Toll Free - U.S.& Canada:  1-800-791-9386   Hong Kong:  800-930-623   Australia:  1-800-779-835   Singapore:  800-130-1652  
Free online Chinese learning support
  • Follow Us in "WeChat"
    by Scanning
United Kingdom:  0-800-086-8969   Switzerland:  0-800-563-178   Germany:  0-800-180-0341   Israel:  1-809-467-206  
France:  0-805-080-689   Italy:  800-596-375   Spain:  900-838-906   New Zealand:  0-800-002-128  
South Africa:  0-800-981-886                    

Chinese Idiom: 滴水穿石 Dripping water wears away stone.

Nov. 15, 2011

The idiom "滴水穿石 (dīshuǐchuānshí)" more literally means that constantly dripping water can wear away stone. Now it is used to mean that you can succeed if you persist. It also can be written as "水滴石穿 (shuǐdīshíchuān)." Let's read about the origin of this idiom.

Key Learning Point (Preview):

滴水穿石 (dīshuǐchuānshí): Dripping water wears away stone.

 

Yì tiān, Sòngcháo xiànlìng Zhāng Guāiyá  zài yámen zhōuwéi xúnxíng.
一天,   宋      朝     县令        张      乖崖    在    衙门     周围        巡行。

 

One day, Zhang Guaiya (the county magistrate) was patrolling the government buildings.
 
Kàndào yí ge xiǎolì huānghuang zhāngzhang de cóng qiánkù zhōng zǒu chūlái.
看  到     一个  小吏      慌慌             张张           地   从      钱库     中    走   出来。

 

He saw a minor official come out from the money vault hurriedly.
 
Zhāng Guāiyá bǎ tā hǎn zhù wèn: "nǐ zhème huānghuang zhāngzhang gàn shénme?"
张        乖崖    把 他 喊    住    问:“你  这么      慌慌               张张         干     什么?”

 

Zhang Guaiya stopped him and asked, "Why are you in such a hurry?"
 
"Méi shénme." Nà xiǎolì huídá shuō.
“没    什么。” 那 小吏    回答    说。

 

"No reason." the officer answered.

Zhāng Guāiyá liánxiǎng dào zuìjìn qiánkù jīngcháng shīqiè, biàn ràng suícóng duì     
张        乖崖    联想        到   最近   钱库         经常       失窃, 便    让     随从     对              
jìnxíng sōuchá.
他 进行   搜查。

 

Zhang Guaiya recalled the things stolen from the money vault recently. He ordered the guards to search the officer.

Jiéguǒ, zài tóujīn lǐ sōu dào yì méi tóngqián.
结果,  在   头巾里  搜   到   一 枚      铜钱。

 

Consequently, there was a copper piece found in the officer’s headband.
 
Zhāng Guāiyá wèn tā yígòng tōule duōshǎo qián, xiǎolì bù chéngrèn lìngwài tōuguò qián,  
张          乖崖   问   他  一共    偷了       多少      钱,小吏  不     承认     另外    偷过    钱,
Zhāng Guāiyá biàn xià lìng káodǎ.
张      乖崖        便    下令      拷打。

 

Zhang Guaiya asked him how much more money he had stolen. The officer refused to admit that he stole any additional money. Zhang Guaiya ordered that the officer be tortured.

Xiǎolì bù fú shuō: "tōule yì méi tóngqián yǒu shénme liǎobùqǐ, nándào nǐ hái néng
小吏  不服    说:“ 偷了一枚     铜钱     有      什么      了不起,  难道  你  还  能     
shāle wǒ?" 
杀了  我?”

 

The officer didn’t give in and said, “It’s nothing to steal just a copper piece. Could it be that you can kill me?” 

Zhāng Guāiyá shífēn fènnù, jiù bǎ tā yā dào xíngchǎng zhánshǒu shìzhòng. 
张         乖崖    十分    愤怒,就 把 他  押  到   刑场             斩首     示众。

 

Zhang Guaiya was very angry and sent him to be executed.”

Bìng duì suǒyǒu rén shuō: "shuǐdī bù tíng de dī, jiù néng bǎ shítou dī chuān, gèng bú yòng
并    对     所有    人     说:“  水滴 不 停  的滴,就  能   把  石头   滴   穿,   更    不    用    
shuō shì měitiān tōudào le."
说    是    每天      偷盗   了。”

 

He said to all the people, "Dripping water wears away stone, let alone stealing everyday."

Key Learning Point:

滴水穿石 (dīshuǐchuānshí): Dripping water wears away stone.

 

Examples:

Zhǐyào wǒmen jiānchí nǔlì, zǒng huì dīshuǐchuānshí, qǔdé chénggōng.
只要    我们       坚持   努力,总  会     滴水穿石,       取得     成功。

 

As long as we persist to work hard, we can succeed just as constantly dripping water can wear away stone.

Xuéxí  yào yǒu héngxīn hé jīlěi, dīshuǐchuānshí, cái néng qǔdé hǎo chéngjì.
学习    要 有       恒心    和积累,   滴水穿石,    才   能     取得   好    成绩。

 

Study requires the acquisition of knowledge and persistence. Just as dripping water wears away stone constant effort will help us to achieve good marks.
 

Got questions? Take a free 1-to-1 lesson with one of our professional teachers by signing up below:
Name:  E-mail: 
Country:  Tel: 
Submit

Write a comment

Your Name: 
Your Email:  Your email address will not be published.
Comments: 
Verification Code:  Verification Code Unclear? Try another one
Email This Article
Recipients' email addresses:
(separate recipients with comma)
Your name:
Your e-mail address (optional):
Your message (optional):
Verification Code:


Sign up for a free trial now!
Get more information about our Chinese lessons through live chat
Get a FREE live 1-to-1 lesson and FREE e-books. Complete the form below:
Name:
E-mail:
Country:
Tel:
 
Get 11 FREE Mandarin E-books