Recently, I read this Chinese proverb. It looked amazing, but I wasn't able to find the Chinese version (or even find out if it actually existed).

"One cannot manage too many affairs: like pumpkins in the water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other. - Chinese Proverb"

If you know how it translates, that would be a great help!

  • 6
    try 按下葫芦浮起瓢,e.g.feed to iciba 释义 hardly have one gourd been pushed under water when another bobs up; solve one problem only to find another cropping up; too busy to attend to all
    – user6065
    Apr 29, 2016 at 21:57

2 Answers 2


It's a real proverb and means what your quote says it means.

按下葫芦浮起瓢 (àn xià hú lú fú qǐ piáo)
variant: 按下葫芦又起瓢 (... yòu qǐ piáo)

葫芦 and 瓢 are two different words for gourd, similar to a pumpkin. These were used to collect water, so that's why you would want to hold them under water.


It's also used to measure how good someone is with Kongfu - be able to handle or deal with multiple opponents at a time. 手忙脚乱 应接不遐

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