this new vocab in my textbook says it means: to make something of one's self.


I feel so hopeless, I just want to make something of my self. is this the right interpretation?


  • 1
    bkrs:成器(1) [utensil]∶做成器具 (2) [become a useful person]∶比喻成为有用的人 不成器 (3) [exquisite ware]∶精美的器具, 比喻有才能的人 总角为成器
    – user6065
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 3:22
  • I feel that I just want to make something of my self is also a correct interpretation.
    – dan
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 7:28

5 Answers 5


It is a fixed saying, in modern times, it is usually used in negative expressing. i.e. 不成器


People don't use 器 to refer himself, because the criterion is too low, imply that you are not even an ordinary human.

If you really want to use it, use it like this:

  1. 他不成器.
  2. 一个不成器的家伙.
  3. 老话说: 玉不琢不成器, 我要修理修理你.

There is another famous quote from Confucius: 君子不器 which has a totally different meaning, and the view point is not appropriate in modern times.


成器 comes from the Chinese idioms 玉不琢不成器. Used to describe people without training can not become a useful person. 成器 means be a useful person.


might mean 人才 [talent] or 才能 [capacity;ability]; 成器 means grow up to be a useful person here.

[become a useful person]∶比喻成为有用的人

Here're some other usages.

  • 不成器
    [neer-do-well;good-for-nothing] 谓不能成为有用的器物。后用以比喻不成材,没出息

  • 玉不琢,不成器

  • 积厚成器

  • users note that 比喻成为有用的人 has been in comment #1, 7 min before being edited into above answer, the source could be 现代汉语词典, it already is in the 1998 edition which in fact only says (does not have (1),(3) of comment #1): 比喻成为有用的人:孩子~是父母的最大安慰
    – user6065
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 3:53
  • 1
    @user6065 Why are you so concerned with comments posted before answers that you seem to comment under each of these answers? Although it is an etiquette to notify commentators to convert comments to answers, comments are not intended to be used as answers, and it's not like other users can't reference the same sources as the one you're using.
    – Frenzy Li
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 3:36

You can just take those explanations from other answers as they're all correct. And as far as I am concerned, we use “出息” in our sentence in place of “成器” in our daily lives.


iciba has:

《圣经》里说:‘孩子不打不成器. ’ Spare the rod and spoil the child, as the Good Book says.

Without the context of the text where you found this sentence, that indicates to me:

我感觉绝望,我就想成器. I'm so down, I just want to be a useful person.

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