It is found in an exhibition of Qin Dynasty held in Xi'an city. The exact words are 秦国35代国君发奋图强,做好了“大出天下”的准备。I have checked the words online for the meaning, but finding no answer.But roughly I think it might mean something ambitious, because it is about a growing country with some hard working kings.


Let's look at similar phrasing words

赦天下 grant amnesty within China on a grand scale

大出天下 sounded like "on a grand scale, set off from Qin to conquer the rest of China".

Since Qin was preparing to unify China around that period, '出' in '大出天下' was more likely suggesting "出咸谷關" (out of Qin's border) or '出征' (send off the army)

  • 1
    You have made an interesting comparison, but still I think it is a little weird these two phrases are of the same structure. In 大赦天下, the 天下 is the object of the verb赦, but it is not the case of the other phrase. Jun 7 at 10:27
  1. It's good to think in classical Chinese. is adverbial on emphasising its extent. Similar constructions include 大叫 (to yell loudly), 大敗楚軍 (to defeat utterly the armies of Chu) etc.

  2. 大出天下 feels like neo-classical Chinese to me (which is a very effective means of communication in the context of a historical exhibition). It's not an established expression in the classics, but understandable. With the Qin rulers being the grammatical subject of the sentence, perhaps can be parsed very literally as in exiting the borders of Qin, but this clearly conflicts with the grammatical object 天下 ('all that is under heaven'): it makes no sense to exit the target of your conquest.

    here is similar to that in 水落石出 (stones appear as water recedes). For understanding, I think it does no harm to make clear the intransitivity of (meaning 'to appear' instead of 'to exit (sth.)', see eighth definition here) by adding the preposition before 天下 to make the phrase adverbial, as in

    大出天下 ↔ 大出於天下 (phrase adverbialised) ↔ 於天下大出 (phrase inverted)
    to make Qin known in all that is under heaven

  3. Similarly, we observe the adverbial nature of 天下 in the much more common expression 稱霸天下 too: it must not be the object because the transitive (‘to declare (oneself)’) is already matched with the noun (‘overlord; hegemony’).


秦国35代 should be near the end of Qin Dynasty. At then, internally it was corrupted, externally it was surrounded by fierce enemies. Its 35th emperor, a wise, ambitious emperor decided to lead his kingdom to regain its past glory and "raise" high above (大出) the competitors/enemies who had grabbed land from its original territory (天下) and threatened its survival.

出 has the following meanings:

"to rise", "to go out", "to come out", "to produce", "to go beyond", "to put forth".

  • 35代国君 means kings of 35 generations, not the 35th king, in my opinion. Jul 8 at 2:12
  • @NanningYouth 古曰"代", 現稱"任", or "屆". But you are free to stick to your opinion, as this is really a trivial argument regarding the question.
    – r13
    Jul 8 at 3:03
  • Maybe your right. I was just wondering whether this phrase means a singular noun or a plural one. The efforts made by 35 generations (terms) of kings should be much bigger than a single man, but of course that is my opinion based on the face meaning of the phrase, which could have been written as 第35代国君 to avoid undue misunderstanding. 大出天下 is rarely seen elsewhere, I didn't find the same in my search online. Jul 8 at 7:46
  • @NanningYouth This is the first time I see this phrase too. From history, I guess "復出天下" was more of the interest of the emperor, but the note writer (注釋者) wanted to make a stronger case out of it and replaced 復 (re-emerge) with 大 (rise above all).
    – r13
    Jul 8 at 12:24

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