危如累卵 – wēi rú lěi luǎn Chinese Character Break Down 危 – dangerous 如 – like 累 – to pile up (careful, 累 is read as “lěi” here) 卵 – egg 危如累卵: Precarious like a pile of eggs. Idiom Meaning
Very unstable, precarious; could collapse at any moment.Chengyu Examples 明星婚姻为什么总是危如累卵啊？ míng xīng hūnyīn wèishénme zǒngshì wēirúlěiluǎn a?
Why are celebrities’ marriages always so unstable?
Chengyu Story and Background
In the Spring and Autumn Period, duke Ling of Jin had the crazy idea to build a nine-story-watchtower. People started telling him how dangerous and silly his idea was, which only infuriated him. He ordered the next person to criticize the tower to be killed.
One of his ministers, Xun Xi, had a clever plan. When he went to visit the duke, an archer was holding a bow and arrow; if anything was said about the building he would be shot. Instead, cheerfully, Xun Xi said that he wanted to show off a fun skill he had, and the king agreed since he loved games. Xun Xi ordered to get twelve chessmen and nine eggs.
Xun Xi placed the chessmen on the floor at first, and then went on to putting eggs on top. When he was putting the last one on the pile, the king could not help but cringe, “Careful, it is too dangerous!” Xun Xi countered, “No, there are many things more dangerous than this.” Then he went on to tell the king why building a watchtower was a terrible idea. “In order to build a nine-level platfrom, our national treasury has benn emptied and there is no one left to cultivate the land or weave cloth. Neighboring countries are planning to attack us, and we have no way to protect ourselves.”
Hearing this, the king finally understood what Xun Xi was getting at. Like that precarious pile of eggs, he now was aware of the situation.