While rereading Taipei People by Pai Hsien-yung I encountered this phrase:

勿要面孔的東西, 看你楣到啥個辰光!

Which, in the English translation comes out as:

Shameless things! Let's see how long you can keep crossing me!"

Am I right to interpret this as "Let's see for how long the lintel can hold up your house!", i.e., let's see how long you can keep going before something's going to turn sour for you?

2 Answers 2


楣 is seemingly short for 倒楣 in this context


倒楣(being luckless)

勿要面孔的東西, 看你(倒)楣到啥個辰光!

Shameless thing, let's see how long you will keep being luckless (你这个不要脸的东西,看你还要倒楣到什么时候)


do something to bring honour to one's family.



refers to offspring become famous, create honour and glory for ancestors and clan

勿要面孔的東西, 看你楣到啥個辰光!
O ye bereft of honour, let's see if you still dazzle in the daylight!

  • Thank you for your answer. What's your take on Tang Ho's reply? To me that one makes more sense.
    – timseb
    Jun 1, 2022 at 18:33
  • 1
    This is correct. Too many people mistaken 倒楣 as 倒霉。This is so rampant that even dictionaries now have an entry for 倒霉。「封建时代,读书人要做官,都要参加科举考试。明朝时,考试录取很难,如果录取了,就在门前立旗杆一根;如果考不中,就把旗杆倒下拿走,称为“倒楣”。“楣”本是门上的横木,这里指高杆。“楣”与“霉”读音相近,江浙一带的人就把遇事运气不好、不吉利叫“倒楣”亦即“倒霉”了。」--- 百度
    – joehua
    Jun 1, 2022 at 18:41
  • I must ask for clarification from you @joehua. Are you saying that Pedroski or Tang Ho have provided the correct answer? If I understand you're reply, you also think 楣 is shorthand for 倒楣? I have unmarked my question as answered since I'm still not quite sure what the correct answer is.
    – timseb
    Jun 2, 2022 at 7:23
  • @timseb 楣in your question is, of course, 倒楣. Tang Ho translated it into luckless. That's correct. I said Pedroski is correct because he pointed out the origin of 楣, which is 門楣. I don't agree with Tang Ho's claim that 倒楣 = 倒霉. No matter how popular it is, it's a mistake. Even though dictionaries now have an entry for 倒霉, I still think it a mistake.
    – joehua
    Jun 2, 2022 at 12:47
  • @joehua 「倒霉」在民間大眾廣為通流,很難再認定為錯誤,就像「殺手鐧」一詞已經脫離了其根源「撒手鐧」,成了獨立被認可的近義詞, I edited my answer to reflect the original text referring to 倒楣, not the similar meaning 倒霉
    – Tang Ho
    Jun 2, 2022 at 13:49

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