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September 25, 2010

汗牛充棟 - Sweating Oxen, Reaching Ridge-Beams

Of books, which make oxen sweat, and which touch ceilings.

Source: 四字熟語辞典.



**Literal translation**: "Sweating ox, full ridgepole" **Idiomatic translation**: "Sweating oxen, reaching ridge-beams" **Reading**: かんぎゅう-じゅうとう (Kangyuu - jyuutou) A figure of speech used to describe one's possession of an excessively large number of books. The saying comes from the idea that the weight of such books, when loaded onto an oxcart, would cause the beast of burden to perspire; while its stacked height, when placed inside a house, would reach and touch its upper ridge beams (i.e. the ceiling).

Note: Surprisingly, oxen, sheeps and goats can and do sweat.


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