Chengyu Story: To Carve the Boat to Seek for the Sword

Today`s Chengyu 刻舟求剑 (kè zhōu qiú jiàn) – to carve (刻) the boat (舟) to seek (求) for the sword (剑) – enlightens us that things are changing and we should see the world in the light of its development. As the world is changing, getting stuck in a groove is foredoomed to result in failure. Furthermore, it is crucial for a country to embrace reform and innovation by adapting itself to changing circumstances.


A man from the state of Chu was crossing a river. In the boat, his sword fell into the water because of his carelessness. Immediately he carved a mark on the gunwale of the boat and said to himself: “This is where my sword fell off.”

The boat sailed for a long time before it pulled in shore. Without a hurry, the man jumped into the river from the place where he made the mark. He searched for a long time, but in vain. The boat had moved a long way from where the sword fell. How can anyone find the sword in this foolish way?


How to use 刻舟求剑:



(nǐ zǒnɡshì yònɡ lǎofānɡfǎ jiějué xīnwèntí, hé kèzhōuqiújiàn yǒu shénme bùtónɡ)

You always solve new problems with old solutions. You are no different form “Carving on a moving boat”!



(zài shèhuìde ɡāosù fāzhǎnzhōnɡ, měiɡè hánɡyè dōu bùnénɡ kèzhōuqiújiàn)

With the speedy development of the society, “Carving on a Moving Boat” won’t work in any fields.

Post time: Jul-29-2020