On the lid of the barrel(桶) it says '不可偷看‘

I have the sentence:人很好奇,走过来弯下腰把脑袋伸到桶里探个究竟。

探 = explore, 究竟 = outcome, result

探个究竟 = 'take a look' or 'see what happens' or both OK?

4 Answers 4


Your understanding about and 究竟 is quite right, I just add some additional information about .

has no specific meaning here, usually used between verb and complement for emphasizing, such as 笑个不停, 吃个饱.

So 探个究竟 doesn't just mean take a look or see what happens here, it describes how curious people are about the content in the barrel vividly.

  • regarding 个 in place of 得 see also previous question: simple translation of simple text and question about 个 and 自己
    – user6065
    Aug 12, 2015 at 12:13

It means "To see what/how it is" or "take a look" as you may say it.

I think 究竟 has a similar meaning to "what it is", and 探 here means can mean "look", so I would say "To see what it is".

  • 究竟 does not really means result / outcome, it's more like "what happened"
    – Alex
    Aug 12, 2015 at 14:22

探个 means to explore, inspect something,

究竟 means the reasons behind something / the truth


Previous answers have explained well. I just want to add a few notes for the word “究竟”. This word does not only mean the result or just what happened. It goes beyond that and means what actually happened. Or what is the very natural of something. It does not represent the outlook or appearance of something, it points to the deepest truth and usually a fundamental reason. In your example, the sentence means the man looking into the barrel not only for what happened but also why if possible. The second tier meaning is hidden inside the word 究竟

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