Rotten wood cannot be carved (朽木难雕)

朽木难雕
Xiǔ mù nán diāo


Translation:
Rotten wood cannot be carved.
Meaning:
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.”

Story
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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