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As we know, Chinese directions can be categorized as 六合八方, but none of them is related to the number 10?

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2 Answers 2

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KEY defines: 十面 as: (on) all sides, (from) all sides

Also from a Baidu Zhidao question: 十面指的东,南,西,北,东北,东南,西北,西南,上,下

Ten sides: east, south, west, north, north-east, south-east, north-west, south-west, above, below

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I think "十" meaning "complete, perfect" is the intention. The Baidu Zhidao theory sounds dubious because it's mixing 六合 and 八方 directions. –  congusbongus Apr 9 at 1:57
    
@congusbongus you have reason, but in real life we normally say 四面埋伏. I had had thought that there to be a specific story for that expression... –  user3685 Apr 9 at 2:14
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@user3685 "四面埋伏" isn't a chengyu. Sounds like an eggcorn or mistaken for 四面楚歌, which is a synonym. 十面埋伏 is often associated with 垓下之战. –  congusbongus Apr 9 at 2:27

古文中这类数词多有虚指之意,例如“三番五次”是指“许多次”而非“3+5=8次”,“士别三日,当刮目相看”也不是真的隔了“3天”而是一段时间。“十面埋伏”应该也不是严格意义上的“十面”,而是到处都是埋伏的意思吧。

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“士别三日”是因为典故里面就是实打实的三天吧。。。十面埋伏是古曲,所以我想是不是也专门有个典故的说。 –  user3685 Apr 9 at 2:12

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