Questions concerned understanding of individual words or phrases, considering a context in which these words and phrases are expressed.

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3
votes
3answers
409 views

Is this sentence ambiguous out of context?

My newsletter says this sentence 我五分钟后就回来。 is translated as "I'll be back in 5 minutes". I am curious to know whether this sentence could be translated as "I came back 5 minutes ago", or does ...
3
votes
2answers
734 views

What is the correct Chinese expression for “Only child”?

I noticed lot of compound words using "只" for "only", but what is the correct way to say "only child" (a child with no brothers, nor sisters)? Thanks!
3
votes
6answers
204 views

Meaning of 只 in 只把思念积压在我心头

Ok so firstly I take the sentence as a whole to mean. The missing is accumulating in my heart (i.e. I'm missing you more and more). Provided I've got that correct, what function does 只 perform here. ...
3
votes
2answers
415 views

Tree: 树 (shù) vs 木 (mù)

Is there any difference between 树 (shù) and 木 (mù), in the meaning of "tree", or they are interchangeable?
3
votes
2answers
436 views

Can someone explain the differences between these sentences?

There are some sentences in Chinese which possess different meanings under different circumstances. Can someone explain the differences? Example 1 a) In winter says: 能穿多少穿多少 b) In summer says: ...
3
votes
3answers
419 views

What is the meaning of 老不死 exactly?

I'd like to know in depth detail, what is the meaning of this expression? How come there is only a few people saying it? Old and not died is a good thing in my mind.
3
votes
1answer
252 views

What is the meaning behind 5000 万 袋住先 7689!@#?

On a poster referring to the umbrella protests in hong kong is a chinese politician depicted in the way of the picture "the scream" by edward munch, next to him is a humanoid banana with googles ...
3
votes
5answers
469 views

meaning: 接+地气=?

I saw this comment online the other day: 我只能说大陆的法律能接点地气吗?如果在台湾,这属于通奸罪。 I'm a bit confused about the [接+地气] part. 地气 has some funny definitions in the following two dictionaries: ABC: ·...
3
votes
3answers
217 views

Does 青龙 not really mean Green Dragon?

People at the Hebei museum, and my friends, and Baidu http://baike.baidu.com/view/606163.htm all agree that 青龙白虎 means "Dragon and White Tiger." (I capitalize because these name specific folk animals....
3
votes
2answers
360 views

What does the phrase “足矣” mean?

I saw this phrase recently in a post online. The whole sentence is 人生得一知己足矣. I think 人生得一知己 means "getting a BFF(?) in one's life". (The only meaning of the word 知己 that I know of is BFF, but please ...
3
votes
3answers
83 views

What is the cultural meaning of the practice 歃 when taking an oath ?

I came across the character 歃 , namely in the sentence: 葵丘之會諸侯,束牲、載書而不歃血 it is glossed as "to smear one's mouth with the blood of a victim to take an oath". I have searched for further details ...
3
votes
6answers
113 views

上的 — How is it functioning in this sentence

In the following sentence, what does 上的 mean? 中国历史学上的夏、商、周属于考古学上的青铜时代。 I translated it as "Archaeologists know the Xia, Shang and Zhou collectively as the Bronze Age." I think I have the gist of ...
3
votes
4answers
132 views

Can someone explain 进入 in this sentence?

非常抱歉 , 我们无法提供相关的API进入词库数据库 ,这些是受到版权保护的 。 So basically they can't provide access to the database via API, but I'm wondering why they use 进入, as I thought it was related to physical entrance of a ...
3
votes
2answers
152 views

In “我只喜歡你一個” what does the “一個” do?

If I were to translate "I only like you" I'd say 我只喜歡你 Wǒ zhǐ xǐ huan nǐ However I have seen the following 我只喜歡你一個 Wǒ zhǐ xǐ huan nǐ yī ge Translated as I like you alone ...
3
votes
1answer
184 views

Origin of the slang “機車”

I know that "機車" is motorcycle and it is also used as a slang word, but I was unsure of its meaning. Thus, i checked this page, and I was confused by its ambiguity when translated to English, as ...
3
votes
2answers
146 views

四航奋进: This ship's name is translated as “Four Aircraft Endeavour”, but is it?

The name of the ship below is given as: 四航奋进 I've seen it previously*** translated as "Four Aircraft Endeavour", which seems peculiar, as it's not an aircraft. The 四 I can understand: it has two ...
3
votes
2answers
392 views

What is the difference between 别人 and 别的人?

What is there difference between these two expressions, or are they synonmyous?
3
votes
2answers
175 views

How to understand “实” in this context? ”五侯九伯,女实征之“(《齐桓公伐楚盟屈完》)之“实”字何以训?

《齐桓公伐楚盟屈完》,出《左传》僖公四年,原文节此: ”昔召康公命我先君太公曰:‘五侯九伯,女实征之,以夹辅周室。’” 这个“实”字当何以训?“实”常见的释义里,大概只有“真正、真确”还强通文意。但看到《康熙字典》里“实”又有“具數”一义:“又具數也。《史記·始皇本紀》使黔首自實田。《註》謂令民自具頃畝實數也。”用来训此“实”,是否得当?有更好的解释吗?
3
votes
2answers
128 views

Use of 蓝 (Blue) in a Specific Context?

There is a song sung by William So whose title is 《有人喜欢蓝》 (Yǒurén xǐhuan lán - There are people who like blue.) What does 蓝 (blue) mean in this context? Is it a reference to the sky, sea, a mood, or ...
2
votes
7answers
584 views

How can I translate this correctly into English “今晚怎么意思”

I have a group of friends who regularly meet to play soccer, someone asked on WeChat: 今晚怎么意思 The reply given was the time that we start "7" (meaning 7pm). I may be missing something very ...
2
votes
6answers
299 views

Meaning of 脏话 in 这里能说脏话吗

I just came across someone asking this in online chat: 这里能说脏话吗 I've taken that to mean, is there anyone here who can speak x?. It's the x bit I'm unsure of. If I look up 脏话 in a dictionary it says ...
2
votes
3answers
264 views

做 as the verb “to be”

Can someone please clarify how and when 做 is used to mean "to be" e.g. 不愿做奴隶人们 I am familiar with 做 meaning "to do" or "to make", and I would expect that if I was saying "I am a slave", “我是一个奴隶“ ...
2
votes
5answers
342 views

“我们过去了” was he joking?

One man and I were crossing a busy Beijing intersection and were almost across when tour buses cut us off from both sides and we stood between them as they passed. He smiled at me and said "我们过去了!' ...
2
votes
1answer
367 views

The real meaning of “傲嬌”

Until recently, I have known the meaning of this word as described on the wiki page. I thought it is used to refer to people, particularly female, who are cold on the outside and hot, as in intimate, ...
2
votes
2answers
813 views

The use of 上 (shàng) “on/above/over” in Mandarin and English

I'm interested in the the differences between English and Mandarin when they are talking about spatial preposition. Can i assume that in Mandarin, they use the preposition 上 for most of the times ...
2
votes
4answers
229 views

What is the meaning of 捅破 in this text?

The following text is taken from the serial of 寒夜: 一直到有一天 一个偶然的机会 我的心事 或者说是我们的心事 被我们的学生捅破 感情是不能被捅破的 一旦捅破 就如同大坝破堤 汹涌而出 He's talking about his love for the heroine of the series, then ...
2
votes
2answers
149 views

meaning of 等 in this sentence

From the economic observer: 前两个背离可以理解为经济结构调整过程中,产业结构优化等优势逐步显现 As far as I know, 等 means either wait or it is either used to end a list of objects. This sentence is also quite technical itself, ...
2
votes
2answers
123 views

夫唯弗居,是以不去 What"s the meaning of the first 4 characters?

it's the end of the second chapter of Dao De Jing. I try to make sense: 是以不去 therefore it's not lost, doesn't go away. 夫唯弗居? Can anybody help me?
2
votes
4answers
257 views

Ways to determine whether a noun phrase is plural

So in a recent answer someone told me: 预言 here most likely is not plural - hence the whole 的大 Which brings to mind a question about other ways of determining plurality. Certainly I've heard of ...
2
votes
4answers
869 views

What words or expressions could be used to say someone is/looks handsome?

Either words or expressions, formal ones or informal ones.
2
votes
6answers
337 views

“一别五六年” 是什么意思??

刚跟一个好久没联系的威海朋友在聊聊时,他说了 时间过得太快了,一别五六年了。 “一别五六年”,或者“一别” 是什么意思?我查了一下,没找到。 PS: I thought that according to this, questions in Chinese were allowed, but I can't publish it without English...
2
votes
3answers
235 views

Translating the word “feelings” for conversational use

When I look for a dictionary translation of "feelings", I see two translations: 情怀 and 情面. Which of these two would be better suited to translate the following sentence The woman rhetorically ...
2
votes
2answers
332 views

What does 就算这次做错也只是怕错过 mean?

I found this sentence in a song's lyrics => " 就算这次做错也只是怕错过 ". What does it mean?
2
votes
1answer
326 views

Expressions that have no meaning (什么/来着)

I know that these two expression, in certain circumstances, have no meaning and are optional. I'm trying to figure out how to use them, even though they have no meaning. 什么 This has a meaning, (...
2
votes
1answer
265 views

Use of 龙 in the idiom 车水马龙

With the idiom 车水马龙 which is used to describe somewhere that is bustling and crowded, why was 龙 included considering it is a mythical creature? Does it represent something other than a creature in ...
2
votes
3answers
556 views

Understanding the meaning of 让 in this sentence

我不但能够让外国人坐我的车,还能够让他包我的车。 This is from a Chinese reader. The voice is of a Chinese taxi-driver. The problem is the translation of 让... He's talking about going to hotels and getting customers. ...
2
votes
2answers
336 views

才 in the sense of “only”

What does 才 mean in this sentence? 妈妈说,鼻子长才是漂亮。 (Quote taken from a nursery rhyme.) After looking in the dictionary my best guess is that it means "just" or "only", so as to make the ...
2
votes
2answers
162 views

Is “戀”/“恋” a word by itself?

As titled. I saw this lyrics with the sentence, 為什麼全世界的戀我都失一遍? Based on the structure, it looks like the word itself is a noun. If it is, what does it mean? I only know the word 戀愛/恋爱. Thanks ...
2
votes
5answers
137 views

Is 解决 a common euphemism for going to the bathroom?

In the novel 《天机》, passengers on a bus become ill after eating an unfamiliar dish. They ask the driver to stop the bus, and the male passengers, including the protagonist 叶萧, descend: 【他们】...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Homonyms in the context of humor or satire

Because my study of Chinese is mostly based on intermediate videos I think I am missing something. Now that I have a sense of the large number of homophones in Chinese, the potential for double-...
2
votes
2answers
221 views

What is the meaning of 用支 in this setence?

支 usually means support or branch, but here it seems to take on a different meaning. Unless it means they plan the support they use in their life on money? I also tried to replace 用支 with 用之 and 用纸, ...
2
votes
2answers
173 views

追 as in 追剧 (chasing a TV series)

I am native speaker but I haven't yet figured out the exact meaning of 追 as in 追剧 - 'chasing a TV series'. Does it mean 'stay on top', 'catch up' or simply 'actively watch'? In other words, Does it ...
2
votes
2answers
67 views

过道/走廊 what's the difference?

It seems to me that these two are pretty interchangeable for 'hallway' - at least in the writing I've read before. My question is, though, is there any difference in meaning? Any difference when to ...
2
votes
1answer
161 views

Can I use a verb+的 construction to imply an item/noun?

I'm often don't which noun to use, but I can think of a verb to describe it. I know that 吃的 (to eat + 的) means food, so I was wondering if I can use it with other verbs as well, like 洗澡的 (to bathe + ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

來鴻去燕 interpreting idioms

So I am studying idioms and in many cases I come across one whose words I understand but whose meaning must apparently lie in a deeper story. The Wise Talk app gives: 來鴻去燕 (lai2 hong2 qu4 yan4) ...
2
votes
3answers
148 views

Can you explain the differences between the following sentences?

冬天:能穿多少穿多少;夏天:能穿多少穿多少。 剩女产生的原因有两个:一是谁都看不上;二是谁都看不上。 女孩给男朋友打电话:如果你到了,我还没到,你就等着吧;如果我到了,你还没到,你就等着吧。 单身的原因:原来是喜欢一个人,现在是喜欢一个人。 男人对一个女人有好感的原因:一是喜欢上这个女人;二是喜欢上这个女人。 男人约会迟到的原因:一是睡过了;二是睡过了。 Thanks.
2
votes
1answer
47 views

What is the meaning of 庸 in 利之而不庸?

A random passage from Mencius is: 殺之而不怨,利之而不庸,民日遷善而不知為之者 The first two lines have the same structure V1 之而不 V2, wherein V1 is expressing someone doing something to another and V2 how this one ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

Why is 大消费组 used here?

我分管该公司研究部大消费组6个消费类行业。 I'm in charge of 6 consumer industries of the research department in this company. I don't understand 大消费组. It seems to be redundant. Why is 大消费组 used here? What does it mean ...
2
votes
3answers
204 views

What does 一个泡子 mean?

What does 一个泡子 really mean ? my teacher had asked our class to do some assignment about our names in chinese and find the meaning too. I use chinese simplified in google translate to find my name. but ...
2
votes
2answers
321 views

What word could you use to approach your friend in Chinese with?

Either close friends, family friends or fun/casual friends. E.g. "hey ... (close/family/fun friend), what are you up to?" I am looking for a word to replace the "close/family/fun friend" with.