The definition of 孕育 on Pleco is "(Fig.) give birth to/breed/nurture" While I understand how this meaning is brought over in sentences such as "天刚刚亮时,乃一天的开始,孕育着簇新的盼望。"

I do not understand its meaning and how it is used in sentences such as "奔腾不息的黄河孕育了古老的华夏文明。" and “新加坡河孕育着一代又一代的新加坡人。” where they talk about how places (rivers) give birth to civilisations and people. In such cases, what is 孕育 actually referring to?

I found all sentences on https://zaojv.com/wordQueryDo.php

2 Answers 2


Much like English, A孕育B means 'A gives birth to B'. It can be used figuratively.


It's common knowledge that civilisations formed on the banks of rivers. Rivers provide the water needed for agriculture. Therefore, they are prerequisites for the civilisations. Civilisations form because of their presence. So rivers "gave birth" to civilisations.


There is nothing wrong with using 孕育 as 'give birth to' in a metaphorical sense, 奔腾不息的黄河孕育了古老的华夏文明.

A river metaphorically gives birth to civilization or a people. Without the Yellow River, the ancient Chinese civilization would not exist. Without the Singapore River, the Singaporean people would not be here

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