#Chinese Idioms Station# Week 2

wàn  万:      ten thousand
wú    无:      no
yī      一:      one/once
shī    失:      fail
General meaning: cannot fail under any circumstances; no risk at all.

Example: 这项投资方案万无一失,但老板还是不同意。 
[zhè xiàng tóu zī fāng àn wàn wú yī shī ,dàn lǎo bǎn hái shì bù tóng yì]
This investment project takes no risk at all, but the boss still didn’t pass it.
Synonym:
十拿九稳[shí ná jiǔ wěn]
稳操胜券[wěn cāo shèng quàn]

pāo     抛: to throw, to cast
zhuān 砖: brick
yǐn      引: to attract, to cause
yù       玉: jade
General meaning: offer an immature idea or ordinary work during a group activity as an invitation for other people to contribute a much better suggestion or extraordinary creation.
Example: Mary and her friends all wrote about the same essay topic. 
Several people claimed that their own essay is the best. 
To decide on the winner, the group decided to examine the essays one by one. 
Knowing that her essay is not excellent, Mary displayed her essay first as an act of 抛砖引玉, so that people who had better essays could now feel free to reveal theirs.
Background knowledge: The Chinese highly value jade and consider it the representation of purity and integrity. 
Many Chinese characters with  “玉” as radicals have positive connotations.

About TC@Penn

University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education
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