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Chinese slang term: 铁公鸡

铁公鸡.png


The term "铁公鸡 (tiěgōngjī)" comes from the Chinese idiom "铁公鸡,一毛不拔 (tiěgōngjī, yìmáo bùbá) You can't pluck a feather from an iron rooster." Here, "铁 (tiě)" means "iron" and "公鸡 (gōngjī)" means "rooster," but what the term "铁公鸡 (tiěgōngjī)" is really used to refer to is a mean, stingy person who won't share a dime.

铁公鸡 (tiěgōngjī)一词来自歇后语“铁公鸡——一毛不拔”。“铁”的英文意思为iron,“公鸡”的英文意思为 rooster,“铁公鸡”通常形容人极其吝啬。

 

There is a story about "铁公鸡". It goes like this:

关于“铁公鸡”一词,有一个典故。

 

Once upon a time, there was a stingy man who never bought himself new clothes. When his clothes would tear and rip, he just repeatedly mended them. When finishing a meal, he always licked the bowl lest he waste a single grain of rice.

古时候有个人十分小气。他的衣服总是破了补上再穿,穿了再补,从来不舍得做一件新的。他吃完饭之后,总是要把碗舔一遍,舍不得扔下一粒饭。

 

As was the custom in his village, when a wedding ceremony was held, every household sent a congratulations gift. Although his family was not poverty-stricken, gifts from the man were always the cheapest and shabbiest ones.

每逢村里有人结婚,家家都要送礼物去祝贺,他送的礼物总是最便宜、最寒酸的,其实他家并不穷。

 

Once, another man in the village was seriously ill and sent for a doctor. The doctor wrote a prescription which said "to cure the disease, two seven-inch-long rooster feathers should be added to enhance the efficacy when the medicine is decocted."

有一次,村里有一个人生了很严重的病,请了大夫来看病,大夫开完药方后说:“这种病在熬药的时候要用两根七寸长的公鸡毛做药引子。”

 

The patient's family searched the whole village and didn't find any rooster big enough. Suddenly, it occurred to someone that the stingy man may have a big rooster because he could hear rooster crow early in the morning every day.

病人的家人找遍了全村都没有找到大公鸡。忽然有人想起那个小气的人家里有一只大公鸡,因为每天大公鸡都很早就打鸣,叫声很大。

 

The patient's family member went to the man's house and, as expected, saw a big rooster pecking the grains in the yard. He told the man that he wanted to pluck two feathers from the rooster, for medicine. When the man heard the words, he wasn't pleased, and just didn't allow the feathers to be plucked

病人的家人来到他家后,果然见到有一只大公鸡在院子里啄食,但他一听要拔大公鸡的毛就特别不乐意。

 

The patient's family got very worried and pleaded with the stingy man again and again "Please, we just need to pluck several feathers from the roosters tail to cook medicine and this will do no harm to your rooster. Please help us!". But the man never wavered and said "I am going to sell the rooster. Maybe you can buy it with five ounces of silver, and use its meat. The meat of a rooster will be good for the health of the patient."

病人的家属很着急,再三的请求他:“求求你啦,我们只拔几根,也不会伤害到鸡的呀,你就做个好人,帮帮我们吧!”他还是不愿意,就说:“要不你们花五两银子把坞买了,正好病人生病了也需要补一补身体啊。我这只鸡也正好想要卖呢。”

 

The patient's family had no choice but to buy the rooster at that high price because they needed the feathers right away. Actually, at the time a normal price for a rooster was about 2 ounces of silver.

那人着急要买鸡做药引子,没有办法,只好花了五两银子买了那只鸡。其实,在市场上买一只同样的鸡二两银子都用不了。

 

Examples:

例句:

Tā shì gè tiěgōngjī, xiǎngyào tā qǐng wǒmen chīfàn, méiménr!
她是个铁公鸡, 想要她请我们吃饭,没门儿!
She is such an iron rooster. You want her to invite us to dinner? No way!

Tā yǐqián hěn dàfāng, dànshì xiànzài yuè lái yuè xiǎoqì, jiùshì gè tiěgōngjī.
他以前很大方,但是现在越来越小气,就是个铁公鸡。
He used to be very generous but now he's getting stingier and stingier. He is such an iron rooster.

2016-06-21

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