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Chinese Proverbs

Alphabetical listing of all chinese proverbs.

  1. Add legs to the snake after you have finished drawing it.
  2. After three days without reading, talk becomes flavorless.
  3. An ant may well destroy a whole dam.
  4. Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.
  5. Behind an able man there are always other able men.
  6. Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one.
  7. Better do a good deed near at home than go far away to burn incense.
  8. Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness
  9. A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
  10. A book holds a house of gold.
  11. Butcher the donkey after it finished his job on the mill.
  12. A camel standing amidst a flock of sheep.
  13. Clear conscience never fears midnight knocking.
  14. A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood
  15. A crane standing amidst a flock of chickens.
  16. Crows everywhere are equally black.
  17. Dish of carrot hastily cooked may still has soil uncleaned off the vegetable.
  18. Dismantle the bridge shortly after crossing it.
  19. Distant water won't help to put out a fire close at hand.
  20. Distant water won't quench your immediate thirst.
  21. Do not employ handsome servants.
  22. Do not want others to know what you have done? Better not have done it anyways.
  23. Donkey's lips do not fit onto a horse's mouth.
  24. Dog won't forsake his master because of his poverty; a son never deserts his mother for her homely appearance.
  25. Dream different dreams while on the same bed.
  26. Enjoy yourself. It's later than you think.
  27. Enough shovels of earth -- a mountain. Enough pails of water -- a river.
  28. Even a hare will bite when it is cornered.
  29. Experience is a comb which nature gives to men when they are bald.
  30. Fail to steal the chicken while it ate up your bait grain.
  31. A fall into a ditch makes you wiser.
  32. Fight a wolf with a flex stalk.
  33. A flea on the top of a bald head.
  34. Flowing water never goes bad; our door hubs never gather termites.
  35. A frog in a well shaft seeing the sky.
  36. Flies never visit an egg that has no crack.
  37. Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.
  38. A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.
  39. A good fortune may forbode a bad luck, which may in turn disguise a good fortune.
  40. Govern a family as you would cook a small fish -- very gently.
  41. Great souls have wills; feeble ones have only wishes.
  42. Happiness is like a sunbeam, which the least shadow intercepts, while adversity is often as the rain of spring.
  43. Have a mouth as sharp as a dagger but a heart as soft as tofu.
  44. Have one's ears pierced only before the wedding ceremony starts.
  45. He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
  46. He who hurries can not walk with dignity.
  47. He who sacrifices his conscience to ambition burns a picture to obtain the ashes.
  48. A horse cannot gain weight if not fed with extra fodder during the night; a man cannot become wealthy without earnings apart from his regular salaries.
  49. How can you expect to find ivory in a dog's mouth?
  50. How can you put out a fire set on a cart-load of firewood with only a cup of water?
  51. If a son is uneducated, his dad is to blame.
  52. If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come.
  53. If you are patient in a moment of anger, you will escape a hindred days of sorrow.
  54. If you bow at all, bow low.
  55. If you do not study hard when young you'll end up bewailing your failures as you grow up.
  56. If you have never done anything evil, you should not be worrying about devils to knock at your door.
  57. If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of he game, the stakes, and the quitting time.
  58. If you see in your wine the reflection of a person not in your range of vision, don't drink it.
  59. If you suspect a man, don't employ him, and if ypu employ him, don't suspect him.
  60. If you want 1 year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.
  61. If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words.
  62. In reviling, it is not necessary to prepare a preliminary draft.
  63. An inch of time is an inch of gold but you can't buy that inch of time with an inch of gold.
  64. It is easy to dodge a spear that comes in front of you but hard to keep harms away from an arrow shot from behind.
  65. It is later than you think.
  66. Jade stone is useless before it is processed; a man is good-for-nothing until he is educated.
  67. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
  68. Judge not the horse by his saddle.
  69. Keep your broken arm inside your sleeve.
  70. Kill a chicken before a monkey.
  71. Kill one to warn a hundred.
  72. Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
  73. Life is a dream walking death is a going home.
  74. Like ants eating a bone.
  75. Lift a stone only to drop on your own feet.
  76. Listen to all, plucking a feather from every passing goose, but, follow no one absolutely.
  77. The longer the night lasts, the more our dreams will be.
  78. Looking for the ass on its very back.
  79. Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will come.
  80. The man who does not learn is dark, like one walking in the night.
  81. Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait very, very long time.
  82. Married couples tell each other a thousand things without speech.
  83. Mend the pen only after the sheep are all gone.
  84. Never do anything standing that you can do sitting, or anything sitting that you can do lying down.
  85. Never write a letter while you are angry.
  86. No wind, no waves.
  87. Of all the strategems, to know when to quit is the best.
  88. Of all the thirty-six alternatives, running away is best.
  89. Once bitten by a snake, he/she is scared all his/her life at the mere sight of a rope.
  90. Once on a tiger's back, it is hard to alight.
  91. One cannot refuse to eat just because there is a chance of being choked.
  92. One dog barks at something, the rest bark at him
  93. One monk shoulders water by himself; two can still share the labor among them. When it comes to three, they have to go thirsty.
  94. One never needs their humor as much a when they argue with a fool.
  95. One should be just as careful in choosing one's pleasures as in avoiding calamities.
  96. Only when all contribute their firewood can they build up a strong fire.
  97. An overcrowded chicken farm produce fewer eggs.
  98. The palest ink is better than the best memory.
  99. Paper can't wrap up a fire.
  100. Pick up a sesame seed but lose sight of a watermelon.
  101. Play a harp before a cow.
  102. Regular feet can't be affected by irregular shoes.
  103. Reshape one's foot to try to fit into a new shoe.
  104. The saving man becomes the free man.
  105. Shed no tears until seeing the coffin.
  106. A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study.
  107. A sly rabbit will have three openings to its den.
  108. A smile will gain you ten more years of life.
  109. Some prefer carrot while others like cabbage.
  110. Sow much, reap much; sow little, reap little.
  111. Steal a bell with one's ears covered.
  112. There are always ears on the other side of the wall.
  113. There is no silver here: three hundred taels.
  114. Those who have free seats at a play hiss first.
  115. Three humble shoemakers brainstorming will make a great statesman.
  116. A tiger never returns to his prey he did not finish off.
  117. To attract good fortune, spend a new coin on an old friend, share an old pleasure with a new friend, and lift up the heart of a true friend by writing his name on the wings of a dragon.
  118. To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.
  119. To understand your parents' love you must raise children yourself.
  120. Use power to curb power.
  121. Vicious as a tigeress can be, she never eats her own cubs.
  122. Waiting for a rabbit to hit upon a tree and be killed in order to catch it.
  123. We are not so much concerned if you are slow as when you come to a halt.
  124. A weasel comes to say Happy New Year to the chickens.
  125. With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.
  126. When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them.
  127. When you are poor, neighbors close by will not come; once you become rich, you'll be surprised by visits from (alleged) relatives afar.
  128. When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.
  129. When you want to test the depths of a stream, don't use both feet.
  130. When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.
  131. Without rice, even the cleverest housewife cannot cook.
  132. You can only go halfway into the darkest forest; then you are coming out the other side.
  133. You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent
  134. You can't catch a cub without going into the tiger's den. them from building nests in your hair.
  135. You can't expect both ends of a sugar cane are as sweet.
  136. You think you lost your horse? Who knows, he may bring a whole herd back to you someday.
  137. You won't help shoots grow by pulling them up higher.
  138. Your fingers can't be of the same length.

Confucius or Kung zi

  1. Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
  2. Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.
  3. Knowing is not as good as loving; loving is not as good as enjoying.
  4. To learn and practise what is learned from time to time is pleasure, is it not? To have friends from afar is happiness, is it not? To be unperturbed when not appreciated by others is a gentleman, is it not?
  5. Review the old and deducing the new makes a teacher.
  6. The gentleman understands righteousness, the petty man understands interest.
  7. Aspire to the principle, behave with virtue, abide by benevolence, and immerse yourself in the arts.

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