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公元前260年,赵括带兵出战。一直盲目自信、轻视秦军的他完全改变了廉颇的作战方案,死搬兵书上的理论,主动进攻秦军,结果数十万赵军全部被杀,丢掉了宝贵的生命。

This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 15.

What is the meaning of 死?

Baidu and Google literally translate this character (in this paragraph) as blindly, while me as searching some dictionaries I'd say that it means either something as very, totally, extremely, 非常 or probably something more offensive such as damned or damn.

What is your opinion?

7 Answers 7

11

I think "inflexibly" is a better choice than blindly.

死搬兵书上的理论 - Inflexibly apply(transport) the theory in the book on the art of war.

The opposite word is "活用" - apply (knowledge) flexibly.

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What is the meaning of 死 in 死搬兵书上的理论?

死 means dead, a dead body, no motion anymore. In the Chinese language, there are many extended meanings from 死. For example, 死脑筋 (stubborn) and 死心眼 (inflexible).

死搬兵书上的理论 or 死搬书本 means to do it according to the textbook literally or word-by-word without understanding the principles of the theory.

It does not mean "very", "totally", and "extremely". As for "blindly" (瞎,盲目地), it may be close to 死 but not the same.

他死搬书本 (He operates according to the textbook without considering the current situation).

他瞎搬书本 (He operates according to the wrong textbook which is not about the current problem).

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  • 2
    "to blindly apply a rule" is an English idiom that means very much the same as your translation: "do it according to the textbook literally or word-by-word without understanding the principles of the theory."
    – The Photon
    Sep 5, 2022 at 5:20
  • 1
    "Stubbornly" is a good choice for translation in this example.
    – iBug
    Sep 5, 2022 at 9:37
3
  • 死背 - to memorise something blindly, without missing / changing a word
  • 死抄 - to copy something blindly, without missing / changing a word
  • 死记 - to take note on something blindly, without missing / changing a word
  • 死磕, 死缠烂打 etc..

so I think 死 can sometimes be treated as "100% unchanged"

FYI, Malaysian Chinese has some unique way to use this word:

  • 你别死站在那里,快过来帮忙啊!
  • 无论你们怎么阻止我,我死都要去做!

hope it helps

1

死 in this sentence mean is "just, only", "not clever"

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呆板地,机械地,不加思考地,你想想一个死了的人,他有什么特征?不会思考,不思考。

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I think the in this context is stand alone by itself, which means inflexible or outdated, and the 搬兵书 is one group, because 搬兵 means to bring troops, together with the it will be book about the art of war.

And also if we look at the previous sentence 轻视秦军的他完全改变了廉颇的作战方案, there is 轻视 = to underrate, which means to underrate QinJun war scheme which modify LianPo's, so 死搬兵书上的理论 would mean outdated theory about art of war or inflexible theory about art of war.

0
  • 活:flexible
  • 死:not flexible

In your context, you can translate it to rigidly.

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