In reference to the thread Is this [Ivanka Trump] Chinese proverb real? —“Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it” and related news, I've created this question, and provided an simple answer; feel free to add to it, and comment :)

So, the question: are there any free bilingual sources of chinese proverbs?

1 Answer 1


the internet archive is your friend. unfortunately, it's blocked in "that area" :(

the first one: a handbook of the chinese language, by james summers, printed in 1863

in page 95 & page 97, there're several proverbs translated in english:



on page 393, the original text:


sample: 恭敬不如從命 ⋯ "to feel reverence is not as good as to give obedience"

the next one: essays on the chinese language, by thomas watters, printed in 1889

page 493 - 496, there're chinese proverbs of Buddhist origin

https://archive.org/stream/essaysonchinesel00wattrich#page/492/mode/2up https://archive.org/stream/essaysonchinesel00wattrich#page/494/mode/2up https://archive.org/stream/essaysonchinesel00wattrich#page/496/mode/1up

sample: 與人方便與己方便 ⋯ "do good to others and you do good to yourself"

last one is: an english and chinese dictionary, a "revised version" of william lobscheid's dictionary, printed in 1883, in tokio.

the appendix is the gem, from page 1227-1373. which has bilingual texts ranged from trimetrical classic (三字經), wisdom verses, merits, thousands of famous phrases and proverbs; and miscellaneous "common knowledges" of the days of yore. all in literary chinese and english.

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有利必興.有害必除 ⋯ "what is profitable must be put into action, what is injurious must be removed"

有緣千里能相會.無緣對面不相逢 ⋯ "no distance can separate what heaven unites, or unite what heaven separates"

月明月明不可獨行.寔要獨行手提紅燈 ⋯ "bright moon, bright moon, but don't walk alone; if you must walk alone, take a red lantern in your hand"

anyone who want a genuine "chinese proverb", have a read of these books, particularly the last one.

or, anyone who want to "fake" one, study these thoroughly.

do it better, please 😼

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