I understand the overall meaning of this saying, but I don't understand the specific meaning of the characters 无觅处. It literally would mean 'unsearched location,' which semantically doesn't make sense. Can anyone explain the meaning of that bit?

  • 踏破铁鞋无觅处 for explanation see baike.baidu.com/item/… 觅:找: 无觅处:却仍然找不到 did not find anywhere – user6065 Jun 26 '17 at 14:25
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    无觅处 might be considered an abbreviation of 无觅之处,(no place where it could be found) enter "无 处" into jukuu, get many samples with "无...之 处"where for "..." there is a verb (with object) or adjective, – user6065 Jun 26 '17 at 14:34

It literally would mean 'unsearched location,'

The point is that is used for (place) here, not (seek). So 无觅处 should be parsed as 无|觅处, which literally means "there's no seeking place", i.e. there's not such place for seeking, semantically means "(something) can't be found at all (and you even don't know where to look for)".

If you parse it as 无觅|处, you'll get "unsearched location" which literally means 没有找的地方, which indicates that there're still places which could be sought; they're just not be sought by now.

  • "seek" has past participle "sought" – user6065 Jun 26 '17 at 15:27
  • @songyuanyao I always thought 无觅处 is "not (found) a place/location where the thing being sought exists" – Alex Jun 26 '17 at 19:29
  • [还没找过的] + [地方] is more clear than 没有找的地方, which can be parsed as: [没有] +[找的地方] instead of [没有找的] + [地方] – Tang Ho Jun 26 '17 at 21:36

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