With regards to the idiom:

jiě líng hái xū líng rén
CC-CEDICT: lit. whoever hung the bell on the tiger's neck must untie it (idiom) / fig. whoever started the trouble should end it

I'm wondering why 系 is pronounced xì and not jì in this idiom. I'm accustomed to hearing jì when fastening things, e.g., 上车请系好安全带, so I would expect 系 to be jì when fastening the bell to the tiger's neck. Moreover, the traditional characters 解鈴還須鈴人 uses 繫 which indicates it should be pronounced jì.

Question: Why is 系 pronounced xì (not jì) in the idiom 解铃还须系铃人?

1 Answer 1


You should know that, the pronunciation of 解铃还须系铃人 is a long lasting debate. If you want to take an exam in mainland China, you must remember the most updated pronunciation in the dictionary. Otherwise, you're free to choose the one you feel the most feasible. The closest meaning of xi and ji as a verb are shown below. Quoted 百度百科.




(7) 拴、绑、束缚:系马、系缚、不系之舟


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