- 东施 (Eastern Shi): a reference to 西施 (a famous beauty in Chinese history, lit. Western Shi)
- 效: as in 仿效 (to imitate)
- 颦: to frown
When the beauty 西施 was suffering from chest pain, she frowned and put her hand on her chest. The ugly woman 东施 living in the same village saw this, thought this was attractive, put her hands on her chest and frowned, unaware that she looked even uglier with this imitation.
东施效颦 (simplified, Pinyin 東施效顰), traditional