Sunday, January 18, 2015

What does 衣欲新, 人欲舊 mean?

Last night I came across the following Chinese expression that I thought was quite clever.
衣欲新, 人欲舊
의욕신, 인욕구  
"[For] clothes (衣), [one] wants (欲) new (新); [for] people (人) [one] wants (欲) friends (舊)."
舊 (구) can mean both "old" or "friend," as in 친구 (親舊), so the writer used 舊 to make a pun since the sentence could also be translated as follows:
"[For] clothes (衣), [one] wants (欲) new (新); [for] people (人) [one] wants (欲) old (舊)."
Here is another clever Chinese expression.

A friend (朋友) is (有) a friend (舊).
Friends (朋友) are (有) old (舊).
Friends (朋友) have (有) friends (舊).
朋友 [means] 有舊.
Concerning the last one, 朋友 (붕우) means 친구 (親舊), which means "friend," but one of the meanings of 有 (유) is  친 (親), so 有舊 (유구) and 親舊 (친구) essentially mean the same thing.

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