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one; single; a; (before verbs) as soon as, once; (before a noun) entire (family, etc.)
sudden; violent; cruel; to show or expose; to injure
ten cold; poor; to tremble
simp. and trad.
variant forms 一曝十寒


From the Mencius.

天下 [Classical Chinese, trad.][▼ expand/hide]
天下 [Classical Chinese, simp.]
From: Mencius, circa 4th century BCE, translated based on James Legge's version
Suī yǒu tiānxià yì shēng zhī wù yě, zhī, shíhán zhī, wèi yǒu néng shēng zhě yě. [Pinyin]
Suppose the case of the most easily growing thing in the world; if you let it have one day's genial heat, and then expose it for ten days to cold, it will not be able to grow.




  1. to work hard for one day and do nothing for ten; to work by fits and starts