吃豆腐Eating Tofu = Take advantage of woman WHY?
    2014-02-24 15:00:33     CRIENGLISH.com       Web Editor: Qin Mei

吃豆腐chī dòu fǔ

Literal Definition: To take advantage of woman physically or verbally through actions bearing sexual conotations. Eg: through inappropriate flirting.

The common saying of "Eating Tofu" is related to the story of "Tofu Xishi".

词语溯源How it came to be:

俗语“吃豆腐”与民间“豆腐西施”的戏称有关。

"Xishi" was the name of a beautiful woman from the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC), who was presented by Fu Chai (the King of Wu) to Gou Jian ( the King of Yue). "Xishi" then became a popular term for referring to beautiful woman, which is how it continues to be used today.

“西施”是春秋时越王勾践献给吴王夫差的美女,后来把她的名字当做美女的代称,沿用至今。

"Tofu Xishi" refers to Yang Ersao, a character from the novel "Guxiang", written by Lu Xun.

“豆腐西施”出自鲁迅的"故乡"里的杨二嫂。

Yang is the owner of a tofu shop; she is young, beautiful and has flawless skin because she eats tofu all the time. She entices and flirts with men in order to sell more tofu. These men always go to her tofu shop under the guise that they are just going there to "eat tofu" in order to flirt with her. Over time, the idiom "eating tofu" came into use to refer to a man taking advantage of a woman.

杨二嫂开豆腐店,常食豆腐而细皮嫩肉,为招揽顾客卖弄风情,引得周围男人以“吃豆腐”为名,到豆腐店与老板娘调情,动手动脚.于是,"吃豆腐"就成了男人占女人便宜的代名字.

如何使用How to use it in a sentence:

Be careful, this idiom has a softer meaning in contemporary China and is generally only used in casual contexts, making it unsuitable for use in formal conversation. It is commonly used by men in a humourous manner during potentially embarassing situations. For example, if a man accidentally brushes the chest of an attractive woman whilst on a bus, he may then use the phrase to apologize her as such: Sorry, I did not mean to eat your tofu.
注意,这个俗语在现代汉语中使用时有语境要求,通常在非正式语境中使用。这句俗语大多用于在占到便宜时男性向女性幽默地道歉。例如,如果在公交车上,一个男子不小心碰到了美女的胸部,那么他可以这样道歉:“不好意思,我不是故意要吃你豆腐。”

bú hǎo yì sī ,wǒ bú shì gù yì yào chī nǐ dòu fǔ
不好意思,我不是故意要豆腐
Sorry, I did not mean to eat your tofu.

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