Chinese Proverbs

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Annotation And Connotations
A speck on a jade stone won't obscure its radiance.
(Chinese original: 瑕不掩瑜; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xiá-bù-yǎn-yù.)
A shortcoming will not write off one's merits.
Carry out an execution before seeking the decree.
(Chinese original: 先斩后奏; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xiān-zhǎn-hòu-zòu.)
There are situations when one has to act before reporting to his superior. Shouldn't it be avoided as much as possible.
Fragrance is dissipated; jade is destroyed (or broken).
(Chinese original: 香消玉损 Chinese Pinyin:  Audio Xiāng-xiāo-yù-sǔn. Or 香消玉碎 Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xiāng-xiāo-yù-suì.)
Figuratively Chinese often refer to young woman as fragrance or jade. This is a lament over the death of a young woman.
A dagger can be concealed in a smile.
(Chinese original: 笑里藏刀; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xiào-lǐ-cáng-dāo.)
Beware of this "kiss of death."
A hearty laugh makes you ten years younger.
(Chinese original: 笑一笑十年少; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xiào yī xiào, shí nián shào.)
Butcher the donkey after it finished his job on the mill.
(Chinese original: 卸磨杀驴;Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xiè-mò-shā-lǘ.)
Isn't that ungrateful and mean? There are people who after taking advantage of you turn their back to you.
Sail when there is favorable wind; strike it when the iron is hot.
(Chinese original: 行船趁顺风, 打铁趁红火; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xíngchuán chèn shùnfēng; dǎtiě chèn hónghuǒ.)
Strike the iron while it is hot.

The flower of heart is in full bloom.
(Chinese original: 心花怒放; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xīn-huā-nù-fàng.)

Beside oneself with joy.
An image of a bamboo has already been formed in mind before it is committed to the painting canvas. (Chinese original: 胸有成竹 or 成竹在胸; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xiōng-yǒu-chéng-zhú or Audio Chéng-zhú-zài-xiōng.)
One is certain about something to happen. Incidentally, it was said that there was once a translator who translated the proverb word for word as "a bamboo stick in the bosom" that made himself a laughing stock.
Rein in a horse at the edge of a cliff.
(Chinese original: 悬崖勒马; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xuán-yá-lè-mǎ.)
Waken up to a danger at the last moment.
It takes three years to learn to be a man of integrity; it only takes three days to degrade.
(Chinese original: 学好三年,学坏三天; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xué hǎo sān nián, xué huài sān tiān.)
It is much easier to become corrupted.
Send charcoal in a snow storm.
(Chinese original: 雪里送炭; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xuě-lǐ-sòng-tàn.)
Offer help when help is needed.
Add frost to snow.
(Chinese original: 雪上加霜; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xuě-shàng-jiā-shuāng.)
(Similar proverb: A yellow weasel victimizes a sick duck. 黄鼠狼单咬病鸭子; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Huángshǔláng dān yǎo bìng yāzi)
Add insult to injury.
Reshape one's feet to fit into new shoes.
(Chinese original: 削足适履; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Xuē-zú-shì-lǚ.)
The logic should be the other way round. Yet, in life there are people who try to sacrifice the big for the small, the important for the trivial.


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Last updated: October 13, 2014