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How would you say 悲凉 in English? For example,

每当想起自己的经历,心里就阵阵悲凉。

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T.L. welcome to Chinese Language and Usage. :) In the future, please remember to provide some research effort when you ask for translations, as stated by our FAQ. :) –  Alenanno May 21 '12 at 14:57
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

悲 means sad and 凉 means cold. So you feel both sad and cold. You can translate it as desolate or dismal.

Some definitions from different dictionaries:

  • According to 《现代汉语规范词典》 悲凄 is 悲伤+凄凉 and 悲伤 means sad, sorrowful and 凄凉 means desolate, cold and lonely.

  • According to 《现代汉语词典》 悲凄 is 悲哀+凄凉 and 悲哀 means grieved, sorrowful, sad and 凄凉 means desolate, cold and lonely.

  • Comprehensive Chinese-English Dictionary has sad and cold

  • MDBG has sorrowful, dismal

I would translate your sentence as Every time he recalled his own experiences, he felt sad and cold in his heart for a while.

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悲凉 => 悲惨,凄凉. So I think it should also represent "miserable". –  coolcfan May 21 '12 at 9:20
    
According to 《现代汉语规范词典》 悲 refers to 悲伤 and according to 《现代汉语词典》 it refers to 悲哀. –  BertR May 21 '12 at 9:55
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Miserable and desolate can be used interchangeably in some cases to refer to a state of extreme sadness. Forlorn would be another word that fits the criteria. To me 悲凉 and 凄凉 are synonyms. It's essentially splitting up the word 悲凄 (sad) and combining each with 凉 (cold). –  deutschZuid May 23 '12 at 21:31
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