Chinese proverbs lacking effort and drive

Proverbs aimed at encouraging people to snap out of idleness and laziness.

Nì lái shùn shòu [ni lai shun shou]
disobey arrive obey receive
Do not block but welcome arrival
Deal with things as they happen; do not put them off

The illustrious Ming

It was during the Ming dynasty that China achieved many accomplishments: a vast fleet sailed the seas and made many dicoveries.; an encylopedia of the accumulated knowledge was distilled into 11,000 chapers; trade with America brought in new vegetables and cotton that were widely grown.
Read More
悬崖勒
Xuán yá lè mǎ [xuan ya le ma]
precipice rein in horse
Rein in the horse at the cliff edge
Realize danger at the last moment
,
Jīn shì, jīn [jin ri shi, jin ri bi]
this day task, this day complete
Today's task, today's job to complete
Finish the current job before starting something new
Don't put off until tomorrow what can be done today
bù dēng tiān [yi bu deng tian]
one stride reach heaven
Approach heaven with a single stride
An attempt to achieve a goal all in one go without hard work
Rome was not built in a day
旁观
Xiù shǒu páng guān [xiu shou pang guan]
sleeve hand side observe
To look on with folded arms
To look on without offering any help or showing concern
Yuǎn shuǐ jiǔ bù liaǒ huǒ [yuan shui jiu bu liao huo]
far water rescued not near fire
Distant water will not extinguish the nearby fire
There is no point in waiting for far off help. Get to it and solve the problem now
,
Yě yaò mǎ ér haǒ, yě yaò mǎ ér bù chī caǒ [ye yao ma er hao, ye yao ma er bu chi cao]
also want horse good, also want horse not eat grass
Want the horse to prosper, but not want the horse to eat grass
To prosper you must make compromises, you can not have it all your own way
You can't have your cake and eat it
补牢
Wáng yáng bǔ láo [wang yang bu lao]
lose sheep mend pen
Mend the pen after the sheep are lost
Can mean taking action too late or to protect against a future repeat of misfortune
Mend the stable door after the horse has bolted
Zǒu mǎ kàn huā [zou ma kan hua]
walk horse look flower
Looking at the flowers while riding a horse
To take a cursory look at something. Smug
shí bù xiào bǎi [wu shi bu xiao yi bai bu]
50 pace smile 100 pace
Fifty steps laugh at a hundred steps
Being complacent about the future. Believing a job is all but done when only half done.
Pride cometh before a fall
Cū zhī [cu zhi da ye]
thick branch big leaf
A large branch with large leaves. Unable to draw in fine detail
Lack of attention to detail
Zhì bù kě màn shí bù kě shī [zhi bu ke man shi bu ke shi]
aspiration not can slow, time not can lose
Do not let your aspirations weaken; do not waste time
Keep hold of your hopes and dreams, waste no time in achieving them
Don't change horses midstream
China motif
Our proverbs come with lots of information. The modern Chinese characters are followed by the proverb in pinyin. Next, there is a crude character by character transliteration into English, followed by a more accurate English translation. If this is a Chinese proverb alluding to history the meaning may still not be clear in English, so the general meaning follows. Finally some proverbs have fairly direct English equivalents, if so the English proverb is included at the end.

Our translations need improving, so please let us know if you can help with that.
back to topBack to top
Share this page Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

Chinasage is a new web resource, pages will be added, enhanced and re-formatted regularly. We would be most grateful if you can help improve this page. Please visit our (secure) contact page to leave any comment. Thanks.

Citation information for this page : Chinasage, 'Chinese Proverbs about idleness and laziness', last updated 3 Dec 2016, Web, http://www.chinasage.info/proverblazy.htm.

Copyright © Chinasage 2012 to 2018