Idioms and Proverbs about Niu (Ox or Cow)

We thought it would be interesting to hear some of the traditional proverbs connected with the Ox.

牛   Niú

In Chinese, we could just use the word 牛 as an adjective to describe someone or something as awesome.

初生牛犊不怕虎  Chū shēng niú dú bú pà hǔ

New-born calves are not afraid of tigers. This idiom originates from the Chinese classic Zhuangzi, which is usually used to describe young people who hesitate less and are more encouraged to do things.

吃的是草,挤的是奶 Chī de shì cǎo ,jǐ de shì nǎi

Grass fed, milk produced. Lu Xun, a litterateur, thinker in modern China once said that “I’m like a cow who eats grass and produces milk.” This expression indicates that one asks for little yet to give out a lot more.

老牛舐犊  Lǎo niú shì dú

An old cow licking her calf. This idiom comes from The Book of Later Han Dynasty. Old cows would lick their calf out of love for them, so people use this idiom to express human’s love to their children