The large collection of chinese proverbs of all time

The large collection of chinese proverbs of all time

The large collection of chinese proverbs of all time


First of all, let's draw a line between "sayings" (such as 諺語 and 俗話) versus the special class of 4-syllable words in Chinese called “成語”.  Also, 歇後語 are perhaps too vulgar for a discussion of the "greatest sayings".This is a collection of Chinese proverbs (諺語 ) and idioms (成語)。I collected those famous and funny proverbs about life,love,family,work,wisdom,etc. Enjoy!


“a bad beginning makes a bad ending.”— Chinese Proverb
original: 不善始者不善终 
Pinyin: bú shàn shǐ zhě bú shàn zhōng 


“A bad man talks about what he has eaten and drunk — a good man about what he has seen and heard. ”— Chinese Proverb
original:  坏男人吃和喝,好男人看和听
Pinyin:  huài nán rén chī hé hē ,hǎo nán rén kàn hé tīng 


“A bad word whispered will echo a hundred miles. ”— Chinese Proverb
original:  坏事传千里
Pinyin:  huài shì chuán qiān lǐ 


“A bad worker quarrels with his tools.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  人笨怨刀钝
Pinyin:  rén bèn yuàn dāo dùn 


“A bar of iron continually ground becomes a needle.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  铁棒磨成针
Pinyin:  tiě bàng mó chéng zhēn 


“A base person often thinks of a man of honor as mean as himself.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  以小人之心,度君子之腹
Pinyin:  yǐ xiǎo rén zhī xīn ,dù jun1 zǐ zhī fù 


“A beautiful flower is incomplete without its leaves.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  红花还需绿叶配
Pinyin:  hóng huā hái xū lǜ yè pèi 


“A big tree attracts the wind.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  财多惹祸,树大招风
Pinyin:  cái duō rě huò ,shù dà zhāo fēng 


“A bird can roost but on one branch, a mouse can drink not more than its fill from a river.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  鸟栖一枝,鼠饮河不过满腹.
Pinyin:  niǎo qī yī zhī ,shǔ yǐn hé bú guò mǎn fù .


“A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  不鸣则已,一鸣惊人
Pinyin:  bú míng zé yǐ ,yī míng jīng rén

“A bit of fragrance always sticks to the hand that gives you roses.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  赠人玫瑰,手留余香
Pinyin:  zèng rén méi guī ,shǒu liú yú xiāng 


“A blind cat catches only a dead rat.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  瞎猫逮死耗子
Pinyin:  xiā māo dǎi sǐ hào zǐ 


“a boaster and a liar are cousins-german.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  吹牛撒谎一家亲
Pinyin:  chuī niú sā huǎng yī jiā qīn 


“A boat can't always sail with the wind; an army can't always win battles.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  逢人只说三分话,未可全抛一片心
Pinyin:  féng rén zhī shuō sān fèn huà ,wèi kě quán pāo yī piàn xīn 


“A book holds a house of gold.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  书中自有黄金屋
Pinyin:  shū zhōng zì yǒu huáng jīn wū 


“A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  书籍好比口袋里的花园
Pinyin:  shū jí hǎo bǐ kǒu dài lǐ de huā yuán 


“A book tightly shut is but a block of paper.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  一本没有打开的书就是一团纸
Pinyin:  yī běn méi yǒu dǎ kāi de shū jiù shì yī tuán zhǐ 


“A camel standing amidst a flock of sheep.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  鹤立鸡群
Pinyin:  hè lì jī qún 


“a candle lights others and consumes itself”— Chinese Proverb
original:  蜡烛焚自身,光亮照别人
Pinyin:  là zhú fén zì shēn ,guāng liàng zhào bié rén 


“A child's life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.”— Chinese Proverb
original:   孩子的一生就像一张白纸,周边每个人都会在上面留下印记
Pinyin:   hái zǐ de yī shēng jiù xiàng yī zhāng bái zhǐ ,zhōu biān měi gè rén dōu huì zài shàng miàn liú xià yìn jì 


“A clever person turns great troubles into little ones and little ones into none at all.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  聪明人大事化小小事化了
Pinyin:  cōng míng rén dà shì huà xiǎo xiǎo shì huà le 


“A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  死脑筋就象死书本
Pinyin:  sǐ nǎo jīn jiù xiàng sǐ shū běn 


“Adversity leads to prosperity.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  穷则思变。
Pinyin: qióng zé sī biàn


“A day’s planning is done in the morning.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  一日之计在于晨
Pinyin:  yī rì zhī jì zài yú chén 


“A diamond with a flaw is worth more than a pebble without imperfections.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  宁做有瑕玉,不做无瑕石
Pinyin:  níng zuò yǒu xiá yù ,bú zuò wú xiá shí 


“A dish of carrot hastily cooked may still has soil uncleaned off the vegetable.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  萝卜快了不洗泥
Pinyin:  luó bo kuài le bú xǐ ní 


“A dog won't forsake his master because of his poverty; a son never deserts his mother for her homely appearance.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  狗不嫌家贫,儿不嫌母丑
Pinyin:  gǒu bú xián jiā pín ,ér bú xián mǔ chǒu 


“a faithful friend is hard to find.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  知音难觅
Pinyin:  zhī yīn nán mì 


“A fall into a ditch makes you wiser.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  吃一堑,长一智
Pinyin:  chī yī qiàn ,zhǎng yī zhì


“A filthy mouth will not utter decent language.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  狗嘴里吐不出象牙
Pinyin:  gǒu zuǐ lǐ tǔ bú chū xiàng yá 


“A fool judges people by the presents they give him.”— Chinese Proverb
original: 糊涂人根据他人的送礼决定亲疏
Pinyin:  hú tú rén gēn jù tā rén de sòng lǐ jué dìng qīn shū 


“A friend in need is a friend indeed.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  患难见真情
Pinyin:  huàn nán jiàn zhēn qíng 


“A friend to everybody is a friend to nobody. ”— Chinese Proverb
original:  广交友,无深交
Pinyin:  guǎng jiāo yǒu ,wú shēn jiāo


“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  玉不磨不成器,人不学不知道
Pinyin:  yù bú mó bú chéng qì ,rén bú xué bú zhī dào 


“A good book is a good friend.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  好书如挚友
Pinyin:  hǎo shū rú zhì yǒu


“A good fame is better than a good face.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  美名胜于美貌
Pinyin:  měi míng shèng yú měi mào


“a good medicine tastes bitter.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  良药苦口
Pinyin:  liáng yào kǔ kǒu


“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.”—
Chinese Proverb
original:  马无夜草不肥,人无外快不富
Pinyin:  mǎ wú yè cǎo bú féi ,rén wú wài kuài bú fù


“A hundred men may make an encampment, but it takes a woman to make a home. ”— Chinese Proverb
original:  妇女能顶半边天
Pinyin:  fù nǚ néng dǐng bàn biān tiān


“A Jade stone is useless before it is processed; a man is good-for-nothing until he is educated.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  玉不琢不成器,人不学不知义
Pinyin:  yù bú zhuó bú chéng qì ,rén bú xué bú zhī yì


“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…. ”— Chinese Proverb
original:  千里之行,始于足下
Pinyin:  qiān lǐ zhī háng ,shǐ yú zú xià


“a light heart lives long.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  静以修身
Pinyin:  jìng yǐ xiū shēn


“a man can do no more than he can.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  凡事都应量力而行
Pinyin:  fán shì dōu yīng liàng lì ér hìng


“A man grows most tired while standing still. ”— Chinese Proverb
original:  原地踏步最累
Pinyin:  yuán dì tà bù zuì lèi


“A man is never too old to learn.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  活到老,学到老
Pinyin:  huó dào lǎo ,xué dào lǎo


“a merry heart goes all the way.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  生性乐天,终身受用
Pinyin:  shēng xìng lè tiān ,zhōng shēn shòu yòng


“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  人逢喜事精神爽
Pinyin:  rén féng xǐ shì jīng shén shuǎng


“A nation's treasure is in its scholars.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  学者是国家的财富
Pinyin:  xué zhě shì guó jiā de cái fù


“A person leaves a reputation, bad or good, behind wherever he works or stays.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  人过留名,雁过留声
Pinyin:  rén guò liú míng ,yàn guò liú shēng


“A prime minister's mind should be broad enough for poling a boat. Usage: This can be used to praise someone is a magnanimous person.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  宰相肚里能撑船
Pinyin:  zǎi xiàng dù lǐ néng chēng chuán


“A rat who gnaws at a cat's tail invites destruction.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  咬猫尾巴的老鼠自寻毁灭
Pinyin:  yǎo māo wěi bā de lǎo shǔ zì xún huǐ miè


“A single conversation across the table with a wise man is worth a month's study of books. ”— Chinese Proverb
original:  听君一席话胜读十年书
Pinyin:  tīng jun1 yī xí huà shèng dú shí nián shū


“A single spark can start a prairie fire.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  星星之火,可以燎原
Pinyin:  xīng xīng zhī huǒ ,kě yǐ liáo yuán


“A sly rabbit will have three openings to its den.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  狡兔三窟
Pinyin:  jiǎo tù sān kū


“A small hole not mended in time will become a big hole much more difficult to mend. ”— Chinese Proverb
original: 小洞不补,大洞吃苦 
Pinyin:  xiǎo dòng bú bǔ ,dà dòng chī kǔ


“A smile can erase a million worries.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  一笑解千愁 
Pinyin:  yī xiào jiě qiān chóu


“A smile will gain you ten more years of life.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  笑一笑,十年少
Pinyin:  xiào yī xiào ,shí nián shǎo


“A straight foot is not afraid of a crooked shoe.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  身正不怕影子斜
Pinyin:  shēn zhèng bú pà yǐng zǐ xié


“A thorn defends the rose, harming only those who would steal the blossom.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  荆棘是玫瑰的卫士,只会刺伤摘花的人
Pinyin:  jīng jí shì méi guī de wèi shì ,zhī huì cì shāng zhāi huā de rén


“A thousand cups of wine do not suffice when true friends meet, but half a sentence is too much when there is no meeting of minds.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  酒逢知己千杯少, 话不投机半句多
Pinyin:  jiǔ féng zhī jǐ qiān bēi shǎo , huà bú tóu jī bàn jù duō


“A thousand-li journey is started by taking the first step.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  千里之行始于足下
Pinyin:  qiān lǐ zhī háng shǐ yú zú xià


“A tiger never returns to his prey he did not finish off.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  老虎不吃回头食 
Pinyin:  lǎo hǔ bú chī huí tóu shí


“A truly great man never puts away the simplicity of a child.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  大人者,不失其赤子之心
Pinyin:  dà rén zhě ,bú shī qí chì zǐ zhī xīn


“A weasel comes to say Happy New Year to the chickens.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  黄鼠狼给鸡拜年
Pinyin:  huáng shǔ láng gěi jī bài nián


“A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion. ”— Chinese Proverb
original:  智者能自己做决定,愚者跟随舆论
Pinyin:  zhì zhě néng zì jǐ zuò jué dìng ,yú zhě gēn suí yú lùn


“A word spoken can never be taken back.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  一言既出,驷马难追
Pinyin:  yī yán jì chū ,sì mǎ nán zhuī


“actions speak louder than words.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  事实胜于雄辩
Pinyin:  shì shí shèng yú xióng biàn


“Add legs to the snake after you have finished drawing it.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  画蛇添足
Pinyin:  huà shé tiān zú


“adversity makes a man wise, not rich.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  逆境出人才
Pinyin:  nì jìng chū rén cái


“After three days without reading, talk becomes flavorless.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  三日不读,言语无味
Pinyin:  sān rì bú dú ,yán yǔ wú wèi


“Age and time do not wait for people.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  岁月不饶人
Pinyin:  suì yuè bú ráo rén


“All heroes have a similar way of seeing things”— Chinese Proverb
original:  英雄所见略同
Pinyin:  yīng xióng suǒ jiàn luè tóng


“All things are difficult before they are easy.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  万事开头难
Pinyin:  wàn shì kāi tóu nán


“An ant may well destroy a whole dam.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  千里之堤,溃于蚁穴
Pinyin:  qiān lǐ zhī dī ,kuì yú yǐ xué


“An inch of time is an inch of gold but you can't buy that inch of time with an inch of gold.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  一寸光阴一寸金,寸金难买寸光阴
Pinyin:  yī cùn guāng yīn yī cùn jīn ,cùn jīn nán mǎi cùn guāng yīn


“An old warhorse in the stable still longs to gallop a thousnad li.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  老骥伏枥,志在千里
Pinyin:  lǎo jì fú lì ,zhì zài qiān lǐ


“An oppressed army fighting with desperate courage is sure to win.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  哀师必胜
Pinyin:  āi shī bì shèng


“An overcrowded chicken farm produce fewer eggs.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  鸡多不下蛋
Pinyin:  jī duō bú xià dàn


“As a man cannot be known by his looks, neither can the sea be fathomed by a gourd.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  凡人不可貌相,海水不可斗量
Pinyin:  fán rén bú kě mào xiàng ,hǎi shuǐ bú kě dòu liàng


“As a man sows, so shall he reap.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  种瓜得瓜, 种豆得豆
Pinyin:  zhǒng guā dé guā , zhǒng dòu dé dòu


“As distance tests a horse’s strength, so does time reveal a person’s real character.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  路遥知马力,日久见人心
Pinyin:  lù yáo zhī mǎ lì ,rì jiǔ jiàn rén xīn


“Attack is the best defense.”— Chinese Proverb
original:  进攻是最好的防御
Pinyin:  jìn gōng shì zuì hǎo de fáng yù


Read more chinese proverbs:

The large collection of chinese proverbs of all time


The large collection of chinese proverbs of all time Part II


The large collection of chinese proverbs of all time Part III


The large collection of chinese proverbs of all time Part 4

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