Chinese Proverb, Chinese Proverbs, Old Chinese Sayings and Quotes

A collection of widely known and accepted Chinese proverbs, quotes and sayings translated into English.

O eggs, never fight with stones! ~Chinese proverb

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. ~Chinese proverb

Man fools himself. He prays for a long life and he fears old age. ~Chinese proverb

Learning is treasure no thief can touch. ~Chinese proverb

Just as tall trees are known by their shadows, so are good men known by their enemies. ~Chinese proverb

If there is a strong general, there will be no weak soldiers. ~Chinese proverb

Failing to plan is planning to fail. ~Chinese proverb

Despise learning and make everyone pay for your ignorance. ~Chinese proverb

Cheap things are not good, good things are not cheap. ~Chinese proverb

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. ~Chinese proverb

A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man perfected without trials. ~Chinese proverb

A day of sorrow is longer than a month of joy. ~Chinese proverb

Patience is a bitter plant, but it has sweet fruit. ~Chinese proverb

It is the beautiful bird which gets caged. ~Chinese proverb

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. ~Chinese proverb

The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth. ~Chinese proverb

One dog barks at something, the rest bark at him. ~Chinese proverb

Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up. ~Chinese proverb

Illness comes in by mouth; ills come out by it. ~Chinese proverb

A hundred men may make an encampment, but it takes a woman to make a home. ~Chinese proverb

A rat who gnaws at a cat’s tail invites destruction. ~Chinese proverb ~Chinese proverb

A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study. ~Chinese proverb

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever. ~Chinese proverb

Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still. ~Chinese proverb

He who strikes the first blow admits he’s lost the argument. ~Chinese proverb

A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers. ~Chinese proverb

To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. ~Chinese proverb

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. ~Chinese proverb

When you drink the water, remember the spring. ~Chinese proverb

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow. ~Chinese proverb

Don’t open a shop unless you like to smile. ~Chinese proverb

A smile will gain you ten more years of life. ~Chinese proverb

Do good, reap good; do evil, reap evil. ~Chinese proverb


A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. ~Chinese proverb

A book tightly shut is but a block of paper. ~Chinese proverb

A wicked book cannot repent. ~Chinese proverb

A book holds a house of gold. ~Chinese proverb

Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself. ~Chinese proverb

A nation’s treasure is in its scholars. ~Chinese proverb

Looking for fish? Don’t climb a tree. ~Chinese proverb

One cannot manage too many affairs; like pumpkins in water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other. ~Chinese proverb

Do not remove a fly from your friend’s forehead with a hatchet. ~Chinese proverb

Once bitten by a snake, you are even frightened by a rope that resembles a snake. ~Chinese proverb

Man cannot stir one inch without the push of heaven’s finger. ~Chinese proverb

If you are standing upright, don’t worry if your shadow is crooked. ~Chinese proverb

Better go to heaven in rags than to hell in embroidery. ~Chinese proverb

Of a dead leopard we keep the skin, of man his reputation. ~Chinese proverb

Have but few friends though much acquaintance. ~Chinese proverb

A person who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the man doing it. ~Chinese proverb

If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time. ~Chinese proverb

He who is drowned is not troubled by the rain. ~Chinese proverb

A fool judges people by the presents they give him. ~Chinese proverb

Each generation will reap what the former generation has sown. ~Chinese proverb

A young doctor makes a full graveyard. ~Chinese proverb

Grass fears the frost, frost fears the sun. ~Chinese proverb

A filthy mouth will not utter decent language. ~Chinese proverb

Deep doubts, deep wisdom; small doubts, little wisdom. ~Chinese proverb

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. ~Chinese proverb

If you don’t want anyone to know, don’t do it. ~Chinese proverb

If you want to know your past — look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future — look into your present actions. ~Chinese proverb

What you do not wish upon yourself, extend not to others. ~Chinese proverb

Life is an echo; what you send out comes back. ~Chinese proverb

If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude. ~Chinese proverb

Man has a thousand plans, heaven but one. ~Chinese proverb

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ~Chinese proverb

Govern yourself and you can govern the world. ~Chinese proverb

Learning is better than house and land. ~Chinese proverb

Hatred corrodes the vessel in which it is stored. ~Chinese proverb

All things at first appear difficult. ~Chinese proverb

He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves: one for his enemy and one for himself. ~Chinese proverb

Four things come not back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity. ~Chinese proverb

Don’t waste too many stones on one bird. ~Chinese proverb

Nature, time and patience are the three great physicians. ~Chinese proverb

To open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art. ~Chinese proverb

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. ~Chinese proverb

Manners maketh man. ~Chinese proverb

O man, you who do not live a hundred years, why fret a thousand minutes? ~Chinese proverb

Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand. ~Chinese proverb

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses. ~Chinese proverb

Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends whom we choose. ~Chinese proverb

A bad workman blames his tools. ~Chinese proverb

Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched. ~Chinese proverb

If you don’t go into the cave of the tiger, how are you going to get its cub? ~Chinese proverb

Past scholars studied to improve themselves; Today’s scholars study to impress others. ~Chinese proverb

An inch of time is an inch of gold, but you can’t buy that inch of time with an inch of gold. ~Chinese proverb

Seeing it once is better than being told 100 times. ~Chinese proverb

A man’s conversation is the mirror of his thoughts. ~Chinese proverb

Mallet strikes chisel; chisel splits wood. ~Chinese proverb

Dogs have so many friends because they wag their tails, not their tongues. ~Chinese proverb

Pick the flower when it is ready to be picked. ~Chinese proverb

A bad worker quarrels with his tools. ~Chinese proverb

No wisdom like silence. ~Chinese proverb

Easy to know men’s faces, not their hearts. ~Chinese proverb

He who sacrifices his conscience to ambition burns a picture to obtain the ashes. ~Chinese proverb

Be not disturbed at being misunderstood; be disturbed at not understanding. ~Chinese proverb

A good neighbor is a found treasure. ~Chinese proverb

If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. ~Chinese proverb

If you always give, you will always have. ~Chinese proverb

A bad word whispered will echo a hundred miles. ~Chinese proverb

Far waters cannot quench near fires. ~Chinese proverb

Learn to handle a writing-brush and you’ll never handle a begging-bowl. ~Chinese proverb

It’s as difficult to be rich without bragging as it is to be poor without complaining. ~Chinese proverb

Rats know the way of rats. ~Chinese proverb

Easy to run downhill, much puffing to run up. ~Chinese proverb

A dog won’t forsake his master because of poverty; a son never deserts his mother because of her homely appearance. ~Chinese proverb

Count not what is lost but what is left. ~Chinese proverb

Habits are cobwebs at first, cables at last. ~Chinese proverb

Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own. ~Chinese proverb

Flowing water never goes bad; our door hubs never gather termites. ~Chinese proverb

If there is beauty in character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. ~Chinese proverb

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. ~Chinese proverb

Know thyself to know others, for heart beats like heart. ~Chinese proverb

Just scales and full measure injure no man. ~Chinese proverb

Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will come. ~Chinese proverb

It takes little effort to watch a man carry a load. ~Chinese proverb

No matter how tall the mountain, it cannot block out the sun. ~Chinese proverb

One generation plants the trees, another gets the shade. ~Chinese proverb

If you get up one more time than you fall you will make it through. ~Chinese proverb

One step at a time is good walking. ~Chinese proverb

Pleasures are shallow, sorrows deep. ~Chinese proverb

Love is blind. ~Chinese proverb

Pure gold does not fear the smelter. ~Chinese proverb

A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark. ~Chinese proverb

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