Dine in the East and Sleep in the West


Pronunciation: dong(1) shi(2) xi(1) su(4))

Explanation: Figure of speech to say someone is too greedy and wants the best part of all things

Tone: negative

The Story: In the ancient Qin Kingdom, there was a girl who was at her age of marriage. Two of her neighbors came to propose at the same time. One was her eastern neighbor--he was ugly and short, but he had a very rich family. The other suitor was the man who lived in the west--he was handsome but poor. Her parents could not make the decision for her, so they called out and asked her to decide. The girl was shy and her father saw this, then he said: "I know you may be shy to say, so just express it with a gesture. If you are satisfied with the east neighbor, raise your left hand; if you are satisfied with the west neighbor, raise your right hand."

After a while, the girl raised both of her hands. Her parents were puzzled and asked her the meaning. Then she said: "I would like to dine in the east and sleep in the west."


Usage Example (Pinyin): Wo(3) shi(4) ge(4) huai(4) hai(2) zi, suo(3) yi(3) jian(4) yi(4) ni(3) dong(1) shi(2) xi(1) su(4)

Usage Example (English translation): I am a bad boy, so I suggest you dine in the east and sleep in the west.

Note: The spoken Chinese Mandarin language has 4 spoken tones. We have attempted to re-create those above where after each syllable we tell you (1), (2), (3), or (4) as they correspond to each of the 4 tones. We encourage you to complement your Xianzai.com Chinese Idioms newsletter with a good offline study program.