To recruit soldiers and buy horses | Chinese Chengyu – 招兵买马

recruit-soldiers-buy-horses-blog-01Chinese Chengyu – 招兵买马 – To recruit soldiers and buy horses

Chinese chengyu 招兵买马 (zhāo bīng mǎi mǎ) breaks down to into recruit (招zhāo ) soldiers (兵bīng) buy (买mǎi) horses (马 mǎ). This is translated into  English as ‘recruit soldiers, buy horses.”

You can take this chéngyǔ at face value since the meaning is essential “to raise a large army” or “to raise a large army and prepare for battle.” In English, phrases like “suit up,” “fire up the engines,” or even “ready the troops” uses a similarly concise way to state a larger purpose.  

Today, you’re more likely to hear this chéngyǔ in a business setting than in a war. For example, a new business is opening and they need whole new staff (员工 yuángōng). Or, after a product is ready and you need to hire a sales force (销售团队 xiāoshòutuánduì) to face off against your competitors.


Chinese Chengyu Vocabulary

Chinese Pinyin English
Zhāo find/recruit
bīng soldiers
mǎi buy
销售团队 xiāoshòutuánduì sales team
员工 yuángōng staff


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Here are other ChengYu related to animals you might interested in: 狗急跳牆, 守株待兔, 狼多肉少.

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