Chinese Chengyu – 狗急跳墙 – A Nervous Dog Jumps Over the Wall
The chéngyǔ 狗急跳墙 (gǒu jí tiào qiáng) breaks down to a dog (狗 gǒu) nervous (急 jí) jumps (跳 tiào) wall (墙 qiáng) Or, in more standard English, ‘A nervous dog jumps over the wall.’
While it may make sense on the surface, the true meaning of this chengyu may not perfectly match your first impression. This Chengyu describes the tendency to have surprising abilities when an emergency strikes. In fact, sometimes this chengyu is translated as “a dog can jump fences when cornered,” really stressing the urgent nature of the situation. In English, this would be akin to ‘hysterical strength’ – a display of extreme strength by humans, usually occurring in life and death situations; like parents being able to lift vehicles to rescue their children.
A more harmless example would be a close sports match (体育比赛, tǐyù bǐsài) that’s winding down on time. Players, though tired and exhausted, can sometimes muster up an extra bit of energy and perform miraculous feats, such as ‘last second shots’ and ‘overtime miracles’ (奇迹, qíjī) to win the game.
Have you experienced ‘a nervous dog jumps over the fence’ situation in your life?
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|A nervous dog jumps over the fence