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I don't remember what the story was, but this phrase is about 张仪。You should probably read 史记 or 战国策。张仪 is the student of 鬼谷子。And the story has something to do with a failed 游说。I am sorry I can't provide more details. But even if I do, I am not sure I can tell the story in English, I am not good at it.


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The original allusion was back in the Period od Warring States as deutschZuid has said. "三寸之舌,强于百万之师". Now as to the question of why use 三寸. This is apparently the usage of parallelism which is one of the most common rhetoric in ancient China: [三(number)寸(unit)之舌(noun)],强于[百(number)万(unit)之师(noun)]. Although 百万 is actually a number, it can be interpreted as ...



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