Chinese language vocabulary 汉语词汇 按图索骥 Àntú-suǒjì


In the Spring and Autumn Period, there was a man named Sun Yang who was an expert in judging horses. To never let the talent of good horses be buried, he wrote a book, The Appraisal of Horses, to illustrate the features and appearance of the good horses.

孙阳有个儿子,以为相马很容易,就拿着《相马经》到处找好马。他按照书上的图去找,没有找到。又按照书里 写的特征去找,最后发现一只癞蛤蟆基本符合书中写的好马的特征,便高兴地把癞蛤蟆带回家,对父亲说:“爸爸,我找到了一匹好马,只是蹄子稍差些。”孙阳一 看,哭笑不得。感叹道:“这就是所谓的按图索骥啊。”
Sun Yang had a son who thought finding a steed was quite easy. He hoped to find one according to the descriptions in the book but always failed. One day he found a toad which fitted every characteristic of a steed as stated in the book. He took the toad home with great exaltation and told his father, “I have found a good horse corresponding to all the features you depict in your book, except for its hoofs are not good enough”. Sun Yang did not know whether to laugh or to cry at this. He gave a comment on his son’s deed with a sigh: "What you’ve done is just rigidly looking for a steed to correspond with the drawing".

相(xiàng): observe sth. and judge whether it is excellent (v.)
埋没(máimò): fall into oblivion(v. )
形态(xíngtài): configuration; shape(n.)
按照(ànzhào): according to(v. )
特征(tèzhēng): characteristic(n.)
符合(fúhé): to fit(v.)
感叹(gǎntàn): to sigh(v. )


" 索(suǒ)" means "to look for" and "骥(jì)" means "a good steed". Therefore, the idiom "按图索骥(Àntú-suǒjì)" means looking for a noble steed with the aid of the picture. metaphorically, this idiom implies that a person handles all matters strictly according to the book without any independently and flexible thinking. Sometimes it means trying to locate something by following up a clue.


Zhè jiàn shì hěn jiǎndān, zhīyào àntú-suǒjì, jiù kěyǐ jiějué le.这件事很简单,只要按图索骥,就可以解决了。
It is a simple matter. We only need to Àntú-suǒjì and it can be dealt with easily.


Wǒmen yào xuéxí biérén de xiānjìn jīngyàn, dàn bùnéng àntú-suǒjì de bānyòng .
We should learn from the others’ experience, but not totally Àntú-suǒjì.


Wǒmen Àntú-suǒjì zhǎodào le nà’ér, kě lǎobǎn què jiāng wǒmen jù zhī mén wài.
We found that place in a way like Àntú-suǒjì, but the boss refused to let us in.

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