Questions concerned comprehension and understanding the finer aspects of individual words or phrases, with or without a context in which they are expressed.

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5
votes
1answer
189 views

Meanings behind “吹牛” and “拍马屁”

I would like to find out more about the two sayings "吹牛" and "拍马屁". How these sayings come about and get their current meanings? 吹牛 chuīniú meaning to brag 拍马屁 pāimǎpì meaning to excessively ...
3
votes
1answer
367 views

When is it proper to use 托您的福?

I think it means that I succeeded in part because of your luck. I've heard this used when I was in Beijing a few times.
8
votes
2answers
366 views

Why does 有机 as in 有机食品 mean organic?

有 and 机 are some of the first characters we learn in Chinese, but only recently did I find out that they mean "organic" when put together. Can anyone explain why this is?
3
votes
2answers
81 views

What exact breed of animal is a 金丝熊?

金丝熊 is easily available from local animal markets in my wife's home town. We asked the owners of different stores and they say it is not a mouse. So what exactly is it, is it just a fancy name for a ...
6
votes
2answers
118 views

How did 舆论 come to represent Public Opinion?

How did the word 舆论 come to represent the concept of Public Opinion? I know the meanings of the individual characters but I just don't quite see how the combination of these two meanings leads to the ...
14
votes
9answers
3k views

How offensive is 他妈的?

How offensive is the expression 他妈的? What is an English expression with a similar degree of offensiveness? In what situations is this expression appropriate / not appropriate?
2
votes
2answers
140 views

Translation: 地灾

We're getting 地灾 warnings over here...but what is a 地灾? Apparently it's short for 地质灾害... adsotrans dictionary defines it, word-for-word, as a geological disaster; which is pretty meaningless ...
-1
votes
2answers
283 views

filial piety[孝]: what it is and what it isn't(?)

孝、孝顺,孝道、孝敬 all talk of filial piety which is a huge part of Chinese language and culture. 愚孝 on the other hand means "stupidly filial" and is defined by Taiwans Ministry of Education as, ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Why does the word 萌 mean “cute”?

A friend of mine said in a photo of me, my eyes looked very 萌(meng2). 你的眼睛很萌 My dictionary defines 萌 as; 萌 méng (动) sprout; bud; germinate But apparently in this context it means ...
1
vote
2answers
252 views

Why Is The Color Red Considered Lucky In Chinese Language and Culture?

A constant feature in all things Chinese is the color (colour, for those yank-challanged among y'all) red. As common knowledge goes, it is because red is considered to be lucky. Why?
9
votes
4answers
267 views

Difference between 对 and 双

For a pair of rabbits there is: 一对兔 yī duì tù And for a pair of shoes there is: 一双鞋 yī shuāng xié And for twins there is: 双胞胎 shuāngbāotāi How can I be sure when to use 对 and when to ...
1
vote
4answers
214 views

What is the difference between 激动 and 冲动?

What is the difference between "激动" and "冲动"? So for example, what is the difference between: 先别激动,冷静一下。 and 先别冲动,冷静一下。 Thanks.
6
votes
6answers
701 views

Can 知道 be used in the sense of “to know someone”?

While watching a video with Chinese subtitles on a Chinese website, I came across this dialogue: Approximate English gloss (leaving out unnecessary details): A: You're XXX, right? B: So you ...
3
votes
3answers
153 views

What is the difference between 嘱咐 and 吩咐?

Both of them seem to be able to be used to mean instruct. Am I right in saying that you can 嘱咐 and 吩咐 someone to study hard? If so, what is the difference in meaning between these two terms?
3
votes
5answers
270 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
7answers
391 views

What does 起来 mean in this phrase?

把被子收起来吧. Translation: Let's put the quilt away. In other circumstances, 起来 means to get up but here there is a different meaning, and from the definitions I can't decide which definition is ...
3
votes
3answers
504 views

Differences between 咱们 and 我们?

我们,咱们 both means: we, but when I should use 咱们, 我们? What is the difference?
5
votes
6answers
249 views

What does 出来 mean in this sentence: 真看不出来你是外国人?

What does 出来 mean in this sentence: 真看不出来你是外国人? Doesn't 出来 mean "come out of ..."?
1
vote
1answer
94 views

What does this sentence mean in this hand writing?

What does this sentence mean in this hand writing? Thanks!
2
votes
2answers
64 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
195 views

What does 软文 and 小号 mean in internet slang?

Just like the title said, what does 软文 and 小号 mean in intenet slang?
7
votes
2answers
293 views

What is the difference between these two words 叫做 and 叫作?

What is the difference between these two words 叫做 and 叫作? The dictionary definition is quite similar and when I use this term in conversation I am unaware of which character combination I am using.
5
votes
2answers
315 views

Pattern in the Chinese numbers 1 to 9

I know a lot of Chinese characters are either a symbol of something or a combination of symbols in the space of one character, so what's the origin of the symbol for numbers 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9? since ...
4
votes
5answers
486 views

When to use 想 versus 喜欢?

Could someone please give we a hint when to use either of those?! My take is that 想 is used for actions and 喜欢 for things!? Am I right?
5
votes
6answers
315 views

Using 老头 / 老头子 when speaking to others

I'm trying to get some clarification on whether or not it is impolite to use 老头 / 老头子 when speaking outside a group of friends when referring to a third party. From my understanding 老头 is quite ...
1
vote
2answers
83 views

What is the difference between 形成, 构成, 组成, 养成?

According to the dictionary, 成 has meanings of to become or to form, what is the subtle difference between 形成, 构成, 组成 and 养成? Thanks!
2
votes
3answers
414 views

How to use 一点儿 and 一下儿?

They both mean "a little bit" according to the dictionary. However, does the meaning both apply in V and Adjective? i.e. V + 一点儿/一下儿 (吃一点儿/吃一下儿,快一点儿/快一下儿) and Adj + 一点儿/一下儿 (美一点儿/美一下儿, 好一点儿,好一下儿) ...
2
votes
4answers
180 views

Is 帮忙 and 帮助 interchangeable?

I looked up in the dictionary, 帮 means help, and 忙 means busy while 助 also means help, so is 帮忙 (help busy) and 帮助(help help) interchangeable? Or what is the subtle difference between them? Thanks!
1
vote
2answers
159 views

Difference between 换钱 and 挽钱

My take is that 挽钱 (wǎn qián ) would mean to withdraw money from an ATM and 换钱 (huàn qián) to change money ... or am I mistaken?a
1
vote
2answers
152 views

Is there a word in Chinese to mean “mostly”? Is “大多” appropriate?

As title, is there a word in Mandarin Chinese to mean "mostly" ? For example, I am going to tell my friend who wrote a letter to me that "I mostly got what you man", is it appropriate to say "大多" that ...
2
votes
2answers
134 views

How does the particle word “呢” work?

My teacher said that a particle word in Chinese is a function word, but don't quite understand what is means. How does the particle word such as "呢" work? Also, are there any other Chinese particle ...
2
votes
3answers
150 views

What's the English expression that means 感叹词:“坏了”

In Chinese there is a 感叹词:"坏了", means something went unexpected wrong. Example: 坏了,下雨了 坏了,手机忘带了 坏了,迟到了 What are the common English expressions that can express that "astonishing strike"? ...
3
votes
7answers
503 views

How does “多” work in this describing sentence “多好看啊!”?

I know 多 means many. But in some cases, it is used as in this sentence, such as this one: "多好看啊!" How exactly does it work? Thanks!
2
votes
1answer
133 views

What is the difference between 阻拦, 阻止, 阻挡, and 阻碍?

Title says it all; what's the difference between 阻拦, 阻止, 阻挡, and 阻碍?
7
votes
3answers
382 views

How to translate “很不起眼儿” in English

What's the best (传神) translation of "很不起眼儿" in English? 例句: 不认识他的人觉得他很不起眼儿,认识他的人觉得他很优秀。 辨析: A more formal term that related to "很不起眼儿" is "其貌不扬", but "其貌不扬" will normally be "很不起眼儿", yet ...
3
votes
3answers
159 views

How to translate the following grammar-pattern: 让/叫 N+V —— N还/ 就真 V (呀)

I know that this is a pattern that expresses a reverse meaning of what is really expressed (some kind of rhetorical question) - and that the speaker is somehow showing a negative attitude. I suppose ...
3
votes
2answers
274 views

What is the difference between 很, 十分 and 非常?

What is the difference between 很, 十分 and 非常? Or do they have the same meaning?
3
votes
1answer
123 views

What's the difference between 称赞, 表扬 and 夸奖?

They all have a meaning of "praise", but do they have a difference?
1
vote
5answers
236 views

What does “大概” mean? Are there any words with the same meaning?

I looked up in the dictionary, there are 12 meanings for it! well aiblins anywhere belike supposedly probably prob. maybe mayhap presumedly presumably ordinarily somewhere easily mainly Just ...
1
vote
2answers
113 views

What does the measure word 一片 mean? and how to use it?

In the textbook, we learned that 一片 is the measure word for thin, flat objects such as leaves. But it seems to mean differently in 一片草地. What does the measure word 一片 mean? and how to use it? 
6
votes
2answers
212 views
2
votes
5answers
174 views

What is the difference between 听到、听过 and 听说?

There are 3 听 (hear or listen to), what is the difference between 听到、听过 and 听说?Thanks!
2
votes
1answer
156 views

What is the difference between 突然 and 忽然?

They both have sudden meaning, but what is subtle difference between 突然 and 忽然?Thanks!
4
votes
1answer
121 views

What is the difference between 竟然 and 居然?

As I know, 竟然 and 居然 both mean "unexpectedly". Do they have any difference?
1
vote
2answers
78 views

Usage of the word 欠 and 了 in 那我一分钱也不欠你的了

I've been struggling to get my head around how to properly use the word 欠. The dictionary has to lack, as a meaning, but I can't find any example sentences with it used that way, only owe. ...
5
votes
3answers
163 views

What is the difference between 撒谎 and 说谎?

As far as I know, 撒谎 and 说谎 have the same meaning of "telling a lie". Is there a difference between them?
5
votes
5answers
276 views

What is the difference between 投诉 and 抱怨?

is there a difference between 投诉 and 抱怨? All I know is that they both mean "complain".
7
votes
7answers
960 views

Why do native speakers often say a character has “no meaning”?

Many times I will know all the characters in a name but one & I'll ask what that one character means. 9 times out of 10 the response is, "That character has no meaning". While it might be true ...
1
vote
3answers
239 views

What is the difference between 假如 and 例如?

What's the difference between 假如 and 例如? As far as I know, their usage is the same.
8
votes
2answers
141 views

What is the difference between 有名,著名 and 闻名?

We know 名 means name or famous, what is the subtle difference between 有名,著名 and 闻名? Thanks!