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Chinese Idioms 成 语

Lesson 6
Yăn ěr dào líng
【掩 耳 盗 铃】
Stuffing His Ears for the Purpose of Stealing a Bell
Once upon a time, a thief stole a bell and tried to carry it away on his back. But the bell was too big and heavy. So, he decided to break it into pieces with a hammer to make it easier to carry. When he hit the bell, it made a loud noise. Afraid that someone might hear him breaking the bell, and try to steal it from him, he decided to plug his ears. If he couldn't hear anything, nobody else could either. A decision as foolish as this is sometimes compared with burying one's head in the sand.
Shuǐ zhōng lāo yuè
To try to fish the moon's reflection in the water -- describes an impractical or vain effort
Shuǐ zhăng chuán gāo
(Old Chinese saying) Literal translation: When the river rises, the boat goes up. Describes a natural reaction to something or a natural progression
Shùn shuǐ tuī zhōu
To push the boat along with current -- to go with the flow
Shùn fēng shǐ duò
To trim one's sails to the wind -- to take one's cue from changing conditions