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This instruction can be found on a notice inside the elevator in my office building in Tianjin:

prohibition of chasing

It says 禁止追逐打闹 (jìn​zhǐ zhuī​zhú​ dǎnào) which is translated to "prohibition of chasing". The icon next to it appears to depict a man attacking an old lady with an axe, but crossed out in red.

Question: How should this actually be interpreted? Presumably the Chinese actually makes sense.

Googling translations of this phrase's components gives:

  • 禁止 = prohibition, and it seems the grammatical structure 禁止[something] means [something] is prohibited,

  • 追逐 = to chase (seems to be where the English "chasing" came from),

  • 打闹 seems to be something like a playful fight,

and it seems like 追逐 and 打闹 together: 追逐打闹 = roughhousing. Still, it's not particularly clear, and it doesn't explain the icon.

  • wenku.baidu.com/view/8778e3250722192e4536f677.html mentions 2 instances (案例)of this type of bad habit (陋习) and its consequences:1。摔一跤--缝了五针。2。课间追跑--撞骨折了 and 我们身边的追逐打闹:肆意的追逐、疯狂的打闹 especially occurring between classes (课间) – user6065 Dec 21 '15 at 15:22
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First, don't be bothered by the icon. It will confuse you.

And you already know

禁止追逐打闹

It is a compound phrase appearing in 禁止追逐和打闹. Usually the sign hangs against the wall in school as a reminder for students to keep themselves safe.

So just imagine what those playful kids do, and you will know what 追逐打闹 is.

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English equivalent : No horse play please.

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the icon is not proper, nor the english. 禁止追逐打闹 is as a reminder not only for students (as @jiehong-jiang mentioned), but also public areas, saying not chasing each other or fighting with each other, to keep safety and order

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