One story has it that long, long ago, someone wrote the character 马 (mǎ, meaning "horse") in a very sloppy fashion and it was mistaken for 虎 (hǔ, meaning "tiger"). Hence, 马虎 (mǎ hu) came to signify carelessness.
马虎 (simplified, Pinyin 馬虎), traditional
- mǎmǎhūhū 马马虎虎
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