January 16, 2007

Chinese Idiom of the Day #1 : 三人成虎

三人成虎 - San Ren Cheng Hu

 Literal Meaning : Three people become a tiger

 Figurative Meaning: If you repeat a lie often enough, it will be believed

 

Story behind the idiom:

In the Warring States Period, Pang Cong, a minister of the State of Wei, said to the ruler of Wei: 

"Someone said that there are tigers in the streets. Do you believe it?"

"No, I don't believe it." His master replied.

Later on Pang Cong said:

"Now two people have said that there are tigers in the streets. Do you believe it?" 

The Ruler showed some doubt. Later still Pang Cong said:

"Now three people have said the same thing. Do you believe it?"

The Ruler said "Yes I do." Pang Cong continued, "There are no tigers in the streets at all. Yet if three people say the same thing, you believe it! We must be alert against rumours gaining credence."

 

 

 


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