All entries for Sunday 21 January 2007
January 21, 2007
盲人摸象 - Mang Ren Mo Xiang
Literal Meaning - Blind Men Touch Elephant
Figurative Meaning - Take a part for the whole
A group of blind men gathered around an elephant, trying to find out what the creature looked like. One of them happened to touch one of the tusks, and said: "An elephant is just like a turnip." Another touched one of the elephant's ears, and said, "It is like a big fan." One put his arms around one of the beast's legs, and said: "It is like a column." One who happened to place his hands on the body of the elephant said, "It is like a wall." But the one who got hold of the tail said, "It is like a snake." They then fell to arguing with each other.
This idiom is used to satirize those who know only a part of a thing and not the entirety or essence.