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Dandy Jiang

【Idiomatic expression】铁公鸡-Iron rooster

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Dandy Jiang

(I'm Chinese. Sorry if I make English mistakes.):P

 

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铁means iron, 公鸡means rooster. What's the meaning of 铁公鸡?

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It is related to an ancient story. Once upon a time, a man was seriously ill. The doctor said that if two feathers of chicken was added in the medicine, the efficacy would be enhanced. His brother finally found one rooster after searching everywhere. But the owner was too stingy to pluck even one feather.  So the brother had no choice but paid a lot of money to buy the rooster.

Can you pluck a feather from an iron roostr? Of course not. So 铁公鸡 is used to describe a person who is very stingy about money matters.

 

【Example sentences】

A:小王真是个铁公鸡!每次我们一起吃饭都不付钱。

Xiao Wang is so stingy! He never paid when we eat together.

B:那以后谁还愿意跟他一起吃饭啊?

Who wants to eat with him if he's so stingy?

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889

Is 铁公鸡 actually used these days to refer to a railroad train? Ever since that inventive writer used it in the title of his book about train travel in China , I've kept my ears open, but have never heard it.

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Dandy Jiang
1 hour ago, 889 said:

Is 铁公鸡 actually used these days to refer to a railroad train? Ever since that inventive writer used it in the title of his book about train travel in China , I've kept my ears open, but have never heard it.

 

I also never heard it in my life.

 

And I just baidued the book. Is it called Riding the Iron Rooster:By train through China? It's written by an American. I guess iron rooster is his metaphor for train(in English). And people translate it into Chinese literally. So the Chinese title of the book is 骑乘铁公鸡。

But the title 铁公鸡 has nothing to do with the idiomatic expression 铁公鸡。

So when Chinese say 铁公鸡,they mean stingy people, not trains.

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889

Looking into this a bit, it seems that writer heard that 铁公鸡 was Chinese slang for a particular railway line to Urumqi that the authorities were too stingy to maintain properly, and he then borrowed it for railway generally:

 

https://keywords.oxus.net/archives/2005/06/20/fire-carriage/

 

Again, he's known for inventive non-fiction -- he calls it embroidery -- so don't bank on this being the truth.

 

 

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