddha.
Meaning
Even an evildoer can become a good person as long as he sincerely repents and earnestly reforms himself.
Tradition Chinese
長江後浪推前浪
Simplified Chinese
长江后浪推前浪
Transliteration
cháng jiāng hòu làng tuī qián làng
Literally
The Changjiang River waves behind drive the waves ahead.
Meaning
Each new generation excels the last one.
Tradition Chinese
道高一尺,魔高一丈
Simplified Chinese
道高一尺,魔高一丈
Transliteration
dào gāo yī chǐ, mó gāo yī zhàng
Literally
The law is strong, but the outlaws are ten times stronger.
Meaning
It stresses that it is difficult to achieve goodness, which is easy to lose when the devil tempts us. The extended effort to become a good man, but one can easily learn to be a bad one.
Tradition Chinese
苦海無崖,回頭是岸
Simplified Chinese
苦海无崖,回头是岸
Transliteration
kǔ hǎi wú yá, huí tóu shì àn
Literally
The sea of suffering is boundless; yet a turn of the gear is the other shore.
Meaning
The bitter of tribulation has no boundaries. A person can still survive as long as he turns around to mend his way.
Tradition Chinese
當局者迷,旁觀者清
Simplified Chinese
当局者迷,旁观者清
Transliteration
dāng jú zhě mí, páng guān zhě qīng
Literally
The spectators see more of the game than the players.
Meaning
A person involved in a matter usually does not have a comprehensive overview of it due to too much concentration on gains and losses, while the onlookers, who have a calmer and more objective attitude, have a better grasp of what is going on.
Tradition Chinese
一年之計在於春,一日之計在於晨
Simplified Chinese
一年之计在于春,一日之计在于晨
Transliteration
yī nián zhī jì zài yú chūn, yī rì zhī jì zài yú chén
Literally
The whole year's work depends on good planning in spring, and the whole day's work depends on good planning in the early morning.
Meaning
Good planning beforehand is the precondition for success.
Tradition Chinese
八字衙門朝南開,有理無錢莫進來
Simplified Chinese
八字衙门朝南开,有理无钱莫进来
Transliteration
bā zì yá men cháo nán kāi, yǒu lǐ wú qián mò jìn lái
Literally
The yamen gate is wide open, yet with only right on your side but no money, do not go inside.
Meaning
Dating from feudal times, warns the unwary not to seek justice from the corrupt and freedy officials of those days.
Tradition Chinese
物以類聚,人以群分
Simplified Chinese
物以类聚,人以群分
Transliteration
wù yǐ lèi jù, rén yǐ qún fēn
Literally
Things of a kind come together. People of a mind fall into the same group.
Meaning
Good things or bad things will sever in different group,just like good men will flock together and the bad one will fall into anther group.
Tradition Chinese
今日事,今日畢
Simplified Chinese
今日事,今日毕
Transliteration
jīn rì shì, jīn rì bì
Literally
Things of today, accomplished today.
Meaning
Don't put off until tomorrow what can be finished today.
Tradition Chinese
人無遠慮,必有近憂
Simplified Chinese
人无远虑,必有近忧
Transliteration
rén wú yuǎn lǜ, bì yǒu jìn yōu
Literally
Those who do not plan for the future will find trouble on their doorstep.
Meaning
To make long-term plans in order to avoid troubles in the near future.
Tradition Chinese
自助者天助
Simplified Chinese
自助者天助
Transliteration
zì zhù zhě tiān zhù
Literally
Those who help themselves, God will help.
Meaning
God will help those who help themselves.
Tradition Chinese
三個臭皮匠,頂個諸葛亮
Simplified Chinese
三个臭皮匠,顶个诸葛亮
Transliteration
sān gè chòu pí jiàng, dǐng gè zhū gě liàng
Literally
Three cobblers with their wits combined equal Zhuge Liang, the master mind.
Meaning
Attention to the wisdom which resides in ordinary people.
Tradition Chinese
三個和尚沒水喝
Simplified Chinese
三个和尚没水喝
Transliteration
sān gè hé shàng méi shuǐ hē
Literally
Three monks have no water to drink.
Meaning
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
Tradition Chinese
一寸光陰一寸金,寸金難買寸光陰
Simplified Chinese
一寸光阴一寸金,寸金难买寸光阴
Transliteration
yī cùn guāng yīn yī cùn jīn, cùn jīn nán mǎi cùn guāng yīn
Literally
Time is money, however, you can't buy it with money.
Meaning
Time is the most precious thing in the world.
Tradition Chinese
有借有還,再藉不難
Simplified Chinese
有借有还,再借不难
Transliteration
yǒu jiè yǒu huán , zài jiè bù nán
Literally
Timely return of a loan makes it easier to borrow a second time.
Meaning
Even in such a trivial matter as a loan, keeping one’s word to the letter is necessary if one wants to have smooth dealings with others.
Tradition Chinese
肉包子打狗
Simplified Chinese
肉包子打狗
Transliteration
ròu bāo zi dǎ gǒu
Literally
To hit a dog with a meat-bun.
Meaning
Punishment gives less incentive than a reward.There might be a radically different and much more effective way to solve a problem.You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Tradition Chinese
死馬當活馬醫
Simplified Chinese
死马当活马医
Transliteration
sǐ mǎ dāng huó mǎ yī
Literally
Try to save the dead horse as if it is still alive.
Meaning
Do the impossible, for it may truly be possible.
Tradition Chinese
眼見為實,耳聽為虛
Simplified Chinese
眼见为实,耳听为虚
Transliteration
yǎn jiàn wéi shí , ěr tīng wéi xū
Literally
What you hear about may be false, but what you see is true.
Meaning
Hearsay is generally unreliable. The truth can not be obtained without close observation. Rumor should not be believed and facts speak loudest of all.
Tradition Chinese
一人得道,雞犬升天
Simplified Chinese
一人得道,鸡犬升天
Transliteration
yì rén dé dào, jī quǎn shēng tiān
Literally
When a man is at court, all his followers are in favor.
Meaning
When a man rises in the world, all his friends and relations——even the most humble-benefit.
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