風馬牛不相及

ChineseEdit

to attract to each other horse; surname ox; cow; bull not; no
trad. (風馬牛不相及) 相及
simp. (风马牛不相及) 相及
Literally: “when the horses and cattle [of the distant Qi and Chu] are in heat, they cannot come close to one another [due to the great distance]”.

EtymologyEdit

A story from Zuozhuan:

使北海寡人南海風馬牛不相及不虞何故 [Classical Chinese, trad.]
使北海寡人南海风马牛不相及不虞何故 [Classical Chinese, simp.]
From: Commentary of Zuo, circa 4th century BCE, translation from Zuozhuan: Commentary on the "Spring and Autumn Annals" (2017), by Stephen Durrant, Wai-yee Li and David Schaberg
Chǔ Zǐ shǐ yǔ shī yán yuē: Jūn chǔ bòhǎi, guǎrén chǔ nánhǎi, wéi shì fēng mǎ niú bù xiāngjí yě. Bùyú jūn zhī shè wú dì yě, hégù [Pinyin]
The Master of Chu sent someone to speak with the allies' troops: "Your ruler dwells near the northern sea, while I, the unworthy one, dwell near the southern sea. Even when our horses and cattle are in heat, they cannot come close to one another. So I did not expect that you would encroach upon our territory. Why have you done so?"

PronunciationEdit


IdiomEdit

風馬牛不相及

  1. (of words, objects) to have no relationship with each other whatsoever; to be totally irrelevant; apples and oranges

See alsoEdit