花開堪折直須折

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Chinese[edit]

 
flower; blossom; to spend; fancy pattern
open; operate (vehicle); start endure
 
tenth (in price); to break; to fold; to turn; broken (as of rope, stick)
 
straight; vertical; frank; directly; straightly; upright
necessary; must; need
 
tenth (in price); to break; to fold; to turn; broken (as of rope, stick)
trad. (花開堪折直須折)
simp. (花开堪折直须折)
Literally: “If a flower is blooming, and you can pluck it, go ahead and pluck it.”

Etymology[edit]

From the poem “The Golden Dress” (《金縷衣》):

金縷衣少年花開堪折直須折莫待無花空折枝 [Classical Chinese, trad.][▼ expand/hide]
金缕衣少年花开堪折直须折莫待无花空折枝 [Classical Chinese, simp.]
From: Tang dynasty, author unknown, likely Du Qiuniang (杜秋娘), “The Golden Dress” (《金縷衣》)
Translation from 300 Tang Poems, A New Translation (edited by Xu Yuan-zhong, Loh Bei-yei and Wu Juntao, ISBN 957-586-278-3)
Quàn jūn mò xī jīnlǚyī, quàn jūn xī qǔ shàonián shí. Huā kāi kān zhé zhí xū zhé, mò dài wú huā kōng zhé zhī. [Pinyin]
Love not your golden dress, I pray,
More than your youthful golden hours!
Gather sweet flowers while you may,
And not the twig of flowers!

This is also the etymology for 莫待無花空折枝莫待无花空折枝 (mò dài wú huā kōng zhé zhī).

Pronunciation[edit]


Proverb[edit]

花開堪折直須折

  1. Seize the day; carpe diem.

Synonyms[edit]