chinese-idiom-defensive-people

Chinese idiom for defensive people: “To take someone else’s seat”

Have you ever made an innocent comment…

…only to have someone jump on you because they thought you were talking about them?

Here’s a Chinese idiom you can use to keep them at bay: 对号入座 (duì hào rù zuò).

对号入座 (duì hào rù zuò) literally means “to take your seat based on your number”, but the meaning has expanded to include situations when someone jumps out and assumes that a criticism or comment is about them. For example, if someone mentions that they hate poorly written blogs, and I get defensive because I assume they’re talking about me, that is classic 对号入座 (duì hào rù zuò).

A breakdown of the characters in 对号入座(duì hào rù zuò):

对 (duì): to check (eg. 对表 – duì biǎo)

号 (hào): number (eg. 电话号码 – diàn huà hào mǎ – phone number)

入 (rù): to enter (eg. 进入 – jìn rù)

座 (zuò): seat (eg. 座位 – zuò wèi)

Check out 对号入座, in the wild, in all its glory:

Meaning 1) To defensively assume a criticism is about yourself

Example 1A)

“…并不针对任何人,请不要自行对号入座

“…bìng bù zhēnduì rènhé rén,qǐng búyào zìxíng duìhàorùzuò “

“…I’m not targeting anyone, please don’t assume that we’re talking about you

Example 1B)

不是真凶的人千万别对号入座

“búshì zhēnxiōng de rén qiānwàn bié duìhàorùzuò o”

“If you’re not the real killer, please don’t assume we’re talking about you

Example 1C)

“…请勿对号入座,没有提到她

“…qǐngwù duìhàorùzuò,méiyǒu tídào tā “

“…Please don’t assume we’re talking about her – we didn’t bring her up at all”

Example 1D)

我并不是要引起80和90的争执,我只是说大多数的情况,请理智的90后朋友不要对号入座

“wǒ bìngbúshì yào yǐnqǐ 80 hé 90 de zhēngzhí,wǒ zhǐshì shuō dàduōshù de qíngkuàng,qǐng lǐzhì de 90hòu péngyǒu búyào duìhàorùzuò

“I’m not trying to create conflict between people born in the 80s and 90s. I’m just talking about the majority of situations. Those of you who are rational and born in the 90s – please don’t assume we’re talking about you.”

Meaning 2) The literal meaning – to take your seat based on your number

Example 2A)

考生对号入座后,将准考证及身份证件放在考桌桌面的左上角

“kǎoshēng duìhàorùzuò hòu,jiānɡ zhǔn kǎozhèng jí shēnfèn zhèngjiàn fàngzài kǎo zhuō zhuōmiàn de zuǒshàngjiǎo”

“After the students took their seats based on their numbers, they put their test certificate and ID upper left corner of their test desk.”

Example 2B)

观看演出的时候,一般提早15分钟进场,对号入座

“guānkàn yǎnchū de shíhou,yìbān tízǎo 15 fēnzhōng jìnchǎng,duìhàorùzuò

“When watching a performance, generally enter the theater 15 minutes early, and take your seats based on your number.”

Example 2C)

对不起先生,为了飞机的配载平衡,请您对号入座

“duìbùqǐ xiānshēng,wèile fēijī de pèizǎi pínghéng,qǐng nín duìhàorùzuò “

“Sorry sir, for the load balancing of the plane, please take your seat based on your number

Hope you find this Chinese idiom helpful!

Questions? Comments? Other Chinese idioms you recommend? Let us know!

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