(So many questions lately, sorry. Saturday I go on holiday!)

A gatecrasher is a person who turns up uninvited at a party or function.


速: speed 不速之客: no speed guest = gatecrasher ??

1 Answer 1


多功能成语词典 explains:

解释 速:邀请。指未经邀请而突然自己来的客人。

and also gives the note:

提示 “速"不要解释成“速度"或“迅速"。

A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese also notes that 速 has the meanings

2 lead to, induce to; beckon toward; invite.

汉语大词典 also notes this meaning, with many examples

5 召, 请。

《诗·小雅·伐木》 既有肥羜, 以速諸父。

郑玄 笺 速, 召也。

《文选·张衡〈思玄赋〉》 速燭龍令執炬兮, 過 鍾山 而中休。

旧注 速, 徵也。

清 顾禄 《清嘉录·冬至大如年》 是夜, 人家更速燕飲, 謂之節酒。

杨树达 《〈凌虚岛〉小说序》 近者得君札, 速余序君書。

It’s not that 速 came to mean invite - but rather that it meant this as early as I Ching, which came out roughly 1100 BC - over three thousand years ago:


  • 1
    Amazing! Thank you very much! 叩头叩头! 诗经我有:代木许许,酾酒有冀,既有肥羜,以速诸父。 Now I want to buy that dictionary: The Students Dictionary of Medieval and Classical Chinese.
    – Pedroski
    Jan 11, 2018 at 0:14
  • @Pedroski Yeah, it's a helpful resource - it also comes with middle Chinese pronunciations (速 is suwk, for instance). MoE also has a dictionary of idioms, this should be the link for 不速之客 dict.idioms.moe.edu.tw/cgi-bin/cydic/… but it's quite difficult to navigate, there is a Pleco converted dictionary here: plecoforums.com/threads/… that's a lot easier to use.
    – Mou某
    Jan 11, 2018 at 0:39
  • Can you supply the ISBN?
    – Pedroski
    Jan 11, 2018 at 7:57
  • @Pedroski ISBN13: 9789004324787 but it looks like a paper copy will set you back $239.00. Digital version is much cheaper ($39.99 in Pleco).
    – Mou某
    Jan 11, 2018 at 8:11

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