QUESTION:- "What does 马 represent?"
In modern mechanics, the "horse" represents "strength / power", thus we have "horsepower", (马力)
The horse in ancient China, however, represents "swiftness / speed" (strength was represented by the Ox, thus we say 牛力)
In the idiom, 马到成功, "到", means more than just ...
Others have already well explained the meaning of the idiom, here is the folk story about when and where the idiom was started (per article from "zhidao.baidu.com")
In 220BC, the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty, who believe in the myth taught by the extrinsic Daoism, was told that a colorful stone had been the material left by the lady (女娲) who ...
In ancient times before a battle,
they often said, "Unfurl the flag of victory, ride to success."
to wish a speedy victory.
Nowadays it is used to describe the fact that somebody just arrived somewhere,
just started working and already been successful.
Didn't work too well for the Light ...
马 (horse) was the main transportation before cars.
A single horse was the most common personal ride. That's why a horse arrived also meant a person has arrived.
马到 --> 人到
马到成功 -->人一到就成功了 (success as soon as the person arrives)
That's why dictionaries translated it as '事情顺利，刚开始就取得成功' - being successful at the earliest stage of the engagement. It is ...
Note: I do not remember who or what explained this to me and added on top is my own understanding. Take it with a grain of salt.
马 being horse sometimes cavalry, 到 being "to arrive", 成功 being "success"
We have somewhat similiar phrase "the cavalry has arrived" which also means "the day/battle is won"
An Example: ...
Your best shot was pretty good.
言不及义 - A person's talk does not touch/reach the true/real meaning of the subject he wanted to deliver. He either does not have a thorough understanding of the subject or is not able to organize his thought in a logical manner.