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Idioms Lesson 21
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Stir the grass and startle the snake

Long long ago, a county magistrate named Wang Lu worked in present Anhui Province , east China . Wang Lu was very greedy and took many bribes. One of his secretaries was equally corrupt, and often schemed for Wang Lu's deeds.

One day a man went to the magistrate to lodge a complaint against the secretary. The secretary's crimes were almost the same as the crimes the magistrate himself committed. Wang Lu was so frightened that he forgot his proper role in handling the case. Instead of issuing a judgment, he couldn't help writing these words concerning the complaint: "By stirring the grass, you have startled me who am like a snake under the grass!"

The above story provided the idiom "Stir the grass and startle the snake". The original meaning is that punishment for someone can serve as a warning to others. But people now use the idiom to indicate that premature actions which put the enemy on guard.

dǎ cǎo jīng shé



       “打草惊蛇” 这个成语就是由上面这个故事产生的。原先的意思是指对某人的惩罚成了对其他人的警告,但现在人们用它来比喻不成熟的行为会使敌人产生戒备。
liǎng quán qí měi
Gratify both sides; be to the satisfaction of both parties

liǎng xiù qīng fēng
(Of an official) have clean hands; be free from corruption

sān xīn èr yì
Waver and hesitate; be of two minds; be half-hearted

sān sī ér xíng
Think twice; look before you leap; second thought are best

sì fēn wǔ liè
Fall apart; be rent asunder; disintegrate

sì miàn chǔ gē
Hit out in all directions; be utterly isolated

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