ChengYu: 自食其果 Meaning

Check out what the Chinese idiom "自食其果" means and how to use it in a sentence! Zi Shi Qi Guo when translated means "karma" or "you reap what you sow."


Traditional: 自食其果

Simplified: 自食其果

Pinyin: zì shí qí guǒ


自: self

食: to eat

其果: the results

Entire Translation: You reap what you sow; karma. It can possess both a positive and negative connotation but typically is used to describe negative situations.


During the Song Dynasty, a man named 丘浚 (qiū jùn) sought the company of a monk. Seeing that Qiu Jun did not hold a position of importance, the monk treated Qiu Jun with disdain. The monk ignored Qiu Jun’s requests and imparted no politeness to him.

Around this time, the son of an incredibly powerful general sought the company of the monk. Seeing that this young man had a position of importance, the monk heeded this man’s every order. The monk became this man’s servant.

Once this man left, Qiu Jun questioned the monk’s actions. “Why do you treat me in such an unfavorable manner? Why do you treat him so well?”

The monk told Qiu Jun that there lay a “deeper meaning” to his actions. “Oh, you’ve misunderstood! Don’t you know that this is just the way I am? When I am nice to someone on the surface, I don’t actually like them. When I am mean to someone on the surface, I actually enjoy their company very much!”

Qiu Jun picked up his walking stick and proceeded to beat the living days out of the monk. “According to your logic,” Qiu Jun fumed, “if I hit you, do I actually love you? If I don’t hit you, do I not love you? In order to show my overwhelming love for your company, I must hit you! I hope you understand!”

How this Story Applies to the Idiom:
The monk treated Qiu Jun with disdain, tried to cover up his actions, and eventually reaped what he sowed.


  1. 我为了皇位而失去了她正在自食其果。
    Translation: I lost her because of my overwhelming desire to become emperor; I am reaping what I have sowed.

  2. 你不用说了,我现在这样做,以后必当自食其果。
    Translation: You don’t have to say anymore; I know I will eventually reap what I sow.

  3. 无论好与坏的事,人都要自食其果.
    Translation: It doesn’t matter whether your actions are right or wrong; in the end, we all reap what we sow.


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