The Chinese saying "天上有,地下无" means extremely extraordinary people, which can only be found in heaven (天上有) and not on earth (地下无).

Very interesting is the first one of these two etymologies I have found for the saying:

Etymology 1



  1. 评价要天上有的,地下无的,怎么评价
  2. 天上有地下无的意思

Etymology 2





  1. 天上少有,地下无双

Which one is the correct one? Personally, I prefer the second one, 天上少有,地下无双, because it's very intuitive and self-explanatory.

However, I am very curious about the first Shakespeare one, which the source says is from "莎士比亚的剧本哥林多前书," and I wonder if anyone can please help find the original English version.

Thanks in advance.

  • The first version is purely non-sense. "哥林多前书" is 1 Corinthians, which is certainly not written by Shakespeare. The Chinese bibles which we have today were translated in 19th century, long after 红楼梦 had been written. Dec 23, 2023 at 13:01

1 Answer 1


Actually, "天上有,地下无" can not be called as a Chinese saying because there is no origin. It is just an expression that shares the same meaning with "天上少有,地下无双".

"天上少有,地下无双" is the correct one and it comes from 《红楼梦》六五回: https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%A4%A9%E4%B8%8A%E5%B0%91%E6%9C%89%EF%BC%8C%E5%9C%B0%E4%B8%8B%E6%97%A0%E5%8F%8C/53707596

As for the first etymology, my suggestion is---forget about it. Because answers on zhidao.baidu are often ambiguous and unreliable.(According to my own experience)

Plus, if next time you have some similar questions, visiting www.baike.baidu.com is recommended because answers there are convincing.

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