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Idioms Lesson 33
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Break the cauldrons and sink the boats (after crossing a river)

During the late years of the Qin Dynasty (221-206BC), Xiang Yu led a rebellion. After crossing the Zhang River, Xiang Yu ordered his men to sink all their boats and break their cooking pots. He issued each soldier three days' rations and warned them that there was no way to retreat; the only thing they could do to survive was to advance and fight. After nine fierce battles, the Qin army was finally defeated.

The idiom is used to indicate one's firm determination to achieve one's goal at any cost.

pò fǔ chén zhōu



bìng rù gāo huāng
The disease has attacked the vitals – beyond cure; be incurably ill

biǎo lǐ rú yī
think and act in one and the same way; be honest and straightforward

bié kāi shēng miàn
develop a new style; be fresh ground; be out of the common run

diào hǔ lí shān
lure the tiger out of his mountain or lair; entice the enemy away from his entrenchment

mèi shàng qī xià
fawn upon one's superior and bully one's subordinates

wèn xīn wú kuì
have a clear conscience; not have a guilty conscience

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