"May you live in interesting times", often referred to as the Chinese curse, is reputed to be the English translation of an ancient Chinese proverb and curse, although it may have originated among the English themselves (or Americans). It is reported that it was the first of three curses of increasing severity, the other two being:

  • May you come to the attention of those in authority (sometimes rendered May the government be aware of you). This is sometimes quoted at May you come to the attention of powerful people.
  • May you find what you are looking for

In 1632Edit

May you live in interesting times is utter and reminded between Vicomte Turenne and Francois Lefebvre when reflecting over the French defeat at the Battle of Ahrensbök while considering hiring Charles de la Porte and the comte de Guébriant. Turenne mistaken the witty saying as an American expression before being corrected by Lefebvre as being originated from the Chinese.[1]


  1. 1634: The Baltic War, Ch. 64
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