I would like to know what the following Chinese expression means.


I know what it literally means by deciphering the meanings of individual Chinese characters, that a calf is not afraid of a tiger, but what does it "imply" exactly?

How would this expression be used?

Is the expression above used frequently in modern times, or is it an outdated expression?

Are there other equivalent expressions in Chinese?

  • cf。recent news story 东北虎与山羊成亲密好友 e.g.tieba.baidu.com/p/4184507225
    – user6065
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 1:47
  • @user6065 Thank you! This is a great article.
    – Sam
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 1:37

2 Answers 2


It is actually written as "初生牛犊不怕虎”,it is sometimes used to describe a person not afraid of an strong enemy because he/she is a novice or beginner. Not very often, but is is commonly used.

  • It can also be 初生牛犢不畏虎.
    – Vibius
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 2:30
  • @SamChoi U r welcome Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 3:53

It is a proverb, and it is not used very often. The young are fearless, the novice doesn't fear the veteran, etc.

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