割雞焉用牛刀

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

Chinese[edit]

to kill a chicken where; how to use an ox cleaver; a cleaver for butchering oxen
trad. (割雞焉用牛刀) 割雞 牛刀
simp. (割鸡焉用牛刀) 割鸡 牛刀

Etymology[edit]

  1. ^ Confucius was visiting his disciple Yan Yan, who was commandant of Wucheng at the time.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Yan Yan is suggesting that even though Wucheng is a small outpost, its civil servants should still be educated in proper court etiquette.

Pronunciation[edit]


Proverb[edit]

割雞焉用牛刀

  1. Why use an ox cleaver to kill a chicken?
    呂布背後一人高聲:『割雞焉用牛刀?』不勞溫侯親往 [Classical Chinese, trad.]
    吕布背后一人高声:‘割鸡焉用牛刀?’不劳温侯亲往 [Classical Chinese, simp.]
    From: c. 1330 - 1400: Luo Guanzhong, Romance of the Three Kingdoms/Chapter 5
    Yán wèi jué, lǚbù bèihòu yīrén, gāoshēng chū yuē: ‘gējī yān yòng niúdāo?’ bùláo wēnhóu qīnwǎng. [Pinyin]
    He had not yet finished speaking, when a person standing behind Lü Bu said loudly, "'Why use an ox cleaver to kill a chicken?' We shouldn't trouble the Marquis of Wen to go personally.

Synonyms[edit]

References[edit]

  • “割雞焉用牛刀”, in Guoyu Cidian On-line Mandarin Dictionary (國語辭典)[1] (in Mandarin), accessed 2008-02-28