Chinese edit

heart; mind
to be not at; to be out; to be dead
to be not at; to be out; to be dead; to have passed away
where; how
simp. and trad.
Literally: “the heart is not here”.

Etymology edit

From the Great Learning (《大學》) in the Book of Rites:

心不在焉視而不見聽而不聞不知修身 [Classical Chinese, trad.]
心不在焉视而不见听而不闻不知修身 [Classical Chinese, simp.]
From: The Book of Rites, c. 4th – 2nd century BCE, translated based on James Legge's version
Xīn bùzài yān, shì ér bùjiàn, tīng ér bù wén, shí ér bùzhī qí wèi. Cǐ wèi xiūshēn zài zhèng qí xīn. [Pinyin]
When the mind is not present, we look without seeing; we hear without understanding; and we eat and do not know the taste of what we eat. This is what is meant by saying that the cultivation of the person depends on the rectifying of the mind.

Pronunciation edit

Idiom edit


  1. absent-minded; absent-mindedly; preoccupied

Related terms edit