Hanja: If you want fish, look for them in water…

I was looking for one specific four character hanja expression (as you do…) when I came across these two:

상산구어 (上山求魚): Seeking a fish on a mountain.
Related: 연목구어 (緣木求魚) : Seeking a fish from a tree

They are pretty self-explanatory: someone is attempting to do the impossible.

Odd as it sounds, I have really come to appreciate four character expressions although it will take a loooong time before I will be able to use them naturally. Just had to share these two 😉


4 thoughts on “Hanja: If you want fish, look for them in water…

  1. 소희

    I love that one! Here’s one that is frighteningly close to a similar expression that we have in Danish. Just learned it from my LP: 동문서답~

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      It’s incredible. I’ve had several language meetings where a language partner has prepared to go all in on an explanation and then I’ve said “oh, we say the exact same thing in Danish!” causing a somewhat surprised look. Especially when the English version is totally different. I’ll have to think about more of these… Right now I cannot think of any.


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