I find the phrase 韬光养晦 in a context,and I look up it in the dictionary,it means hidden talents, do not make the leakage.But I still don't know the meaning of 晦.

4 Answers 4


晦 means some place which is dark.

韬光养晦 means hide one's talent and keep a low profile

  • This should be the right answer. As Roti said, 晦 means some place which is dark, 晦 is not suggest the weakness. 养晦 means being a solitary, hiding yourself from time. It's an old phase and having extension meaning already. ref. zdic
    – Yafufu
    Mar 13, 2014 at 3:09

晦's original meaning is dark moonless night, here it figuratively means the lack of accomplishment or culture. And other words' meanings are:

韬 : restrain, hide
光 : shine, ray of light, here it figuratively means talent
养 : cultivate, train

So 韬光养晦 means to hide talent and keep improving, to achieve balanced development.

  • 晦 is not lack of accomplishment or culture here, 養晦 came from 遵時養晦 from The Book of Songs (詩經) and said that the King Wu of Zhou(周武王) knew how to judge the situation, retreated and hided their trace. Here 晦 means some place (too dark) that cannot be seen.
    – Yafufu
    Mar 13, 2014 at 3:28
  • Please refer to Roti's answer.
    – Yafufu
    Mar 13, 2014 at 3:30

The literal meaning of '晦' is the dark night, without the moonlight, as @songyuanyao said. and in this idiom, '晦' means one's shortcoming, weakness, opposite to strong and advantage.

So you can comprehend this idiom in this way: In order to survive, one needs to hide his talent and pretend to be weak, so that he can get enough time to be strong and defeat his opponent.


韬 is hide 光 is light or something shining here it means your brilliant ideas, 晦 is implicit or something bad and weak 养 is improve or change 韬光养晦 means no showing your power, just improve yourself

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