- 靑出於藍 (청출어람) - Blue (靑) comes (出) from (於) an indigo plant (藍).
Supposedly the dye that comes from an indigo plant is bluer than the plant, itself, so this expression supposedly implies that "a disciple is better than his teacher."
- 富潤屋 德潤身 (부윤옥 덕윤신) - Riches (富) give luster to (潤) a house (屋); virtue (德) gives luster to (潤) a body (身).
I do not think there is a hidden meaning in this expression since it seems self-explanatory.
- 子欲養而 親不待 (자욕양이 친부대) - A son (子) wants (欲) to serve his parents (養), but (而) his parents (親) do not (不) wait (待).
This sentence seems to be saying that sons who intend to care for his parents often do not get a chance because their parents die. I am not sure what this sentence had intended to teach, but I would guess that it was warning children not to wait, or wait too long, to serve their parents. By the way, in this expression, 養 (양) means 奉養하다 (봉양하다), which means "to serve (support) one's parents."
Saturday, May 10, 2008
What do these Chinese expressions mean?
The following is a list of expressions that I come across in my very unsystematic attempt to learn to read and understand Chinese expressions. I will be adding to the list as I come across expressions I find interesting or difficult to understand. By the way, I do not have English translations of these expression, so I am coming up with my own, which means there are probably better translations out there.