Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- c. 479 BCE – 221 BCE, anon, Analects of Confucius/Part 17 (论语/阳货第十七)
- The master went to Wucheng. When he heard the sound of ritual court music, the master smiled and said, "Why use an ox cleaver to kill a chicken?" Ziyou replied, "In that past, I have heard you say, 'If a ruler learns the way, then he will love the people. If a person of low station learns the way, then it will be easier for him to serve.'" The master said, "Gentlemen! What Yan said is correct. As for my previous statement, I was only teasing him!" (Wiktionary translation)
- ^ Confucius was visiting his disciple Yan Yan, who was commandant of Wucheng at the time.
- ^ Confucius was joking with his disciple, suggesting that ritual court music might be a bit over the top, when considering that Wucheng was such a lowly assignment.
- ^ Yan Yan is suggesting that even though Wucheng is a small outpost, its civil servants should still be educated in proper court etiquette.
割鸡焉用牛刀 (simplified, Pinyin 割雞焉用牛刀), traditional
- Why use an ox cleaver to kill a chicken?
- "割鸡焉用牛刀" (in Mandarin), Guoyu Cidian On-line Mandarin Dictionary (國語辭典). URL accessed on 2008-02-28.