|Chinese Proverbs||Rating ||Mail|
|Not only can water float a boat, it can sink it also.|
Meaning - Nature can help and harm you. The people(water) can raise someone(boat) to power, but can also take it away(sink).
Note : The knife cuts both ways.
|Fortune does not come twice. Misfortune does not come alone.|
Meaning - The emphasis is on "misfortune doesn't come alone". It's often used as an opener or exclamation, when people talk about coincidental events of misfortune.
|"The absence of proof is not the proof of absence."|
Meaning - Just because there is no proof of something, this does not mean that it does not exist.
Note : It is quoted in Michael Crichton's Book,The Lost World.
|"The mountains are high and the emperor is far away."|
Meaning - The people is out of government/origination's control, because the people are too far away.
Note : Used as in carefree (lawless)
|When the tree falls, the monkeys scatter.|
Note : Usage: When a leader loses power, his followers become disorganized. This proverb is often used to describe fair-weather friends.
|A drop of water shall be returned with a burst of spring.|
Meaning - Even if it was just a little help from others, you should return the favor with all you can when others are in need.
|"Early bird gets the worm."|
Meaning - "Those who are quick seize opportunities."
|"Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will come."|
Meaning - It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
Note : Confucius: near De Yue, far from making. (The Analects of Confucius)
|A single day of sub-zero temperature is not enough to create three feet of ice.|
Meaning - Great things cannot be accomplished in a short period of time.
Note : Compare: Rome was not built in a day (Italian proverb).
|If the wind comes from an empty cave, it's not without a reason.|
Meaning - Things don't happen for no reason; everything has a cause.
Note : Compare: Where there's smoke, there's fire.
|The old horse in the stable still yearns to run 1000 miles 1.|
Meaning - Everybody, no matter the inexperience, yearns to achieve great deeds. Another one is "The older the ginger the hotter the spice".
Note : "stable" and "li" rhyme in Mandarin.
1 li: a Chinese unit of linear measure, corresponds to about 500 meters.
|All crows in the world are black.|
Meaning - A natural interpretation: Some rules, like those natural forces of the Universe, are unbendable, regardless how much you may want it to change.
Note : A stereotypical interpretation: something or someone (bad) is no different from all the others.
|Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know what's in a person's heart.|
Meaning - Character can be revealed by time.
Note : Usage: This can be used positively to praise a true friend, or negatively to criticize friends who could not stand a test.
|Barber one side hot (old time, one side hot water...)|
Meaning - If only one partner is willing while the other isn't, it will not work.
|To hit a dog with a meat-bun.|
Meaning - Don't use the wrong method to approach a problem.
Note : Compare: You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
|You must persevere to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks.|
Meaning - Everything can be done with enough perseverance.
Note : Compare: Where there's a will, there's a way.
|Try to save the dead horse as if it is still alive.|
Meaning - Do the impossible, for it may truly be possible.
|See the wind, turn the rudder.|
Meaning - Has no self - personality so they follow the most powerful one.
|Enthusiastic, but unable to.|
Meaning - The person wants to do it, but is unable to.
Note : Compare: The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
|Wealth does not pass three generations.|
Meaning - It's rare that the wealth of a family can last for three generations.
Note : Explanation: In business, the first generation works extremely hard, so that the second generation reaps the benefits. By the time the third generation arrives, the wealth is squandered.
|Thirty years the east bank, thirty years the west bank.|
Meaning - One's luck and one's destiny will change over time.
|Luck will change in 10 years.|
Meaning - Luck will turn around every ten years.
|If you're poor, change and you'll succeed.|
Meaning - When out of means, seek change. Then opportunities will come.
|One mouse dropping ruins the whole pot of rice porridge.|
Meaning - One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.
|Careful with others is a must have.|
Meaning - Be cautious of people that may hurt you intentionally.
|Do not harbour intentions to hurt others.|
|Beat the bell one day as long as you are still a monk one day.|
Meaning - Do your duties as long as you are still in the role.
|Joke about the present by referring to the past.|
Meaning - The past may be better than the present.
|Riding a mule while looking for a horse.|
Meaning - Settle for what you have while looking for something better.
Note : Usually for job hunting.
|Three monks have no water to drink.|
Meaning - Too many cooks spoil the broth.
|A spark can start a fire that burns the entire prairie.|
Meaning - Don't underestimate the potential destructive power that a seemingly minor problem can cause.
Note : Compare: A butterfly beating it wings in America can start a hurricane in China.
|Blind bear picks corn, picks one and drops one.|
Meaning - You will lose what you already have if you keep seeking for more.
Note : Compare: A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. (Benjamin Franklin - Poor Richard's Almanac)
|Wants the horse to be good and at the same time want the horse not to eat hay.|
Meaning - Nothing is perfect.
Note : Usage: someone has an unrealistic expectation.
|If a person has ambition, things will be accomplished.|
Meaning - Where there is a will, there is a way.
|Jade must be chiseled before it can be considered a gem.|
Meaning - A person needs training and discipline to build character.
|If the roots are not removed during weeding, the weeds will grow again when the winds of Spring blows.|
Meaning - It is essential to finish a task thoroughly or the effort would be wasted (or)
To solve any problems, the source of the problem must also be dealt with.
Note : Compare: A stitch in time saves nine.
|No one knows a son better than the father.|
Meaning - Having spent decades with each other, family members know what type of persons each other are like. "Sons" and "fathers" also apply to the female equivalents.
Note : Usage: Character witness in a trial. Despite his/her denial, an honest parent can tell if their children are capable of heinous crimes, like murder.
|I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.|
Meaning - You can only understand something by trying it yourself.
Note : Originally by Xun Zi.
|A tiger father has no canine sons.|
Meaning - People who are closely related are similar.
Note : A chip off the old block.
|Man's schemes are inferior to those made by heaven.|
Meaning - Man proposes and God disposes.
Note : Compare: The best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry.
|If you have money you can make the devil push your grind stone.|
Meaning - Money is power.
Note : Money makes the world go round.
|Like the Eight Immortals crossing the sea, each one displaying his/her special feats.|
Meaning - Everyone has his/her own powers.
Note : In terms of talents
|When something has been said, a team of four horses cannot overtake it.(Horses cannot chase back the words you have said.)|
Four horse-drawn wagon, fastest land transportation at ancient time.
Meaning - People have to be responsible for what they say. Only speak after careful thought; do not speak without thinking of the consequences.
Note : Once you have made a promise or said something, you cannot take it back.
|The character "eight" does not consist of one stroke.|
Meaning - A particular thing hasn't even taken shape.
Note : In Chinese, It takes two strokes to write the character "eight".
|Not having arrived at the Yellow River, the heart is not dead.|
Meaning - Only when there is no road left does one finally feel despair.
Note : Feeling despair only when one arrives at the Yellow River., Feeling despair only when one arrives at the Yellow River.
|Tens of thousands of bones will become ashes when one general achieves his fame.|
Meaning - A great person needs others to sacrifice themselves to build his success. (or)
Before admiring someone's achievement, remember to look at the negative effects that he has delivered.
Note : Compare: To make an omlette you have to break eggs.
|Grow a tree for ten years; grow men for a hundred.|
Meaning - Nurturing and educating human talent is the key to prosperity.
|If one does not plow, there will be no harvest.|
Meaning - No pain, no gain.
|If you say too much, you have to have made an error.|
Meaning - He who talks too much errors often.
|Reading ten thousands of books is not as useful as travelling ten thousand miles.|
Meaning - Practical experience is more useful than theory.