朽木不可雕

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Chinese[edit]

rotten wood; hopeless case; good-for-nothing cannot; should not; must not engrave; shrewd
simp. and trad.
(朽木不可雕)
朽木 不可
Literally: “One cannot make a carving from rotten wood.”

Etymology[edit]

From the Analects of Confucius:

朽木不可雕糞土不可 [Classical Chinese, trad.][▼ expand/hide]
朽木不可雕粪土不可 [Classical Chinese, simp.]
From: The Analects of Confucius, circa 475 – 221 BCE, translated based on James Legge's version
Xiǔmù bùkě diāo yě, fèntǔ zhī qiáng bùkě wū yě! Yú Yǔ yǔ hé zhū? [Pinyin]
Rotten wood cannot be carved; a wall of dirty earth will not receive the trowel. This Yu! - what is the use of my reproving him?

Pronunciation[edit]


Proverb[edit]

朽木不可雕

  1. You can’t get pete from a tree; You can’t teach a student that doesn’t have the aptitude.