Chinese Idioms 2 - 自相矛盾 xì xiāng máo dùn
To pit his own spear against his own shield. This idiom means a person or an argument is self-contradictory.
矛 máo, is a form of spear used in ancient China for combat.
盾 dùn, is a form of shield used in ancient China for combat.
自相 xì xiāng, is to pit against each other while originating from the same root.
He claimed to have gone out for lunch earlier, but is now saying he was in office at that time. Apparently this is ~.
This idiom originated from the ancient Chu Kingdom in China. A tradesman was selling spears and shields in the market.
He claimed that his spears were the most powerful weapon of all and there was no material that the spear could not pierce through.
On his shields, he claimed that they were made from the strongest material and nothing in the world could pierce through them.
A passerby asked the tradesman what would happen if he was to pit those spears against the shields. The tradesman was dumbfounded by his own self-contradiction.
Copyright @ www.eChinaExpat.com