磨杵成针 Grinding an Iron Pestle into a Needle

磨杵成针 (móchǔchéngzhēn) Grinding an Iron Pestle into a Needle

(Try our Chinese idiom lesson for you)

Lǐ Bái xiǎo shíhou tè tānwán, yí dào shàngkè jiù zǒushén.
李 白  小    时候   特   贪玩,一 到    上课     就   走神。 
Li Bai was fond of playing when he was young, so he was always absent-minded in classes. (Editor’ s note: 

was one of the most famous poets in China’ s history.)

Jīntiān zhè shān zhuō xiǎoniǎo, míngtiān nà shān qù zhāizǎo. 
今天     这    山     捉     小鸟,     明天    那  山    去   摘枣。  
Today he would catch 

 on the hill, and tomorrow he would pick dates on that hill.

Xiàle shān guò xiǎohé, hébiān zuòzhe lǎopópo.
下了   山     过   小河, 河边    坐着     老婆婆。   
One day, he saw an old lady sitting at the riverside when he was crossing the brook.

Lǎopópo búpà lèi, zhèng mó yì gēn tiěbàngchui.
老婆婆    不怕 累, 正     磨  一  根     铁棒锤。   
The old lady was grinding an iron pestle without fear of tiredness.

Lǐ Bái kàn le xiàohēhē, shuō: “Shǎzi cái gàn zhè zhǒng huó ne!” 
李白   看  了  笑呵呵, 说: “傻子  才   干  这     种     活   呢!” 
On seeing this, Li Bai laughed at her and said: “People who do this job are fools.”

Lǎopópo cíxiáng de shuō:  “Búpà tiěbàng cū yòu yìng, wǒ yào mó chéng xiùhuāzhēn!”
老婆婆      慈祥   地   说: “不怕   铁棒    粗  又   硬,我   要   磨     成     绣花针!”    
The old lady answered kindly: “I am determined to grind the iron pestle into a needle even if the iron pestle is so thick and hard.”

Lǐ Bái ná guò tiěbàngchui, méi mó jǐ xià jiù hǎn lèi, shuō: “āiyōu, shénme shíhou  néng mó chéng a? Wǒ 
李 白  拿  过     铁棒锤,   没   磨 几下 就  喊  累, 说: “哎呦, 什么     时候      能    磨    成   啊?我
bú gàn le!”
不   干  了!”   
Li Bai took the iron pestle and felt tired after grinding it for a minute. Then he complained: “Oh, how long can I get it done? I quit.”

(Editor’s note: Thus, Li bai want to 半途而废 (bàntú’érfèi) give up halfway)

Lǎopópo yáoyao tóu, tànxī dào: ” Zhǐyāo gōngfu shēn, tiěchǔ mó chéng zhēn!”
老婆婆      摇摇    头,叹息  道: “只要     功夫      深,铁杵    磨     成     针!”    
The old lady shook her head and sighed: “The pestle can be grinded into a needle, as long as you keep working hard.”

Lǎopópo de huà zhí qiānjīn, Lǐ Bái láoláo jì zài xīn!
老婆婆    的  话   值  千金,李 白  牢牢  记 在 心!   
The old lady’s words were so worthwhile, and Li Bai remembered them by heart.

Cóngcǐ dúshū búpà kǔ, chéngle yí wèi dà shīrén! 
从此     读书   不怕  苦, 成了  一 位   大   诗人!
From then on, he spared no pains to study, and became a great poet finally. 


The phrase “磨杵成针 (móchǔchéngzhēn)” means no matter how difficult or challenging a task is, it can be done as long as there is perseverance. “磨  (mó)” means to grind and “杵 (chǔ)” refers to pestle. “成 (chéng)” means to become and “针 (zhēn)” refers to needle.


Méiyǒu móchǔchéngzhēn de  yìlì, xuéwèn shàng jiù bùkěnéng yǒu hěn shēn de zàoyì.
没有           磨杵成针         的 毅力,学问     上    就    不可能   有   很    深   的  造诣。   
There is no profound knowledge and scholarship without the spirit of grinding an iron pestle into a needle.

生词 (shēngcí) Vocabulay 

磨 (mó): v to grind 

杵 (chǔ): n pestle  

贪玩 (tānwán): v to be fond of having too much fun  

: adj absent-minded  

慈祥 (cíxiáng): adv kindly  

叹息 (tànxī): v to sigh  

大 (dà): adj great   

Related Post:
More Chinese Idiom
General Chinese (Beginner Level)
General Chinese (Intermediate Level)

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