画饼充饥 (Huàbǐngchōngjī) Drawing Pancakes to Stave off Hunger (Beginner)

画饼充饥 (Huàbǐngchōngjī) Drawing Pancakes to Stave off Hunger

In Chinese idiom “画饼充饥 (huàbǐngchōngjī) ,”  “画 (huà)” means “to draw;” “饼 (bǐng)” refers to “pancakes;” “充 (chōng)” is “to fill or stuff sth,” which indicates “to stave off or to relieve” in this Chinese idiom; “饥 ()” means “being hungry.”

Key Learning Points (Preview):

画 (huà): v. / n. to draw /painting; picture

充 (chōng): v. to fill or stuff sth/to stave off or to relieve

Learn the Story of Chinese Idiom:

Sānguó shídài Wèiguó  de huángdì Cáo Ruì,
三国        时代     魏国    的    皇帝     曹    睿,
zhǔnbèi xuǎnbá yí gè yǒu cáinéng de rén dào cháoting lái zuòguān.
准备         选拔    一个  有    才能    的 人   到     朝廷      来    做官。

Once in the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280), the duke of the Wei, Cao Rui, planned to select a very capable man to work for him.

Cáo Ruì duì tā  de dàchén shuō: “xuǎnzé réncái, bùnéng guāng zhǎo yǒu xūmíng de rén.
曹     睿   对  他 的 大臣      说:“选择     人才, 不能        光      找    有    虚名    的 人。
Xūmíng hǎoxiàng shì huà de yí kuài bǐng, zhǐnéng kàn,
虚名        好像      是   画   的 一块     饼, 只能     看,
bùnéng jiějué dùzi    jī’è   de wèntí  a!”
不能       解决  肚子 饥饿 的 问题 啊!”

He said to his ministers: “When choosing a talented person, always beware of the one with a false reputation. A false reputation is just like a picture of a pancake; it can’t ease hunger.”

Hòulái, rénmēn jiù yòng “huàbǐngchōngjī” zhè gè chéngyǔ bǐyù yòng kōngxiǎng
后来, 人们      就 用        “画饼充饥”   这   个   成语      比喻   用      空想     
ānwèi   zìjǐ,   bùnéng jiějué shíjì wèntí.
 安慰   自己,不能    解决   实际 问题。

Later, this idiom came to be used to mean comforting oneself with unrealistic thoughts, without solving practical problems.

Key Learning Point:

(huà): v. / n. to draw/painting; picture

Examples:

Nǐ néng bāng wǒ zài huà yì zhāng ma?
你 能      帮    我  再   画  一 张     吗?

Can you draw another one for me?
 
Qiáng shàng guàzhe yì  fú  huà.
墙          上       挂着  一 幅   画。

There is a picture on the wall.

充 (chōng): v. to fill or stuff sth/to stave off or to relieve

Example:

Jīhuāng de niándài, rénmēn jīngcháng yòng yěcǎo lái chōngjī.
饥荒      的   年代, 人们        经常         用    野草   来   充饥。

In the time of famine, people often staved off themselves with wild plants.
 
背景知识 (bèijǐng zhīshī) Background Information:

 

三国时代 (Sānguó shídài): Three Kingdoms Period: During 220 A.D.-280 A.D., China split into three political powers: the State of Wei led by Cao Cao, the State of Shu led by Liu Bei, the State of Wu led by Sun Quan. That period of China is called Three Kingdoms Period.

生词 (shēngcí) Vocabulary:

朝廷 (cháoting): n. royal government

做官 (zuòguān): v. to serve as an official in government

 

4 thoughts on “画饼充饥 (Huàbǐngchōngjī) Drawing Pancakes to Stave off Hunger (Beginner)”

  1. I remembered the vocabulary “hua” because I learnt another Chinese idiom “huashetianzu” which means overdoing, and in English we put it “gild the lily”

  2. “充分chōngfèn” is an adjective and adverb phrase, which means completely or full. For example, “发挥了充分的作用fāhuī le chōngfēn de zuòyòng” to exert great influence (over something). “做了充分的准备zuò le chōngfēn de zhǔn bèi” means make full preparation”.

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