Rotten wood cannot be carved (朽木难雕)

Xiǔ mù nán diāo

Rotten wood cannot be carved.
Something that is already bad cannot be made better, or prettier. You cannot change the true nature of such things. An English equivalent would be: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Confucius had a student named Zai Yu, who had a way with words. At first Confucius thought that he could be a very promising student. Before long, however, Zai Yu revealed….

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By | 2014-12-16T16:54:42+00:00 January 4th, 2012|Learn Chinese, Miscellaneous, Proverbs and Sayings from the Chinese|Comments Off on Rotten wood cannot be carved (朽木难雕)

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