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工欲善其事,必先利其器

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ChineseEdit

 
work; worker; skill; profession; trade; craft; labor
 
desire; longing; appetite; wish
good
 
his; her; its; theirs; that; such; it (refers to sth preceding it)
 
matter; thing; item; work; affair
 
certainly; must; will; necessarily
 
early; prior; former; in advance; first
 
advantage; benefit; profit; sharp
 
his; her; its; theirs; that; such; it (refers to sth preceding it)
device; tool; utensil
simp. and trad.
(工欲善其事,必先利其器)
Literally: “If a workman wishes to do a good job, he must first sharpen his tools.”

EtymologyEdit

The Analects:

子貢:「工欲善其事必先利其器大夫。」 [Classical Chinese, trad.][▼ expand/hide]
子贡:“工欲善其事必先利其器大夫。” [Classical Chinese, simp.]
From: The Analects of Confucius, circa 475 – 221 BCE, translated based on James Legge's version
Zǐgòng wèn wéi rén. Zǐ yuē: “Gōng yù shàn qí shì, bì xiān lì qí qì. Jū shì bāng yě, shì qí dàfū zhī xián zhě, yǒu qí shì zhī rén zhě.” [Pinyin]
Zi Gong asked about the practice of virtue.
The Master said, “The mechanic, who wishes to do his work well, must first sharpen his tools. When you are living in any state, take service with the most worthy among its great officers, and make friends of the most virtuous among its scholars.”

PronunciationEdit


ProverbEdit

工欲善其事,必先利其器

  1. One must have good tools in order to do a good job.