Learn Chinese Idiom 愚公移山

Posted by yuyu zhao on May 04, 2016

Learn Chinese Idiom 愚公移山

There are plenty of ways to learn Chinese, to learn Chinese by podcasts, videos, stories, culture, learn Chinese with online tutors, etc. Learning Chinese idioms is also useful, because one can not only learn the language, but better understand Chinese culture. 愚公移山 (yú ɡōnɡ yí shān). Do you know what this idiom means? Let’s start with an interesting Chinese proverb!


Once upon a time, there were two large mountains - Taihang Mountain and Wangwu Mountain, which sat in front of an old man Yu’s house. Because the mountains blocked the way, the Yu’s families had to walk many extra miles in order to go out. One day, Yu called together the whole family to discuss removing the mountains. His wife shook her head and said“Where are we going to put the earth and sand we dug out?”The others said“We can dump it in the sea.”


The next day in the early morning, Yu began digging the mountain with his families. An old man called Zhi Sou saw them working and laughed: "Mr. Fool, you're so old and weak. Why do you want to remove the mountains? You won’t be able to remove it even before you die!" Yu smiled and said:”Your mind is so stubborn and old. If I die, there will be my sons. Sons will have grandsons and grandsons will have sons. There will be no end, but the mountain will not grow. As time goes on, the mountains will be removed one day!” Zhi Sou said nothing and left.


Proverb 愚公移山 literally means "Mr. Fool Wants to Move the Mountain". The story tells us: with persistence and determination, any difficulties, even big ones can be solved.



yùdào zàidàde kùnnán, wǒmen dōu yàoyǒu yúɡōnɡyíshānde jīnɡshén.

遇到 再大的 困难,我们 要有 愚公移山的 精神。

However big the difficulty is, we should have the spirit of “Mr. Fool”.


yīnwèi yǒu yúɡōnɡyíshānde jīnɡshén, zhōnɡɡuóde qīnɡzànɡtiělù cái nénɡɡòu xiūzhù chénɡɡōnɡ.

因为 愚公移山的 精神,中国的 青藏铁路 能够 修筑 成功。

Qinghai-Tibet Railway can’t be constructed without the spirit of “Mr. Fool”.

Watch video and listen to the example recordings of this Chinese idiom 愚公移山



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