There is an expression in Chinese:


It literally means old ginger is spicy, which means experienced senior person should be respected due to their knowledge and experiences.

Is there an equivalent or similar meaning phrase in English?

I want to use such a phrase to praise a senior programmer. She helped me answer a question I could not answer through her experiences.

  • 2
    There might be. But I’ll say using it runs the risk of making you look like you’re simply trying to curry favor (aka suck up). Western corporate culture is less explicitly deferential to senior people than in the East. So be careful how you use it. You might be safer simply saying “Bob is a veteran, I trust him on this”.
    – Dan Bron
    Mar 8 '19 at 2:29
  • 2
    Please include in your question the context in which you'd use the English phrase.
    – Lawrence
    Mar 8 '19 at 2:54

How about this:

never underestimate an old man in a dangerous profession

Since, the above sentence talk about some particular people. I try to google and then find the below one:

Never underestimate the power of a common man.

PS, I do also care about this question, so if I got wrong or not very exactly, please leave them in the comments below.

  • The Chinese expression, as far as I can tell, can refer to someone in any profession. In contrast, the expression you're suggesting would sound odd if you're talking about an accountant.
    – Laurel
    Mar 8 '19 at 3:37
  • Yep, you'r right. I will update my answer now.
    – Frank AK
    Mar 8 '19 at 3:41

You could try using the expression "worth (one's) salt" -

worth (one's) salt

Warranting respect in a certain field or area, typically because one does one's job well.

Any teacher worth his salt is able to inspire his students

I'm confident enough to know I'm worth my salt around here. I make a lot of money for this company.


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