For example:


I understand the overall meaning of this saying, but if I wanted to just be able to define 以 as it is used here, how could I do so?

3 Answers 3


以 = as; using; taking.

差之毫厘,谬以千里 = to miss by a hair is as wrong as (to miss by a) thousand li, or more to the point: miss by a hair, but (still) be off a mile.



i would suggest "thereby", "therefore", or "because of".

have a look:


have fun :)


In your example, the characters "之" and "以" are "虛詞" serving mostly structural purposes. We can shorten it as "差毫厘, 謬千里".

There are other meanings and usages of "以". For example:

  • 以卵擊石 - to "take" an egg and (attempt to) crush a rock
  • 王往以眾 - the king went "leading" the crowd
  • 以牛 - to "give" the cow (to someone)
  • 用兵五十人以上 - sending a troop with 50 ppls or above

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