I was watching the movie "fearless (2006)" starring Jet Li and the character said to his friend "After all these years of friend ship, you still don't know me?" and then he goes with this phrase : "刀不长眼".

here's the Chinese conversation:

劲荪: 你走吧!

霍元甲: 你轰我走?这么多年的朋友,你不认我了?。。
        [A moment of silence and then he says]

I don't understand the meaning of "刀不长眼" in this situation. because as long as I know 刀 means "knife" or a measure word for knife and 眼's translation is related to "eye".

What's the meaning of "刀不长眼"?

  • 1
    It's a metaphor. Do you know the phrase 刀剑无眼?Knife or sword can easily hurt onlookers(innocent people) by mistake during a tense fight.
    – dan
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 8:06
  • Thanks a lot @dan
    – Ashkan
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 14:49
  • Is there any subtle differences between 刀不长眼 & 刀剑无眼? I think there is. From the conversation, old friendship is alluded to, followed by 刀不长眼 which suggests that the metaphorical knife, (like negative human character), dose not have long or long-lasting memory, (不长眼), of any old friendship, and may still hurt you now. Whereas, 刀剑无眼 is more about being extra careful or being mindful when handling dangerous articles, (knives, guns,), even uttering hurtful words, as, the articles or words, have no "eyes", (i.e. blind), and may cause hurt to friend or foe, especially in a sudden fight or quarrel. Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 3:56

2 Answers 2


It means the knife doesn't have eyes, it could hurt people easily. In the sentence, it means if things lose control, some people will get hurt, so better it's better to calm down.


To understand Chinese, sometimes you need to think deeper. Your understanding is right, "刀" means knife, "眼" means eye. "不长" means without, while "不" means no or dont and "长" means have in this sentence. So, put them together, the sentence means the knife doesn't have eyes. Think deeper, what happens if some thing doesn't have eyes and move fast? It may hurt someone. So, the deeper meaning of this sentence is watch out, you gonna get hurt.

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