Pinyin: zì xiāng máo dùn
自相: mutual; each other
Individuals typically use this idiom to describe contradictions. The 矛 (máo) comes from 矛盾, which means spear. The 盾 (dùn) comes from 盾牌 which means shield.
One day as a man walked through the market, he heard a salesman selling spears and shields. The salesman said, “No spear in the world can pierce my shields!” Right after, the salesman said, “No shield in the world can block the strength of my spears!” The man asked the salesman, “What would happen if I used your spear to stab your shield? What would happen then?”
The salesman did not know how to answer the man’s question. From then on, people have used 自相矛盾 to describe a person who exaggerates the severity of a situation or a person who tells a story that contradicts itself.
HOW TO USE “自相矛盾” IN A SENTENCE
- I never truly believe him because his stories always possess contradictions.
- I don’t trust stories with contradictions.
- I am careful with whom I support within politics because politicians typically make vague promises with contradictions.
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