Chinese language vocabulary 汉语词汇 Idioms and slangs: 脚踩两只船

脚踩两只船(Jiǎo Cǎi Liǎnɡ Zhi Chuán)

 

Meaning:

比喻因为认识不清或为某种利益跟两方面都保持联系。
For the purpose of doing speculation or leaving more opportunities for oneself, one keeps in touch wiht both sides.

Character breakdown and explaination:

脚(jiǎo):foot
踩(cǎi):step on
两(liǎng):two
只(zhi):measure wor( used for boats, birds, some animals, some containers, and one of certain paired things.)
船(chuán):boat

This phrase literally means one person stepping on two boats. Figuratively, this phrase means for the purpose of doing speculation or leaving more opportunities for oneself, one keeps in touch with both sides. Nowadays, the phrase is commonly used to describe the relationship between men and women. The verb "踩" can be replaced with "踏" , and the measure word "只" can be changed into "条". For example, "脚踏两只船" ,“脚踩两条船”,ect.

Example sentences:

1、她们都是不错的女孩儿,你可不要玩脚踏两只船的游戏,欺骗她们的感情。
Tāmen dōu shì búcuò de nǚháir, nǐ kě bú yào wán jiǎo tà liǎng tiáo chuán de yóuxì, qīpiàn tāmen de gǎnqíng.
Both of them are great girls. You can’t have a foot in both camps and cheat them.

2、你迟早要在工党和保守党之间做出选择,不能总是脚踩两只船。
Nǐ chízǎo yào zài Gōngdǎng hé Bǎoshǒudǎng zhījiān zuòchū xuǎnzé, bù néng zǒngshì jiǎo cǎi liǎng zhī chuán.
Sooner or later, you’ll have to choose between the Labour and the Conservatives. You can’t have on foot in both camps indefinitely.

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