破釜沉舟

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Chinese[edit]

 
to break; to split; broken
to break; to split; broken; damaged; worn out
kettle; caldron
 
submerge; immerse; sink
submerge; immerse; sink; deep; profound; to lower; to drop
boat
simp. and trad.
(破釜沉舟)
Literally:break the (cooking) pots and sink the boat”.

Etymology[edit]

In reference to an incident which occurred during the Battle of Julu:

廬舍士卒 [Classical Chinese, trad.]
庐舍士卒 [Classical Chinese, simp.]
From: The Records of the Grand Historian, by Sima Qian, circa 91 BCE
Xiàng Yǔ nǎi xī yǐn bīng dù Hé, jiē chén chuán, zèng, shāo lúshè, chí sān rì liáng, yǐ shì shìzú bì sǐ, wú yī huán xīn. [Pinyin]
Thus Xiang Yu led his entire army across the River He (i.e. the Yellow River). He had all the boats sunk, the caldrons and clay boilers broken, and the camp lodgings burned. He further ordered that only three days' provisions should be carried. With these measures, he showed that every man was now ready to die and none of them would entertain the very idea of returning.

Pronunciation[edit]


Idiom[edit]

破釜沉舟

  1. to burn one's boats; to cross the Rubicon; to reach the point of no return