Mon, Feb 13, 2017 - Page 9 News List


A pile of ingot-shaped candies is seen in a shop along Taipei’s Dihua Street on Jan. 17.

Photo: Paul Cooper, Taipei Times

Chinese Practice


(dian3 shi2 cheng2 jin1)

to touch stone and turn it into gold

Midas Touch 原出自希臘神話中的邁達斯點石成金的故事。故事揭示了過度貪婪的下場,並提醒世人,美夢成真時往往會伴隨著意想不到的後果。如今,Midas Touch 這個片語已失去了原本的警世含意,僅用來指某人化腐朽為神奇的能力,例如形容商人非常擅長賺錢。


中文的「點石成金」與Midas Touch 意思相近。「點石成金」字面的意思是把石頭變成金子。不同於英文的Midas Touch,這個成語並沒有警世的含意,常用於形容人改寫文字的功力極好,能將平淡的文章改為精彩的作品。(台北時報編譯涂宇安譯)


(He has the Midas touch. He can transform a pretty basic limerick into a refined masterpiece.)


(He didn’t just change a few words in the first paragraph, he transformed the entire article. He has the touch. It’s really quite impressive.)


The Midas touch

The story of the Midas Touch originates from Greek mythology. It is a cautionary tale of being careful of what you wish for, and of the perils of unchecked greed. In modern usage, it seems to have lost this cautionary aspect, and now simply refers to the ability to transform something pedestrian into something remarkable, for example for a businessperson with a keen eye for turning a profit.

The original myth revolves around Midas, king of Phrygia, whom the Roman poet Ovid says was given a special power by the god Dionysius. The god, grateful for the hospitality Midas had afforded the satyr Silenus, drunk and lost and brought before the king by local peasants, offered Midas a reward. Midas allowed his greed to get the better of him, and requested the ability to turn things into gold. All went well until the king discovered that all the food and drink in front of him was rendered useless at his touch. It was even said that he inadvertently turned his own daughter into gold when he attempted to comfort her.

In Chinese, there is a similar idiom: 點石成金 literally means “to touch stone and turn it into gold.” There is no cautionary aspect to this, and it is often used figuratively to mean transforming crude writing into a work of literary merit.

(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)

Warren Buffet is a modern Midas. He certainly has the touch.


You really do have the Midas Touch, don’t you. Everything you touch turns into gold.


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