Chinese Idiom: 愚公移山 - To have fierce determination

November 16, 2022

Today, we want to share the story behind the popular idiom “愚公移山" (yú gōng yí shān).

It is roughly translated as “fierce determination” in English. We have included both the Chinese and the English versions of the story below.

Now, let's find out what it really means…

愚公移山 yú gōng yí shān 1

很久以前,有一位老人叫愚公。他家门前有两座大山挡住了路,他每次出门,都因被这两座大山阻隔,要绕很远的路,才能到外面去,出行十分不便。

Once upon a time, there was an old man called Yú Gōng. The road from his home was blocked by two great big mountains. Every time he left the house, he had to take a longer route just to get around the mountains; it was extremely inconvenient.

一天,愚公对家人说:“我们全家一起合作,把挡在门口的两座大山移开,让门口的路可以直通到外面的大路上,你们看好不好?”全家一听,都点头赞成。

One day, Yú Gōng said to his family: “Let’s work together and move those mountains blocking our home so that the road from our house will lead straight to the main road. What do you think?” Everyone nodded and agreed with Yú Gōng.

愚公移山 yú gōng yí shān 2

第二天,愚公和他的儿子、孙子三人一起到山边开始挖。这时候,有一个叫智叟的老人,忍不住嘲笑他们:“愚公呀,你实在太糊涂了,年纪这么大了,凭你这有限的精力,到死也不可能把大山移开的。”

The second day, Yú Gōng , along with his son and grandson, began digging at the foot of the mountain. Zhì Sǒu, another old man, couldn’t help but laugh at them. He said: “Yú Gōng, you’re not thinking straight. At your age, your energy is limited. You couldn’t move the mountain even if it was the last thing you did.”

愚公听了他的话,笑笑说:“智叟,你才糊涂呢!我虽然很老,我还有儿子可以继续去做;儿子还会生孙子,孙子还会再生儿子,我们的子子孙孙是没有穷尽的,而山却不会再增高,总有一天会把这两座大山搬走。”智叟无话可说,只好走开了。

Yú Gōng heard him and laughed: “Zhì Sǒu, you’re the one not thinking straight! I may be old, but my son will continue the work, then my grandson, and so on. There is no limit to my family’s manpower. Seeing as the mountain won’t grow, there will be a day we move the mountains.” Zhì Sǒu heard this and was speechless, and so he turned around and left.

后来,天神听说了这件事儿,被愚公的精神感动,派了两个神仙把这两座山背走了,不再挡在愚公家门口了。

The gods heard this and were moved by Yú Gōng’s spirit, and so they sent two immortal beings down to move the two mountains. The mountains no longer blocked Yú Gōng’s home.

愚公 yú gōng (The main character's name)

愚公 yú gōng in 愚公移山 yú gōng yí shān

(Move)

移yí in  愚公移山 yú gōng yí shān

shān (Mountain)

山 shān in 愚公移山 yú gōng yí shān

例句 (Example Sentences)

做事如果有愚公移山的精神,遇到再大的困难也不怕。
Zuòshì rúguǒ yǒu yúgōngyíshān de jīngshén, yù dào zài dà de kùnnán yě bùpà.
If you do things with strong determination and perseverance, there is no problem you can’t overcome.

我们要继承和发扬愚公移山的精神。
Wǒmen yào jìchéng hé fāyáng yúgōngyíshān de jīngshén.
We must inherit and carry forward this spirit of determination.

我们要以愚公移山的精神征服沙漠,让它变成绿洲。
Wǒmen yào yǐ yúgōngyíshān de jīngshén zhēngfú shāmò, ràng tā biàn chéng lǜzhōu.
We must conquer this desert with great determination to turn it into an oasis.

About the Writer

Zhao Laoshi

Hainan Normal University graduate; Previously taught Chinese in Indonesia. Zhao laoshi is loved for her friendly attitude in class.

ZHAO LAOSHI CY AUTHOR


Want to learn more? We have more Chinese Idioms in store for you!