Chinese sayings with English Translations

chinese_proverbThe worlds oldest written language is Chinese so there are thousands of proverbs, quotes, and sayings, to choose from. Selected for you are many quotes by Confucius, , and .. the proverbs are translated for your convenience.

dú 萬wàn 卷juǎn 書shū 不bù 如rú 行xíng 萬wàn 里lǐ 路lù
Transliteration (pinyin): Dú wàn juǎn shū bùrú xíng wànlǐ lù.
Traditional: 讀萬卷書不如行萬裡路
Simplified: 读万卷书不如行万里路
Reading ten thousand books is not as useful as traveling ten thousand miles.

fēng 向xiàng 轉zhuàn 變biàn 時shí, 有yǒu 人rén 築zhú 牆qiáng, 有yǒu 人rén 造zào 風fēng 車chē
Transliteration (pinyin): Fēng xiàng zhuàn biàn shí, yǒu rén zhú qiáng, yǒu rén zào fēng chē.
Traditional: 風向轉變時,有人築牆,有人造風車
Simplified: 风向转变时,有人筑墙,有人造风车
When the wind of change blows, some build walls, while others build windmills.

fú 無wú 重chóng 至zhì, 禍huò 不bú 單dān 行xíng
Transliteration (pinyin): Fú wú zhòng zhì, huòbùdānxíng.
Traditional: 福無重至,禍不單行
Simplified: 福无重至,祸不单行
Fortune does not come twice. Misfortune does not come alone.
English equivalent: Misery loves company.

fù 債zhài 子zǐ 還huán
Transliteration (pinyin): Fù zhài zǐ huán.
Traditional: 父債子還
Simplified: 父债子还
Father’s debt, son to give back.
Meaning: New generation can put right the mistakes of the old.

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kōng 穴xué 來lái 風fēng 未wèi 必bì 無wú 因yīn
Transliteration (pinyin): Kōngxuéláifēng, wèibì wú yīn
Traditional: 空穴來風,未必無因
Simplified: 空穴来风,未必无因
English equivalent: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.”

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Chinese proverbs
sān 個gè 和hé 尚shàng 沒méi 水shuǐ 喝hē
Transliteration (pinyin): Sān gè héshàng méi shuǐ hē.
Traditional: 三個和尚沒水喝
Simplified: 三个和尚没水喝
Three monks have no water to drink.
English equivalent: Too many cooks spoil the broth.



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shī 傅fu 領lǐng 進jìn 門mén, 修xiū 行xíng 在zài 個gè 人rén
Transliteration (pinyin): Shī fu lǐng jìn mén, xiū xíng zài gè rén.
Traditional: 師傅領進門,修行在個人
Simplified: 师傅领进门,修行在个人
Meaning: Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.
English equivalent: You can lead the horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink.

shuǐ 能néng 載zài 舟zhōu, 亦yì 能néng 覆fù 舟zhōu
Transliteration (pinyin): Shuǐ néng zài zhōu, yì néng fù zhōu.
Traditional: 水能載舟,亦能覆舟
Simplified: 水能载舟,亦能覆舟
Translation: Not only can water float a boat, it can sink it also.
Meaning: Nature can help and harm you. The people(water) can raise someone(boat) to power, but can also take it away(sink).

yī 朝zhāo 被bèi 蛇shé 咬yǎo, 十shí 年nián 怕pà 井jǐng 绳shéng
Transliteration (pinyin): Yī zhāo bèi shé yǎo, shí nián pà jǐng shéng.
Traditional: 一朝被蛇咬,十年怕井繩
Simplified: 一朝被蛇咬,十年怕井绳
One bitten by a snake for a snap dreads a rope for a decade.
English equivalent: A burnt child dreads the fire; Once bitten, twice shy.

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Chinese sayings with English Translations