chinese idiom, gratitude, han dynasty, han xin

The Virtue of Gratitude: A Meal Worth a Thousand Pieces of Gold

The idiom of “a meal worth a thousand pieces of gold” is a common saying in China and dates back to Han Xin of the Han Dynasty. It means that one should always show gratitude for the kindness received from someone. Although the favor received may be very small, even a little help in times ...

Tatiana Denning

Egg noodles and rice.

Dancer Explains the Chinese Idiom ‘Seamless as a Heavenly Garment’

I’ve never had quite so many costumes for a performance as I do this year. 15! Imagine that: 15 dresses and gowns paired with accessories of every style — all in two hours. This is why Shen Yun is said to be “seamless as a heavenly garment.” After so many seasons, I’m still in awe of ...

Emma Lu

Female costumes for a Shen Yun performance.

Memorable Chinese Idioms: An Old Horse Knows the Way

老馬識途 means “An old horse knows the way” (老 old, lǎo; 馬 horse, mǎ; 識 know, shí; 途 way, tú). It is an expression for an old hand, one who knows the ropes and can lead you out of problems — one of the many popular Chinese idioms. It is based on a story from the Spring and Autumn ...

Emma Lu

An old horse stands by a wooden fence making a funny face.

A Chinese Idiom: Uncollectible Spilled Water

An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words, but that has a separate meaning of its own. Chinese idioms stand out as shining pearls in the treasure of the Chinese language. They are concise, vivid, and expressive accumulations of historical facts and rich ethnic cultures. The formation of ...

Max Lu

A turned over glass of spilled water.

Chinese Idiom Explained: ‘Humbled by the Vast Ocean’

There is a Chinese idiom about how one gets “humbled by the vast ocean.” This quote is mostly used in the context of teaching a person to remain humble despite having power since there will always be someone else more powerful than them. The idiom The Yellow River was considered special in ancient China. After ...

Emma Lu

Sunrays shing through clouds over the ocean.

Chinese Idiom: ‘Where Water Flows, a Channel Will Form’

A popular Chinese idiom — ‘Where water flows, a channel will form’ — basically conveys the idea that success will come naturally when the conditions necessary for such success are fulfilled. There is an interesting story behind how this saying originated. The story behind the Chinese idiom Back during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), there lived a man ...

Emma Lu

Water flowing over rocks.

Chinese Idiom: High Morality

The Chinese idiom dé gāo wàng zhòng refers to a person of high morality and prestige. It is often used to praise the elderly, much as we would compliment someone in English by saying: “You’re a saint.” Here is the story of the man who inspired the Chinese idiom. Fu-bi, also known as Yan-guo, was ...

Nspirement Staff

A Chinese monk speaking with a gentleman.

Chinese Idiom: Thinking of Plums to Quench Thirst

There is an ancient story behind the Chinese idiom “thinking of plums to quench thirst.” One summer during the Three Kingdoms period, Cao Cao led his troops to attack Zhang Xiu. The weather was hot, there were no clouds in the sky, and they were facing a long march through the mountains all the way. ...

Nspirement Staff