不為五斗米折腰

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Chinese[edit]

not; no
 
because of; for; to
because of; for; to; act as; take...to be; to be; to do; to serve as; to become
five
 
ladle; dipper; small
ladle; dipper; small; big; stars
rice; meter to bow in obeisance
trad. (不為五斗米折腰/不爲五斗米折腰) / 折腰
simp. (不为五斗米折腰) 折腰
Literally: “to not bow down for the sake of five pecks (or decalitres) of rice”.

Etymology[edit]

From the Book of Jin Volume 94 Biographies of Hermits and Recluses "Tao Qian" (晉書·卷九四·隱逸傳·陶潛):

督郵束帶」,:「折腰拳拳鄉里小人!」 [Classical Chinese, trad.]
督邮束带”,:“折腰拳拳乡里小人!” [Classical Chinese, simp.]
From: 648 CE, Fang Xuanling (lead editor), Book of Jin
Jùn qiǎn dūyóu zhì xiàn, lì bái “yīng shùdài jiàn zhī”, Qián tàn yuē: “Wú néng wèi wǔ dǒu mǐ zhéyāo, quánquán shì xiānglǐ xiǎorén yé!” [Pinyin]
The commandery sent a postal inspector to the county (where Tao Qian worked as the county magistrate), and an official (subordinate to Tao Qian) suggested: "You should wear formal clothes to see him." Qian sighed: "I cannot bow down for the sake of five pecks of rice and flatter a base person!"

Pronunciation[edit]


Idiom[edit]

不為五斗米折腰

  1. to not compromise one's integrity just to earn a small salary in a dead-end job; to not sacrifice one's ideals in order to make a living