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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