Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Literally: notch the boat in search of the sword
- 239 BCE: Lü Buwei, Mister Lü's Spring and Autumn Annals (呂氏春秋˙察今)
- There was a man from the state of Chu who was crossing a river. His sword fell from the boat into the river. He quickly made a notch on the boat saying, "This is the place where my sword fell in. When the boat stops, I will go into the water and search for my sword from the spot where I made the notch." The boat was already moving, but the sword had not moved. Is it not suspect to search for the sword in this manner?
刻舟求剑 (simplified, Pinyin 刻舟求劍), traditional
- rigidly cling to an idea or approach without considering the reality of a situation; to stubbornly cling to tradition
- c. 1330 - 1400: Luo Guanzhong, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Chapter 120 (三国演义/第120回)
- c. 1900 - 1995: Xia Yan, Unite and advance through liberation thought (解放思想团结前进)