Proverbs commonly said to be Chinese

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A picture may be worth a thousand words, but this is not a Chinese phrase.

In English, various phrases are used and claimed to be of Chinese origin – "..., as they say in China" or "An ancient Chinese proverb says...", and may be specifically attributed to Confucius. Chinese has influenced English in various ways, and some such phrases have clear Chinese origins, while in other cases the attribution to Chinese is demonstrably false, and in other cases the status is less clear.

Notable examples include:

Other examples include phrases contained in fortune cookies, or sayings in the same style; fortune cookies are of Japanese American origin, and the phrases are generally intended for entertainment, rather than drawing on traditional Chinese culture.

Authentic Chinese origin[edit]

Many Chinese proverbs exist, some of which have entered English, in forms that are of varying degrees of faithfulness. A notable example is "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step", from the Dao De Jing, ascribed to Laozi.

Other phrases entered English from Chinese via Chinese Pidgin English, such as "long time no see" or "chop chop".