Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
|simpl. and trad.|
- c. 77 BCE - 6 BCE: Liu Xiang, Zhan Guo Ce, Strategies of Wei, Chapter 2 (戰國策)
- (trad.) 龐葱與太子質於邯鄲，謂魏王曰：“今一人言市有虎，王信之乎？”王曰：“否。”“二人言市有虎，王信之乎？”王曰：“寡人疑之矣。”“三人言市有虎，王信之乎？”王曰：“寡人信之矣。”龐葱曰：“夫市之無虎明矣，然而三人言而成虎。今邯鄲去大梁也遠於市，而議臣者過於三人矣。願王察之矣。”王曰：“寡人自為知。”於是辭行，而讒言先至。後太子罷質，果不得見。
- (simp.) 庞葱与太子质于邯郸，谓魏王曰：“今一人言市有虎，王信之乎？”王曰：“否。”“二人言市有虎，王信之乎？”王曰：“寡人疑之矣。”“三人言市有虎，王信之乎？”王曰：“寡人信之矣。”庞葱曰：“夫市之无虎明矣，然而三人言而成虎。今邯郸去大梁也远于市，而议臣者过于三人矣。愿王察之矣。”王曰：“寡人自为知。”于是辞行，而谗言先至。后太子罢质，果不得见。
- Pang Cong and the crown prince were to become hostages at Handan. (Before leaving,) he asked the king of Wei, "Now if one person said that there was a tiger in the market, would your majesty believe it?" The king said, "No." (Then, Pang Cong said,) "If two people said that there was a tiger in the market, would your majesty believe it?" The king responded, "I would be suspicious about it." (Finally, Pang Cong asked,) "If three people said that there was a tiger in the market, would your majesty believe it?" The king replied, "I would believe it." Pang Cong said, "Whereas it is clear that there is no tiger in the market, yet three people saying so produces the tiger. Now then, Handan is further away from Daliang than the market, and the number of people that will slander me will be more than three. I hope that your majesty (is able to) see that!" The king said, "I (already) know (that without you having to tell me)." Thus, he bid (the king) farewell, but the slander had already started. Later on, the crown prince was released, but (Pang Cong) was not granted an audience (with the king of Wei). (Wiktionary translation)
三人成虎 (traditional and simplified, Pinyin)
- What you are told three times is true. If something is repeated by many individuals, it will be accepted as truth.
- ^ The king of Wei's minister
- ^ During the Warring states period, it was a common practice to exchange crown princes as hostages. This practice ensured that the various kings would honor their agreements. In this case, the crown prince refers to the heir apparent to the king of Wei.
- ^ Present day Kaifeng. Formerly, the capital of the state of Wei.