Chinese Proverbs and Sayings

Here are some Chinese Proverbs and sayings from which everyone can learn something or the other.

An ant may well destroy a whole dam.

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

Crows everywhere are equally black.

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

Distant water won’t help to put out a fire close at hand.

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

Donkey’s lips do not fit onto a horse’s mouth.

Deep doubts, deep wisdom; small doubts, little wisdom.

A fall into a ditch makes you wiser.

Small men think they are small; great men never know they are great.

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

Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still.

A bird can roost but on one branch, a mouse can drink not more than its fill from a river.

As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, even so the wise are not ruffled by praise or blame.

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

A horse cannot gain weight if not fed with extra fodder during the night; a man cannot become wealthy without earnings apart from his regular salaries.

Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend’s forehead.

Cowards have dreams, brave men have visions

A man without a smiling face must not open shop.

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

If you do not study hard when young you’ll end up bewailing your failures as you grow up.

A Jade stone is useless before it is processed; a man is good-for-nothing until he is educated.

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

One cannot refuse to eat just because there is a chance of being choked.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

Wise men may not be learned; learned men may not be wise.

You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.

Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will come

A sly rabbit will have three openings to its den.

All cats love fish but fear to wet their paws.

A great fortune depends on luck, a small one on diligence.

Don’t stand by the water and long for fish; go home and weave a net.

The woman who tells her age is either too young to have anything to lose or too old to have anything to gain.

Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes.

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

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

You won’t help shoots grow by pulling them up higher.

Look for a thing until you find it and you’ll not lose your labor.

Wealth does not pass three generations.

Do not anxiously hope for that which is not yet come; do not vainly regret what is already past.

If you’re poor, change and you’ll succeed.

Man who scratch ass should not bite fingernails.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one.

A bird does not sing because it has an answer.

It sings because it has a song.

A single conversation with a wise man is worth a month’s study of books.

If you plan for one year, plant rice. If you plan for ten years, plant trees. If you plan for 100 years, educate mankind.

I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.

Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know what’s in a person’s heart.

The one who pursues revenge should dig two graves.

He who cannot agree with his enemies is controlled by them.

In the midst of great joy, do not promise anyone anything. In the midst of great anger, do not answer anyone ‘s letter.

If your strength is small, don’t carry heavy burdens. If your words are worthless, don’t give advice.

If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.

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

He who asks is a fool for five minutes. But he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.

Related posts:

  1. Irish Proverbs and Sayings
  2. English Proverbs
  3. Japanese Proverbs


  1. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    [...] “The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.” ~ More Chinese Proverbs [...]

  2. S says:

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    Just wondering. Where may I find the Chinese versions of these proverbs? I recognized many immediately, but some of the translations do not ring a bell. After all, after translation, the language lost its rhythm and rhymes.

    1. admin says:

      I will try add the Chinese versions next to them.

  3. Deepa says:

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    i was really wondering to read a proverb like this…… Hats off to the one who quote such a marvellous proverb…

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