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Contradicting Oneself

In ancient times, there was a man who sold spears and shields. He used to boast, "My spears are the sharpest things in the world. They can penetrate anything." A moment later he would boast, "My shields are the toughest things in the world. Nothing can penetrate them." One day, a passerby asked him: "What would happen if you threw one of your spears at one of your shields?" 

This idiom, "contradicting oneself", and the noun 矛盾, contradiction, all came from the above story.

古代有个卖矛和盾的人。他一手举起他的矛夸耀说:“我的矛锋利无比,无论多么坚硬的东西都能刺穿。”过了一会儿,他又举起另一只手里的盾说:“我的盾坚硬无比,无论多么锋利的东西也刺不破。”观众中有一个人问他:“用你的矛刺你的盾,结果会怎样呢?”这个人被问得哑口无言了。 

“自相矛盾”用来比喻说话或做事不一致,互相抵触。 

2016-06-23

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