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囫囵吞枣 (húlún tūnzǎo) To eat the date whole (Advanced)

Mar. 7, 2011

Learn Mandarin Chinese Idiom: 囫囵吞枣  (húlún tūnzǎo) To eat the date whole (Advanced)


In the Chinese idiom "囫囵吞枣 (húlún tūnzǎo)", "囫囵 (húlún)" means "the whole;" "吞 (tūn)" means to "swallow;" "枣 (zǎo)" is "date." This idiom means "to eat the date whole."

Key Learning Points (Preview):

吞 (tūn): v. to swallow


枣 (zǎo): n. date


Learn this online Chinese idiomatic story:

A long time ago, a person who considered himself clever went to a friend's party. Everyone was chatting together while eating fruits. A guest among the group said, "It is hard to have the best of both worlds. Let's take eating fruits as an example. Pears are good for our teeth, but they harm our stomachs if we eat too many of them. Likewise, dates are good for our stomachs, but bad for our teeth." The others agreed with the guest. The man who considered himself clever continued the conversation by saying, "This problem is easy to solve. We can discard the pulps when eating pears in order to avoid hurting our stomachs, and we can also eat the dates whole in order to protect our teeth."

In jest, a fellow guest at the party remarked, "You really 囫囵吞枣 (húlún tūnzǎo) eat dates whole!" Following this incident, Chinese people often use this idiom to point out when a person accepts information without digesting and analyzing it.

Key Learning Points (Preview):

吞 (tūn): v. to swallow



Tūn xià shíwù zhī qián xìxì jǔjué huì yǒuyì jiànkāng.
吞    下   食物   之  前  细细 咀嚼 会 有益    健康。


It is beneficial for our health to chew food well before swallowing it.

枣 (zǎo): n. date



Shǎnxī de hóngzǎo hěn yǒumíng.
陕西      的     红枣     很      有名。


Dates from Shaanxi are very famous.

囫囵吞枣 (húlún tūn zǎo)



Dúshū bùnéng húlúntūnzǎo, ér yào cóng zhōng xīqǔ  zìjǐ   xūyào de dōngxi.
读书       不能       囫囵吞枣, 而 要    从      中   吸取 自己 需要  的   东西。


Do not read books without analyzing the content; each person must take from a text the parts that are important to him or her.

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