When someone is denounced or his requests are rejected, he can complain by saying "碰钉子" (pèng dīng zi). The word also refers to the situation where someone meets with a trouble or setback. We can say "碰了钉子" (pèng le dīng zi). "碰壁" (pèng bì) is a more formal usage in written Chinese.
Do you know its origin? In the feudal age in China, there are doornails on the gate of the government office and the government officials' houses. It's difficult for the vulnerable common people to seek justice from the government officials. The door is even closed against the people – they meet with a rebuff. They call it "碰了钉子" or "碰了一鼻子灰" (pèng le yì bí zi huī).
1. Xiàn zài tā xīn qíng bù hǎo, rú guǒ qù gēn tā shuō zhè jiàn shì, kěn dìng pèng dīng zi.
He is in bad mood now. If you go to talk with him about this thing, you must get rejected.
2. Yǒu xiē rén jí shǐ pèng le dīng zi, yě bìng bú qì něi.
There are some people who never lose heart even though they have met with a rebuff.
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