Set phrase: Definition, meaning and example of 按图索骥

By | June 24, 2013

Definition of 按图索骥

按图means following the drawing;索骥means to search and find a good horse. The original meaning of the term 按图索骥is to find a horse by referring to a picture of a good which is used to criticize someone’s inflexibility; but now 按图索骥 is also referred locate something by following the clues.

Origin of 按图索骥

During the ancient Qin Dynasty, there was a person called Sun Yang, he was famous for his ability to pick up good horses and known as “Bole(伯乐)”; Sun Yang’s son was not a smart guy but wanted to learn the ability from his father, thus he held the book written by his father and went out to search for good horses; one day, Sun Yang’s son found a toad and considered it as a good horse because the toad had big eyes and also other features fitting in the descriptions written in the book. He showed the toad to his father who can only laugh and said: “your horse is jumping too much; it is not easy for riding!”

Example of 按图索骥

警察根据一名劫匪QQ空间里的照片,“按图索骥”将其抓获。
According to the photos of the robber in the QQ space, the police followed the photos and arrested him.

Synonyms: 墨守成规
Antonyms: 不落窠臼

In the over 5,000 years history of China, Chinese idioms or set phrases (中国成语) exhibit concentrated Chinese language culture. They are simple, accurate, very expressive and widely adopted. The formation of each idiom shows some real historical facts, which reflect the political, military, cultural, civil fashion and morality in different periods with strong Chinese features. Learn more about other 4-word set phrases.

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