大意失荊州

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Mandarin[edit]

simpl. and trad.

Etymology[edit]

Literally: carelessness lost Jingzhou

From the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Guan Yu had been assigned to defend Jingzhou. In a temporary lapse of judgement, he decided to go on the attack against Cao Cao. In doing so, he unwittingly gave Sun Quan an opportunity to attack Jingzhou. Guan Yu was captured, and later executed.

Idiom[edit]

大意失荊州 (traditional and simplified, Pinyin dàyì shī jīngzhōu)

  1. to have a temporary lapse in judgement that results in a major defeat; make a bad call and lose the farm
    我们绝对不能轻敌大意失荆州”。 (simp.)
     
    我們絕對不能輕敵大意失荊州”。 (trad.)
    We absolutely must not regard the enemy too lightly, and thereby make a bad call and lose the farm.