ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Witty and Wise Chinese Proverbs

Updated on November 25, 2016

Here is a delightful collection of Chinese proverbs which gives us a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Chinese people. Their wise sayings are drawn from experience of their daily lives, observation on subjects ranging from friendship to common sense and folk wisdom. The value of Chinese proverbs has increased with the passing of the ages because they ring as true today as they were thousands of years ago.

Reading Pavilion at Chinese Garden of Friendship - Darling Harbour
Reading Pavilion at Chinese Garden of Friendship - Darling Harbour | Source

  • A single spark can set a prairie on fire.
  • Water can both sustain and sink a ship.
  • Count not what is lost, but what is left.
  • If there is a strong general there will be no weak soldiers.
  • To extend your life by a year take one less bite each meal.
  • Peace only comes when reason rules.
  • Even the tallest tower started form the ground.
  • Eloquence provides only persuasion, but truth buys loyalty.
  • Wisdom is attained by learning when to hold one's tongue.
  • A single tree cannot make a forest

2007 Chinese New Year's Parade -Sydney.
2007 Chinese New Year's Parade -Sydney. | Source

  • If one eats less one will taste more.
  • One hand alone cannot clap, it takes two to quarrel.
  • It does not matter if the cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.
  • Cowards have dreams, brave men have visions
  • Learning is like the horizon; there is no limit.
  • The old horse will know the way
  • A good friend shields you from the storm
  • Change the skin, wash the heart
  • Sow melon, reap melon; sow beans, reap beans.
  • One sings, all follow.

Chinatown - Melbourne
Chinatown - Melbourne | Source

  • Fortune has a fickle heart and a short memory.
  • Harsh words and poor reasoning never settle anything.
  • Dangerous enemies will meet again in narrow streets.
  • Better to bend in the wind than to break.
  • Do not kill the hen for her eggs.
  • First attain skill; creativity comes later.
  • Make the cap fit the head.
  • A single beam cannot support a great house.
  • Do not be concerned with things outside your door.
  • Wise men may not be learned; learned men may not be wise.

Chinese Round Pavillion- Darling Harbour, Sydney.
Chinese Round Pavillion- Darling Harbour, Sydney. | Source

  • Crows are black the world over.
  • Do not lift a rock only to drop it on your own foot
  • Kill the chicken to frigthen the monkey
  • Wait long, strike fast.
  • Do not wait until you're thirsty to dig a well
  • One who would pick the roses must bear with thorns
  • Failure is the mother of success.
  • Do not climb a tree to look for a fish
  • Only time and effort brings proficiency
  • Distance tests the endurance of a horse; time reveals a man's character.

Chinese Garden of Friendship - Darling Harbour , Sydney
Chinese Garden of Friendship - Darling Harbour , Sydney | Source
  • Man proposes and God disposes.
  • Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.
  • It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.
  • Man fools himself. He prays for a long life and he fears old age.
  • A really great man never puts away the simplicity of a child.
  • Only joy scatters a hundred griefs.
  • Drinking the water of a well, one should never forget who dug it.
  • Only he that has traveled the road knows where the holes are deep.
  • Honest advice is unpleasant to the ear.
  • An open book benefits your mind.


  • Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
  • Heaven has a road, but no one travels it, hell has no gate but men will dig to get there.
  • Preserve the old, but know the new.
  • A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
  • A closed mind is like a closed book, just a block of wood.
  • To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.
  • It is not necessary to light a candle to the sun.
  • Talk doesn't cook rice
  • If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.
  • He who asks is a fool for 5 minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

More Chinese Proverbs and Sayings

  • Sayings of Confucius
    Sayings from a wise man, born in 551 BCE in a small State of Lu and became one of China's great philosopher.
  • 38 Witty and Wise Chinese Sayings
    Chinese sayings are simple, short and witty but they give a direct message that will reach the heart and mind of the readers, they are condensed truth that are evident in our daily life,


Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Neng 

      3 years ago

      Really a great collection of thoughts, love this one "Water can both sustain and sink a ship." Share useful page here famous Chinese sayings

      http://chinesequote.com

    • profile image

      jojo 

      4 years ago

      here's one:

      "Better a little caution than a big regret."

    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 

      4 years ago from United States

      My most favorite: "Do not lift a rock only to drop it on your own foot" :)

    • Tabithar profile image

      Tabithar 

      4 years ago from KY

      I love inspirational proverbs/quotes. Clicking the follow button! :)

    • profile image

      Ochala Odol Ochala 

      4 years ago

      Very wonderful collection. Thanks to Chinese

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Very enjoyable! This one was one of my favorites: •Do not be concerned with things outside your door. Thanks for compiling this together!

    • profile image

      Kim Jong 

      5 years ago

      "Water can both sustain and sink a ship."

      Never have "non loyal suporter"

    • profile image

      newjerseybt 

      5 years ago

      Birds with wet feet, don't fly high at night.

    • Tracywang profile image

      Tracywang 

      6 years ago from Guilin,China

      Good proverbs, love this one "Water can both sustain and sink a ship." Share useful page here famous Chinese sayings http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/learnin...

    • louromano profile image

      louromano 

      6 years ago

      Very nice pictures and proverbs! Thank you. Great hub.

    • profile image

      kezang choden 

      6 years ago

      Really, really loved them.Thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      subbuthalavai 

      6 years ago

      Not only a nice, but a very wise collection of wise and witty proverbs. Origin:Chinese. Usage:Universal. Thanks a lot.

    • profile image

      Dimsiya 

      6 years ago

      this are awesome proverbs

    • profile image

      jwilla 

      6 years ago

      very nice indeed it makes u think .:))

    • profile image

      seeshma snnazzler 

      6 years ago

      really a great collection of thoughts

    • profile image

      shalom 

      6 years ago

      • Do not climb a tree to look for a fish

      sound fun, n true

      but i don't get the mean?

    • profile image

      coriwbaker 

      6 years ago

      Awesome proverbs. Thanks for collecting and sharing them. I'll also share them.

    • profile image

      Xaheen 

      6 years ago

      Those were great! thanks!

    • profile image

      Minh Anh 

      6 years ago

      thank you for putting proverbs on the internet.

    • profile image

      Corey Joyce 

      7 years ago

      You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation however I to find this topic to be actually one thing that I feel I might by no means understand. It seems too complicated and very large for me. I'm having a look forward for your next publish, I'll try to get the cling of it!

    • pennyofheaven profile image

      pennyofheaven 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Excellent Collection! Thanks!

    • days leaper profile image

      days leaper 

      7 years ago from england

      It is very true that these fellows were and are a clever people. I feel I've learned something here. Thank You.

    • profile image

      Jason 

      7 years ago

      Very nice pictures and proverbs! Thank you! ^^

    • profile image

      Zion 

      7 years ago

      truth makes you stronger,wisdom makes things valuabe,knowledge gives the true value of power

    • profile image

      rdpgiri@gmail.com 

      7 years ago

      an excellent collection and a painstaking effort thanks a lot

    • MM Del Rosario profile imageAUTHOR

      MM Del Rosario 

      8 years ago from NSW, Australia

      I enjoy making this hub and I am continuosly adding more quotes to it .... thanks for all your inspiring comments..

      MM

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Peace comes when reason rules is my favorite. Great collectin of quotes.

    • profile image

      Amy 

      8 years ago

      "Distance tests the endurance of a horse; time reveals a man's character."

      My favorite quote, but this is not entirely accurate.

      "??????????" originally, I believe (if I'm translating correctly) it's more like, "On a distant road you know a horse's strength; through long days you see a person's heart."

      Then again, I'm not a professional translator, and I'm still learning Chinese! :]

      Thank you for your efforts! I enjoyed reading.

    • profile image

      Abenezer 

      8 years ago

      Wow. What a beauty they are, fantastic delightful colorful, other too..... the give some impression upon once life. It make to diversify my knowledge too...

    • profile image

      proverbs man 

      8 years ago

      i know, those are nice pictures.

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

      GojiJuiceGoodness 

      8 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      Great hub! I love the pictures!

    • Moulik Mistry profile image

      Moulik Mistry 

      8 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

      Very nice collection - loved the proverbs...

    • profile image

      Skylar C. 

      8 years ago

      Nice quotes and pics, thanks for sharing.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      "Learning is like the horizon - there is no limit" - that's my favorite of the Chinese proverbs. And I plan to use it when soliciting new executive coaching clients. Thank you for expanding my horizon.

    • Sean Leong profile image

      Sean Leong 

      8 years ago from Malaysia

      Todd,

      What the proverb means is, a person uses the wrong method to accomplish a task.

    • Sean Leong profile image

      Sean Leong 

      8 years ago from Malaysia

      MM,

      I think "A single spark can set a prairie on fire" is a quotation by Mao Zedong,a Chinese revolutionary, political theorist and former Communist leader of the People's Republic of China and "It does not matter if the cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice" is a quotation by Deng Xiaoping, a prominent Chinese politician, statesman, theorist, diplomat and former leader of the Communist Party of China.

    • profile image

      Todd 

      8 years ago

      What if you cant see the fish from the waters edge. :)

      climb the tree?

    • profile image

      Ankush 

      8 years ago

      Very to-the-point and practical collection!

    • tdarby profile image

      tdarby 

      8 years ago

      Loved them. Thanks

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 

      9 years ago

      I especially like 'count not what is lost, but what is left'. I too share your love of quotes.

    • profile image

      Se├ín Mc Mahon. 

      9 years ago

      Long and thin may fit in, but short and thick did the the thrick.

    • profile image

      heaven 

      9 years ago

      that s really interesting... i would like to read more those things.

    • jbackus7 profile image

      jbackus7 

      9 years ago

      These are great quotes. Nice Hub

    • profile image

      Randomized 

      9 years ago

      Chinese sayings are catchy and true! Great work with the compalation.

    • profile image

      M.D.R 

      9 years ago

      Amazing compalation of chinese Genius through your choice.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      A lot of wisdom here. Enjoyed reading these old Chinese proverbs. Nice photos, too.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Wonderful!! And the one I took for my company motto:

      When you reach the top of the Mountain, climb higher!

    • MM Del Rosario profile imageAUTHOR

      MM Del Rosario 

      10 years ago from NSW, Australia

      Thanks for dropping by i am glad you enjoy the proverbs and the photos.

    • jstankevicz profile image

      jstankevicz 

      10 years ago from Cave Creek

      Very nice collection of proverbs and photos.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)