Two-part allegorical saying (of which the first part, always stated, is descriptive, while the second part, often unstated, carries the message)
tōu jī bù chéng shí bǎ mǐ – bù hé suàn; dé bù cháng shī
偷鸡不成蚀把米 – 不合算；得不偿失
Attempt to steal a chicken only to end up losing the rice; go for wool and come back shorn – the loss outweighs the gain
huáng shǔ láng dān yǎo bìng yā zi – dăo méi yuè jiā dăo méi
黄鼠狼单咬病鸭子 – 倒霉越加倒霉
A sick duck is bitten by a weasel. – more bad luck. This allegory describes someone who has already suffered a misfortune and then meets another disaster.
jiǎo dǐ bǎnr mǒ yóu – liū de kuài; liū la
脚底板儿抹油 – 溜得快；溜啦
Put grease onto one's soles – slip away. The character "溜" has two meanings: to slide and to sneak off. Grease on one's soles makes one liable to slip. The pun used here aims at the second meaning; that is, one tends to slip away when s/he meets with difficulties or is caught in an unfavorable situation.
cán dòu kāi huā – hēi xīn
蚕豆开花 – 黑心
Broad beans blossom. – black heart; evil mind. (The heart of a broad bean flower is black.)
bǎi mǐ sài pǎo – fēn miǎo bì zhēng
百米赛跑 – 分秒必争
100-meter dash – seize every minute and second; every second counts; make the best use of one's time
xīn guān shàng rèn – sān bǎ huǒ
新官上任 – 三把火
A new official introduces a rash of changes; a new broom sweeps clean.
sān shí liù jì – zǒu wéi shàng jì
三十六计 – 走为上计
Of all the stratagems, the best is to quit; of all the alternatives, running away is the best.
dà xiàng de pì gǔ – tuī bù dòng
大象的屁股 – 推不动
Like an elephant whose backside no one can push – One makes great efforts to accomplish quite a difficult task but fails yet.
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