Tang Bi Dang Che 螳臂挡车

螳臂挡车 (Táng Bì Dǎng Chē) or 螳螂挡车 (Táng Láng Dǎng Chē) is a Chinese idiom that literally means ‘a mantis limb blocking a car’ in English.

It is used to describe not knowing one’s limits and going against something beyond one’s ability. 螳臂挡车 is often used in a derogatory manner to indicate that the person will most likely fail. 不自量力 (Bù Zì Liàng Lì) is also frequently used together with 螳臂挡车 to put emphasis on a person overrating his ability. It cannot be used on yourself.

A similar idiom without the derogatory undertone is 以卵击石 (Yǐ Luǎn Jī Shí)

螳臂挡车 Tang2 Bi4 Dang3 Che1

Idiom breakdown

螳 is short for 螳螂 which means praying mantis
臂 means limb(s)
挡 means to block
车 means car

Example sentences

  1. 他有权有势,你想对付他简直是螳臂挡车,不自量力。
    tā yǒuquán yǒu shì, nǐ xiǎng duìfù tā jiǎnzhí shì táng bì dǎng chē, bùzìliànglì
    He has power and influence; going against him is suicidal and an overestimation of your abilities.

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