- to face; to overlook; to arrive; to be (just) about to; just before
thirsty to dig a well trad. (臨渴掘井) 臨 渴 掘井 simp. (临渴掘井) 临 渴 掘井 variant forms 臨噎掘井／临噎掘井 Literally: “to dig a well when one is thirsty”.
Based on the Annals of Master Yan:
- (figuratively) to fail to make a timed preparation
- 宜未雨而綢繆，毋臨渴而掘井。 [Classical Chinese, trad.]
- From: Zhu Yongchun, Zhu Zi's Family Maxims, 17th century CE
- Yí wèi yǔ ér chóumóu, wú lín kě ér jué jǐng. [Pinyin]
- One should, when it is not yet raining, bind tightly the window. One should not wait until one is thirsty to dig a well.
i.e. One should prepare before it is too late.
宜未雨而绸缪，毋临渴而掘井。 [Classical Chinese, simp.]