Chinese Idioms – food handed out in contempt

Chinese Idioms - food handed out in contempt

The Story: 

one year during the spring and autumn period (770-476 bc), there was a the qi state was severely stricken by a famine. qian ao, a very rich but arrogant man took the occasion to showcase his generosity through preparing food by the roadside and giving it to the passing refugees in charity.a man with shabby clothes happened to walk by with his shoes trailing along, he was so hungry as not to open his eyes.

seeing the poor man, qian ao held the food by left hand and the drink by right hand, and shouted at him,”hi, come to eat !” hearing the word, the man glared his eyes and said, “it is because I am not willing to eat the food handed out in contempt that i have been famished to such a degree. ”

though qian ao made an apology to him for that, the man still resolutely refused to eat the food and thus he died of hunger in the end.

this set phrase now extensively denotes the disrespectful aims. this story means that a person who has a strong sense of self-respect would rather die of hunger than be despised.

In Chinese:

春秋时代,有一年齐国发生大饥荒。有一位叫做黔敖有钱贵族,在街边准备食物分发给来往的难民,以显示自己的慷慨。有一个饥民,用衣袖蒙着脸,拖着鞋,饿得眼睛都睁不开的样子,慢慢地走过来。黔敖见了,就左手拿着吃的,右手捧着喝的,向他喊道:“喂,来吃吧!”那人一听这话,立即瞪着眼睛,说道:“我就是因为不吃‘嗟来之食,才饿到这般地步的。尽管黔敖向他道歉,那人仍然坚决不吃,终于饿死了。此故事讲的是一个怀有强烈自尊心的人,宁可饿死也不肯接受人轻视。现在这个成语泛指带有侮辱性的施舍。

In Pinyin:
Chūnqiū shídài, yǒuyī nián qí guó fāshēng dà jīhuang. Yǒuyī wèi jiàozuò qián áo yǒu qián guìzú, zài jiē biān zhǔnbèi shíwù fēnfā gěi láiwǎng de nànmín, yǐ xiǎnshì zìjǐ de kāngkǎi. Yǒu yīgè jīmín, yòng yī xiù méngzhe liǎn, tuōzhe xié, è dé yǎnjīng dōu zhēng bù kāi de yàngzi, màn man de zǒu guòlái. Qián áo jiànle, jiù zuǒshǒu názhe chī de, yòushǒu pěngzhe hē de, xiàng tā hǎn dào:“Wèi, lái chī ba!” Nà rén yī tīng zhè huà, lìjí dèng zhuó yǎnjīng, shuōdao:“Wǒ jiùshì yīn wéi bù chī ‘jiēláizhīshí, cái è dào zhè bān dìbù de. Jǐnguǎn qián áo xiàng tā dàoqiàn, nà rén réngrán jiānjué bù chī, zhōngyú è sǐle. Cǐ gùshì jiǎng de shì yīgè huái yǒu qiángliè zìzūnxīn de rén, nìngkě è sǐ yě bù kěn jiēshòu rén qīngshì. Xiànzài zhège chéngyǔ fàn zhǐ dài yǒu wǔrǔ xìng de shīshě.
Meaning:
Chinese in the “sigh of food” means “with insulting charity”, English literal translation is “something handed out in contempt”, that if it is “to beg for help or charity”, then how to express it?

English commonly used terms “come hat in hand”, that is, begging or asking others “charity”, ask for something that did not belong to you, from the British folk, according to the then British folk customs, when a person is poor Down and down, you can hold a hat, whispering to others begging to get the sympathy of others, this is a very humiliating behavior, so the general people unless forced, otherwise it will not do so.

Therefore, come in the hand often used to describe the “desperate”, “impoverished”, “seeking people”.

For example: retired workers need not come hat in hand to ask for subscription allowance. (Retired workers do not have to ask for an additional allowance.)

Related: Learn Chinese Idioms – Love me, love my dog


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