Chinese idiom 出类拔萃 – The great expectation that Chinese parents have for their children

Posted by Grace Feng on May 3, 2012

Chinese idiom 出类拔萃 - The great expectation that Chinese parents have for their childrenWhy I say that Chinese idiom 出类拔萃 chū lèi bá cuì is the symbol of great expectations that Chinese parents have for their children? Maybe you’ve more or less heard of how strict most Chinese parents are to their children on their academic performance, talent and skills. The four character idiom: 出-类-拔-萃 are written in the eyes of most Chinese parents while they look at their children and envision their children’s future.

Then what does 出类拔萃 chū lèi bá cuì means? It actually originated from a comment made by Confucian philosopher 孟子 Mèngzǐ (Mencius) on 孔子 Kǒngzǐ (Confucius). The original phrase was like this : 出于其类, 拔乎其萃 chūyú qí lèi, bá hū qí cuì. That is referring to people that was born like everyone else, yet grows into someone with extraordinary talent or capacity. Later on, the phrase was simplified into four letter idiom: 出类拔萃.

To continue our discussion at the beginning, it is a tradition for Chinese parents to expect their children to grow into an extraordinary person. Well, is it realistic? To most, no. But that tradition has almost turned into a habbit for Chinese parents to keep adding pressure to their kids. Is it good? Or bad? In my opinion, it is good, but do not go extreme. Tiger Mom in my opinion is going too far. :-)

OK now, I believe you’ve got the idea about what does it mean for this Chinese idiom. It actually could be used on people of any age, not just kids. I’ll show you how to use it now :

lǐ qiáng de chéngjì yīzhí dōu chūlèibácuì。


Li Qiang’s academic performance has always been extraordinary.

[mp3j track=”chu-lei-ba-cui-e1.mp3″]


yào xiǎng zài tónglíng rénzhōng chūlèibácuì, jiù yīdìngyào fùchū bǐ biéren duō de nǔlì。


If you want to be outstanding among your peers, you have to pay extra effort than others.

[mp3j track=”chu-lei-ba-cui-e2.mp3″]


Let me ask you, do you want to be 出类拔萃 in your Chinese study? :-)


Related posts:

Three Chinese idioms about people relationships: 人情世故, 左右逢源, 面面俱到
A very useful Chinese expression 物以稀为贵
Consoling oneself with false hope - Chinese idiom 望梅止渴


Category: Chinese idioms

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