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为什么吃醋?Why do you eat vinegar? (Intermediate)

Oct. 9, 2010

为什么吃醋?(Wèishénme chīcù?) Why do you eat vinegar? (Intermediate)

 

Why do Chinese lovers "eat vinegar?" This online Chinese lesson will tell you.

Zài Zhōngguó, qínglǚ zhī jiān de jìdù jiào "chīcù." Wèishénme shì chīcù ér bú shì
在   中国,       情侣    之 间   的 嫉妒  叫“吃醋”。为什么    是  吃醋   而 不 是
bié de dōngxi? Zhè shì yǒu diǎngù de.
 别 的  东西?  这    是   有    典故   的。

 

In China, when lovers are jealous, it is said they are "eating vinegar." Why are they "eating vinegar?" Let's look at an old story.  

Key Learning Points (preview):

吃醋 (chīcù): v. to be jealous

 

赐 (): v. to bestow

 

更别说 (gèngbiéshuō): let alone/not to mention

 

Zài Tángcháo, yǒu gè dàchén jiào Fáng Xuánlíng, tā hěn pà lǎopo.
在   唐朝,      有 个   大臣 叫          房玄龄,         他 很   怕   老婆。

 

During the Tang Dynasty, there was a minister named Fang Xuanling. He was very afraid of his wife.

Yǒu yì tiān zǎocháo zhīhòu, Fáng Xuánlíng bù huíjiā què zài cháo zhōng páihuái.
有 一 天   早朝        之后,   房    玄龄        不  回家   却   在   朝       中      徘徊。

 

One day, Fang Xuanling didn't go home after morning court but wandered around in the palace hall instead.

Táng Tàizōng hěn qíguài de wèn tā, tā shuō fūrén zhèngzài shēngqì, bù gǎn huíjiā.
唐      太宗        很    奇怪   地   问   他,他 说  夫人   正在          生气, 不 敢   回家。

 

Tang Taizong was puzzled and asked what was going on. Fang Xuanling replied that his wife was angry so he dared not go home.

Tàizōng hěn chījīng, méi xiǎng dào Fáng Xuánlíng jìng zhème pà lǎopo.
太宗      很     吃惊,没     想      到    房       玄龄      竟    这么   怕 老婆。

 

Taizong was astonished. He didn't know Fang Xuanling was so afraid of his wife.

Yúshì, wèile tì tā de dàchén chū yì kǒu qì, Tàizōng jiù cì gěi Xuánlíng yígè xiǎoqiè.
于是,为了 替他的 大臣      出    一口 气,太宗     就  赐 给 玄龄        一个小妾。

 

Then, in order to help his minister save face, Taizong bestowed on Xuanling a concubine.

Fáng Xuánlíng dāngrán bùgǎn yào,
房   玄龄          当然        不敢     要,
Tàizōng jiù pài huánghòu quànshuō Fáng Xuánlíng de qīzi, yě bù guǎnyòng.
太宗       就  派    皇后           劝说           房     玄龄         的 妻子,也不 管用。

 

Of course, Fang Xuanling dared not accept the gift. So Taizong appointed his queen to counsel Mrs. Fang, but this also failed.

Tàizōng dà nù, biàn cì Fáng fūrén dújiǔ,
太宗     大 怒,便   赐 房     夫人  毒酒,
shuō: "Nǐ yào huó jiù bié jìdù, ruò yào jìdù nà jiù hēxia zhè bēi dújiǔ ba!"
说:“你 要   活   就 别 嫉妒,若 要 嫉妒 那 就 喝下 这 杯 毒酒 吧!

 

Taizong became incredibly angry. He bestowed on Mrs. Fang a poisonous wine and said, "Leave aside your jealousy if you want to live, or keep it and drink this poisonous wine!"

Tàizōng yǐwéi zhèyàng jiù kěyǐ xiàdào tā, què jiàn Fáng fūrén jiāng dújiǔ jiē guò qu,
太宗       以为   这样      就 可以吓倒   她,却   见   房     夫人   将    毒酒  接  过  去,
hán lèi yǐn xià.
含   泪 饮 下。

 

Taizong thought that this would scare Mrs. Fang, but she took the wine and drank it. Tears were in her eyes

Tàizōng kàn dào zhèzhǒng qíngxíng, xīnlǐ dà wéi zhènjīng,
太宗       看    到    这种           情形,  心里  大  为  震惊,
tàndào: "zhèyang de nǚzǐ, wǒ jiànle dōu pà, gèngbiéshuō Xuánlíng le."
叹道:“这样       的  女子,我 见了 都   怕,更别说            玄龄     了。

 

Taizong was shocked by this situation and exclaimed, "Let alone Xuanling, I am even afraid of such a woman."

Dànshì, Tàizōng bìng búshì zhēn yào tā sǐ, zhǐshì ná le nóng cù xiàhu tā,
但是,   太宗       并    不 是 真     要   她 死,只是拿了 浓   醋  吓唬 她,
méi xiǎng dào què xià dào le zìjǐ hé bǎiguān.
没    想     到     却   吓 到 了自己和 百官。

 

However, it had not actually been Taizong's aim to kill Mrs. Fang. He had just tried to scare her with strong vinegar. Unexpectedly though, he scared himself and all his ministers.

Ér jiāng jìdù shuō chéng "chī cù” de diǎngù yě yóu cǐ ér lái.
而 将    嫉妒 说     成   “吃醋”  的   典故   也 由 此而 来。

 

Because of this story, "eating vinegar" stands for the jealousy of lovers.

Key Learning Points:

吃醋 (chīcù): v. to be jealous

 

In fact, "to eat vinegar" means to be jealous. Chinese people often use "喝 () to drink" as the verb when talking about swallowing liquids, but "吃醋" is a settled usage as an exception.

Example:
Shènzhì tā gēn biéde nánren zhàn de shāowēi jìn diǎnr, tā nánpéngyou dōu huì chīcù.
甚至       她 跟 别 的 男人      站    得   稍微     近   点儿,她 男朋友       都    会  吃醋。

 

Her boyfriend will be jealous even if she just stands a little close to another man.

(): v. to bestow

 

In Chinese, "赐" is a verb that describes a honored person giving a present. Royalty bestow awards to their ministers and people who contribute to their country. Gods bestow blessings unto mortals. Furthermore, when emperors wanted to kill someone without sensible reasons, they would "赐死 (cìsǐ) to bestow someone a death."

Example:
Nǐ shì shàngdì cì gěi wǒ de lǐwù.
你 是 上帝     赐  给  我 的礼物。

 

You are a present bestowed unto me by God.

更别说 (gèngbiéshuō): let alone/not to mention

 

"更" means "even more," "别" means "don't" and "说" means "to say/mention." So you can interpret it as "even more, don't say that… ," that is "let alone" and "not to mention."

Example:
Wǒ búhuì shuō Yìdàlì yǔ, gèngbiéshuō xiě tā  le.
我   不会   说     意大利语,   更别说   写  它 了。

 

I cannot speak Italian, let alone write it.

生词 (shēngcí) vocabulary:

 

情侣 (qínglǚ): n. lover

 

徘徊 (páihuái): v. to wander

 

吓唬 (xiàhu): v. to scare

 

Learn more online Chinese lessons:
Online Chinese lessons: 画饼充饥 (Huàbǐngchōngjī) Drawing Pancakes to Stave off Hunger
Online Chinese lessons: 叶公好龙 (Yègōng hào lóng) Lord Ye Loved Dragons!
Online Chinese lessons: 盲人摸象 (Mángrén mō xiàng) Blind Men and an Elephant

Got questions? Take a Free 1-on-1 live online lesson with our professional teachers from China.

Comments

Wow! This is an interesting online Chinese lesson. I’ve also heard people say this: “chi fei cu.” What does it means? I only know that “fei” means “to fly.”

“chi fei cu.” yes “fei” means “to fly.”
“chi fei cu.” means you “chi cu”but have no reason (without any reason or cause)to “chi cu”

Cicy’s explanation is completely correct. “吃飞醋chī fēi cù” means to be jealous without any reason.

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