Glossary of Chinese Idioms and Phrases

A partial list of Chinese idioms and phrases which commonly appear in Chinese novels – particularly in the Wuxia, Xianxia & Xuanhuan genres.

The Weak are Prey to the Strong (弱肉强食 ruò ròu qiáng shí)

  • Meaning: the law of the jungle; “Might makes Right”

Didn’t know whether to Laugh or Cry (哭笑不得 kū xiào bù dé)

  • Meaning: to be in an awkward situation; something both funny and embarrassing

As Steady as Mount Tai (稳如泰山 wěn​rú​ tài​shān)

  • Meaning: very stable and dependable

Heavier than Mount Tai / Weightier than Mount Tai (重于泰山 zhòng​yú​ tài​shān​)

  • Meaning: an extremely serious matter

To have Eyes but fail to recognize Mount Tai (有眼不识泰山 yǒuyǎn bùshí tàishān)

  • Meaning: to be ignorant or arrogant; to fail to recognize someone or something of great status

To Put in one’s Eyes (放在眼里 fàng zài yǎn lǐ)

  • Meaning: to pay attention to; to care about; to attach importance to 
  • Note: Often used in the negative, meaning that someone is disregarding or looking down on someone else. (Example: “They didn’t put him in their eyes.”)

The time it takes an Incense Stick to burn (一炷香 yī zhù xiāng) (一柱香的时间 yī zhù xiāng de shíjiān)

  • Meaning: a poetic way of referring to a short time span… depending on the author, generally either 5 minutes or 30 minutes
  • More information on ancient Chinese time measurements here.

The time it takes to drink a Cup of Tea (一盏茶的时间 yī zhǎn chá de shíjiān)

  • Meaning: a poetic way of referring to a time span of about 10-15 minutes

The time it takes to eat a Meal (一顿饭的时间 yī dùn fàn de shíjiān)

  • Meaning: a poetic way of referring to a time span of about 30-45 minutes

A Breath of time (一个呼吸的时间 yī gè hūxī de shíjiān)

  • Meaning: a poetic way of referring to a very short time span (how long it takes a person to inhale and exhale once)… usually about 1-3 seconds

All of this takes some time to describe, but actually happened in an Instant (这一切说来缓慢,可实际上却是瞬间发生 zhè yīqiè shuōlái huǎnmàn, kě shíjìshàng quèshì shùnjiān fāshēng)

  • Meaning: a cheeky comment by an author, usually made after writing a wordy action scene

Twice the Results for Half the Effort (事半功倍 shì bàn gōng bèi)

  • Meaning: the right approach saves effort and leads to better results

Half the Results for Twice the Effort (事倍功半 shì bèi gōng bàn)

  • Meaning: the wrong approach is wasteful and yields weaker results

Advance by Leaps and Bounds (突飞猛进 tū fēi měng jìn)

  • Meaning: to make remarkable progress; to improve very rapidly

I, your Father / Grandfather (老子 lǎozi) (爷 yé)

Courting Death (找死 zhǎosǐ)

  • Meaning: said as a warning or insult to someone overstepping their bounds (“You’re courting death!”); said of someone taking serious risks with their life

Hover between Life and Death (死去活来 sǐqù huó lái)

  • Meaning: to suffer terribly; to be within an inch of one’s life

To Die a Dog’s Death (悲慘地死去 bēicǎn dì sǐqù)

  • Meaning: to die miserably and dishonorably; to die in vain
  • Note: “To Die a Dog’s Death” isn’t actually a Chinese idiom, but some translators choose to use it for any kind of phrase with a meaning of “to die miserably”.

People die in pursuit of Money, just as Birds die in pursuit of Food (人为财死,鸟为食亡 rén wèi cái sǐ, niǎo wèi shí wáng)

  • Meaning: people will do anything in their means to become rich

Crushing Dry Weeds and Smashing Rotten Wood (摧枯拉朽 cuī kū lā xiǔ)

  • Meaning: something done very easily – illustrates the ease with which the strong dominate the weak

Chop Nails and Sever Iron (斩钉截铁 zhǎn dīng jié tiě)

  • Meaning: resolute and decisive; to get straight to the point

If Gods block, kill the Gods; if Buddhas block, kill the Buddhas (神挡杀神,佛挡杀佛 shén dǎng shā shén, fó dǎng shā fó)

  • Meaning: overcome every obstacle

Mortal Dust / Red Dust of the Mortal World (红尘 hóngchén) (微末凡尘 wēimò fánchén)

  • Meaning: worldy affairs or existence; the world and things of mortals (Buddhist term emphasizing the transience and insignificance of this world)

Under Heaven / Beneath the Heavens (天下 tiānxià)

  • Meaning: the world; the mortal world; in all the lands
  • More information here.

Unrivaled under Heaven (无敌天下 wúdí tiānxià)

  • Meaning: #1 in the world; invincible; undefeated; a paragon

Heaven and Earth (天地 tiāndì) (乾坤 qiánkūn)

  • Meaning: the world; the universe; yin and yang; the sky and land; every manifestation of nature

As different as Heaven and Earth (判若云泥 pàn ruò yún ní)

  • Meaning: a tremendous qualitative difference between two things

To not know the Immensity of Heaven and Earth (不知天高地厚 bùzhī tiān gāo dì hòu)

  • Meaning: having an exaggerated opinion of one’s own abilities

There are Heavens beyond the Heavens (天外有天 tiān wài yǒu tiān)

There are People beyond People, and Heavens beyond the Heavens (人外有人,天外有天 rén wài yǒu rén, tiān wài yǒu tiān)

  • Meaning: there’s always someone better than you

Man proposes, Heaven disposes (人算不如天算 rén suàn bù rú tiān suàn)

  • Meaning: even the best-laid plans can go awry

Heaven’s Net is wide, and none can escape its mesh (天网恢恢 tiān wǎng huī huī)

  • Meaning: criminals can’t evade justice forever; the way of Heaven is fair, and the guilty will not escape

Reaching Heaven in a single bound / Ascending to the Skies with a single leap (一步登天 yī bù dēng tiān)

  • Meaning: to attain instant success

A Meat Pie falling from the Heavens (天上掉馅饼 tiānshàng diào xiànbǐng)

  • Meaning: an unexpected windfall

To Rebuke Heaven and Earth (叱咤风云 chìzhà fēng yún)

  • Meaning: to be extremely powerful; to shake the entire world

Overturning Heaven and Earth (旋乾转坤 xuán qián zhuǎn kūn)

  • Meaning: causing a radical change

Heaven and Earth turned upside down (翻天覆地 fān tiān fù dì)

  • Meaning: complete chaos/confusion

Shrouding the Heavens (遮天 zhē​tiān​)

Hiding the Sky and Covering the Earth (遮天蔽日 zhē​tiān​ bì​rì)

  • Meaning: omnipresent; extremely powerful; world-changing

Coughing up Blood (咳血 ké xuè)

  • Meaning: a sign of serious internal injuries or extreme emotional disturbance

Blood flowing in reverse (血脉倒流 xuèmài dàoliú) (血液逆转 xuèyè nìzhuǎn) (心血逆流 xīnxuè nìliú)

  • Meaning: a serious internal injury (generally caused by a cultivation-related backlash or by great physical or mental trauma)

Injected with Chicken Blood (打鸡血 dǎ jī xuè)

  • Meaning: to be very excited or energetic

Gnashing Teeth (咬牙切齿 yǎo yá qiè chǐ)

  • Meaning: displaying extreme anger or frustration

To Suck in a Breath of Cold Air (倒吸一口凉气 dào xī yīkǒu liáng qì)

  • Meaning: a reaction caused by shock or surprise

A Flick of a Sleeve (大袖一甩 dà xiù yī shuǎi)

  • Meaning: a flourish of a long sleeve; a gesture often done in a moment of passion or simply to add emphasis to a statement

The Seven Orifices / The Seven Apertures (七孔 qīkǒng) (七窍 qīqiào)

  • Meaning: the seven apertures of the human head (= 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils, 1 mouth)

The Five Viscera and Six Bowels (五脏六腑 wǔzàng liùfǔ)

  • Meaning: the internal organs of the human body
  • Note: According to Traditional Chinese Medicine… Five Viscera = heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys. Six Bowels = gall bladder, stomach, large intestine, small intestine, triple heater, and bladder.

The Seven Emotions and Six Desires (七情六欲 qīqíng liùyù)

  • Meaning: all of the various feelings which humans possess or can experience
  • Note: The Seven Emotions are happiness, anger, sorrow, joy, love, hate, and desire. The Six Desires are the sensory pleasures associated with the eyes, nose, ears, tongue, body, and mind.

Three Views (三观 sān​ guān​)

  • Meaning: (slang) a person’s views about life, the world, and values

Vicissitudes (沧桑 cāngsāng)

The Blue Sea turned into Mulberry Fields (沧海桑田 cāng hǎi sāng tián )

  • Meaning: the transformations of the world; time brings great changes
  • More information here. There was an interesting discussion about the origin and connection between 沧桑 and 沧海桑田 here.

Jade-like (玉般 yù bān) (如玉 rú yù)

  • Meaning: common descriptor for anything refined/elegant/beautiful; an unblemished, creamy white color (based on mutton-fat jade) when referring to skin/women

Clear as Ice and Clean as Jade (冰清玉洁 bīng qīng yù jié)

  • Meaning: spotless; irreproachable; incorruptible

Limpid Autumn Water (秋水 qiūshuǐ)

  • Meaning: traditional description of a girl’s beautiful eyes – likening them to clear pools of water

Rare as Phoenix Feathers and Unicorn Horns (凤毛麟角 fèng máo lín jiǎo)

  • Meaning: extremely rare objects

To Pick the Flowers and Trample the Grass (拈花惹草 niānhuā rěcǎo)

  • Meaning: to womanize; to frequent brothels; to “chase skirts”

Pull up Grass by the Roots (斩草除根 zhǎn​cǎo ​chú​gēn) (剪草除根 jiǎn​cǎo ​chú​gēn)

  • Meaning: to completely eradicate; (figuratively) to destroy root and branch
  • Note: When referring to people, it means to kill off their entire family so that there’s no one left to take revenge in the future.

The Rice is Cooked (米已成炊 mǐ yǐ chéng chuī ) (生米做成熟饭 shēngmǐ zuò chéngshú fàn)

  • Meaning: what is done cannot be undone

As the Water recedes, the Rocks appear (水落石出 shuǐ luò shí chū)

  • Meaning: the truth comes to light

Cleansing the Marrow and Replacing the Tendons (洗髓易筋 xǐ suǐ yì jīn)

  • Meaning: to purify and strengthen the body

Shed one’s Mortal Body and Exchange one’s Bones (脱胎换骨 tuō tāi huàn gǔ)

  • Meaning: to change completely; to be reborn; to become an Immortal

Shatter the Void / Shattering the Void (破碎虛空 pò​suì xū​kōng)

  • Meaning: to succeed in one’s cultivation; to reach the pinnacle of strength; to reach a brand new world and horizon
  • Note: This term originated from the title of a novel by Huang Yi. The novel was one of the precursors to Immortal cultivation works.

As Easy as Lifting a Hand (举手之劳 jǔshǒu zhī láo)

As Easy as Turning over a Hand (易如反掌 yì rú fǎnzhǎng)

  • Meaning: something requiring minimal effort

Floating Clouds and Flowing Water (行云流水 xíngyún liúshuǐ)

  • Meaning: natural and unforced; skillful and beautiful movement

Experts as Common as the Clouds (高手如云 gāoshǒu rú yún)

  • Meaning: very many experts (comparing them to the number of clouds in the sky)

Dispel the Clouds and See the Sun (拨云见日 bō yún jiàn rì)

  • Meaning: returning to normality after a period of hardship; to restore justice

Produce Clouds with one turn of the Hand and Rain with another (翻云覆雨 fān yún fù yǔ)

  • Meaning: to possess great power or authority

Call the Wind and Summon the Rain (呼风唤雨 hū fēng huàn yǔ)

  • Meaning: to exercise magical powers; to exert authority

A Mountain of Blades and a Sea of Fire (刀山火海 dāo shān huǒ hǎi)

  • Meaning: extreme danger

Move Mountains and Drain Seas (移山倒海 yí shān dǎo hǎi)

Topple Mountains and Overturn Seas (排山倒海 pái shān dǎo hǎi)

  • Meaning: a great display of power

Overturning Rivers and Seas (翻江倒海 fān jiāng dǎo hǎi)

  • Meaning: overwhelming; earth-shattering; in a spectacular mess

Four Ounces can repel a Thousand Pounds (四两拨千斤 sì liǎng bō qiān jīn)

  • Meaning: a Taichi martial arts concept about using a minimal amount of force to overcome a much greater opposing force, usually by exploiting leverage and the opponent’s momentum

Three Heads, Six Arms (三头六臂 sān tóu liù bì)

  • Meaning: to possess remarkable abilities or formidable power
  • Note: This is a reference to the mythological Asura – powerful and warlike beings who are commonly depicted with Three Heads and Six Arms.

Throw Oneself into the Net (自投罗网 zì tóu luówǎng)

  • Meaning: to willingly walk into a trap

To Bare Fangs and Brandish Claws (张牙舞爪 zhāng yá wǔ zhǎo)

  • Meaning: to make threatening gestures

With Swords drawn and Bows bent (剑拔弩张 jiàn bá nǔ zhāng)

  • Meaning: a state of mutual hostility

Impervious to Blades and Spears (刀枪不入 dāo qiāng bù rù)

  • Meaning: invulnerable; impervious to mortal weapons

A Kite with its String cut (断线风筝 duàn xiàn fēngzhēng)

  • Meaning: something gone without recall, blown away uncontrollably

An Arrow at the end of its flight (强弩之末 qiáng nǔ zhī mò)

  • Meaning: a spent/waning force; something which has very nearly exhausted its strength

Stake All on One Throw (孤注一掷 gū zhù yī zhì)

  • Meaning: to risk everything in a single venture

Pass like Thunder and Move like the Wind (雷厉风行 léi lì fēng xíng)

  • Meaning: swift and decisive reaction

Thunder from a Clear Sky (晴天霹雳 qíngtiān pīlì)

  • Meaning: something completely unexpected

Wind and Rain (风雨 fēngyǔ)

  • Meaning: poor weather; trials and hardships

Winds and Waves (大风大浪 dàfēng dàlàng)

  • Meaning: difficulties; tough experiences

Add Oil to the Fire (火上加油 huǒ shàng jiāyóu)

  • Meaning: to aggravate a situation

Loot a Burning House (趁火打劫 chèn huǒ dǎjié)

  • Meaning: to profit from someone’s misfortune

To Fish in Troubled Waters (浑水摸鱼 hún shuǐ mōyú)

  • Meaning: to take advantage of a crisis

You’ll eat Meat, We’ll drink Soup (你吃肉, 我们喝汤 nǐ​ chī ròu wǒ​men hē tāng)

  • Meaning: giving up the lion’s share of benefits to someone else; begging for scraps

Reap without Sowing (不劳而获 bù láo ér huò)

  • Meaning: to be rewarded without working for it

Throwing Stones down a Well (投井下石 tóu jǐng xià shí)

  • Meaning: beating someone when they’re down

A Frog in a Well (井底之蛙 jǐngdǐ zhī wā)

View the Sky from the Bottom of a Well (坐井观天 zuò jǐng guān tiān)

  • Meaning: to be ignorant/narrow-minded; to have a myopic perspective

You Die, I Live (你死我活 nǐ sǐ wǒ huó)

Cannot Live Under the Same Sky (不共戴天 bù gòng dài tiān)

  • Meaning: irreconcilable enmity

Fight Poison with Poison (以毒攻毒 yǐ dú gōng dú)

  • Meaning: to cure ills with poison; to fight fire with fire; to meet aggression with aggression

Forget Favors and Violate Justice (忘恩负义 wàng’ēn fùyì)

  • Meaning: to show ingratitude to a friend or benefactor

Treasuring a Jade Ring becomes a Crime (怀璧其罪 huái bì qí zuì)

  • Meaning: having something precious invites disaster from the greed of others

If one often walks by the Riverside, one’s Shoes will eventually get wet (常在河边走, 哪有不湿鞋 cháng zài hébiān zǒu, nǎ yǒu bù shī xié)

  • Meaning: living dangerously or associating with the wrong people will eventually lead to consequences

A Mantis trying to stop a Chariot (螳臂当车 táng ​bì​ dāng ​chē​)

  • Meaning: to overrate oneself and attempt the impossible

The Mantis stalks the Cicada, unaware of the Oriole behind (螳螂捕蝉,黄雀在后 tángláng bǔ chán, huángquè zài hòu)

  • Meaning: to pursue a narrow gain while neglecting a greater danger

When the Sandpiper and the Clam fight each other, it’s the Fisherman who benefits (鹬蚌相争,渔翁得利 yù bàng xiāngzhēng, yúwēng dé lì)

  • Meaning: said when a third party profits from the struggle of others; neighbors who fight each other will lose out to a mutual enemy

A Fire at the City Gates is also a Disaster to the Fish in the Pond (城门失火,殃及池鱼 chéngmén shīhuǒ yāngjí chí yú)

  • Meaning: a drastic action may unintentionally affect other people and harm innocent bystanders
  • Note: The idea is that while the fish might appear to be safe from the fire outside… if the firefighters drain the pond-water to help put out the fire, then even the fish will suffer.

A Carp leaping through the Dragon Gate (鲤鱼跳龙门 lǐyú tiào lóngmén)

  • Meaning: to make a significant advancement after much effort; to undergo a great transformation (like a carp becoming a dragon – see here)

Where Fish swim with Dragons (鱼龙混杂 yú lóng hùnzá)

Where Dragons and Snakes intermingle (龙蛇混杂 lóng shé hùnzá)

  • Meaning: a place with a mixture of both strong and weak (or good and bad) people

Even a Powerful Dragon cannot repress a Local Snake (强龙不压地头蛇 qiáng lóng bù yā dìtóushé )

  • Meaning: an outsider with great power/influence may not be a match for a gangster on his home turf

Paint a Dragon and Dot the Eyes (画龙点睛 huà lóng diǎn jīng)

  • Meaning: to add the vital finishing touch; the crucial point that brings the subject to life

Dragon returning to the Sea (龙归大海 lóng guī dàhǎi) (龙归沧海 lóng guī cānghǎi)

  • Meaning: in one’s element; “like a fish back in water”

A Dragon among Men (人中之龙 rén zhōng zhī lóng)

  • Meaning: an exceptional and talented person who stands out among others

Crouching Tigers, Hidden Dragons (卧虎藏龙 wòhǔ cáng lóng)

  • Meaning: talented individuals in hiding; concealed talent

A Fight between a Dragon and a Tiger (龙争虎斗 lóng zhēng hǔ dòu)

  • Meaning: a fierce battle between two powerful opponents

Dragon’s Pool and Tiger’s Den (龙潭虎穴 lóngtán hǔxué)

  • Meaning: a very dangerous location

Paper Tiger (纸老虎 zhǐ lǎohǔ)

  • Meaning: something that seems fierce/threatening but is actually much weaker than it looks

Like a Tiger that has grown Wings / Like giving Wings to a Tiger (如虎添翼 rú hǔ tiān yì)

  • Meaning: with redoubled power (a tiger is already fierce… what if it could also fly?)

Lure the Tiger away from the Mountain (调虎离山 diào hǔ lí shān)

  • Meaning: to lure an enemy out of his territory

If you ride a Tiger, it’s hard to get off (骑虎难下 qí hǔ nán xià)

  • Meaning: something difficult to stop halfway

A Tiger Father will not beget a Dog Son (虎父无犬子 hǔfù wú quǎnzǐ)

  • Meaning: a great/powerful father will not raise a worthless son (typically said as a compliment)

Pretending to be a Pig to eat a Tiger (扮猪吃老虎 bàn zhū chī lǎo​hǔ)

  • Meaning: to fake weakness to fool and defeat a strong foe

The Newborn Calf does not fear the Tiger (初生牛犊不怕虎 chū​shēng niú​dú bù​pà hǔ)

  • Meaning: young or inexperienced people are often ignorant

A Lion uses its full strength even when hunting a Rabbit (狮子捕兔, 亦用全力 shīzi bǔ tù, yì yòng quánlì)

  • Meaning: you can’t relax even against a weak challenge

A Toad lusting after a Swan’s Flesh (癞蛤蟆想吃天鹅肉 làiháma xiǎng chī tiān’é ròu)

  • Meaning: aspiring after something one is not worthy of

Play the Lute for a Cow (对牛弹琴 duì niú tánqín)

  • Meaning: to do something for the wrong audience; “discussing philosophy with a fool”

Chef Ding carving the Ox (庖丁解牛 páo dīng jiě niú)

  • Meaning: performing a task effortlessly and with great skill
  • Note: This idiom comes from a story about the Daoist concept of Ziran.

A Single Hair from Nine Oxen (九牛一毛 jiǔ niú yì máo)

  • Meaning: an insignificant amount; “a drop in the bucket”

A Clay Ox entering the Sea (泥牛入海 ní niú rù hǎi)

  • Meaning: to disappear with no hope of returning (like a clay figurine dissolving in water)

Beat the Grass and Scare the Snake (打草惊蛇 dǎ cǎo jīng shé )

  • Meaning: to inadvertently alert an enemy; (less commonly) to punish someone as a warning to others

Drawing Legs on a Snake (画蛇添足 huà shé tiān zú)

  • Meaning: wasted effort; to ruin something by adding unnecessary details

The Dog acts fierce when his Master is present (狗仗人势 gǒu zhàng rén shì)

  • Meaning: to use one’s position to bully others

A starved Camel is still bigger than a Horse (瘦死的骆驼比马大 shòu sǐ de luòtuo bǐ mǎ dà)

  • Meaning: even weakened, someone strong is still strong

A Crane in a Flock of Chickens (鹤立鸡群 hè lì jī qún)

  • Meaning: someone exceptional who stands out among a crowd of lesser people

Wanting to steal a Chicken, but instead losing the Bait (偷鸡不成蚀把米 tōu jī bù chéng shí bǎ mǐ)

  • Meaning: trying to gain an advantage only to end up worse off

Killing the Chicken to warn the Monkey (杀鸡儆猴 shā jī jǐng hóu) (杀鸡吓猴 shā jī xià hóu)

  • Meaning: to punish an individual as an example to others

When the Tree falls, the Monkeys scatter (树倒猢狲散 shù dǎo húsūn sàn)

  • Meaning: opportunists will quickly abandon an unfavorable cause

Tall Trees attract the Wind (树大招风 shù dà zhāo fēng)

  • Meaning: being outstanding brings adversity in itself

Half a Day (半天 bàn​tiān​)

  • Meaning: (metaphor) for a long time; for quite a while
  • Note: It literally means “half of a day”, but often refers to a much shorter period of time. For example, if two people stare at each other for “half a day”, it might have only been an awkwardly long moment.

Side Dish (菜 cài) (小菜一碟 xiǎocài yī dié)

  • Meaning: (slang) Noob; a small appetizer… in other words, “a piece of cake”

Black Belly (腹黑 fùhēi)

  • Meaning: (slang) two-faced; outwardly kind but inwardly evil or manipulative

Fart / Farting (放屁 fàngpì)

  • Meaning: (slang) to talk nonsense; “Bullshit!”

Wear a Green Hat (戴绿帽子 dài lǜ mào zi)

  • Meaning: a cuckold; to be cuckolded by one’s wife 
  • More information here.

Intestines turning Green from Regret (肠子都悔青了 chángzi dōu huǐ qīng le)

  • Meaning: to be completely consumed with regret
  • Note: The idea is that intestines supposedly turn green in a decomposing body, so this idiom is about figuratively “dying from regret”.

Shrimp Soldiers and Crab Generals (虾兵蟹将 xiā bīng xiè jiàng)

  • Meaning: useless troops

The Thirty-Six Stratagems (三十六计 sānshíliù jì)

  • Meaning: a classic list of Chinese stratagems (plans/schemes) to be used in war
  • A particularly famous idiom says “Of the Thirty-Six Stratagems, fleeing is best” (三十六计,走为上策 sānshíliùjì, zǒu wéi shàng cè). In other words: “If all else fails, retreat”.

Wash one’s Hands in a Golden Basin (金盆洗手 jīnpén xǐshǒu)

  • Meaning: to retire from or leave the Jianghu (martial world)

When in the Jianghu, one cannot move freely (人在江湖,身不由己 rén zài jiānghú, shēn bù yóu jǐ)

  • Meaning: you can’t always do as you like; one has to compromise in this world

Fly across the Rooftops (蹿房越脊 cuān fáng yuè jǐ)

  • Meaning: lit. “to leap the house and cross the roofridge”; often used to describe the superb movement skills of martial artists in Wuxia novels

A Teacher for a Day, a Father for Life (一日为师,终身为父 yīrì wéi shī, zhōngshēn wéi fù)

  • Meaning: a student should revere and respect someone who was willing to mentor them, even if they could only teach for a short period of time… similarly, a teacher should nurture and cherish their students as they would their own children

A Thousand-mile Journey begins with the First Step (千里之行始于足下 qiān lǐ zhī xíng,shǐ yú zú xià)

  • Meaning: great accomplishments come from an accumulation of small achievements made one by one