The idiom 出人头地 chūréntóudì means “stand out among one’s fellows”. How to mix the above four words and arrive at the above meaning?

  • 1
    In English you have the saying -- "Head and Shoulders above the Rest" Apr 17, 2021 at 8:25
  • "Head and Shoulders Above the Rest" is mostly used in specific fields. For example, "his 3-points shot is head and shoulder above the rest of the NBA players"; While 出人头地 is a more general phrase for "Become successful in society". For example, became a high-rank officer, a CEO, or a sport champion.
    – Tang Ho
    Apr 17, 2021 at 8:50
  • It is perfectly tenable to say that a person "Becomes successful in society" because he or she stands "Head and Shoulders above the Rest" (of society) However, perhaps I should have explained that when I said in my comment that "In English you have the saying -- "Head and Shoulders above the Rest", I was pointing out the uncanny coincidence that there is an English Idiom where the "head" is also used as a metaphorical measurement unit. Apr 18, 2021 at 10:37
  • Becoming the winner.
    – Zhang
    Apr 18, 2021 at 11:12

1 Answer 1



比喻超越他人,獨露頭角 Metaphor to surpass others, to stand alone

解釋: 讓他高出一頭。語本宋.歐陽修〈與梅聖俞書〉:「讀軾書,不覺汗出。快哉,快哉!老夫當避路,放他出一頭地也。』」後指超越他人,獨露頭角

出 = 超出 (Exceed); 高出 (higher than)

人 = people/ others

頭 = head (refers to the length of one head -- used here as a measuring unit)

地 = ground

The origin of '出人頭地' was a quote from a famous scholar 歐陽修: '(放他)出一頭地' = '(give way and let him) get one head length of ground ahead'

Long story short, 歐陽修 read a great article and remarked "This author is great, I should give way and let him get one head length of ground ahead of me (in future achievements)"

The modern usage of 出人頭地 is 'to become successful in society' in general

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