三人成虎

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Chinese[edit]

three man; person; people
 
finish; complete; accomplish; become; turn into; win; succeed; one tenth
tiger
trad. (三人成虎)
simp. #(三人成虎)
Wikipedia has an article on:

Etymology[edit]

A tale in Zhan Guo Ce:

太子邯鄲:「?」:「。」「?」:「寡人。」「?」:「寡人。」:「然而邯鄲大梁。」:「寡人。」於是辭行讒言太子不得 [Classical Chinese, trad.][▼ expand/hide]
太子邯郸:“?”:“。”“?”:“寡人。”“?”:“寡人。”:“然而邯郸大梁。”:“寡人。”于是辞行谗言太子不得 [Classical Chinese, simp.]
From: Zhan Guo Ce, circa 5th – 3rd centuries BCE
Páng Cōng yǔ tàizǐ zhì yú Hándān, wèi Wèi wáng yuē: “Jīn yī rén yán shì yǒu hǔ, wáng xìn zhī hū?” Wáng yuē: “Fǒu.” “èr rén yán shì yǒu hǔ, wáng xìn zhī hū?” Wáng yuē: “Guǎrén yí zhī yǐ.” “sān rén yán shì yǒu hǔ, wáng xìn zhī hū?” Wáng yuē: “Guǎrén xìn zhī yǐ.” Páng Cōng yuē: “Fú shì zhī wú hǔ míng yǐ, rán'ér sānrén yán ér chénghǔ. Jīn Hándān qù Dàliáng yě yuǎn yú shì, ér yì chén zhě guò yú sān rén yǐ. Yuàn wáng chá zhī yǐ.” Wáng yuē: “Guǎrén zì wéi zhī.” Yúshì cíxíng, ér chányán xiān zhì. Hòu tàizǐ bà zhì, guǒ bùdé jiàn. [Pinyin]
Pang Cong (The king of Wei's minister) 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 (capital of the state of Wei) 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)

Pronunciation[edit]


Proverb[edit]

三人成虎

  1. What you are told three times is true. If something is repeated by many individuals, it will be accepted as truth.

See also[edit]