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抬杠 (táigàng) Argue & 放鸽子 (fàng gēzi) Fail to Keep an Appointment

Apr. 1, 2015

抬杠(táigàng) to argue for the sake of arguing


Where does the phrase originate from?

In the north of China in early times, there existed a custom called “抬杠会(táigànghuì)” argue meeting. On the day of Lantern Festival, some strong men carried the bamboo “杠(gàng), ” on which there is a sedan. A clown with a ready tongue sits in it. They carried the sedan in the crowd and the crowd could have quarreling competitions with the clown. So this kind of meeting is the origin of “抬杠(táigàng)” arguing .

What does this phrase mean?

The phrase “抬杠(táigàng)” refers to a kind of cultural custom, which is a clever way for people to blame others or avoid others’ blame. The famous cross-talk is a prominent example in which two people take part in a clever quarrel to blame each other. The word “抬(tái)” means you lift something heavy such as a big stone, a sedan. And the word “杠(gàng)” refers to a kind of pole to lift something.

How to use the phrase?

You can use “抬杠(táigàng)” like this: You can say “我受不了他了,他总是跟我抬杠(wǒ shòu bù liăo ta le, ta zǒngshì gēn wǒ táigàng)” I cannot stand him, because he always argues with me. Or you can say “我们一见面就抬杠(wǒmen yī jiànmiàn jiù táigàng)” we argue with each other whenever we meet, to mean that you can not get along well with that person.

放鸽子(fàng gēzi) to fail to keep an appointment

The origin of this phrase:

The phrase “放鸽子(fàng gēzi) ” mainly means that one doesn’t keep his promise. The meaning of the word “放(fàng)” means sending something. And “鸽子(gēzi)” refers to a dove, a kind of bird. The phrase is from a story. In ancient times, people mailed letters by doves. One time, two people agreed to write letters to each other, but one of them sent a dove without letters. Then another people said: “why did you just send the dove? And you haven’t kept your promise.” So the phrase is used with the meaning that one hasn’t kept his/her promises.

The use of the phrase:

The popular meaning of the phrase is used in the following situation: one makes an appointment with another, but the latter fails to keep the appointment. So the former is “被放鸽子(bèi fàng gēzi).” You can say “我被朋友放鸽子了(wǒ bèi péngyou fàng gēzi le)” my friend fails to keep the appointment to express that your friend didn’t keep his/her words with you.

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