鷸蚌相爭,漁人得利

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Chinese[edit]

sandpiper and clam war together; neighbors who can't agree lose out to a third party fisherman attains success; it is always the third party who benefits
trad. (鷸蚌相爭,漁人得利) 鷸蚌相爭 漁人得利
simp. (鹬蚌相争,渔人得利) 鹬蚌相争 渔人得利
alt. forms 鷸蚌相爭,漁翁得利鹬蚌相争,渔翁得利
鷸蚌相爭,漁人獲利鹬蚌相争,渔人获利
鷸蚌相持,漁人得利鹬蚌相持,渔人得利
Literally: “When the snipe and the oyster fight, it is the fisherman who reaps the reward”.

Etymology[edit]

From Zhan Guo Ce:

:「易水:『今日明日。』:『今日明日。』相支大眾漁父熟計。」:「。」 [Classical Chinese, trad.][▼ expand/hide]
:“易水:‘今日明日。’:‘今日明日。’相支大众渔父熟计。”:“。” [Classical Chinese, simp.]
From: Zhan Guo Ce, circa 5th – 3rd centuries BCE
Zhào qiě fá Yān, Sū Dài wèi Yān wáng wèi Huì wáng yuē: “Jīn zhě chén lái, guò Yìshuǐ, bàng fāng chū pù, ér yù zhuó qí ròu, bàng hé ér qián qí huì. Yù yuē: ‘Jīnrì bù yù, míngrì bù yù, jí yǒu sǐ bàng.’ Bàng yì wèi yù yuē: ‘Jīnrì bù chū, míngrì bù chū, jí yǒu sǐ yù.’ Liǎng zhě bù kěn shě, yú zhě dé ér bìng qín zhī. Jīn Zhào qiě fá Yān, Yān, Zhào jiǔ xiāngzhī, yǐ bì dàzhòng, chén kǒng qiáng Qín zhī wéi yúfù yě. Gù yuàn wáng zhī shújì zhī yě.” Huì wáng yuē: “Shàn.” Nǎi zhǐ. [Pinyin]
When Zhao was about to attack Yan, Su Dai spoke to King Hui of Zhao on behalf of the king of Yan. He said, “On my way here today, as I crossed the Yi River, I spotted an oyster that had opened its shell to sun itself. Just then, a snipe began to peck at the flesh inside its shell. The oyster closed its shell on the beak of the snipe so that it could not get away.
The snipe said, “It is not raining today, nor will it rain tomorrow. You shall die, Oyster.”
To which the oyster replied, “You shall not escape my grip today, nor shall you escape it tomorrow. It is you who will die (of hunger), Snipe.” Neither side would yield, at which point, a fisherman came by and snatched them both into his net.
Today, Zhao is on the verge of attacking Yan. Yan and Zhao have been at odds for a long time, and have caused their people to suffer. I am afraid that the fisherman in this case will be the mighty Qin. For this reason, I hope that your highness will give the matter your mature consideration. King Hui said, “ok fine” and called off the attack. (Wiktionary translation)

Pronunciation[edit]


  • Mandarin
  • Cantonese
    • (Standard Cantonese, Guangzhou)+
      • Jyutping: wat6 pong5 soeng1 zang1, jyu4 jan4 dak1 lei6, jyut6 pong5 soeng1 zang1, jyu4 jan4 dak1 lei6, leot6 pong5 soeng1 zang1, jyu4 jan4 dak1 lei6
      • Yale: waht póhng sēung jāng, yùh yàhn dāk leih, yuht póhng sēung jāng, yùh yàhn dāk leih, leuht póhng sēung jāng, yùh yàhn dāk leih
      • Cantonese Pinyin: wat9 pong5 soeng1 dzang1, jy4 jan4 dak7 lei6, jyt9 pong5 soeng1 dzang1, jy4 jan4 dak7 lei6, loet9 pong5 soeng1 dzang1, jy4 jan4 dak7 lei6
      • Guangdong Romanization: wed6 pong5 sêng1 zeng1, yu4 yen4 deg1 léi6, yud6 pong5 sêng1 zeng1, yu4 yen4 deg1 léi6, lêd6 pong5 sêng1 zeng1, yu4 yen4 deg1 léi6
      • IPA (key): /wɐt̚² pʰɔːŋ¹³ sœːŋ⁵⁵ t͡sɐŋ⁵⁵ jyː²¹ jɐn²¹ tɐk̚⁵ lei̯²²/, /jyːt̚² pʰɔːŋ¹³ sœːŋ⁵⁵ t͡sɐŋ⁵⁵ jyː²¹ jɐn²¹ tɐk̚⁵ lei̯²²/, /lɵt̚² pʰɔːŋ¹³ sœːŋ⁵⁵ t͡sɐŋ⁵⁵ jyː²¹ jɐn²¹ tɐk̚⁵ lei̯²²/

Proverb[edit]

鷸蚌相爭,漁人得利

  1. Two dogs fight for a bone, but a third runs away with it.

Synonyms[edit]

See also[edit]