“You are modest.”

2012-11-10  •  Quotes  •  New! Daily  •  Contact Us


Chinese character: 你
Chinese character: 很
Chinese character: 謙Simplified Chinese: 谦
Chinese character: 虛Simplified Chinese: 虚

Or, You are very humble.

謙虛 (qiānxū) means modest, self-effacing, unassuming, or humble.

謙 (qiān) represents 謙讓 (qiānràng), meaning modesty, humility.

虛 (xū) represents 虛心 (xūxīn), meaning modest and open-minded. 虛 is void or empty. 心 is heart. It is the opposite of an overflowing cup that cannot take in more water. It means we must empty ourselves of preconceived ideas so we can be ready to be taught. 虛心 describes a person who is not “full of it” but has an empty mind that is open to being filled.

If you reverse the sequence of these two characters, the meaning becomes something quite different! 心虛 (xīnxū), literally “heart empty or void,” means guilty or with a guilty conscience.

There are times that 虛心 can mean guilty and 心虛 can mean modest. But generally speaking, 虛心 is good and 心虛 is bad.

Confucius is a great teacher and as far as I know he never bragged or “rubbed it in.” If I ever see him I’ll tell him, “你很謙虛” (Nǐ hěn qiānxū).