To express a person that has a narrow view, there are two 成语. According to 百度词典:

  • 坐井观天


  • 井底之蛙


Both words include derogatory sense (含贬义). But for me both seem to be the same otherwise.

I tried searching in Baidu, but could not find any trustful answers (example: this and this, etc...). Also I can't know which answer is correct or not.

So is there any difference between these two Chengyu? For example is there any situation that using one word is OK but not for the other? The actual example is very appreciated.

  • "汉语熟语小词典": 坐井观天 :坐在井里看天。比喻视野限制,见闻或知识有限。 我们应该走出去看外边的世界,不能像井底的青蛙,坐井见天。 井底之蛙 。。。(as above)比喻见识不多,眼光短浅的人。 听了老师的讲解后,我才发现自己真的是井底之蛙,好多知识都不懂。Note 1st explained in terms of 2nd.suggesting about the same meaning.
    – user6065
    Jun 15, 2018 at 9:23

2 Answers 2


What you got from Baidu is correct.

井底之蛙: the key word is . Metaphorically, you can reference a person to a frog, being in the bottom of a well. For example, you can say to someone: 你就是井底之蛙!

坐井观天 describes one's behavior/vision. You can say 不要坐井观天 to exhort someone not to be narrow for his thoughts or vision.


The two idioms are related

井底之蛙 literally means "a frog in the bottom of a well" It is a metaphor for describing an ignorant person who look at the world with an extremely narrow view. Doesn't know anything outside of his own small circle.

坐井观天 is an extension of 井底之蛙;

A frog sit in the bottom of a well looking up to the sky can only see the area as big as the well's opening. And 坐井观天 literally means "sitting in the bottom of a well looking up to the sky". It is what a 井底之蛙 does, 坐井观天 is a metaphor for describing having a narrow vision (that makes one becomes ignorant like a frog in the bottom of a well)

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