Chinese Tuesdays: Beggars can't be choosers


There are a few ways to say this, but the best one I’ve heard so far is 要饭还嫌馊 (yàofànháixiánsōu). I haven’t been able to find a dictionary definition for it, so it might not be that commonly said or used nationwide.

The last character 馊 (sōu) means 'sour', as in food that has gone rancid, so a more literal translation of the phrase, depending on the situation, might be something like "You beg for food yet resent being given the leftovers."

Every Tuesday on the Anthill, Sam Duncan posts a langauge titbit from his blog. Read them all here