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Chinese-English idioms dictionary

A bilingual Chinese-English idioms dictionary is important for those who want to converse like a native-speaker. Some online idiom dictionaries – such as the one provided for free by Purple Panda

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PAPER IN LUO YANG BECOMES EXPENSIVE

The Chinese idiom 洛阳纸贵(luò yáng zhǐ guì,luo4 yang2 zhi3 gui4)literally means one’s works, especially literary works are so widespread that even the paper used to record the works is in short supply. This idiom is related to a famous Chinese writer,左思(zuo3 si1) and his masterpiece, “Ode to the Three Capitals”

PAPER IN LUO YANG BECOMES EXPENSIVE

左思(zuo3 si1)lived during the Western Jin Dynasty(265 -316 A.D). Born as a son of the Imperial Censor, he was expected to glorify their family name with his distinguished talent. But Mr. Zuohad a run of bad luck. As a result of his short stature and his constant stammer he became a laughing stock in front of the people. This sad state of affairs made his father extremely despondent and disheartened.

However, in Zuosi’s inner heart there lay great ambition to write an article better than another two masterpieces, “Ode to the Two Capitals” by 班固(ban1 gu4) and “Ode to the West Capital” by 张衡(zhang1 heng2). To achieve this audacious goal, Zuosi accumulated a massive supply of bamboo strips and writing utensils, and shut himself away from the public. He studied around the clock in order to accumulate enough information on history, geography, products and customs. He endured extraordinary hardship for about 10 years.

After 10 years he produced the now well-known article “Ode to the Three Capitals”. The work was so highly appreciated by other writers that even the whole Luoyang city was crazy about it. The article became so celebrated that paper, which was invented just a few years before (105 A.D) became more expensive as so much was required to make sufficient copies of the article.

Today, people use the idiom 洛阳纸贵(luò yáng zhǐ guì,luo4 yang2 zhi3 gui4)to indicate that one’s books, articles or other works are enjoying such overwhelming popularity that it is causing a paper shortage. We cannot think of an equivalent English idiom.

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